The Info List - Sabine

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The Sabines
(/ˈseɪbaɪn/; Latin: Sabini; Ancient Greek: Σαβῖνοι Sabĩnoi; Italian: Sabini, all exonyms) were an Italic tribe which lived in the central Apennines
of ancient Italy, also inhabiting Latium
north of the Anio before the founding of Rome. The Sabines
divided into two populations just after the founding of Rome, which is described by Roman legend. The division, however it came about, is not legendary. The population closer to Rome transplanted itself to the new city and united with the pre-existing citizenry, beginning a new heritage that descended from the Sabines but was also Latinized. The second population remained a mountain tribal state, coming finally to war against Rome
for its independence along with all the other Italic tribes. After losing, it became assimilated into the Roman Republic.


1 Language 2 Historical geography 3 Origins

3.1 Literary evidence

4 At Rome

4.1 Legend of the Sabine women 4.2 Traditions 4.3 Romans of Sabine ancestry 4.4 Religion

5 State 6 See also 7 References 8 Sources

8.1 Ancient 8.2 Modern

9 Further reading

Language[edit] There is little record of the Sabine language; however, there are some glosses by ancient commentators, and one or two inscriptions have been tentatively identified as Sabine. There are also personal names in use on Latin
inscriptions from Sabine country, but these are given in Latin
form. Robert Seymour Conway, in his Italic Dialects, gives approximately 100 words which vary from being well attested as Sabine to being possibly of Sabine origin. In addition to these he cites place names derived from the Sabine, sometimes giving attempts at reconstructions of the Sabine form.[2] Based on all the evidence, the Linguist List tentatively classifies Sabine as a member of the Umbrian Group of Italic languages
Italic languages
of Indo-European family. Historical geography[edit] Latin-speakers called the Sabines' original territory, straddling the modern regions of Lazio, Umbria, and Abruzzo, Sabinium. To this day[update], it bears the ancient tribe's name in the Italian form of Sabina. Within the modern region of Lazio
(or Latium), Sabina constitutes a sub-region, situated north-east of Rome, around Rieti. Origins[edit]

The Sabine hills in the middle of Sabina.

Literary evidence[edit] According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, many Roman historians (including Porcius Cato and Gaius Sempronius) regarded the origins of indigenous Romans to be Greek, despite the fact that their knowledge was derived from Greek legendary accounts.[3] Dionysius regarded Lista as the mother-city of the Aborigines.[4] Ancient historians were still debating the specific origins of the Sabines. Zenodotus of Troezen claimed that the Sabines
were originally Umbrians that changed their name after being driven from the Reatine territory by the Pelasgians. However, Porcius Cato argued that the Sabines
were a populace named after Sabus, the son of Sancus
(a divinity of the area sometimes called Jupiter Fidius).[5] In another account mentioned in Dionysius's work, a group of Lacedaemonians
fled Sparta
since they regarded the laws of Lycurgus as too severe. In Italy, they founded the Spartan colony of Foronia (near the Pomentine plains) and some from that colony settled among the Sabines. According to the account, the Sabine habits of belligerence (aggressive or warlike behavior) and frugality (prudence in avoiding waste) were known to have derived from the Spartans.[6] Plutarch
also states in the Life of Numa Pompilius, "Sabines, who declare themselves to be a colony of the Lacedaemonians..." At Rome[edit] Legend of the Sabine women[edit]

The linguistic landscape of Central Italy
at the beginning of Roman expansion

Main article: Rape of the Sabine Women Legend says that the Romans abducted Sabine women to populate the newly built Rome. The resultant war ended only by the women throwing themselves and their children between the armies of their fathers and their husbands. The Rape of the Sabine Women
Rape of the Sabine Women
became a common motif in art; the women ending the war is a less frequent but still reappearing motif. According to Livy, after the conflict, the Sabine and Roman states merged, and the Sabine king Titus Tatius
Titus Tatius
jointly ruled Rome
with Romulus
until Tatius' death five years later. Three new centuries of Equites
were introduced at Rome, including one named Tatienses, after the Sabine king. A variation of the story is recounted in the pseudepigraphal book of Jasher (see Jasher 17:1-15). Traditions[edit] Tradition suggests that the population of the early Roman kingdom
Roman kingdom
was the result of a union of Sabines
and others. Some of the gentes of the Roman republic
Roman republic
were proud of their Sabine heritage, such as the Claudia gens, assuming Sabinus as a cognomen or agnomen. Some specifically Sabine deities and cults were known at Rome: Semo Sancus and Quirinus, and at least one area of the town, the Quirinale, where the temples to those latter deities were located, had once been a Sabine centre. The extravagant claims of Varro
and Cicero
that augury, divination by dreams and the worship of Minerva
and Mars originated with the Sabines
are disputable, as they were general Italic and Latin customs, as well as Etruscan, despite the fact that they were espoused by Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome
and a Sabine.[7] Romans of Sabine ancestry[edit]

