I am doing some typesetting which requires the imitation of an archaic form of Greek; some words of which include (with my imitation of them lisited directly underneath):

enter image description here

The Latex code I used to produce this is




{\bf \textgreek{t{\t{\!\!w|}}}} \hfill {\bf \textgreek{a'>imati}} \hfill {\bf \textgreek{t{\t{\!o}}}} \hfill {\bf \textgreek{pot'hrion}} \hfill {\bf \textgreek{{>e}kqun'omenon}}

I would like to typeset, for example, these words not only as accurately as possible---but also imitate the given font as closely as possible.

QUESTION: Can someone suggest, for instance, how I can improve my attempt so that the whole of the omega in the first word better matches the original, the alphas in the second word resembles more an a as shown, and the second letter kappa in the last word more closely mimics the original. And, as previosuly noted, I would like to use a font that more closely resembles the original.

Thank you.

  • Hi, where have you taken your images? Have you a pdf of these images? – Sebastiano Feb 6 at 22:11
  • 4
    These images look like classical or biblical Greek which is well covered in Unicode. You just need to find an appropriate font and use xelatex or lualatex. Start here and either buy or Google for free fonts that are similar to the one you like. – David Purton Feb 6 at 22:20
  • @Sebastiano Hi. I do not have the images in a PDF, but in PNG. I used a snippet tool and extracted them (from pgs 109 and 118) of this book: archive.org/details/catholiccontrove00sain/page/108/mode/2up Greek words such as these are at various other places in the book I recall. I hope this helps. – mlchristians Feb 7 at 15:13

I would recommend doing this in LuaLaTeX. This code needs a version from 2020 or later.

\tracinglostchars=2 % Warn if the current font is missing a glyph
\usepackage[paperwidth=10cm]{geometry} % Format the MWE for TeX.SX
\usepackage{uninormalize} % Some packages can only handle ancient Greek in NFC form.
\usepackage{microtype} % Font expansion and protrusion

\babelprovide[import=el-polyton, onchar=ids fonts]{greek}

\defaultfontfeatures{ Scale=MatchUppercase, Ligatures=TeX }
          [Ligatures={Common,Discretionary}, Language=Default, Scale=1.0]{Libertinus Serif}
          [Ligatures={Common,Discretionary}, Language=Default]{Libertinus Sans}
          [Language=Default]{Libertinus Mono}
\setmathfont{Libertinus Math}

Homer’s \textit{Ὀδύσσεια} begins, “ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς
μάλα πολλὰ πλάγχθη.”

Libertinus Serif sample

The Libertinus fonts are just an example, but I’ve found them to have excellent coverage of ancient Greek. You can use any other font of your choice that supports polytonic Greek by adding a line like, for example, \babelfont[greek]{rm}{GFS Artemesia}. That is one of many fonts from the Greek Font Society that support polytonic Greek in both Unicode and 8-bit TeX. Most of them are already part of TeX Live and MikTeX.

If you would rather enter ancient Greek on an English keyboard, the most popular encoding is Beta code. Sites such as Perseus and Thesaurus Linguae Graecae have transcriptions of many ancient Greek works in both Beta code and Unicode. There are a few different solutions floating out there to enable LuaLaTeX and XeLaTeX to convert Beta code to Unicode.

If you’re forced to use PDFTeX, you want to replace most of the preamble with

\usepackage[greek.ancient, english]{babel}

And then load a font package that supports the 8-bit LGR encoding, such as libertinus or tempora. You will need to enclose the Greek text in a \textgreek command, and enter it as precomposed Unicode (NFC-normalized), or else use the teubner format.

  • Thank you for posting this answer. However, when I try to run it with Lualatex, I get an error message for line 7 (microtype)---File `unibormalize.sty' not found. \usepackage . I have an older verson of Latex---do you think that might be the problem? – mlchristians Feb 7 at 3:19
  • @mlchristians Yes: uninormalize was only written last year (in response to a bug report from me). You can upgrade, or I’ve edited in a new version that should be normalized to NFC and work with uninormalize commented out. – Davislor Feb 7 at 3:23
  • Thank you. I am probably going to have to upgrade my TexStudio. I just tried commenting out the uninormalize line---but got a series of error messages, Thank you again for posting your answer. – mlchristians Feb 7 at 3:31

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