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NAEVIUS A Roman epic and dramatic poet. Born apparently in Campania, about 270 B.C., be served in the Roman army during the first Punic War; and, settling after this at Rome, he brought his first play upon the stage in 235, i.e. soon after the first appearance of Livius Andronicus. Owing to the license and recklessness with which he incessantly attacked the Roman nobles, especially the Metelli, he was thrown into prison, and though liberated thence by the tribunes of the people, was afterwards banished from Rome. He died in exile at Utica about 200. His poetical account of the first Punic War (Bellum Poenicum), written in old age in the Saturnian metre, made him the creator of the Roman national epic. The work originally formed one continuous whole, but at a later time was divided into seven books by the scholar Octavius Lampadio. The fragments preserved give the impression of its having been little more than a chronicle in verse. Indeed, even in its plan, it bears a close resemblance to the prose chronicles of the Roman annalists: for here, as there, the real subject of the poem was preceded by an account of the early history of Rome, dating from the flight of Aeneas from Troy. Naevius also made an important departure in the province of dramatic poetry by creating a national drama. Besides imitations of Greek tragedies, of which seven alone are known by name and by extant fragments, it was he who first attempted to adapt the materials of his country's history to the dramatic form handed down by the Greeks. Thus, in the Romulus or Lupus, he treats of the youth of Romulus and Remus; and, in the play Clastidium, of a contemporary historical event. From the number of titles of his comedies still preserved (over thirty), and from the verdict of antiquity, we may infer that his forte lay in comedy: he appears to have been no mere translator of his Greek originals, but to have handled them with considerable freedom. It was in his comedies especially that he introduced his attacks on men and events of the day.
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The Nymphs of rivers and springs. (See NYMPHS.)
NAMATIANUS A Roman poet, by birth a Gaul and a pagan, who was prcefectus urbi under Honorius in A.D. 416. After the sack of Rome by Alaric he returned to his native country, ravaged at that time by the Visigoths, and described his journey home in two books, De Reditu suo, of which the beginning of the first and the end of the second have perished. The poem is pure and correct in language and metrical form, and is interesting on account of its pathetic description of the misfortunes of the time.
NAMES The Greeks had no names denoting family, nothing corresponding to our surnames. Hence the name of the new-born child was left to the free choice of the parents, like the Christian name with us; the child usually received it on the seventh or tenth day after birth, the occasion being a family festival. According to the most ancient custom, the son, especially the first-born, received the name of his grandfather, sometimes that of his father, or a name derived from it(Phocos-Phocion) or similarly compounded (Theophrastos-Theodoros). As a rule a Greek only had one name, to which was added that of his father, to prevent confusion, e.g. Thucydides (scil. the son) of Olorus. A great many names were compounded with the names of gods (Herakleitos, Herodotos, Artemidoros, Diogenes), or derived from them (Demetrios, Apollonios). Frequently names of good omen for the future of the child were chosen. Sometimes a new name was afterwards substituted for the original one; so Plato was originally called Aristocles, and Theophrastus Tyrtamus. Slaves were usually called after their native country, or their physical or moral peculiarities.
NAMES The Romans, in the republican times, bad their names in the following order: prcenamen (= our "Christian name"), nomen (name of race, gentile name), cognomen (surname, denoting the family). The gentile name, which originally (always in patrician names) had for derivative suffix -ius (e.g. Iunius, Cornelius, Tullius), was common to all those connected with the gens, men, women, clients, and freedmen. The prcenomen was given to sons on the third day after birth, the dies lustricus, and was officially confirmed when the toga virilis was assumed and the name was inscribed on the roll of citizens. The original meaning of the prcenomen, in which there was sometimes a reference to peculiar circumstances at birth (e.g. Lacius=born by day, Manius=born in the morning; Quintus, the fifth, Decimus, the tenth), came to be disregarded in the course of time, when the name was given. As a rule, the eldest son received the prcenomen of his father. Of these there was a comparatively limited number in the noble families; some were employed only by certain gentes, even by certain families, as for instance Appius exclusively by the Claudii, and Tiberius especially by the Nerones who belonged to this race; while others were actually prohibited in certain families, e.g. Marcus in that of the Manlii.