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lx. 34.) 'Agrippina, to make sure of the succession for her son, resolved to poison the emperor. She accordingly sent away Narcissus to Campania, on .the pretext of his making use of the warm baths for the gout, with which he seems to have been affected. Here he was put to death almost imme­diately on ohe accession of the emperor Nero, a. d. 54. (Tac. Ann, xiii. 1 ; Dion Cass. lx. 34.) Be­fore his death he burnt all the letters of Claudius iwhich were in his possession. He amassed an enormous fortune, amounting, according to Dion Cassius, to 400,000,000 sesterces, equivalent to 3,125,000£ of our money. (Comp. Juvenal, xiv. 329.) If the following inscription refers to him, he had a wife named Claudia Dicaeosyna : d. m. ||


galissi U b. M. (Orell, Inscript. Lat. Select, vol. i. p. 177.) In another inscription we have : narcisi.


(Orell. /. c. and No. 2927, p. 505.) His name also occurs in Inscript. No. 4902, vol. ii. p. 414.

2. A freedman of the emperor Nero, who was put to death by the emperor Galba. (Dion Cass. Ixiv. 3.) [C. P. M.]

NARCISSUS, a celebrated athlete, with whom Commodus was in the habit of practising his gym­nastic exercises, was employed by Marcia to strangle the emperor, when the poison that had been admi­nistered to him proved too slow in its operation, a. d. 192. (Dion Cass. Ixxii. 22; Lamprid. Commod. 17 ; Aur. Vict. de Caes. 18, Epit. 17.) Narcissus appears to have had great influence with this emperor, for we are told that it was at his sug­gestion that Pescennius Niger was placed by Commodus in the command of the Syrian armies. (Spartian. Pescen. Nig. 1.) Narcissus was after­wards exposed to the lions by the emperor Severus on account of his having strangled Commodus. (Dion Cass. Ixxiii. 16 ; Spartian. Sever. 14.) NARSES, son of Artaxerxes III. [arses.] NARSES, king of Persia. [sassanidae.] NARSES (Napo-^s), the rival of Belisarius. This celebrated general and statesman was perhaps born as early as a. d. 472. He was of foreign descent and of quite obscure parentage ; indeed, it seems that his parents sold him, or that he was made a prisoner of war when a mere boy, and his fate was that of so many other boys captured in war: he was castrated. Of his earlier life nothing is known. He came, however, to Constantinople and was em­ployed in the imperial household. He was of material service to the emperor Justinian during the Nt/ca riots (532), in which the name of Belisa­rius likewise became conspicuous. Narses was then cubicularius or chamberlain, as Theophanes states, and it was perhaps the judicial use he made of the funds entrusted to him, by bribing over the emperor's opponents, which caused him to be ap­pointed treasurer to his master. In later years he was employed in several embassies, and discharged his duties to the complete satisfaction of his master, whose confidence he enjoyed in the highest degree. In 538 he was sent to Italy with reinforcements for Belisarius, who was then in the field against the Goths; but it is more than probable that he had secret instructions to thwart that great com­mander, and prevent him from obtaining advan­tages which might have rendered him dangerous to the suspicious Justinian. The contingent com­manded by Narses consisted of 5000 veterans and



2000 Herules, savage but gallant warriors, and one of his lieutenants was another Narses, the brother of Aratius, an excellent general, whom Baronius would not have confounded with the great Narses had he been aware that the second Narses fell in the battle of Anglone in 543. Narses and Belisa^-rius effected their junction at Firmium, and soon afterwards they relieved Rimini, an exploit the honour of which was attributed to Narses, though the fact was that he tried to persuade Belisarius from venturing his army in such an expedition. Belisarius became soon aware that Narses had not only secret designs against him, but acted agree­ably to Justinian's wishes ; for in the council of war he never proposed any measure of importance without finding Narses of a contrary opinion, and had the mortification, moreover, to see him sup­ported by a crowd of jealous or disaffected officers. Vexed at these unfair proceedings, Belisarius claimed absolute obedience, and produced his im--perial commission in which Justinian commanded the officers of every degree to obey him implicitly; but Narses, pointing out the last words of the letter, in which it was said "that the officers should obey him in every thing compatible with the welfare of the empire," continued in his dis­obedience, pretending that the plans of Belisarius were dangerous to the empire. Hence arose vio­lent quarrels, and Narses with his troops separated himself from Belisarius. About this time the Goths, or, more correctly speaking, the Franks and Bur-gundians, their allies, had reduced Milan to ex­tremities, after besieging it for a considerable time ; and, anxious to save that large city, Belisarius sent orders to Joannes and Justin to hasten to its relief. They answered that they had only to obey orders emanating from Narses. Belisarius endured this insult with forbearance, and at last prevailed upon Narses to give his consent to the contem­plated expedition of those two generals ; but it was then too late, the Roman garrison of Milan surrendered, and that splendid city was reduced to a heap of ruins, while its inhabitants were massa­cred by the victors. Justinian now became afraid that the jealousy between the two commanders would lead to still greater calamities, and he con­sequently recalled Narses (539). This was the first equivocal debut of a general who afterwards put an end to the Gothic dominion in Italy.

During the following twelve years the name of Narses is scarcely mentioned in the annals of the empire, but he continued nevertheless to exercise a predominant influence in the privy council of Jus­tinian. The world, however, was more accustomed to look upon him as a statesman than as a general, and great was consequently the surprise. when, in 551, the emperor put him at the head of a for­midable expedition destined to retrieve the fortune of the Roman arms in Italy, where the Goths had had the upper hand ever since the recall of Belisarius in 548. The campaign of Narses in Italy 538, had been no proof of his military skill, and the Roman veterans revolted at fighting under a eunuch, whom the very laws of the country seemed to exclude from any command over men. Little affected by their demonstrations, and despising the ridicule which the people tried to throw upon him, Narses, availing himself of the unlimited confidence of Jus­tinian, drained the imperial treasury, and vigorously pushed on his preparations for the ensuing cam­paign. In the spring of 552 every thing was ready,

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