Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/84

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PONTREMOLI—PONTUS

journeyman to Andrea del Sarto, and was remarked as a young man of exceptional accomplishment and promise. Later on, but still in early youth, he executed, in continuation of Andrea’s labours, the “Visitation,” in the cloister of the Servi in Florence -one of the principal surviving evidences of his powers. The most extensive series of works which he ever undertook was a set of frescoes in the church of S. Lorenzo, Florence, from the “Creation of Man to the Deluge,” closing with the “Last Judgment.” By this time, towards 1546, he had fallen under the dangerous spell of Michelangelo’s colossal genius and superhuman style; and Pontormo, after working on at the frescoes for eleven years, left them incomplete, and the object of general disappointment and disparagement. They were finished by Angelo Bronzino, but have long since vanished under whitewash. Among the best works of Pontormo are his portraits, which include the likenesses of various members of the Medici family; they are vigorous, animated and highly finished. He was fond of new and odd experiments both in style of art and in method of painting. From Da Vinci he caught one of the marked physio gnomic traits of his visages, smiles and dimples. At one time he took to direct imitation or reproduction of Albert Dürer, and executed a series of paintings founded on the Passion subjects of the German master, not only in composition, but even in such peculiarities as the treatment of draperies, &c. Pontormo died of dropsy on the 2nd of January IS 57, mortified at the ill success of his frescoes in S. Lorenzo; he was buried below his work in the Servi.


PONTREMOLI, a town and bishop’s see of the province of Massa and Carrara, Tuscany, Italy, in the upper valley of the Magra, 25 m. N. by E. of Spezia by rail and 49 m. S.S.W. of Parma, 843 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901), 4107 (town); 14,570 (commune). It has a 17th-century cathedral. The church of the Annunziata with its Augustinian monastery is interesting. There are also mineral springs. The town, which is well situated among the mountains, was an independent republic in the 12th and 13th centuries, and in 1495 was sacked by the troops of Charles VIII. of France. It was much damaged by an earthquake in 1834.


PONTUS, a name applied in ancient times to extensive tracts of country in the north-east of Asia Minor bordering on the Euxine (Black Sea), which was often called simply Pontus (the Main), by the Greeks. The exact signification of this purely territorial name varied greatly at different times. The Greeks used it loosely of various parts of the shores of the Euxine, and the term did not get a definite connotation till after the establishment of the kingdom founded beyond the Halys during the troubled period following the death of Alexander the Great, about 301 b.c., by Mithradates I., Ktistes, son of a Persian satrap in the service of Antigonus, one of Alexander’s successors, and ruled by a succession of kings, mostly bearing the same name, till 64 b.c. As the greater part of this kingdom lay within the immense region of Cappadocia, which in early ages extended from the borders of Cilicia to the Euxine, the kingdom as a whole was at first called “Cappadocia towards the Pontus” (πρὸς τῷ Πόντῳ), but afterwards simply “Pontus,” the name Cappadocia being henceforth restricted to the southern half of the region previously included under that title. Under the last king, Mithradates Eupator, commonly called the Great, the realm of Pontus included not only Pontic Cappadocia =but also the seaboard from the Bithynian frontier to Colchis, part of inland Paphlagonia, and Lesser Armenia (see under Mithradates).

With the destruction of this kingdom by Pompey in 64 b.c., the meaning of the name Pontus underwent a change. Part of the kingdom was now annexed to the Roman Empire, being united with Bithynia in a double province called “ Pontus and Bithynia”: this part included (possibly from the first, but certainly from about 40 b.c. onwards) only the seaboard between Heracleia (Eregli) and Amisus (Samsun), the ora Pontica. Hereafter the simple name Pontus without qualification was regularly employed to denote the half of this dual province, especially by Romans and people speaking from the Roman point of view; it is so used almost always in the New Testament. But it was also frequently used to denote (in whole or part) that portion of the old Mithradatic kingdom which lay between the Halys (roughly) and the borders of Colchis, Lesser Armenia, Cappadocia and Galatia-the region properly designated by the title “Cappadocia towards the Pontus,” which was always the nucleus of the Pontic kingdom.