[1] The prcenomen was usually written in an abbreviated form; thus, A. stands for Aulus, C. for Gaius, Gn. for Gnceus, D. for Decimus, L. for Lacius, M'. for Manius, M. for Marcus, P. for Publius , Q. for Quintus, Ser. for Servius, S. or Sex. for Sextus, Ti. for Tiberius, T. for Titus. The surname (cognomen), the use of which was, in early times, not customary among the plebeians, served to denote and distinguish the different families of the same race, which often included several, patrician and plebeian. Thus the gens Cornelia comprised the patrician families of the Scipiones, Sullce, etc., and the plebeian families of the Dolabellce, Lentuli, etc. [It is true that some patrician families had fixed cognomina (e.g. Nero), but it was quite common for plebeians to take cognomina or to have them given; e.g. Cn. Pompeius Magnus, C. Asinius Pollio, and his son Asinius Gallus. Some plebeians never took a cognomen, e.g. the Antonii. But the Tullii are Cicerones in the last century of the Republic. Cognomina, whether fixed or otherwise, are generally of the nature of nicknames, or, at any rate, add a description of some personal characteristic; e.g. Naso, Strabo, Gallus, Scrofa, Asina, Rufus.] To the surname there was sometimes added a second and even a third, in later times called the agnomen, to indicate a lateral branch of the family, for instance the Scipiones, Nasicoe; or, in memory of some remarkable exploit in war (e.g. Scipio Africanus, Asiaticus, etc.), or in consequence of a popular designation (e.g. Scipio Nasica Serapio) or of an adoption. It was the original custom for the adopted son, on passing from one gens to another, to add to the prcenomen, nomen, and cognomen of his adoptive father the name of his own former gens with the termination -anus. Thus the full name of the destroyer of Carthage, the son of L. Aemilius Paulus adopted by one of the Scipios, was P(ublius) Cornelius Scipio Africanus Emilianus. After about 70 A.D. there were many irregularities in the way these names were given,the tendency being to give very many. Women originally had only one name, the feminine form of the gentile name of their father, e.g. Cornelia. In later times they sometimes had prcenomen also, which they received on marriage. It was the feminine form of the husband's prcenomen, e.g. Gaia. Sometimes they had both names, e.g. Aula Cornelia. The prcenomen went out of use for a time during the later Republic, and it was afterwards placed after the nomen like a cognomen (e.g. Iunia Tertia). Under the Empire, they regularly had two names, either the nomen and cognomen of the father (e.g. Caecilia Metella) or the nomina of father and mother (e.g. Valeria Attia, daughter of Attius and Valeria). Slaves were originally designated by the praenomen of their master, e.g. Marcipor = Marci puer (slave of Marcus). Later, when the number of slaves had been greatly multiplied, it became necessary to give them names chosen at random. Freedmen regularly took the nomen, afterwards the prcenomen also, of the man who freed them (or of the father of the woman who freed them), while they retained their previous name as a cognomen; thus the name of the well-known freedman of Cicero was M. Tullius Tiro, and of a freedman of Livia (the wife of Augustus), M. Livius Ismarus.
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The Greek term for the inner portion of a temple. (See TEMPLE.)
NARCISSUS The beautiful son of the river-god Cephisus. He rejected the love of the Nymph Echo (q.v.), and Aphrodite punished him for this by inspiring him with a passion for the reflexion of himself which he saw in the water of a fountain. He pined away in the desire for it: to see one's reflexion in the water was hence considered as a presage of death. The flower of the same name, into which he was changed, was held to be a symbol of perishableness and death, and was sacred to Hdd6s, the divinity of the world below. Persephone had just gathered a narcissus, when she was carried off by Hades.
NAUARCHUS The Spartan term for the commander of the fleet, chosen for one year also a general term for the captain of a ship, regularly so used in the fleets of the Roman Empire.
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Administrative districts at Athens dating from prehistoric times; they were 48 in number, 12 from each of the old phylce. Each of them was obliged to furnish two horsemen and a ship towards the army and navy. The naucrari, whe were at their head, seem to have formed a college or corporate body, who occupied themselves especially with all military and financial affairs, while current business was managed by the prytaneis, whose office was the Prytaneion. Clisthenes raised their number to 50, 5 from each of the 10 new phylce, and probably restricted in functions to the services to the State, and especially the fleet. It is likely that they were given up after the fleet had been increased by Themistocles; their place was probably taken by the trierarchies. (See LEITOURGIA.)
NAUMACHIAE A name given by the Romans to contests between ships, represented for the amusement of the people, and commemorating naval engagements famous in history. The first representation of this kind was given by Caesar in B.C. 46 in a basin dug out for this purpose on the Campus Martius, on which occasion a Tyrian and an Egyptian fleet fought against each other, each with 2,000 rowers and 1,000 marines on board, In B.C. 2, Augustus, at the dedication of the temple of Mars Ultor, had a seafight between Atheiiians and Persians, represented with thirty ships. The greatest of all naumachioe, was that of Claudius in A.D. 52; it took place on the Fucine Lake, and 19,000 men in the dress of Rhodians and Sicilians fought in two fully armed men-of-war. For similar contests the arena of the amphitheatre was sometimes filled with water. The crews of the ships consisted of gladiators, prisoners and criminals who had been condemned to death.
