David Pierce | Matematik | M.S.G.S.Ü.

Language // Greek

On using ancient Greek
in a LaTeX document

This page is a lab notebook. The most recent comments are at the top.

December 24, 2008

I changed operating system from Fedora to Ubuntu yesterday and re-installed LaTeX from the 2008 DVD (TeX Live). I then installed psgreek, and had the same sorts of problems as described below, owing mainly to a confusion between the texmf and texmf-var directories. I seem to have sorted things out, more or less as before. But this time I learned to restart the computer after the changes, before getting worried that I didn't have all the fonts.

Indeed, I had a file showing the various series, shapes, and families that might be available in the nine fonts of psgreek:

  1. regular,
  2. garamond,
  3. oxonia,
  4. oldface,
  5. milan,
  6. kerkis,
  7. cmr,
  8. cmss,
  9. cmtt.

Before I managed to apply updmap appropriately, I could not get Greek letters for the roman families in the first five of these fonts.

May 3, 2007

Recently my operating system was changed (from Debian to Fedora), and I re-installed LaTeX from the 2004 CD. (Somebody else has my 2005 CD at the moment.) I used the full installation of TeX Live 2004. The first time I made the installation, there were problems. These problems seemed to come from the existing installation (teTeX?) that came along with the operating system. I was not able just to direct the computer to use only the new TeX files. So I just deleted all of the TeX directories I could find, and started over. Then things seemed to be fine, except that I wanted the psgreek fonts again.

The full installation of TeX Live does not include psgreek. As pointed out by The Digital Classicist, this is apparently because not all fonts included in the package are free. I had once installed the package (as noted below), but the installation was not completely successful; perhaps I could see the new fonts in a dvi viewer, but could not convert them to ps or pdf. I do not remember the problem clearly, but I just resorted to using the font that I got by means of the preamble instruction

(This did not require psgreek.)

Installing psgreek yesterday, I mostly followed the installation instructions in ctan/nonfree/fonts/greek/psgreek/doc/fonts/psgreek/psgreek.dvi (as The Digital Classicist page suggests); but some changes were necessary. I go through the instructions, step by step:

  1. The first step is to copy the *.afm, *.ofm, *.ovf, *.tfm, *.pfb, and *.vf files into the directory .../texmf/fonts in one's own machine. Now, in the directory ctan/nonfree/fonts/greek/psgreek/fonts/, one finds the subdirectories afm, ofm, ovf, tfm, type1, and vf. So one just wants to copy these directories into .../texmf/fonts. (The *.pfb files are apparently in the type1 directory.)
  2. In .../texmf/tex/latex/ create the directory psgreek and put there the contents of ctan/nonfree/fonts/greek/psgreek/tex/latex/psgreek, that is, the *.fd files and psgreek.sty. (I suppose that the files TRANS.TBL can be ignored, that is, copied or not.)
  3. After following this instruction and going to Step 5(a), I got an error message, which told me that the file ctan/nonfree/fonts/greek/psgreek/dvips/config/psgreek.map must not be put in the corresponding place in my machine, but rather in (for example) .../texmf/fonts/map/dvips/psgreek/. (So I created the subdirectory psgreek here.)
  4. This instruction regarding VTeX does not apply.
  5. Here it is not clear whether an adjustment must be made. One is told to add to the file .../texmf/web2c/updmap.cfg the line
    Map psgreek.map
    I did this. (I included the line in its alphabetical order, but I don't suppose it matters.) Then one is to run the script updmap (just by typing its name). The script creates various output files, such as psfonts.map. However, by default, the script uses, not the file .../texmf/web2c/updmap.cfg, but rather .../texmf-var/web2c/updmap.cfg. So when psgreek did not seem to be working, I edited the updmap.cfg file in the texmf tree and made updmap to work on this and to send its output files into the texmf tree. (One can see how to do this by typing updmap --help or man updmap.)
  6. I don't think this step—mktexlsr—is necessary; I think updmap already does it.
After all this, I wasn't getting the psgreek fonts. I did not want to try rebooting the computer, but eventually I had to turn off the computer and go home. Today the fonts work. But the log file still suggests a problem. The LaTeX file is

This should be the first line of the \emph{Iliad:}

M\~hnin >'aeidh je`a phlhi'adew >aqill\~hoc.

