Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 1998.1.11


Reviewed by
Word count: words


*This review is also on a web page, with SAMPLES of all four Palatino Greek styles, at:

1.   This review is based on a pre-publication version of the font, kindly approved by Greg Hitchcock of Microsoft, and much helpful information supplied by Geraldine Wade of Monotype; but please do not ask them (or me) for an early copy! For Unicode versions of other polytonic Greek fonts available right now that will work in WORD 97 and will be compatible with Palatino, see note 11 below. (All World Wide Web links listed below were valid as of December 1997.)

2.   For details see the late Nicolaos Panayotakis, "A Watershed in the History of Greek Script: Abolishing the Polytonic", in M. Macrakis (ed.), Greek Letters From Tablets to Pixels, New Castle Delaware, 1996, 197-205 (= Greek Letters below).

3.   Jeffrey Rusten, "Polytonic Greek Fonts and Keyboards in the United States", in Greek Letters, pp. 205-216. The highest-quality among these fonts, in my opinion, are from Allotype Typographics (Kadmos, Bosporos, and the Athens-based Greek Font Society (Bodoni, Didot, Porson, New Hellenic, all sold by Scholars Press software); but not even they are from commercial font-studios. Until now both Linotype-Hell and Monotype offered some polytonic Greek fonts (missing some vital characters for ancient Greek), but at higher prices, and without documentation or technical support.

4.   Perhaps they had the same misconception as one Unicode enthusiast, who warned me that the Greek government had now declared printing books in polytonic Greek to be illegal.

5.   The font series "SuperGreek" from Linguist's Software ( handles accents this way today, but the majority of Greek fonts contain each accented vowel as a single unit (even if it is typed by two strokes on a keyboard). The first attempt to save time and money by separating accents from their vowels in typesetting was made by Aldus Manutius, see Nicolas Barker, "The Relationship of Greek manuscripts and Printing Types in 15th Century Italy," in Greek Letters, pp. 93-108.

6.   For a table listing all the characters included, see (

7.   For information on typing monotonic Greek with multilanguage support in Windows 95, see ( You can find whether a font supports Unicode and other information by downloading and using Microsoft's new font properties extension (

8.   For samples of Heraklit see Zapf's article "The Development of Greek Typefaces", in Greek Letters pp. 4-29; this acute survey of the historical Greek printing types, including Zapf's own, is bracingly opinionated; he singles out for special criticism the crabbed, ill-assorted Greek characters of the early Aldine editions, the poor spacing and extra curls of Bodoni Greek, and the unnatural weights and skewered axes of Didot's Greek letters.

9.   In theory Windows 95 supports "bitmap" screen fonts at small point sizes like the Macintosh, but in practice they cause nothing but problems.

10.   Probably with an upgrade of Microsoft Publisher rather than as a system font, because of shared ownership arrangements with Linotype and Monotype. Those who are eager to use Unicode immediately, even without a keyboard utility, can find two Unicode fonts containing polytonic Greek right away: "Production First" fonts, telephone 1-800-431-3668 (, which is actually the display font for extended Greek in all Unicode documentation. Also, the new GreekKeys Unicode font "Athena" (a version of Athenian) will soon be available for download ( A GreekKeys upgrade with this font and a Unicode keyboard utility is expected for spring 1998 from Scholars Press Software (

11.   WORD 97 treats these polytonic words as proper units, which can be selected like other words, searched for and replaced and perhaps, one day, spell-checked.

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