William Smith.

A smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... online

. (page 54 of 90)
Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 54 of 90)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


NEMORENSIS LACUS. [Akicia.]

NEMOSSUS. [Arvbrni.]

NEOBtJLE. [Archilochus.]

NEOCAESAREA (.ae), a city of Pontus, in
Asia Minor, standing on the river Lycus.

NEON, an ancient town in Phocis, at the
E. foot of Mt. Tithorea, a branch of Mt. Par-
nassus, destroyed by the Persians under
Xerxes, but rebuilt and named Tithorba,
after the mountain on which it was situated.

NEONTICHOS (». e. New Wall). (1) One
of the 12 cities of Aeolis, on the coast of
Mysia. — (2) A fort on the coast of Thrace,
near the Chersonesus.

NEOPTOLEMUS (4), also called PTR-
RHUS, son of Achilles and DeidamTa, the
daughter of Lyeomedes. He was named
Pyrrhus on account of his fair (srepp*?) hair,
and Neoptolemus because he came to Troy
late in the war. From his father he is some,
times called Achiltldea^ and from his grand.



father or great-grandfather, Pelides and
Aea<^de». Neoptolemus was brought up in
^cyros, in the palace of Lyconiedes, and was
fetched from thence by Ulysses, because it
had been prophesied that Neoptolemus and
Philoctetes were necessary for Uie capture of
Troy. At Troy Neoptolemus showed himself
worthy of his great father. He was one of
the heroes concealed in the wooden horse.
At the capture of the city he killed Priam at
the sacred hearth of Zeus (Jupiter), and sacri-
ficed Polyxena to the spirit of his father.
When the Trojan captives were distributed
among the conquerors, AudromachS, the
widow of Hector, was given to Neoptolemus.
On his return to Greece, he abandoned his
native kingdom of Phthia, in Thessaly, and
settled in Epirus, where he became the an-
cestor of the Molossian kings. He married
Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus, but
was slain in consequence by Orestes, to whom
Hermione had been previously promised.

NEPETfi or NEPET (-is : Nepi), tax ancient
town of Etruria, situated near the saltus
CiminiuB.^

NEPHELE (.es), wife of Athamas and
mother of Phrixus and Helle. Hence Helle
is called N^pMlHa, [Athamas.]

NEPOS (.Otis), CORNELIUS (.i), the con-
temporary and Mend of Cicero, Atticus, and
Catullus, was probably a native of Verona,
and died during the reign of Augustus.
Nepos wrote several historical works ; and
there is still extant under his name a work
entitled Fitae Excellentium Imperatorum^ con-
taining biographies of several distinguished
commanders. But in all MSS. this work is
ascribed to an unknown Aemilius Probus,
living under Theodosius at the end of the 4th
century of the Christian aera ; with the excep-
tion, however, of the life of Atticus, and the
fragment of a life of Cato the Censor, which
are expressly attributed to Cornelius Nepos.
These 2 lives may safely be assigned to Cor-
nelius Nepos ; but the Latinity of the other
biographies is such that we cannot suppose
them to have been written by a learned con-
temporary of Cicero. It is probable that
Probus abridged the work of Nepos, and that
the biographies, as they now exist, are in
reality epitomes of lives actually written by
Nepos.

NEPTtJNUS (.i), called POSEIDON by the
Greeks. Neptunus was the chief marine
divinity of the Romans ; but as the early
Romans were not a maritime people, we
know next to nothing of the worship of the
Italian god of this name. His ten^ple stood
in the Campus Martins. At his festival the
people formed tents {umbrae) of the branches
of trees, in which they enjoyed themselves in



Digitized by



Google



NEREIS.



281



NERO.



feasting and drinking. In the Roman poets
Neptune is completely identified with the
Greek Poseidon, and accordingly all the attri-
butes of the latter are transferred by them to
the former. [Poseidon.]

