William Smith.

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

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Seriphos, received kindly Danae and Perseus.
[Perseus.]

POLtDEUCES, called by the Romans
Pollux. [Dioscuri.]

POLtDORUS (-i). (1) King of Thebes,
son of Cadmus and Harmonia, husband of
Nycteis, and father of Labdacus. — (2) The
youngest among the sons of Priam and Laotoe,
was slain by Achilles. This is the Homeric
accoimt ; but later traditions make him a
son of Priam and Hecuba, and give a different
account of his death. When Ilium was on



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POLYXENA.



die point of falling into the hands of the
Greeks, Priam entrusted Polydorus and a
large sum of money to Polymestor or Polym-
nestor, king of the Thracian Chersonesus.
After the destruction of Troy, Polymestor
killed Polydorus for the purpose of getting
possession of his treasures, and cast his body
into the sea. His body was afterwards
washed upon the coast, where it was found
and recognised by his mother Hecuba, who
took vengeance upon Polymestor by killing
his two childrea, and putting out his eyes.
Another tradition stated that Polydorus was
entrusted to his sister Iliona, who was
married to Polymestor. She brought him
up as her own son, while she made every
one else believe that her own son Deiphilus
or Deipylus was Polydorus. Polymestor, at
the instigation of the Greeks, slew his own
son, supposing him to be Polydorus ; where-
upon the latter persuaded his sister Iliona to
put Polymestor to death.

POLYGNOTUS (-i), one of the most
celebrated Greek painters, was the son of
Aglaophon, and a native of the island of
Thasos, but he received the citizenship of
Athens, on which account he is sometimes
called an Athenian. He lived on intimate terms



with Cimon and his sister Elpinice ; and he
probably came to Athens in b.c. 463 : after the
subjugation of Thasos by Cimon he con-
tinued to exercise his art almost down to
the beginning of the Peloponnesian war (431).

POLtHYMNIA. [MusAE.]

PSlYMESTOR or POLYMNESTOR. [Po-

LTDOEUS.]

POLYMNIA. [MusAB.]

POLYNICES (-is), son of Oedipus and
Jocasta, and brother of Etcocles and An-
tigone. [Eteocles; Adrastus.] ^

POLtPHEMUS* (-i), son of Poseidon
(Neptune), and the Nymph Thoosa, was one
of the Cyclopes in Sicily. [Cyclopes.] He
is represented as a gigantic monster, having
only one eye in the centre of his forehead,
caring nought for the gods, and devouring
human flesh. He dwelt in a cave near Mt.
Aetna, and fled his flocks upon the mountain.
He feU in love with the nymph Galatea, but
as she rejected him for Acis, he destroyed the
latter by crushing him under a huge rock.
When Ulysses was driven upon Sicily, Poh -
phemus devoured some of his companions ;
and Ulysses would have shared the same fate,
had he not put out the eye of the monster,
while he was asleep. [Ulysses.]



The Cyclops FolTphemus. (Zoiga, BaBsirilievi, tav. 57.)



POLYSPERCHON (-ontis), a Macedonian,
and a distinguished officer of Alexander the
Great. Antipater on his death-bed (b.c. 319)
appointed Polysperchon to succeed him as
regent in Macedonia, while he assigned to his



own son Cassander the subordinate station of
Chiliarch. Polysperchon soon became in-
volved in war with Cassander, and finally
submitted to the latter.

POLYXENA (-ae), daughter of Priam and



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334



P0MPEIU8.



Hecuba, was beloved by Achilles. [Seep. 5,
b.] When the Greeks, on their voyage home,
were still lingering on the coast of Thrace,
the shade of Achilles appeared to them, de-
manding that Polyxena should be sacrificed
to him. Ncoptolemus accordingly slew her
on the tomb of his father.

POLYXO (-Qs). (1) The nurse of queen
Hypsipyle in Lenmos, celebrated as a pro-
phetess. — (2) An Argive woman, married to
Tlepolemus, son of Hercules, followed her
husband to Rhodes, where, according to some
traditions, she put to death the celebrated
Helen. [Helena.]

