Numismatica Font Project Numismatica Font Project
Prior Page Page Up Next Page

Greek Letter Sampi

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.

Chris Hopkins
23 April 2001

Support Material for Disigma/Sampi Discussion

gr_tau.gif (32x32 -- 888 bytes)Sampi02.gif (32x32 -- 895 bytes) Mesembria Disigmas

Examples of coins with Mesembria Disigma in their inscriptions:
See Sear 1673, Sear 1674, Sear 1675, Sear 1676, SNG Cop 658v and SNG Cop 658 on the Wildwinds Mesembria page:

  • Sear 1673
  • Sear 1674
  • Sear 1675
  • Sear 1676
  • SNG Cop 658
  • SNG Cop 658v

  • Sampi04.gif (32x32 -- 905 bytes) Perga (Pamphylia) Disigma

    Example of coin with Perga Disigma in the inscription at Wildwinds Pamphylia, Perga page:

  • SNG vA 4649

  • Head, Historia Numorum, p. 278:

    Head_Mesembria_small.gif (350x253 -- 12301 bytes)

    Head, Historia Numorum, p. 702:

    Head_Pamphylia_small.gif (350x166 -- 9882 bytes)

    Hill, Ancient Greek and Roman Coins (1899), p. 215:

    Hill_AGRC_p215.jpg (600x121 -- 11473 bytes)

    Icard, Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions, p. 441:

    Icard_Sigma.gif (400x114 -- 1679 bytes)

    Icard, Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions, p. 304:

    Icard_Mesembria.jpg (600x182 -- 22109 bytes)

    Icard, Dictionary of Greek Coin Inscriptions, p. 321:

    Icard_Pamphylia.jpg (600x154 -- 17064 bytes)

    This page last updated 23 Feb 2021

    Prior Page Page Up Next Page
    Home Site Index Site Map Feedback New Items Tech Info Search

    Online since 28 March 1998
    Copyright ©1998-2021 Edward C. D. Hopkins, all rights reserved

    Click button to support   Click button to validate this page as HTML 4.01 compliant Click button to validate this page as CSS 3 compliant