NEREIS or NEREIS (-Wis), daughter of
Nereus and Doris, and used especially in the
plural, NEREIDES or NEREIDES (-um), to
Indicate the 50 daughters of Nereus and
Doris. The Nereides were the marine nymphs
of the Mediterranean, in contradistinction
to the Ndtades, the nymphs of fresh water,
and the OcMnldes^ the nymphs of the great
ocean. One of the most celebrated of the
Nereides was Thetis, the mother of Achilles.
They are described as lovely divinities, dwell-
ing with their father at the bottom of the
sea, and were believed to be propitious to
sailors. They were worshipped in several
parts of Greece, but more especially in sea-
port towns. They are frequently represented
in works of art, and commonly as youthful
beautiful maidens; but sometimes they ap-



pear on gems as half maidens and half
fishes.

NErEIUS (-i), a name given by the poets
to a descendant of Nereus, such as Phocus and
Achilles.

NEREUS (-e«s, .?T, or -el), son of Pontus
and Gaea, and husband of Doris, by whom he
became the father of the 50 Nereides. He is
described as the wise and unerring old man
of the sea, at the bottom of which he dwelt.
His empire is the Mediterranean or more par-
ticularly the Aegaean sea, whence he is some-
times called the Aegaean. He was believed,
like other marine divinities, to have the power
of prophesying the future, and of appearing
to mortals in different shapes ; and in the
story of Hercules he acts a prominent part,
just as Proteus in the story of Ulysses, and
Glaucus in that of the Argonauts. In works
of art, Nereus, like other sea-gods, is some-
times represented with pointed sea-weeds
taking the place of hair in the eyebrows, the
chin, and the breast.



Kerens. (Panofka, Mut^e Blacas, pL 20.)



NERICUS. [Lkucas.]
NERInE (-es), equivalent to N6r6l8, a
daughter of Nereus. [Nerkis.]

NERIO, NERIENE, or N ERIENIS. [Mars.]
NEllITUM or -US (-i), a mountain in



Ithaca, and also a small rocky island near
Ithaca. The adjective NerXtXua is often used by
the poets as equivalent tolthacan or (Jlyssean.
NERO (-onis), the name of a celebrated
family of the Claudia gens. (1) C. Claudius



Digitized by



Google



NERVA.



282



NICAEA.



Keko, consul B.C. 207, \rhen he defeated and
Blew HdMlrubal, the brother of Hannibal, on |
the river Metaurus. — (2) Tib. Claudius Nbro, !
husband of Livia, and father of the emperor I
Tiberius and of his brother Drasus. [Litia.] I
— (3) Roman Empe&or, a.d. 54 — 68, was the \
son of Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, and of
Agrippina, daughter of Germanicus. Nero's
original name was X. Damitius Ahenobarbus^
but after the marriage of his mother with her
uncle, the emperor Claudius, he was adopted
by Claudius (a.d. 50), and was called Nero
Claudius Caesar Drusus Oermanieus. Nero
was bom at Antium, a.d. 37. Shortly after
his adoption by Claudius, Nero, being then 16
years of age, married Octavia, the daughter
of Claudius and Messalina (53). Among his
early instructors was Seneca. On the death
of Claudius (54), Agrippina secured the suc-
cession for her son, to the exclusion of Britan-
nicus, the son of Claudius. The young em-
peror soon distinguished himself by his
licentiousness, brutality, and cruelty. He
put to death Britannicus, his mother Agrip-
pina, and finally his wife Octavia ; he mur-
dered the latter that he might marry his
mistress, Toppaea Sabina, the wife of Otho.
The great fire at Rome happened in Nero's
reign (a.d. 64), but it is hardly credible that
the city was fired by Nero's order, as some
ancient writers assert. The emperor set
about rebuilding the city on an improved
plan, with wider streets. The odium of the
conflagration, which the emperor could not
remove f^om himself, he tried to throw
on the Christians, and many of them were
put to a cruel death. The tyranny of Nero
at last (a.d. 65) led to the organisation of a
formidable conspiracy against him, usually
called Piso's conspiracy, from the name of one
of the principal accomplices. The plot was
discovered, and many distinguished persons
were put to death, among whom was Piso
himself, the poet Lucan, and the philosopher
Seneca. Three years afterwards, Julius Vin-
dex, the governor of Gaul, raised the standard
of revolt. His example was followed by
Galba, who was governor of Hispania Tarra.
conensis. Soon after this news reached
Rome, Nero was deserted. He fled to a house
about 4 miles from Rome, where he put
an end to his life on hearing the trampling of
the horses on which his pursuers were
mounted, a.d. 68. The most important ex-
temal events in his reign were the conquest
of Armenia by Domitius Corbulo [Corbulo],
and the insurrection of the Britons under
Hoadicea, which was quelled by Suetonius
Paulinus.