POmONA (-ae), the Roman divinity of the
fruit of trees, hence called Pomorum Patrona.
Her name is derived from Pomum. She is
represented by the poets as beloved by several
of the rustic divinities, such as Silvanus,
Picus, Yertumnus, and others.

POMPEIA (-ae). (1) Daughter of Q.
Pompeius Rufus, son of the consul of b.c. 88,
and of Cornelia, the daughter of the dictator
Sulla. She married C. Caesar, subsequently
the dictator, in b.c. 67, but was divorced by
him in 61, because she was suspected of in-
triguing with Clodius, who stealthily intro-
duced himself into her husband's house while
she was celebrating the mysteries of the Bona
Dea. — (2) Daughter of Pompey, the triumvir,
by his third wife Mucia. She married Faustus
Sulla, the son of the dictator, who perished
in the African war, 46. — (3) Daughter of
Sex. Pompey, the son of the triumvir and of
Scribonia. At the peace of Misenum in 39
ihe was betrothed to M. Marcellus, the son
of Octavia, the sister of Octavian, but was
never married to him.

POMPEII (-orum), a city of Campania,
was situated on the coast, at the foot of Mt.
Vesuvius ; but in consequence of the ph3r8ical
changes which the surrounding country has
imdergone, the ruins of Pompeii are found at
present about 2 miles from the sea. It was over-
whelmed in ▲.!>. 79, along with Herculaneum
and Stabiae, by the great eruption of Mt.
Vesuvius. The lava did not reach Pompeii,
but the town was covered with successive
layers of ashes and other volcanic matter, on
which a soil was gradually formed. Thus a
great part of the city has been preserved ;
and the excavation of it in modem times has
thrown great light upon many points of
antiquity, such as the construction of Roman
houses, and in g^eneral all subjects connected
with the private life of the ancients. About
half the city is now exposed to view.

POMPEIOPOLIS. [SoLOE.]

POMPfilUS (-i). (1) Q. Pompeius, said
to have been the son of a flute-player, was
the first of the family who rose to digiiity in



the state. He was consul in 141, when he
carried on war unsuccessfully against the
Numantines in Spain. — (2) Q. Pompbiuo
RuFcs, a zealous supporter of the aristo-
cratical party, was consul b.c. 88, wifh
L. Sulla. Wlien Sulla set out for the East
to conduct the war against Mithridates, he
left Italy in charge of Pompeius RuAis, and
assigned to him the army of Cn. Pompeius
Strabo, who was stUl engaged in carrying on
war against the Marsi. Strabo, however,
who was unwilling to be deprived of the
command, caused Pompeius Rufus to be
murdered by the soldiers. — (3) Cn. Pom-
peius St&abo, consul b.c. 89, when he
carried on war with success against the
allies, subduing the greater number of the
Italian people who were still in arms. He
continued in the S. of Italy as proconsul in
the following year (88), when he caused
Pompeius Rufus to be assassinated. Shortly
afterwards, he was killed by lightning. HIh
avarice and cruelty had made him hated by
the soldiers to such a degree, that they tore
his corpse from the bier, and dragged it
through the streets. — (4) Cn. Pompxius
Maonus, the Triumvib, son of the last, was
bom on the 30th of September, b.c. 106,
and was consequently a few months younger
than Cicero, who was bom on tiie 3rd
of January in this year, and 6 years
older than Caesar. He fought under his
father in 89 against the Italians, when he
was only 17 years of age. When Sulla re-
turned to Italy (84), Pompey marched to hia
assistance ; and in the war which followed
against the Marian party, he distingxiished
himself as one of Sulla's most successful
generrfls. In consequence of his victories in
Africa over the Marian party, he was greeted
by Sulla with the surname of Magnus, a
name which he bore ever afterwards. He
was allowed to enter Rome in triumph- (81),
although he was itHl a simple eques, and had
not held any public ofiice. Pompey con-
tinued faithful to the aristocracy after Sulla's
death (78), and supported the consul Catulus
in resisting the attempts of his colleague
Lepidus to repeal the laws of Sulla. He wa»
afterwards sent into Spain as proconstd, to
assist Metellus against Sertorius, and re-
mained in that country for five years (76 —
71). [Sertorius.] On his return to Rome
he was consul with M. Crassiis, b.c. 70. In
his consulship he openly broke with the
aristocracy, and became the great popular
hero. He carried a law, restoring to the
tribunes the power of which they had been
deprived by Sulla. In 67 the tribune
A. Gabinius brought forward a bill, pro-
posing to confer upon Pompey the command



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POMPEIUS.



