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On this page: Nfnyas – Niobe – Niphates – Nireus – Nisus

1204 NIOBE.

NFNYAS (Ntvuas), the son of Ninus and Semiramis, is spoken of under semiramis.

NIOBE (N^). 1. A daughter of Phoro­neus, and by Zeus the mother of Argus and Pelasgus. (Apollod. ii. .!..§ 1 ; Paus. ii. 22. § 6 ; Plat. Tim. 22, b.) In other traditions she is called the mother of Phoroneus and wife of Inachus.

2. A daughter of Tantalus by the Pleiad Taygete or the Hyad Dione (Ov. Met. vi. 174 ; Hygin. Fab. 9), or, according to others, a daughter of Pelops and the wife of Zethus or Alalcomeneus (Eustath. ad Horn. p. 1367), while Parthenius relates quite a different story (Erot. 33), for he makes her a daughter of Assaon and the wife of Philottus, and relates that she entered into a dis­pute with Leto about the beauty of their respective children. In consequence of this Philottus was torn to pieces during the chase, and Assaon fell in love with his own daughter ; but she rejected him, and he in revenge burnt all her children, in conse­quence of which Niobe threw herself down from a rock (comp. Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 159). But according to the common story, which represents her as a daughter of Tantalus, she was the sister of Pelops, and married to Amphion, king of Thebes, by whom she became the mother of six sons and six daughters. Being proud of the number of her children, she deemed herself superior to Leto, who had given birth only to two children. Apollo and Artemis, indignant at such presumption, slew all the children of Niobe. For nine days their bodies lay in their blood without any one burying them, for Zeus had changed the people into stones ; but on the tenth day the gods themselves buried them. Niobe herself, who had gone to mount Sipylus, was metamorphosed into stone, and even thus con­tinued to feel the misfortune with which the gods had visited her. (Horn. 11. xxiv. 603—617; Apollod. iii. 5. § 6; Ov. Met. vi. 155, &c.; Paus. viii. 2. in fin.) Later writers, and especially the dramatic poets have greatly modified and enlarged the simple story related by Homer. The number an'd names of the children of Niobe vary very much in the different accounts, for while Homer states that their number was twelve, Hesiod and others mentioned twenty, Alcman only six, Sappho eighteen, Hellanicus six, Euripides fourteen, He­rodotus four, and Apollodorus fourteen. (Apollod. I.e.; Ov. Met. vi. 182; Aelian, V. H. xii. 36; Gellius, xx. 6; Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 159; Eustath. ad Horn. p. 1367 ; Hygin. Fab. 11 ; Tzetz. ad Lye. 520.) According to Homer all the children of Niobe fell by the arrows of Apollo and Artemis; but later writers state that one of her sons, Amphion or Amyclas, and one of her daughters, Meliboea, were saved, but that Meli-boea, having turned pale with terror at the sight of her dying brothers and sisters, was afterwards called Chloris, and this Chloris is then confounded with the daughter of Amphion of Orchomenos, who was married to Neleus. (Apollod. I. c.; Horn. Od. xi. 282; Paus. ii. 21. in fin., v. 16. § 3.) The time and place at which the children of Niobe were destroyed are likewise stated differently. According to Homer, they perished in their mother's house ; . and, according to Apollodorus, the sons were killed by Apollo during the chase on mount Cithaeron (Hygin. Fab. 9, says on mount Sipylus), and the daughters by Artemis at Thebes, not far from the royal palace. According to Ovid, the sons were slain while they were engaged in


gymnastic exercises in a plain near Thebes, and the daughters during the funeral of their brothers. Others, again, transfer the scene to Lydia( Eustath. ad Horn. p. 1367), or make Niobe, after the death of her children, go from Thebes to Lydia, to her father Tantalus on mount Sipylus, where Zeus, at her own request, metamorphosed her into a stone, which during the summer always shed tears. (Ov. Met. vi. 303; Apollod. 1. c.; Paus. viii. 2. § 3; Soph. Antig. 823, Electr. 147.) In the time of Pausanias (i. 21. § 5) people still fancied they could see the petrified figure of Niobe on mount Sipylus. The tomb of the children of Niobe, however, was shown at Thebes. (Paus. ix. 16. in fin., 17. § 1 ; but comp. Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 159.) The story of Niobe and her children was frequently taken as a subject by ancient artists (Paus. i. 21. § 5, v. 11. § 2); but none of the an­ cient representations is more celebrated than the group of Niobe and her children which filled the pediment of the temple of Apollo Sosianiis at Rome, and was found at Rome in the year 1583. This group is now at Florence, and consists of the mother, who holds her youngest daughter on her knees, and thirteen statues of her sons and daughters, independent of a figure usually called the paedagpgus of the children. It is, however, not improbable that several of the statues which now compose the group, originally did not belong to it. Some of the figures in it belong to the most masterly productions of ancient art. The Romans themselves were uncertain as to whether the group was the work of Scopas or Praxiteles. (Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 4 ; comp. Welcker, ZeitscJirift fur die alte Kunst., p. 589, &c.) [L. S.]

NIPHATES (N^arTjs), one of the Persian ge­ nerals in the battle of the Granicus. (Arrian, i. 12.) f [C.P.M.]

NIREUS (Njpevs). 1. A son of Charopus and Aglaia, was, next to Achilles, the handsomest among the Greeks at Troy, but unwarlike. He came from the island of Syme (between Rhodes and Cnidus), and commanded only three ships and a small number of men. (Horn. II. ii. 671 ; Hygin. Fab. 270.) According to Diodorus (v. 53), he also ruled over a part of Cnidus, and he is said to have been slain by Eurypylus or Aeneias. (Diet. Cret. iv. 17; Dar. Phryg. 21; Hygin. Fab. 113.) His beauty became proverbial. (Lucian, Dial. Mort. 9.)

2. A son, or favourite of Heracles, with whom he fought against the lion of mount Helicon. (Ptolem. Hephaest. 2.) [L. S.]

NISUS (N?<ros). 1. A son of Pandion (or, according to others, of De'ion or Ares) and Pylia, was a brother of Aegeus, Pallas, and Lycus, and husband of Abrote, by whom he became the father of Scylla. He was king of Megara ; and when Minos, on his expedition against Athens, took Megara, Nisus died, because his daughter Scylla, who had fallen in love with Minos, had pulled out the purple or golden hair which grew on the top of her father's head, and on which his life depended. (Apollod. iii. 15. §§ 5, 6, 8 ; Schol. ad Eurip. Hippol.lQQQ.) Minos, who was horrified at the conduct of the unnatural daughter, ordered Scylla to be fastened to the poop of his ship, and after­wards drowned her in the Saronic gulf. (Apollod. I. c.) According to others, Minos left Megara in disgust, but Scylla leaped into the sea, and swam after his ship; but her father, who had been

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