Furthermore, the transgressions of Theseus in his rapes of women admit of no plausible excuse. This is true, first, because there were so many; for he carried off Ariadne, Antiope, Anaxo of Troezen, and at last Helen, when he was past his prime and she had not reached her prime, but was an unripe child, while he was already of an age too great for even lawful wedlock. It is true, secondly, because of the reason for them; for the daughters of Troezenians and Laconians and Amazons were not betrothed to him, and were no worthier, surely, to be the mothers of his children than the daughters of Erechtheus and Cecrops at Athens.
But one may suspect that these deeds of his were done in lustful wantonness. Romulus, on the other hand, in the first place, although he carried off nearly eight hundred women, took them not all to wife, but only one, as they say, Hersilia, and distributed the rest among the best of the citizens. And in the second place, by the subsequent honour, love, and righteous treatment given to these women, he made it clear that his deed of violence and injustice was a most honourable achievement, and one most adapted to promote political partnership.
In this way he intermixed and blended the two peoples with one another, and supplied his state with a flowing fountain of strength and good will for the time to come. And to the modesty, tenderness, and stability which he imparted to the marriage relation, time is witness. For in two hundred and thirty years no man ventured to leave his wife, nor any woman her husband; but, just as the very curious among the Greeks can name the first parricide or matricide, so the Romans all know that Spurius Carvilius was the first to put away his wife, accusing her of barrenness.
And the immediate results of his act, as well as the long lapse of time, witness in favour of Romulus. For the two kings shared the government in common, and the two peoples the rights and duties of citizenship, because of that intermarriage; whereas from the marriages of Theseus the Athenians got no new friends at all, nor even any community of enterprise whatsoever, but enmities, wars, slaughters of citizens, and at last the loss of Aphidnae, and an escape from the fate which Troy suffered by reason of Alexander, only because their enemies took compassion on them when they called upon them worshipfully as gods.
However, the mother of Theseus as not only in danger, but actually suffered the fate of Hecuba when she was deserted and abandoned by her son, unless, indeed, the tale of her captivity is fictitious, and it may well be false, as well as most of the other stories. For example, the tales told of divine intervention in their lives are in great contrast; for Romulus was preserved by the signal favour of the gods, while the oracle given to Aegeus, forbidding him to approach a woman while in a foreign land, seems to indicate that the birth of Theseus was not agreeable to the will of the gods.