The same, italic:

\emph{M\~hnin >'aeidh je`a phlhi'adew >aqill\~hoc.}

The log file is the following, with my observations inserted:
This is pdfeTeXk, Version 3.141592-1.20a-2.2 (Web2C 7.5.3) (format=latex 
2007.4.26)  3 MAY 2007 15:54
entering extended mode
 %&-line parsing enabled.
**\nonstopmode\input 2007test.tex
Document Class: article 2004/02/16 v1.4f Standard LaTeX document class
File: size12.clo 2004/02/16 v1.4f Standard LaTeX file (size option)
Package: babel 2004/11/20 v3.8d The Babel package

Language: greek 2004/02/19 v1.3l Greek support from the babel system

File: babel.def 2004/11/20 v3.8d Babel common definitions
Loading the definitions for the Greek font encoding
File: lgrenc.def 2001/01/30 v2.2e Greek Encoding
Language: english 2004/06/14 v3.3o English support from the babel system
\l@british = a dialect from \language\l@english 
\l@UKenglish = a dialect from \language\l@english 
\l@canadian = a dialect from \language\l@american 
\l@australian = a dialect from \language\l@british 
\l@newzealand = a dialect from \language\l@british 
None of the foregoing used anything from psgreek; but the rest does:
Package: psgreek 2003/04/16 Babel support for Greek PostScript fonts

Package: keyval 1999/03/16 v1.13 key=value parser (DPC)
LaTeX Info: Redefining \greektext on input line 99.
LaTeX Info: Redefining \latintext on input line 122.
\openout1 = `2007test.aux'.

LaTeX Font Info:    Checking defaults for OML/cmm/m/it on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    ... okay on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    Checking defaults for T1/cmr/m/n on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    ... okay on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    Checking defaults for OT1/cmr/m/n on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    ... okay on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    Checking defaults for OMS/cmsy/m/n on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    ... okay on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    Checking defaults for OMX/cmex/m/n on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    ... okay on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    Checking defaults for U/cmr/m/n on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    ... okay on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    Checking defaults for LGR/cmr/m/n on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    Try loading font information for LGR+cmr on input 
line 5.
File: lgrcmr.fd 2001/01/30 v2.2e Greek Computer Modern
LaTeX Font Info:    ... okay on input line 5.
LaTeX Font Info:    Try loading font information for LGR+fof on input 
line 8.
File: lgrfof.fd 2004/04/23 Fontinst v1.926 font definitions for LGR/fof.
I think yesterday TeX could not find this file lgrfof.fd; now it can; but what explains the following?
LaTeX Font Info:    Try loading font information for OT1+fof on input 
line 9.
LaTeX Font Info:    No file OT1fof.fd. on input line 9.

LaTeX Font Warning: Font shape `OT1/fof/m/n' undefined
(Font)              using `OT1/cmr/m/n' instead on input line 9.

LaTeX Font Warning: Font shape `OT1/fof/m/it' undefined
(Font)              using `OT1/fof/m/n' instead on input line 15.


] (./2007test.aux)

LaTeX Font Warning: Some font shapes were not available, defaults 

Here is how much of TeX's memory you used:
 747 strings out of 94711
 9840 string characters out of 1176664
 58284 words of memory out of 1510127
 3972 multiletter control sequences out of 10000+50000
 4825 words of font info for 17 fonts, out of 1000000 for 2000
 397 hyphenation exceptions out of 1000
 25i,4n,33p,211b,112s stack positions out of 
 0 PDF objects out of 300000
 0 named destinations out of 131072
 1 words of extra memory for PDF output out of 65536

Output written on 2007test.dvi (1 page, 532 bytes).

November 8, 2005, and earlier

This page is a sort of lab notebook. Other people have found the page and offered some improvements; some of these are noted in italics below.

