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On this page: Nitocris – Nixi Dit – Nobilior


changed into an eagle, perceived her, and shot down upon her, whereupon she was metamorphosed into either a fish or a bird called Ciris. (Ov. Met. viii. 6, &c.; Hygin. Fab. 198 ; Virg. Georg. i. 405, Eclog. vi. 74.) The tradition current at Megara itself knew nothing of this expedition of Minos, and called the daughter of Nisus Iphinoe, and represented her as married to Megareus. It is further added, that in the dispute between Sciron and Nisus Aeacus assigned the government to Nisus (Paus. i. 39. § 5), and that Nisa, the original name of Megara, and Nisaea, afterward the port town of Megara, derived their names from Nisus, and that the promontory of Scyllaeum was named after his daughter. (Paus. i. 39. § 4, ii. 34. § 7; Strab. viii. p. 373.) The tomb of Nisus was shown at Athens, behind the Lyceum. (Paus. i. 19. § 5.)

2. A son of Hyrtacus, a companion of Aeneias and friend of Euryalus, whose death he avenged by slaying Volscens, and then himself, in a dying state, threw himself upon the body of his friend and expired. (Virg. Aen. ix. 176, &c. 444.)

3. A noble of Dulichium, and father of Amphi-nomus, who was one of the suitors of Penelope. (Horn. Od. xvi. 395, xviii. 126, 412.) [L. S.]

NITOCRIS .(NirwKfMs). 1. A queen of Baby­lon, mentioned by Herodotus, who ascribes to her many important works at Babylon and its vicinity. According to his account she changed the course of the river above Babylon, built up with bricks the sides of the river at the city, and also threw a bridge across the river. He also relates that she was buried above one of the city gates, and that her tomb was opened by Dareius. (Herod, i. 185— 189.) Who this Nitocris was has occasioned great dispute among modern writers, and is as uncertain as almost all other points connected with the early history of the East. Since Herodotus (i. 185) speaks of her as queen, shortly after the capture of Ninus or Nineveh by the Medes, which is placed in b. c. 606, it is supposed by most modern writers that she was the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, who began to reign in b. c. 604, and the mother or grandmother of Labynetus or Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon. See Clinton, F. H. vol. i. p. 278, note f, who brings forward some other arguments in support of this opinion.

2. A queen of Egypt. Herodotus relates that she was a native Egyptian, and the only female of the 330 Egyptian monarchs whose names were read to the historian by the priests from a papyrus manuscript. He further tells us that she was elected to the sove­reignty in place of her brother, whom the Egyptians had killed, and that she devised the following scheme in order to take revenge upon the mur­derers of her brother. She built a very long chamber under ground, and when it was finished invited to a banquet in it those of the Egyptians who had had a principal share in the murder. While they were engaged in the banquet she let in upon them the waters of the Nile by means of a large concealed pipe and drowned them all, and then, in order to escape punishment, threw herself into a chamber full of ashes. (Herod, ii. 100.)

This Nitocris appears to have been one of the most celebrated personages in Egyptian legends. Even in the times of the Roman emperors we find her name mentioned as one of the old heroines of the East, as we see from the way in which she is spoken of by Dion Cassius, and the emperor Julian,



both of whom class her with Semifamis (Dion Cass. Ixii. 6; Julian. Oral. pp. 126, 127). Julius Afri-canus, and Eusebius (apud Syncell. pp. 58, 59), who borrow their account from Manetho, describe her as the most high-minded and most beautiful woman of her age, with a fair complexion, adding that she built the third pyramid. By this we are to understand, as Bunsen has shown, that she finished the third pyramid, which had been com­menced by Mycerinus ; and the same fact is intimated by the curious tale of Herodotus (ii, 134), which states that the erection of the pyramid was attributed by many to the Greek courtezan, Rhodopis, who must, in all probability, be regarded as the same person as Nitocris. [rhodopis.]

Bunsen makes Nitocris the last sovereign of the sixth dynasty, and states that she reigned for six years in place of her murdered husband (not her brother, as Herodotus states), whose name was Menthu6phis. The latter is supposed to be the son or grandson of the Moeris of the Greeks and Romans. The tale related by Herodotus of Nito­cris constructing a subterraneous chamber for the punishment of the murderers of her brother is sup­posed by Bunsen, with much probability, to have reference to her erection of the third pyramid, though the waters of the Nile could not have been let into it, as the water of the river does not rise high enough for the purpose. (Bunsen, Aegyptens Stelle in der Weltgeschichte, vol. ii. pp. 236—242.)

NIXI DIT, a general term, which seems to have been applied by the Romans to those divinities who were believed to assist women at the time when they were giving birth to a child. (Quos putabant praesidere parientiwn mxibus, Fest. p. 175, ed. Muller; Ov. Met. ix. 294 ; Nonius, p. 57.) Before the cella of Minerva, on the Capitol, there were three statues, which were designated as Dii Nixi. [L. S.]

NOBILIOR, the name of a family of the ple­beian Fulvia gens. This family was originally called Paetinus [paetinus], and the name of Nobilior seems to have been first assumed by the consul of b.c. 255 [see below, No. 1], to indicate that he was more noble than any others of this name. His descendants dropped the name of Paetinus, and retained only that of Nobilior.

1. ser. fulvjus M. f. M. n. paetinus no­bilior, was consul b. c, 255, with M. Aemilius Paullus about the middle of the first Punic war. In the beginning of this year Regulus had been de­feated in Africa by the Carthaginians, and the re­mains of his army were besieged in Clypea. As soon as the senate heard of this disaster they sent both consuls with a fleet of at least three hundred ships, to bring off the survivors. After reducing Cossurathe Romans met the Carthaginian fleet near the Hermaean promontory, and gained a most brilliant victory over it. The loss of the Car­thaginians was very great, though the numbers are differently stated, and are evidently corrupt in Polybius. After the victory the consuls landed at Clypea, but did not remain long in Africa on account of the complete want of provisions. As it was near the summer solstice, in the month of July, when the Romans set out homewards, the pilots cautioned them to avoid the southern coast of Sicily, as violent gales from the south and south-west make that coast "very dangerous at that time of the year. The consuls, however, disregarded their warning ; and off Camarina they were surprised by

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