From Latin pōmoerium, pōmērium (“the religious boundary of a city”), either from post (“behind”) + moerus, mūrus (“wall”) + -ium (neuter form of -ius (“suffix indicating an adjective”)), or derived from an Etruscan word.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /pəʊ̆ˈmɪə.ɹɪ.əm/, /pɒ-/
- (General American) IPA(key): /poʊˈmɛ.ɹi.əm/
- Hyphenation: po‧me‧ri‧um
pomerium (plural pomeria)
- (historical, Roman Empire) The tract of land denoting the formal, sacral ambit of a Roman city.
1722, Joseph Bingham, “Of Cemeteries,or Burying-Places, with an Enquiry, How and When the Custom of Burying in Churches First Came In”, in Origines Ecclesiasticæ: Or, The Antiquities of the Christian Church. [...], volume X (Giving an Account of Funeral Rites, or the Custom and Manner of Burying the Dead, Observed in the Ancient Church. With a Particular Enquiry, How and When the Custom of Burying in Churches First Came In), London: Printed for R. Knaplock at the Bishop's-Head in St. Paul's Churchyard, OCLC 634190471, book XXIII (Of Funeral Rites, or the Custom and Manner of Burying the Dead, Observed in the Ancient Church), page 7:
- Nay Sidonius Apollinaris aſſures us farther, that the Place where St. Peter was buried, tho' there was then a Church built over it, was ſtill in his Time, An. 470. without the Pomœria, or Space before the Walls of Rome. For ſpeaking of his Journey to Rome, he ſays, before ever he came at the Pomœria of the City, he went and ſaluted the Church of the Apoſtles, which ſtood in the Via Triumphalis.
- 1997, [Lucius Annaeus] Seneca; C. D. N. Costa, editor and transl., “On the Shortness of Life”, in Dialogues and Letters (Penguin Classics), London; New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-14-044679-1; extracted as On the Shortness of Life (Great Ideas; 1), London: Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN 978-0-141-01881-2, page 22:
- But to return to the point from which I digressed, and to illustrate how some people spend useless efforts on these same topics, the man I referred to reported that Metellus in his triumph, after conquering the Carthaginians in Sicily, alone among all the Romans had 120 elephants led before his chariot, and that Sulla was the last of the Romans to have extended the pomerium, [footnote: The religious boundary of a city.] which it was the ancient practice to extend after acquiring Italian, but never provincial territory. Is it better to know this than to know that the Aventine Hill, as he asserted, is outside the pomerium for one of two reasons, either because the plebs withdrew to it or because when Remus took the auspices there the birds had not been favourable – and countless further theories that are either false or very close to lies?
1998, Mary Beard; John North; Simon Price, “The Place of Religion: Rome in the Early Empire”, in Religions of Rome, volume 1 (A History), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, published 2004, ISBN 978-0-521-30401-6, page 177:
- The myth [of Romulus and Remus] insisted on the exclusion of the Aventine from the boundary of the pomerium, emphasizing that it was a place apart from Rome proper, even if closely related to the city's sacred enclosure. And at the end of this episode, the killing of Remus underlined the sanctity of the city's boundary, dearer than any brother. The myth presents a definition of Rome. The pomerium had a physical presence too. In the imperial period it was clearly marked by massive blocks of stone, 2 m. tall and 1 m. square.
Equivalent to post- + mūrus, from Proto-Italic *posti- + *moiro-. According to De Vaan, this is likely an archaism since *pōmīrium is expected from the Proto-Italic -oi- in the non-initial syllable.
- pomerium in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- pomerium in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
- du Cange, Charles (1883), “pomerium”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
- pomerium in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
- pomerium in Samuel Ball Platner (1929), Thomas Ashby, editor, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, London: Oxford University Press
- pomerium in Ramminger, Johann (accessed 16 July 2016) Neulateinische Wortliste: Ein Wörterbuch des Lateinischen von Petrarca bis 1700, pre-publication website, 2005-2016
- pomerium in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin