The setting of this painting and 'The Rape of the Sabines (after the signal)' is the same. According to Plutarch's 'Lives', shortly after the founding of Rome neighbouring peoples were invited to equestrian games which were to provide the opportunity for carrying off brides for the Romans. The Sabine women, who have come to watch the games, are shown on either side of Romulus and his entourage.
The pictures may come from a cassone.
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These scenes were probably cut from the front of a decorated chest.