William Smith.

A smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... online

. (page 63 of 90)
Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 63 of 90)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of Aphrodlt? (Venus.)

PITTACUS (-i), one of «' the Seven Wise
Men " of Greece, was a native of Mytilene
in Lesbos, and was highly celebrated as a
warrior, a statesman, a philosopher, and a
])oet. In B.C. 606, he commanded the Myti-
lenaeans, in their war with the Athenians
for the possession of Sigeum, and signalised
himself by killing in single combat Phrynon,
the commander of the Athenians. The
supreme power at Mytilene was fiercely dis-
puted between a succession of tyrants, and
the aristocratic party, headed by Alcaeus,
and the latter was driven into exile. As the
exiles tried to effect their return by force
of arms, the popular party chose Pittacus as
their ruler, with absolute power, under the
title of Aesymnetes, He held this ofllce for
10 years (589 — 579) and then voluntarily
resigned it, having restored order to the
state. He died in 569, at an advanced age.

PITTHEUS (-Wsand -61), king of Troezene,
was son of Pelops, father of Aethra, and
grandfather and instructor of Theseus. Aethra
as his daughter is called Pittheis,

PLACENTIA (-ae : Piacenza)^ a Roman
colony in Cisalpine Oanl, founded at the same
time as Cremona, b.o. 219, and situated on
the right bank of the Po, not far from the
mouth of the Trebia. It was taken and
destroyed by the Gauls in b.c. 200, but was
soon rebuilt by the Romans, and became an
important pjace.

PLANASIA (-ae : IHanosa)^ an island
between Corsica and the coast of Etruria,. to
which Augustus banished his grandson
Agrippa Postumns.

PLANCiNA. [Piso, No. 9.]

PLANCiUS, CN. (-i), whom Cicero defended
B.C. 54, in an oration still extant, when he
M-as accused of having practised bribery in
6rder to gain his election as curule aedile.

PLANCUS (-i), the name of a distinguished
family of the Monatia gens. The surname



Plancus signified a person having flat splay
feet withoat any bend in them. (1) L. Muka-
Tivs Plancus, a friend of Julius Caesar, who
nominated him to the government of Trans-
alpine Gaul for b.o. 44. Here he Joined
Antony and Lepidus. He was consul in 42,
and governed in succession the provinces of
Asia and Syria. He deserted Antony and
Augustus shortly before the breaking out of
the civil war between the two in 81. Both
the public and private life of Plancus was
stained by numerous vices. One of Horace's
odes {CarmA. 7) is addressed to him. — (2) T.
MuNATivs Planctjs Bursa, brother of the
former, was tribune of the plebs b.c. 52, and
was condemned to banishment on account of
his proceedii^ in this year. He fought on
Antony's side lu the campaign of Mutina. —
(3) Cn. MuNATirs Plancus, brother of the
two preceding, was praetor in 43. — (4) L.
Plautius Plancus, brother of the 3 preceding,
was adopted by a L. Plautius. He was
included in the proscription of the triumvirs,
43, with the consent of his brother Lucius,
and was put to death.

PliATAEA (-ae), more commonly PLA-
TAEAE (-anmi), an ancient city of Bocotia,
on the N. slope of Mt. Cithaeron, not far from
the sources of the Asopus, and on the fron-
tiers of Attica. It was said to have derived'
its name from Plataea, a daughter of Asopus.
At an early period the Plataeans deserted the
Boeotian confederacy and placed themselves
under the protection of Athens ; and when
the Persians invaded Attica, b.c. 490, they
sent 1000 men to the assistance of the Athe-
nians, and fought on their side at the battle
of Marathon. Ten years afterwards (480)
their city was destroyed by the Persian army
under Xerxes at the instigation of the The-
bans ; and the place was still in ruins in the
following year (479), when the memorable
battle was fought in their territory, in which
Mardonius was defeated, and the independence
of Greece secured. In consequence of this
victory, the territory of Plataea was declared
inviolable. It now enjoyed a prosperity of
50 years ; but in the 8rd year of the Pelo-
ponnesian war (429) the Thebans persuaded
the Spartans to attack the town, and after a
siege of 2 years at length succeeded in obtain-
ing possession of the place (427). Plataea
was now lazed to the ground, but was again
rebuilt after the peace of Antalcidas (887).
It was destroyed the 8rd time by its inveterate
enemies the Thebans in 874. It was once
more restored under the Macedonian supie-
macy, and continued in existence till a very
late period.

