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Sabine

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Sabine

"Sabine" redirects here. For other uses, see Sabine (disambiguation).
Sabine
Quirinal
Native to Sabinium
Region Central Italy
Extinct Only traces of vocabulary, mainly from Marcus Terentius Varro, 1st century BC
Language family
Writing system Not written except as Latinized words
Language codes
ISO 639-3 sbv
Linguist List
 
 
 
 
 
Gabii.

The Sabines (/ˈsbn/; 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. After losing, it was assimilated into the Roman Republic.

Language

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.[1] 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, 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


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.[2] 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.[3] 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).[4] 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.[5] 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.

A variation of the story is recounted in the pseudepigraphal book of Jasher (see Jasher 17:1-15).

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.[6]

Romans of Sabine ancestry

Sabine religion

The Sabine state

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

References

External links

Sources

Ancient

Modern

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