From Thomas Edwards' The Canons of Criticism, printed by C. Bathurst (1765) in London, in a font that (as you can see) has long-S and c-t ligatures:

Page 271

The text centered in this image says:

of Nat. Bailey, φιλολογⒼ: A horny induration of

What on earth is that "circled G" glyph that I've rendered "Ⓖ" above? I suppose that it was meant to represent -ος, as in φιλολογος "philologist"; my curiosity is entirely about the typographical aspect.

  • Was this glyph (whatever it is) correctly used, here? Is it some Greek ligature I haven't seen before?

  • (More likely) Was this just a printer's error? I could imagine the sequence of handwritten characters "ος" being misinterpreted as "circle, G." But then, how did the printer come to possess a piece of type for this "Ⓖ" glyph already? What is the intended use for this glyph, and where else would I find it used?

  • Except for the circle, it looks a bit like an "et" ligature (ampersand); is that relevant?

  • This seems to be more of language (or history) question than a graphic design question. But.. I can see the logic in posting it here.
    – Scott
    Feb 20, 2023 at 2:33
  • 1
    @Scott: It’s a bit hard to say without knowing the answer. If it’s a historic typesetting convention, I would consider it on-topic here. It’s arguably also on-topic on History and I would guess it’s more likely to get an answer there – but I may also be wrong about that. It may also be that Latin Language and English Language & Usage are best. It’s one of those questions that falls right in to the crack between the scopes of several sites and makes you wish for a way to have true cross-posts.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Feb 20, 2023 at 8:29
  • 1
    @Wrzlprmft: Meta says Graphic Design is the right place for typography questions. I've had good luck in the past, e.g. graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/117804/… . I'm glad there's no "Typography Stack Exchange": it would get so little traffic. I just wish people would stop the reflexive "I don't like typography so downvote/close to get this typography junk off my site." The site's big enough for all of us to share! Feb 20, 2023 at 12:46
  • 1
    It was not my intent to imply this question is completely out in left field for this stack. Not at all. I merely felt there may be other stacks with users more knowledgeable in ancient text and typography glyphs, that's all.
    – Scott
    Feb 20, 2023 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


It appears to be an omicron-sigma ligature that was used in early Greek printing. I have no idea if it is still in use.

This image is from the Wikipedia page on Greek ligatures

enter image description here

Another example here from Text Creation Partnership. Several examples appear on that page. These all seem to be dated around the 16th century.

enter image description here


As said above, it essentially is an ο and ς (σ) together. The word is "φιλολογος" in modern Greek, this just merges the two letters together. I don't recall having seen it used in anything recent.

Source : am Greek.

  • That's a pretty good source... :-)
    – JBH
    Feb 22, 2023 at 23:33
  • 1
    Only one I got :)
    – ArthurGPym
    Feb 24, 2023 at 10:14

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