The Roman Empire had no official language, but Latin was considered to be the language of culture, education and government in Rome (and later in Constantinople). Latin was the language of government, trade and education in the Western Roman Empire. The most common were Greek and Aramaic, but there were many others as well, including Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavic languages.
The Romans conquered most of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. They brought their language and culture with them wherever they went. Latin became so widely spoken that it eventually gave rise to many modern Romance languages such as Italian, French, Spanish and Romanian (the ancestor of modern Romanian). Many other languages have borrowed words from Latin, including English.
Despite its spread through Europe, Latin did not replace any local languages; it was simply used alongside them for official purposes such as literature and government business.
The first mention of a written Latin document dates from 297 CE when Diocletian issued his Edict on Maximum Prices. This was followed by several edicts from Constantine (306-337 CE), each requiring all documents be written in Latin or Greek.
Another important reason why Latin was so popular during Roman times was because it was the language of religion — both pagan and Christian — throughout Europe until about 1200 AD (or later).
Some scholars believe that Latin may have existed as a spoken language for up to 1,000 years before it became extinct in about 3rd century AD.