Published On: Tue, Nov 9th, 2010

The Latin alphabet or the Roman alphabet

The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. It evolved from the western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was borrowed and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome, whose alphabet was then adapted and further modified by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language.

During the Middle Ages, it was adapted to the Romance languages, the direct descendants of Latin, as well as to the Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, and some Slavic languages, and finally to most of the languages of Europe.

The earliest known inscriptions in the Latin alphabet date from the 6th century BC. It was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet during the 7th century BC. The letters Y and Z were taken from the Greek alphabet to write Greek loan words. Other letters were added from time to time as the Latin alphabet was adapted for other languages and many letters had several different shapes.

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