Dictionary of World Biography
Paasikivi, Juho Kusti (originally Johan Gustaf Hellsen) (1870–1956). Finnish politician. Brought up by an aunt, he won an LLD at Helsinki University, becoming an inspector of finances, then a banker. Finland declared its independence from Russia (1917) and Paasikivi served as Prime Minister 1918, resigning when his proposal for a constitutional monarchy failed. He returned to banking and flirted with the semi-Fascist Lapua movement. He was Ambassador to Sweden 1936–39 and to the USSR 1939–41. World War II forced him to move from conservatism to realism. *Mannerheim appointed him Prime Minister 1944–46, and he won two terms as President 1946–56. With U. K. *Kekkonen, he negotiated peace with the USSR and Finland’s neutralist policy is known as ‘the Paasikivi line’.
Pabst, Georg Wilhelm (1885–1967). Austrian film and opera director, born in Raudnitz. Originally an actor and stage director, his first film was The Treasure (1923). He promoted the careers of Greta *Garbo, Leni *Riefenstahl, Asta Nielsen and Louise Brooks. His films included The Threepenny Opera (1931), Don Quixote (1933), The Comedians (1941) and The Last Ten Days (1955). He also directed four operas.
Pachacuti (d.1471). Sapa Inca of Peru 1438–71. He brought the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu or ‘Land of the Four Quarters’) to its height, extending from northern Ecuador to central Chile, and built Machu Picchu.
Pachmann, Vladimir de (1848–1933). German-Russian pianist, born in Odessa. He studied in Vienna and *Bruckner was a teacher. One of the most popular and accomplished (though often eccentric) concert performers of his generation, he was a notable interpreter of *Chopin. He died in Rome.
Packer, Kerry Francis Bullmore (1937–2005). Australian media proprietor. Son of Sir (Douglas) Frank (Newson) Packer (1906–1974), founder of Australian Consolidated Press and The Women’s Weekly, his private company owned magazines, a television network, casinos and gambling facilities, and cattle ranches with a value of $AU7 billion. He created World Series Cricket in 1977.
Barry, P., The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer. 1993.
Paderewski, Ignacy Jan (1860–1941). Polish pianist, composer and politician, born in Kuryłówka, then in Russia, now in the Ukraine. He studied under *Leschetizky (1884–87) before specialising as a virtuoso pianist, and touring Europe and America (and Australia 1904; 1927) with enormous success. He wrote two operas, a symphony, two concertos and much piano music, including the notorious Minuet in G (1887). He settled in California in 1913. His international reputation and his efforts for his country in raising relief funds and in nationalist propaganda during World War I were major factors in influencing President Woodrow *Wilson to propose creation of an independent Polish state as an Allied war aim. Marshal *Piłsudski appointed Paderewski as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (1919) and he represented Poland at the Paris Peace Conference and signed the Treaty of Versailles (1919). In December he retired and returned to his music but in 1939, after Poland had been overrun in World War II, he reappeared briefly in political life as chairman of the Polish national council in exile.
Páez, Juan Antonio (1790–1873). Venezuelan liberator. He fought against the Spanish with varying success until he joined (1818) *Bolívar and shared with him in the victory of Carabobo (1821) by which Colombia and Venezuela were liberated. When Bolívar went to Ecuador, Páez stayed in Venezuela and when Venezuela seceded from Colombia he became first president (1831), dominating the country, either in office himself or through nominees, until he was defeated by a rival (1850) and forced into exile. In 1858 he returned to power but in 1863 was again expelled, dying in New York.
Paganini, Niccolo (1782–1840). Italian violinist and composer, born in Genoa. He toured Europe repeatedly and wrote many virtuoso pieces, notably his 24 Caprices and the Concerto in D. His technique was regarded as phenomenal and he enlarged the range of the violin by introducing left-hand pizzicatos and double harmonics. His tempestuous career and odd appearance made him a popular idol.
Page, Sir Earle Christmas Grafton (1880–1961). Australian politician, born in Grafton. An accomplished surgeon, he was a Member of the House of Representatives 1919–61, a co-founder of the Australian Country Party and its Leader 1921–39. Instrumental in forcing W. M. *Hughes from the prime ministership, he became Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer 1923–29 under S. M. *Bruce. Deputy Prime Minister again (and Minister for Commerce) under J. A. *Lyons 1934–39, after Lyons died suddenly he was Prime Minister April 1939, for 19 days. When R. G. *Menzies was chosen as Lyons’ replacement, a deeply resentful Page resigned from Cabinet. He became Minister-Resident in London 1941–43. As Minister for Health 1949–56, he introduced a national health scheme. Suffering from lung cancer, he was comatose during the 1961 election and died without knowing that he had been defeated. Page was a PC (1929), GCMG (1938) and CH (1942).
Page, Sir Frederick Handley (1885–1962). English aircraft designer. He founded Handley Page Limited in 1909 and during World War I designed and built his twin-engined 0/400, one of the earliest heavy bombers. He established a civil air service between England and the Continent in 1919 and continued to build aircraft, notably the Heracles airliner. During World War II Handley Page Limited built transport planes and bombers, notably the Halifax. He was President of the Royal Aeronautical Society 1945–47 and received the society’s Gold Medal in 1960. His company closed down in 1970.
Gibbs-Smith, C. H., Aviation: An Historical Survey from Its Origins to the End of World War II. 1970.
Page, Larry (Lawrence Edward) (1973– ). American entrepreneur, born in Michigan. Educated at Stanford, he developed ‘PageRank’ technology which classifies material on websites and in 1998 founded the Google search engine with Sergey *Brin.
Pagnol, Marcel (1895–1974). French author, playwright and film director. His plays include Catulle (1922), Topaze (1928) and the trilogy Marius, Fanny, César (1929–36). He directed or produced several films, e.g. César (1936), Le Reyain (Harvest, 1937) and La Femme du boulanger (1938). Among his novels are Le Château de ma mère, Le Temps des Secrets. He was the first film-maker elected to the Académie française (1946).
Paine, Thomas (1737–1809). Anglo-American political theorist and activist, born in Norfolk. Having tried several occupations including that of excise officer, he went, on the advice of Benjamin *Franklin to America, where he published Common Sense (1776), a pamphlet demanding complete independence from Britain, and The Crisis (1776–83), a series of pamphlets advocating the same end. Meanwhile he had fought in the colonial armies and had been administratively concerned with the framing of the constitution. In 1791 he returned to England, but publication of his greatest work, The Rights of Man (1791–92), a reply to Edmund *Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, forced him to go to France to avoid prosecution. There he was elected to the Convention but, after opposing the execution of *Louis XVI, was for a time in prison, where he began The Age of Reason (1794–96), a work defending deism (i.e. a belief in God that is divorced from Christianity or any other ‘enslaving’ religion). He returned to America in 1802, where he came into conflict with the Federalists. He died in New York. Paine’s writings continued to inspire radicals in the century after his death.
Keane, J., Tom Paine. 1994.
Paisley, Ian Richard Kyle, Baron Bannside (1926–2014). Northern Ireland clergyman and politician. He led the breakaway Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster (1951). A gifted mob orator, he whipped up hostility towards Catholics and Protestant moderates, serving in the British Parliament 1970–2010 and the European Parliament 1979–2004. He campaigned against the Northern Ireland peace agreement (1998) but ultimately served as first minister 2007–08. His wife Eileen Emily Paisley (née Cassells), Baroness Paisley of St George’s (1934– ) made a life peer in 2006, later indicated irritation with the Democratic Unionist Party and some sympathy for Martin *McGuinness and Sinn Féin.
Pakenham. English writing and political family. Frank Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford (1905–2001), a Labour minister under *Attlee and *Wilson, wrote biographies of *Lincoln, *Nixon, *Kennedy, *De Valera, *Jesus and St *Francis, became a Catholic convert, a publisher and committed proponent of penal reform. His wife, Elizabeth Pakenham (née Harman), Countess of Longford (1906–2002) wrote biographies of *Wellington, *Byron and Queen *Victoria. Their daughter was Lady Antonia *Fraser and their son Thomas Francis Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford (1933– ) wrote The Year of Liberty (1969), The Boer War (1979), The Scramble for Africa (1991) and Meetings with Remarkable Trees (1996).
Palaeologus. Byzantine dynasty. The family was famous in the history of Constantinople from the 11th century, but its first Emperor was Michael VIII (c.1224–1282, reigned 1258–82). His successors ruled the empire until Constantine XI (1403–1453, reigned 1443–53) died while vainly trying to defend Constantinople against the Turks.
Nicol, D. M., The Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261–1453. 1972; Norwich, J. J., Byzantium: The Decline and Fall. 1995.
Palafox (y Melci), José, Duke of Saragossa (1776–1847). Spanish patriot. In the early stages of the Peninsular War he was a leader of those Spaniards who, with British aid, resisted the invasion of Napoléon’s armies. He became famous for his heroic defence of Saragossa but after its final capitulation (February 1809) he was imprisoned by the French until 1813. He was created Duke in 1834.
Palamas, Kostas (1859–1943). Greek writer. His epics, e.g. The King’s Flute (1910), concerned with the Byzantine period, reawakened Greek pride and sorrow in the events of their great history: liberty and justice were his constant themes. In addition to poetry, lyric and philosophical as well as epic, he wrote stories, essays and a tragedy. His use of ‘demotic’, the language of contemporary Greece, did much to enhance its literary status.
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da (c.1525–1594). Italian composer, born at Palestrina (Praeneste). Known from his birthplace, he became organist and choirmaster there at St Agapito in 1544. In 1551 Pope Julian III (who as Bishop of Palestrina had been the composer’s master) appointed him a member of the Julian choir at St Peter’s. In 1555 Palestrina was briefly a member of the pontifical choir until he was forced to resign by the reformist pope *Paul IV. He remained in Rome as musical director of the Church of St John Lateran 1555–60 and of S. Maria Maggiore 1561–67, returning to St Peter’s (1570) as master of the Julian choir, a post he held until his death. Palestrina’s output was enormous and included motets, litanies, magnificats and 94 Masses. (The legend that his famous Missa Papae Marcelli had the effect of dissuading the Council of Trent from burning polyphonic Church music is unfounded.) His work represents the culminating point of development in polyphonic vocal music, but the new ideals inaugurated by his immediate successors led to its neglect until the late 19th century, since when it has remained, at least in technique, the chief model for liturgical composers.
