The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Nepos



many minor controversies to which they have given rise, all of which will be found stated in the works noted down at the end of this article, we may re­mark that the third hypothesis, under one form or other, will, if properly applied, tend to remove many of the difficulties, and explain many of the anomalies by which the subject is embarrassed more effectually than either of the two others. It will enable us to account for the purity of the language, and for the graceful unaffected ease of the clauses, when taken singly, and at the same time to understand the harsh and abrupt transi­tions which so frequently occur in passing from one sentence or from one paragraph to another. But while we may safely admit that we hold in our hands the abridgment of some writer of the Augustan age, we must bear in mind that the evi­dence adduced to prove that writer to be Cornelius Nepos is miserably defective, an exception being always made in respect of the life of Atticus, which is expressly assigned to him in at least two of the best MSS.

These biographies have, almost ever since their first appearance, been a favourite school-book, and hence editions have been multiplied without end. We have already described the earliest. After the labours of Lambinus, we may particularly notice those of Schottus, fol. Francf. 1609, of Geb-hardtts, 12mo. Amst. 1644, of Boeclerus, 8vo. Argentor. 1648, of Bosius, 8vo. Jen. 1675, of Van Staveren, 8vo. Lug. Bat. 1734, 1755, 1773, the last being the best, of Heusinger, 8vo. Krug. 1747, of Fischer, 8vo. Lips. 1759, of Harles, Hal. 1773, Lips. 1806, of Paufler, with useful notes written in German, 8vo. Lips. 1804, of Tzschucke, 8vo. Getting. 1804, with an excellent commentary in a separate volume, of Titze, 8vo. Prag. 1813, of Bremi, 8vo. Zurich, 1820, of Bardili, 2 vols. 8vo. Stuttgard, 1820, of Daehne, 12mo. Lips. 1827, of Roth, who has brought back Aemilius Probus on his title page, Basil, 8vo. 1841, and of Benecke, 8vo. Berol. 1843, which is purely cri­tical. The editions of Van Staveren, 1773, of Tzschucke, 1804, of Bremi, 1820, contain every thing that the student requires, and perhaps no single edition will be found more serviceable than that of Lemaire, 8vo. Paris, 1820. The disserta­tion prefixed to the editions of Lambinus, Titze, Bardili, Daehne, Roth, and Benecke, will yield full information on the controversy. The trans­lations into different languages are countless; the first into English is, " The Lives of illustrious Men, written in Latin by Cornelius Nepos, done into English by several [twelve] gentlemen of the University of Oxford, Lond. 1684," and frequently reprinted. Sir Matthew Hale had previously translated " The Life of Atticus, with moral and political Observations," 8vo. Lond. 1677. [W. R.]

NEPOS, HERE'NNIUS, an illustrious man, slain by the emperor Severus. (Spartian. Sever. 13.)

NEPOS, JU'LIUS, the last emperor but one of the Western Empire, A. d. 474—475. He was the son of Nepotianus, by a sister of that Marcel-linus who established a temporary independent principality in Illyricum, about the middle of the fifth century. [marcellinus.] A law of the Codex of Justinian mentions a Nepotianus as gene­ral of the army in Dalmatia in a. d. 471, but it is doubtful whether this was the emperor's father or the emperor himself, as it is not clear whether the


true reading of the Codex is Nepotianus or Nepos, and even the determination of the reading would not settle the point, as Theophanes (ChronograpJiia, ad A. M. 5965) gives to the emperor himself the name of Nepotianus, and adds that he was a native of Dalmatia. It is not improbable that the family of Marcellinus preserved, after his death in a. d. 468, a portion of the power which he had possessed in Illyricum, and that this was the motive which induced the Eastern emperor Leo [LEO I.] to give to Nepos his niece (or, more accurately, the niece of his wife the empress Verina) in marriage, and to declare him, by his officer Domitianus, at Ravenna, Augustus (Jornandes incorrectly says Caesar) of the Western empire. ( Regnor. Success.} The actual emperor, at the time when Nepos was thus exalted, was Glycerins [glycerius], who was regarded at Constantinople as an usurper. Nepos marched against his competitor, took him prisoner at Portus at the mouth of the Tiber, and obliged him to become a priest. These events took place, according to the more numerous and better authorities, in a. d. 474, but Theophanes, by contracting the reign of Glycerins to five months [glycerius], brings his deposition within the year 473. The elevation of Nepos is placed by the Chronicon of an anonymous author, published by Caspinianus (No. viii. in the Vetustior. Latinor. Clironica of Roncallius), on the 24th of June, which date, if correct, must refer to his victory over Gly-cerius, for his proclamation as emperor at Ravenna must have been antecedent to the death of Leo (which occurred in January 474), at least antece­dent to the intelligence of Leo's death reaching Ravenna. If we suppose the proclamation of Nepos as emperor to have occurred in August 473, a sup­position to which we see no objection, the date given by Theophanes, who, as a Byzantine, would compute the reign of Nepos from his accession de jure, may be reconciled with that of the Latin chroniclers, who date from the time of his becoming emperor de facto, and on this supposition the in­terval from August 473 to June 474 must have been occupied in preparing his armament or exe­cuting his march against Glycerius.

From hints in the letters of Sidonius Apollinaris (Ep. v. 16, viii. 7, ed. Sirmond) it may be ga^ thered that Nepos had, before his accession, acquired some reputation both for warlike ability and for general goodness of character, and that during his brief reign his conduct was answerable to his pre­vious character. But the condition of the empire was past remedy. The Visigoths, settled in Aqui-tania, were eagerly striving, under their king Euric, to expel the Romans from the territories of the Arverni, the modern Auvergne, the last part of the province which remained to its ancient masters, and which was bravely defended by its inhabitants under the conduct of Ecdicius (Jornandes calls him Decius), brother-in-law of Sidonius Apollinaris. The Goths besieged the town of Arverni or Cler-mont, in the summer of 474, but Epiphanius, bishop of Ticinum (Pavia), being sent by Nepos, con­cluded a peace (Ennod. Vita Epiphan.}, which, however, Euric soon broke, and Nepos was obliged, in a second treaty, in which the quaestor Lici-nianus was his negotiator, to cede the disputed territory to its assailants. (Sirmond, Not. ad Sidon. Ep. iii. 1.) Tillemont makes the embassy of Li-cinianus unavailing, and considers that of Epipha­nius to have been consequent on its failure ; but

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of