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A king of Euboea, husband of Clymene. (See CATREUS.) After the unjust execution of his son Palamedes (q.v.) at the siege of Troy, the Greeks refused to give him the satisfaction he demanded. Thereupon he avenged his son's death by raising deceptive fire-signals, and stranding the returning Greeks among the breakers near the cliffs of Caphareus in Eubcea. He thus caused the shipwreck and destruction of a large number. He is said to have finally thrown himself into the sea.
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Son of Poseidon and Amymone (see DANAUS), founder of Nauplia, and a famous navigator.
NAUSICAA The discreet and beautiful daughter of the Phaeacian king Alcinous and Arete. She met Odysseus when he was cast ashore on the island of Scheria, and conducted him to her father's palace (Homer, Od. vi).
NAUTODICI Commercial judges: at Athens, a judicial board, having cognisance in disputes between traders and suits against foreigners who pretended to be citizens. The former class of cases they settled themselves; the latter they prepared and brought before the Heliastic court. In Demosthenes' time they had ceased to exist, and both kinds of suits came under the jurisdiction of the Thesmothetoe.
NAZARIUS A Latin panegyric writer; the author of an eulogy on the emperor Constantine, delivered 321 A.D.
NEARCHUS A Greek writer of Crete, resident afterwards at Amphipolis. He was a friend of Alexander the Great in his youth, and administered the satrapy of Lycia for five years after the battle of Granicus (334 B.C.). He then took part in the Indian expedition (327 B.C.) and returned, as commander of the fleet, down the Indus and along the coast of Asia, to the month of the Tigris. After Alexander's death he attached himself to Antigonus. He wrote an account of his voyage, which was rich in geographical discoveries. Of this we possess, besides fragments, an abstract in Arrian's Indica. The investigations of later times have in many respects confirmed the trustworthiness of his statements concerning ancient India.
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The drink of the Greek gods (see AMBROSIA), which Homer describes as a red wine [Il. xix 38] which Hebe pours out for the immortals [ib. iv 3].
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Feast in honour of the dead. (See BURIAL.)
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Son of Poseidon and Tyro the daughter of Salmoneus, brother of Pelias. The brothers are exposed after birth by their mother, who afterwards married Cretheus of Iolcus: they are found by a herdsman and brought up by him until they grow up and are acknowledged by their mother. After Cretheus' death they quarrel about the possession of Iolcus, and Neleus, together with Melampus and Bias, the sons of his half-brother Amythaon, retires into exile in Messenia, where Aphareus, Tyro's cousin, allows them to occupy Pylus. By Chloris, daughter of Amphion, the king of the Minyan Orchomenus (it is only a later myth that identifies him with Amphion of Thebes) he is father of twelve sons, of whom Periclymenus and Nestor (q.v.) are the most celebrated, and one daughter, the beautiful Pero, bride of Bias (see MELAMPUS). On his refusing to purify Heracles from the murder of Iphitus, Heracles invades his country and slays all his sons except Nestor, who chances to be absent from home at the time. Nestor becomes the champion and avenger of the aged Neleus when the Epeans and their king Augeas, emboldened by his misfortune, venture on acts of injustice towards him. According to one account it was Neleus who renewed the Olympian games and died at Corinth, where, it was said, he was buried at the isthmus; according to others, he was slain along with his sons by Heracles.
NEMESIANUS of Carthage. A Roman poet famous in his own times, belonging to the end of the 3rd century A.D. He flourished under the emperor Carus and his sons (212-284). We possess from him the first 425 lines of a fairly elegant poem on the Chase (Cynegetica), and four eclogues, in which be has closely followed Calpurnius (q.v., 2).
NEMESIS A post-Homeric personification of the moral indignation felt at all derangements of the natural equilibrium of things, whether by extraordinarily good fortune or by the arrogance usually attendant thereon. According to Hesiod she is daughter of Night, and with Aidos, the divinity of Modesty, left the earth on the advent of the iron age. As goddess of due proportion she hates every trangression of the bounds of moderation, and restores the proper and normal order of things. As, in doing this, she punishes wanton boastfulness, she is a divinity of chastisement and vengeance. She enjoyed special bonour in the Attic district of Rhamnus (where she was deemed to be the daughter of Oceanus), and is often called the Rhamnusian goddess; her statue there was said to have been executed by Phidias out of a block of Parian marble which the Persians bad brought with them in presumptuous confidence to Marathon, to erect a trophy of victory there. She was also called Adrasteia, that name, appropriate only to the Phrygian Rhea-Cybele, being interpreted as a Greek word with the, meaning, "She whom none can escape." She was also worshipped at Rome, especially by victorious generals, and was represented as a meditative, thoughtful maiden with the attributes of proportion and control (a measuring-rod, bridle and yoke), of punishment (a sword and scourge) and of swiftness (wings, wheel, and chariot drawn by griffins).
