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On this page: Nereis – Nereius – Nereus – Nerio – Neritus – Nerius

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NEREIS.

-• NERA'TIUS PRISCUS, a Roman jurist, who lived under Trajan and Hadrian. It is said that Trajan sometimes had the design of making Nera-tius his successor in place of Hadrian. (Spart. Hadr. 4.) He enjoyed a high reputation under Hadrian, and was one of his consiliarii. (Spart. Hadr. 18.) Neratius was consul, but the year is uncertain. The works of Neratius were fifteen books of Regulae, three books of Responsa,and seven books of Membranae, from which there are sixty-four excerpts in the Digest. A fourth book of Epistolae, and a treatise entitled Libri ex Plautio, are cited in the Digest (8. tit. 3. s. 5. § 1 ; 33. tit. 7. s. 12. § 35). He also wrote a book, De Aruptiis (Gell. iv. 4), if Neratius is the right read­ing there. It is a mistake to collect from a passage in the Digest (39. tit. 6. s. 43), that he wrote notes Ad Fulcinium. Paulus wrote Ad Nera-tium, in four books, from which there are excerpts in the Digest.

When Prisons is mentioned in the Digest, Javo- lenus Priscus is meant. Neratius wrote in a clear, condensed style, and is a good authority. He is often cited by subsequent jurists. (Grotius, Vitae Juriconsult.; Zimmern, Geschickte des Rom. Rechts^ vol. i. p. 324 ; Puchta, Cursus, &c. vol. i. p. 444, 1st ed.) [G. L.]

NEREIS (Nr7/>€&), or Nerine (Virg. Edog. vii. 37), is a patronymic from Nereus, and applied to his daughters (Nereides, Nrjpe'iSes, and in Homer Nyprfioes) by Doris, who were regarded by the ancients as marine nymphs of the Mediterranean, in contra-distinction from the Naiades, or the nymphs of fresh water, and the Oceanides, or the nymphs of the great ocean (Eustath. ad Horn. p. 622). The number of the Nereides was fifty, but their names are not the same in all writers (Horn. //. xviii. 39, &c. ; Hes. Theog. 240, &c. ; Pind. Isthm. vi. 8 ; Apollod. i. 2. § 7 j Ov. Met. ii. 10, &c. ; Virg.'Aen. v. 825 ; Hygin. Fab. praef.) They are described as lovely divinities, and dwelling with their father at the bottom of the sea, and they were believed to be propitious to all sailors, and es­ pecially to the Argonauts (Horn. II. xviii. 36, &c. 140 ; Apollod. i. 9. § 25; Apollon. Rhod. iv. 859, .930). They were worshipped in several parts of Greece, but more especially in sea-port towns, such as Cardamyle (Paus. iii. 26. § 5), and on the Isth­ mus of Corinth (ii. 1. § 7). The epithets given them by the poets refer partly to their beauty and partly to their place of abode. They were frequently repre­ sented in antiquity, in paintings, on gems, in re- lievoes and statues, and commonly as youthful, beau­ tiful, and naked maidens, and often grouped together Avith Tritons and other marine monsters, in which they resemble the Bacchic routs. Sometimes, also, they appear on gems as half maidens and half fish, like mermaids, the belief in whom is quite analogous to the belief of the ancients in the existence of the Nereides. (Hirt, Mythol. Bilderb. p. 150,tabb. 18, 19.) [L.S.]

NEREIS (Nijptfk), daughter of Pyrrhus I., king of Epeirus, was married, apparently long after her father's death, to Gelon, the son of Hieron, king of Syracuse, by whom she became the mother of Hieronymus. It appears that she out­lived her niece De'idameia, and was thus the last surviving descendant of the royal house of the Aeacidae. (Pans. vi. 12. § 3 ; Polyb. vii. 4. § 5 ; Justin. xxv iii. 3. § 4 ; Vales, ad Diod. Exc. p. 568.) Her name is found in an inscription rn the

NERIUS.

theatre of Syracuse, from which it appears that she bore the title of queen. (Raoul-Rochette, Mi- moires de Numismatique et cT Antiquite, p. 73, 4to. Paris, 1840.) Justin erroneously supposes her to be a sister of the Dei'dameia (or Laodameia, as he calls her) who was assassinated by Milon. That she was a daughter of the elder Pyrrhus, see Droy- sen, vol. ii. p. 275, note. [E. H. B.]

NEREIUS, a patronymic from Nereus, applied to his descendants, such as Phocus. (Ov. Met. vii. 685, xiii. 162 ; Virg. Aen. ix. 102). [L. S.J

NEREUS (NTjpeus), a 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 (Horn. //. xviii. 141, Od. xxiv. 58 ; Hes. Theog. 233, &c.; Apollod. i. 2. § 6). His empire is the Mediterranean or more particularly the Aegean sea, whence he is some­times called the Aegean (Apollon. Rhod. iv. 772 ; Stat. Tlieb. viii. 478). 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 Heracles he acts a pro­minent part, just as Proteus in the story of Odysseus, and Glaucus in that of the Argonauts (Apollod. ii. 5. § 11 ; Horat. Carm. i. 15). Virgil (Aen. ii. 418) mentions the trident as his attribute, and the epithets given him by the poets refer to his old age, his kindliness, and his trustworthy knowledge of the future. In works of art, Nereus, like other sea-gods, is represented with pointed sea-weeds taking the place of hair in the eyebrows, the chin, and the breast. (Hirt, Mythol. Bilderb. p. 150, &c.)

There is another mythical personage of the name of Nereus. (Apollod. i. 7. § 4). [L. S.]

NERIO, NERIENE, or NERIENIS, wife of the Roman god Mars. Very little is known about her, and the ancients themselves were doubtful as to the correct form of her name, though Gellius (xiii. 22) prefers .Nerio, which is analogous with Anio. The name is said to be of Sabine origin, and to be synonymous with virtus or fortitudo,. (Plaut. True. ii. 6.24; Martian. Cap. 3 ; L. Lydus, de Mem. iv. 42.) [L.S.]

NERITUS (N^piros), a son of Pterelaus in Ithaca, from whom mount Neriton, in the west of Ithaca, was believed to have derived its name. (Horn. Od. ix. 22, xvii. 207 ; Eustath. ad Horn, p. 1815.) [L.S.]

NERIUS, CN., of the Papinian tribe, accused P. Sestius of bribery in B. c. 56 (Cic. ad Q. Fr. ii. 3. § 5). This Cn. Nerius may be the same as the Nerius who was quaestor in b. c. 49, as we learn from some interesting coins, of which a specimen is annexed. The obverse represents the head of Sa­turn, with neri Q. vrb. (i. e. quaestor urbanus), and the reverse some military standards, with l. len(t). c. mar(c). cos. (i. e. L. Lentulus and C. Mar-cellus, consuls). The head of Saturn on the coin has evident reference to the temple of that deity, the aerarium at Rome, of which the quaestors had the charge, and where likewise the standards were kept, to which fact the reverse alludes (comp. Diet. of Ant. s. v. Aerarium}. The names of the consuls prove both that the coin was struck in b. c. 49, and that Nerius belonged to their party ; and it ia not improbable that the head of Saturn was em­ployed as an emblem in allusion to the treasury having been broken open by Caesar, and with a

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