Last Coin-------------------Next Coin

Rome - The Republic

Moneyer: L. Titurius L.f. Sabinus
Held Office: 89 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Obverse: Bareheaded, bearded head of King Tatius right; palm frond below chin; "SABIN" behind.
Reverse: Abduction of the Sabine women: two Roman soldiers, each bearing a woman in his arms ('Rape of Sabine women'). In exergue: "L•TITVRI"
Reference: RSC Tituria 2, RCVM 249, RRC 344/1b
Weight: 3.6 gms
Diameter: 17.6 mm

L. Titurius L.f. Sabinus

The name Sabinus and the subject matter of the coin shows that this moneyer was, or believed he was, descended from the Sabines. The Rape of the Sabine Women is a semi-legendary event in the history of Rome, traditionally dated to 750 BC, in which the first generation of Roman men acquired wives for themselves from the neighbouring Sabine families. "Rape" is the English translation of the Latin word meaning "abduction".

The "Rape" is supposed to have occurred in the early history of Rome, shortly after its founding by Romulus and his mostly male followers. The Sabines lived in the mountainous centre of Italy. When the Romans tried to seek women in the area to marry, they were refused. Consequently, the Romans planned to abduct the Sabine women during a festival of Neptune Equester, at which many of Rome's neighbours were to attend. At the festival Romulus gave a signal, at which the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the Sabine men. The indignant abductees were soon implored by Romulus to accept Roman husbands.

Rome's neighbours, who had been at the festival, were outraged. The Caeninenses, the Antemnates, and the Crustumini, each attempted to invade Roman territory but were defeated and their own lands colonised.

The Sabines themselves finally declared war, led into battle by their king, Titus Tatius. Tatius almost succeeded in capturing Rome, thanks to the treason of Tarpeia, daughter of Spurius Tarpeius, governor of the citadel on the Capitoline Hill. She opened the city gates for the Sabines in return for "what they bore on their arms", thinking she would receive their golden bracelets. Instead, the Sabines crushed her to death with their shields, and her body was thrown from a rock known ever since by her name, the Tarpeian Rock.

The Romans attacked the Sabines, who now held the citadel. The Roman advance was led by Hostus Hostilius, the Sabine defence by Mettus Curtius. Hostus fell in battle, and the Roman line gave way, They retreated to the gate of the Palatium. Romulus rallied his men by promising to build a temple to Jupiter Stator on the site. He then led them back into battle. Mettus Curtius was unhorsed and fled on foot, and the Romans appeared to be winning. However, the Sabine women then forced themselves between the two armies causing them to stop fighting.

So the battle came to an end, and the Sabines agreed to unite in one nation with the Romans. Titus Tatius jointly ruled with Romulus until Tatius's death five years later. The new Sabine residents of Rome settled on the Capitoline Hill, which they had captured in the battle.

Back to main page