Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/31

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17
POLTROON—POLYANTHUS

may be consulted, and Bovet's Pandaemonium (1684) is very rich in cases. The literature of the famous drummer of Tedworth (March 1662-April 1663) begins with an abstract of the sworn deposition of Mr Mompesson, whose house was the scene of the disturbances. The abstract is in the Mercurius publicus of April 1663, the evidence was given in a court of justice on the 15th of April. There is also a ballad, a rhymed news-sheet of 1662 (Anthony Wood's Collection 401 (193), Bodleian Library). Pepys mentions “books” about the affair in his Diary for June 1663. Glanvil's first known version is in his Sadducismus triumphatus of 1666. The sworn evidence of Mompesson proves at least that he was disturbed in an intolerable manner, certainly beyond any means at the disposal of his two daughters, aged nine and eleven or thereabouts. The agent may have been the tàradh of the drummer whom Mompesson offended. Glanvil in 1666 confused the dates, and, save for his own experiences, merely repeats the statements current in 1662-1663. The ballad and Mompesson's deposition are given in Proc. S.P.R. xvii. 304-336, in a discussion between the writer and Mr Podmore. The dated and contemporary narrative of Procter in the Willington Mill case (1835-1847), is printed in the Journ. S.P.R. (Dec. 1892), with some contemporary letters on the subject. Mr Procter endured the disturbances for sixteen years before he retreated from the place. There was no naughty little girl in the affair; no nervous or hysterical patient. The Celtic hypothesis of tàradh, exercised by “the spirit of the living,” includes visual apparitions, and many a so-called “ghost” of the dead may be merely the tàradh of a living person. (A. L.)

POLTROON, a coward, a worthless rogue without courage or spirit. The word comes through Fr. poltron from Ital. poltrone, an idle fellow, one who lolls in a bed or couch (Milanese polter, Venetian poltrona, adapted from Ger. Polster, a pillow; cf. English “bolster”). The old guess that it was from Lat. pollice truncus, maimed in the thumb, and was first applied to those who avoided military service by self-mutilation, gave rise probably to the French application of poltron to a falcon whose talons were cut to prevent its attacking game.

POLTROT, JEAN DE (c. 1537-1563), sieur de Méré or Mérey, a nobleman of Angoumois, who murdered Francis, duke of Guise. He had lived some time in Spain, and his knowledge of Spanish, together with his swarthy complexion, which earned him the nickname of the “Espagnolet,” procured him employment as a spy in the wars against Spain. Becoming a fanatical Huguenot, he determined to kill the duke of Guise, and gained admission as a deserter to the camp of the Catholics who were besieging Orleans. In the evening of the 18th of February 1563 he hid by the side of a road along which he knew the duke would pass, fired a pistol at him, and fled. But he was captured the next day, and was tried, tortured several times, and sentenced to be drawn and quartered. On the 18th of March 1563 he underwent a frightful punishment. The horses not being able to drag off his limbs, he was hacked to pieces with cutlasses. He had made several contradictory declarations regarding the complicity of Coligny. The admiral protested emphatically against the accusation, which appears to have had no foundation.

See Mémoires du prince de Condé (London, 1743); T. A. D'Aubigné, Histoire universelle (ed. by de Ruble, Soc. de l'histoire de France, 1886); A. de Ruble, L'Assassinat du duc François de Lorraine (Paris, 1897).

POLYAENUS, a Macedonian, who lived at Rome as a rhetorician and pleader in the 2nd century A.D. When the Parthian War (162-5) broke out, Polyaenus, too old to share in the campaign, dedicated to the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus a work, still extant, called Strategica or Strategemata, a historical collection of stratagems and maxims of strategy written in Greek and strung together in the form of anecdotes. It is not strictly confined to warlike stratagems, but includes also examples of wisdom, courage and cunning drawn from civil and political life. The work is uncritically written, but is nevertheless important on account of the extracts it has preserved from histories now lost. It is divided into eight books (parts of the sixth and seventh are lost), and originally contained nine hundred anecdotes, of which eight hundred and thirty-three are extant. Polyaenus intended to write a history of the Parthian War, but there is no evidence that he did so. His works on Macedonia, on Thebes, and on tactics (perhaps identical with the Strategica) are lost.

