Note on distribution:
This is a Greek font I wrote in METAFONT several years ago after being
inspired by the Bodoni typefaces I had seen in the old books in my school
library. It is stylistically a little more exotic than the standard
textbook greek fonts, particularly in glyphs like the lowercase rho and
kappa. It aims for a rather calligraphic feel, but I also think it blends
well with Computer Modern.
I included a ligature scheme which automatically inserts the breathings
required for ancient texts, making the input text more readable than in
some schemes. Since it is now de rigueur to use outline fonts, I have
largely abandoned this project, but I hope someone finds it useful.
I'd better give this a version number, say 1.0, although that does give
a false impression of continuous development, which most certainly is
not the case. I've put it under the LaTeX Project Public Licence,
of which you can read the latest version at
laurie [dot] field [at] gmail [dot] com
A new greek font for TeX, in regular and bold variants. All classical
accents and diacritic marks are available and built into the ligature table
of the font; hence no TeX input file is necessary to use the diacritical
Simple use in plain TeX:
(sorry, I can't be bothered to make the relevant LaTeX fd files, etc.,
although it wouldn't be hard.) Declare the font you want to use (eg.
\font\greek=lfb10). Then simply switch to that font and start typing.
The conventions for greek input are explained below.
MF: metafont source files, in fairly amateurish code. Run mf on lfb*.mf or
lfbb*.mf to produce more tfm/pk files.
TFM: ready-made font metric files, for those who can't produce their own.
PK: ready-made bitmap files at 600dpi and standard magnification.
lfbacc.tex: a few TeX definitions for more obscure accent combinations
(namely, alpha, iota, and upsilon with macron/breve AND accent and/or
breathing.) These are faked with TeX's accent mechanism, since there is no
room for them in the font.
example.tex: sample text (to get an idea of the input conventions and of
the design of the glyphs). Taken from Xenophon's Anabasis, book 2,
example.pdf: my output from example.tex (using pdftex with 600dpi fonts). Because the fonts are bitmapped, it'll look terrible in a pdf viewer so it's best to print it out - or better still, install the metafont files and let your installation produce the correct fonts for your printer setup.
This font uses yet another greek input mapping, incompatible with existing
ones. (However, if you wanted to use Ibycus or GreekTeX mappings, for
instance, it would be possible to create VF files to perform the conversion.)
I personally like this encoding because it is easy to type words in a
simple transliteration scheme and fewer nonletters are necessary than in
other schemes. This is done with a complex Metafont ligature table so that
none of the conversion is done by TeX macros (except when macron/breve are
necessary with other diacritical marks, as explained before.) The
advantage of this is that it is quick to process, no TeX input files
are needed, and the input is legible with no backslashes etc.
Ordinary letters are expressed thus:
greek letter ascii input (lowercase/capital)
theta th or q/TH or Th or Q
iota i/I (see below for iota subscript)
xi x or ks/X or KS or Ks
phi ph or f/PH or Ph or F
khi kh or ch or c/KH or Kh or CH or Ch or C
psi ps or y/PS or Ps or Y
Breaking ligatures: The vertical bar character | has been specially defined
so that it can be placed between any two characters which would otherwise
be joined; this includes letters like ks for xi (k|s will give kappa sigma)
and all ligatured diacritical marks (a' gives alpha-acute, a|' gives alpha
apostrophe). It can also be placed at the beginning of a word to prevent
the default smooth breathing (useful in all-capital titles) or at the end
of a word to prevent sigma adopting its final form.