Titus Tatius, legendary King of the Sabines Numa Pompilius, legendary King of Rome Ancus Marcius, legendary King of Rome Quintus Sertorius, republican general Attius Clausus, founder of the Roman Claudia gens Gaius Sallustius Crispus, Roman writer Marcus Terentius Varro, Roman scholar


Dius Fidius Feronia Ops Quirinus Sabus Sancus Soranus Vacuna Varro's list of Sabine gods

State[edit] Main article: Roman-Sabine wars During the expansion of ancient Rome, there were a series of conflicts with the Sabines, ultimately leading to Roman conquest of Sabinum and indeed the whole of Italy. See also[edit]

Ancient peoples of Italy Hostus Hostilius


^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sabine". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Conway, Robert Seymour (1897). The Italic Dialects Edited with a Grammar and Glossary. Cambridge: University Press. pp. 351–369.  ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus. "Book 1.11". Roman Antiquities. But the most learned of the Roman historians, among whom is Porcius Cato, who compiled with the greatest care the "origins" of the Italian cities, Gaius Sempronius and a great many others say that they [Aborigines] were Greeks, part of those who once dwelt in Achaia, and that they migrated many generations before the Trojan war. But they do not name the Greek tribe or city they belonged to, or the date or the leader of the colony, or what made them leave their mother country. Though they follow a Greek legend, they cite no Greek historian as their authority. It is uncertain, therefore, what the truth of the matter is.  ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus. "Book I.14". Roman Antiquities. Twenty-four stades from the afore-mentioned city stood Lista, the mother-city of the Aborigines, which at a still earlier time the Sabines
had captured by a surprise attack, having set out against it from Amiternum by night.  ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus. "Book II.49". Roman Antiquities. But Zenodotus of Troezen, a...historian, relates that the Umbrians, a native race, first dwelt in the Reatine territory, as it is called, and that, being driven from there by the Pelasgians, they came into the country which they now inhabit and changing their name with their place of habitation, from Umbrians were called Sabines. But Porcius Cato says that the Sabine race received its name from Sabus, the son of Sancus, a divinity of that country, and that this Sancus
was by some called Jupiter Fidius.  ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus. "Book II.49". Roman Antiquities. There is also another account given of the Sabines
in the native histories, to the effect that a colony of Lacedaemonians
settled among them at the time when Lycurgus, being guardian to his nephew Eunomus, gave his laws to Sparta. For the story goes that some of the Spartans, disliking the severity of his laws and separating from the rest, quit the city entirely, and after being borne through a vast stretch of sea, made a vow to the gods to settle in the first land they should reach; for a longing came upon them for any land whatsoever. At last they made that part of Italy
which lies near the Pomentine plains and they called the place where they first landed Foronia, in memory of their being borne through the sea, and built a temple to the goddess Foronia, to whom they had addressed their vows; this goddess, by the alteration of one letter, they now call Feronia. And some of them, setting out from thence, settled among the Sabines. It is for this reason, they say, that many of the habits of the Sabines
are Spartan, particularly their fondness for war and their frugality and a severity in all the actions of their lives. But this is enough about the Sabine race.  ^ Bunbury, Edward Herbert (1857). "Sabini". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman geography. Volume II Iabadius—Zymethus. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 

For a list of words relating to Sabine language, see the Sabine language category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.


has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Sabini.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rape of the Sabine Women.


Ovid, Fasti (Book III, 167–258) Ovid, Ars Amatoria
Ars Amatoria
(Book I, 102) Livy, Ab urbe condita (Book I, 9–14) Cicero, De Republica (Book II, 12–14) Plutarch, Parallel Lives
Parallel Lives
(Romulus, 14–20) Juvenal, Satires
(Book III, 81–85)


Donaldson, John William (1860). "Chapter IV: The Sabello-Oscan Language". Varronianus: a critical and historical introduction to the ethnography of ancient Italy
and the philological study of the Latin language. London: John W. Parker and Son. 

Library resources about Sabines

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Further reading[edit]

Brown, Robert. "Livy's Sabine Women and the Ideal of Concordia." Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-) 125 (1995): 291-319. doi:10.2307/284357. MacLachlan, Bonnie. Women In Ancient Rome: A Sourcebook. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

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