A branch of the Indo-European language family, including Latin, Oscan, Umbrian, and Faliscan, as well as Latin's descendants, the Romance languages. It was originally spoken in the Apennine Peninsula in the 1st millennium BC. The only survivor after that period was Latin, the language of the Roman Empire and, later, western Christendom.

Latin is the language of Latium and of Rome; its earliest known documents date from the 6th century BC. From the 3rd century BC, Latin began to emerge as the predominant language of Italy, and by 100 AD, it had effaced all dialects between Sicily and the Alps, with the exception of Greek in the colonies of Magna Graecia.

The alphabets used for writing these languages included the Greek alphabet, the Roman alphabet, and derivations of the Etruscan alphabet.