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On this page: Polymita – Pomoerium

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POMOER1UM.

p. 371, b; Aristoph. Av. 179 ; Alex. ap. Ath. p. 60, a ; Ukert, Geog. d. Griech. u. Rom, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 115 ; Grote, History of Greece, vol. ii. pp. 154, 155.) The next passage, in order of time, is that in which Herodotus (ii. 109) says that the Greeks learnt from the Babylonians ir6\ov Kai yv&[jiOVOL ical ra SvooKaiSeKO, fjiepsa ttjs ^/xepTjs, where the later commentators and lexicographers for the most part explain the word as meaning an astronomical instrument, different from the yv^wv or sun dial. Mr. Grote (I. e.) interprets the pas­sage as signifying that the Greeks " acquired from the Babylonians the conception of the pole, or of the heavens as a complete hollow sphere, revolving round and enclosing the earth." But Herodotus certainly seems to be speaking of something more definite and specific than a mere conception respect­ing the sky ; and, on the whole, the most probable explanation is that of Scaliger and Salmasius, as modified by recent astronomers and scholars (see Bailly, Delambre, Letronne, and Creuzer, as quoted by Bahr, ad loc.\ namely, that the word signifies ike concave hemispherical sun-dial, made in imitation of the heavenly sphere, and hence called by the same name, TroAos, which was the earliest form of the sun-dial, inasmuch as it required less skill than the delineation of a sun-dial on a plane surface. The yv&iJLwv was not another different sort of sun­dial, but the index, or, as we still say, gnomon of the dial itself, the shadow of which, falling upon the meridian lines of the sun-dial, indicated the hours of the day as marked by the motion of the sun. in the true heavenly 7r6\os ; so that, in fact, the words iro\ov teal jv(afj.ova together describe the instrument. Pollux (ix. 46) explains TroAos as meaning wpoXoyiov, in a passage which he quotes from the Gerytades of Aristophanes ; and Lucian (Jjexiph. 4) speaks of the jv&p.mv overshadowing the middle of the TroAos, — a striking confirmation of the explanation we have given. The yv&p.<av alone was, in fact, not originally a sun-dial, but a mere upright stile, the length of the shadow of which was measured, to obtain a rough notion of the altitude of the sun and thence of the time of the day : afterwards, a dial was added with lines marked upon it, so as to form a true sun-dial, which was still called 'yvdjj.wv. The simple gnomon was used by the Greek geographers to determine the latitude of places. (Comp. horologium.*)

For the other meanings of TroAos,, see the Greek Lexicons. [P. S.J

POLYMITA. [tela.]

POMOERIUM. This word is compounded of post and moerittm (?nunis), in the same manner as pomeridiem of post and meridiem, and thus sig­nifies a line running by the walls of a town (pone or post muros). The pomoerium, however, did not consist of the actual walls or fortifications of a place, but was a symbolical wall, a,nd the course of the pomoerium itself was marked by stone pillars (cippi pomoerii, Varro, de Ling. Lat, v. 14 3*, ed. Miiller), erected at certain intervals. The custom of making a pomoerium was common to the Latins and Etrus-

* In the article horologium will be found statements differing in some minor points from those in this article : such differences are unavoid­able when a difficult subject is discussed by differ­ent writers ; and they may even be useful to the reader who wishes to examine the question tho­roughly, [Eb.jj

POMOERIUM.

cans, and the manner in which it was done in the earliest times, when a town was to be founded, was as follows : — A bullock and a heifer were yoked to a plough, and a furrow was drawn around the place which was to be occupied by the new town, in such a manner that all the clods fell in­ward. The little moimd thus formed was the symbolical wall, and along it ran the pomoerium, within the compass of which alone the city-auspices (auspicia urbana) could be taken. (Varro, de Ling. Lat. I. c.) That the actual walls or fortifications of a town ran near it, may naturally be supposed, though the pomoerium might either be within or without them. This custom was also followed in the building of Rome, and the Romans afterwards observed it in the establishment of their colonies. The sacred line of the Roman pomoerium did not prevent the inhabitants from building upon or taking into use any place beyond it, but it was necessary to leave a certain space on each side of it unoccupied so as not to unhallow it by profane use. (Liv. i. 44.) Thus we find that the Aven-tine, although inhabited from early times, was for many centuries not included within the pomoe­rium. (Gell. xiii. 14.) The whole space included in it was called ager ejfatus or fines effuti. The pomoerium of Rome was not the same at all times ; as the city increased the pomoerium also was ex­tended, but this extension could, according to an­cient usage, be made only by such men as had by their victories over foreign nations increased the boundaries of the empire (Tacit. Annal. xii. 25), and neither could a pomoerium be formed nor altered without the augurs previously consulting the will of the gods by augury, whence the jus pomoerii of the augurs. (Dionys. iv. 13 ; Cic. de Div. ii. 35.) The formula of the prayer which the augurs performed on such occasions, and which was repeated after them by the people who attended, is preserved in Festus (s. v. Prosimuriuni).

The original pomoerium of Romulus ran, accord­ing to Gellius (I. c.), around the foot of the Pala­tine, but the one which Tacitus {Annal. xii. 24) describes as the pomoerium of Romulus comprised a much wider space, and was, as Niebuhr thinks (Hist, of Rom. i. p. 288 ; compare Bunsen, Bes-chreib. d. Stadt Rom, i. p. 138 ; Sachse, Beschreib. von Rom. i. p. 50), an enlargement of the original compass., taking in a suburb or borough. Niebuhr also believes that pomoerium properly denotes a suburb taken into the city. The Romulian pomoe­rium, according to Tacitus, ran from the Forum Boarium (the arch of Septimius Severus) through the valley of the Circus so as to include the ara maxima Herculis ; then along the foot of the Pala­tine to the ara Consi, and thence from the Septi-zonium to the curiae veteres (a little below the baths of Trajan), along the top of the Velia to the Sacellum Larium, and lastly by the via sacra to the Forum. From the eastern side of the Forum to the Velabrum there was a swamp, so that Tacitus does not mention the line of the pomoe­rium here. Servius Tullius again extended tha pomoerium (Liv. i. 44 ; Dionys. iv. 13), but tha Aventine was not included, either because tha auspices here taken by Remus had been unfavour­able, or, which is more probable, because there stood on this hill the temple of Diana, the common sanctuary of the Latins and Romans. (Gell. L c. ; Varro, de Ling. Lat. v. 43.) The Aventine did not become included within the pomoerium until ths

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