Characters vs. glyphs in scholarly fonts

From: David J. Perry (
Date: Sat Dec 29 2001 - 15:41:45 EST

We have all learned the difference between the Unicode character encoding
model and the various forms that glyphs may take. How do people here
suggest handling the following scenario?

The ancient Roman monetary unit sestertius is not yet in Unicode. It might
well be accepted if proposed, but would be given one codepoint. However,
this unit appears in a variety of ways in inscriptions: IIS, HS, II with a
horizontal line through, S or SS with horizontal line, etc. Epigraphers
frequently like to preserve information such as the exact glyph used in an
inscription. One could create an OpenType font with one sestertius
character and alternative glyphs that could be used for printing or web
pages. But would there be any way to preserve such information in, let's
say, a database of inscriptions if only one codepoint was available? The
Runic block that was added to Unicode 3.0 also comes to mind here. TUS 3
states that the glyphs used in a given context may vary from those presented
in the charts; so what were the intentions of those who proposed this block?
This seems to be the same issue as the one I raised regarding the

David Perry

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