"the Rape of the Sabines, perhaps?"

The Rape of the Sabine Women is an event described in Classical legend, when the first generation of Roman men 'acquired' wives from the nearby Sabine tribe.  Although the word 'rape' is said to mean 'abduction' in this sense, the notion of forced marriage surely by its very nature denotes sexual violation.  Livy disputed this; when he described the event he said that the women were guaranteed civic and property rights.  Outrage at the abduction nonetheless resulted in war against the Romans and their leader, Romulus.  When the Sabines gained a foothold into Rome during battle it was their women who intervened to stop the bloodshed and force reconciliation.  Following this, one nation was formed.  Many artists throughout the centuries have found inspiration in these brave muses, including the painters Rubens, Poussin and Picasso, and the sculptor Giambologna.