NARCISSUS (nar-cĭs'ŭs, Gr. Narkissos). A Roman whose household Paul greeted. The apostle’s salutation is not addressed to Narcissus himself but to the members of his household. He may have been the favorite freedman of Claudius the emperor (
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Narcissus is a common name, especially among freedmen and slaves. But, as in the case of Aristobulus, some famous person of this name must be meant. Conybeare and Howson mention two, one the wellknown favorite of Claudius, the other a favorite of Nero. The latter, who was put to death by Galba (Dio Cass. lxiv.3), they think to be the Narcissus meant here (Paul, chapter xix). On the other hand, Bishop Lightfoot (Phil, 175) holds that "the powerful freedman Narcissus, whose wealth was proverbial (Juv. Sat. xiv.329), whose influence with Claudius was unbounded, and who bore a chief part in the intrigues of this reign, alone satisfies this condition." Shortly after the accession of Nero, he had been put to death by Agrippina (Tac. Ann. xiii.1;. Dio Cass. lx.34) in 54 AD. As this occurred three or four years before thewas written, some think another Narcissus is meant. However, as was usual in such cases, his property would be confiscated, and his slaves, becoming the property of the emperor, would swell "Caesar’s household" as Narcissiani.