"Rotated Y" symbol in academic publishing, anyone?

nina's picture

So in this academic volume I'm typesetting, an author has specified a character he needs in his transcription of an original manuscript from the 1700s. The thing should look something like an uppercase "Y" rotated counterclockwise by 90 degrees, or a lambda mirrored and rotated the other way. I'm assuming this signifies something other than «the original author has written a rotated "Y"», but I'm not sure what.
It might be related to either Latin (more likely) or Greek (which occurs after it in the text as can be seen below).
I have a couple of handwritten renditions:

Is anyone here familiar with this symbol and where/how to find/make it?

oprion's picture

Not sure what this is, but rotating a Cyrillic "У у" might do the trick.

oldnick's picture

What's the subject of the text? The possibilities are numerous...


nina's picture

"What's the subject of the text?"
It's a transcription of a manuscript – the notes that Johann Gottfried Herder took for an essay he published in the late 18th century, dealing with Homer and the question of his authorship of both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Also, there's an annotation a bit further on (that number 7 above) that mentions "error-free passage/section" – it's not clear to me if that might have anything directly to do with the symbol in question.
Dunno, does that help? If it's not evident from a typographic side what this should be, I will try to get more information from the author.

oldnick's picture

May or may not be germane...

In the Unicode computer encoding standard, there are two pairs of codepoints to represent Qoppa: U+03D8/U+03D9 ("Greek Letter Archaic Koppa" and "Greek Small Letter Archaic Koppa", Ϙϙ), intended for representing the epigraphic Q-like glyph, and U+03DE/U+03DF ("Greek Letter Koppa" and "Greek Small Letter Koppa", Ϟϟ), intended for the numeric Z-like glyphs.

clauses's picture

John Hudson to the rescue?

John Hudson's picture

Alas, Claus, I've no clue about this.

JoergGustafs's picture

maybe a foozled deleatur-symbol (dele in english)?



Andreas Stötzner's picture

Would need to know more context about the source and the passages in question in order to solve this. Not only details scan but the entire passage, possibly.

1st, is it meant to be a LETTER or to be something else?

2nd, if something else, it could be a) a diacritical mark (unlikely?), b) a prescriptive mark or something the like.

It seems to be a single author’s fashion of denoting something.
– Who has written the original?
– editor-in-chief? writer’s/author’s background?

the notes that Johann Gottfried Herder …

From the handwriting shown I doubt that this is J. G. Herder’s own hand.

nina's picture

Oh, no, that is not Herder's handwriting. The printed piece is a transcription of Herder's notes. That there is the corrections to my setting by the author/editor who has made the transcription.

I'm actually not sure if it's OK for me to share the entire thing here; I have asked back with the editors, and will be back soon hopefully with more information. Thanks so far, though. I was hoping maybe it'd be simple :-)

DTY's picture

I think these may help explain what it's for:


I would be inclined to relate it to the Greek Υ rather than Latin Y, since it's an Alexandrian editorial mark.

nina's picture

David, fantastic!! Thank you so much.

In the first link I only see the cover? But the second one is exactly what I was looking for. Great!

I'd love to find some higher-res images. Pierron, on p. 523, does say «C'est toujours l'ypsilon couché» but I can't make out the difference between what he calls the «diple pure» and the «diple pointée» (of which I assume I'd need the former, since no explication seems to exist of the latter :-). I wonder if I'll be fine if I just rotate a "Y" (Latin or Greek). My author seems to have a cursive form of sorts in mind.

Michel Boyer's picture

but I can't make out the difference between what he calls the «diple pure» and the «diple pointée»

I guess it is because the dot does not show much at that resolution. Here is a wiki article on the diple


where the dots can be seen (pointé means dotted)

nina's picture

Oh, thanks for pointing that out. I saw that, but figured it was a different symbol… and my brain was stuck in English and thought that pointée = pointed. :-)

John Hudson's picture

Nina, the first link worked for me. Here is the relevant passage:

A lot of Greek grammatical and editorial marks -- including the diple -- are encoded in Unicode, thanks to the efforts of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae project. The diple periestigmene is encoded as U+2E16 in the Supplemental Punctuation block, where it is shown with the two-dot form.