NERVA (-ae), M. COCCEIUS (-i),
Poman emperor, a.d. 96 — 98, was bom at



Namia, in Fmbria, A.D. 32. On the assassi-
nation of Domitian, Nerva was declared
emperor, and bis administration at once
restored tranquillity to the state The class
of informers was suppressed by penalties,
and some were put to death. At the com-
mencement of his reign, Nerva swore that he
would put no s^ator to death ; and he kept
his word, even when a conspiracy had been
formed against his life by Calpumius Crassus.
Though Nerva was virtuous and humane, he
did not possess much energy and vigour. He
adopted as his son and successor, M. Ulpius
Trajanus. [T&ajanus.]

NERVll (-orum), a powerful and warlike
people in Gallia Belgica, whose territory
extended from the river Sabis {Sambre) to
the ocean.

NCSIS (.Tdis : msita), a small island off
the coast of Campania between Puteoli and
Neapolis, a favourite residence of the Roman
nobles.

NES<?0NIS, a lake in Thessaly, a little S.
of the river of Peneus.

NESSUS. [Hkrculbs, p. 200.]

NESTOR (8ris), king of Pylos, son of Neleus
and Chloris, and the only one of the 12 sons
of Neleus, who was not slain by Hercules.
[Nbleus.] In his early manhood, Nestor
was a distinguished warrior. He defeated
both the Arcadians and Eleans. He took
part in the fight of the Lapithae against the
Centaurs, and he is mentioned among the
Calydonian hunters and the Argonauts.
Although far advanced in age, he sailed with
the other Greek heroes against Troy. Having
ruled over three generations of men, he was
renowned for his wisdom, justice, and know,
ledge of war. After the fall of Troy he re-
turned home, and an'ived safely in Pylos.
Respecting the position of this Pylos, see
Ptlos.

NESTUS, sometimes NE^SUS (-i), a river
in Thrace, rising in Mt. Rhodope, and falling
into the Aegaean sea opposite the island of
Thasos. The Nestus formed the E. boundary
of Macedonia fh>m the time of Philip and
Alexander the Great.

NfiTUM C-i), a towii in SicUy S.W. of
Syracuse.

NEURI (-5rum), a jieople of Sarmatia
Europaea, to the N.W. of the sources of the
Tyras (Dnietter),

NiCAEA (-ae). (1) Acelebratedcity of Asia,
situated on the E. side of the lake Ascania
in Bithynia, built by Antigonus, king of Asia,
and originally called Antigonga ; but Lysi-
machus soon after changed the name bito
Nicaea, in honour of his wife. Under the
kings of Bithynia it was often the roytd resi-
dence; and under the Romans it continued



Digitized by



Google



NICANDER.



283



NILUS.



to be one of the chief cities of Asia. It is
famous in ecclesiastical history as the seat of
the great Oecumenical C!ouncil, which Con-
stantine convoked in a.d. 325, chiefly for the
decision of the Arian controversy, and which
drew up the Nicene Creed. — (2) A fortress
of the Epicnemidian Loorians on the sea, near
the pass of Thermopylae, which it com-
manded. — (3^ {liizzot Nice), a city on the
coast of Liguria, a little E. of the river Var ;
a colony of Massilia, and subject to that city.

NiCANDER (-dri), a Greek poet, gram-
marian and physician, was a native of Claros
near Colophon in Ionia, and flourished about
B.C. 185 — 135. Two of his poems are extant,
entitled Theritica and Alexipharmaca,

NIcE (-es), called victoria (-ae), by the
Romans, the goddess of victory, is described
as a daughter of Pallas* and Styx, and as a
sister of Zelus (zeal), Cratos (strength), and
Bia (force). Nice had a celebrated temple
on the acropolis of Athens, which is still
extant. She is often seen represented in ancient
works of art, especially with other divinities,
such as Zeus (Jupiter), and Athena (Minerva),
and with conquering heroes whose horses
she gruides. In her appearance she resembles
Athena, but has wings, and carries a palm or
a wreath, and is engaged in raising a trophy,
or in inscribing the victory of the conqueror
on a shield.