PLATO (-6nis). (1) The Athenian comic
poet, was a contemporary with Aristophanes,



Digitized by



Google



PLAUTUS.



829



PLINIUS.



and flourished from b.c. 428 to 889. He
ranked among the very best poets of the Old
Comedy. — (2) The philosopher, was the son
of Ariston and Perictione or Potone, and was
bom at Athens either in b.c. 429 or 428.
According to others, he was bom in the
neighbouring island of Aegina. His paternal
family boasted of being djsscended from
Codrus ; his maternal ancestors of a relation-
ship with Solon. He was instructed in
grammar, music, and grymnastics by the most
distinguished teachers of that time ; and in
his 20th year he became a follower of Socrates,
and one of his most ardent admirers. After
♦.he death of Socrates (399) he withdrew to
Megara, and subsequently visited Egypt,
Sicily, and the Greek cities in Lower Italy,
through his eagerness for knowledge. During
his residence in Sicily he became acquainted
with the elder Dionysius, but soon fell out with
the tyrant. According to a common story
he was sold as a slave by the tyrant, but was
set at liberty by Anniceris of Cyrene. After
his return he began to teach in the gymnasium
of the Academy and its shady avenues, whence
his school was subsequently called the
Academic. Over the vestibule of his house
he set up the inscription, " Let no one enter
who is unacquainted with geometry." Plato's
occupation as an instmctor was twice inter-
rupted by his voyages to Sicily ; first when
Dion persuaded him to try to win the younger
Dionysius to philosophy ; the second time, a
few years later (about 360), when the invi-
tation of Dionysius to reconcile the disputes
which had broken out between him and Dion,
brought him back to Syracuse. His efforts
were both times unsuccessful and he owed
his own safety to nothing but the earnest
intercession of Archytas. He died in the
82nd year of his age, b.c. 847. Plato wrote
a great number of works on different phi-
losophical subjects, which are still extant.
They are in the form of dialogue, and are
ilistinguished by purity of language and
elegance of st^le.

PLAUTUS (-i), T. MACCIUS (not ACCIUS),
the most celebrated comic poet of Kome, was
a native of Sarsina, a small village in Umbria,
and was bom about b.c. 254. In early life
he was in needy circumstances. He was first
employed in the service of the actors, and
having saved a little money, he left Rome
and set up in business. But his speculations
having failed, he returned to Rome, and en-
tered the service of a baker, who employed
him in turning a hand-milL While thus
engaged he wrote 8 plays, the sale of which
to the managers of the public games enabled
him to quit his drudgery, and begin his lite-
rary career. He was then probably about 30



years of age (224). He continued his literary
occupation for about 40 years, and died in
184, when he was 70 years of age. 20 of hi&
comedies have come down to us. They
enjoyed unrivalled popularity among the
Romans, and continued to be represented
down to the time of Diocletian. They appear
to be all founded upon Greek models ; but
he takes greater liberties with the originals
than Terence.

PLEIADES or PLEIaDES (-um), were
the daughters of Atlas and PlgXon§, whence
they bear the name of the Ailantides.
They were called Vergiliae by the Romans.
They were the sisters of the Hyades, and
7 in number, 6 of whom are described as
visible and the 7 th as Invisible. Some
call the 7 th Ster5pe, and relate that she be-
came invisible from shame, because she alone
had loved a mortal man. The Pleiades were
virgin companions of Artemis (Diana), and,
together with their mother Pleione, were*
pursued by the hunter Orion in Boeotia ;
their prayer to be rescued from him was
heard by the gods, and they were metamor-
phosed into doves (riXiiiJif), and placed
among the stars. The rising of the Pleiades
in Italy is about the beginning of May, and
their setting about the beginning of Novem-
ber. Their names are Electra, Maia, Taygete,
Alcyone, Celaeno, Sterope, and Merope. ,

PLEMMtRIUM (-i), a promontory on the
S. coast of Sicily, immediately S. of Syracuse.