Paley, William (1743–1805). English clergyman and theologian. He held a number of livings and diocesan appointments but is chiefly remembered for his View of the Evidences of Christianity (1794), drawing arguments from the observation of nature, which had a powerful influence, including on *Darwin. He campaigned against the slave trade.
Paley, William S(amuel) (1901–1990). American business executive, born in Chicago. He was Chairman of CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) 1928–46, Chairman 1946–83 and Chief Executive 1946–77 and played a decisive role in shaping television programming. CBS was also an important book publisher and record producer.
Palin, Sir Michael Edward (1943– ). English actor, writer and documentary producer. Educated at Oxford, he was a leading figure in the BBC’s television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969–74), with Eric Idle, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, acted in 22 films, including Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), made numerous travel documentaries and published books and diaries.
Palin, Sarah Louise (née Heath) (1964– ). American Republican politician, born in Idaho. Governor of Alaska 2006–09, she was Republican candidate for Vice President (with John *McCain) in 2008 and author of Going Rogue (2009). Popular with the ‘Tea Party’ and the far right, she did not seek a presidential nomination in 2012.
Palladio, Andrea (1508–1580). Italian architect, born in Padua. His ability was first noticed, while he was working as a stone mason at Vicenza, by the humanist Gian Giorgio, who enabled him to study and make drawings of classical antiquities in Rome (1545–47). In and around Vicenza he built, in a distinctive classical style which became known as ‘Palladian’, the famous Basilica (1549), with two arcaded storeys round an older hall, town palaces and country villas, and his last important work, the Teatro Olimpico (begun 1580). The churches of S. Giorgio Maggiore (1566) and Il Redentore (1576), both in Venice, have remarkable facades. Through his Quattro libri dell’architettura (1570), which contained many of his designs, his influence spread widely, in England his style was introduced by Inigo *Jones and later popularised by Lord *Burlington. He was also copied in 18th-century America.
Ackerman, J. S., Palladio. 1966.
Palme, (Sven) Olof Joachim (1927–1986). Swedish Social Democratic politician. Partly educated in the US, he was a prominent youth leader and a Riksdag member (1956–86), succeeding Tag *Erlander (whose secretary he had been) as Prime Minister of Sweden 1969–76, 1982–86. He was assassinated in Stockholm.
Palmer, Sir Geoffrey Winston Russell (1942– ). New Zealand lawyer and Labour politician. He taught law in Wellington, Iowa, Virginia and Oxford, worked on compensation issues in Australia and served as MP 1979–90. He was Attorney-General 1984–89, Minister for the Environment 1987–90 and Prime Minister 1989–90, and architect of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (NZBORA, 1990). He returned to academic life and was President of the Law Reform Commission 2005–10.
Palmer, Samuel (1805–1881). English painter and engraver. Son of a bookseller, he was largely self-educated as an artist but exhibited at the Royal Academy as early as 1819. He first met William *Blake in 1824 and, deeply inspired, produced landscapes full of vision and fire. He painted his most original work living at Shoreham (1825–36) where, with George Richmond, he formed a group of Blake’s admirers (known as ‘The Ancients’). His later work, largely in watercolour, was uninspiring.
Peacock, C., Samuel Palmer: Shoreham and After. 1968.
Palmerston, Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount (1784–1865). British politician, born in Broadlands, Hampshire. Educated at Harrow and the University of Edinburgh, as the holder of an Irish peerage he was eligible to be elected to the House of Commons, and sat as an MP 1807–65. Originally a Tory, he served as Secretary at War 1809–28, a record period, but broke with the party (1830). Henceforth, as a Whig or Liberal he favoured a policy of nonalignment with European powers and support for national movements. Thus, as Foreign Secretary 1830–34, 1835–41, he supported Belgian independence and the constitutionalists in Spain and Portugal, and saved the decaying Turkish Empire from domination by Russia. After a period in opposition (1841–46) he was again Foreign Minister 1846–51 and in 1848 supported nationalist risings in Europe, especially those against Austria. When *Louis Philippe was deposed in France he recognised the republic and later, without consulting his colleagues, the coup d’état (1851) of Louis Napoléon (*Napoléon III). Lord John *Russell forced his resignation over this but he returned as Home Secretary 1852–55 in Lord *Aberdeen’s coalition. He was Prime Minister 1855–58 and 1859–65, and died in office. He brought the Crimean War to a satisfactory end and, after the brutal suppression of the Indian Mutiny (1857), he transferred the British East India Company’s authority to the Crown. The Liberal Party was formed in 1859. Despite some liberal attributes (e.g. legalising divorce), his methods were often domineering and his judgment was often faulty, especially in his later years (e.g. over the American Civil War, where he sympathised with the Confederacy). He was extremely popular with the British public, but Queen *Victoria and his colleagues found his enthusiasm for forceful action very trying. Being cited as a co-respondent in a divorce case at the age of 79 seems to have contributed to his popularity.
Ridley, J., Lord Palmerston. 1970; Brown, D., Palmerston. 2010.
Pamuk, (Ferit) Orhan (1952– ). Turkish novelist, screenwriter and academic, born in Istanbul. His novels include The Black Book (1990), My Name is Red (2000) and Snow (2002). He also wrote short stories and essays. He had several periods of teaching at Columbia University and in 2005–06 faced harsh criticism in Turkey and threats of prosecution for protesting about historic aggression against Armenians and Kurds. In 2006 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The citation read: ‘In the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city, [he] has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.’
Paneth, Friedrich Adolf (1887–1958). Austrian-British chemist, born in Vienna. He left Germany in 1933 and became professor of chemistry at Durham 1939–53, then director of the Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz 1953–58. His most important work was on the use of radio-isotopes in chemical research. He devised techniques for measuring the minute quantities of helium produced in rocks by radioactive decay, and thus provided a method of finding the age of rocks. The lunar crater Paneth and the mineral Panethite are named for him.
Panhard, René (1841–1908). French engineer and motoring pioneer. Founder of the Panhard company, in 1886 he formed a partnership with Emile Lavassor (1844?–1897). They acquired the French and Belgian rights to use *Otto’s internal combustion engine and pioneered the building of true cars with the engine mounted on a chassis.
Georgano, G. N. (ed.), The Complete Encyclopaedia of Motorcars 1885–1968. 1968.
Pankhurst, Emmeline (née Goulden) (1858–1928). British militant suffragette. She worked with her husband, Richard Marsden Pankhurst (1839–1898), on behalf of many radical causes, but after his death concentrated on votes for women. The dramatic methods by which she, her daughters and the militants of the Women’s Social and Political Union (founded by her in 1903) pursued their ends included chaining themselves to lamp posts, slashing pictures, assaulting the police, and hunger strikes in prison (Mrs Pankhurst was confined eight times). Many less extreme supporters were estranged, but World War I, in which women proved their ability in almost every occupation, broke down opposition. In 1918 women over 30 acquired the vote and in 1928 they were given equality of franchise with men. Two of Mrs Pankhurst’s daughters were especially identified with her work: Dame Christobel Pankhurst (1880–1958), even more extreme, later took up revivalism in the US; Sylvia Pankhurst (1882–1960), also active in the early days, became a keen socialist after World War I and later devoted herself to the cause of Ethiopia (Abyssinia) when it was overrun by the Italians. She lived in Addis Ababa from 1956.
Hoy, L., Emmeline Pankhurst. 1985.
Paoli, Pasquale de (1725–1807). Corsican patriot. After many years in exile (1739–55) for opposing the Genoese, he was chosen as President of Corsica. When the Genoese sold Corsica to France he opposed the French authority but, after a valiant resistance, was defeated and fled to England, where *Boswell befriended him. In 1791 he was appointed Governor of Corsica by the French Revolutionary Government, and when accused (1793) of being a counter-revolutionary, he proclaimed Corsica independent. With the help of the British Navy he defeated the French and the island was declared a British protectorate. After he was recalled to England (1795) the pro-French islanders drove the British from Corsica.
Paolo and Francesca see Francesca da Rimini
Papadopoulos, Georgios (1919–1999). Greek soldier and politician. A brigadier, he led the military coup of April 1967 which overthrew the civilian government. He became Prime Minister of the junta 1967–73, and President of the Republic 1973. Sentenced to death for treason in 1975 after the restoration of democracy, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
Papagos, Alexandros (1883–1955). Greek field marshal, born in Athens. He fought in both Balkan wars, World War I and the Turkish War and in 1935 was part of the military coup which led to the restoration of the Greek monarchy and the dictatorship of *Metaxas. As Commander-in-Chief of Hellenic Forces 1939–41, despite inferiority of numbers and equipment he gained a series of remarkable victories until German intervention made further resistance impossible. He organised resistance to Axis occupation, and was taken to Germany as a prisoner. Awarded a GBE (1945) by the British, he was Commander-in-Chief again 1949–51 and crushed the Communists in the civil war with the use of American fire-power. He founded the Greek Rally, won the 1952 elections decisively and was Prime Minister 1952–55. He tried to modernise Greece and restore the economy, and took a cautious line about Cyprus.
Papandreou, Georgios (1888–1968). Greek Socialist politician. He was Premier of Greece 1963 and 1964–65 until forced out of office by the army and jailed (1967). His son Andreas Papandreou (1919–1996), an American trained economist, taught in Minnesota and California, returning to Greek politics to lead the Pasok party. Premier of Greece 1981–90, and 1993–96, he was forced out by illness.