NIcEPHORIUM (4), a fortified town of
Mesopotamia, on the Euphrates, and due S.
of Edessa, built by order of Alexander, and
probably completed under Seleucus.

NICEPHORIUS (-i), a river of Armenia
Major, on which Tigranes built his residence
TioRANOCBRTA. It was a tributary of the
Upper Tigris ; probably identical with the
Ckntrites, or a small tributary of it.

NlCIAS (-ae). (1) A celebrated Athenian
general, was a man of large fortune and the
leader of the aristocratical party during the
Peloponnesian war. It was through his
influence that peace was concluded with
Sparta in b.c. 421. He used all his efforts
to induce the Athenians to preserve this
peace, but he was opposed by Alcibiadcs, who
had now become the leader of the popular
party. In 415, the Athenians resolved on
sending their great expedition to Sicily, and
appointed Nicias, Alcibiades and Lamachus
to the command, although Nicias disapproved
of the expedition altogether. Alcibiades was
soon afterwards recalled [Alcibiades] ; and
the irresolution and timidity of Nicias were
the chief causes of the failure of the expedi-
tion. Notwithstanding the large reinforce-
ments, which were sent to his assistance in
B.C. 413, under the command of Demosthenes,
the Athenians were defeated, and obliged to



retreat.' — (2) A celebrated Athenian painter,
flourished about b.c. 320.

NICOLAUS dAmASCENUS (4), a Greek
historian, was a native of Damascus, and an
intimate friend both of Herod the Great and
of Augustus. Some fragments of his works
have come down to us, of which the most im-
portant is a portion of a life of Augustus.

NICOMACHUS (-i). (1) Father of Aris-
totle. — (2) Son of Aristotle by the slave
Herpyllis. — (3) Of Thebes, a celebrated
painter, flourished b.c. 360, and onwards.

NICOmEDES (-is), the name of 3 kings of
Bithynia. — (1) Reigned b.c 278 — 250, was
the eldest son and successor of Zipoetes. He
founded the city of Nicomedia, which he
made the capital of his kingdom. — (2) Sur-
named Epipiianes, reigned b.c. 142 — 91, and
was the son and successor of Prusias II.,
whom he dethroned and put to death. He
was a faithful ally of the Romans. — (3) Sur-
named Philopatob., son and successor of the
preceding, reigned b.c. 9 1 — 74. He was twice
expelled by Mithridates, and twice restored
by the Romans. Having no children, he be-
queathed his kingdom to the Roman people.

NICOMEDIA (-ae), a celebrated city of
Bithynia, built by king Nicomedes I. (b.c
264), at the N.E. comer of the Sinus Asta-
cenus. Under the Romans it was a colony,
and a favourite residence of several of the
later emperors, especially of Diocletian and
Constantine the Great. It is memorable in
history as the scene of Hannibal's death. It
was the birthplace of the historian Arrian.

NICONIA or NICONIUM, a town in
Scythia on the right bank of the Tyras
{J)niester).

NTCOPOLIS (-is), a city at the S.W. ex-
tremity of Epirus, on the point of land which
forms the N. entrance to the Gulf of Ambracia, .
opposite to Actium. It was built by Augustus
in memory of the battle of Actium, and was
peopled from Ambracia, Anactorium, and
other neighbouring cities, and also with
settlers from Aetolia.

NIGER (-gri), a great river of Aethiopia
Interior, which modern usage has identified
with the river called Joli-ba {i.e. Great River)
and Quorraf in W. Africa. Many of the
ancients imagined the Niger to be a branch
of the Nile.

NIGER, C. PESCENNIUS (4), was saluted
emperor by the legions in the East, after the
death of Commodus, a.d. 193, but in the
following year he was defeated and put to
death by Septimius Severus.

NILUS (-i), oneof the most important rivers
of the world, flowing through Aethiopia and
Egypt northwards into the Mediterranean
sea. An account of its course through Egypt,



Digitized by



Google



NINUS.



284



NIOBE.



and of its periodical rise, is given under
Aegtptus.

