Indo-European language of the Italic branch / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Latin is an Italic language that was used in Ancient Rome. Short Latin texts have been found from about the 5th century BC and longer texts from about the 3rd century BC.

Spoken Latin
All alphabets of latin
A woman speaking Latin
Quick facts: Latin, Pronunciation, Native to, Ethnici...
lingua latīna
Latin inscription, in the Colosseum
Native to
  • Latium
  • Roman Kingdom / Republic / Empire
  • Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (lingua franca)
  • Vatican City
EraVulgar Latin developed into the Romance languages, 6th to 9th centuries; the formal language continued as the scholarly lingua franca of Catholic countries and medieval Europe and as the liturgical language of the Catholic Church.
Latin alphabet 
Official status
Official language in
Regulated by
  • Antiquity: Roman schools of grammar/rhetoric[1]
  • Today: Pontifical Academy for Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-1la
ISO 639-2lat
ISO 639-3lat
Linguasphere51-AAB-aa to 51-AAB-ac
Map indicating the greatest extent of the Roman Empire under Emperor Trojan (c. 117 AD) and the area governed by Latin speakers (dark red). Many languages other than Latin were spoken within the empire.
Range of the Romance languages, the modern descendants of Latin, in Europe.
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Classical Latin was used in the 1st century BC and was the official language of the Roman Empire. It was widely used in the western part of the Mediterranean. The Romance languages developed from its spoken informal version, called Vulgar Latin.

Latin was very important to Christianity for many centuries. It is still spoken today during some religious activities. It is an official language in the Vatican, where the Pope leads the Roman Catholic Church.[2] People in the Vatican sometimes speak to one another in Latin if they have different first languages). The Mass of the Catholic Church is often done entirely in Latin. It is called is the Mass of the Roman Rite (Extraordinary Form).

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