More on the Alphabetum font

My copy of the alphabetum font has arrived.  Unfortunately the email that supplied it added some extra conditions on use, not disclosed at time of purchase.  I bought the license that allows use in books, you see, for the Eusebius project.

First he wants purchasers who use it in a book to acknowledge the use of the font.  That’s just advertising, of course, and doesn’t really matter.

Much more serious is that he also wants a free copy of any book using the font.  Drat the man.  That’s an extra charge to use it for the purpose for which I bought it, and for which he advertised it.  In fact that must be illegal, I would have thought.  I’ve written to tell him so politely.  After all, I doubt he wants to annoy people. 

What all this brings home, tho, is how fortunate Syriac users are in having the Meltho unicode fonts.  Meltho are absolutely free, and indeed one of them even comes with Windows.  We all owe George Kiraz such a debt of gratitude for this.

By contrast Coptic users are crippled by lack of availability of a family of good quality unicode fonts, and are obliged to scurry around for whatever happens to exist.  Many of the fonts don’t handle dots and overscores very well — although Alphabetum does handle them exactly. 

A further problem is that you can’t pass around a Word document with material in Alphabetum; the recipient won’t be able to read it, unless they have a copy of the font.  You find yourself tangled up in a mess of problems that obstruct and hamper, for tiny amounts of money.

If I knew Coptic, I might fix all this by commissioning a font designer to make one.  But since I don’t know the alphabet, it’s out of the question.

I’m generally impressed with Alphabetum.  If you need a Bohairic Coptic font in Unicode, it will do the job.

2 Responses to “More on the Alphabetum font”


  1. DIVVS·IVLIVS

    I’m using Alphabetum plus his (also great) paleographic fonts under full license. I’ve always only sent the author documents as PDFs, and he never asked for an actual printed copy. (What does it say in your license text?)

  2. Roger Pearse

    I’ve bought the Alphabetum font, and it does seem to be the only one that is both Bohairic and where the diacritical marks actually work. So I shall have to live with it.