The classical Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome. The Etruscan alphabet was in turn adopted and further modified by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language.
During the Middle Ages, the Latin alphabet was adapted to Romance languages, direct descendants of Latin, as well as to Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, and some Slavic languages. With the age of colonialism and Christian evangelism, the Latin script was spread overseas, and applied to indigenous American, Australian, Austronesian, Austroasiatic, and African languages. More recently, western linguists have also tended to prefer the Latin script or the International Phonetic Alphabet (itself largely based on Latin script) when transcribing or creating written standards for non-European languages, such as the African reference alphabet.