Statue of Semo Sancus from his shrine on the Quirinal
|Extinct||Only trace the vocabulary of mainly Marcus Terentius Varro, 1st century BC|
|Writing system||Not written except as Latinized words|
The Sabines (//; Latin: Sabini; Ancient Greek: Σαβῖνοι) were an Italic tribe that lived in the central Appennines of ancient Italy, also inhabiting Latium north of the Anio before the founding of Rome. The above names, English, Latin and Greek, are all exonyms.
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 closest to Rome transplanted itself to the new city and united with the pre-existing citizenry, beginning a new heritage that descended from the Sabine but was also Latinized. The second population remained a mountain tribal state, coming finally to war against Rome for their independence, along with all the other Italic tribes, losing, and being assimilated into the Roman Republic.
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. Based on all the evidence, the Linguist List tentatively classifies Sabine as a member of the Umbrian Group of Italic languages of Indo-European family.
Historical geography 
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.
Literary evidence 
According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, many Roman historians (including Porcius Cato and Gaius Sempronius) regarded the origins of the Romans (descendants of the Aborigines) as Greek despite the fact that their knowledge was derived from Greek legendary accounts. The Sabines, specifically, were first mentioned in Dionysius's account for having captured by surprise the city of Lista, which was regarded as the mother-city of the Aborigines. 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). 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. Plutarch also states in the Life of Numa Pompilius, "Sabines, who declare themselves to be a colony of the Lacedaemonians..."
Sabines at Rome 
The legend 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" in this context meaning "kidnapping" rather than sexual violation, see raptio) became a common motif in art; the women ending the war forms 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 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.
Sabine traditions 
Tradition suggests that the population of the early Roman kingdom was the result of a union of Sabines and others. Some of the gentes of the 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.
Romans of Sabine ancestry 
- 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 Claudia gens
- Gaius Sallustius Crispus, Roman writer
- Marcus Terentius Varro, Roman scholar
Sabine religion 
The Sabine state 
War with Tullus Hostilius 
In the 7th century BC, during the reign of Rome's third king Tullus Hostilius, the Sabines and the Romans again warred. The pretexts for the war were, on the Roman side, that a number of Roman merchants had been seized by the Sabines at a market near the temple of Feronia, and on the Sabine side, that some of the Sabines were being detained at Rome. The Sabines sought and obtained the help of some volunteers from Veii, although the government of Veii did not come to their aid, holding faith to the peace treaty previously made with Romulus.
Tullus invaded Sabine territory and met the Sabines at the forest called Malitiosa. The Roman force was superior in both infantry and cavalry. In particular, the Roman cavalry had recently been augmented by the addition of ten new turmae of equites from among the Albans who now dwelt in Rome. The Romans won the battle after a cavalry charge threw the Sabines into disarray. The Sabines suffered heavy losses during the retreat.
War with Tarquinius Priscus 
In the early 6th century BC, during the reign of Rome's fifth king Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, the Sabines attacked Rome. Tarquinius had been preparing to construct a stone wall around Rome, however the Sabines, having already crossed the Anio river, forced the king to abandon his plans and prepare for the attack. Livy reports that the initial engagement, though bloody, did not result in success for either side.
The Sabines withdrew to their camp, allowing the Romans time to levy additional troops. Tarquinius, believing Rome's military weakness lay in its lack of horsemen, doubled the number of the equites.
A second battle was then fought. The Romans, desiring to cut off the enemy's means of escape, sent rafts of burning logs down the Anio to destroy the bridge over the river by fire. In battle, the Sabine infantry pressed the Romans, and seemed to be winning against the Roman centre. However the Roman horsemen flanked the Sabine infantry, routed them, and impeded their flight from the battle. Many of the Sabines were unable to escape with their lives, both because of the pursuit of the cavalry and also because of the destruction of the bridge. Some of the fleeing Sabines drowned in the Anio; their arms drifted down the river into the Tiber and past Rome, and the Romans recognised this as a sign of victory even before word of the outcome of the battle arrived in the city.