Papen, Franz Joseph Herman Michael Maria von (1879–1969). German politician and diplomat. When military attaché in the US during World War I he was expelled (1915) for promoting sabotage. He was elected to the Prussian Diet (1921) and subsequently used his friendship with President *Hindenburg’s son, Oskar, to secure advancement. Finally (June 1932) he was appointed Chancellor. His first attempt to bring *Hitler into his government failed, but after another election (November 1932) and Papen’s resignation the two came to terms: Hitler became Chancellor and Papen Vice Chancellor, with a secret assignment from Hindenburg to curb Nazi excesses. Papen soon became critical of his new ally and narrowly escaped death in Hitler’s ‘Night of the Long Knives’ (30 June 1934). The warning was enough. He accepted the post of Ambassador to Vienna 1934–38 and prepared the ground for the Nazi occupation of Austria. He was sent to Turkey 1939–44, where his embassy became the centre of a spy network. After the war he was acquitted at Nuremberg, and released after serving two years of a nine-year sentence imposed by a German denazification court.
Papen, F. von, Memoirs. 1952.
Papin, Denis (1647–1713). French physicist. He assisted *Huygens and (from 1675) Robert *Boyle in work on air pumps. Among his inventions were the double-stroke air pump, the condensing pump and the autoclave (then known as the ‘digester’), a pressure vessel in which temperatures above the boiling-point of water may be obtained. A pioneer of the steam engine, and elected as Fellow of the Royal Society (1680), he died in London, destitute.
Papineau, Louis-Joseph (1786–1871). French-Canadian politician, born in Montréal. He was elected (1808) to the Québec legislative assembly, of which he was later Speaker 1815–37. His bitter oratory gave fervent support to the cause of French-Canadian self-government and after the defeat of the 1837 rebellion he took refuge in the US and then France. He returned to Canada in 1845, was elected to the lower house 1848–54, then retired from politics.
Pappus of Alexandria (fl. 300–350 CE). Greek geometer. His treatise, the Synagogue, is particularly valuable as a source of information about earlier Greek mathematicians and geometers. When giving proofs from earlier figures, Pappus frequently offers alternative solutions, or his own improvements. He offers full discussions of many of the classic problems of Greek mathematics, such as squaring the circle or the trisection of an angle. Pappus also evidently had interests in geography; he is known to have composed a geographical work, which has not survived. He wrote commentaries on *Euclid and *Ptolemy’s Almagest.
Paracelsus (Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) (c.1493–1541). Swiss physician and alchemist. He travelled widely in Europe, lecturing and practising medicine, and won considerable renown. Although he practised alchemy and the occult sciences, he did not accept demonological explanations for insanity, and many of his medical views were advanced for his time: he attacked the traditional belief that diseases were caused by ‘humours’ in the body and taught the use of specific remedies. He introduced opium, laudanum, mercury, sulphur iron and arsenic as medicines. Of his numerous works, the Paragranum gives the best exposition of his medical views. Robert *Browning’s dramatic poem Paracelsus (1835) is based on his life.
Pachter, H. M., Paracelsus: Magic into Science. 1951.
Paré, Ambroise (1510–1591). French army surgeon. Known especially for introducing more humane methods in surgery, he abandoned the boiling-oil treatment of wounds in favour of dressings with egg yolk, attar of roses and turpentine, and used ligatures to seal blood vessels after amputations instead of cauterisation. He was surgeon to all French kings from *François I to *Charles IX. He has been called the ‘father of modern surgery’. He stressed the importance of proper nursing, and was much concerned about the treatment of women in childbirth. His Apology is a vivid autobiography.
Hamby, W. B., The Case Reports and Autopsy Records of Ambroise Paré. 1960.
Pareto, Vilfredo (1848–1923). Italian economist and sociologist, born in Paris. Trained as a mathematician and engineer, he was a professor of economics at Lausanne from 1893. He applied mathematical analysis and logical rigour to the study of income distribution. In Mind and Society (1916–23) he argued that both revolutionary and evolutionary social change led merely to the ‘circulation of élites’, that real power could not be distributed equitably because human capacity is unequal. *Mussolini claimed him as a major influence on Fascism.
Parini, Giuseppe (1729–1799). Italian poet. His work was modelled on Latin poets, especially *Horace, but he abandoned the artificialities of the preceding period and wrote creatively with elegance and feeling. His most famous poem, Il Giorno (The Day, begun 1763), gives an ironic and lively account of a day in the life of a young nobleman in a corrupt age.
Paris, Matthew (1200?–1259). English monk and chronicler. He entered (1217) the monastery of St Albans, where he acquired skill not only as a writer and illuminator but in gold and silverwork. He continued Roger of Wendover’s Major Chronicles from 1235 to 1259, enlarging their scope to include foreign events. His Minor History is a summary of events from 1200 to 1250. He was favoured by *Henry III, and his chronicles, apart from their historic value, are vigorous and vivid and not without critical comment on contemporary trends and developments.
Park Chung Hee (1917–1979). Korean soldier and politician. In 1961 he led a military coup in the Republic of Korea, and was President 1963–79. His wife Yuk Young-soo (1925–1974) was assassinated by a North Korean agent. Park promoted rapid growth and technological change until his assassination by the head of Korea’s Central Intelligence Agency. Their daughter, Park Geun-hye (1952– ), was a member of the Korean Parliament 1998–2012, survived a stabbing attack in 2006 and became leader of the conservative Saenun party. She was elected as the first woman president of the Republic of Korea 2013–17, but was impeached on corruption charges, removed from office, tried and sentenced to 24 years jail, extended to 32 years on appeal.
Park, Mungo (1771–1806). Scottish explorer in Africa. A surgeon, in 1795 he went to Africa to explore the course of the river Niger and find its exit to the sea. After much hardship he joined the Niger at Segou, followed it downstream and, before being forced by obstructions to return, proved that it had an eastward flow at this point. The problem of its point of exit remained unsolved. His Travels in the Interior of Africa (1799) proved a popular success, and in 1805 he made another journey but of his 45 companions only seven reached the Niger. They struggled on as far as Boussa (Basa), where the canoe was wrecked and Park and four remaining Europeans were attacked by natives and drowned while trying to escape.
Schiffers, H., The Quest for Africa. 1957.
Parker, Alton Brooks (1852–1926). American jurist. A judge from 1885, he was Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals 1898–1904. In 1904 he was a surprising choice as the Democratic candidate for president, defeating William Randolph *Hearst, because, as a judge, he had been silent on political issues and offended nobody. Theodore *Roosevelt was considered unbeatable and Parker was a sacrificial lamb. He is the only major presidential candidate never to have been the subject of a biography.
Parker, Dorothy (née Rothschild) (1893–1967). American writer. She was well known for short stories, collected in, e.g. Laments for the Living (1930) and Her Lies (1939), and for her mordantly humorous poems, sayings and book reviews contributed to The New Yorker. (When told that the taciturn President *Coolidge had died, she asked ‘How can they tell?’.)
Keats, J., You Might As Well Live: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker. 1970.
Parker, Matthew (1504–1575). English prelate, born in Norwich. Educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, he was a moderate reformer, became chaplain to *Anne Boleyn, Master of Corpus Christi 1544–53, Vice Chancellor of Cambridge 1545–46; 1548–49 and Dean of Lincoln 1552–54. He supported Lady Jane *Grey and under *Mary was lucky to lose only the Deanery and not his life. *Elizabeth appointed him (1559) her first archbishop of Canterbury, and he was largely responsible for the Prayer Book of 1559 and the Thirty-nine Articles of 1562, both modelled on the corresponding publications of *Edward VI’s reign. One of Parker’s main problems was that the clergy who returned from exile demanded the much more drastic Protestantism that they had met on the Continent. It was they who reinforced the growing body of ‘Puritans’ and were opposed to Parker’s course of compromise. As Archbishop he retrieved outstanding illuminated manuscripts from monasteries that had been dissolved by *Henry VIII, bequeathing 480 manuscripts and about 1,000 printed books to Corpus Christi to establish the Parker Library.
Parkes, Sir Henry (1815–1896). Australian Liberal politician, born in England. He reached New South Wales in 1839, founded a newspaper (1850) and became a prominent opponent of convict transportation. He entered the legislature (1854). In five broken terms he was premier of New South Wales 1872–75, 1877, 1878–83, 1887–89, 1889–91, state education being among the many reforms he introduced. His restrictions on Chinese immigration were first steps towards the White Australia Policy. His most important contribution was in raising the Federation issue (1889–90) and afterwards devoting all his energy to its promotion. He received a KCMG (1877) and GCMG (1888) and was President of the National Australasian Convention (Sydney, 1891). He wrote on Australian politics and history and published some poetry.
Martin, A. W., Henry Parkes. 1980.
Parkinson, C(yril) Northcote (1909–1993). British writer, historian and political scientist. He was the propounder of Parkinson’s Law, a serio-comic analysis of the growth of bureaucracy, e.g. work expands in order to fill the time available for its completion.
Parkinson, C. N., Parkinson’s Law, the Pursuit of Progress. 1958.
Parkinson, James (1755–1824). English surgeon and palaeontologist, born in London. A political activist, enthusiastic for the French Revolution, he was accused of plotting against *George III but avoided prosecution. Developing an expert knowledge of geology, his pioneering textbook on fossils Organic Remains of a Former World (3 vols, 1804, 1808, 1811) was influential for decades and he became a co-founder of the London Geological Society. He wrote on gout (1805) and carried out the first English operation for appendicitis (1812). He made the first detailed description of ‘shaking palsy’ (paralysis agitans, 1817). *Charcot promoted adoption of the name ‘Parkinson’s disease’.
Morris, A. D., James Parkinson. 1989; Lewis, C., The Enlightened Mr Parkinson. 2017.
Parmenides (fl. c.475 BCE). Greek philosopher, born at Elea, southern Italy. Founder of the Eleatic school, his views, presented in a poem and containing ideas on ‘being’, had much influence on later philosophers, e.g. *Plato and *Aristotle (who held that ‘atomism’ was derived from Eleatic teaching). Unlike *Heraclitus, who held that everything was in a state of flux, Parmenides taught that the universe is a single, unchanging whole, indivisible, immobile and indestructible, and that any appearances to the contrary are delusions of the senses. Not only a philosopher, Parmenides played an active part in the political life of his native city.
