In respect to your question about having a serif or not on the Lunate sigmas and epsilon, I am not sure 100% though. Take a look at Takis Katsoulidis ‘Genesis’ and also at the site of the Greek Font Society:
Look for the ‘Majuscule Typefaces’ they do have serifs on the Byzantize style sigma.
I see that you just posted more Ancient Greek Characters with Variant letterforms. They look great. I will take a look at them when I have the time and let you know what I think.
I have just noticed that you have been asking Nymus about the lunate sigmas and epsilons. I had some free time so I went to google and look what I found for you:
U+03F2 Greek Lunate Sigma Symbol [ϲ]; U+03F9 Greek Capital Lunate Sigma Symbol [Ϲ]
While in the 4th century BC literary papyri still used the ancient angular sigma (Thompson 1912:107), the cursive lunate form had taken over competely by the next century, where it stayed as the unique form of the sigma until the invention of lowercase in the 8th century—and as the capital sigma, for a millenium longer.
The form is called lunate, of course, because it looks like a crescent. Lest my defence of monotonic make me look completely unlettered, let me take this opportunity to reject Haralambous' gloss (§4.2.4) of lunate into Modern Greek as σεληνιακό. That means "lunar", and you can be sure that the lunate wasn't the form of sigma used in the Apollo program. The classical term is μηνοειδής; but since that will make Modern Greek speakers scratch their heads and ask "looks like a month?" (or worse, "looks like Menna, patron saint of Crete?"), one can certainly used σεληνοειδής. This is the post-classical word with which μηνοειδής is glossed in Byzantine dictionaries (Hesychius, Lexica Segueriana, Photius, Suda)—for the sake of the ancestors of Modern Greek speakers who likewise scratched their heads at μηνοειδής.
The word selenoid shows up in English, but only as a mispelling of solenoid (Google: 2350 vs. 681,000), and as the lunar equivalent of the geoid (Google: 22).
While the lunate was banished as a capital letter in the 18th century, it remains familiar to Modern Greeks through ecclesiastical use: it figures in church icons, and in decorative fonts intended to evoke Byzantium (just as epigraphical alpha and sigma——are kept around in decorative fonts to evoke antiquity). It is inevitable, for instance, that the headers of the webpages of the Church of Greece website all have lunate sigmas; what is interesting is that the homepage itself has the Latin word Ecclesia instead. (The point being, of course, that Ecclesia is a Greek word.)
There is a lot more about lunate sigma at the address I gave above, and you can go and read it all if you wish.
The lunate epsilon is an uncial character, just as the lunate sigma is; the normal lowercase epsilon became usual only in the 12th century. Just like the lunate sigma, the lunate epsilon is a glyph associated in Greece with Byzantium and Orthodox Christianity. Outside that context, the lunate epsilons are best known as set operators in mathematics; they are already included under that guise in Unicode as U+2208 Element of, ∈, and U+220B Contains As Member, ∋. The set operators are in a glyph tradition incommensurate with letter use, and are coded as mathematical symbols (Sm); if the lunate epsilon is to be included as a letter, it would need to have a lowercase letter category (Ll) and a distinct codepoint—which the lunate epsilon does. (The reverse lunate epsilon, on the other hand, has no use in Greek as a character, and its category is accordingly still Sm.)
The Capital Theta Symbol and Lunate Epsilons were proposed in March 2000 to the ISO by the US National Standards Body, as part of the STIX initiative to standardise usage of mathematical fonts. They were added to Unicode 3.1; Ken Whistler has a behind-the-scenes report on the deliberations that went on in accepting them. The lunate epsilons were originally proposed as U+213B Greek Symbol Straight Epsilon and U+213C Greek Symbol Reversed Straight Epsilon. All three symbols are described in the proposal annex as "N: normal or ordinary; e.g., symbol used as a variable." This means that some mathematician out there has used ϵ as a variable—despite the fact that it looks just like a set operator—and ϴ as a variable, but not as a glyph variant of Θ (or U+2205 Empty Set, ∅). ϵ∈ϴ? Well, I guess there's no accounting for taste.
