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NICEPHORUS (St.) a celebrated patriarch of Constantinople, of the ninth century, was distinguished for his zealous defence of the worship of images, against the emperor Leo the Armenian, who banished bim in the year 815, to a monastery, where he died in the year 828, aged seventy. His works are, “An Abridgment of History,” from the death of the emperor Mauritius to Constantine Copronymus, printed at the Louvre, 1648, fol. It forms part of the Byzantine history, and has been translated into French by president Cousin. It is said to be accurate, but written in a dry and concise style. An “ Abridgment of Chronography,” which is at the end of Syncellus ; and several other works in Greek, which may be found in P. Labbe's Councils, or the Library of the Fathers. Cardinal Baronius has inserted this patriarch's “ Confession of Faith” in tom. XI. of his Annals. He is supposed by Lardner and others, to have been the author of “The Stichometry,” a catalogue of the books of sacred scripture, which, if of no other use, at least shews that the Jewish canon was generally esteemed sacred by Christians, and that the other books of the Old Testament, which are now deemed “Apocryphal,” were not of equal authority, though sometimes read in the churches, and quoted by Christian writers.'
NICEPHORUS (BLEMmides, or BLEMMYDA), a priest and monk of Mount Athos, flourished in the thirteenth century. He refused the patriarchate of Constantinople from his partiality to the Latin church, and being more inclined to peace than any of the Greeks of his time. In this spirit he composed two treatises concerning “ The Procession of the Holy Ghost;" one addressed to James patriarch of Bulgaria, and the other to the emperor Theodore Lascaris, in both which he refutes those who deny that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. These two tracts are printed in Greek and Latin, by Allatius, who has also given us a letter, written by Blemmides on his expelling from the church of her convent the mistress of the emperor John Ducas. There are several other pieces of our author in the Vatican library.'
NICEPHORUS (CALLISTUS), the son of Callistus Xanthopulus, a learned monk of Constantinople, is placed by Wharton at 1333, but by Lardner in 1325. He wrote in Greek an“ Ecclesiastical History," in twenty-three books, eighteen of which are still extant, containing the transactions of the church from the birth of Christ to the death of the emperor Phocas in the year 610. We have nothing left besides the arguments of the five other books, from the commencement of the reign of the emperor Heraclius to the end of that of Leo the philosopher, who died in the year 911. He dedicated this history to the emperor Andronicus Palæologus the elder : it was translated into Latin by John Langius, and has gone through several editions, the best of which is that of Paris, in 1630. There is only one manuscript of this history, which was said to be formerly in the library of Matthias, king of Hungary, and now in that of Vienna. Nicephorus was no more than thirty years of age when he compiled it, and it is said to abound in fables, and therefore has been treated with contempt by Beza, and by Gesner. Some other pieces are ascribed to our author. Labbé, in his preliminary discourse prefixed to the “Byzantine Historians," has given a catalogue of the emperors and patriarchs of Constantinople, composed by Nicephorus. His abridgment of the Bible in iambic verse was printed at Basil in 1536, and Dr. Hody has attributed to him a small piece which he published in Greek and Latin, during his controversy with Mr. Dodwell, under the title of " Anglicani Schismatis Redargutio." His homilies on Mary Magdalen are also inserted in Bandini “Monumenta," 1762, vol. III.'
1 Moreri.-Lardner's Works. * Moreri. Dupiu. -Cave, vol. II. - Fabric. Bibl, Græc.
NICERON (JOHN FRANCIS), an able mathematician, was born at Paris in 1613. Having finished his academical studies with the most promising success, he entered into the order of Minims, took the habit in 1632, and as usual, changed the name given him at his baptism for that of Francis, the name of his paternal uncle, who was also a Minim, or Franciscan. The inclination which he had for mathematics appeared early during his philosophical studies; and he devoted to this science all the time he could spare from his other employments, after he had completed his studies in theology. All the branches of the mathematics, however, did not equally engage his attention; he confined himself particularly to optics, and studied the rest only as they were subservient to his more favourite pursuit.
Cave, vol. II.-Lardner's Works.-- Fabric. Bibl, Græc.-Mosheim.
He informs us in the preface to his “ Thaumaturgus Opticus," ibat he went twice to Rome; and that, on his return home, he was appointed teacher of theology. He was afterwards chosen to accompany father Francis de la Noue, vicar-general of the order, in his visitation of the convents throughout all France. Amidst so many employments, it is wonderful that he found so much time to study, for his life was short, and must have been laborious. Being taken sick at Aix, in Provence, he died there, September 22, 1646, aged only thirty-three. He was an intimate acquaintance of Des Cartes, who had a high esteem for him, and presented him with his works. Niceron's writings are, 1. “ L'Interprétation des Chiffres, ou Regles pour bien entendre et expliquer facilement toutes sortes des Chiffres Simples," &c. Paris, 1641, 8vo. This was only a translation on the art of decyphering, written by Cospi in Italian, but is much improved by Niceron, who justly conceived it to be a work of utility. 2. “ La Perspective curieuse, ou Magie artificielle des effets marveilleux de l'Optique, Catroptique, et Dioptrique,” intended as an introduction to his, 3. “ Thaumaturgus Opticus: sive, Admiranda Optices, Catoptrices, et Dioptrices, Pars prima, &c.” 1646, fol. He intended to add two other parts, but was prevented by death.