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POMPTINAE.



of the war against the pirates with extra,
ordinary powers. This bill was carried, and
in the course of three months he cleared the
Mediterranean of the pirates, who had long
been the terror of the -Romans. Next year
(66) he was appointed to succeed Lucullus
in the command of the war against Mith-
ridates. The bill, conferring upon him
this command, was proposed by the tribune
C. Manilius, and was supported by Cicero in
an oration which has come down to us. He
easily defeated Mithridates, who fled to the
Cimmerian Bosporus. He received the sub-
mission of Tigranes, king of Armenia ; made
Syria a Roman province ; took Jerusalem ;
and, after settling the affairs of Asia, re-
turned to Italy in 62. He disbanded his
army after landing at Brundisium, and
thus calmed the apprehensions of many,
who feared that he would seize upon the
supreme power". He entered Rome in tri-
umph on the 30th of September, b.c. 60.
The senate, however, refused to ratify his
acts in Asia; whereupon Pompey entered
into a close alliance with Caesar. To be more
sure of carrying their plans into execution,
they « took the wealthy Crassus into their
counsels. The three agreed to assist one
another against their mutual enemies ; and
thus was formed the first triumvirate.
This union of the three most powerful men
at Rdme crushed the aristocracy for the time.
To cement their union more closely, Caesar
gave to Pompey his daughter Julia in mar-
riage. Next year (58) Caesar went to Ms
province in Gaul, but Pompey remained in
Rome. While Caesar was gaining glory and
influence in Gaul, Pompey was gradually
losing influence at Rome. In 55 Pompey
was consul a second time with Crassus.
Pompey received as his provinces the two
Spains, which were governed by his legates,
L. Afranius and M. Petreius, while he him-
self remained in the neighbourhood of the
city. Caesar's increasing power and influ-
ence at length made it clear to Pompey
that a struggle must take place between
them, sooner or later. The death of his wife
Julia, in 54, to whom he was tenderly
attached, broke the last link which still
connected him with Caesar. In order to
obtain supreme power, Pompey secretly
encouraged the civil discord with which the
state was torn asunder ; and such frightful
scenes of anarchy followed the death of
Clodius at the beginning of 52, that the
senate had no alternative but calling in the
assistance of Pompey, who_ was accordingly
made sole consul in 52, and succeeded in
restoring order to the state. Soon aftei-
vards Pompey 1>ecame reconciled to the



aristocracy, and was now regarded as their
acknowledged head. The history of the civil
war which followed is related in the life of
Caksar. After the battle of Pharsalia (48)
Pompey sailed to Egypt, where he was put
to death by order of the ministers of the
young king Ptolemy. Pompey got into a
boat, which the Egyptians sent to bring him
to land ; but just as the' boat reached the
shore, and he was stepping on land, he was
stabbed in the back in sight of his wife, who
was anxiously watching him from the ship.
He was slain on the 29th of September, b.c.
48, and had just completed his 58th year.
His head was cut of^ and was brought to
Caesar when he arrived in Egypt soon after-
wards, but he turned away from the sight,
shed tears at the melancholy death of hi**
rival, and put his murderers to death.
Pompey was married 5 times. The names
of his wives were — I, Autistia. 2. Aemilia.
3. Mucia. 4. Julia. 5. Cornelia. — (5) Cn.
PoMPsrus Maonus, elder son of the triumvir,
by his third wife Mucia, carried on war
against Caesar in Spain, and was defeated at
the battle of Munda, b.c. 45. He was shortly
afterwards taken prisoner, and put to death.
— (6) Smc. PoMPBius Maontts, younger son
of the triumvir by his third wife Mucia,
fought, along with his brother, against
Caesar at Munda, but escaped with his life
After Caesar's death (44) he obtained a large
fleet, became master of the sea, and took
possession of Sicily. He was eventually
defeated by the fleet of Augustus, and fle<l
from Sicily to Asia, where he was taken
prisoner, and put to death (35).
POMPEIUS FESTU8. [Fbstus.]
POMPEIUS TROGUS. [Justi.vus.]
POMPELON (-6ni8 : Pamplona), equivju
lent to Pompeiopolls, so called by the sons i>r
Pompey, was the chief town of the YasconcM
in Hispania Tarraconensis.

