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Z , z , was perhaps a letter of the original Latin alphabet, since it is found in the Carmen Saliare, Varr. L. L. 7, § 26 Müll.; and in a Latin record of an Oscan law of the time of the Gracchi, C. I. L. 1, 197; but it had long disappeared, when, in Cicero's time, it again came into use, but only in transcribing Greek names, to represent the Greek Ζ, ζ, which had previously been represented, when initial, by
I.s, as in Saguntum for Ζάκυνθος, Sethus, sona, etc.; and by ss when medial, as in Atticisso, badissas, etc., in Plautus. It seems to have been sounded like the Engl. z (Corss. Ausspr. 1, p. 295; but cf. Roby, Gr. 1, § 195). In late Latin writings z is very frequent in place of s, and in the words Zmyrna for Smyrna, zmaragdus for smaragdus, is found in the best MSS. In writings of the third and fourth Christian centuries z often stands for initial di before a vowel, as zaconus, zabulus, etc.; cf. the Æolic ζά for διά.
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