I wanted to be able to include quotations from, say, Plato or Aristotle in an English-language document typeset by LaTeX. I could not find complete instructions on what to do. This is what I did.


I have Linux on my computer. (I didn't install it.) I have the TeX Live CDs (2003.9 edition) from the TeX Users Group. On the demo CD, in the readme.html file, there are two useful links: to The TeX Live Guide, and to a List of all documentation. From the latter link, one learns that there is a texmf/doc/fonts/kdgreek directory, containing install.dvi and usage.dvi. I didn't need the former. The latter was useful, but described using Greek only in documents compiled by TeX, not LaTeX.

When viewing usage.dvi, I saw that Greek characters in the examples were missing. Thus I learned that my current TeX installation did not support the display of these characters. (Also, when I used dvips on the dvi file, I didn't get Greek characters; I got Latin transliterations.)

In the TeX Live Guide, I went to section 3, Unix installation, subsection 3, Installing individual packages to disc. The reference there to Rock Ridge extensions is confusing; either these are enabled automatically, I think, or one's system is too old to support them anyway. Also, if one is reading the Guide from the CD, then one has already successfully mounted the CD.

As root, in the /mnt/cdrom directory, I typed sh install-pkg.sh --package=kdgreek. Afterwards, I typed texconfig, though I'm not sure what this did.

Added 2005.11.08: I have installed TeX more times, as above. Today, from the “TeX Collection 2004” DVD, I installed psgreek (found in /cdrom/ctan/nonfree/fonts/greek/psgreek/) by following the instructions in doc/fonts/psgreek/psgreek.dvi. However, it wasn't completely obvious what to do. Files with extensions pfb, afm, and so forth, are mentioned; these turn out to be in certain subdirectories, which I copied as instructed.

Then I added

to a document; but LaTeX could not find psgreek.sty until I ran the program texconfig, selecting REHASH.

I was then able to view the usage.dvi file properly. By consulting also The LaTeX Companion by Goossins, Mittelbach and Samarin (Addison-Wesley, 1994), I learned to do the following:


In the preamble of a tex file, include:
After greek should come english, assuming the latter describes the first language to appear in the document.

Andrew Schepler observes that for ancient Greek, one should write polutonikogreek instead of just greek. One's preamble might then include:

However, this change doesn't seem to solve for me the problems mentioned below.

Greek text should be in a greektext environment:

Added 2005.11.08: No, this seems to be the cause of the problems mentioned below. As I have now been shown by Colin McLarty, one should enter Greek with
and turn back to English with
To save typing, I am using the definition
Now, for example, one can get the circumflex accent with ~ alone (rather than the \~ given below).

Latin letters will give Greek according to the following scheme:

a α h η n ν t τ
b β j θ x ξ u υ
g γ i ι o ο f φ
d δ k κ p π q χ
e ε l λ r ρ y ψ
z ζ m μ s σ w ω
The end-of-word sigma is obtained with c; however, it seems that s also gives the alternative sigma if it comes before a space. I don't know how to obtain an isolated σ. Now I know: type sv. This is documented at CTAN.

A macron over a letter can be achieved with


For use in Greek numerals, one has

\stigma \qoppa \sampi
One gets breathing-marks by prefixing < and > respectively, and the rising and falling tone-marks by prefixing right and left quote-marks. To get the circumflex requires prefixed \~ in LaTeX. For an iota subscript, use a following |. Two problems arise in LaTeX:
  1. If one types, say
    Then the circumflex will be properly over the rough-breathing mark, but the combination will be between the epsilon and iota. A solution is to type
    But a better solution is to use ASCII (actually it's not quite ASCII). In this case, one can type
  2. If one types, say
    then the circumflex will be properly over the omega, but the iota-subscript will follow the omega. A solution is to type
    Rather, type
Thanks to Colin McLarty for the ASCII solution; he provided a complete list of the relevant codes for Greek.

Son değişiklik: Tuesday, 26 March 2013, 08:43:23 EET