NEMORENSIS Epithet of Diana (q.v.).
NENIA A name given by the Romans to the funeral dirge in honour of the dead, sung to the accompaniment of flutes, at first by the relatives, in later times by hired mourners (proefice). There was also a goddess so called, the dirge personified, who had a chapel outside the Porta Viminalis.
NEOCORI The Greek term for certain officials subordinate to the priests, on whom devolved the cleaning and keeping in repair of the temple to which they were attached. In important temples, especially in Asia, the office of a neocorus was considered a distinction by which even the greatest personages felt honoured. In the imperial period of Rome, whole cities, in which temples of the emperors existed, styled themselves their neocori. [Ephesus is described in Acts, xix 35 as the neocorus, or "temple-keeper," of Artemis.]
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A form of later Greek philosophy, founded upon Plato. (See PHILOSOPHY.)
NEOPTOLEMUS Son of Achilles and Deidamia. He was brought up by his grandfather Lycomedes in Scyros. After Achilles' death, however, he was taken by Odysseus to Troy, since, according to the prophecy of Helenus, that town could be taken only by a descendant of Aeacus. Here, like his father, he distinguished himself above all by a courage which none could withstand. He slew Eurypylus, son of Telephus, and was one of the heroes in the Wooden Horse, where he alone remained undaunted. Later legend depicted him as fierce and cruel: at the, taking of Troy he killed the aged Priam at the altar of Zeus, hurled Hector's son. Astyanax, down from the walls, and offered up Polyxena, upon his father's tomb. In Homer he arrives safely with much booty at Phthia, his father's home, and weds Menelaus' daughter Hermione, who was promised him during the siege of Troy [Od. iv 5]. Later legend represents him as accompanied by Andromache, Hector's wife, who is allotted him as part of his booty, and Helenus, and then, on the strength of a prophecy of Helenus, as going to Epirus and settling there. It was to a son of his by Lanassa, granddaughter of Heracles, that the later kings of Epirus traced back their descent, and accordingly styled themselves Aeacidoe, while from his son by Andromache, Molossus, the district of Molossia was said to derive its name. He afterwards went to Phthia, to reinstate his grandfather Peleus in his kingdom (whence he had been expelled by Acastus), and wedded Hermione. He soon, however, met his death at Delphi, whither, according to one story, he had gone with dedicatory offerings, or, according to another, to plunder the temple of Apollo in revenge for his father's death. The accounts of his death vary, some attributing it to Orestes, the earlier lover of Hermione; others to the Delphians, at the instance of the Pythian priestess; others again to a quarrel about the meat-offerings. The scene of his death was the altar, a coincidence which was regarded as a judgment for his murder of Priam. His tomb was within the precincts of the Delphic temple, and in later times he was worshipped as a hero with annual sacrifices by the Delphians, as he was said to have vouchsafed valuable assistance against the Gauls when they threatened the sacred spot [B.C. 279; Pausanias, x 23].
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Wife of Athamas, mother of Phrixus and Helle. (See ATHAMAS.)
NEPTUNUS The Italian god of the sea, husband of Salacia, (the goddess of salt water), identified by the Romans with the Greek Poseidon. This identification dated from 399 B.C., when a Lectisternium was ordained in his honour by the Sibylline books. Like Poseidon, he was worshipped as god of the sea and of equestrian accomplishments. As such be bad a temple in the Circus Flaminius, whilst in the Circus Maximus the old Italian god Consus had an altar in a similar capacity. In after times Agrippa built a temple and portico to Neptune on the Field of Mars in honour of his naval victory over Sextus Pompeius and Antonius. A festival of Neptune (Neptunalia), accompanied by games, was celebrated on July 23rd. The old harbour god of the Romans was Portunus (q.v.). See POSEIDON.
NEREIDS The Nymphs of the sea, daughters of Nereus (q.v.) and Doris.
