Digamma

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Digamma (or wau, uppercase Ϝ, lowercase ϝ; as a numeral symbol: stigma, ϛ) is an archaic letter of the Greek alphabet which originally stood for the sound /w/ and later remained in use only as a numeral symbol for the number "6". Whereas it was originally called wau, its most common appellation in classical Greek is digamma, while in its numeral function it was called episēmon during the Byzantine era. Today the numeral sign is usually called stigma, after the value of a Byzantine Greek ligature σ-τ (ϛ), which shares the same shape and was used as a textual ligature in Greek print until the 19th century.

Digamma/wau was part of the original archaic Greek alphabet as initially adopted from Phoenician. Like its model, Phoenician waw, it represented the voiced labial-velar approximant /w/ and stood in the 6th position in the alphabet, between epsilon and zeta. It is the consonantal doublet of the vowel letter upsilon (/u/), which was also derived from waw but was placed at the end of the Greek alphabet. Digamma/wau is in turn the ancestor of the Roman letter F. As an alphabetic letter it is attested in archaic and dialectal ancient Greek inscriptions until the classical period.

The shape of the letter went through a development from Greek Digamma oblique.svg through Greek Digamma 05.svg, Greek Digamma angular.svg, Greek Digamma cursive 01.svg, Greek Digamma cursive 02.svg to Greek Digamma cursive 05.svg or Greek Digamma cursive 06.svg, which at that point was conflated with the σ-τ ligature Greek Digamma cursive 07.svg. In modern print, a distinction is made between the letter in its original alphabetic role as a consonant sign, which is rendered as "Ϝ" or its modern lowercase variant "ϝ", and the numeric symbol, which is represented by "ϛ" (or, in modern practice in Greece, replaced with "στ").

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