This region is regarded by the geographer Strabo (a.d. 19–20), himself a native of the country, as Pontus in the strict sense of the term (Geogr. p. 678). Its native population was of the same stock as that of Cappadocia, of which it had formed a part, an Oriental race often called by the Greeks Leucosyri or White Syrians, as distinguished from the southern Syrians, who were of a darker complexion, but their precise ethnological relations are uncertain. Geographically it is a table-land, forming the north-east corner of the great plateau of Asia Minor, edged on the north by a lofty mountain rim, along the foot of which runs a fringe of coast-land. The table-land consists of a series of fertile plains, of varying size and elevation separated from each other by upland tracts or mountains, and it is drained almost entirely by the river Iris (Yeshil Irmak) and its numerous tributaries, the largest of which are the Scylax (Tchekerek Irmak) with many affluents and the Lycus (Kalkid Irmak), all three rising in the highlands near, or on, the frontier of Armenia Minor and flowing first in a westerly and then in a north-westerly direction to merge their waters in a joint stream, which (under the name of the Iris) pierces the mountain-wall and emerges on the east of Amisus (Samsun). Between the Halys and the Iris the mountain rim is comparatively low and broken, but east of the Iris it is a continuous lofty ridge (called by the ancients Paryadres and Scydises), whose rugged northern slopes are furrowed by torrent beds, down which a host of small streams (among them the Thermodon, famed in Amazon story) tumble to the sea. These inaccessible slopes were inhabited even in Strabo’s time by wild, half-barbarous tribes, of whose ethnical relations we are ignorant—the Chalybes (identified by the Greeks with Homer’s Chalybes), Tibareni, Mosynoeci and Macrones, on whose manners and condition some light is thrown by Xenophon (Anab. V). But the fringe of coast-land from Trebizond westward is one of the most beautiful parts of Asia Minor and is justly extolled by Strabo for its wonderful productiveness.

The sea-coast, like the rest of the south shore of the Euxine, was studded with Greek colonies founded from the 6th century onwards: Amisus, a colony of Miletus, which in the 5th century received a body of Athenian settlers, now the port of Samsun; Cotyora, now Ordu; Cerasus, the later Pharnacia, now Kerasund; and Trapezus (Trebizond), a famous city from Xenophon’s time till the end of the middle ages. The last three were colonies of Sinope, itself a Milesian colony. The chief' towns in the interior were Amasia, on the Iris, the birthplace of Strabo, the capital of Mithradates the Great, and the burial-place of the earlier kings, whose tombs still exist; Comana, higher up the river, a famous centre of the worship of the goddess Ma (or Cybele); Zela, another great religious centre, re founded by Pompey, now Zileh; Eupatoria, re founded by Pompey as Magnopolis at the junction of the Lycus and Iris; Cabira, Pompey’s Diospolis, afterwards Neocaesarea, now Niksar; Sebastopolis on the Scylax, now Sulu Seraï; Sebasteia, now Sivas; and Megalopolis, a foundation of Pompey, somewhere in the same district.

The history of this region is the history of the advance of the Roman Empire towards the Euphrates. Its political position between 64 and 41 b.c., when Mark Antony became master of the East, is not quite certain. Part of it was handed. over by Pompey to client princes: the coast-land east of the Halys (except the territory of Amisus) and the hill-tribes of Paryadres were given, with Lesser Armenia, to the Galatian chief Deiotarus, with the title of king; Comana was left under the rule of its high-priest. The rest of the interior was partitioned by Pompey amongst the inland cities, almost all of which were founded by him, and, according to one view, was included together with the seaboard west of Amisus and the corner of north-east Paphlagonia possessed by Mithradates in his new province