Zonaras 7.4 Part I: The Roman/Sabine Peace

The Sabines and Romans make peace; Zonaras plays at Latin etymology, and gives an interesting explanation of the Roman epithet “Quirites.”

When the heights had been abandoned by the Sabines, fierce fighting broke out between them and the Romans, in which many people were slain, and Romulus was struck on the head with a rock.The captive daughters checked their Sabine kinsmen who were still prepared to fight, and were seen shouting here and wailing there. They brought out their babies in their arms, they loosed their hair, and they called now upon the Sabines, and now upon the Romans, with various terms of endearment. The enemies were moved to pity, and stood apart while the women stood in the middle of the lines, and all sides began to cry. Once the women had made their point, the opposing leaders made a parley, and the women who so wished were allowed to remain with the men who now possessed them, with an exemption from every deed and all daily work except for spinning wool. Furthermore, the Romans and Sabines would jointly inhabit the city, which was to be called Rome after Romulus, but the citizens were to be named Kurites [Quirites] after Kurita, the father of Titus Tatius. Both peoples would rule the city, and they would marshal armies jointly. The place in which they made this agreement was called the Comitium, clearly because it was a spot for meeting, because among the Romans the word ‘comire’ means to come together. Moreover, another hundred men were selected from the Sabines and added to the number of patricians. At first, the kings did not take counsel in common among each other, but in private with their own hundred patricians. Subsequently, everyone came together in the same place.

Ληφθείσης δὲ τῆς ἄκρας ὑπὸ τῶν Σαβίνων, μάχη καρτερὰ συνερράγη μέσον αὐτῶν καὶ ῾Ρωμαίων, ἐν ᾗ πολλοὶ μὲν ἔπεσον, ὁ δὲ ῾Ρωμύλος ἐπλήγη λίθῳ τὴν κεφαλήν. ἔτι δὲ μάχεσθαι παρασκευαζομένους τοὺς Σαβίνους ἐπέσχον αἱ ἡρπασμέναι θυγατέρες αὐτῶν, ἄλλοθεν ἄλλαι μετὰ βοῆς καὶ ὀλολυγμοῦ ὀφθεῖσαι αὐτοῖς, αἱ μὲν νήπια πρὸς ταῖς ἀγκάλαις κομίζουσαι, αἱ δὲ τὴν κόμην προϊσχόμεναι λελυμένην, πᾶσαι δὲ ἀνακαλούμεναι τοῖς φιλτάτοις ὀνόμασι ποτὲ μὲν τοὺς Σαβίνους, ποτὲ δὲ τοὺς ῾Ρωμαίους. ἐπεκλάσθησαν οὖν οἱ ἐναντίοι καὶ διέστησαν αὐταῖς ἐν μέσῳ στῆναι τῆς παρατάξεως, καὶ κλαυθμὸς ἅμα διὰ πάντων ἐχώρει. διαλεχθέντων δὲ τῶν γυναίων συνῆλθον εἰς λόγους οἱ ἡγεμόνες καὶ συνέθεντο τῶν μὲν γυναικῶν αἳ βούλονται τοῖς ἔχουσι συνοικεῖν, παντὸς ἔργου καὶ πάσης λατρείας πλὴν ταλασίας ἀφειμένας, οἰκεῖν δὲ τὴν πόλιν ῾Ρωμαίους καὶ Σαβίνους κοινῇ, καὶ καλεῖσθαι αὐτὴν ῾Ρώμην ἐπὶ ῾Ρωμύλῳ, Κυρίτας δὲ ῾Ρωμαίους ἐπὶ τῇ Τατίου πατρίδι Κυρίτα, βασιλεύειν δὲ κοινῇ καὶ στρατηγεῖν ἀμφοτέρους. ὁ δὲ τόπος ἐν ᾧ τὰς συνθήκας ἔθεντο καλεῖται κομίτιον, τόπος δηλαδὴ συνελεύσεως· κόμιρε γὰρ ῾Ρωμαίοις τὸ συνελθεῖν λέγεται. προσκατελέχθησαν δὲ τοῖς πατρικίοις ἐκ τῶν Σαβίνων ἕτεροι ἑκατόν. ἐβουλεύοντο δὲ οἱ βασιλεῖς οὐκ εὐθὺς ἐν κοινῷ μετ’ ἀλλήλων, ἀλλ’ ἑκάτερος πρότερον ἰδίᾳ μετὰ τῶν ἑκατόν· εἶτα εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ πάντες συνήγοντο.

Zonaras 7.3 Part III – The Rape of the Sabine Women

Zonaras relates the well-known story of Romulus’ plan to increase the Roman population:

There were now many men living in the city, of whom very few were wedded to wives. So, Romulus had the idea that they could unite women to themselves. For they were just a mob who had come from difficult and undistinguished circumstances, and they were despised in their marriage suits by all of the neighboring tribes. Romulus then planned for his citizens to take wives by means of forcible seizure, so he announced that there would be a sacrifice, some games, and a religious assembly on the pretext that a strange new altar of the gods had been discovered. Many people came together for this. Romulus himself, however, sat at the front among the nobles, outfitted in a purple robe. He gave as the sign that the undertaking should commence the sudden spreading and re-fastening of his robe. Once this sign was given, the men, grabbing their swords, set out and grabbed the maiden daughters of the Sabines – not, indeed, anyone’s wife.

Πολλῶν δὲ τῇ πόλει ἐνοικισθέντων, ὧν ὀλίγοι γυναιξὶ συνεζεύγνυντο, φροντὶς τῷ ῾Ρωμύλῳ ἐγένετο ἵνα κἀκεῖνοι γυναῖκας ἑαυτοῖς συνοικίσωσι. σύγκλυδες γὰρ καὶ ἐξ ἀπόρων ὄντες καὶ ἀφανῶν, ὑπερωρῶντο πρὸς κῆδος παρὰ τῶν γειτνιώντων ἐθνῶν. βουλεύεται τοίνυν ἐξ ἁρπαγῆς λαβεῖν γυναῖκας τοὺς πολίτας αὐτοῦ, καὶ κηρύσσει θυσίαν καὶ ἀγῶνα καὶ θέαν μέλλειν τελεῖν πανηγυρικήν, ὡς βωμοῦ εὑρημένου θεοῦ καινοῦ. καὶ πολλοὶ συνῆλθον. αὐτὸς δὲ προυκάθητο μετὰ τῶν ἀρίστων, ἁλουργίδι κεκοσμημένος· δέδωκε δὲ τῷ δήμῳ τῆς ἐπιχειρήσεως σύμβολον τὴν τῆς ἁλουργίδος διάπτυξιν καὶ αὖθις ταύτης περιβολήν. οὗ γενομένου σπασάμενοι τὰ ξίφη μετὰ βοῆς ὥρμησαν καὶ ἥρπαζον τὰς θυγατέρας τῶν Σαβίνων παρθένους, οὐ μέντοι γυναῖκάς τινων