"Welcome to Latin at Emory", a video message by Katrina Dickson
Latin belongs to the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Latin was first encountered in ancient times as the language of Latium, the region of central Italy in which Rome is located. Roman conquests later spread Latin throughout Italy and the vast Roman Empire. After the ancient Romans began to develop a literature (in the 3d century B.C.), a gap emerged between classical Latin and vulgar (vernacular) Latin, which was the spoken form of the language. This division had become considerable by the beginning of the Roman Empire. The modern Romance languages are descended from Vulgar Latin, carried by the soldiers and colonists of Rome throughout the Roman Empire. Latin remained the international language of culture, scholarship, and science through the Renaissance.