Re: Greek astrology

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2012 00:29:01 +0100

You've got a good point that these are not simple esthetic ligatures.
If they represent more than the combined letters used to note an
abbreviation, then why not encoding in test the implied (but missing)
letters, surrounded by some format controls stating that the
srurrounded letters are actually not drawn but just implied, with a
possible ambiguity of their exact interpretation) ?

So the ligature mu-rho for "mesu-ranima" would be encoded like this in
plain-text only:
<mu, BEGIN IMPLIED TEXT, epsilon, sigma, upsilon, END IMPLIED TEXT,
rho, BEGIN IMPLIED TEXT, alpha, nu, iota, mu, alpha, END IMPLIED TEXT>

If you has to represent this in a rich text (visual only) format like
HTML, this could still be represented using <span
style="display:none">...</span>, preserving the semantic (instead of a
style attribute, you could as well define a class, or you could have
your own document-specic element to represent the implied element).

Contextual rule-based substitution of these strings by an actual glyph
for rendering the "ligature" as it appears in the original document,
would still remain possible (with a set of rules stored in the
document, and defined by the authoring creator of the encoded

This does not mean that the ligature has to be encoded for itself,
unless it starts being commonly found in multiple documents from
multiple authors, with a consistant meaning. If the meaning is
inconsistant and requires an expertise to guess what it means in such
a way that other interpretations are possible, I think it's still best
to indicate in the document itself what is the guessed part, that
could be objectioned if the same source was read by someone else.

As well the glyphic style of the ligature may be author specific,
using more or less component letters, disposed differently in the
ligature, with more or less strokes and simplifications, even if all
these variants mean the same.

I'm convinced that it's better if every document creator can convey
the meaning of what **he** was reading in his encoded document, the
best as he can, even if this is **his** personal interpretation or
guess, than just inserting an uninterpreted symbol or punctuation
mark, like in "mu-rho" where the hyphen mark actually does not encode
properly that it represents a personnal substitution rather than the
punctuation itself (causing even more ambiguities for the
reinterpretation of the result.

2012/10/29 Asmus Freytag <>:
> On 10/29/2012 12:48 PM, Szelp, A. Sz. wrote:
> These look as if they were actually ligatures.
> (typo)graphically a number of forms may be "ligatures".
> For text encoding, it would be important to understand whether such fused
> forms are used interchangeable with forms that are not fused - and in
> particular, whether in all instances these should sort like the alphabetic
> sequence they were derived from as well as whether they should show up
> interchangeably in search results.
> If the answer to the latter two questions is negative, that would make a
> strong case for separately encoding the fused form. However, the answer may
> be positive for search and sort, but there may still not be interchangeable
> usage (sort and search, after all, conflate some other strings as well).
> Treating a fused form as "ligature" in terms of encoding works best when the
> choice of ligation is either purely stylistic, or, alternatively, is driven
> by word context (as certain "mandatory" ligatures are).
> Whenever the use of a fused form carries a particular significance, then
> leaving the choice of display to the font seems poor design, even if there's
> a strong correlation between the fused form and the original string.
> Without knowing the greek words for the "principal" corners, I'd read them
> as a rho-omega-kappa, a pi-upsilon, an alpha (delta?)-upsilon-nu-omega and a
> rho-mu ligature. I wouldn't be surprised, if these letters were
> abbreviations for some expanded terms for the four principal corners.
> This may or may not matter, see above.
> A./
> On the other hand there do exist ligatures which gained conventional meaning
> and are now encoded as their own character, eg. ℔, ℅.
> Szabolcs
> On Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 9:52 AM, Raymond Mercier <> wrote:
>> I think I had somehow assumed that the symbols used in Greek Horoscopes
>> had already been encoded, but it seems not.
>> The four signs used to mark the principal corners (ascendant, etc) of the
>> horoscope diagram are shown in the attachment, taken from
>> These four signs should be encoded along with the zodiacal signs U+2648 to
>> U+2653.
>> Perhaps they are already in the pipeline ?
>> Best wishes
>> Raymond Mercier
Received on Mon Oct 29 2012 - 18:35:26 CDT

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