P0MP1l!US, NtJMA. [NuiCA.]
POMPONIA (-ae). (1) Sister of T. Pom-
ponius Atticus, was married to Q. Cicero,
the brother of the orator, b.c. 68. The mar-
riage proved an unhappy one. Q. Cicero,
after leading a miserable life with his wifa
for almost 24 years, at length divorced her
B.C. 45 or 44. — (2) Daughter of T. Pom.
ponius Atticus, married to M. Vipsaniu.-*
Agrippa. Her dahghter, Vipsania Agrippina,
married Tiberius, the successor of Augustus.
POMPONIUS, SEXTUS (-i), a distin-
guished Roman jurist, who lived under
Antoninus Pius and M. Aurelius.

POMPOnIuS ATTICUS. [Atticus.]
POMPONIUS MELA. [Mela.]
POMPTlNAEor PONTINAE (-arum), PA-
Lt)DES (-urn), the Pontine Marshes, the name



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336



PORPHYKIUS.



of a low marshy plain on the coast of Latium,
between CirceU and Terracina, said to have
been so called after an ancient town Pontia,
which disappeared at an early period. The
marshes are formed chiefly by a nimiber of
small streams, which, instead of finding
their way into the sea, spread over this
plain. The miasmas arising ttom these
marshes are exceedingly unhealthy in the
summer. At an early period they either
did not exist at all, or were confined to a
narrow district. We are told that originally
there were 23 towns in this plain; and
in B.C. 312, the greater part of it must
hare been free from the marshes, since the
censor Appius Claudius conducted the cele-
brated Via Appia in that year through the
plain, which must then have been sufficiently
strong to bear the weight of this road. In
the time of Augustus there was a navigable
3anal running along side of the Via Appia
fi-om Forum Appii to the grove of Feronia,
which was intended to carry off a portion of
the waters of the marshes. Horace embarked
upon this canal on his celebrated Journey
from Rome to Brundisium in 37.

PONTIA (-ae : Ponza)^ a rocky island off
the coast of Latium, opposite Formiae, taken
by the Romans from the Volscians, and colo-
nised B.C. 313. Under the empire it was
used as a place of banishment for state
criminals.

PONTIUS (-1), C, general of the Sam-
nites in b.c. 321, defeated the Roman army
in one of the mountain passes near Caudium,
and compelled them to pass under the yoke.
Nearly 30 years afterwards, Pontiils was
defeated by Q. Fabius Gurges (292), was
taken prisoner, and put to death after the
triumph of the consul.

PONTUS (-i), the N.E.-most district of
Asia Minor, along the coast of the Euxine,
E. of the river Ilalys, having originally no
specific name, was spoken of as the country
on the Ponttis {£uxinus)f and hence acquired
the name of Pontus, which is first found in
Xenophon's Anabasis, The name first ac-
quired a political importance, through the
foundation of a new kingdom in it, about the
beginning of the 4th century b.c, by Ariobas-
ZANES I. This kingdom reached its greatest
height under Mithridates VI., who for many
years carried on war with the R<)man8. [Mith-
ridates VI. ] In A.D. 6 2 the country was consti-
tuted by Nero a Roman province. It was
divided into the 8 districts of Pontus Gala-
Ticrs, in the W., bordering on Galatia,
P. PoLKMONiAccs iu the centre, so called
^m its capital PoLEUONruM, and P. Cappa-
Docivs in the E., bordering on Cappadocia
(Armenia Minor}. Pontus was a mountain-



ous country; wild and barren in the E.,
where the great chains approach the Euxine ;
but in the W, watered by the great rivers
Halts and Iris, and their tributaries, the
valleys of which, as well as the land along
the coast, are extremely fertile. The £. part
was rich in minerals, and contained the cele-
brated iron mines of the Chalybes.

