Nonnus (Νόννος), a Greek poet, flourished at Panopolis, in Egypt, near the beginning of the 5th century of the Christian aera. We have no particulars respecting his life, except that he became a Christian when he was advanced inn age. He was the author of two works in Greek, which have come down to us, the Διονυσιακά and a paraphrase in verse of the Gospel of John. The former work gives an account of the adventures of Dionysus from the time of his birth to his return from his expedition into India; and the early books also contain, by way of introduction, the history of Europa and Cadmus, the battle of the giants, and numerous other mythological stories. . This work, which contains thirty-eight books, and is written in-hexameter verse, has been condemned by Daniel Heinsius, Joseph Scaliger, and other critics, for its inflated style, and has been pronounced to be unworthy of perusal; but it must be admitted that it contains passages of considerable beauty, and supplies us with information on many mythological subjects which we should not be able to obtain elsewhere. It appears probable that this work was written before Nonnus became a Christian. The best edition of the Dionysiaca is that of Grafe (Leips. 1819-26, 2 vols. 8vo). D. Heinsius wrote a dissertation on this author, which was published at Leyden in 1610, with the text of the Dionysiaca. Six books of this poem, from the eighth to the thirteenth inclusive, were published by Moser, with a preface by Creuzer (Heidelberg, 1809). A French translation of the Dionysiaca was published at Paris in 1625. The Paraphrase of St. John, which is a poor performance, and has been very unfavorably criticized by Heinsius in his Aristarchus Sacer (Leyden, 1627), was published for the first time at Venice in 1501. It is entitled Μεταβολὴ τοῦ κατὰ Ι᾿ωάννην ἁγίου εὐαγγελίου. The best edition of it is by Passow (Leips. 1834). This work, however, is of some value, as it contains a few important readings, which have been of considerable use to the editors of the Greek Testament. It omits the history of the woman taken in adultery, which we have at the beginning of the eighth chapter of John's gospel, and which is considered by Griesbach and many other critics to be an interpolation. In 19:14 Nonnus appears to have read "about the third hour," instead of "about the sixth" (see Griesbach on that passage). There is also a Collection of Histories or Fables, which are cited by Gregory Nazianzen in his work against Julian, and which are ascribed by some critics to the author of the Dionysiaca. But Bentley, in his Dissertations on Phalaris, has given good reasons for believing that the collection was composed by another individual of the same name. There were several other writers of the name of Nonnus, of whom an account is given in Fabricius, Bibl. Graeca, 8:601, 602, ed. Harles. See Ouwaroff, Nonus de Panopolis (1817, 4to); Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Gener. 38:228; Penny Cyclop. s.v.; Engl. Cyclop. s.v. (J. N. P.)

Definition of non

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