Olga's Gallery

Ancient Greek and Roman Myths Notes

The Abduction of the Sabine Women.

A legend from the history of early Rome. Rome, a new settlement in Alba Longa, had a men-only population. Romulus, the founder of city and the leader of Romans, arranged a festival, to which they invited the inhabitants of the neighboring settlements. During the festivities, at a Romulus’ signal, the Romans broke into the crowd and carried away the young women.

Time passed, “but no sooner had they [women] learned to accept their lot than their parents began to stir up trouble in earnest.” (Livy) To excite sympathy they went about in mourning, cried and lamented. As a result new wave of hostilities started between Sabines and Roman. In the last armed conflict the Sabines managed to capture the city citadel and the decisive battle started on the ground between Palantine and Capitoline hills.
“This was the moment when the Sabine women, the origin cause of the quarrel, played their decisive part…. they braved the flying spears and thrust their way in a body between the embattled armies. They parted the angry combatants; they besought their fathers on the one side, their husbands on the other, to spare themselves the curse of shedding kindred blood.” (Livy)
See: Jacques-Louis David. The Intervention of the Sabine Women.
Pablo Picasso. The Rape of the Sabine Women.
Nicolas Poussin. The Rape of the Sabines.

Titus Livy. The History of Early Rome. The Easton Press. 1978.

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