PONTUS EUXINUS, or simpl^ PONTUS
(.i: tJte Black Sea), the great inland sea
enclosed by Asia Minor on the S., Colchis on
the E., Sarmatia on the N., and Dacia anrl
Thracia on the W., and having no other
outlet than the narrow Bosporus Thracius
in its S.W. comer. Its length is about 70o
miles, and its breadth varies from 400 lo
160. The Argonautic legends show that the
Greeks had some acquaintance with this sea
at a very early period. It is said that they
at first called it *A{iwf {in?Mspitable)f from
the savage character of the peoples on its
coast, and from the supposed terrors of its
navigation, and that afterwards, on their
favourite principle of euphemism (i.e. abstain,
ing from words of evil omen), they changed
its name to Ev|irK, Ion. Eu|u»«f, hospitable.
The Greeks of Asia Minor, especially, the
people of Miletus, founded many colonies and
conunercial emporiums on its shores.
POPILLIUS LAENAS. [Labnas.]
POPLICOLA. [Publicola.]
POPPAEA 8ABINA. [Sabina.]
P0PPAEU8 SABlNUS. [Sabinus.]
POPOlONIA (-ae), or POPCLONimi
(-i), an ancient town of Etruria, situated on a
lofty hill, sinking abruptly to the sea, and
forming a peninsula. It was destroyed by
Sulla in the civil wars.

PORCIA (-ae) (1) Sister of Cato Uticensis,
married L. DomitiUs Ahenobarbus, consul
B.C. 54, who was slain in the battle of
rharsalia. — (2) Daughter of Cato Uticensis,
married first to M. Bibulus, consul B.C. 59,
and afterwards to M. Brutus, the assassin of
Julius Caesar. She induced her husband on
the night before the 1 5th of March to dis-
close to her the conspiracy against Caesar'-)
life, and she is reported to have wounded
herself in the thigh in order to show that
she had a courageous soul, and could be
trusted with the secret. She put an end to
her own life after the death of Brutus in 42.
PORCiUS CATO. [Cato.]
PORCiUS FESTUS. [Festus.]
PORCIUS LATRO. [Latro.]
PORCIUS LICINUS. [LiciNUS.]
PORPHtRlON (-onis), one of the giants
who fought against the gods, slain by Zeus
(Jupiter) and Hercules.

PORPHtRIUS (-i), usually caUed POR-
PHYRY, a Greek philosopher of the Neo-



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POSEIDON.



Platonic school, was bom a.d. 238, either in
Batanea in Palestine or at Tyre. His original
name was Malchus^ the Greek form of the
Syrophoenician Melech, a word which signi-
fied king. He studied at Athens under
Longinus, who changed his name into For-
Thyrius (in allusion to the usual colour of
royal robes). He settled at Eome in his
30th year, and there became a disciple of
Plotinus, whose writings he corrected and
arranged. [Plotinus.] His most celebrated
work was his treatise against the Christian
religion, which was publicly destroyed by
order of the emperor Theodosius.

PORSENA, PORSlNA, or PORSENNA
(-ae), LARS (-tis), king of the Etruscan
town of Clusium, marched against Rome
at the head of a vast army, in order to
restore Tarquinius Superbus to the throne.
He took possession of the hiU Jahiculum,
and would have entered the city by the
bridge which connected Rome with the Jani-
culum, had it not been for the superhuman
prowess of Horatius Cocles. [CJoclbs.] He
then proceeded to lay siege to the city,
which soon began to suffer from famine.
Thereupon a young Roman, named C. Mu-
cius, resolved to deliver his country by
murdering the invading king. He accord-
ingly went over to the Etruscan camp, but
ignorant of the person of Porsena, killed the
royal secretary instead. Seized, and threat-
ened with torture, he thrust his right hand
into the fire on the altar, and there let it
bum, to show how little he heeded pain.
Astonished at his courage, the king bade him
depart in peace; and Scaevola, as he was
henceforward called, told him, out of grati-
tude, to make peace with Rome, since 300
noble youths had sworn to take the life of
the king, and he was the first upon whom
the lot had fallen. Porsena thereupon made
peace with the Romans, and withdrew his
troops from the Janiculum after receiving 20
hostages from the Romans. Such was the
tale by which Roman vanity concealed one
of the earliest and greatest disasters of the
city. The real fact is, that Rome was com-
pletely conquered bv Porsena, and compelled
to pay tribute.