Guthrie, W. K. C., A History of Greek Philosophy. 1965.
Parnell, Charles Stewart (1846–1891). Irish Nationalist politician, born in County Wicklow. From a Protestant landowning family, unhappily educated in England, he was elected MP for Country Meath 1875–80 and for Cork 1880–91 as a Home Ruler. As a speaker he was cold and sardonic but as a tactician he was superb making especially skilful use of all the parliamentary rules that help obstruction. After becoming leader of the party (1880) he handled his colleagues autocratically. He became President (1879) of the Land League and inaugurated (1880) the policy of the boycott, which resulted in a large increase of agrarian crime. Parnell was imprisoned briefly (1882) but released after promising to fight crime if the government would provide relief for rent arrears. Such bargaining was soon ended by the murder of the chief secretary, Lord Frederick Cavendish, in Phoenix Park, Dublin. In 1885 Parnell, with the Irish votes holding a balance of power, provided the pressure behind the introduction of *Gladstone’s Irish Home Rule Bill of 1886 which split the Liberal Party and brought the Conservatives back to office. In 1887 The Times published allegations, based on documents forged by Richard *Pigott, that Parnell had condoned political murders. Pigott was exposed, but in 1889 Parnell was successfully cited as co-respondent by a colleague, Captain William O’Shea with whose wife, Catherine (Katie, née Wood) (1845–1921), he was alleged to have committed adultery. Parnell refused to resign his leadership, but Gladstone and half the party, backed by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, turned against him. He married Katie in June 1891. Four months later, his career foundering, he died suddenly in Hove. In 11 years of leadership his outstanding achievement was to persuade Gladstone and the Liberal Party to adopt Home Rule as policy.
Lyons, F. S. L., Parnell. 1963; Kee, R., The Laurel and the Ivy. 1993.
Parr, Catherine see Catherine Parr
Parry, Sir (Charles) Hubert (Hastings), 1st Baronet (1848–1918). English composer. He became professor of the Royal College of Music on its foundation (1883) and was its director 1895–1918. A prolific composer, especially of choral and orchestral music, his best known works are the choral ode Blest Pair of Sirens (1887) and his setting of *Blake’s Jerusalem (1916), inspired by World War I. He was made a baronet in 1902. Like his contemporary *Stanford, Parry is important less for the quality of his own works than as a pioneer of the revival of English music which began at the end of the 19th century. Among his pupils was *Vaughan Williams and *Holst. He died in the Spanish flu epidemic.
Parry, Milman (1902–1935). American scholar, born in California. An assistant professor at Harvard, he worked in Bosnia in 1933 and 1935, observed the recitation of long, ancient oral epics by often illiterate bards in Bosnia in the 1930s, and proposed that The Iliad and The Odyssey evolved, over centuries, in a bardic oral tradition, long before the development of a written language. He died of a gunshot wound, either an accident or suicide. His ‘Oral Formulaic Hypothesis’ was adopted and expanded by Albert B(ates) Lord (1912–1991) in The Singer of Tales (1960) and is now generally accepted. The Making of Homeric Verse: The Collected Papers of Milman Parry, edited by his son, was not published until 1971.
Parry, Sir William Edward (1795–1855). British Arctic explorer. In the second of two attempts to find the Northwest Passage to the Pacific (1819), he almost succeeded by reaching Melville Island, but he failed again in 1824–25. He discovered (1821–22) the Hecla and Fury Straits, which he named after his ships. His last (1827) expedition, an attempt to reach the pole by boat and sledge from Spitzbergen, was unsuccessful (though he reached latitude 82°43’N).
Pary, A., Parry of the Arctic. 1963.
Parsons, Sir Charles Algernon (1854–1931). Anglo-Irish engineer. He developed the stream turbine named after him which revolutionised marine propulsion. The Turbinia (1897), the first turbine-powered ship, achieved the unprecedented speed of 36 knots. He was also concerned with optics and manufactured 86 cm (34 inch) and 193 cm (76 inch) reflecting telescopes. He received the KCB (1911) and the OM (1927).
Parsons (or Persons), Robert (1546–1610). English priest. After leaving Oxford University he became a Roman Catholic convert, went to Rome and became (1575) a Jesuit. He returned to England (1580) to minister to Roman Catholics and eluded capture for a whole year. After the arrest of Edmund *Campion he returned to the Continent, where he intrigued with *Felipe II of Spain to invade England. He wrote many controversial pamphlets, became rector of the English College in Rome and died there.
Pärt, Arvo (1935– ). Estonian composer. He worked for Estonian Radio, taught at Tallinn Conservatory, and lived in Berlin 1980– . His St John Passion (1982), powerfully compressed, minimalist and repetitive, is frequently performed, despite its lack of movement or modulation. He also wrote Stabat Mater (1985) and Miserere (1989).
Parvus, Aleksandr Lvovich (originally Israel Lazarevich Gelfand) (1867–1924). Russian-Jewish-German revolutionary, born in Belarus. He studied in Switzerland, lived in Germany, joined the Mensheviks and influenced *Trotsky and *Lenin. He made money as an arms trader in Istanbul, and in 1917 persuaded contacts in the German General Staff to send Lenin to Russia to foment revolution and its withdrawal from World War I.
Pascal, Blaise (1623–1662). French physicist, mathematician and philosopher, born at Clermont-Ferrand. Son of an exchequer official of great mathematical ability, he was precocious and at 16 wrote a treatise on conic sections, greeted with admiration by *Descartes (who doubted it was Blaise’s own work). The experiments he conducted with his father, and in 1647 described, on the problems of a vacuum and the effects of air pressure on tubes of mercury, led to the construction of barometers. To facilitate his father’s work he also invented a calculating machine (patented 1647). Later in life he did basic work on the mathematical theory of probability, and laid the foundation for the invention of differential calculus.
In complete contrast to *Montaigne, Pascal begins with the vastness of space and eternity compared to man’s isolation and impotence, and tries to relate the universal and infinite to the human and particular. If there is order, it is a mystery, comprehended through grace, too complex for a single formula. ‘It is not in space that I must seek my human dignity, but in the ordering of my thought. It will do me no good to own land. Through space the universe grasps me and swallows me up like a speck; through thought I grasp it.’
Two years after his father’s death (1651), his sister, Jacqueline, became a nun at Port-Royal, near Versailles, a headquarters of the Jansenists, whose doctrines, later declared heretical, stressed those parts of St *Augustine’s teaching that appear to support predestination and redemption solely through grace. On 23 November 1654, the ‘night of fire’, he experienced a revelation of Christ, wrote a short Memorial and kept it on his body until his death. The foundation of all his religious thought is devotion to Christ, the Saviour: ‘I lay all my actions before God who shall judge them and to whom I have consecrated them.’ In December 1654 he went to live at Port Royal, although he took no vows, and wrote his Lettres provinciales (1656–57), a defence of the Jansenists combined with a brilliant, if unfair, attack on the casuistry of their main adversaries, the Jesuits. His more personal views on religion and philosophy as well as his most brilliant writing are, however, contained in his Pénsees, notes for a projected apology for the Christian religion, collected and published in 1669, after his death. Many of the Pensées have become proverbial e.g. ‘Man is but a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed’ and ‘The state of man: inconstancy, boredom, anxiety’. ‘Men despise religion. They hate it and fear it may be true …’; ‘The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of’.
‘Pascal’s wager’ (Pensées, part III, §233) proposes the argument: ‘Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.’
Menhard, J., Pascal: His Life and Works. 1952 1952; Adamson, D.,Blaise Pascal: Mathematician, Physicist, and Thinker about God. 1995.
Pasmore, (Edwin John) Victor (1908–1998). British painter and graphic artist. Largely self-taught, he passed through naturalism and post-impressionism to evolve a personal style, of which his three dimensional abstractions and relief paintings are best known. He migrated to Malta in 1965 and received the CH in 1981.
Pasolini, Pier Paolo (1922–1975). Italian film maker and writer. A poet, novelist and scriptwriter, his controversial films include Accatone (1961), Mamma Roma (1962), The Gospel According to St Matthew (1964), The Decameron (1971), and Salò (1975). He was murdered by a homosexual lover.
Passfield, 1st Baron see Webb, Sidney
Passmore, John Arthur (1914–2004). Australian philosopher, born in Sydney. He studied at Sydney University under John Anderson (1893–1962), held chairs at Otago 1950–54 and the ANU, Canberra 1959–79, published and broadcast extensively and wrote an autobiography, Memoirs of a Semi-Detached Australian (1997).
Passy, Frédéric (1822–1912). French economist and politician. He was a deputy 1874–89, a co-founder of the International League of Peace and the International Parliamentary Union. He shared the first Nobel Prize for Peace with Henry *Dunant, having received 39 nominations.
Pasternak, Boris Leonidovich (1890–1960). Russian novelist and poet, born in Moscow. His father was an artist and friend of *Tolstoy, and Boris studied law, art and music before turning to literature. He was well known within the Soviet Union as a poet, original story writer and a translator of *Shakespeare. He was refused permission to publish his wide-ranging novel Doctor Zhivago (completed 1957) about Russia in the years 1903–29. It was smuggled out of the Soviet Union and published abroad (in Italy 1957). It immediately attracted international acclaim and won for Pasternak the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958. It was attacked in the USSR for its lack of enthusiasm for revolutionary values, and Pasternak declined, under pressure, the Nobel award. He made a conventional apology for errors as the price for remaining in Russia. He also wrote the autobiographical Safe Conduct (1931) and Essay in Autobiography (1959) in addition to much poetry.