NICERON (John Peter), one of the most useful French biographers, was born at Paris, March 11, 1685. of an ancient and noble family, who were in very high repute about 1540. He studied with success in the Mazarine college at Paris, and afterwards at the college Du Plessis. He appears to have been of a serious turn of mind, and of great modesty, and from a dread of the snares to which he might be exposed in the world, determined to quit it for a religious life. On this subject he consulted one of his uncles, who belonged to the order of Barnabite Jesuits. This uncle examined him; and, not diffident of his election, introduced him as a probationer to that society at Paris. He was received there in 1702, took the habit in 1703, and made his vows in 1704, at the age of nineteen. After he had professed bimself, he was sent to Montargis, to study philosophy and theology, à course of both which he went through with credit, although he confesses that he never could relish the scholastic system, then in vogue. His superiors then, satisfied with his
i Nicéron, vol. VII and X.-Chaufepie. ---Moreri.
proficiency and talents, sent him to Loches, in Touraine, to teach the classics and rhetoric. Here his devout behaviour and excellent conduct as a teacher, made him be thought worthy of the priesthood, which he received at Poitiers in 1708, and as he was not arrived at the age to assume this order, a dispensation, which his uncommon piety had merited, was obtained in his favour. The college of Montargis having recalled him, he was their professor of rhetoric during two years, and philosophy during four, In spite of all these avocations, he was humanely attentive to every call and work of charity, and to the instruction of his fellow-creatures, many of whom heard his excellent sermons, pure and unadorned in style, but valuable in matter, which he delivered not only from the pulpits of most of the churches within the province, but even from those of Paris. lo 1716 his superiors invited him to that city, that he might have an opportunity of following, with the more convenience, those studies for which he always had expressed the greatest inclination. He not only un. derstood the ancient, but almost all the modern languages; a circumstance of infinite advantage in the composition of those works which he has given to the public, and which he carried on with great assiduity to the time of his death, which bappened after a short illness, July 8, 1738, at the age of fifty-three. His works are, 1. « Le Grand Fébri. fuge; or, a dissertation to prove that common Water is the best remedy in Fevers, and even in the Plague ; translated from the English of John Hancock, minister of St. Margaret's, London, in 12mo." This treatise made its appearance, amongst other pieces relating to this subject, in 1720; and was attended with a success which carried it through three editions; the last came out in 1730, in % vols. 12mo, entitled “A Treatise on common Water;" Paris, printed by Cavelier. 2. “ The Voyages of John Ouvington to Surat, and divers parts of Asia and Africa; containing the History of the Revolution in the kingdom of Golconda, and some observations upon Silk-Worms,” Par ris, 1725, 2 vols. 12mo. 3. “ The Conversion of England to Christianity, compared with its pretended Reform, tion;" a work translated from the English, and written by an English catholic, Paris, 1729, 8vo. 4. “ The Natural History of the Earth, translated from the English of Mr. Woodward, by Mons. Nogues, doctor in physic; with an
answer to the objections of doctor Camerarius : containing, also, several letters written on the same subject, and a methodical distribution of Fossils, translated from the English, by Niceron," Paris, 1735, 4to. 5. "Memoirs of Men illustrious in the republic of letters, with a critical Account of their Works. Paris," 12mo. The first volume of this great work appeared in 1727; the others were given to the public in succession, as far as the thirty-ninth, which appeared in 1738. The fortieth volume was published after the death of the author, in 1739. Since that event three others were added, but in these are many articles of which Niceron was not the author. It is not easy to answer all the objections which may be offered to a work of this kind. The author himself, in one of his prefaces, informs us that some of his contemporaries wished for a chronological order; some for the order of the alphabet ; some for classing the authors according to the sciences or their professions, and some according to the countries in which they were born. As his work, however, appeared periodically, he thought himself justified in giving the lives without any particular order, according as he was able to procure materials. That the French critics should dwell upon the unavoidable mistakes in a work of this magnitude, is rather surprizing, for they have produced no such collection since, and indeed Niceron has been the foundation, as far as he goes, of all the subsequent accounts of the same authors. Chaufepie only treats him with respect while he occasionally points out any error in point of date or fact.'
NICETAS (ACHOMINATES, or CHONIATES), a Greek historian, was born at Chone, or Colossus, a town in Phrygia. He flourished in the thirteenth century, and was employed in several considerable affairs at the court of the emperors of Constantinople. When that city was taken by the French in 1204, he withdrew, together with a young French captive, whom he afterwards married at Nice in Bithynia, and died there in 1206.
He wrote a “ History, or Annals, from the death of Alexis Comnenus in 1118, to that of Baudouin in 1205," entitled “ Nicetæ Acominati Choniatæ Hist. Gr. et Lat. ed. C. An. Fabroto," Paris, 1647, the best edition, but it had been printed with a translation, by Jerome Wolf, at Basil, in 1557, and again at Geneva, in 1593. It has
i Life by the abbé Gouget, in vol. XL of the Memoirs.Chaufepie.