Variants and attestation
Zeta is rare in Raetic writing, a fact which has been attributed to the letter's adapted and restricted use in the Venetic alphabets (see Script). The Raetic dental affricate, whose Etruscan equivalent is written with Zeta, is represented in Raetic inscriptions by a special character. Though the latter appears in two distinct graphic variants, none of the two can be graphically connected with Zeta. Zeta does, however, occur in two contexts, restricted geographically and content-wise.
- Steinberg: In ST-2 and ST-3, two associated petrographs, a letter is used to write the same name, which in the also related ST-1 is spelled with Tau . It is not clear why this variation occurs, and indeed whether the letter in question is really Zeta and not a formally identical variant of something else. If it is Zeta, the letter appears to be employed according to a Venetic tradition (Este alphabet), representing a dental stop. In ST-4, occurs in a name which may tentatively be compared with a sequence in SZ-30, where the corresponding element is written with the special character – in this case, Zeta would here represent a dental affricate, Etruscan-style, but the equation is highly doubtful. As for the rest of the Raetic North, a -like shape only occurs in the dubious IT-3.
- The second area of agglomeration of Zeta is Verona. A small group of inscriptions, similar in form and content, demonstrates the use of Zeta for the dental affricate in the anlaut of the word þinaχe, well attested elsewhere with the special character, though the similar VR-10 uses Tau. The interpretation is clear in VR-11, likely in VR-2 and VR-4. The area of Verona being something of an outpost of Raetic writing culture, we may be concerned with influence directly from Etruscan writing practice.
The only possible attestation of Zeta from Sanzeno-context is in RN-1, but the shape deviates from the other attestations, and is extremely rare in Transpadania. The letter is more likely to be seriphed Iota. On in the generally weird PU-1 see the inscription page – the letter appears to write a dental stop.