Pasteur, Louis (1822–1895). French bacteriologist, born at Dôle in the Jura. His father, a tanner, had been a Sergeant Major during the Napoléonic Wars. His education led him to the École Normale in Paris where he eventually became (1857–63) director of scientific studies, having earlier taught at Dijon, at Strasbourg (where he married Marie Laurent, daughter of the university rector) and as professor of chemistry at Lille. A devout Catholic, three of his children died of infectious diseases. His early researches were on crystallography and the polarisation of light. He pointed to odd asymmetries (which he called ‘left and right handedness’) in molecules, crystals and other chemical structures. In 1857 he began to study why fermentation in wine vats produced lactic acid which caused the wine to go sour. He proved conclusively that this fermentation was caused by bacteria in the air (and his success was said to have saved France more than was paid in reparations after the Franco-Prussian War). This verified the ‘germ theory’ of disease and demolished the old idea of spontaneous generation. These conclusions (published 1864) were of basic importance in *Lister’s development of antiseptic surgery. In 1865 Pasteur discovered, and found how to cure, a disease that was attacking silk worms and threatened the whole French silk industry. He devised (1870) the process known as pasteurisation for killing bacteria in milk, and developed vaccines against the cattle disease anthrax (1877, later successfully extended to hydrophobia, or rabies) and chicken cholera (1880). He received the Copley Medal of the Royal Society (1874) and was elected to the Académie française in 1882. The first Pasteur Institute was founded in 1885 and a branch was established in Sydney in 1890. Pasteur’s work ranks him as one of the greatest of all benefactors of the human race, and in effect the founder of bacteriology.
Nicolle, J., Louis Pasteur: a Master of Scientific Enquiry. 1961; Nicolle, J., Louis Pasteur: the Story of his Major Discoveries. 1961.
Patel, Vallabhbhai Jhaverai (1875–1950). Indian politician and lawyer, born in Gujarat. He became a barrister, was widowed in 1908, then studied at the Middle Temple London, returning to set up practice at Ahmadabad in 1913. He joined the Indian Congress Party in 1917 as a follower of *Gandhi, became the leader of its conservative wing and a rival of *Nehru. Although an opponent of violence (on pragmatic grounds), during the civil disobedience campaigns he was imprisoned 1930, 1932–34, 1940–41, 1942–45, despite his advocacy of resistance to Japanese invasion. He was among the first to recognise the inevitability of Indian partition and the creation of Pakistan. Deputy Prime Minister 1947–50 under Nehru, he successfully integrated the princely states into the Indian Union.
Pater, Walter Horatio (1839–1894). English essayist and critic, born in London. A fellow of Brasenose College 1865–94, a journey to Italy (1865) and the works of *Ruskin and *Winckelmann influenced his thought, but his polished and poetic style, first known to the public through the essays collected as Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873), is highly individual. His belief that the cultivation of beauty should be an end in itself, irrespective of its relationship to life, provided academic justification for the aesthetic movement, then blossoming into fame. His best known book is the philosophical romance Marius the Epicurean (1885), set in the time of Marcus Aurelius and concerned with the intellectual and spiritual processes by which a young Roman moves towards Christianity.
Paterson, A(ndrew) B(arton) (‘Banjo’) (1864–1941). Australian poet and journalist. He wrote Clancy of the Overflow and The Man from Snowy River for The Bulletin and his best known poem is Waltzing Matilda (1895). He became a war correspondent in South Africa and China.
Paton, Alan Stewart (1903–1988). South African writer. His famous novel, Cry the Beloved Country (1948), presents with compassion rather than bitterness, the psychological problems besetting the coloured man in South Africa, where the environment is created for and by the white. He was President of the South African Liberal Party (made illegal in 1968).
Patrick (Latin: Patricius, Irish: Pádraig), St (d.457 or 493?). Romano-British missionary, born probably near Hadrian’s Wall. Patron saint of Ireland, he was the son of Calpornius, a Christian deacon and decurion (official). Kidnapped by Irish marauders when about 16 years old, he worked as a slave (traditionally in County Antrim) for about six years before he escaped to Gaul (France) and thence back to Britain. He then seems to have had a vision summoning him to convert the Irish, for which he did not rapidly obtain sanction, but at last he was ordained Bishop and started his Irish mission (432 is the traditional date). Christianity had already penetrated parts of the country, but he was the first missionary in the more remote areas. His method was to convert the princes and through them the common people (hence the story of his preaching before the ‘high king’ at Tara). He organised the Irish Church on a territorial basis and became the first bishop of Armagh (444?). He describes his life and work in his Confessio. St Patrick’s Day is 17 March and his emblems are the snake and the shamrock.
Bieler, L., Works of St Patrick. 1953; Hanson, R. P. C., Saint Patrick: his Origins and Career. 1968.
Patten, Chris(topher Francis) Baron Patten of Barnes (1944– ). English Conservative politician, born in Lancashire. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford, he worked as a party organiser. MP 1979–92, Secretary of State for the Environment 1989–90 and Chairman of the Conservative Party 1990–92, he was the last Governor of Hong Kong 1992–97. He advised the *Blair Government on Northern Ireland, became EU Commissioner for External Relations 1999–2004 and Chancellor of Oxford University 2003– (being the first Catholic to hold the office since 1558). He received a CH in 1998, a peerage in 2005 and served as Chairman of the BBC 2011–14.
Patti, Adelina (Adela Juana Maria) (1843–1919). Italian soprano, born in Madrid. She sang in New York at the age of seven, and made her operatic debut there in 1859. Noted for her brilliant execution of coloratura roles, she was much admired by *Verdi and made a few acoustic recordings. From 1878 she lived at Craig-y-Nos Castle in the Swansea Valley, with her last husband, Baron Rolf Cedestrom, and died there. She was buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.
Patton, George Smith (1885–1945). American soldier, born in California. One of the most successful and colourful generals of World War II, in 1940 he commanded an armoured division. He led the invasion of US forces in North Africa (November 1942) and in Sicily (July 1943) but was relieved of his command for 11 months for striking two soldiers whom he suspected of malingering. He returned to lead the 3rd Army in the European liberation campaign (1944), exploiting its breakout of the Cotentin Peninsula (south of Cherbourg) with a triumphant drive across France, outflanking the Germans in Normandy, taking Paris and reaching the Moselle. He died after a motor accident in Heidelberg.
Whiting, C., Patton. 1973; D’Este, C., A Genius for War. 1996.
Paul, St (Paulos in Greek: Sha’ul in Aramaic) (c.8 CE–c.67 CE). Christian apostle, born in Tarsus. A Jew and a Roman citizen, known as Saul before his conversion, his life can only be partially reconstructed from the Acts of the Apostles and some of his epistles. A tent-maker by trade, he was a zealous Pharisee and took part in the persecution of Christians, but on his way to Damascus (37?) to bring back some Christians for trial he was temporarily blinded by a sudden vision and miraculously converted. After some time meditating in the desert he went to preach at Jerusalem, but, though supported by *Barnabas, he was regarded with suspicion. He had an uneasy relationship with *James and *Peter. Paul returned to Tarsus where he remained for 10 years before Barnabas sought him out and took him to Antioch. A year later, the two friends, with *Mark as assistant, set out on their first missionary journey through Cyprus and many cities of Asia Minor. They made many converts but ultimately were stoned and expelled, mostly by hostile Jews.
When Paul and Barnabas (Mark having left them) returned to Antioch, they were faced with controversy about whether Gentile converts were required to be circumcised and follow other prescribed Jewish observances. Paul and Barnabas argued for exempting Gentiles from such requirements and the eventual compromise, reducing them to a minimum, enabled him then to continue their work. The term ‘Christian’ was first applied in Antioch. A second missionary journey was begun but in Cyprus a dispute as to whether Mark should again be taken led to a parting, Barnabas taking Mark as his companion, leaving Paul with Silas. For part of the way Paul retraced his steps in Asia Minor, but after a dream in which he was begged to come over to Macedonia and help, he crossed to Greece. The first Christian presence in Europe was in Philippi (c.51) and Paul’s first convert was a cloth dealer, *Lydia (Acts xvi). Paul and Silas were driven out of Thessalonica by hostile Jews, and in Athens, the home of philosophy, they had little success. In Corinth (from c.51) Paul found a home for 18 months before returning to Antioch.
In the New Testament, 14 books are attributed to Paul, advice and instruction to churches he had founded, or sought to influence. These were certainly written before the gospels. Modern scholarship is only confident about Paul’s authorship of seven epistles: 1 Thessalonians (the earliest, perhaps 50–51, written in Corinth or Athens), Philippians, Philemon, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, 2 Corinthians and Romans (the longest, probably written in Corinth). The epistles were decisive in influencing early church theology.
After again visiting churches in Asia Minor (it was his practice to organise a congregation of believers in as many as possible of the places he passed through) he made Ephesus the focal point of his third journey. He stayed there nearly three years and from there wrote 1 Corinthians (c.57). He then returned to Jerusalem where his old enemies roused the mob against him. Only the intervention of the commandant saved him, but the Roman governor Felix and his successor Festus kept him imprisoned for two years until at last Paul, as a Roman citizen, exercised his right to appeal to Caesar (*Nero). Wrecked at Malta on the way, Paul eventually reached Rome in c.60 or 61 and was held in custody there (though with considerable liberty) for about two years, and probably visited Spain (Romans xv:24, 28). He appears to have been well-connected in Rome. There is a strong tradition that he was beheaded in the Neronian persecutions, probably on the site of the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls. St Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, was above all instrumental in transforming Christianity from a Jewish sectarian creed to a universal religion.
Hengel, M. and Schwemer, A. M., Paul Between Damascus and Antioch. 1996; Murphy-O’Connor, J., Paul: a critical life. 1996; Wilson, A. N., Paul. 1997; Wright, T., Paul. A Biography. 2018.
Paul (Pavel) I (1754–1801). Tsar of Russia 1796–1801. He succeeded his mother *Catherine the Great, having been kept from the throne by her for 34 years. He established a law of primogeniture. He broke his alliance with England to come to terms with *Napoléon and planned to invade India. His rule as a capricious tyrant provoked a military plot and he was strangled by officers.
