Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/73

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Velletri to Terracina (40 m.). In ancient days this low tract was fertile and well-cultivated, and contained several prosperous cities (Suessa Pometia, Ulubrae—perhaps the mod. Cisterna&c.), but, owing to the dying out of the small proprietors, it had already become unhealthy at the end of the Republican period. Attempts to drain the marshes were made by Appius Claudius in 312 B.C., when he constructed the Via Appia through them (the road having previously followed a devious course at the foot of the Volscian mountains), and at various times during the Roman period. A canal ra.n through them parallel to the road, and for some reason that is not altogether clear it was used in preference to the road during the Augustan period. Trajan repaired the road, and Theodoric did the same some four hundred years later. But in the middle ages it had fallen into disrepair. Popes Boniface VIII., Martin V., Sixtus V., and Pius VI. all attempted to solve the problem, the last-named reconstructing the road admirably. The difficulty arises from the lack of fall in the soil, some parts no less than ro m. from the coast being barely above sea-level, while they are separated from the sea by a series of sand-hills now covered with forest, which rise at some points over 100 ft. above sea-level. Springs also rise in the district, and the problem is further complicated by the flood-water and solid matter brought down by the mountain torrents, which choke up the channels made. By a law passed in 1899, the proprietors are bound to arrange for the safe outlet of the water from the mountains, keep the existing canals open, and reclaim the district exposed to inundation, within a period of twenty-four years. The sum of £280,0QO has been granted towards the expense by the government. See T. Berti, Paludi pontine (Rome, 1884); R. de la Blanchere, Un Chapitre d'histoire pontine (Paris, 1889). (T. As.)

PONANI, a seaport on the west coast of India, in Malabar district, Madras, at a mouth of a river of the same name. Pop. (1901), ro, 562. .It is the headquarters of the Moplah or Mappilla community of Mahommedans, with a religious college and many mosques, one of which is said to date from 1510. There is a large export of coco-nut products.

PONCA, a tribe of North-American Indians of Siouan stock. They were originally part of the Omaha tribe, with whom they lived near the Red River of the North. They were driven westward by the Dakotas, and halted on the Ponca river, Dakota. After a succession of treaties and removals they were placed on a reservation at the mouth of the Niobrara, where they were prospering, when their lands were forcibly taken from them, and they were removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). During the march thither and in their new quarters, the tribe's health suffered, so that in 1878 they revolted and made their way back to the Omahas. They were recaptured, but public attention having been drawn to their hard case the y were liberated in 1880, after a long trial, which resulted in their being declared United States citizens. They number some 700, mostly in Oklahoma.

PONCE, a seaport and the second largest city of Porto, the seat of government of the Department of Ponce, on the south coast, about 5o m. (84 m. by the military road) S.W. of San Juan. Pop. (1899), 27, Q52, of whom 2554 were negroes and 9942 of mixed races; (1910), $5,027. It is served by the American Railroad of Porto Rico, by a railway to Guayama (1910), and by steamboats from numerous ports; an old military road connects it with San ]uan. Ponce consists of two parts: Ponce, or the city proper, and Ponce Playa, or the seaport; they are separated by the Portuguese River and are connected by an, electric street railway. Ponce Playa is on a spacious bay and is accessible to vessels drawing 25 ft. of water; Ponce is 2 m. inland at the interior margin of a beautiful plain, with hills in the rear rising to a height of 1000 to 2000 ft. The city is supplied with water by an aqueduct about 2 m. long. There are two attractive public squares in the heart of the city: Plaza Principal and Plaza de las Delicias. Among prominent public buildings are the city hall, the custom-house, the Pearl theatre, several churches Roman Catholic (including a finely decorated cathedral) and Protestant; St Luke's hospital and insane asylum, an asylum Rico

for the blind, a ladies' asylum, a home for the indigent and aged, and a military barracks. At the Quintana Baths near the city are thermal springs with medicinal properties. The surrounding country is devoted chiefly to the cultivation of sugar cane, tobacco, oranges and cacao, and to the grazing of cattle. Among the manufactures are sugar, molasses, rum, and ice, and prepared coffee for the market. Ponce, named in honour of Ponce de Leon, was founded in 1752 upon the site of a settlement which had been established in the preceding century, was incorporated as a town in 1848, and was made ~a. city in 1878.

PONCELET, JEAN VICTOR (1788–1867), French mathematician and engineer, was born at Metz on the 1st of July 1788. From 1808 to 1810 he attended the École polytechnique, and afterwards, till 1812, the École d'application at Metz. He then became lieutenant of engineers, and took part in the Russian campaign, during which he was taken prisoner and was confined at Saratov on the Volga. It was during his imprisonment here that, “ privé de toute espèce de livres et de secours, surtout distrait par les malheurs de ma patrie et les miens propres,” as he himself puts it, he began his researches on projective geometry which led to his great treatise on that subject. This work, the Traité des propriétés projectives des figures, which was published in 1822 (2d ed., 2 vols. 1865–1866), is occupied with the investigation of the projective properties of figures (see Geometry). This work entitles Poncelet to rank as one of the greatest of those who took part in the development of the modern geometry of which G. Monge was the founder. From 1815 to 1825 he was occupied with military engineering at Metz; and from 1825 to 1835 he was professor of mechanics at the École d'application there. In 1826, in his Mémoire sur les roues hydrauliques à aubes courbes, he brought forward improvements in the construction of water-wheels, which more than doubled their efficiency. In 1834 he became a member of the Académie; from 1838 to 1848 he was professor to the faculty of sciences at Paris, and from 1848 to 1850 commandant of the École polytechnique. At the London International Exhibition of 1851 he had charge of the department of machinery, and wrote a report on the machinery and tools on view at that exhibition. He died at Paris on the 23rd of December 1867.

See J. Bertrand, Éloge historique de Poncelet (Paris, 1875).

PONCHER, ÉTIENNE DE (1446–1524), French prelate and diplomatist. After studying law he was early provided with a prebend, and became councillor at the parlement of Paris in 1485 and president of the Chambre des Enquêtes in 1498. Elected bishop of Paris in 1503 at the instance of Louis XII., he was entrusted by the king with diplomatic missions in Germany and Italy. After being appointed chancellor of the duchy of Milan, he became keeper of the seals of France in 1512, and retained that post until the accession of Francis I., who employed him. on various diplomatic missions. Poncher became archbishop of Sens in 1 519. His valuable Constitutions synodales was published in 1514.

PONCHIELLI, AMILCARE (1834-1886), Italian, musical composer, was born near Cremona on the 1st of September 1834. He studied at the Milan Conservatoire. His first dramatic work, written in collaboration with two other composers, was Il Sindaco Babbeo (1851). After completing his studies at Milan he returned to Cremona, where his opera I Promessi sposi was produced in 1856. This was followed by La Savojarda (1861, produced in a revised version as Lina in 1877), Roderigo, ré dei Goli (1864), and La Stella del monle (1867), A revised version of I Promessi sposi, which was produced, at, Milan in 1872, was his first. genuine success. After this came a ballet, Le Due Gemelle (1873), and an opera, I Lituanfi (1874, produced in a revised version as Alduna in 1884). Ponchielli reached the zenith of his fame with La Gioconda (1876), Written to a fibretto founded by Arrigo Boito upon Victor Hugo's tragedy, Angelo, Tyran de Padoue. La Giocohda was. followed hygll Figliuol prodigo (1880) and Marion Delorme (1885). Among his less