Numbers, one of the canonical books of the Old Testament, and the fourth of the five books of Moses. It is called in the Hebrew canon Bemidbar, "in the desert," from a leading word in the first verse of the opening chapter, and describes the numbering of the children of Israel, the continuation of the laws given to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, the march through the wilderness, the rejection of a whole generation, and the entrance into the land of Canaan. Historically it comprehends a period of 38 years, opening with the second month of the second year after the exodus; but it is chiefly confined to the first and last of these years. For all questions relating to the authorship and authenticity of the book, see Pentateuch.
Nuncio (Lat. nnntius, messenger), a prelate representing the Roman pontiff near a foreign government. Strictly speaking, he represents the pope only as temporal sovereign, but he is often commissioned to treat of spiritual affairs, and to report on the condition of churches and the character of church dignitaries, especially of candidates for the mitre. A nuncio may be resident or extraordinary; and if appointed simply to fill a vacancy in a royal or imperial court, or if resident at a minor court, he is styled an internuncio. The nuncio in France is forbidden by law to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction, being recognized only as the papal ambassador. The only nuncio who has ever visited the United States was Archbishop (afterward Cardinal) Bedini, in 1853. (See Legate).
See Water Lily.
Nutation, in astronomy, a small periodic gyratory movement in the direction of the earth's axis, by which, if it existed independent of the motion in precession, the pole of the earth would describe in the heavens a minute ellipse. This ellipse would cover a space by its longer axis of 18.5", and by its shorter of 13.7", the longer axis being directed toward the pole of the ecliptic. The nutation period is a little less than 19 years (18.6), and corresponds to that of a revolution of the moon's nodes, with which it is directly connected. The effect of the nutation on the position of the stars is combined with the effect from precession; and as both are referable to the same physical agency for explanation, their further consideration will be found in the article Precession.
Nutter, the anagram of Charles Louis Etienne Truinet, a French dramatist, born in Paris, April 24, 1828. He became archivist of the opera, and his vaudevilles are very popular, especially La perrnqiie de mon oncle (1852), and Un coup d'hentail (1869). lie has written libretti for Obéron and Preciosa (1857), Romeo et Juliette (1859), Tannhduser (1860), Macbeth (18G5), Le docteur Crispin (1869), Laprincesse de Trebizonde (1869), Le kolold, and other operas, chiefly those of Offenbach; and he has prepared several ballets.