The Ancient Library

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On this page: Nicander – Nice – Nicias – Nicolaus – Nicomachus



Nicander (Gr. Nlcandrfis). A Greek poet born at Colophon in Asia, about 150 b.c. He was an hereditary priest of Apollo, as well as a physician, and lived a great deal iu jEtolia as well as later in Pergamon. He wrote numerous works, such as those on agriculture, of which considerable fragments are still preserved, and on mythological metamorphoses (used by Ovid), etc. Two of his poems, written in a dull and bombastic manner, are still extant: the Therlaca, on remedies against the wounds inflicted by venomous animals; and the Alfxijiharnuira, on poisons taken in food and drink, with their antidotes.


(Cnssel Museum.)

Nice (Gr. Nike). The Greek goddess of victory, according to Hesiod, daughter of Pallas and Styx, by whom she was brought to Zeus to assist him in his struggle with the Titans: thenceforward she remains always with Zeus on Olympus. Sculptors often represent her in connexion with divinities who grant victory: thus the Olym­pian Zeus and the Athene on the Ac-ropSHs at Athens held in one hand a statue of Nlcff. (See zeus, fig. 2; and, for another Nice, cp. pjeo-Mius.) She was generally repre­sented as winged and with a wreath and a palm-branch. As herald of victory she also has the wand of Hermes. This mode of repre­senting her was adopted for the statues of the goddess specially revered by the Romans under the name Victoria. Vica Puta ("Victorious Issue") was an earlier designation of the same goddess. Such statues were erected chiefly on the Capitol by triumphant generals. The most famous was the statue [brought fromTarentum and therefore probably the work of a Greek artist] which Augustus dedicated to her in

the Curia hi!iatin memory .of his victory at Actium. When the Curia Iitlia had been destroyed by fire in the reign of Titus and rebuilt by Domitian, the statue was placed in the new building, and was adored as the guardian goddess of the senate until Christianity became the religion of the empire.

Niclas An Athenian painter [a son of Nicomedes, and a pupil of Euphranor's pupil Anttdotus]. He lived during the lat­ter half of the 4th century B.C. as a younger contemporary of Praxiteles. [The latter, when asked which of his works in marble he specially approved, was in the habit of answering, those that had been touched by the hand of Nicias; such importance did he attribute to that artist's method of tinting, or " touching up with colour," circumUtlo (Pliny, N. H. xxxv 133). He painted mainly in encaustic; and] was especially distinguished by his skill in making the figures on his pictures appear to stand out of the work, by means of a proper treatment of light and shade. He was celebrated for his painting of female figures and other subjects which were favourable to the full expression of dramatic emotions, such as the Rescue of Andr5med4 and the Interrogation of the Dead by Odysseus in the lower world. This latter picture he presented to the city of his birth, after Ptolemy the First had offered sixty talents (about £12,000) for it. [Pliny, N. H. xxxv §§ 130-133. He insisted on the importance of an artist's choosing noble themes, such as cavalry engagements and battles at sea, instead of frittering away his skill on birds and flowers (Demetrius, De Elocutione, 76.)]

Nicolaus. A Greek historian of Damas­cus. At the suggestion of the Jewish king Herod the Great, whose devoted friend he was, and who had recommended him to Augustus, he wrote a comprehensive history of the world down to his own times in 144 books, which is partly preserved in import­ant fragments exhibiting an agreeable style. His panegyrical biography of Augustus has come down to us almost entire.

NicSmachus. (1) A Greek painter, pro­bably of Thebes, about 360 b.c. He was celebrated as an artist who could paint with equal rapidity and excellence, and was re­garded as rivalling the best painters of his day. A famous painting of his was the Rape of Proserpine. [Pliny, N. H. xxxv 108.]

(2) Of Gerasa in Arabia, a follower of the Pythagorean philosophy, about 150 a.d. He composed an introduction to Mathematics

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