Several scholars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used the descriptive name "Disigma" for several glyphs that were not readily identifiable in more recent texts (see the discussion material below). I requested an opinion from Cornell University's classics department. In a message dated 1 Apr 2003, Dr. John Mansfield settled this issue when he reported:
"Disigma" (= double sigma) is a non-current term for the
character sampi / sanpi, as you rightly suspect.
"On sampi, see L.H. Jeffery, Local Scripts of Archaic Greece (1963), p. 38-39, 324 bottom, 368. The T-shaped form is attested in a few early stone inscriptions from several Ionian cities. One Attic example is also alleged on pottery, namely on the name-piece of the Nessos Painter (AJA 66.1962.405-406). Presumed to be the same as the character from Miletos which persisted as the number 900, originally used to represent various special ss/xi sounds.
"The later use of this character on coins of Pontic Mesambria is a bit odd. An affectation or an indication of contemporary local pronunciation?
"In Pamphylia, which had it's own weird dialect of Greek, the use of the psi-shaped variant should say something about the pronunciation. See Cl. Brixhe, Le Dialecte grec de Pamphylie (1976), p. 160-161, coins of Perge."
I greatly appreciate Dr. Mansfield's comments on this issue, and permission to use them here.
23 April 2001
Examples of coins with inscriptions:
Perga (Pamphylia) Disigma
Example of coin with Disigma inscription:
Head, Historia Numorum, p. 278:
Head, Historia Numorum, p. 702:
Hill, Ancient Greek and Roman Coins (1899), p. 215:
Icard, Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions, p. 441:
Icard, Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions, p. 304:
Icard, Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions, p. 321:
See also the interesting paper on Sampi at The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae web site
This page last updated 26 Jan 2011