NINUS, NINUS (4). (1) The reputed
founder of the city of Ninus, or Nineveh, and
the hushand of Semiramis. [Semiramis.] — (2)
Or NiNKVKH, the capital of the gjeat As-
syrian monarchy, stood on the £. side of the
Tigris, at the upper part of its course, in the
district of Aturia. The prophet Jonah (b.c.
825) describes it as "an exceeding great city,
of 3 days' journey," and as containing " more
than 120,000 persons that cannot discern
between their right and their left hand,"
which, if this phrase refers to children, would
represent a population of 600,000 souls.
Diodorus also describes it as an oblong
quadrangle of 150 stadia by 90, making
the circuit of the walls 480 stadia (more
than 55 statute miles) : if so, the city was
twice as large as London together with its
suburbs. In judging of these statements, not
only must allowance be made for the immense
space occupied by palaces and temples, but
also for the Oriental mode of building a city,
so as to include large gardens and other open
spaces within the walls. The walls of Nine-
Teh are described as 100 feet high, and thick
enough to allow S chariots to pass each other
on them ; with 1500 towers, 200 feet in
height. The city is said to have been entirely
destroyed by fire when it was taken by the
Medes and Babylonians, about b.c. 606 ; and
frequent allusions occur to its desolate state.
Under the Roman empire, however, we again
meet with a city Nineve, in the district of
Adiabene, but this must have been some later
place built among or near the ruins of the
ancient Nineveh. Of all the great cities of



the world, none was thought to have been
more utterly lost than the capital of the most
ancient of the great monarchies. Tradition
pointed out a few shapeless mounds oppo-
site MdstU on the Upper Tigris, as all that
remained of Nineveh; but within the last
years, those shapeless mounds have been
shown to contain the remains of great palaces.
The excavations conducted by Layard and
Botta have brought to light the sculptured
remains of immense palaces, not only at the
traditional site of Nineveh, namely Kouyur^k
and Nebhi-Younis^ opposite to Mosul^ and at
Khors&bad, about 10 miles to the N.N.E., but
also in a mound, 18 miles lower down the
river, in the tongue of land between the
Tigris and the Great Z&b, which still bears
the name of Nimroud. Which of these ruins
corresponds to the true site of Nineveh, or
whether that vast city may have extended all
the way along the Tigris from Kouyui\jik to
Nimrottdf and to a corresponding breadth
N.E. of the river, as far as Khors&bad^ are
questions still under discussion. Some
splendid fragments of sculpture obtained by
Layard from Nimroud^ are now to be seen in
the British Museum.

NIOBE (-58) or NIOBA (-ae), daughter of
Tantalus, and wife of Amphion, king of
Thebes. Proud of the number of her children,
she deemed herself superior to L€to (Latona),
who had given birth to only 2 children.
Apollo and Artemis (Diana), indignant at
such presumption, slew all her children with
their arrows. Niobe herself was metamor-
phosed by Zeus (Jupiter) into a stone on
Mt. Sipylus in Lydia, which during the sum-
mer always shed tears. The number of her



Niobe and her Children. (Tisoontl, Mus. Flo. Clem., toL 4, tav. 17.}



children is stated variously, biit the usual I children was a favourite subject with ancient
number in later times was 7 sons and 7 artists. There is at Florence a beautiful
daughters. The stoi^ of Niobe and her I group consisting of Niobe, who holds her



Digitized by



Google



NIPHATES.



285



NITRIAE.



youngest daughter on her knees, and
stiitues of her sons and daughters.



NIPHAtES (-ae), a mountain chain of Arme-
! nia, forming an £. prolongation of the Taurus.



Tlie Group of Nlobe. (Z&QDonl, GaL di Firenze, serie 4, yoL 1.)



NIREUS (-g(Js, ei, or el), son of Charopus
and Aglaia, and the handsomest among the
Greeks at Troy.

NiSAEA. [Meoara.]

NISAEUS CAMPUS, a plain in the N. of
Great Media, near Rhagae, celebrated for its
breed of horses.

NISIBIS (-is), also Antiociiia. Mtgdoniae,
a celebrated city of Mesopotamia, and the
capital of the district of Mygdonia, stood on
the river Mygdonius in a very fertile district.
It was of great importance as a military post.
Its name was changed into Antiochia, but it
soon resumed its original name. In the suc-
cessive wars between the Romans, and the
Parthians and Persians, it was several times
taken and retaken, until at last it fell into
the hands of the Persians in the reign of
Jovian.

