The Ancient Library

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On this page: Nemean Lion – Nesianus – Nemesis – Nemorensis – Nenia – Neocori – Neodamodeis – Neoplatonism – Neoplatonism



(sec seven against thebes;. Heracles afterwards changed it into a festival in honour of Zeus. From about 575 onwards, athletic competitions were added to the festival, after the model of those at Olympia; and, like the latter, it was only gradually that it developed into a general Hellenic celebration. It was held twice in a period of four years, once in August, every fourth year, once in winter, every second or first Olympic year. [It is more probable, how­ever, that the so called " Winter Nemea " were only local games held in Argos, and that the panhellenic Nemea were celebrated in alternate years at the end of every first and third Olympic year, at a time corre­sponding to our July. The question is discussed byUnger in the Philologus xxxiv 50, but Droysen, in Hermes xiv 1, considers it still unsettled.] The management of the festival was originally possessed by the Cleonaeans, but soon passed, together with the possession of the sanctuary, into the hands of the Argives. The games consisted of gymnastic, equestrian, and musical con­tests (for the two former, cp. olympian games) ; the prize was a palm-branch and a garland of fresh sellnon [often rendered " parsley," but more probably identical with the " wild celery "].

Nemean Lion, The. See heracles. Nemesianus (Marcus Aurelius Olympius), of Carthage. A Roman poet famous in his own times, belonging to the end of the 3rd century a.d. He flourished under the emperor Carus and his sons (212-284). We possess from him the first 425 lines of a fairly elegant poem on the Chase j (Cyneg£ticd\ and four eclogues, in which he has closely followed Calpurnius (fj.v., 2).

NSmesIs. A post-Homeric personification of the moral indignation felt at all derange­ments of the natural equilibrium of things, whether by extraordinarily good fortune or by the arrogance usually attendant thereon. According to Hesiod she is daughter of Night, and with Aides, the divinity of Modesty, left the earth on the advent of the iron age. As goddess of due proportion she hates every trangression of the bounds of moderation, and restores the proper and normal order of things. As, in doing this, she punishes wanton boastfulness, she is a divinity of chastisement and vengeance. She enjoyed special honour in the Attic district of Rhamnus (where she was deemed to be the daughter of Oceanus), and is often called the Rhainnusian goddess; her statue there was said to have been executed by j

Phidias out of a block of Parian marble which the Persians had brought with them in presumptuous confidence to Marathon, to erect a trophy of victory there. She wa< also called Adrasteia, that name, appro­priate only to the Phrygian Rhea-Cybele, being interpreted as a Greek word with the ] meaning, " She whom none can escape.'1 ; She was also worshipped at Rome, especially . by victorious generals, and was represented as a meditative, thoughtful maiden with the attributes of proportion and control fa measuring-rod, bridle and yoke), of punish­ment (a s'.vord and scourge) and of swift­ness (wings, wheel, and chariot drawn by griffins).

Ngmorensis. Epithet of Diana (q.v.). Nenia (not naenia). A name given by the Romans to the funeral dirge in honour of the dead, sung to the accompaniment of flutes, at first by the relatives, in later times by hired mourners (pnrficce). There was : also a goddess so called, the dirge per-! sonified, who had a chapel outside the Porta VlmlntiUs.

Neocflri (" wardens," properly sweepers of the temple). The Greek term for certain officials subordinate to the priests, on whom devolved the cleaning and keeping in repair of the temple to which they were attached. In important temples, especially in Asia, the office of a neoconts was considered a dis­tinction by which even the greatest person­ages felt honoured. In the imperial period of Rome, whole cities, in which temples of the emperors existed,styled themselves their neoeori. [Ephesus is described in Acts xix 35 as the neocorus, or "temple-keeper," of Artemis.]

N&fidamodeis. See helots. Neoplatonism. A form of later Greek philosophy, founded upon Plato. (See philosophy.)

NeoptSlenvus (also called Pyrrhus; i.e. the fair). Son of Achilles aud Deidamia. He was brought up by his grandfather Lyco-medes in Scyros. After Achilles' death, however, he was taken by Odysseus to Troy, since, according to the prophecy of Helenus, that town could be taken only by a descen­dant of ^Eacus. Here, like his father, he distinguished himself above all by a courage which none could withstand. He slew Eurypylus, son of Telephus, and was one of the heroes in the Wooden Horse, where lie alone remained undaunted. Later legend depicted him as fierce and cruel: at the taking of Troy he killed the aged Priam at the altar of Zeus, hurled Hector's son.

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