See Light, vol. x., p. 445.
Polka (supposed to be derived from Bohem. pulka, half), a dance first known in eastern Bohemia, introduced in 1835 at Prague, and performed by Raab, a Bohemian dancing master, at the Odeon theatre in Paris in 1840. It is danced by two persons, advancing together, or whirling as in the waltz. The measure is in £ time, and the step is elevated, the foot being set down suddenly and almost stamping. There are various modifications of it.
See Plant, vol. xiii., p. 587.
See Castok and Pollux.
Polotzk, a town of Russia, on the Dun a, in the government and 60 m. N. W. of the town of Vitebsk; pop. in 1867, 11,418. It has a castle and other feeble fortifications, Greek and Catholic churches, a district school for the nobility, a convent and college formerly belonging to the Jesuits, and some trade in flax and hemp. A United Greek bishop resides here. It is of great antiquity, and was once the capital of a duchy of White Russia, extending along the two banks of the Dtlna. Ivan the Terrible of Russia wrested it in 1564 from Lithuania. Stephen Bathory, king of Poland, reconquered it in 1579. In 1772 it was finally incorporated with Russia. In 1839 a large synod assembled here by the emperor Nicholas declared the return of some millions of United Greeks to the Orthodox Greek church.
Poltxem, a daughter of Priam and Hecuba, beloved by Achilles. One legend relates that Achilles, for the sake of obtaining her in marriage, promised Priam to make peace between the Greeks and Trojans, and, going to the temple of the Thymbrsean Apollo to conclude the negotiations, was treacherously slain by Paris. Polyxena was therefore sacrificed to his manes, according to one account on his tomb, according to another on the coast of Thrace. Another form of the legend represents Polyxena and Achilles to have fallen in love when the dead body of Hector was given up, and that when the Greek champion was slain she killed herself upon his tomb.
Polyhymnia, Or Polymnia (Gr. , many, and , hymn), in Greek mythology, one of the nine muses. She presided over eloquence and the higher lyric poetry. The invention of the lyre was ascribed to her. On ancient monuments she is represented in an attitude of meditation.
Polynesia (Gr. , many, and island), a name applied by geographers to all the islands, north and south of the equator, lying between the Philippines, Papua, New Britain .and neighboring islands, Solomon's islands, New Hebrides, and New Zealand, and the meridian of 100° W. The principal islands included in Polynesia are the Hawaiian, Marquesas, Paumotou, Society, Samoan, Friendly, Feejee, Caroline, Ladrone, Marshall, and Gilbert groups. The term Polynesia was originally applied by French geographers to the various islands scattered over the Pacific, including Australia; but it is now restricted to the limits here defined. (See Malayo-Polyne-sian Races and Languages).