Nomys, Matvii

Nomys, Matvii [Номис, Матвій] (pseud of Matvii Symonov [Матвій Симонов]), b 17 November 1823 in Zarih, Lubny county, Poltava gubernia, d 26 December 1900 in Lubny, Poltava gubernia. Ethnographer, writer, and educator. Upon graduating from Kyiv University in 1848, he taught at the Nizhyn Lyceum and Nemyriv Gymnasium and worked as a government auditor. In 1873 he became principal of the Lubny gymnasium, and in 1877 he was elected president of the Lubny zemstvo. Throughout his life Nomys collected Ukrainian folklore. His first publications were childhood recollections (1858) and short stories (1859), which later came out in a single volume, Razskazy M.T. Simonova (Stories by M.T. Symonov, 1900). His most important work is Ukraïns’ki prykazky, prysliv'ia i take inshe (Ukrainian Sayings, Proverbs, and the Like, 1864; repr 1985; manuscript facsimile 1928), a collection of 14,339 proverbs and sayings (not including the variants) and 505 riddles. In spite of censor's excisions, the collection was the finest achievement in Slavic paroemiology of its time. It included proverbs collected not only by Nomys but also by Mykola Bilozersky, Vasyl Bilozersky, Panteleimon Kulish, Vasyl Lazarevsky, Opanas Markovych, Stepan Rudansky, and Marko Vovchok. Nomys left his estate to charitable organizations of Lubny county and to the Shevchenko Scientific Society.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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