NEREUS The eldest son of Pontus and Gaea, husband of Doris, daughter of Oceanus, father of 50 (according to a later account, 200) beautiful Sea-nymphs, the Nereids. He is described as a venerable old man, of a kindly disposition towards mortals, and as dwelling in a resplendent cave in the depths of the Aegean. Like all gods of water, he has the gift of prophecy and of transforming himself into any shape he chooses to assume. He is represented as an old man with the leaves of seaweed or hair and a sceptre or trident. His daughters are likewise benevolent beings, well disposed to mortals. They live with their father in the depths, but rise to the surface in order to amuse themselves with every kind of pastime and to assist sailors in distress. They were especially worshipped on the islands, on the coasts, and at the mouths of rivers, and were depicted in works of art as charming maidens, sometimes lightly clothed, sometimes naked, often riding on dolphins and Tritons (see cut). The Nereids most often mentioned in mythology are Amphitrite and Thetis, with Galatea.
NESSUS A Centaur, who used to ferry travellers over the river Evenus. On attempting to outrage Deianira, the wife of Heracles, he was shot by the latter with one of his poisoned arrows. Upon this he presented Deianira with a portion of his poisoned blood, professedly to enable her to regain her husband's affections, should he prove false to her. The robe smeared with the blood proved fatal to Heracles (q.v.). [Cp. Soph., Trachinioe, 558, 1141.]
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Son of Neleus and Chloris, ruler of the Messenian and Triphylian Pylus, and later also, after the extinction of the royal family there, of Messenia; wedded to Eurydice, by whom he had seven sons and two daughters. He was the only one of twelve sons of Neleus who escaped being slain by Heracles, since he was, it is said, living at the time among the Gerenians in Messenia, from whom he derives the name Gerenios, given him in Homer. After this disaster, the king of the Epeans, Augeas, illegally keeps back a four-horsed chariot, which Neleus has sent to Elis to compete in a contest. Neleus, as yet hardly a youth retaliates by driving off the herds of the Epeans; upon which the latter with a large army besiege the Pylian fortress of Thyroessa on the Eurotas. Neleus forms one of the relieving army, serving as a foot-soldier, owing to his father's having, from regard to his youth, had the war-horses concealed Ecom him. He slays in battle Augeas' son-in-law, and, fighting from the dead man's chariot, wins a most brilliant victory, so that the Pylians offer thanks to him among men even as they offer them to Zeus among the gods. In like manner in the war against the Arcadians, when he was the youngest of all the combatants, he killed the gigantic and much dreaded hero Ereuthalion. He also took an important part in the battle between the Centaurs and the Lapithae. In old age, when he was ruling over the third generation of his people, he was involved in the expedition against Troy, owing, as the story went, to the obligation incurred by his son Antilochus as a suitor of Helen; with Odysseus he gains the help of Achilles and Patroclus for the undertaking, and himself sails, in the company of his sons Antilochus and Thrasymedes, with 90 ships to the seat of war at Ilium. Here, according to Homer, "Neleus the horseman," in spite of his great age, takes a prominent part among the heroes in council and battle alike: the qualities which adorn him are wisdom, justice, eloquence ("from his lips flows language sweeter than honey" [Il. i 248]), experience in war, unwearied activity, and courage. All value and love him, none more than Agamemnon, who wishes that he had ten such counsellors: in that case, he says, Troy would soon fall [Il. ii 372]. He is so great a favourite with Homer that in ancient times it was conjectured that the poet was himself a native of Pylos. After the destruction of Troy he returns in safety with his son Thrasymedes to Pylos, Antilochus (q.v.) having for the sake of his father, who was in sore peril, sacrificed his own life in battle against Memnon. Ten years afterwards, Telemachus still finds him at Pylos, amidst his children, in the enjoyment of a cheerful and prosperous old age. [On the "cup of Nestor," see TOREUTIC ART.]
NEXUM In the old Roman legal system the solemn process on entering upon a relationship of debtor and creditor under the form of mancipatio (q.v.). In the formula used therein the borrower gave the lender, in case of non-fulfilment of the obligation incurred, the right to seize him without more ado as his bondsman. There was no limit in respect of time to the right of the creditor over a debtor whose person thus became forfeit to him: it consisted in the fact that the creditor could keep the nexus in prison and make him work as a slave for him. The latter, however, continued to be a citizen; but, as long as the debt existed, was considered dishonoured, and was accordingly excluded from service in the legion and voting in the assemblies of the people. After the Lax Poethlia Papiria of 326 B.C. had, in the interest of the plebeians, for the most part abolished personal security, the nexum gradually passed into a mere contract of loan. [In Prof. Nettleship's Lectures and Essays, pp. 363-6, there is a note showing that the proper meaning of nexum is "a thing pledged (bound)," and of nexum -i, "a prisoner"; that the evidence for making nexum mean "a solemn process is very weak; and that nexus -us is the proper word for the contract or bond between debtor and creditor. In almost all the passages where nexum -i is supposed to mean "a process," it might as well come from nexus -us. Cicero, however, in Pro Coecina 102, has nexa atque hereditates; and in De Rep. ii 59, propter unius libidinem omnia nexa civium liberata nectierque postea desitum.]