PORTtJNUS or PORTUMNUS (-1), the
protecting genius of harbours among the
Romans, identified with the Greek Palaemon.
[Palaemon.]

PORUS (.i). (1) King of the Indian pro.
vinces £. of the river Hydaspes, offered a
formidable resistance to Alexander, when
the latter attempted to cross this river, b.c.
327. He was conquered by Alexander, and was
afterwards received into his favour. We are
told that Porus was a man of gigantic stature



— ^not less than five cubits in height ; and
that his personal strength and prowess in war
were not less conspicuous than his valour. —
(2) Another Indian monarch at the time of
Alexander's expedition. His dominions were
subdued by Hephaestion, and annexed to
those of the preceding Porus, who was his
kinsman.

POSEIDON, called NEPTtJNUS (-i) by the
Romans, was the god of the Mediterranean
sea. His name seems to be connected with
wirtf rwT09, and j«r«/tt«5, according to which
he is the god of the fiuid element. He was
a son of Cronos (Satumus) and Rhea, whence
he is called CroniuSf and by Latin poets
Satumitu. He was accordingly a brother
of Zeus (Jupiter) and Hades (Pluto) ; and it
was determined by lot that he should rule
over the sea. Like his brothers and sisters,
he was, after his birth, swallowed by his
father Cronos, but thrown up again. In the
Homeric poems Poseidon is described as
equal to Zeus in dignity, but less powerful.
He resents the attempts of Zeus to intimi-
date him; he even threatens his mightier
brother, and once conspired with Hera (Juno)
and Athena (Minerva) to put him in chains ;
but on other occasions we find him submis-
sive to Zeus. The palace of Poseidon was
in the depth of the sea near Aegae in Euboea,
where he kept his horses with brazen hoofs
and golden manes. With these horses he
rides in a chariot over the waves of the sea,
which become smooth as he approaches,
while the monsters of the deep play around
his chariot. Poseidon in conjunction with
Apollo is said to have built the walls of Troy
for Laomedon, whence Troy is called Neptunia
Pergama, Laomedon refused to give these
grods the reward which had been stipulated,
and even dismissed them with threats.
Poseidon in consequence sent a marine
monster, which was on the point of devour-
ing Laomedon's daughter, when it was killed
by Hercules. He continued to bear an im-
placable hatred against the Trojans, and he
sided with the Greeks in the war against
their city. In the Odyssey, he appears hos-
tile to Ulysses, whom he prevents from
returning home in consequence of his having
blinded Polyphemus, a son of Poseidon by
the nymph Thoosa. He is said to have
created the horse, when he disputed with
Athena as to which of them should give
name to the capital of Attica. [Athena.]
He was accordingly believed to have taught
men the art of managing horses by the
bridle, and to have been the originator and
protector of horse races. He even metamor-
phosed himself into a horse, for the purpose
of deceiving Demeter (Ceres). Poseidon



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PRIAMIDES.



ina married to Amphitrite, by ^hom he bad
three children, Triton, Rhode, and Benthe.
sicyme ; but he had also a vast number of
children by other divinities and mortal
women. The sacrifices offered to him gene-
rally consisted of black and white bulls ; but
wild boars and rams were also sacrificed to
him. Horse and chariot races were held in
his honour on the Corinthian isthmus. The
symbol of Poseidon's power was the trident,
or a spear with three points, with which he
used to shatter rocks, to call forth or subdue
storms, to shake the earth, and the like. In
works of art, Poseidon may be easily recog-
nised by his att4butes — ^the dolphin, the
horse, or the trident, and he is frequently



Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 64 of 90)