Polyphemus, in classical mythology, the principal of the Sicilian Cyclops, a son of Neptune, who is represented by Homer as a gigantic shepherd, with one eye in the centre of his forehead, and dwelling alone in a cave. Ulysses and his followers, having taken refuge in this place, were discovered by Polyphemus on his return from feeding his flocks, and by him were fastened in the cave with a huge stone. After he had eaten six of Ulysses's companions, Ulysses took revenge upon him by getting him intoxicated, and burning out his single eye. The next morning Ulysses fastened himself and his companions to the bellies of the gigantic sheep as the blind. Cyclops let them out to pasture, and thus escaped.
See Gar Fish.
Pomona (Lat. pomum, a fruit), the Roman goddess of fruit trees and gardens. The Latin poets represent her as beloved by several of the rural deities, Sylvanus, Vertumnus, Picus, etc. Vertumnus obtained her affection and married her. She had a temple in Rome, with a priest called fiamen Pomonalis to preside over her worship. In works of art she is generally represented as a young and robust female, seated on a basket of flowers and fruit, holding apples in her right hand and a branch in her left. In the Florentine museum is an antique marble statue of Pomona crowned with leaves and ivy berries, and holding up with both hands a fold of her flowing robe filled with grapes and other fruit.
Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, an Italian painter, born at Lucca in 1708, died in Rome, Feb. 4, 1787. Some of his best works are at Lisbon and St. Petersburg. His principal picture at Rome is the "Fall of Simon Magus," at the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Pompeo Litta, count, an Italian historian, born in Milan, Sept. 27, 1781, died there, Aug. 17, 1852. Enlisting in 1804 as a common soldier, he attained a high position in the French army, which he left in 1814. Under the revolutionary government of Lombardy in 1848 he officiated for a short time as minister of war and commander of the national guard of Milan. He is the author of Famiglie celebri italiane (1819-'52), containing the history of upward of 50 eminent Italian families, a work renowned both for superb execution and historical accuracy. It was continued from his materials by Odorici and others.
Pomponius Mela, a Roman geographer in the time of the emperor Claudius. He was a native of Spain, and is said to have been the first Roman author of a methodical treatise on geography. His work is entitled De Situ Orbis, and consists of three books, which give a brief description of the whole world as known to the Romans. The text is corrupt, but the style is simple and the Latinity pure. The editio princeps appeared at Milan in 1471; the best editions are by Tzschucke (7 vols., Leipsic, 1807) and Parthey (Berlin, 1867).