NICANDER A Greek poet born at Colophan in Asia, about 150 B.C. He was an hereditary priest of Apollo, as well as a physician, and lived a great deal in Aetolia as well as later in Pergamon. He wrote numerous works, such as those on agriculture, of which considerable fragments are still preserved, and on mythological metamorphoses (used by Ovid), etc. Two of his poems, written in a dull and bombastic manner, are still extant: the Theriaca, on remedies against the wounds inflicted by venomous animals; and the Alexipharmaca, on poisons taken in food and drink, with their antidotes.
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The Greek goddess of victory, according to Hesiod, daughter of Pallas and Styx, by whom she was brought to Zeus to assist him in his struggle with the Titans: thenceforward she remains always with Zeus on Olympus. Sculptors often represent her in connexion with divinities who grant victory: thus the Olympian Zeus and the Athene on the Acropolis at Athens held in one hand a statue of Nice. (See ZEUS, fig. 2; and, for another Nice, cp. PAeONIUS.) She was generally represented as winged and with a wreath and a palm-branch. As herald of victory she also has the wand of Hermes. This mode of representing her was adopted for the statues of the goddess specially revered by the Romans under the name Victoria. Vica Pota ("Victorious Issue") was an earlier designation of the same goddess. Such statues were erected chiefly on the Capitol by triumphant generals. The most famous was the statue [brought from Tarentum and therefore probably the work of a Greek artist] which Augustus dedicated to her in the Curia Iulia, in memory of his victory at Actium. When the Curia Iulia had been destroyed by fire in the reign of Titus and rebuilt by Domitian, the statue was Paced in the new building, and was adored as the guardian goddess of the senate until Christianity became the religion of the empire.
NICOLAUS A Greek historian of Damascus. At the suggestion of the Jewish king Herod the Great, whose devoted friend he was, and who had recommended him to Augustus, he wrote a comprehensive history of the world down to his own times in 144 books, which is partly preserved in important fragments exhibiting an agreeable style. His panegyrical biography of Augustus has come down to us almost entire.
NICOMACHUS A Greek painter, probably of Thebes, about 360 B.C. He was celebrated as an artist who could paint with equal rapidity and excellence, and was regarded as rivalling the best painters of his day. A famous painting of his was the Rape of Proserpine. (Pliny, N. H. xxxv 108.]
NICOMACHUS Of Gerasa in Arabia, a follower of the Pythagorean philosophy, about 150 A.D. He composed an introduction to Mathematics in two books and a handbook on Harmony, of which only the first book is preserved entire, the second consisting of two fragments which cannot be said with certainty to come from Nicomachus. The first-mentioned work gives valuable information as regards the arithmetic of the Greeks in earlier times. It was translated into Latin by Boethius.
NIGIDIUS FIGULUS A friend and contemporary of Cicero, next to Varro the most learned Roman of his day, born about 98 B.C. He was an adherent of Pompey, and after his defeat went into exile, where he died in 45. He had a propensity to mysticism, which led him to the Pythagorean philosophy, astrology and magic, which he actually practised. His writings On theology, natural history, and grammar were in some cases very voluminous, but owing to their obscurity and subtlety, in spite of their erudition, they met with far less notice than those of Varro.
NIOBE Daughter of Tantalus and Dione, sister of Pelops and wife of Amphion of Thebes. Like her father, she stood in close connexion with the gods, especially with Leto, the wife of Zeus, and fell into misfortune by her own arrogance. In maternal pride for her numerous progeny of six sons and six daughters, the ill-fated woman ventured to compare herself to Leto, who had only two children. To punish this presumption Apollo and Artemis slew with their arrows all Niobe's children, in their parents' palace. For nine days they lay in their blood without any to bury them, for Zeus had changed all the people into stone. On the tenth day the gods buried them. Niobe, who was changed to stone on the lonely hills of Sipylus, cannot even in this form forget her sorrow. Thus runs Homer's account [Il. xxiv 614], in which we have the earliest reference to "a colossal relief roughly carved on the rocks" of Mount Sipylus in Lydia, the face of which is washed by a stream in such a manner that it appears to be weeping [cp. Jebb on Soph., Ant. 831]. The accounts of later writers vary greatly in respect of the number of the daughters of Niobe and of the scene of her death. Sometimes the spot where the disaster occurs is Lydia, sometimes Thebes, where moreover the grave of Niobe's children was pointed out: the sons perish in the chase or on the race-course, while the daughters die in the royal palace at Thebes or at the burial of their brethren. This story describes Niobe as returning from Thebes to her home on Sipylus, and as there changed into a stone by Zeus, at her own entreaty. The fate of Niobe was often in ancient times the theme both of poetry and of art. The group of the children of Niobe discovered at Rome in 1583 and now at Florence (part of which is shown in the cut) is well-known: it is probably the Roman copy of a Greek work which stood in Pliny's time in a temple of Apollo at Rome, and with regard to which it was a moot point with the ancients whether it was from the hand of Scopas or of Praxiteles [Pliny, N. H. xxxvi 28. Cp. Stark, Niobe und die Niobiden, 1863].