Paul (Pávlos) I (1901–1964). King of the Hellenes 1947–64. Son of *Constantine I, he was exiled in England 1923–35, served in the Greek army during World War II and in 1947 succeeded his brother *George II as king. He attempted to popularise the monarchy, but his wife, Frederika of Brunswick, was disliked because of her alleged pro-Nazi sympathies. He was the father of *Constantine II (XIII).
Paul (Paulus) III (Alessandro Farnese) (1468–1549). Pope 1534–49. Born of a noble family, he combined the roles of zealous Church reformer and Renaissance potentate. He confirmed the first Jesuit constitution (1540), established the Inquisition in Rome (1542) and initiated the Council of Trent. A great patron of the arts, he commissioned *Michelangelo to design the dome of St Peter’s and paint the fresco of the Last Judgment for the Sistine Chapel.
Paul (Paulus) IV (Gian Pietro Carafa) (1476–1559). Pope 1555–59. Born of an aristocratic Neapolitan family, he was made a cardinal by *Paul III and recognised as leader of the Counter-Reformation long before becoming Pope at the age of 70. A strict and ruthless moralist, he introduced the Index of prohibited books and increased the range of the Inquisition and the severity of its sentences. After his death a mob destroyed his statue and burned the prisons of the Inquisition.
Paul (Paulus) V (Camillo Borghese) (1550–1621). Pope 1605–21. Born in Rome to a patrician family, he was a canon lawyer and Bishop of Iesu 1597–1605. He protected *Galileo and avoided blame for the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ (1605) by encouraging Catholics to be loyal to *James I.
Paul (Paolo: Italian. Paulus: Latin) VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) (1897–1978). Pope 1963–78. Born near Brescia, son of an anti-Fascist editor and Unione Popolari deputy, he was educated by the Jesuits. Ordained in 1920, he joined the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, served in Poland (1923) and became assistant to the future *Pius XII. Undersecretary of State 1939–44 and Prosecretary for Extraordinary (i.e. non-diplomatic) Affairs 1944–54, he was not made a cardinal in 1953 (effectively excluding him from the succession to Pope Pius) but became Archbishop of Milan 1954–63. He was *John XXIII’s first appointment as cardinal (1958) and on his death was elected Pope on the 6th ballot. He continued the work of adapting the teaching and practices of the Catholic Church to modern needs through the ecumenical council summoned by his predecessor. He took a number of unprecedented initiatives, e.g. his pilgrimage to Jerusalem (1964, but without mentioning the Jews or Israel) and his speech to a session of the United Nations in New York. He made the first papal visits to Asia (1964), North America (1965), South America (1968), Africa (1969) and Australia (1970). His encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968) reaffirmed the Church's traditional opposition to contraception. He was beatified in 2014.
Gonzalez, J. L., and Perez, T., trans. Heston E. L., Paul VI. 1964; Hebblethwaite, P., Paul VI—the first modern Pope. 1993.
Pauli, Wolfgang (1900–1958). Austrian physicist. Professor of physics at the Zürich Institute of Technology 1928–40, 1946–58, he taught at Princeton 1940–46. A pioneer in the application of the quantum theory to atomic structure, his most notable contribution was the ‘exclusion principle’ stating that two electrons cannot occupy the same quantum mechanical state at the same time. He suggested (1931) the existence of the neutrino, an uncharged particle of almost zero mass. Pauli won the Nobel Prize for Physics (1945).
Kronig, R., and Weisskopf, V. F. (eds), Collected Scientific Papers. 1964.
Pauling, Linus Carl (1901–1994). American chemist. Professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology 1929–64, the University of California, San Diego 1964–69 and Stanford 1969–74, he was best known for his work on molecular structure and valency. He introduced (1931) the concept of resonance, the rapid alternation of a pair of structures to produce a median structure or resonance hybrid, and this idea made it easier to elucidate the structure of several compounds that had previously offered great difficulties. He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1954) and the Nobel Prize for Peace (1962), the second award recognising his opposition to nuclear weapons and advocacy of a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Pausanias (d.c.470 or 465 BCE). Greek soldier. A regent of Sparta, he was the general who led the Greek army to victory over the Persians at Plataea (479 BCE). Later he adopted Persian clothes and manners and according to *Thucydides, entered into treacherous relations with the enemy. (*Herodotus defended him.) When finally he tried to gain power in Sparta by raising the serfs in revolt he was starved to death in the temple to which he had fled.
Pausanias (fl. 143–176 CE). Greek geographer, born in Lydia. He travelled through Greece, Italy and parts of Asia Minor and Africa, and may be regarded as the first writer of guide books, since his Itinerary of Greece gives the history of and legends connected with all the places he visited as well as details of all the works of art he saw there. It has thus inestimable value for the historian, geographer, archaeologist and mythologist.
Pavarotti, Luciano (1935–2007). Italian operatic tenor, born in Modena. From 1963 he was an increasingly popular lyric tenor in Italy, Britain and the US, excelling in opera, recitals and as a teacher. He appeared in several films and was much recorded.
Pavelic, Ante (1889–1959). Croatian politician and lawyer. Deeply opposed to Serbian domination of Yugoslavia, in 1929, with *Mussolini’s patronage, he founded Ustasha (Arise) and organised the assassination of *Alexander I and *Barthou in Marseille (1934). In 1941 the Germans established Croatia as a client state, with Pavelic as dictator. His regime is estimated to have murdered more than 500,000 Serbs, 60,000 Jews and many Muslims. He escaped in 1945 through Italy and lived in Buenos Aires and Madrid.
Pavlov, Ivan Petrovich (1849–1936). Russian physiologist. He took a medical degree (1883) and from 1891 was director of the physiology department of the Institute of Experimental Medicine at St Petersburg. He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine (1904) for his study of gastric secretions in the digestive glands. The experiments on dogs undertaken in the course of this work and the studies which developed from it won him worldwide notice. In his best known experiment Pavlov rang a bell before giving food to dogs, whose glands would begin to secrete saliva at the sight of food. After repetition the dogs salivated when they heard the bell even if no food was forthcoming. Such experiments revealed the ‘conditioned reflexes’ and led to a study of their effect on human behaviour and so to the behaviourist theories in modern psychology.
Babkin, B. P., Pavlov: A Biography. 1949.
Pavlova, Anna Pavlovna (1882–1931). Russian ballerina, born in St Petersburg. Educated at the Imperial Ballet School, she quickly won renown and after a single season (1909) in Paris with *Diaghilev, formed her own company, with which she toured the chief cities of the world for the rest of her life, visiting Australia in 1926 and 1929. She was most famous for her solo performances in divertissements, e.g. The Dying Swan (music by *Saint-Saëns), but she was also acclaimed for her roles in such ballets as Don Quixote, Chopiniana and Autumn Leaves (the last her own creation). She was also a gifted sculptor.
Franks, A. H. (ed.), Pavlova. 1956.
Paxton, Sir Joseph (1806–1865). English gardener and architect. As superintendent of the Duke of Devonshire’s gardens at Chatsworth he gained experience in the construction of large conservatories, which led to his commission to design the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition (1851), a landmark in the development of structural steel architecture. He was knighted for this work. The Crystal Palace, originally built in Hyde Park, was re-erected in Sydenham (1853–54) and survived until a fire in 1936. Paxton was a Liberal MP 1854–65.
Chadwick, C. F., The Works of Sir Joseph Paxton. 1966.
Payette, Juliet (1963– ). Canadian engineer, astronaut, linguist, administrator, born in Montréal. She flew on two space missions (1999, 2009), was chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency 2000–07, CEO of the Montréal Science Centre 2011–14, an active board member and Governor-General of Canada 2017– .
Paz, Octavio (1914–1998). Mexican poet, essayist and diplomat. He held minor diplomatic posts in Paris and Tokyo, became Ambassador to India 1962–68 and held chairs at Cambridge 1970–71 and Harvard 1971–72. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990 ‘for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterised by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity’. His books include One Earth, Four or Five Worlds (1985), Convergences (1987) and Eagle and Sun (1990).
Peabody, George (1795–1869). American philanthropist. Having made a fortune as a wholesaler in the US, he settled in London (1837) as a merchant banker. His benefactions included over £1 million for educational purposes in the US and £500,000 for working class flats in London. He refused honours, but on his death a British battleship conveyed his body to America where the name of his birth place, Danvers, Massachusetts, was changed to Peabody.
Peacock, Andrew Sharp (1939– ). Australian Liberal politician. A lawyer, he was a Member of the House of Representatives 1966–94, a minister 1969–72, 1975–81 and 1982–83, Foreign Minister 1975–80, and Leader of the Liberal Opposition 1983–85, following Malcolm *Fraser’s defeat by Labor, Deputy Leader 1987–89, and Leader again 1989–90. He was Ambassador to the US 1997–99.
Peacock, Thomas Love (1785–1866). English novelist and poet. He worked for the East India Company from 1809. His conversational novels, interspersed with lyrics, satirise contemporary writers, philosophers and literary fashions. They include Headlong Hall (1816), Melincourt (1817), Nightmare Abbey (1818), Crotchet Castle (1831) and Gryll Grange, which did not appear until 1860. He also wrote two romances, Maid Marian (1822) and The Misfortunes of Elphin (1829). Peacock was a close friend of *Shelley (from 1814) and his executor. His Memorials of Shelley, edited by H. Brett Smith, appeared in 1909. One of Peacock’s four daughters was George *Meredith’s first wife.
Mills, H., Peacock. 1969.
Peale, Charles Willson (1741–1827). American painter and gallery director. He opened his own museum in Philadelphia and painted over 1000 portraits in neo-classical style, including *Franklin, *Washington, *Adams and *Jefferson. His sons Raphaelle, Rembrandt and Titian were also painters. The last was also a naturalist who explored the Upper Missouri, Florida and the South Seas.