PLEIONE (-6s) a daughter of Oceanus,
and mother of the Pleiades by Atlas. [Atlas *,
Pleiades.]

PLEUMOXII (-5rum), fc small tribe in
Gallia Belgica, subject to the Nervii.

PLEURON (-6nis), an ancient city in
Aetolia, situated at a little distance ft*om the
coast. It was abandoned by its inhabitants
when Demetrius II., king of Macedonia, laid
waste the surrounding coimtry, and a new
city was built under the same name near the
ancient one. The 2 cities are distinguished
by geographers under the names of Old
Pleuron and New Pleuron respectively.

PLINIUS (-i). (1) C. Plinits SECUNnrs,
frequently called Pliny the Elder, was bora
A.D. 23, either at Verona or Novum Ck)mum
{Como) in the N. of Italy. In his youth he
served in the army in Germany, and after-
wards practised for a time as a pleader at
Rome. But he spent the greater part of his
time in study, and was one of the most labo-
rious students thftt ever lived. He perished
in the celebrated eruption of Vesuvius, which
overwhelmed Herculaneum and Pompeii, ii:
A.D. 79, being 56 years of age. He was at
the time stationed at Misenum in the com-
mand of the Roman fieet ; and it was hii



Digitized by



Google



PLTSTHENE3.



330



POLA.



anxiety to examine more cloBcly the extra-
ordinary phenomenon, which led him to sail
to Stahiae, where he landed and perished.
Pliny wrote a great number of works, but
the only one which has come down to us is
his Hittoria NaturalU, It is divided into 87
books, and is dedicated to Titus, the son of
Vespasian, with whom Pliny lired on very
intimate terms. — (2) C Punfds Cakcilius
Secundus, frequently called Pliny the younger,
was the son of C. Caecilius, and of Plinia, the
sister of the elder Pliny. He was bom at
Ck>mum in a.d. 61 ; and having lost his father
at an early age, he was adopted by his uncle,
l^m his youth he was devoted to letters. In
Ids 14th year he wrote a Greek tragedy, and
in his 19th year he began to speak in the
forum, and became distinguished as an orator.
He was a friend of the historian Tacitus. In
A..D. 100 he was consul, and in 103 he was
appointed propraetor of the province Pontica,
where he did not stay quite 2 years. His
oxtant works are his Panegyricua^ which is
a fulsome eulogium on Trajan, and the 10
books of his Epistolae.

PLISTHENES (-is), son of Atreus, and
husband of Aerfip6 or EriphJ^lfi, by whom he
became the father of Agamemnon, Menelaus,
and Anaxibia ; but Homer makes the latter
the children of Atreus. [Aoameunon;
Atrkus.]

PLISTOAnAX or PLIstONAX (-actis),
king of Sparta b.c. 458 — 408, was the eldest
son of the Pausanias who conquered at
Plataea, b.c. 479. During 19 years of his
reign (445 — 426), he lived in exile, but was
afterwards recalled, in obedience to the
Delphic oracle.

PLISTUS (-i), a small river in Phocis,
rising in Mt. Parnassus, and falling into the
Crissaean gulf.

PLOTINA, POMPEIA (-ae), the wife of
the emperor Trajan, who persuaded her hus-
band to adopt Hadrian.

PLOtINUS (-i), the founder of the Neo-Pla-
tonic system, was bom in Egypt, about a.d.
203. He taught during the latter part of his
life at Rome, where he had among his dis-
ciples the celebrated Porphyry. His works,
which have oome down to us, were put into
their present form by Porphyry. Plotinus
died at Puteoli, in Campania, a.d. 262.