NISUS son of Pandion, brother of Aegeus of Athens, king of Megara and reputed builder of the seaport Nisaea. When Minos, in the course of his expedition of reprisal against Aegeus, besieged Megara, Scylla, Nisus' daughter, from love for the Cretan king, brought about her father's death by pulling out a golden or (according to another account) a purple hair on the top of his head, on which his life and the fate of the realm depended. Minos, however, did not reward her treachery; he fastened her to the stern of his ship, and thus drowned her in the Saronic Gulf, or, according to others, left her behind him; whereupon she cast herself into the sea, and was changed either into a fish or into a bird called Ciris.
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The aristocracy of office, which at Rome took the place of the patrician aristocracy of birth, after the admission of the plebeians to all the offices of state and the levelling of the distinction between patricians and plebeians consequent thereon. It comprised those patrician and plebeian families whose members had held one of the curule magistracies. These families, for the most part the most illustrious and wealthy, had the influence and money, which afforded them the necessary means to canvass for and hold an office. Thus, in spite of the theoretical equality of rights now existing, they almost completely excluded from the higher magistracies all citizens who had neither wealth nor noble relatives to support them. It was quite exceptional for a man who did not belong to the nobility to be fortunate enough to attain to them. If he did so, he was styled a homo novus (a new man, an upstart). It was one of the privileges of the nobility that they enjoyed the right to possess images of their ancestors. (See IMAGINES.)
NOMENCLATOR The Roman term for a slave who had the duty of reporting to his master the names of his slaves (often very numerous), of those who waited on him in the morning, of other visitors, and of those he was walking abroad. The latter duty as especially importantif his master was candidate for office, and, in order to gain votes, was anxious to canvass many of the electors in the public streets. [The word is properly written nomenculator, as is proved by the evidence of glosses and MSS. Cp. Martial, x 30, 30; Suetonins, Aug. 19, Calig. 41, Claud. 34.]
NOMOPHYLACES A board found in different states of Greece, which had to see to the observance of the requirements of the law, especially in the deliberative assemblies. At Athens, after the abolition of the Areopagus as a board of supervision (about 461 B.C.) a college of seven nomophylaces was introduced as a check upon the senate, the public assembly, and the magistrates.
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NOMOS Originally, an ancient kind of solo in epic form in praise of some divinity. It was either "aulodic" or "citharodic"; that is, it was sung to the accompaniment of the flute or the cithara. The citharodic nomos was from ancient times used at the festivals of Apollo, whom the Dorians especially worsbipped. It received its artistic form from Terpander (about 675 B.C.) principally by a systematic distribution into five or seven parts, of which three were the essential portions, the middle one forming the cardinal point of the whole. It formed an important element in the Delphian festival of the Phythian Apollo. On the other hand, the aulodic nomos, which Clonas of Tegea had introduced in imitation of the nomos of Terpander, was early excluded from this festival. By the side of the ancient nomoi, in which the words were sung to an instrumental accompaniment, there arose another variety formed on the same model. In this the song was dramatically recited to the tune of the flute or cithara, according as the nomos was "aulodic" or "citharodic." Of the former kind was the nomos introduced by the flute-player Sacadas of Argos (about 580) at the Pythian games, and hence called the Pythian nomos, a musical representation of the destruction of the dragon Pytho by Apollo. At a later period the province of the nomos was more and more extended and secularized, until it became the most important part of the musician's profession. [Plutarch, De Musica, cap. iii-x, pp. 1132-4.]
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At Athens a commission for the examination of proposed laws. (See ECCLESIA, 1.)
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The Roman name for the 5th or 7th day of the month (see CALENDAR, 2).
NONIUS MARCELLUS A Latin scholar, born at Thubursicum in Africa, who composed in the beginning of the 4th century A.D. a manual of miscellaneous information on points of lexicography, grammar, and antiquities, bearing the title of De Compendiosa Doctrina. It consisted originally of twenty books, one of which is lost. It is evidently founded on the works of earlier scholars, and in some parts exhibits verbal coincidences with Aulus Gellius. Though not showing the least genius or critical acumen, the work is of great importance owing to its numerous quotations from lost authors, especially of the archaic period. [See Prof. Nettleship's Lectures and Essays, pp. 277-331.]