NiSUS (-i). (1) King of Megara, and
father of Scylla, Scylla having fallen in love
with Minos when the latter was besieging
Megara, pulled out the purple or goldon hair
which grew on the top of her father's head,
and on which his life depended. Nisus
thereupon died, and Minos obtained possession
of the city. Minos, however, was so horri>
fled at the conduct of the unnatural daughter,
that he ordered her to be fastened to the poop
of his ship, and drowned her in the Saronic
gulf. According to others, Minos left Megara
in disgust ; Scylla leapt into the sea, and
swain after his ship ; but her father, who had
been changed into a sea-eagle {haliaeetua),



pounced down upon her, whereupon she was
metamorphosed into either a fish or a bird
called Ciris. — Scylla, the daughter of Nisu.*,
is sometimes confounded by the poets with
Scylla, the daughter of Phorcus. Hence the
latter is sometimes erroneously called NUeia
Virgo, and Niseis, [Scylla.] — Nisaea, the
port town of Megara, is supposed to have
derived its name from Nisus, and the promon-
tory of Scyllaeum to have been named after
his daughter. — (2) Son of Hyrtacus, and a
friend of Euryalus. The two friends accom-
panied Aeneas to Italy, and perished in a
night attack against the Rutulian camp.

NIStRUS (-i), a smaU island in the Car-
pathian Sea, off Caria. Its volcanic nature
gave rise to the fable respecting its origin,
that Poseidon (Neptune) tore it off the neigh-
bouring island of Cos to hurl it upon the
giant Polybotes.

NITIOBRIGES (-urn), a Celtic people in
Gallia Aquitanica between the Garumna and
the Liger.

NITOCRIS. (1) A queen of Babylon, men-
tioned by Herodotus, is supposed by modern
writers to be the wife of Nebuchadnezzar. —
(2) A queen of Egypt, elected to the sove-
reignty in place of her brother, whom the
Egyptians had killed. After putting to death
the Egyptians who had murdered her brother,
she threw herself into a chamber full of
ashes.' She is said to have built the third
pyramid.

NITRIAE, NITRARIAE, the celebrated



Digitized by



Google



NOBILIOR.



286



NOVIODUNUM.



natron lakes in Lower Egypt, which lay in a
▼alley on the S.W. margin of the Delta.

NOBILIOR (^ris), the name of a distin-
guished family of the Fulvia gena. The most
distinguished member of the family was M.
FuLvius NoBiLioa, consul b.c. 189, when
he conquered the Aetolians, and took the
town of Ambracia. Ue had a taste for lite-
rature and ail, and was a patron of the poet
Eunius, who accompanied him in his Aetolian
campaign.

NOLA (-ae : Noia)^ one of the most ancient
towns in Campania, 21 Roman miles S.£. of
Capua, celebrated as the place where the
emperor Augustus died. In the neighbour-
hood of the town some of the most beautiful
Campanian vases have been found in modern
times.

NOMENTINUS (-i), mentioned by Horace
as proverbially noted for extravagance and a
riotous mode of living.

NOMENTUM (-i). a Latin town founded
by Alba, but subsequently a Sabine town, 14
(Roman) miles from Rome. Its neighbour,
hood was celebrated for its wine.

NOMIUS (-i), the Pasturer, a surname of
divinities protecting the pastures and shep-
herds, such as Apollo, Pan, Hermes (Mercury),
and Aristaeus.

NOnACIUS (-is), a town In the N. of
Arcadia, surrounded by lofty mountains, in
which the river Styx took its origin. From
this town Evander is called Nott^vriua^
Atalanta Non^cria^ and Callisto Nondcrtna
Firgot in the general sense of Arcadian.

NONIUS MARCELLUS. [Mabckllus.]

NORA (-5rum). (1) A city of Sardinia,
on the coast of the Sinus Caralitanus. — (2) A
mountain fortress of Cappadocia, on the
borders of Lycaonia.

NORBA (-ae). (1) A town in Latium on
the slope of the Volscian mountains and near
the sources of the Nymphaeus, originally
belonging to the Latin, and subsequently



Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 54 of 90)