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N

naiskos - a small shrine; for an example, see Didyma, Archaic Temple of Apollo (architecture).

narthecium - (Latin) a box that would be used to hold medicine or perfume.

natatio - (Latin) swimming.

nato - (Latin) to swim.

nebris - a fawn or fawn skin; for an example, see Boston 00.342 (image).

nefas - (Latin) a wrong.

negotium - (Latin) a business or employment; the Romans were engaged in a great variety of businesses in order to keep their empire running, just as modern cities require a variety of occupations to keep their countries and cities working; they required politicians, military leaders, food-sellers and preparers, educational professionals, personal-care professionals such as doctors, tailors and barbers, and workers for construction and infrastructure, among others.

Neith - the ancient Egyptian goddess of war and weaving, Neith was one of the oldest Egyptian gods; Neith was considered both male and female in nature and was self-created; originally worshipped and honored throughout Egypt as the goddess of war, her role evolved over time to the goddess of weaving. Neith was said to be the mother of Sobek and Re.

neoteric - poetry genre practiced by the Novae Poetae in Rome in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE; these poets wrote in reaction to the highly structured poetic genres and venerated originality; this genre relied heavily on Greek innovations in poetry and especially esteemed Callimachus; Catullus was one of the most famous Neoteric poets.

Nephthys - the ancient Egyptian goddess Nephthys was the daughter of Geb and Nut, the sister of Osiris and Isis, and the sister and wife of Seth; throughout Egyptian mythology, Nephthys was always the counterpart to Seth.

nepos - (Latin) grandson; this word can also, at times, indicate a nephew.

neptis - (Latin) granddaughter; this word can also mean "niece" in some cases.

Neptune - the Roman name for Poseidon.

Nero Click here to hear this word pronounced. - (37 CE--68 CE) Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus; Nero was adopted by Claudius and thus changed his name to Nero Claudius Caesar; he reigned as Roman Emperor from 54 to 68; since he was young when his reign began, his actions were controlled by his mother, Agrippina and Seneca, his tutor; Nero's first wife Octavia, Claudius' daughter, was divorced, exiled, and murdered by Nero; in 62, Nero married his mistress, Poppaea, following the murder of his mother in 58 of which Nero had knowledge; Nero rebuilt Rome at the expense of Italy and the Roman provinces after the great fire of 64; marries Statilia Messalina in 66, a year after his wife Poppaea's death; in 68, the Praetorian Guards and several Roman legions took up arms against Nero, who fled Rome and committed suicide.

Nerva - Roman emperor from 96-8 CE; his political prominence originally sprang from his close friendship with Nero; that alliance with Nero paved the way for his consulships held in 71 with Vespasian and 90 with Domitian, the man he suceeded as emperor; after gaining imperial power, he revoked a number of Domitian’s more unpopular actions; he attempted to establish himself as a generous and just leader; however, despite Nerva’s efforts, an undercurrent of tension and political intrigue undercut his rule; he died in 98 CE and his death marked the end of the purely Italian emperors.

Nestor - son of Neleus and Chloris who participated in the fight between the Centaurs and Lapith; wise man and adviser in the Iliad.

New Comedy - Greek comedies from the mid-4th century BCE to the 3rd century BCE; major New Comedy playwrights include Menander, Philemon, and Diphilus; these plays do not rely upon politics as much as Old Comedy did, but instead generally focus on love and family.

niger - (Latin) black.

Niobe - daughter of Tantalus and sister of Pelops, mother of twelve sons and twelve daughters in the Homeric traditions, who boasted that she was superior to Leto who had only two children; Leto, hurt by Niobe's remarks was avenged by her two Children Apollo and Artemis who slaughtered Niobe's children; used by Achilles as an example and also by Antigone.

nomen gentilicium - (Latin) the name of the gens; the family name; other parts of the Roman name were the praenomen (the first name) and the cognomen (the particular branch of the nomen gentilicium); for example, for Gaius Julius Caesar, Gaius is the praenomen, Julius is the nomen gentilicium, and Caesar is the cognomen and his descendants are known as the Julii.

nomos - (Latin) any custom or law created by man.

Nona - Roman goddess of pregnancy.

Nones Click here to hear this word pronounced. - Nonae, in the Roman calendar the Nones fell on the fifth day of each month, except in March, May, July, and October when they fell on the seventh.

novissima verba - (Latin) the final words; a person’s last words.

nox - (Latin) night.

Numantia - a city in Spain that fought back many different attempt to conquer it; in 133 BCE, the city fell to Scipio Aemilianus.

nummularius - (Latin) a man whose profession was to test coinage to make sure that it was not forged.

nundinae - (Latin) regular regional markets; nundinae also became a Roman term used by the calendar; the week was marked by market-days, held every eight days, and the term to describe this period became nundinae.

nuptiae - (Latin) the ceremony of a wedding.

Nut - the ancient Egyptian goddess of the daytime sky and later the goddess of the entire sky and was the place where clouds formed; her father and mother were Shu and Tefnut. Her husband was the earth god Geb, with whom she had four children, Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys.

nutrimens - (Latin) food, nourishment.

nymph - a minor female goddess who dwells in forests, rivers, mountains, who are often attendants of major goddesses; for an example, see Louvre Ma 696 (image).

nymphaeum - (Latin) in ancient Greece, a nymphaeum was a grotto or cave with no adornment that was a shrine to the Nymphs; in Roman terms, a nymphaeum was a decoration in a house meant to evoke the countryside.

 


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