Unicode Polytonic Greek for the World Wide Web
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Unicode Polytonic Greek
for the World Wide Web

Version 0.9.7



David Perry of the CAES is developing a new Unicode font, Cardo, which is very promising. More updates will be provided soon.


Athena (a.k.a. Athena Roman)

You can download this rough Unicode-based polytonic Greek font from Sean Redmond's website at this URL: http://www.jiffycomp.com/smr/unicode/convert.php3. For some reason it's no longer available on Rusten's own website (at http://www.arts.cornell.edu/classics/Faculty/Rusten/greekkeys/faq.htm; so one should probably assume that he will not support the font. There seems to be a bug in the support for combining diacriticals - the combining diacriticals glyphs may not be present in the font.

Georgia Greek Unicode

Richard Spaulding's Greek Font Foundry page at UVM offers a freeware Unicode Greek font, Georgia Greek. The font works quite well with precomposed characters; however, there are a few bugs in its handling of the Perseus Digital Library website (see screen shot), though fewer than Athena.

The lower-case Greek characters are excellent for a work-in-progress (though the capitals could use some work); the Roman characters are still a little rough. An good alternative to Athena. Note that this is not the same font as the Georgia font on the MS Typography web site.

precomposed combining

Code 2000

James Kass says that he's drawn every character himself after research into the scripts; the Greek font is somewhat cleaner looking than Athena Roman, if too heavy, a somewhat rounded serif-compatible font. The Latin font too is a bit too thick for my tastes - especially in bold. But definitely worth the $5.

Available from http://home.att.net/~jameskass/, but remember: if you keep it, you have to send Mr. Kass $5.00 US or the equivalent.

precomposed combining

Titus Cyberbit Basic

The Titus Cyberbit Basic Greek characters look very much like the Athena Roman characters; I wonder if they ARE the Athena Roman glyphs! However, with its support for combining diacriticals, users may well prefer this font to Athena. It works well in Perseus and SOL, while Athena Roman doesn't.

Available for non-commercial purposes from http://titus.fkidg1.uni-frankfurt.de/unicode/tituut.asp

precomposed combining

Arial Unicode MS

Arial Unicode MS is a Monotype Typography font that ships with Microsoft Office 2000 for Windows. Arial Unicode MS includes full support for both combining diacriticals and precomposed characters. It is a full Unicode 2.0 font, with support for all the characters defined in version 2.0 of the Unicode standard.

If you have Word 2000, just insert the Word 200 CD to install, open Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs > Microsoft Office 2000 > Add/Remove, select the Add/Remove Features button on the Install Office dialogue (don't let the "repair" button frighten you), click on the plus sign next to "Office Tools" and find the listing for "Universal Font"; then change the box next to the listing to "Run from my computer." Word 2000 will now install the font and reboot your computer. The font is also available to Office 2000 users at the Office Update web site.*

Palatino Linotype

  • Authors: Monotype Typography.
  • Publisher: Microsoft and Monotype Typography
  • Commercial: available with Windows 2000, Windows XP (Professional; Home?)
  • Copyright 2000 Monotype Typography, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Works with: Precomposed characters only
  • Unicode Ranges: All, including Han ideographs, with OpenType features allowing CJK variants
  • The new OpenType font from Monotype and Microsoft, available only in Windows 2000, is a good serif analog to Arial Unicode MS. Jeffrey Rusten reviewed a preview version of the font in BMCR in 1998 ( Gopher version, HTML version with illustrations). There are serious flaws with the implementation of combining diacriticals, among other problems (e.g., Ralph Hancock reported on Classics List, and Tom Elliot to the Markup list, that the rho with rough aspirate actually had a smooth breathing glyph; I noticed that the combining aspirates, iota subscripts, and circumflexes all display as artifact characters; and the placement of the acutes and graves is messier than in Arial Unicode MS). Too bad, because it is a very nice font (if too round for some tastes), very light and readable in both Latin and Greek.

    Note: though the capital rho with rough breathing actually has a smooth breathing (psili) in this font, one should use nevertheless use that character even with the Palatino font when a capital rho with rough breathing is required, as it is correct in all other Unicode fonts.**
    precomposed combining

    Vusillus Old Face

  • Author: Ralph Hancock
  • Publisher: Antioch
  • http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~hancock/antioch.htm
  • Commercial: available with Antioch package, limited evaluation version available as shareware
  • Copyright 1999-2001 Ralph Hancock. All rights reserved.
  • Works with: Both precomposed characters and combining diacriticals
  • Ralph Hancock's Antioch software includes two Unicode fonts with Polytonic Greek and Hebrew support. One of the fonts is Vusillus Old Face Italic (the other is the roman variant), which I have tested. The style is somewhat reminiscent of a 19th century Greek text, somewhat darker and rounder (in the Italic, at least) than most of the other Unicode Greek fonts; maybe a little more tiring to read (to my tastes) than necessary. A good, professional job, which works with both combining diacriticals and precomposed characters.


    Lucida Sans Unicode

    Lucida Sans Unicode has excellent support for combining diacriticals, but lacks precomposed characters; it's great for Perseus and SOL.

    Monotype Minion Pro

    I have not tested this font, which is somewhat expensive, but it does provide precomposed characters. More information will be forthcoming.

    Other Unicode Fonts

    Other Unicode fonts with polytonic Greek have been created by other vendors, but they tend to be expensive. Many (most, I imagine) Unicode fonts do not support the full Unicode character set (it was never the intention of the Unicode Consortium to suggest that all fonts come with all characters), and the diacriticals used in ancient Greek are among the first to be left out.

     Unicode Polytonic Greek for the World Wide Web Version 0.9.7
     Copyright © 1998-2002 Patrick Rourke. All rights reserved.
    D R A F T - Under Development
     Please do not treat this as a published work until it is finished!
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