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On this page: N Upti Ae – Nund – Nuntiatio – Obae – Obeliscus

816

NUNDINAE.

deo caret. But at the time when the Julian calen­dar was introduced, these scruples, whatever they may have been, were neglected, and in several ancient calendaria the nundinae fall on the first of January as well as on the nones. (See Graevius, 7'hesaur. vol. viii. p. 7, and the various ancient Calendaria. Both before and after the time of Caesar it was sometimes thought necessary, for re­ligious reasons, to transfer the nundinae from the day on which they should have fallen to another one. (Dion Cass. Ix. 24.) The nundinae them­selves were, according to Plutarch (Quaest. Rom. p. 275, b), sacred to Saturn, and, according to Granius Licinianus (ap. Macrob. Sat. i. 16) the Flam mica offered at all nundinae a sacrifice of a ram to Jupiter.

It is uncertain to whom the institution of the nimdinae is to be ascribed, for some say that it was Romulus (Dionys. ii. 28 ; Tuditanus, ap. Macrob. Sat. I. c.), and others that it was Servius Tullius (Cassius Hemina, ap.Macrob. I.e.}., who instituted them, while the nature of the things for which they were originally set apart seems to show that their institution was as old as the Roirmlian year of ten months, or at least that they were instituted at the time when the Roman population extended beyond the precincts of the city itself. For the nimdinae were originally market-days for the country-folk, on which they came to Rome to sell the produce of their labour, and on which the king settled the legal disputes among them. When, therefore, we read that the nundinae were feriae, or dies nefasti, and that no comitia were allowed to be held, we have to understand this of the po-pulus, and not of the plebs ; and while for the populus the nundinae were feriae, they were real days of business (dies fasti or comitiaies] for the plebeians, who on these occasions pleaded their causes with members of their own order, and held their public meetings (the ancient comitia of the plebeians) and debates on such matters as con­cerned their own order, or to discuss which they were invited by the senate. (Dionvs. vii. 58 ; Ma­crob. 1. c.; Plin. II. N. xviii. 3 ; Festus, s. v. Nun-dinas; compare Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. ii. p. 213.) How long this distinction existed that the nimdinae were nefasti for the patricians and fasti for the plebeians, is not quite clear. In the law of the Twelve Tables they appear to have been re­garded as fasti for both orders (Gellius, xx. 1. § 4.9), though, according to Granius Licinianus ap. Macrob. I. c.), this change was introduced at a later time by the Lex Hortensia, 286 b.c. This innovation, whenever it was introduced, facilitated the attendance of the plebeians at the comitia cen-turiata. In the ancient calendaria, therefore, the nundinae and dies fasti coincide. The subjects to be laid before the comitia, whether they were proposals for new laws or the appointment of officers, were announced to the people three nun­dinae beforehand (trmundino die proponere, Ma­crob. 1. c. ; Cic. ad Fain. xvi. 12, Philip, v. 3, pro Domo, 16 ; Liv. iii. 35.)

The nundinae being thus at all times days of business for the plebeians (at first exclusively for them, and afterwards for the patricians also), the proceedings of the tribunes of the people were con­fined to these days, and it was necessary that they should be terminated in one day, that is, if a pro­position did not come to a decision in one day it was-lost, and if it-was to be brought again before

OBELISCUS.

the people, the tribunes were obliged to announce! it three nundines beforehand, as if it were quite a new subject.

Instead of nundinae the form nundimim is some­ times used, but only when it is preceded by a numeral, as in trinundinum, or trinum nundinum. (See the passages above referred to.) It is also used in the expression internundinum or inter nundinum, that is, the time which elapses between two nundinae. (Varro and Lucil. apud Nonium, iii. 145.) The word nundinae is sometimes used to designate a market-place or a time for marketing in general. (Cic. de Leg. Agr. ii. 33, Philip. v. 4.) [L.S.]

NUNDtNUM. [nundinae.]

NUNTIATIO. [operis Novi nuntiatio.]

N UPTI AE. [matrimonium.]

0.

OBAE. [tribus.]

OBELISCUS. (ogeAiV/fos) is a diminutive of Obelus (ogeAos), which properly signifies a sharp­ened tiling, a sketocr or spit, and is the name given to certain works of Egyptian art.* A detailed description of such works would be inconsistent with the plan of this work, but some notice of them is required by the fact that several of them were transported to Rome under the emperors. Ammianus Marcellinus (xvii. 4) says "that an obelisk is a very rough stone in the shape of a kind of land-mark or boundary stone, rising with a small inclination on all sides to a great height ; and in order that it may imitate a solar ray by a gradual diminution of its bulk, it terminates in a prolonga­tion of four faces united in a sharp point. It is very carefully smoothed." Most ancient writers consider obelisks as emblematic of the sun's rays. (Comp. Plin. //. N. xxxvi. 14.)

An obelisk is properly a single block of stone, cut into a quadrilateral form, the sides of which diminish gradually, but almost imperceptibly from the base to the top of the shaft, but do not termi­nate in an apex upon the top, which is crowned by a small pyramid, consisting of four sides termi­nating in a point. The Egyptian obelisks were mostly made of the red granite of Syene, from which place they were carried to the different parts of Egypt. They were generally placed in pairs at the entrance to a temple, and occasionally m the interior, and were usually covered with hierogly-phical inscriptions.

Obelisks were first transported to Rome under Augustus, who caused one to be erected in the Circus and another in the Campus Martius. (Plin. xxxvi. 14.) The former was restored in 1589, and is called at present the Flaminian obelisk. Its whole height is about 116 feet, and without the base about 78 feet. The obelisk in the Campus Martius was set up by Augustus as a sun-dial. It stands at present on the Monte Citorio, where it was placed in 1792. Its whole height is about 110 feet, and without the base about 71 feet. Another obelisk was brought to Rome by Caligula, and placed on the Vatican in the Circus of Cali­gula. (Plin. xxxvi. 15, xvi. 76. §2.) It stands at present in front of St. Peter's, where it was

* Herodotus (ii. Ill) uses o£eAo's in the sense of an obelisk.

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