The Ancient Library

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On this page: Nan No – Napaeak – Naravas – Narcaeus – Narcissus – Narcissus Aug



When Cicero speaks (ad Att. i. 16. § 3) of Calvus ex Nanneianis illc9 he means to indicate Crassus, who was one of the purchasers of the confiscated property of the Nannii.

NAN NO (Namw), a flute-player, beloved by Minmermus, and repeatedly celebrated by him, as well as mentioned in connection with his name by Poseidippus. (Anth. Graec. vol. ii. p. 48, vol. viii. p. 142, ed. Jacobs ; Stobaeus, vol. i. p. 303, vol. iii. pp. 332, 435, ed. Gaisford.) [W. M. G.]

NAPAEAK [nymphae.]

NARAVAS (NapaiJas,, a Numidian chief, who bears a conspicuous part in the war of the Car­thaginians against their revolted mercenaries and African subjects. He at first espoused the cause of the rebels, and joined the army of Spendius with a considerable force, but was afterwards in­duced to go over to the Carthaginians. The latter change, which took place at so critical a period that it was probably the means of saving the whole army of Hamilcar Barca from destruction, is ascribed to the influence exercised over the mind of Naravas by the personal character of that gene­ral, who received him with open arms and pro­mised him his daughter in marriage. Throughout the remainder of the war Naravas was distinguished for his zeal and fidelity in the Carthaginian cause, and contributed essentially to the ultimate success of Hamilcar. (Polyb. i. 78, 82, 84, 86.) Naravas is the Greek form of the name, which is not men­tioned by any Latin writer : the more correct form would probably be Narbal, or rather, Naarbaal. (Gesenius, Ling. PJioen. Mon. p. 410.) [E. H. B.]

NARCAEUS (Nap/ccuos), a son of Dionysus and Narcaea, established a sanctuary of Athena Narcaea in Elis, and also introduced there the worship of Dionysus. (Paus. v. 16. § 5.) [L. S.]

NARCISSUS (Nap/a(7<ros), a son of Cephissus and the nymph Liriope of Thespiae. He was a very handsome youth, but wholly inaccessible to the feeling of love. The nymph Echo, who loved him, but in vain, died away with grief. One of his rejected lovers, however, prayed to Nemesis to punish him for his unfeeling heart. Nemesis ac­ cordingly caused Narcissus to see his own face re­ flected in a well, and to fall in love with his own image. As this shadow was unapproachable Nar­ cissus gradually perished with love, and his corpse was metamorphosed into the flower called after him narcissus. This beautiful story is related at length by Ovid (Met. iii. 341, &c.). According to some traditions, Narcissus sent a sword to one of his lovers, Ameinius, who killed himself with it at the very door of Narcissus' house, and called upon the gods to avenge his death. Narcissus, tormented by love of himself and by repentance, put an end to his life, and from his blood there sprang up the flower narcissus (Conon, Narrat. 24). Other accounts again state that Narcissus melted away into the well in which he had beheld his own image (Paus. ix. 31. § 6) ; or that he had a beloved twin sister perfectly like him, who died, whereupon he looked at his own image reflected in a well, to satify his longing after his sister. Eustathius (ad Horn. p. 266) says that Narcissus was drowned in the well. [L. S.]

NARCISSUS. 1. A freedman of the emperor Claudius, over whom he possessed unbounded in­fluence. He had charge of the emperor's letters. Reimar (ad Dion. Cass. Ix. 34) quotes an old in­scription (ap. Fabrettum, p. 543) which runs thus;



Claud. 28 ; Zonar. p. 563, d.) When Messallina wished to compass the death of C. Appius Silanus, Narcissus, between whom and herself there existed at that time a good understanding, pretended to the emperor that in a dream he had seen him fall by the hand of Silanus. The preconcerted entrance of Silanus immediately afterwards was alleged as a confirmation of the vision, and the unfortunate youth was immediately put to death. The empe­ror thanked his freedman in the senate, A. d. 42. (Suet. Claud. 37 ; Dion Cass. Ix. 14.) Narcissus soon afterwards seized the opportunity afforded by the conspiracy of Furius Camillus Scribonianus to get the emperor to order the death of a number of innocent persons. Messallina and Narcissus even went so far as to put to the torture many knights and senators. (Dion Cass. Ix. 15, 16.) Several of those most involved in the conspiracy, who could propitiate Narcissus and Messallina by money, escaped. In A. d. 43 we find Vespasianus sent as legatus of a legion into Germany through the influence of Narcissus. (Suet. Vesp. 4.) When the soldiers under A. Plautius in Britain mutinied, Narcissus was sent by the emperor to restore order; but on his attempting to address the soldiers he was received with shouts of indignation, and not suffered to speak. His mission, however, accom­plished its purpose, for the soldiers, under the in­fluence of this revulsion of feeling, suffered Plautius to take the command of them. (Dion Cass. Ix. 19.)

When Messallina, having lost the confidence of the freedmen of the palace, in consequence of her having caused the death of Polybius, proceeded in her mad extravagance to marry C. Silius, in­formation was given to the emperor, who at the time was at Ostia, by Narcissus, through some women. Narcissus persuaded the emperor that his only chance of safety lay in entrusting to him the command of the praetorian soldiers ; and to prevent any one else from having access to the ear of Claudius, he asked and obtained permission to ride back to Rome in the same carriage with him. As they approached the city he diverted the atten­tion of the emperor from the appeals of Messallina, who had come out to meet them, and prevented her children from being brought to their father. Finding Claudius not so prompt in ordering the death of Messallina as he wished, and fearing the effects of her habitual influence over him, Narcissus himself gave orders for putting her to death. The emperor was told that she had perished, and made no further inquiries. Narcissus shortly after re­ceived the insignia of a praetor. (Tac. Ann. xi. 30—38 ; Suet. Claud. 28.) In the discussions which ensued as to whom Claudius should marry, Narcissus supported the claims of Aelia Petina. (Tac. Ann. xii. 1.) Dion Cassius (Ix. 34) relates an anecdote which shows that Narcissus thoroughly appreciated the stupidity of the emperor. He how­ever got into considerable disgrace on account of the insufficient manner in which the canal for draining the lake Fucinus, the construction of which he had superintended, had been made. Agrippina charged him with the fraudulent appro­priation of great part of the money apportioned for the work. Narcissus, in return, did not leave un­noticed her imperious temper and ambitious designs, and threw his influence into the scale in favour of Britannicus. (Tac. Ann, xii. 57, 65 ; Dion Cass.

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