The reason why the epsilons ended up in the Greek block is clear from Whistler's report: ELOT deemed these mathematical characters to be Greek characters—which in the case of lunate epsilon, they more or less are. But just as with the other mathematical symbols: if you're writing a Greek text and want to give it that Olde Bizantine Charme, don't use U+03F5. That's not what it's there for. Agitate for a Unicode uncial font instead.
As It came to my attention that you are currently designing more and more Ancient Greek charactersI also found a nice image of some novel looking like characters for you, here it is:
Source: J. Victor Gaultney, Gentium type specimen (University of Reading, 2002), p.14.
Archaic Greek letters
About placing serifs onto Lunate sigma aand epsilon on a serif typeface (as these letters are supposedly Byzantine) take a look at this image:
A picture is worth a thousand words.
The quote I just used is sometimes attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, who said "Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu'un long discours," or "A good sketch is better than a long speech". While this is sometimes translated today as "A picture is worth a thousand words," this translation may not predate the phrase's common use in English.
By the way I also found those two images depicting lunate epsilons.
I also found this manuscript fragment from CodexSinaiticus with lunate sigmas and epsilons.
Your Semele is evolving quite nicely; although it is a bit too feminine for my taste I am quite fond of it. I guess that sooner or later you will design also the Cyrillic characters, and then I hope that I will also contribute to its fine-tuning. Keep up the good work. If I can be of any help in the meantime please don’t hesitate to ask.
Hello Natasha, I hope that the lunate sigmas and epsilons that I sent you were of some help, of course you have to alter the byzantine serifs to the Semele serifs.
By the way, I believe that you will have to add serifs also to those two ancient Greek characters that look like the letter M.
As omega suggested, when you are done and finished with the design of the Greek characters you may begin designing the Cyrillic characters, that will be an interesting deign task for you, especially the Cyrillic italic.
Those links that you sent me for the Hypatia play are extremely fascinating and to get an full understanding of it I started reading all about Ancient Greek Mathematics.
Could you give me please a rough estimate when will you be designing the book text weight for Semele?
Between us, it is not really necessary to do all in all what Nymus has been suggesting that you should to, they are just details that you could fix later on, for now just do what excites you most.
Hypatia is absolutely right, Semele has been developed very well and it should be a little boring being stuck with the time consuming facelifting of Ancient Greek characters.
Instead it would be more advantageous to design the book text weights for Semele and test them thoroughly, or even better do as Hypatia suggested and go on with whatever excites you most.
Many thanks to all of you for your help, advice and encouragement. I just finished designing the Byzantine lunate sigmas and epsilons and they look great. I have also face lifted the design of quite a number or Greek characters and made them more distinctive, and I will be posting them soon.
As most of you suggested my next task should be to design the bold weight of Semele.Has any of you any ideas or links that would make this task more productive and less cumbersome? I did search here at typophile but most of what I got was not exactly what I was looking for.
Well, maybe as you say, Nymus is overdoing it a bit with his suggestions, but he has always been very helpful and considerate; and I appreciate this enormously; thank you Nymus.
Hi Natasha. The best link that I have found so far in respect to making a bold weight out of Semele light is the following:
I am looking for some more links even through google, just in case that I may find something and I shall let you know asap.
Some of the things and methods mentioned in the above link may seem highly esoteric to you especially that bit about using the interpolation tool in FontLab, if it is so please let me know and I will do my best to make things clearer for you; or even compose a mini manual for you.
Hi guys, I have just posted numerous alternate characters for the lunate sigmas and epsilons after making a thorough study of the info and images that you Hypatia and Nymus sent.
At the monent I am striving to finish the Semele Regular and I have to admit that it is quite a time consuming.
Omega, thanks a lot for the advice and the links that you have given me. It was somewhat too esoteric for me and I am following a much simpler way; I might use what you suggest at a later time.
Hypatia, I will be sending you soon what you have asked for, thanks for being so understanding and patient with me.
Hello Natasha, great to see you here again. I liked vey much the lunate sigmas and epsilons; as to which of the lot I like best I will take my time deciding that. I am eager to see some of your Semele Regular characters.
Once in a while, these spambots say something almost coherent. This is not one of those times.