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NICAEA, II. In Europe.


Νίκαια: Eth. Νικαιεύς: Nizza, in French Nice), a city on the coast of Liguria, situated at the foot of the Maritime Alps, near the frontier of Gallia Narbonensis. On this account, and because it was a colony of Massilia, it was in early times commonly reckoned as belonging to Gaul (Steph. B. sub voce and this attribution is still followed by Mela (2.5.3): but from the time that the Varus became fixed as the limit of Italy, Nicaea, which was situated about 4 miles [p. 2.424]to the E. of that river, was naturally included in Italy, and is accordingly so described by Strabo Pliny, and Ptolemy. (Strab. iv. p.184; Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 7; Ptol. 3.1.2.) We have no account of its early history, beyond the fact that it was a colony of Massilia, and appears to have continued always in a state of dependency upon that city. (Strab. iv. pp. 180, 184; Plin. l.c.; Steph. B. sub voce It was situated on the borders of the Ligurian tribes of the Oxybii and Deciates; and, as well as its neighbour Antipolis, was continually harassed by the incursions of these barbarians. In B.C. 154 both cities were actually besieged by the Ligurians; and the Massilians, finding themselves unable to repulse the assailants, applied to Rome for assistance; the consul Q. Opimius, who was despatched with an army to their succour, quickly compelled the Ligurians to lay down their arms, and deprived them of a considerable part of their territory, which was annexed to the dependency of Massilia. (Pol. 33.4, 7; Liv. Epit. xlvii.) From this time, nothing more is heard in history of Nicaea, which continued to belong to the jurisdiction of Massilia, and, even after it came to be subject to the Romans, and included geographically in Italy, was still for municipal purposes dependent upon its parent city. (Strab. iv. p.184.) At a later period, the new division of the provinces again transferred to Gaul the towns of Nicaea and Cemenelium, together with the whole district of the Maritime Alps, westward of the Tropaea Augusti. Hence, we find Nicaea described by Ammianus (15.11.15) as belonging to Gaul; and during the decline of the Empire, after it had become an episcopal see, the names of its bishops are found among the Gaulish prelates. It does not appear to have ever been a town of much importance under the Roman Empire; and was apparently eclipsed by the city of Cemenelium (Cimiez), in its immediate neighbourhood. But it had a good port, which must always have secured it some share of prosperity, and after the fall of Cemenelium, it rose to be the most important city in this part of Gaul, and became the capital of an independent district called the Contado di Nizza (County of Nice). This eventually fell into the hands of the House of Savoy, and now forms part of the dominions of the king of Sardinia. Nice itself is a flourishing place, with about 30,000 inhabitants, but has no remains of antiquity. The ancient city probably occupied the height, now the site of the castle, and the immediate neighbourhood of the port, which though small, is secure. Nice is situated at the mouth of the river Paglione, a considerable mountain torrent, evidently the stream called PAULO by Pliny and Mela. (Plin. l.c.; Mel. 2.4.9.)

About 2 miles E. of Nice is a deep bay or inlet between two rocky promontories, forming a spacious natural, harbour now known as the Gulf of Villafranca, from a town of that name, which has however existed only since the 13th century. This is probably the PORTUS OLIVULA of the Maritime Itinerary (p. 504). The ANAO PORTUS of the same Itinerary is probably a small cove, forming a well-sheltered harbour for small vessels on the E. side of the headland, called Capo di S. Ospizio, which forms the eastern boundary of the Gulf of Villafranca. A similar cove a few miles further E. just below the modern village of Eza, is probably the AVISIO PORTUS of the same authority; but the distances given between these points are greatly overstated. [E.H.B]


Νίκαια: Eth. Νικαιεύς), a fortress of the Locri Epicnemidii, situated upon the sea, and close to the pass of Thermopylae. It is described by Aeschines as one of the places which commanded the pass. (De Fals. Leg. p. 45, ed. Steph.) It was the first Locrian town after Alpenos, the latter being at the very entrance of the pass. The surrender of Nicaea by Phalaecus to Philip, in B.C. 346, made the Macedonian king master of Thermopylae, and brought the Sacred War to an end. (Diod. 16.59.) Philip kept possession of it for some time, but subsequently gave it to the Thessalians along with Magnesia. (Dem. Phil. ii. p. 153, ed. Reiske; Aesch. c. Ctesiph. p. 73, ed. Steph.) But in B.C. 340 we again find Nicaea in the possession of Philip. (Dern. in Phil. Ep. p. 153.) According to Memnon (ap. Phot. p. 234a., ed. Bekker; 100.41; ed. Orelli) Nicaea was destroyed by the Phocians, and its inhabitants founded the Bithynian Nicaea. But even if this is true, the town must have been rebuilt soon afterwards, since we find it in the hands of the Aetolians during the Roman wars in Greece. (Plb. 10.42, 17.1; Liv. 28.5, 32.32.) Subsequently the town is only mentioned by Strabo (ix. p.426). Leake identifies Nicaea with the castle of Pundonítza, where there are Hellenic remains. (Northern Greece, vol. ii. p. 5, seq.)


In Illyria. [CASTRA Vol. I. p. 562a.]


In Thrace. [NICAE]

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.59
    • Polybius, Histories, 10.42
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 32, 32
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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