PLCTARCHUS (-i), the biographer and
philosopher, was bom at Chaeronea, in
Boeotia, probably in the reign of Claudius.
He lived for some time at Rome, and in other
parts of Italy ; and he was lecturing at Rome
during the reign of Domitian. He spent the
later years of his life at Chaeronea, where
he discharged various magisterial offices, and
held a priesthood. The time of Lis death is



unknown. The work which has immortalised
Plutarch's name is his Parallel lAves of
Greeks and Romans. Perhaps no work of
antiquity has been so extensively read in
modem times as these Lives. The reason of
their- popularity is that Plutarch has rightly
conceived the business of a biographer : his
biography is true portraiture. His other
writings, above 60 in number, are placed
under the general title oiMoralia, or Ethical
works. The best of them are practical ; and
their merits consist in the soundness of his
views on the ordinary events of human life,
and in the benevolence of his temper.

PLOTO or PLCTON (-onis), the giver of
wealth, at first a surname of Hades, the god
of the lower world, and afterwards used as
the real name of the god. 'An account of the
god is given under Hades.

PLOTUS (-i), the god of wealth, is de-
scribed as a son of lasion and Demeter
(Ceres). [Iasion.] Zeus (Jupiter) is said
to have deprived him of sight, that he might
distribute his gifts blindly, and without any
regard to merit.

PLUViUS (-i), i.«., "the sender of rain,»» a
surname of Jupiter among the Romans, to
whom sacrifices were ofiTered during long-
protracted droughts.

PODALIrIUS (-i), son of Aesculapius,
and brother of Machaon, along with whom
he led the Thessalians of Tricca against Troy.
He was, like his brother, skilled in the
medical art. On his return irom Troy he
was cast by a storm on the coast of Syros, in
Caria, where he is said to have settled.

p6daRC£S (-is). (1) The original name
of Priam. [Priamvs.] — (2) Son of Iphiclus,
and grandson of Phylacus, was a younger
brother of Protesilaus, and led the Thessa-
lians of Phylace against Troy.

PODARGE. [Harpyiae.]

P0EA8 (-antis), father of Philoctete^, who
is hence called Poeaniiadea, Poeantius heros,
PoeanHa proles, and Poeante satus, Poeas
is mentioned among the Argonauts. [Her-
cuLBs; Philoctetes.]

POENI (-orum), a common name of the
Carthaginians, because they were a colony of
Phoenicians.

POgON (-Snis), the harbour of Troezen,
in Argolis.

POLA (-ae), an ancient town in Istria,
situated on the W. coast, and near the pro-
montory PoLATicxJM, said to have been
founded by the Colchians, who had been sent
in pursuit of Medea. It was subsequently
a Roman colony, and an important com-
mercial town, being united by good roads
with Aquileia and the principal towns of
lU^Tia. Its importance is attested by its



Digitized by



Google



POLEMON.



331



POLLIO.



magnificent ruins, of which the principal are
those of an amphitheatre, of a triumphal
arch, and of several temples.

POLEMON (-6nis). (1) I. Kingof Pontus
and the Bosporus, -was the son of Zenon, the
oratoc, of Laodicea. He was ^pointed by
Antony in b.c. 39 to the government of a
part of Cilicia ; and he subsequently obtttined
in exchange the kingdom of Pontus. After
the battle of Actium he was able to make his
peace with Augustus, who confirmed him in
his kingdom. About b.c. 16 he was intrusted
by Agrippa with the charge of reducing the
kingdom of Bosporus, of which he was made
king after conquering the country. He
afterwards fell in an expedition against the
barbarian tribe of the Aspurgians. He was
succeeded by his wife, Pythodoris. — (2) II.
Son of the preceding and of Pythodoris, was
raised to the sovereignty of Pontus and Bos-
porus by Caligula, in a.d. 89. He was
induced by Nero to abdicate the throne in
A.D. 62, and Pontus was reduced to the con-
dition of a Roman province. — (3) Of Athens,
•an eminent Platonic philosopher. In his
youth he was extremely profiigate ; but one
day, when hb was about 30„ on his bursting
into the school of Xenocrates, at the head of
a band of revellers, his atttmtion was so
arrested by the discourse, which chanced to
be upon temperance, that he tore off his
prarlaiid, and remained an attentive listener.
From that day he adopted an abstemious
course of life, and continued to ft-equent the
school, of which, on the death of Xenocrates,
he became the head, b.c. 315. He died in
273, at a great age. — (4) A Stoic philosopher
and an eminent geographer, sumamed Perie-
ffeteSf lived in the time of Ptolemy Epiphanes,
at the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. —
(5) Antonixjs, a celebrated sophist and rjieto-
rician, flourished under Trajan, Hadrian, and
the first Antoninus. He was bom of a con-
sular family, at Laodicea, but spent the
(O'eater part of his life at Smyrna. His most
celebrated disciple was Aristides. During
the latter part of his life he was so tortured
by the gout, that he resolved to put an end
to his existence ; he caused himself to be
bhut up in the tomb of his ancestors at Laodi-
cea, where he died of hunger, at the age of
65. — (6) The author of a short Greek work
on Physiognomy, which is still extant. He
probably lived in the 2nd or 3rd century after
Cbrist.^

