Classical Quarterly 48 (02):572-574 (1998)

In this well-known passage of his Antiquitates Romanae, Dionysius of Halicarnassus describes how Romulus and his companions seized and married the Sabine virgins. Romulus justifies his actions by stating that this method of acquiring wives was a Greek custom:Dionysius' report of a Greek tradition adopted by Romulus is rather enigmatic. It has previously been noted that this passage bears similarity to passages of Plutarch and in particular his description of the Spartan marriage ceremony. This Spartan marriage ceremony does bear some relation to the situation being described by Dionysius in that the women are captured before being married, but other elements of the ceremony—the bride having her hair cut off and being taken in a darkened room—are quite out of place here and would appear to be a peculiarly Spartan tradition. As Plutarch was writing some time after Dionysius, it is not possible for Dionysius to be making a parallel with the ceremony as decribed by Plutarch, but he may have had access to a common source about that ceremony, now lost. However, I would like to suggest that there is another well-known source which may have been the source of the Greek tradition referred to in Dionysius 2.30 that is connected to neither Plutarch nor marriage
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DOI 10.1093/cq/48.2.572
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