Earlier 'S' Variations

In Cecil’s reply to why 18th century literature had 'f’s instead of 's’s , he says that the 'f’s were actually 's’s that had a different appearance depending on where they were in a word. He says that the earliest appearance of varying 's’s was in the 1800s or something like that. But, although I’m sure he knows this :wink: , I’d like to point out that an earlier appearance would be that of the 's’s in ancient Greek. Called ‘sigmas’, the Greeks used the o-shaped sigma at the beginning of a word and the s-shaped sigma everywhere else. Just FYI!

I’m 95% sure of this. You’re close, but not quite. The o-shaped sigma is the regular simga, used most often, and the s-shaped one is the “final sigma”, used only at the end of words.

The long “s” form can be found in calligraphic uſe before the advent of moveable type printing. When printing took off, the practice ſimply was continued as it had previouſly been done.

Very ſuccinctly put ſir.


That’s right. There are three sigmas - lowercase (the o with a funky hat coming out the right side), uppercase (a blocky, jaggedy capital E, kind of), and final (which is a big looping “c” with a small tail, kinda snakelike). I can’t reproduce them here, though.

capital sigma: S
standard lower-case: s
final lower-case: V

replace <> with in vB code.

“long ess” ſ <code>ſ</code>
(which I didn’t know before)

Er. oops.

& # 383 ;

lose the spaces. ſ

Oh, yeah. They enabled Symbol a while ago, didn’t they? Cool.

capital sigma: S
standard lower-case sigma: s
final lower-case signma: V

foolsguinea, wouldn’t that be called a question mark?

Irishman, I suspect that your browser just doesn’t recognize the character, and uses a question mark as its symbol for “I don’t recognize this”. On my screen, I do indeed see a glyph which vaguely resembles a lower-case f.

Even better:

capital sigma: Σ ( Σ )
standard lower-case sigma: σ ( σ )
final lower-case signma: ς ( ς )