Skip to main content

Giulio Licinio, The Intervention of the Sabine Women

Key facts
Full title The Intervention of the Sabine Women
Artist Giulio Licinio
Artist dates about 1527; died after 1584
Series Scenes from Ancient Roman History
Date made after 1566
Medium and support Oil on canvas, transferred from wood
Dimensions 35.6 × 153 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1860
Inventory number NG644.2
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Intervention of the Sabine Women
Giulio Licinio

The Intervention of the Sabine Women is one of a series of paintings that show scenes from ancient Roman history. They were probably intended to be inserted into wall panelling. Three other pictures in the series are in the National Gallery’s collection: The Attack on Cartagena, The Continence of Scipio and The Rape of the Sabines.

Shortly after the foundation of Rome, the Romans tried to negotiate with the neighbouring Sabines to secure wives, but the Sabine men refused to allow their women to marry the Romans. At a festival to Neptune, the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off their menfolk.

This painting shows the episode following the abduction. The Sabine women rush onto the battlefield to hold apart the warring Sabine and Roman armies, imploring their fathers among the Sabines and their husbands among the Romans not to spill each other’s blood. On the left, the Sabines agree to live as one nation with the Romans.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

Scenes from Ancient Roman History


These four pictures are from a series of paintings of scenes from ancient Roman history. They were made for the decoration of a room and were originally painted on panel but have since been transferred to canvas. Their size and horizontal format suggests they were probably intended to be inserted into wall panelling, as was common practice in Renaissance Venice.

The pictures in the National Gallery’s collection show: The Attack on Cartagena; The Continence of Scipio; The Rape of the Sabines; and The Intervention of the Sabine Women. Two other pictures from the same series, Coriolanus and Scipio rewarding the Soldiers, are in a private collection.