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Nisus

Νῖσος).


1.

A son of Hyrtacus, born on Mount Ida, near Troy. He came to Italy with Aeneas, and was attached to Euryalus, son of Opheltes. During the war with Turnus, Nisus, to whom the defence of one of the entrances of the camp was intrusted, sallied forth in search of Aeneas, and Euryalus accompanied him. Fortune at first aided their efforts, but they were at length surprised by a Latin detachment. Euryalus was cut down by Volscens; the latter was as immediately despatched by Nisus, who, however, overpowered by numbers, soon shared the fate of his friend (Verg. Aen. ix. 176 foll.; cf. v. 334 foll.).


2.

A king of Megara. In the war waged by Minos, king of Crete, against the Athenians, on account of the death of Androgeus (see Androgeus), Megara was besieged, and it was taken through the treachery of Scylla, the daughter of Nisus. This prince had a golden or purple lock of hair growing on his head, and as long as it remained uncut, so long was his life to last. Scylla, having seen Minos, fell in love with him, and resolved to give him the victory. She cut off her father's precious lock as he slept, and he immediately died; the town was then taken by the Cretans. But Minos, instead of rewarding the maiden, disgusted with her unnatural treachery, tied her by the feet to the stern of his vessel, and thus dragged her along until she was drowned (Apollod. iii.15.1). Another legend adds that Nisus was changed into the bird called the Sea-eagle (ἁλιάετος) and Scylla into that named Ciris (κεῖρις), and that the father continually pursues the daughter to punish her for her crime (Ovid, Met. viii. 145; Cir.). According to Aeschylus (Choëph. 609 foll.), Minos bribed Scylla with a golden collar.

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