Breathings: Normally a smooth breathing is automatically placed on an
initial vowel (except rho which is rough by default). Place an h or H
before a vowel to give it a rough breathing (note that whether you use h
or H is immaterial to the result; hence Herakles must be input HJraklj=s
or hJraklj=s since Hjraklj=s will give a lowercase eta). The font is
configured so that accents, breathings etc. automatically shift to the
second letter of a diphthong unless told otherwise (using |). To force a
smooth breathing (for instance in crasis) use *; hence t*ou'noma for
NOTE: Words beginning with a capital which have a diphthong must be entered
quite clumsily, since the ligature scheme cannot detect an (implicit or
explicit) breathing character more than one place before the vowel it
should ligature with. The breathing must be cancelled with | and
reinserted later with * or h. Hence Eu'boia will insert the breathing
before the E and you should type |E*u'boia instead. If you wanted a
capitalised aorist of heuri'skw, you should not type HJu=ron but |Jhu=ron.
(Sorry but at present I can't think of a way to fix this since metafont
ligature tables are quite rigid and poorly adapted to such obscure
Accents: Use apostrophe (') for acute, backquote (`) for grave and equals
sign (=) for circumflex. Insert these after the vowel.
Diaeresis: Use double quotes (") immediately before the vowel. You can also
put it directly after the vowel (before any accents) but this doesn't work
at the beginnings of words which look (to the computer) like they start with
diphthongs, since the ligature table tries to put a smooth breathing on
the second vowel before it sees the diaeresis, and there is no way to
bring the breathing back; hence you must use e"u'thronos, not eu"'thronos.
(e|u"'thronos would work but is ugly.)
Iota subscript: Use a slash (/) after the vowel and accents. (This is
implemented, as in Ibycus, as a character kerned underneath rather than
separately generated characters to save space; thus if it comes directly
after the vowel it will stop subsequent accents from ligaturing.)
Macron and breve: Use colon (:) for macron and plus sign (+) for breve, in
the same place as you would put the accent. They can be put on any vowel,
even epsilon, eta, omikron and omega; perhaps this would be useful for
metrical reasons. All the same, I don't anticipate them being used very
often, and if you need to combine them with another accent or breathing or
both, you need to use TeX's accent mechanism, since I couldn't fit the
extra characters in the font (and even if I could, it would be boring to
add the extra code necessary). There is a small file included, lfbacc.tex,
which contains a few definitions:
\smo smooth breathing \rou rough breathing
\acu acute \gra grave
\sma smooth acute \smg smooth grave
\roa rough acute \rog rough grave
combined with any of:
\sha alpha breve \lga alpha macron
\shi iota breve \lgi iota macron
\shu upsilon breve \lgu upsilon macron
will give a shaky rendition of these combinations. I realize this is
incredibly clumsy but it's not too bad for odds and ends; they are rarely
used in Greek texts anyway, so it shouldn't be too big a limitation. (There
would be other ways around this but, again, it's not worth the effort.)
Punctuation marks: Use comma (,) and full stop (.) normally. A question
mark (?) gives a Greek question mark which looks like an English
semicolon; an ascii semicolon (;) gives the Greek equivalent which is like a
full stop but above the line. Don't use colon (:), as this is used for
macrons on vowels. I've also included some others for convenience:
apostrophe (') and backquote (`) when not ligatured to vowels will give the
traditional punctuation marks; two put together give open and close
quotation marks, as in plain TeX. Hyphen (-) is available, and two together
give an em-dash; I haven't included an en-dash (you can get it from
Computer Modern if really necessary.) There are also very crude
parentheses ( ( and ) ) and brackets ( [ and ] ) but again, you're better
off borrowing the better-looking ones from Computer Modern.
Future wish list:
- digamma, koppa and other rare characters
- angle brackets, dagger and dots under letters
- a better mechanism for macron/breve with other diacritics
- fix capitalised diphthong with breathing problem
- Laurie Field, April 2001
Download the complete
contents of this directory in one zip archive
lfb – A Greek font with normal and bold variants
This is a Greek font written in METAFONT, with inspiration from
the Bodoni typefaces in old books. It is stylistically a little
more exotic than the standard textbook Greek fonts, particularly
in glyphs like the lowercase rho and kappa. It aims for a rather
calligraphic feel, but seems to blend well with Computer Modern.
There is a ligature scheme which automatically inserts the
breathings required for ancient texts, making the input text more
readable than in some schemes.