DTY's picture

Nina, I'd assume that the «diple pure» is what you want, because that's a (half-)translation of διπλῆ καθαρά, which is what Herder wrote in the passage quoted.

Florian Hardwig's picture

You just gotta love Typophile! Impressive.

nina's picture

What Florian said. Thank you, gentlemen, that was great! :-)

I'm not quite sure about the actual design of this yet – the diples in Wikipedia and the Unicode charts appear to lack the «stem» of the "Y"; plus, my author also seems to have a special/cursive form of "Y" in mind. I'm trying something simple (but with stem) now, as in the sources above, and will send this to the author for review.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

John, can we be sure that the dotted-angle as encoded at 2E16 and the rotated Y count as the same character? The glyphic difference is rather striking.

If it is an editorial mark, I think it may be drawn more in the style of the font’s > or ] glyphs, rather than a letterlike Y-shape. – Printed examples known?

Michel Boyer's picture


The Thesaurus linguae graecae project files can be found at the url http://escholarship.org/uc/tlg_unicode. The proposal for U+2E16 is http://escholarship.org/uc/item/3bn592k6#page-1. They call it "DOTTED RIGHT-POINTING ANGLE = DIPLE PERIESTIGMENE". Here is the justification (grab from page 11):

That is also essentially the shape found in table 2.3 of the documentation http://mirror.ctan.org/macros/latex/contrib/metre/metre.pdf for the LaTeX metre package for classicists. The characters in that table are all drawn with tex macros using pre-existing characters; the diple simply uses the mathematical symbol for greater than, >. Here is a grab of the relevant lines

On the other hand here are a few handwritten samples taken from a facsimile of the Iliad (dated 1901), http://www.stoa.org/hopper/text.jsp?doc=Stoa:text:2003.01.0009.

There is a large variation in shapes. To my eye and understanding, the intended shape looks closer to the TeX math symbol $\succ$, corresponding to unicode U+227B, http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/227b/index.htm than to >, larger than. I am sure you could do better but TeX users (like me) usually make do with what they have got.


Michel Boyer's picture

the shape found in table 2.3
Sorry, it is subsection 3.2, page 14.

nina's picture

Great stuff. Here's a more baroque / Greek-letter-inspired form. Thoughts/input welcome.

DTY's picture

That looks like a reasonable approximation to me. I looked up some online papyri that have diplai, and found a couple of good examples that have this form: (left margin of right "page", near the top)

http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/POxy/papyri/vol53/150dpi/3710.jpg (left margin of third column, about 2/3 of the way down)

The shape can also be more V-like sometimes, but the form you have is well within the ancient range, in addition to matching the Byzantine form posted by Michel above.

nina's picture

Oh, nice. Thank you David. I'll submit something like this for review.
(And I do hope you had an index of sorts to search those papyri…!)

quadibloc's picture

I think I was able to find the diple on

it appears to be under the ruler at about 6.6 cm or 2 9/16 inches.

nina's picture

Looks like the problem is officially solved: I just heard back from the author and he's very happy with this second form I posted above (the rounded one), which he says is exactly good, in keeping not only with what he had in mind but also with older publications on the subject.
Thanks again everyone – this has been a powerful demonstration of what Typophile can be, and do. I'm very grateful for your help.

Jongseong's picture

I have nothing to add to this except that this has to be my favourite Typophile thread in recent memory.

DTY's picture

That's great news, Nina. I'm very glad this has been helpful. (PS - I didn't know what the mark was either, until Google led me to a papyrology website.)

Michel Boyer's picture

Great news indeed! I did not know about the character either. I learned about the LaTeX metre package from Scott Pakin's comprehensive LaTeX symbol list (pdf 4.18MB) that I regularly consult when I am looking for a glyph. Google gave me the rest.

nina's picture

Here it is in real life; the book is out now. And I've included a big fat (well actually, italic) thankyou to Typophile in the colophon!

DTY's picture

That looks great, Nina. It's nice to see a well-drawn diple in print!

Andreas Stötzner's picture

* Congratulations. Looks very well.

And now I’d like to see the *entire* colophone ;-)

nina's picture

Thank you guys very much!

Colophon: Happy to oblige :-)

Syndicate content Syndicate content