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I



The ninth letter in~the alphabets of Western Europe, called by the Greeks Iota, after its Shemitic name. The Hebrew equivalent is, of the numerical value of 10, and signifies a hand. The oldest forms of the letter, as seen in the Phenician and Samaritan, have a rude resemblance to a hand with three fingers, but by a gradual simplification, the character came to be the smallest in the alphabet, and iota, or jot, is a synonym for a trifle. The thumb and two fingers are much used, and are of great significance, in religious forms, as well as in Freemasonry. It is the position of the hand when the Pope blesses the congregation, and signifies the Three in One. The Hebrew letter ain, y, with the numerical value of 70, possesses and gives the English sound of the letter i.

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