Re: identifying greek characters in an old book

From: suzanne mccarthy (
Date: Tue Oct 18 2005 - 00:18:46 CST

  • Next message: suzanne mccarthy: "Re: identifying greek characters in an old book"

    They are certainly both 'kais'. The one which you had already identified is a kappa with an alpha-iota shorthand curl descending below the line. So it uses an early shorthand for the alpha-iota ending. This dates from around the 4th century CE according to Oskar Lehmann. Die Tachygraphischen Abkurzungen der Griechischen Handschriften, 1880.
    The other 'kai' is also shorthand but has no relation to alphabet letters. It _looks like_ tau epsilon but is not. (There is a common tau-omicron ligature which looks similar by happenstance. I don't know of a tau-epsilon ligature.) The form of the 'kai' shorthand used here is relatively late, maybe 12th century but there was always a shorthand 'kai' of some kind. This 'pure' shorthand 'kai', resembling tau-c, is the more common of the two.
    These two forms continue to be used up until when fonts were cut and apparently some of these fonts were intended to imitate the handwriting of certain manuscript writers.
    The tipoff for me was first that this was presented as the _authentic_ Lord's Prayer in Greek, and second, frequency. 'And' is going to be pretty common and certainly will have a shorthand form. 'Te" is relatively uncommon and there is no shorthand for it. All grammatical endings also have shorthand so 'ai' has a shorthand. Therefore, two ways to shorten 'kai'.
    Having said all this - I have no idea why two different forms for 'kai' would be used in this text. In any case there is no difference in meaning. I am just wondering what you meant by a codepoint for 'kai'. Does it have a special codepoint?
    Suzanne McCarthy
    Morgan wrote:
    That's funny; one of the contractions I could identify (attached
    kai.png) I though was the kai symbol (mostly since there's a codepoint
    for it, so I've got several glyphs to go by), so I didn't ask about
    it. But are you saying this tau-c looking glyph is another symbol for
    kai? or are they two different kais (like, two meanings or two tones)?

    On 10/16/05, Raymond Mercier <> wrote:
    > Suzanne,
    > You need not retract what you said initially about the contraction for kai
    > (attached here). This one is well known, and will be found for example in
    > various texts reproduced in Ruth Barbour's Greek Literary Hands, such as
    > text 108 lines 4, 5, 6. There is no shortage of tachygraphic abbreviations
    > that do not look a bit like the explicit Greek.
    > Raymond Mercier
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: suzanne mccarthy
    > To:
    > Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 7:05 PM
    > Subject: Re: identifying greek characters in an old book
    > Hi,
    > The Greek is the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:10 - 14
    > The odd ligature in line 3 and line 5 must be και 'and' although it doesn't
    > have any similarity.
    > The last two words are τους αιωνας
    > Suzanne McCarthy

     Yahoo! Music Unlimited - Access over 1 million songs. Try it free.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Oct 18 2005 - 00:20:21 CST