Polypheme , a gigantic Cyclops of Sicily, who fed on human flesh. When Ulysses, on his return from Troy, was driven to this island, he and twelve of his companions were seized by Polypheme, and confined in his cave, that he might devour two daily for his dinner. Ulysses made the giant drunk, and, when he lay down to sleep, bored out his one eye. Roused by the pain, the monster tried to catch his tormentors; but Ulysses and his surviving companions made their escape by clinging to the bellies of the sheep and rams when they were let out to pasture (Odyssey, ix.).

There is a Basque legend told of the giant Tartaro, who caught a young man in his snares, and confined him in his cave for dessert. When, however, Tartaro fell asleep, the young man made the giant’s spit red hot, bored out his one eye, and then made his escape by fixing the bell of the bell-ram round his neck, and a sheep-skin over his back. Tartaro seized the skin, and the man, leaving it behind, made off.

A very similar adventure forms the tale of Sinbad’s third voyage, in the Arabian Nights. He was shipwrecked on a strange island, and entered, with his companions, a sort of palace. At nightfall, a one-eyed giant entered, and ate one of them for supper, and another for breakfast next morning. This went on for a day or two, when Sinbad bored out the giant’s one eye with a charred olive stake. The giant tried in vain to catch his tormentors, but they ran to their rafts; and Sinbad, with two others, contrived to escape.

N.B.—Homer was translated into Syriac by Theophilus Edessenes in the caliphate of Hárun-ur-Ráshid (A.D. 786-809).

Polypheme and Galatea. Polypheme loved Galatea the sea-nymph; but Galatea had fixed her affections on Acis, a Sicilian shepherd. The giant, in his jealousy, hurled a huge rock at his rival, and crushed him to death.

(The tale of Polypheme is from Homer’s Odyssey, ix. It is also given by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, xiv. Euripidês introduces the monster in his Cyclops; and the tragedy of Acis and Galatea is the subject of Handel’s famous opera so called.)

In Greek the monster is called Poluphêmos, and in Latin Polyphemus.

Polyphemus of Literature, Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709–1784).

Polyphonus [“big-voiced”], the Kapaneus and most boastful of the frog heroes. He was slain by the mouse Artophagus (“the bread-nibbler”).

But great Artophagus avenged the slain, …
And Polyphonus dies, a frog renowned
For boastful speech and turbulence of sound.

Parnell: Battle of the Frogs and Mice, iii. (about 1712).


Why not wind up the famous ministerial declaration with “Konx Ompax,’ or that difficult expression, “polyphrasticontinomimegalondulation”?—The Star.

Polypodium [“many-foot”], alluding to its root furnished with numerous fibres. Polypodium used to be greatly celebrated for its effect on tape-worm, and for rheum.

The hermit
Here finds upon an oak rheum-purging polypode.

Drayton: Polyolbion, xiii. (1613).

Polyxena, a magnanimous and most noble woman, wife of Charles Emmanuel king of Sardinia (who succeeded to the crown in 1730).—R. Browning: King Victor and King Charles.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.