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Indo-european language of the Italic family. Primary language of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire.

Latin (Latin: lingua latīna, IPA: [ˈliŋɡwa laˈtiːna]) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language, initially in Italy and subsequently throughout the western Roman Empire.

Language History

By the late Roman Republic (75 BC), Old Latin had been standardised into Classical Latin. Vulgar Latin was the colloquial form spoken during the same time and attested in inscriptions and the works of comic playwrights like Plautus and Terence.

Late Latin is the written language from the 3rd century and Medieval Latin was used from the 9th century to the Renaissance which used Renaissance Latin.

Later, Early Modern Latin and New Latin evolved. Latin was used as the language of international communication, scholarship and science until well into the 18th century, when it began to be supplanted by vernaculars.

Ecclesiastical Latin remains the official language of the Holy See and the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. Latin is taught in primary, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions around the world. Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, up to seven noun cases, five declensions, four verb conjugations, three tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two or three aspects and two numbers.

The following is a conventional chronology for the language and literature:

  • Archaic through Early Republican Period (down to ca. 80 BC)
  • Late Republican and Augustan period (the "Golden Age") (80 BC - 14 AD)
  • Post-Augustan Period (the "Silver Age") (14 - 138 AD)
  • Patristic Period (late 2nd-5th centuries)
  • Medieval Period (6th-14th centuries)
  • Renaissance (15th century)

The Golden Age can be divided into:

  • Ciceronian Period (80 - 43 BC)
  • Augustan Period (43 BC - 14 AD)
Influence on Other Languages

Vulgar Latin developed into the Romance languages, such as Italian, French, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. The English language has also derived many words from Latin. In particular, Latin (and Ancient Greek) roots are used in English descriptions of theology, biology, science, medicine and law.




Further reading


The Official Wheelock's Latin Series Website

Web / Books

Documentaries, videos and podcasts





Damian Carrington Environment editor
September 6, 2021
the Guardian
Air pollution kills more than malaria, HIV/Aids and TB combined but receives only 1% of development aid
Charles Mandel
August 30, 2021
More than half of women entrepreneurs surveyed reported that they had struggled with mental health issues, according to a new FLIK study.
Caesars Entertainment, Inc.
May 21, 2021
/PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, May 20, Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace hosted a highly-anticipated event as it reopened its doors for the first time in over a...
Caesars Entertainment, Inc.
May 7, 2021
/PRNewswire/ -- Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace redefined the buffet experience when it opened in 2012. Now, following more than a year of renovation, the...
April 29, 2021
iHeartMedia, the leading audio company in America and No. 1 podcast publisher, announced that it has extended its relationship with top-rated on-air radio personality and community leader Enrique Santos. Under a new five-year agreement, Santos will continue as President and Chief Creative Officer of iHeartLatino as well as morning host on his Spanish nationally-syndicated show originating from TÚ 94.9 in Miami and host of his English weekly nationally-syndicated radio show "On The Move w...
Mark Pallen
March 3, 2021
New Scientist
The names given to new coronavirus variants and bacteria can be difficult to use or understand. Using a pre-generated list of names would be better, says Mark Pallen
Jason Kehe
March 3, 2021
You've never heard of him, but your favorite writers have, and his mad-drunk prose will knock you sideways.
Al Cielo LLC, Music Mastery Distro, F. A. Ent.
January 8, 2021
/PRNewswire/ -- In early January, after several months of collaborating over the internet due to travel restrictions, the Latin Pop/Rock group Al Cielo is...
December 18, 2020
/PRNewswire/ -- Tarima, the Latin concert channel, joined the DishLATINO family today in the US and Puerto Rico. TARIMA has been added to the new Cine y...
National Pork Board
December 10, 2020
/PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Although this holiday season will be different, there are still many flavorful ways to safely celebrate, share love, and pass...
Science X staff
December 7, 2020
Researchers are discovering thousands of new bacterial species that live with us, on us and even inside us. Our relationship with them affects our health and that of the planet--but to define that relationship, new species need new names.
November 12, 2020
/PRNewswire/ -- In a new move celebrating the indelible combination of wine and music, Chilean wine powerhouse Frontera will host a virtual acoustic concert...
Dustin Knox
November 9, 2020
/PRNewswire/ -- Due to its geographical proximity and its large number of immigrants to the United States, Mexico was long considered synonymous with all...
Sevindj Nurkiyazova
November 9, 2020
The word lox was one of the clues that eventually led linguists to discover who the Proto-Indo-Europeans were, and where they lived.Photograph...
August 12, 2020
Euromoney magazine has named Bank of America the best bank in transaction services in Latin and North America in the publication's 2020 Awards for Excellence. This is the latest recognition the Global Transaction Services (GTS) business has received, and follows recent awards for innovation and trade finance, as well as top rankings in Commercial Card. Established in 1992, the Euromoney Awards for Excellence program is considered a global benchmark for the banking industry. The publicatio...
Samantha Hurst
July 14, 2020
Crowdfund Insider
Click HERE to find out ⭐ Omni-Channel Banking Solutions Auriga Opens First Offices In Spain & Mexico. | Crowdfund Insider: Global Fintech News, including Crowdfunding, Blockchain and more.
May 12, 2020
This is the (already funded) Kickstarter campaign for the memento mori (a reminder of the inevitability of death, Latin 'remember you must die') cups and mugs created by ceramics artist Trevor Foster to encourage people to live life to...
March 9, 2020
Films in Progress is a professional platform which supports the production of Latin American feature films by contributing to their completion and international distribution. Organised jointly by the San Sebastian Festival and Cinélatino, Rencontres de Toulouse, Films in Progress fosters meeting, dialogue and interaction between Latin American and European film professionals, promoting the diversity and talent of independent moviemakers., , , , Films in Progress 37 will run on March 26 and 27...
David Adger
February 13, 2020
Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!"So says Count Dracula to the hapless Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker's...By David Adger
David Adger
February 13, 2020
Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!"So says Count Dracula to the hapless Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker's...By David Adger


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