POLEMONIUM (-i), a city on the coast of
Pontus in Asia Minor, built by King Polxhon
(probably the 2nd), on the site of the older
city of Side, and at the bottom of a deep gulf,
POLIAS (-Sdis), i.e, " the goddess protect-
ing the city," a surname of Athena at Athens,



where she was worshipped as the protecting
divinity of the acropolis.

POLIORCETES, DEMETRIuS. [Dkm».

TRHJ8.]_

POLITES (-ae), son of Priam and Hecuba,
and father of Priam the younger, was slain
by Pyrrbus.

POLITORIUM (-i), a town in the interior
of Latium, destroyed by Ancus Martins.

POLLA, ARGENTARIA (-ae), the wife of
the poet Lucan.

POLLENTLA (-ae: Polenza)^ a town of
the Statielli in Liguria at the confiuence of
the Sturia and the Tanarus. It was cele-
brated for its wool. In its neighbourhood
Stilicho gained a victory over the Goths under
Alaric.

POLLIO (-5nis), ASINIUS (-i), a dis-
tingruished orator, poet, and historian of the
Augustan age. He was bom at Rome in b.c.
76, and became distinguished as an orator
at an early age. In the civil war he fought
on Caesar's side, and at the death of the dic-
tator held the command of the Further Spain.
He subsequently united his forces to those of
Octarian, Antony, and Lepidus. . He wa^
afterwards appointed by Antony to settle the
veterans in the lands which had been assigned
to them in the Transpadane Gaul. It was
upon this occasion that he saved the pro-
perty of the poet Virgil at Mantua from
confiscation. In b.c 40 Pollio took an active
part in effecting the reconciliation between
Octavian and Antony at Brundusium. In the
same year he was consul ; and it was during
his consulship that Virgil addressed to him
his 4th Eclogue. In b.c. 39 Antony went U)
Greece, and Pollio, as the legate of Antony,
defeated the Parthini and took the Dalmatian
town of Salonae. It was during his Hlyrian
campaign that Virgil addressed to him the
8th Eclogue. From this time Pollio with-
drew from political life, and devoted himself
to the study of literature. He died a.d. 4,
in the 80th year of his age. Pollio was not
only a patron of Virgil, Horace, and other
great poets and writers, but he was also tht
first person to establish a public library at
Rome. None of Pollio's ovm works have
come down to us, but they possessed suflacient
merit to lead his contemporaries to class hi;,
name with those of Cicero, Virgil, and Sallust,
as an orator, a poet, and an historian. It
was'*as an orator that he possessed the greatest
reputation ; and Horace speaks of him as
" Insigne maestis praesidium rels et con-
sulenti, Pollio, curiae." Pollio vrrote the
history of the civil wars in 17 books, com-
mencing with the consulship of Metellus and
Afranius, b.c. 60. As a poet Pollio was best
known by his tragedies, which arc spoken of



Digitized by



Google



POLLIO.



832



POLYDORUS.



in high terms by Virgil and Horace, but
which probably did not possess any great
merit, as they are hardly mentioned by sab-
sequent writers.

POLLIO (-6nis), VEDIUS, a ftriend of
Augustus, who used to feed his lampreys with
human flesh. Whenever a slave displeased
liim, the unfortunate wretch was forthwith
thrown into the pond as food for the fish.
Ue died b.c. 15, leaving a large part of his
property to Augustus. It was this PoUio,
who built the celebrated villa of Pausilypum
near Naples.

