The chief member of the Italic branch of Indo-European languages and the parent language of the Romance group of languages, initially spoken only in the ancient region of Latium, soon became the administrative, literary and liturgical language of the Roman Empire and spread throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa as Roman political power increased. Today it has special status in the Vatican City State.

The earliest known inscriptions date from the 7th century BC, while literature made its appearance in the 3rd century BC. The period between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century AD is known as the Classical period or the Golden and the Silver Ages of Latin literature. Major figures include the poet Virgil, the orator Cicero, and the historian Livy.

The Latin alphabet was derived form Greek via Etruscan. It has survived to the present and is the basis for the modern Western European scripts. The original alphabet had 21 letters and in its standard ancient form it had 23 letters.

The language is spelt in the Roman alphabet with diacritics.

CLASSIFICATION = Indo-European family, SCRIPT = Latin


Cambridge Latin course : Book I
     Cambridge Latin course : Book I : Teacher's book
     Worksheet masters
Cambridge Latin course : Book II
     Cambridge Latin course : Book II : Teacher's book
     Worksheet masters
Cambridge Latin course : Book III LAT CINT 1
Cambridge Latin course : Book IV LAT CINT 2
Cambridge Latin course : Book V LAT CINT 3
Complete Latin (Teach Yourself) LAT CBEG 1
Getting started with Latin LAT CBEG 2
Latin demystified LAT CBEG 3


Cassell's Latin dictionary LAT DICO 5
Elementary Latin Dictionary LAT DICO 1
Latin English dictionary LAT DICO 2
More Latin for the illiterati LAT DICO 3
More Latin for the illiterati LAT DICO 4


Cambridge Latin grammar LAT GRAM 1
English Grammar for Students of Latin LAT GRAM 2


Examples of the Classical pronunciation of Latin: audio tapes LN M 1
Latin dictation practice: Audio tapes LN M 2,3
Ovid's Metamorphoses: Audio tapes LN L 3a-b
Sounds of Classical Latin LN M
Sounds of Classical Latin: Audio tapes LN M 4a-b

Reading skills

Reading Latin: text LAT RSKILLS 1a
Reading Latin : grammar, vocabulary and exercises LAT RSKILLS 1b
An independent study guide to reading Latin LAT RSKILLS 1

Reading : Factual

Nuntii Latini - News in Latin I (1992) LAT RFACT 1
Nuntii Latini - News in Latin II (1993) LAT RFACT 2
Nuntii Latini - News in Latin III (1995) LAT RFACT 3

Reading : Fictional

Olivia: the essential Latin edition LAT RFICT 1
Winnie ille Pu LAT RFICT 2