Greek κεραία numeral sign(s)

What is the current status of the Greek numeral signs — dexia keraia and aristeri keraia — in contemporary Greek usage? Do today’s Greek users employ these marks and this system at all? Wikipedia seems to indicate that they are occasionally used for indicating ordinals, rather than Arabic numerals, somewhat akin to how Latin users might use Roman numerals occasionally.

Unicode indicates that the dexia keraia U+0374 has a canonical decomposition to U+02B9 modifier prime. And I have experienced some cut-and-paste actions on Mac that convert the former codepoint to the latter.

Not a lot of fonts that include [monotonic] Greek coverage seem to include these codepoints. I have found some fonts that include U+0374, but not the equivalent U+02B9 (which seems problematic, given the above-mentioned normalization behavior).

Most of the fonts that I’ve encountered that have U+0374 also have the lower form U+0375, but not all. The online tester at Parachute fonts (Greek foundry) seems to indicate that they do not, which seemed curious to me.

And if one includes support for U+0374/02B9 and U+0375, does this beg the question of the Stigma, Koppa, and Sampi (uppercase, lowercase, or both)?

Is inclusion for all of these typically only considered if providing support for polytonic Greek setting?

None of these codepoints appears to be readily accessible from the MacOS’s Greek keyboard, although all seem to be present via the Greek Polytonic keyboard (except I could not find the aristeri keraia).

What is the situation for the average modern Greek user, in terms of accessibility and practice?

I am interested in any experienced perspectives, but particularly those of Greek members of our community.


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,160
    edited April 2016
    There seems to remain a convention in Greek legislative texts, akin to use of roman numerals in English texts, that continues to use letters-as-numbers, including the 'numeric koppa' letter, ϟ. I'm not sure if only the lowercase or also the novel uppercase character is used, but it would make sense for a font to support both.

    For more than you probably ever wanted to know about koppa:
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Thanks for the response, John.

    Wikipedia reports that the trend is toward using capitals: “Exclusive use of uppercase letters is also now standard,” and seems to extend that to the Ϛ,Ϟ, and Ϡ in the table shown. And yet, Unicode annotation indicates that the lowercase codepoints for koppa ϟ and sampi ϡ are the characters used for symbolic numerals (but capital Stigma Ϛ, go figure).

    The same table is repeated on the Greek Βικιπαίδεια version of that same entry. Throughout the text there, however, both uppercase and lowercase are employed, which supports your suggestion that both cases should be provided for, if any at all.

    Interestingly, throughout that article a mix of tonos, acute, and primemod characters are utilized for the same purpose of marking letters-as-numerals. And a comma is sometimes used for the aristeri keraia.

    Clearly the application is limited. And the situation is fluid (especially on the Wild Wild Web).

    Would still love to hear what native Greeks think about the topic.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Emilios — That is extremely helpful to have a contemporary Greek perspective. Thank you very much!
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