If you have wanted to type Classical Greek (Polytonic Greek) or Katharevousa (modern purist Greek) then this is what you have been waiting for... ... ANTIOCH v1.13!!!* by Ralph Hancock.

Try downloading the latest free trial version at and try it out. It is easy to install with only a double-click on the installation program. A manual explaining how to use it is copied to
C:\My Documents\Antioch\Antioch.doc.

* Antioch's minimum system requirements are Windows 95 and MS Word 97.


Up until now classicists have been plagued with numerous computer problems: the quasi-lack of good commercial quality fonts that one could use to type Polytonic Greek and the difficulty of finding keyboard software for their computer that would allow them to type the Polytonic Greek diacritics and other special symbols. Worst of all, when one did get the first two problems resolved, they were confronted with never ending compatibility problems of opening documents created with one computer on another computer using a different system/platform or even just a different application program (e.g. Win/Mac, Win 3.1/Win95, Word 2 to Word 97 or WordPerfect).

A major part of the problem was that Polytonic Greek was not a big enough market (i.e. western knowledge is encoded and transmitted almost exclusively with Latin based encoding systems) for the major computer and software manufactures to take it into consideration when designing their systems. Fonts were developed with limited space and no or very limited accommodation or room for non-Latin alphabets. Although some consideration was given by manufacturers for Monotonic Greek [1] (Demotiki), anyone who attempted to develop a font for Polytonic Greek whether for amateur or commercial use, created their own non-standard system. A small proliferation of non-standard fonts [2] and keyboard utilities [3] were created by well meaning people with a real need, but unfortunately each font only worked with certain keyboard utilities and could generally not be read by another computer with a different set-up. Furthermore, many fonts or keyboard utilities lacked certain extra characters or capabilities along with having their own peculiar quirks or bugs which had not been part of the original designer's concern but nevertheless left users very frustrated. In addition, a few fonts and utilities that gained widespread use were often unsupported or incompatible with upgraded computer systems and/or applications (e.g. MacIntosh to PC, Windows 3.1 to Windows 95/98, Word 6 to Word 97, etc.). Certainly solutions existed for the classicist but most solutions were far from adequate.

A major turning point came when due to the proliferation of computer systems throughout the non-western world that created needs for keyboards in Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, etc. it became apparent that a new standard for font encoding was needed. The standard that emerged was called Unicode, which unlike the previous ANSI system that only had room for 256 characters at most, allowed for a standard set of over 60,000 characters able to accommodate almost all the world's languages at once. With this new system, almost all of the font compatibility problems from one computer system to another would be immediately solved, if and only if computer systems and applications would recognise this system. The major manufacturers integrated this new technology all too slowly for most classicists who either lacked an appropriate Unicode font for Polytonic Greek, or either their operating system keyboards and/or application such as Word 95 did not allow for the use of the Unicode system properly. MS Word 97 and 2000 allowed for the use of Unicode fonts (if you could find a Polytonic Greek one) but the Windows 95 or 98 systems did not allow for Polytonic Greek keyboards. It was not until Windows 2000 came out that the Polytonic Greek keyboard and Palatino Polytonic Greek Font [4] by Linotype came standard with the system. Now anyone using Windows 2000 and a word processor such as MS Word 2000 has Polytonic Greek support even if some may find it a bit inconvenient to use.

This new industry standard for Polytonic Greek computing in the PC world, no doubt with time, will impose itself in the world of the classicists and no doubt there will be improvements, such as an 'intelligent' diacritic system to allow for changes to be made to accents and other marks without deleting the whole character and starting over again. For the time being though there are still many classicists who have not upgraded yet or who will need to convert a large document base from their old systems to the new systems. Of course they can continue to use their old systems for as long as they like but for those wishing to convert or upgrade, ANTIOCH, a new shareware program developed by Ralph Hancock, proposes an almost painless solution for old and new users alike. ANTIOCH comes with: a Unicode polytonic font for Greek called Vusillus Old Face [5], keyboard macros for MS WORD 97/2000 [6], converters [7] for converting older system documents, a well organised user's manual, and a host of other add-ons (e.g. 'intelligent' diacritics, familiar keyboard layouts for old and new users, Hebrew [8] and Coptic keyboard support, etc.) all of which can be used with Windows 95/98 as well as Windows 2000. Even users of Windows 2000 and Word 2000 certainly will appreciate the extra capabilities of ANTIOCH. For registered users, ANTIOCH, will send them an additional Roman (upright) type font to complement the existing italic type font as well as remove the registration reminder dialogue boxes. Of course you can use any other Polytonic Greek Unicode font with ANTIOCH as well [9] though they might not all work as equally well. Whatever their desire, classicists will surely find this one of the best solutions the market has seen to date. It can only be hoped that a MacIntosh version also will come out.

[1] For people who are only interested in typing Monotonic (single accent) Greek on their PCs, for viewing Web pages, or sending and receiving email a very helpful explanation of how to set up their computers can be found on the Hellenic Resources Network at to Read, Write, Print and Email in Greek.htm.

[2] For people interested in looking at some of the older non-Unicode fonts try Links for Greek fonts of all kinds.htm at

[3] For people interested in links to other and/or older keyboard utilities as well as classicist's links for software and learning tools see the Oxford Classics Software Page at or try Matthew Robinson's guide at

[4] To see what the Roman (i.e. upright) version of the Unicode Palatino Polytonic Greek font looks like, click here.

[5] Only the italic version of Vusillus Old Face is offered with the unregistered version of Antioch. Registered users will receive a Roman (upright) version as well. To see what the italic version looks like click here.

[6] Unfortunately earlier versions of MS Word (i.e. versions 2 through 7 including Word 95) do not support Unicode font encoding and unless upgraded one will have to rely on older non-standard fonts (see note 2 above) and find another keyboard utility (see note 3 above) with all their inherent compatibility problems.

[7] If you are not interested in Antioch but you do want to convert your older font documents to Unicode for distribution to others, try Sean Redmon's Unicode Converter at

[8] Unfortunately the Hebrew does not work correctly under Windows 2000, though at present it should work with Windows 95/98. For more information about the Hebrew option in Antioch see This bug should be fixed in the next version (v1.14) of Antioch.

[9] For another freeware Unicode Polytonic Greek font, try downloading the Athena Roman (upright) type Unicode font at developed by Jeffrey Rusten, the Professor & Chair of the Department of Classics at Cornell who also wrote a very interesting review of Unicode for users of classical Greek. Click here to see a sample of Athena. NB. This font works with ANTIOCH but will not type some special ancient Greek extra characters and underdots. Make sure you download the Unicode version '', not the older non-Unicode '' version called the Athenian font. If you want to try another (not Antioch) MS Word Macro keyboard shareware utility that also uses the Athena Roman font try Ukeys.

Reviewer: Michael Wells, 9 August 2000 Thessaloniki, Greece Ó 2000

(All names and products quoted here are trademarks of their respective
owners and the author is in no way connected with the author of
ANTIOCH other than being a satisfied user. This review is for
educational purposes only. The author assumes no responsibility for
any inaccuracies or liabilities resulting from this product endorsement.)

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This Web page was last updated on 10 August 2000