Pears, Sir Peter Neville Luard (1910–1986). English concert and opera singer. A high tenor with superb diction, he was the lifelong partner and interpreter of Benjamin *Britten. He made his stage debut in 1942 and later sang at Covent Garden, at Sadler’s Wells and with the English Opera Group. He was (with Britten) co-founder of the Aldeburgh Festival (1948) and created principal roles in 13 of Britten’s operas, notably Peter Grimes (1945). He was knighted in 1978.
Pearse, Patrick (Padraic) Henry (1879–1916). Irish republican leader. He combined enthusiasm for the revival of Gaelic with a political extremism which induced him to join the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the nationalist Irish Volunteers (1913–16). He was chosen as President of the provisional republican government proclaimed during the Easter Rising (1916), and after its suppression was court-martialled and shot. He was a man of the highest ability and integrity.
Pearse, Richard William (1877–1953). New Zealand pioneer aviator. A self-educated farmer, he built a monoplane at Waitohi, South Island, and it is almost certain that he succeeded in a short manned flight on 31 March 1903, some eight months before the *Wright Brothers. He was derided as a crank and became easily discouraged, concluding that the Wrights would have much easier access to finance and engineering support. He abandoned aviation and later became a recluse.
Ogilvie, G., The Riddle of Richard Pearse. 1973.
Pearson, Karl see Galton, Sir Francis
Pearson, Lester Bowles (‘Mike’) (1897–1972). Canadian politician. After lecturing in history at Toronto University he entered the Department of External Affairs, was Ambassador in Washington 1945–46 and Secretary of State for External Affairs 1948–57. He was President of the United Nations General Assembly 1952–53, Leader of the Liberal Opposition 1958–63 and Prime Minister 1963–68. His diplomacy, especially his attempts to settle the Suez crisis (1956), won him the Nobel Prize for Peace (1957). He received the OM in 1968.
Pearson, L. B., The Four Faces of Peace. 1964.
Peary, Robert Edwin (1856–1920). American Arctic explorer. He joined the US navy (1881) and an expedition to Greenland roused his interest in the problem of reaching the North Pole. In 1891–92 he crossed the Greenland ice pack from west to east and discovered what is now Peary Land. Subsequently (on leave from the navy) he made repeated expeditions with his aim always in view, and finally, on 6 April 1909, he and Matthew *Hensen, after a dangerous sledge journey, became the first explorers to reach the Pole. His book The North Pole (1910) describes the achievement but minimises Hensen’s role. (His rival Frederick Albert *Cook claimed to have beaten him to the Pole, in 1908.) Peary was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1911.
Peckinpah, Sam (1926–1984). American film director. His major films include The Wild Bunch (1969) and Straw Dogs (1971) which aroused considerable controversy over their explicit violence.
Pedro I (known as ‘the Cruel’) (1334–1369). King of Castile and Leon 1356–69. The only legitimate son of Alfonso XI, but he had to contend with the implacable enmity of his illegitimate half-brothers. Three were disposed of by assassination, but the most important, Henry of Trastamara, who had taken refuge in France, returned with a mercenary army. Pedro fled to Gascony and enlisted the support of the English Black Prince, who won a great victory at Najera but retired in disgust at Pedro’s vengeful atrocities. Once more Henry invaded Castile, and after his victory at Montiel (1369), the two half-brothers met in single combat and Pedro was killed.
Pedro I (Pedro de Alcântara Francisco António João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquim José Gonzaga Pascoal Cipriano Serafim d’Orléans-Bragança) (1798–1834). Emperor of Brazil 1822–31, and (as Pedro IV) King of Portugal 1826. During the Peninsular War, when Portugal was invaded by *Napoléon’s armies, his father, *João VI, and other members of the royal family took refuge in the Portuguese colony of Brazil. When João returned to Europe (1821) Pedro was left as regent, but, when Brazil resisted Portuguese efforts to reimpose a colonial relationship, Pedro put himself at the head of the independence party, and a declaration, the ‘Grito do Ipiranga’ (1822), gave independence to Brazil with himself as first emperor. He granted a constitution (1826) and in the same year, on his father’s death, he also became King of Portugal. Shortly after, however, he renounced the Portuguese crown in favour of his daughter *Maria. His involvement in the affairs of Portugal brought him unpopularity in Brazil, and in 1831 he abdicated in favour of his son *Pedro II. He then returned to Europe and in 1832, with the help of the English naval forces, defeated the Miguelist faction in Portugal which had driven out Maria, and re-established her as Queen.
Haring, C. H., Empire in Brazil: a New World Experiment with Monarchy. 1958.
Pedro II (Pedro de Alcântara João Carlos Leopoldo Salvador Bibiano Francisco Xavier de Paula Leocádio Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga d’Orléans-Bragança) (1825–1891). Emperor of Brazil 1831–89. Though only 16 when he assumed power after a period of troubled regency, Pedro proved himself a liberal-minded constitutional ruler and he showed skill in reconciling the political disputes of the various parties. In 1870 a long war with Paraguay ended successfully but the heavy Brazilian losses caused recriminations. The army’s support for the regime weakened and a republican party appeared. The landed gentry, the emperor’s strongest supporters, were offended by extensions of the franchise, and his position became untenable in 1888 when, during his absence on a trip to Europe, his daughter freed the slaves without compensating the owners. After a bloodless revolution Pedro retired to Europe (1889). He died in Paris and was reburied in Petropolis (1939).
Barman, R. J., Citizen Emperor: Pedro II and the Making of Brazil 1825–1891. 1999.
Peel, Sir Robert, 2nd Baronet (1788–1850). English politician, born in Lancashire. Son of a rich cotton manufacturer, he was a friend of *Byron at Harrow and distinguished himself at Oxford. A Tory MP 1809–50, first elected at 21, at 24 he became Chief Secretary for Ireland 1812–18, where Daniel *O’Connell was his powerful opponent. As Home Secretary 1822–27, 1828–30, his terms of office were made famous by the creation of the Metropolitan police force (whose members were nicknamed after him ‘peelers’ or ‘bobbies’). Though he had worked in harmony with *Canning, he resigned with the Duke of *Wellington (1827) as a protest against Roman Catholic emancipation, which, however, they both accepted and passed through parliament when they returned to office in the same year after Canning’s death. By the election following *George IV’s death, the Whigs returned to power and passed the famous parliamentary Reform Act (1832) against Peel’s opposition. He succeeded Wellington as Tory leader, and served twice as Prime Minister 1834–35, 1841–46. When *Melbourne resigned (May 1839) Peel’s return to office was delayed by Queen Victoria’s refusal to part with her ladies of the bedchamber (all Whigs). After the election of 1841 Peel became Prime Minister with a useful majority, and in defiance of his Tory supporters, gradually became a convert to free trade. His first step was to introduce a sliding scale by which the duty on corn varied in accordance with the price at home, the lost revenue being replaced by an income tax of 7d. in the pound. But when the potato blight in Ireland, followed by famine, made the cheapest possible corn an urgent necessity in Peel’s opinion, he introduced (1846) his measure for Corn Law repeal. A Party split was the inevitable result and, though Peel pushed the act through with Whig support, he was forced to resign. He was never again in office but his prestige in the House of Commons and his popularity in the country remained undiminished. He died as a result of being thrown from his horse on Constitution Hill. In public life Peel appeared cold and austere, and O’Connell remarked, ‘His smile was like the silver plate on a coffin’. Although highly competent, he was never a good Party man. In private he led an ideally happy domestic life with his wife (née Julia Floyd) and seven children, and he was a genial and generous friend.
Gash, N., Sir Robert Peel. 1972; Evans, E. J., Sir Robert Peel. 2006; Gaunt, R. A., Sir Robert Peel. 2007; Hurd, D., Robert Peel: A Biography. 2007.
Péguy, Charles (Pierre) (1873–1914). French poet and publisher. He combined active socialism with Catholicism and sincere patriotism, revealed in the drama Jeanne d’Arc (1897), which he wrote in pseudonymous collaboration with his friend Marcel Baudouin. He founded (1900) the journal Cahiers de la Quinzaine, in which he published his own works and those of other writers, several of whom, e.g. Romain *Rolland, subsequently became important. Péguy’s later works include Le Mystère de la charité de Jeanne d’Arc (1910) and La Tapisserie de Notre Dame (1913). He was killed in World War I.
Wilson, N., Charles Péguy. 1965.
Pei, I(eoh) M(ing) (1917–2019). American architect, born in Canton. In the US from 1935, he taught at Harvard and won international recognition with a series of important buildings in Boston—the Christian Science Church Centre, the west wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Kennedy Memorial Library (Harvard), and (with Henry Cobb) the John Hancock Tower. He designed the east wing of the National Gallery in Washington, the Place Ville-Marie in Montréal and the Bank of China building, Hong Kong. His glass and steel Pyramide in the Cour Napoléon at the Louvre, opened in 1989, illuminates and coordinates the underground visitors’ reception area and the Carrousel (shops and restaurants).
Wiseman, C., I.M. Pei. 1990.
Peierls, Sir Rudolf Ernest (1905–1995). German-Jewish-British physicist, born in Berlin. He studied in Zürich and Cambridge, remaining in England after *Hitler’s regime took power. He worked on nuclear physics with James *Chadwick, and with Otto *Frisch proposed a specific model for an atomic bomb, worked at Los Alamos 1943–45, and personally assembled the parts for the Hiroshima bomb. (Klaus *Fuchs was his assistant.) He held chairs at Birmingham and Oxford and was a founder of the Pugwash movement.
Peierls, R., Bird of Passage. 1985.
Peirce, Charles Sanders (1839–1914). American philosopher, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Peirce, professor of mathematics and astronomy at Harvard, he studied mathematics, physics and chemistry, spending much of his life in the US Government Coast and Geodetic Survey. Because of his unconventionality he obtained no proper academic recognition, and most of his writing became available only after his death. He is best known for his view of the meaning of concepts: our idea of something is made up of notions of that thing’s effects. William *James and others turned this ‘pragmatic maxim’ into the dubious theory (‘pragmatism’) that the test of a statement’s truth is whether or not it has (good) effects, but this extension was disdained by Peirce. His own theory of truth, which he named ‘pragmaticism’ to distinguish it from James’s version, involved the verification of hypotheses by the scientific community.