POLLUX or P6LtDEUC£S. [Dioscuri.]

POLLUX (-Qcis), JCLIUS (-i), of Naucratis
in Egypt, a Greek sophist and grammarian,
who lived in the reign of Commodus. He is
the author of an extant work, entitled Orio-
ttiasticon^ in 10 books, containing explanations
01" the meanings of Greek words.

POLt AENUS (4). (1) Of Lampsacus, a ma-
thematician and a friend of Epicurus. — (2) A
Macedonian, the author of the work on Stra-
tagems in war, which is still extant, lived
about the middle of the 2nd century of the
Christian era,

POLtBIUS (-i), the historian, the son of
Lycortas, and a native of Megalopolis, in
Arcadia, was bom about B.C. 204. His father
Lycortas was one of the most distinguished
men of the Achaean league ; and Polybius at
an early age took part in public affairs. After
the conquest of Macedonia by the Romans,
in B.C. 168, Polybius was one of the 1000
distinguished Achaeans who were carried as
prisoners to Rome. On his arri val in Italy
he acquired the friendship of the younger
Scipio Africanus. After remaining ip Italy
1 7 years, Polybius returned to Peloponnesus
in B.C. 151, with the surviving Achaean
exiles, who were at length allowed by the
senate to revisit their native land. Soon
afterwards he joined Scipio in his campaign
against Carthage, and was present at the
destruction of that city in 146. Immediately
afterwards he hurried to Greece, where he
arrived soon after the capture of Corinth ;
and he exerted all his influence to alleviate
the misfortunes of his countrymen, and to
procure favourable terms for them. He un-
dertook journeys into foreigrn countries for
the purpose of visiting the places which he
liad to describe in his history. He died at
the age of 82, in consequence of a fall from
his horse, about b.c. 122. His history con-
sisted of 40 books. It began b.c 220, where
the history of Aratus left off, and ended at
1 46, in which year Corinth was destroyed.
It consisted of 2 distinct parts. The first
part comprised a period of 35 years, begin-
ning with the 2nd Punic war, and the Social



war in Greece, and ending with the conquest
of Perseus and the downfal of the Mace-
donian kingdom, in 168. This was in fact
the main portion of his work, and its great
object was to show how the Romans had in
this brief period of 53 yeani conquered the
greater part of the world ; but since the
Greeks were ignorant, for the most part, of
the early history of Rome, he gives a survey
of Roman history from the taking of the city
by the Gauls to the commencement of the
2nd Punic war. In the first 2 books, which
thus form an introduction to the body of the
work. The second part of the work, which
formed a kind of supplement to the former
part, comprised the period from the conquest
of Perseus in 168, to the fall of Corinth in
146. This history of Polybius is one of the
most valuable works that has come down to
us from antiquity; but unfortunately the
greater part of it has perished. We possess
the first 5 books entire, but of the rest we
have only fragments and extracts.

POLtBUS (-i), king of Corinth, by whom
Oedipus was brought up. [Okdipus.]

POLtCLfiTUS (-i), of Argos, probably by
citizenship, and of Sicyon, probably by birth,
was one of the most celebrated statuaries of
the ancient world. He was also a sculptor,
an architect, and an artist in toreutic. He
was somewhat younger than Phidias, and
flourished about b.c. 452 — 412. Phidias was
unsurpassed in making the images of the
gods, Polycletus in those of men.

POLtCRATfiS (-is), tyrant of Samos, and
one of the most powerful of all the Greek
tyrants. He possessed a large navy and ex-
tended his sway over several of the neigh-
bouring islands. The most eminent artists
and poets fotmd a welcome at his court ; and
his friendship for Anacreon is particularly
celebrated. But in the midst of his prospe-
rity Oroetes, the satrap of Sardis, allured him
to the mainland, where he was arrested soon
after his arrival, and crucified, b.c 622.

POLI'DAMAS (-antis), son of Panthous and
Phrontis, was a Trojan hero, a friend of
Hector, and brother of Euphorbus.

POLtDECTES (-ae), king of the island of



Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 63 of 90)