The Intervention of the Sabine Women (Jacques-Louis David) 1799
Thousands of years ago there was a king named Numitor (I'll call him Num-Num). He ruled Alba Longa, an ancient city in Italy.
Num-Num had a daughter...Princess Lea.
I mean Rhea. Princess Rhea.
One day, Princess Rhea's uncle, Amulius (Uncle Amu), comes to town and steals the throne, declaring himself King of Alba Longa. In order to stop Rhea from having a rightful heir, she is forced to become a Vestal Virgin.
If you don't already know-- Vestal Virgins, similar to nuns, worship the goddess Vesta. Those who break their chastity vows are sentenced to death.
So, Princess Rhea, now basically a chaste nun, somehow ends up pregnant. To everyone's amazement, the baby-daddy turns out to be Mars. You know him...the good ole god of war.
Rhea gives birth to twin sons, Romulus and Remus.
Word gets back to Uncle Amu. He demands the twins be drowned in the Tiber River.
Desperate to save her babies, Rhea puts them in a little wooden trough and they float away, eventually coming to rest beneath a holy fig tree.
Luckily...the baby boys are found and rescued.
Unluckily, they are found and rescued by a wolf and a woodpecker.
But, the she-wolf suckles them and the woodpecker feeds them by dropping food in their mouths.
One day the babies are found by a shepherd named Faustulus. Fausty and his wife raise the boys and give them a happy childhood. However, when they are older, they head back to Alba Longa, kill Uncle Amu, and hand the throne back to Grandpa Num-Num.
On April 21st, 753 BC, the adventurous young brothers decide to build a town of their own on the very site where they were rescued.
However, these hot-headed brothers get into a little tiff.
"I want to build our town on this hill."
"No! It needs to built here on this hill!"
Finally, Romulus tells Remus to bugger off and builds a wall where he plans to start his city.
An extremely ticked off Remus jumps over the wall.
Romulus responds by killing his brother and naming the city after himself.
So, needing to populate his newly established town, Romulus lets all the convicts and fugitives in, promising them asylum. Rome grows and grows and grows, populated by strong men able to defend their city from other tribes.
However, they soon realize the real problem isn't threats from neighbouring tribes. It's the fact they have no way to grow their population.
"Doh! We have no women."
So, the Romans go around asking all the neighbouring tribes to let them marry their daughters.
"Are you out of your minds?"
With zero success, Romulus comes up with a plan.
He sends party invitations far and wide.
You are herby invited to the event of the season.
Come see our fabulous new town, Rome.
Mark your calendars.
Games, shows, and sacrifices provided.
Date: 8th century BC.
Time: In the evening
Almost everyone says, "thanks...we're busy that night."
Except the Sabines.
Out of curiosity, their entire population shows up--men, women, children...
They're all having a great time, partying the night away, when Romulus stands, picks up his cloak, and throws it over his shoulder, probably looking totally cool in the process.
However..that was the signal to the Roman men.
It was a mass abduction of the unwed Sabine women.
In a flurry of chaos, every Roman man grabs a wife. Not wanting to kill the Sabine men, the fathers and brothers of their new wives, they run them out of Rome instead.
About three years later, the Sabines finally get it together enough to come back to rescue the women. All the men go to battle, swords clashing between the Romans and the Sabines.
But then something happens.
The women step in between the warring men.
"We'd rather die than see this bloodshed continue between our fathers and brothers against our husbands."
The Sabine women have settled into their new lives, many mothers now.
Moved by their speech, the men all agree to stop fighting and a peace treaty is signed.
The Sabines and Romans would be united under Rome, making both of them even stronger.
Romulus and the king of the Sabines would be co-rulers together.
A short while later the king died and Romulus was sole ruler of Rome again.
And there you have it.
The founding of Rome.