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Sabines(sā`bīnz), ancient people of central Italy, centered principally in the Sabine Hills, NE of Rome. Not much dependable information on them can be gathered. They were probably Oscan-speaking and therefore may be classed among the Sabelli. From the earliest days there was a Sabine element in Rome (the story of the rape of the Sabine women to supply wives for the womanless followers of Romulus is a legend explaining this fact); many Roman religious practices are said to have Sabine origins. Rome was involved in numerous wars with the inland Sabines; Horatius is supposed to have defeated them in the 5th cent. B.C., and Marcus Curius Dentatus conquered them in 290 B.C. The Sabines became (268) Roman citizens. The Samnites were possibly a branch of the Sabines.
(also Sabini), tribes of the Osco-Umbrian-Sabellian branch of the ancient Italici.
The Sabines settled in the region between the Tiber, Aternus, and Anio rivers. Roman authors considered the Sabines, as well as the Samnites, to be descendants of Sabus, the sun god; because of the austere customs of the Sabines, the Romans ascribed to the Sabines either a Spartan or a Persian origin. The Sabines engaged chiefly in land cultivation and in animal husbandry.
Modern researchers consider that the Sabines, who lived on the Quirinal, Viminal, and Esquiline hills of Rome, played an important role in the formation of the Roman nationality (narodnost’). The Sabines are prominent in the legends of the monarchical period in Rome, which by tradition extended from 754/753 B.C. to 510/509 B.C. During the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., those Sabines who had not become part of the Roman state fought against Rome; they were subjugated in 290 B.C. In 268 B.C. the Sabines received full Roman citizenship. The Sabines lost their own language early and were romanized.