His Strategica seems to have been highly esteemed by the Roman emperors, and to have been handed down by them as a sort of

heirloom. From Rome it passed to Constantinople; at the end of the 9th century it was diligently studied by Leo VI., who himself wrote a work on tactics; and in the middle of the 10th century Constantine Porphyrogenitus mentioned it as one of the most valuable books in the imperial library. It was used by Stobaeus, Suidas, and the anonymous author of the work Περὶ ἀπίστων (see Palaephatus). It is arranged as follows: bks. i., ii., iii., stratagems occurring in Greek history; bk. iv., stratagems of the Macedonian kings and successors of Alexander the Great; bk. v., stratagems occurring in the history of Sicily and the Greek islands and colonies; bk. vi., stratagems of a whole people (Carthaginians, Lacedaemonians, Argives), together with some individuals (Philopoemen, Pyrrhus, Hannibal); bk. vii., stratagems of the barbarians (Medes, Persians, Egyptians, Thracians, Scythians, Celts); bk. viii., stratagems of Romans and women. This distribution is not, however, observed very strictly. Of the negligence or haste with which the work was written there are many instances: e.g. he confounds Dionysius the elder and Dionysius the younger, Mithradates satrap of Artaxerxes and Mithradates the Great, Scipio the elder and Scipio the younger, Perseus, king of Macedonia and Perseus the companion of Alexander; he mixes up the stratagems of Caesar and Pompey; he brings into immediate connexion events which were totally distinct; he narrates some events twice over, with variations according to the different authors from whom he draws. Though he usually abridges, he occasionally amplifies arbitrarily the narratives of his authorities. He never mentions his authorities, but amongst authors still extant he used Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, Diodorus, Plutarch, Frontinus and Suetonius; amongst authors cf whom only fragments now remain he drew upon Ctesias, Ephorus, Timaeus, Phylarchus and Nicolaus Damascenus. His style is clear, but monotonous and inelegant. In the forms of his words he generally follows Attic usage.

The best edition of the text is Wölfflin and Melber (Teubner Series, 1887, with bibliography and editio princeps of the Strategemata of the emperor Leo); annotated editions by Isaac Casaubon (1589) and A. Coraës (1809); I. Melber, Ueber die Quellen und Werth der Strategemensammlung Polyäns (1885); Knott, De fide et fontibus Polyaeni (1883), who largely reduces the number of the authorities consulted by Polyaenus. Eng. trans. by R. Shepherd (1793).


POLYANDRY (Gr. πολύς, many, and ἀνήρ, man), the system of marriage between one woman and several men, who are her husbands exclusively (see Family). The custom locally legalizing the marriage of one woman to more than one husband at a time has been variously accounted for as the result of poverty and of life in infertile lands, where it was essential to check population as the consequence of female infanticide, or, in the opinion of J. F. McLennan and L. H. Morgan, as a natural phase through which human progress has necessarily passed. Polyandry is to be carefully differentiated from communal marriage, where the woman is the property of any and every member of the tribe. Two distinct kinds of polyandry are practised: one, often called Nair, in which, as among the Nairs of India, the husbands are not related to each other; and the second, the Tibetan or fraternal polyandry, in which the woman is married to all the brothers of one family. Polyandry is practised by the tribes of Tibet, Kashmir and the Himalayan regions, by the Todas, Koorgs, Nairs and other peoples of India, in Ceylon, New Zealand, by some of the Australian aborigines, in parts of Africa, in the Aleutian archipelago, among the Koryaks and on the Orinoco.

See McLennan's Primitive Marriage (London, 1886); Studies in Ancient History (London, 1886); “The Levirate and Polyandry,” in The Fortnightly Review, new series, vol. xxi. (London, 1877); L. H. Morgan, System of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family (Washington, 1869); Lord Avebury, Origin of Civilization; E. Westermarck, History of Human Marriage.


POLYANTHUS, one of the oldest of the florists' flowers, is probably derived from P. variabilis, itself a cross between the common primrose and the cowslip; it differs from the primrose in having the umbels of flowers carried up on a stalk. The florists' polyanthus has a golden margin, and is known as the gold-laced polyanthus, the properties being very distinctly laid down and rigidly adhered to. The chief of these are a clear, unshaded, blackish or reddish ground colour, an even margin or lacing of yellow extending round each segment and cutting through its centre down to the ground colour, and a yellow band surrounding the tube of exactly the same hue as the yellow of the lacing. The plants are quite hardy, and grow best in strong, loamy soil tolerably well enriched with well-decayed dung and leaf-mould;