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{{other uses}}{{Greek Alphabet|letter=sigma}}Sigma (uppercase Σ, lowercase σ, lowercase in word-final position ς; ) is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 200. When used at the end of a word (when the word is not all caps), the final form (ς) is used, e.g. (Odysseus); note the two sigmas in the center of the name, and the word-final sigma at the end.


The shape and alphabetic position of sigma is derived from Phoenician shinshin.


The original name of the letter "sigma" may have been san, but due to the complicated early history of the Greek epichoric alphabets, "san" came to be identified as a separate letter, Ϻ.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Encyclopedia of ancient Greece, Nigel Guy, Wilson, Alphabet, Roger D., Woodard, 2006, Routldedge, London, 38, Herodotus reports that "san" was the name given by the Dorians to the same letter called "sigma" by the Ionians."" ('…the same letter, which the Dorians call "san", but the Ionians "sigma"…'; Herodotus, Histories 1.139); cf. Nick Nicholas, Non-Attic letters {{webarchive|url= |date=2012-06-28 }}.The name of sigma, according to one hypothesis,BOOK, Jeffery, Lilian H., The local scripts of archaic Greece, Oxford, Clarendon, 1961, 25–27, may continue that of Phoenician Samekh, the letter continued by Greek Ξ.Alternatively, the name sigma may have been a Greek innovation that simply meant "hissing", from the root of ({{transl|grc|sízō}}, earlier *sig-jō, meaning "I hiss").

Lunate sigma

File:Madaba Jerusalem Mosaic.jpg -
}}) uses the lunate sigmaFile:Metochion Gethsimanis, Jerusalem.jpg|thumb|right|upright|A plaque reading "Metochion of Gethsemanes" () in Jerusalem, with a lunate sigma both at the end and in the middle of the word]]In handwritten Greek during the Hellenistic period (4th and 3rd centuries BC), the epigraphic form of Σ was simplified into a C-like shape.Edward M. Thompson (1912), Introduction to Greek and Latin paleography, Oxford: Clarendon. p. 108, 144 It is also found on coins from the fourth century BC Numismatica Font Projects. This became the universal standard form of sigma during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is today known as lunate sigma (uppercase Ϲ, lowercase ϲ), because of its crescent-like shape.It is still widely used in decorative typefaces in Greece, especially in religious and church contexts, as well as in some modern print editions of classical Greek texts. A dotted lunate sigma (sigma periestigmenon, encoded at U+03FE Ͼ) was used by Aristarchus of Samothrace (220–143 BC) as an editorial sign indicating that the line so marked is at an incorrect position. Similarly, an antisigma, or reversed sigma (Ͻ), may mark a line that is out of place. A dotted antisigma or dotted reversed sigma (antisigma periestigmenon: Ï¿) may indicate a line after which rearrangements should be made, or to variant readings of uncertain priority.

Derived alphabets

Sigma was adopted in the Old Italic alphabets beginning in the 8th century BC.A simplified three-stroke version, omitting the lowermost stroke, is found already in Western Greek alphabets, and becomes current in classical Etruscan, in Oscan, and also in the earliest Latin epigraphy (early Latin S), such as the Duenos inscription.The alternation between three and four strokes (occasionally also more than four) is also adopted into the early runic alphabet (early form of the s-rune.Both the Anglo-Saxon runes and the Younger Futhark consistently use the simplified three-stroke version. The forms of the Coptic letter {{coptic|Ⲥ}} sima (2nd century BC) and of Cyrillic letter С (9th century) are derived from lunate sigma.



In both Ancient and Modern Greek, the sigma represents the voiceless alveolar fricative {{IPA|/s/}}. In Modern Greek, this sound is voiced to {{IPA|/z/}} before {{IPA|/m/}}, {{IPA|/n/}}, {{IPA|/v/}}, {{IPA|/ð/}} or {{IPA|/ɣ/}}.

International African Alphabet

{{anchor|Uppercase of esh}}The uppercase form of sigma was re-borrowed into the Latin alphabet – more precisely, the International African Alphabet – to serve as the uppercase of modern esh (lowercase: ʃ).

Science and mathematics


Uppercase Σ is used as a symbol for:


Lowercase σ is used for:


{{anchor|Politics}}During the 1930s, an uppercase Σ was in use as the symbol of the Ação Integralista Brasileira, a fascist political party in Brazil.{{anchor|Companies}}Sigma Corporation uses the name of the letter but not the letter itself, but in many Internet forums, photographers refer to the company or its lenses using the letter. Sigma Aldrich incorporate both the name and the character in their logo.

Character encoding

Greek Sigma
name1=Greek Capital Letter Sigmaname2=Greek Small Letter Sigmaname3=Greek Small Letter Final Sigmaname4=Greek Capital Lunate Sigma Symbolname5=Greek Lunate Sigma Symbolmap2char1=91map2char3=AAmap3char1=CFmap3char3=EDmap4char1=D3map4char3=F2TeX>ref1char1=Sigmaref1char3=varsigma}}Unicode Code Charts: Greek and Coptic (Range: 0370-03FF){{charmapname1=Greek Capital Reversed Lunate Sigma Symbolname2=Greek Small Reversed Lunate Sigma Symbolname3=Greek Capital Dotted Lunate Sigma Symbolname4=Greek Small Dotted Lunate Sigma Symbolname5=Greek Capital Reversed Dotted Lunate Sigma Symbolname6=Greek Small Reversed Dotted Lunate Sigma Symbol}}
Coptic Sima
name1=Coptic Capital Letter Simaname2=Coptic Small Letter Sima}}
Mathematical Sigma
name1=N-ary Summationname2=Mathematical BoldCapital Sigmaname3=Mathematical BoldSmall Sigmaname4=Mathematical BoldSmall Final Sigmaname5=Mathematical ItalicCapital Sigmaname6=Mathematical ItalicSmall Sigma}}{{charmapname1=Mathematical ItalicSmall Final Sigmaname2=Mathematical Bold ItalicCapital Sigmaname3=Mathematical Bold ItalicSmall Sigmaname4=Mathematical Bold ItalicSmall Final Sigmaname5=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Capital Sigma}}{{charmapname1=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Small Sigmaname2=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Small Final Sigmaname3=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Italic Capital Sigmaname4=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Italic Small Sigmaname5=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Italic Small Final Sigma}}These characters are used only as mathematical symbols. Stylized Greek text should be encoded using the normal Greek letters, with markup and formatting to indicate text style.

See also




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