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Sabine Women in Ancient Rome

abduction of proserpina

At first, it was mostly men who settled the city of Rome. It was a rough city and did not attract many women. Romulus realized this and tried to attract women from neighboring communities. He recognized that if Rome was to survive, it needed women to help populate the town. The Romans devised a plan to solve their problem. They invited a nearby tribe, the Sabians, to a festival. Once inside the city, the men were attacked and killed and the women abducted and raped (the word rape may refer to wife snatching, which was not uncommon in that time period). The surviving Sabian men returned to their city for reinforcements. They later returned to Rome with King Titus Tatius to get their women back. The Sabians were able to enter the city by getting a Roman to betray the city and unlock the gates. The city would have been sacked if not for the unexpected resistance the Sabians found once inside. The Sabians found the Romans being helped by their new Sabian wives. The wives called a halt to the violence. They explained to their tribe that they were happy with their new lives in Rome. The conflict was ended diplomatically by Romulus and Titus by agreeing that the two groups would become one with the seat of power staying in Rome. The Sabian patricians had power in the Rome government for years to follow.



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