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Latin is an Indo-European language, the language of Ancient Rome, spreading as the territory of Ancient Rome expanded, and later becoming ancestral to modern Romance languages.

Until the Vatican II Council, its use was required in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church, which is still the largest organisation that retains Latin in official and quasi-official contexts.

During the Middle Ages and until comparatively recent times, Latin was the language most widely used in the Western Europe for scholarly and literary purposes. Traces of this still remain, such as using Latin for taxonomic names.

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