Tarquinius determined to press his victory. He firstly piled up and burnt the spoils he had vowed to Vulcan, and he sent back to Rome the prisoners and booty he had captured. He then proceeded, with his army, into the Sabine territory. The Sabines hastily raised a fresh army, but were defeated again. They then sued for peace.
The Sabine town of Collatia, and its surrounding lands and population, was surrendered to become Roman territory. Livy records the wording of the form of surrender. Arruns Tarquinius, the king's nephew, was left there with a garrison, and Tarquinius returned to Rome to celebrate a triumph. According to the Fasti Triumphales, the date of the triumph was 13 September, 585 BC.
War with Tarquinius Superbus 
According to the Fasti Triumphales, Rome's last king Tarquinius Superbus celebrated a triumph for a victory over the Sabines.
War with the early republic 505-4 BC 
The fall of the Roman monarchy left the Sabines in an ambiguous position politically with regard to Rome. Their treaties had been with the kings, but now the kings were gone.
According to the historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, into this gap stepped Sextus Tarquinius (unless previously assassinated at Gabii), whose rape of Lucretia had been the event that triggered the revolution. He convinced the Sabines that they ought to help restore the kings. They moved against the Romans under native command and were quickly defeated.
Sextus (or Superbus himself) arguing that the Sabine army was mismanaged now brought Fidenae and Cameria to the assistance of the Sabines, who were so impressed by his confidence, his allies and his analysis that they made him dictator and voted for all-out war on Rome. It was at this point that that Titus Claudius (or Attius Clausus) removed all of his relatives and clients to Rome, including approximately 500 fighting men. The Romans settled them in Rome, ennobled Claudius and promised them land beyond the Anio river in the vicinity of Fidenae. All they had to do was take it from the Fidenates.
In the following consular year (the consuls now being Publius Valerius Poplicola and Titus Lucretius Tricipitinus) the Sabines marched toward Rome and were stopped by the river Anio and presumably the consular troops south of it. They placed two camps, one near Fidenae and one in it. Of the consuls, Poplicola camped near the Sabines in the open, while Tricipitinus camped on a hill near Fidenae.
Tarquin's plan was to launch a night attack on the camp of Valerius, filling in the ditch and scaling the wall. The troops in Fidenae would exit the city and cover these operations against a possible attack by Lucretius. However, a Sabine defector and prisoners brought in by a Roman cavalry patrol informed Valerius of the enemy plan. Lucretius was soon advised.
The attack came after midnight. The Sabines were allowed to fill the ditch and throw up brushwood ramps over the wall into a camp that seemed all too still. In hindsight Tarquin might have guessed the danger from the lack of opposition to his inadvertently noisy operations and the total deficit of sentinels. He took those circumstances to mean that the Romans were all sound asleep, a striking underestimation of his enemy.
The Roman maniples were in fact in formation and waiting in the intervallum around the inner perimeter of the castra, invisible in the total blackness. They could see enough to quietly kill all enemies who came over the wall. The moon suddenly rising, the Roman troops and the piles of slain were visible to the Sabines, whose reaction was to drop their weapons and run. As the ambush was no longer a surprise the Roman troops all shouted together, which was the prearranged signal to Lucretius's men on the hill. He sent out his cavalry, which drove the distracted Fidenates from their ambush. They were massacred by Lucretius' infantry coming up. The Sabine army dissolved into a rout of unarmed individuals. Of them 13500 were slain and 4200 taken captive. The battle was not over. Fidenae remained to be taken (see under Roman-Etruscan Wars).
Livy gives a different account. He makes no reference to the involvement of a Tarquinius in this war. He says hostilities broke out between Rome and the Sabines in 505 BC. The Romans were victorious, and a triumph awarded to the consuls Marcus Valerius Volusus and Publius Postumius Tubertus.
See also 
- 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, quitted 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.
- Livy. "Book I.30". History of Rome.
- Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:36
- Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:37
- Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:38
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus. "Book V.40-43". Roman Antiquities.
- Livy, Ab urbe condita, II:16
|For a list of words relating to Sabine language, see the Sabine language category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikisource 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 (Book I, 102)
- Livy, Ab urbe condita (Book I, 9–14)
- Cicero, De Republica (Book II, 12–14)
- Plutarch, 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.