Little Bits of History

Wives Wanted

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 1, 2015
The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence

The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence

March 1, 752 BC: Romulus celebrates victory. Romulus founded Rome, according to legend, in 753 BC. The conquerors began looking for wives and entered into negotiations with the Sabines, peoples already living in the area. The Sabines feared the emergence of a new and rival society and refused to allow their women to marry the Romans. During the festival of Neptune Equester, people from many other societies were engaged in a joyous celebration. Included with the Savines were Caeninenses, Crustumini, and Antemnates. The Romans were also invited to participate. At a signal given my Romulus, the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the men. They left with their prizes. The Rape of the Sabine Women tells the story of the event. However, the term “rape” comes from the Latin raptio and in this context means “abduction” rather than sexual violence.

Livy, the Roman who tells the story, claimed there was no sexual assault. However, there may have been a bit of seduction. Romulus was said to have spoken with each woman carried away and promised her many things if she were to accept a Roman as her husband. He also blamed the entire capture on the “pride of their fathers” who had refused their previous offers of marriage. The women were asked to accept the Romans as husbands and then they would be given free choice as well as civic and property rights. What the Romans were seeking were families and needed women to make the children they coveted. There was no promise from the men to help actually raise the children.

After the women were carried off, the king of the Caeninenses entered Roman territory with his army to retrieve them. Romulus and his men met them in battle where they killed the king and routed his army. Romulus then attacked Caenina and took it on the first assault. He returned to Rome and dedicated the first temple of Rome to Jupiter Feretrius. The spoils from the enemy king were offered as spolia opima (the armor, weapons, and other effects stripped from an opposing commander slain in single combat). According to legends, the celebration was held on this day.

Next the Antemnates attacked and were defeated and then the Crustumini attacked. They, too, were defeated. The Sabines finally declared war and were led into battle by king Titus Tatius. The Sabine king nearly captured Rome due to the treasonous actions of Tarpeia, daughter of the governor of the citadel on the Capitoline Hill. She opened the gates to the Sabines who took the citadel. The captured Sabine, now Roman, women intervened. They pled with their Sabine fathers and Roman husbands to stop the killing for the sake of the children. The battle ended and the Sabines agreed to unite in one nation with the Romans. Titus Tatius and Romulus reigned jointly for the next five years.

A good marriage is where both people feel like they’re getting the better end of the deal. – Anne Lamott

A happy marriage is still the greatest treasure within the gift of fortune. – Eden Phillpotts

Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them. – Sydney Smith

The difference between courtship and marriage is the difference between the pictures in a seed catalogue and what comes up. – James Wharton

Also on this day: Peace Corps – In 1961, the Peace Corps was formed.
Saint David – In 589, St. David of Wales died.
Salem Witch Trials Begin – In 1692, the mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials started.
The Buckeye State – In 1803, Ohio became a state, but it took until 1953 for it to be official.
Time is Flexible – In 1700, a Swedish calendar went live.

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