NONNUS A Greek poet of Panopolis in Egypt, belonging to the 5th century A.D. As a pagan, he wrote with poetic talent, and in a spirited though highly rhetorical style, a vast epic, called the Dionysiaca, in forty-eight books, one of the chief sources for our knowledge of the Dionysiac cycle of legends. As a Christian, he composed a paraphrase of the Gospel of St. John in Greek hexameters.
NOTITIA DIGNITATUM A list of the officers of the court, and the civil and military magistrates. This official manual belongs to the end of the 4th century B.C., which is of great value for the statistics of the Roman empire at that time. It contains also the insignia of each magistrate represented in drawings.
NOVIUS A writer of Atellanoe (q.v.) flourishing about 90 B.C. Like his contemporary and rival Pomponius, he was a master of ready speech of a coarse and droll description. Some of his witty verses are quoted by Cicero [de Or. ii 255, 279, 285). Over forty titles of his works are mentioned, among them, as in the case of Pomponius, some which suggest travesties of mythological subjects; e.g., Hercules as Auctioneer.
NUMMUS A special name for the commonest coin at Rome, which generally served as the unit of reckoning, the sestertius (q.v., under COINAGE).
NUNDINAE The Roman term for the market day held on the last day of the week of eight days, on which countrymen rested from labour and came to Rome to buy and sell, as well as to do other business. Accordingly the Nundinae were used for public announcements, especially concerning public assemblies and the business to be conducted in them. The actual holding of the assemblies on these days was avoided, so as not to prevent the people from attending to the business of the market. Originally too no legal business was conducted on them, and it was not till the beginning of the 3rd century B.C. that it was introduced. The Nundinae, though not a regular feast-day, were nevertheless celebrated in private life by inviting strangers to one's table and exempting children from going to school.
NYCTEUS Son of Poseidon and the Pleiad Celaeno, brother of Lycus (q.v., 1) and father of Antiope (q.v.). After the early death of Cadmus' son Polydorus he administered the government of Thebes for Labdacus, who was a minor, until be met his death in battle with Epopeus, his daughter's husband.
NYMPHS Inferior divinities of Nature who dwell in groves, forests and caves, beside springs, streams and rivers; in some cases too on lonely islands, like Calypso and Circe. The nymphs of the hills, the forests, the meadows and the springs (called in Homer daughters of Zeus, while Hesiod makes the nymphs of the hills and the forests together with the hills and the forests children of earth) appear as the benevolent spirits of these spots, and lead a life of liberty, sometimes weaving in grottoes, sometimes dancing and singing, sometimes hunting with Artemis or revelling with Dionysus. Besides these divinities it is especially Apollo, Hermes and Pan who are devoted to them and seek after their love; while the wanton satyrs are also continually lying in wait for them. They are well disposed towards mortals and ready to help them: they even wed with them. According to the various provinces of nature were distinguished various kinds of nymphs: nymphs of rivers and springs, the Naiads, to whom the Oceanids and Nereids are closely related; nymphs of the hills, Oreads; nymphs of the forests and trees, Dryads or Hamadryads; besides this they often received special names after certain places, hills, springs and grottoes. The Naiads, as the goddesses of the nourishing and fructifying water, were especially rich in favours, giving increase and fruitfulness to plants, herds and mortals. Hence they were also considered as the guardian goddesses of marriage, and the besprinkling of the bride with spring-water was one of the indispensable rites of the marriage ceremony. On the same principle, legendary lore represents them as nursing and bringing up the children of the gods, as for instance Zeus and Dionysus. Further, owing to the healing and inspiring power of many springs, they belong to the divinities of healing and prophesying, and can even drive men into a transport of prophetic and poetic inspiration. The Muses themselves are in their origin fountain-nymphs. Popular belief assigned to the nymphs in general an exceedingly long life, without actual immortality. The existence of Dryads, it was supposed, was closely bound up with the origin and decay of the tree in which they dwelt. They enjoyed divine honours from the earliest times, originally in the spots where they had power, at fountains, and in groves and grottoes. In later times shrines of their own, hence called Nymphoea, were built to them, even in cities. These eventually became very magnificent buildings, in which it was customary to celebrate marriages. Goats, lambs, milk, and oil were offered to them. Works of art represented them in the form of charming maidens, lightly clothed or naked, with flowers and garlands; the Naiads drawing water or carrying it in an urn.
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