The Greeks were
the first people to incorporate vowels into their alphabet.
The Greek alphabet of today is identical to the one used since the
eighth century BC by the Greek colony of

**Ionia**in Asia Minor, now part of modern day Turkey. In the**Ionic**system, every one of the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet represents a sound and a number. This means every name and word in the Greek language has a corresponding numerical value. Words can be expressed as numbers and numbers can be expressed as words. This system immediately encouraged a numerical superstition called isopsephia.In order to really understand how the 24 letter Greek alpha-numeric alphabet operates we need to compare it to our own decimal, base 10, place-value system which uses the following ten Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0). In order to record a number in our system the order or place of each numeral determines its actual value. Each numeral takes on an increasingly greater "power of ten" depending on it's position. For example, the number Eight-Hundred-and-one is written**801**(8x100 + 0x10 + 1x1). Our zero based decimal system is totally efficient because any number can be pictured with just ten numerals. Since the Greeks did not have a letter that stood for "0" they could not use a place-value system to record numbers. Each letter had two built in attributes, a**root number**and a corresponding**power of ten**. A horizontal line was drawn above a letter to let the reader know he was looking at a number. Letters were strung together and the reader mentally added up the total. By convention the highest valued letter was put first. The Greek number Eight-Hundred-and-one is written Omega Alpha (WA = 800 + 1 = 801) but with a superscript line above both letters.The inefficient Greek system needed 27 different symbols to record numbers that ranged from "1" to "999" (greater numbers required more symbols, subscripts, and other cumbersome conventions). Since the Greek alphabet only contains 24 letters three more symbols were needed to stand for the missing numbers 6, 90, and 900. To solve this problem the Greeks used the archaic letters digamma, koppa, and sampi from previous alphabets.##
The
Three Missing Numbers

(6, 90, 900)

**Digamma: Numeral "6"**... The above table shows that the Greeks had two letters for the number "6." The first is the old Semetic letter F (vau) which was called

*di-gamma*(two-gammas) by the Greeks because it looked like two superimposed capital Gammas (G G) of different sizes. Since the isospephia value of Gamma is "3" it made logical sense that the value of "two Gammas" (3+3) or (3x2) should be "6." The Digamma became obsolete soon after Athens adopted the Ionic alphabet in 403 B.C.

**Stigma: Numeral "6"**... Another sign for Digamma is the Sigma-Tau ligature called Stigma which is made from combining the letters Sigma and Tau (ST) together. The Stigma looks very similar to a lowercase "V" (final-Sigma) but they are definitely two different signs. The reason why Stigma had the numerical value of "6" was probably because the product of the

**root-numbers**of Sigma (200 = 2) and Tau (300 = 3) were equal to "6."

**Koppa and Sampi:**... When the Ionic Alphabet was invented the obsolete letters Koppa and Sampi were reintroduced exclusively as symbols for the numbers "90" and "900."

### The 888 Structure of the Greek Alphabet

Like the Attic
Greek numerals before it, the Ionic Greek alphabet incorporates
factors of "10" in it's structure because the the first
group of 8 letters represents ones (monads = 1-9), the next
group of 8 letters represents tens (decads = 10-80), and the last
group of 8 letters represents hundreds (hecatads = 100-800). The
symbolism of the "8-8-8" pattern of numbers in the
Greek alphabet and the "888" number value of Jesus was
immediately recognized by the earliest Christians.

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