Brent, J., Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life. 1993.
Peisistratus (c.600–528 BCE). Athenian tyrant. He fought successfully against Megara, then by claiming that his wife was threatened he obtained a bodyguard, with which (c.560) he seized the Acropolis. He was twice expelled but as the owner of gold and silver mines he was able to hire mercenaries to ensure his victory over his opponents. He ruled with wisdom and success and, by using his own fortune and money confiscated from his adversaries, helped the farmers, and did much to assist the poor, as well as fortifying and beautifying Athens. He is traditionally held to have been the first to collect *Homer’s poems. He was succeeded by his sons Hippias and Hipparchus.
Andrewes, A., The Greek Tyrants. 1956.
Pelagius (c.360–c.418). British (or Irish?) theologian. The name may be a Greek form of the Celtic name Morgan (‘Sea-born’). He settled in Rome about 380 and there met his impetuous disciple Caelestius, a lawyer. When the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410 they both left for Carthage but made powerful enemies of (St) *Augustine of Hippo and (St) *Jerome by attacking the doctrine of original sin in De libero arbitrio (‘On Free Will’) in 416. Central to the Pelagian controversy was the affirmation that Adam would have died whether or not he had sinned, and that each of his descendants is born as innocent as he. He further held that it is at least theoretically possible for a man to live without sin, solely by his own free will, a doctrine that seemed to diminish the need for God’s grace. Pelagianism was first officially condemned in 416 and more formally at the Councils of Carthage and Ephesus (418 and 431). Pelagius was banished from Rome (418) and probably died in Palestine.
Evans, R. F., Pelagius. 1968.
Pelé (real name Edison Arantes de Nascimento) (1940– ). Brazilian soccer player. He played as an inside centre-left for the Santos Football Club 1956–74, the Brazilian national team 1956–77 and the New York Cosmos 1975–77. He appeared in the film Escape to Victory (1981). Generally regarded as the greatest player in the history of football, he won many awards including a KBE from the UK in 1997.
Pelham, Henry (1694–1754). English Whig politician, born in Sussex. Younger brother of the Duke of *Newcastle, educated at Oxford, he was an MP 1717–54, and worked very closely with Robert *Walpole as Secretary at War 1724–30 and Paymaster of the Forces 1730–43. After Walpole’s fall in 1742, the Earl of *Wilmington was briefly head of the government until he died in 1743. Pelham then became, in effect, Prime Minister of Great Britain 1743–46 and, after a two day break, 1746–54, until his death. (The term ‘Prime Minister’ was not official; technically, he was First Lord of the Treasury, and also Chancellor of the Exchequer.) Shrewd use of patronage meant that no administration could exist without the Pelhams. They distrusted the continental policies of the brilliant John Carteret (Earl *Granville), manoeuvred him out of government in 1746 and, over *George II’s objections, insisted on appointing *Pitt the Elder to office. More than eight years of efficient and unspectacular rule followed. Major events during Pelham’s government were the Jacobite rising (1745) and adopting the Gregorian calendar for Great Britain and North America (1752). Pelham died relatively poor. The Duke of Newcastle, less intelligent, and with whom he sometimes clashed, succeeded Pelham as Prime Minister.
Owen, J. B., Rise of the Pelhams. 1971.
Pell, George (1941– ). Australian cardinal, born in Ballarat. Educated in Ballarat and Oxford, he was Archbishop of Melbourne 1996–2001, of Sydney 2001–14, and created cardinal in 2003. A firm advocate of Roman supremacy in the church, conservative in faith and morals, less so in economics, he supported a republic, was a ‘climate change’ sceptic and came under attack for lacking empathy with victims of clerical sexual abuse. He became Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy at the Vatican 2014–18. In December 2018 he was convicted on five charges of child sexual abuse and sentenced to six years imprisonment. The verdict was upheld by Victoria’s Court of Appeal, but quashed by the High Court (April 2020).
Pelosi, Nancy Patricia (née D’Alesandro) (1940– ). American Democratic politician, born in Baltimore. Member of the US House of Representatives (from California) 1987– , she became the first woman to be Congressional leader of a major party 2002– , the first elected as Speaker of the House 2007–11 and to be re-elected 2019– .
Pembroke, Richard de Clare (or FitzGilbert), 2nd Earl of (known as ‘Strongbow’) (c.1130–1176). Anglo-Norman adventurer. He led an expedition into Ireland (1169) and married Eva, the daughter of the deposed Diarmid (Dermot) of Leinster, whose kingdom he recovered. On his father-in-law’s death (1171), he ruled Leinster, for which he paid homage to *Henry II of England, thus inaugurating the long and unhappy period of English rule in Ireland. His son-in-law William *Marshal became Earl of Pembroke in a second creation.
Pence, Mike (Michael Richard) (1957– ). American Republican politician. A Christian conservative, he was a Congressman 2001–13, Governor of Indiana 2013–17 and Vice President of the US 2017– .
Penda of Mercia (c.606–655). King of Mercia 626–55. An Anglo-Saxon, successor of Cearl, he gradually built up the strength of his kingdom and finally (633) allied himself with the Christian Welsh king Cadwallon to defeat and kill *Edwin of Northumbria and so make Mercia independent. For a time Penda was the most powerful king in England, but Northumbria reasserted its power when Oswald’s brother Oswy (Oswiu) defeated and killed Penda in a battle near Leeds.
Penderecki, Krzysztof Eugeniusz (1933–2020). Polish composer, born in Debiça. He won international recognition with his Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), followed by St Luke Passion (1966), an eclectic work showing the influence of *Monteverdi and *Bach, but using an atonal style. He composed eight symphonies, two violin concertos, four operas and Polish Requiem (1984).
Penfield, Wilder Graves (1891–1976). Canadian neurosurgeon, born in the US. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he studied under *Osler and *Sherrington, and worked in Montréal from 1926. His operations on epileptics led to his ‘mapping’ brain areas responsible for memory, sensory and motor functions. He was a prolific writer on the mechanism of the brain and received the OM in 1953. He also wrote two novels and an autobiography No Man Alone. A Surgeon’s Life (published posthumously, 1977).
Penn, William (1644–1718). English Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania, born in London. He was the son of Admiral Sir William Penn (1621–1670), originally a supporter of *Cromwell, who lent the future *Charles II £16,000 and helped return him from exile. The younger Penn adopted the beliefs of the Society of Friends (Quakers), which he expounded in The Sandy Foundation Shaken (1668), for which he was confined in the Tower of London, and No Cross, No Crown (1669). His advocacy of toleration for all religions, Quakers, Lutherans, Calvinists, Amish, Catholics, Jews alike, attracted support from the future *James II, then Duke of York. Penn visited the New World and, after petitioning Charles II for a grant of land to repay the debt to his father, was given ownership of 120,000 square kilometres, which became ‘the proprietary colony of Pennsylvania’ (named for his father). He returned to America, founded Philadelphia (‘the city of brotherly love’) and was governor (mostly absentee) 1682–92. He spent only four years in the new colony (1682–84; 1699–1701); however, his guarantee of religious toleration resulted in the colony being settled by refugees from persecution in England, Holland and Germany. Penn drew up a remarkably liberal Constitution, in which the governor could rule only by consent, the legislature was chosen by ballot and, most important of all, toleration was enjoined for all forms of religion compatible with Christianity. Penn’s later years were clouded by religious disputes and financial difficulties, but he remains one of the most practical idealists of his time. He wrote extensively on theological matters and from time to time was an itinerant preacher.
Dunn, M. D., William Penn: Politics and Conscience. 1967.
Penney, William George, Baron Penney (1909–1991). English mathematician and physicist, born in Gibraltar. After teaching mathematics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London 1935–44, he directed armament research in the Ministry of Supply 1946–52. In 1953 he superintended the testing at Woomera, Australia, of the second British atomic bomb, was awarded the KBE, and became director of the nuclear weapons establishment at Aldermaston, Berks. He was Chairman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority 1964–67 and Rector of Imperial College 1967–73. He received the OM in 1969.
Penrose, Sir Roger (1931– ). English mathematical physicist, born in Colchester. Educated at London and Cambridge, as Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford 1973–98, he became deeply involved in cosmology and worked with Stephen *Hawking. Describing himself as ‘a recreational mathematician’, he wrote The Emperor’s New Mind (1989) and Shadows of the Mind (1995). He was awarded the OM in 2000 and the Copley Medal in 2008.
Penzias, Arno Allan (1933– ). American radioastronomer, born in Germany. He worked for the Bell Telephone Laboratories 1961 and with Robert Woodrow Wilson (1936– ) continued research, begun by Karl *Jansky, into the origins of background interference to radio signals. After all specific sources had been eliminated, a weak, evenly spread signal was detected which they concluded came from the universe at large and was decisive evidence for the ‘big bang’ theory. Penzias and Wilson shared the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics with Pyotr *Kapitza.
Bernstein, J., Three Degrees Above Zero. 1984.
Pepin (or Pippin). Frankish family of administrators. They served the Merovingian kings and were the ancestors of *Charlemagne and the Carolingian dynasty. Pepin I (d.640) and his grandson Pepin II (d.714) were administrators with the title ‘mayor of the palace’. The son of *Charles Martel, Pepin III (‘the Short’) (714/5–768) took the decisive step of deposing the Merovingian king *Childeric III and assuming the royal title. By helping the pope to regain the papal territories he obtained consecration, and his victories over the Arabs in France enabled him to hand over an enlarged and strengthened kingdom to his son Charlemagne.
Wallace-Hadrill, J. M., The Barbarian West 400–1000. 3rd ed. 1967.
Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703). English diarist and public servant, born in London. During the Dutch War 1664–67, when his duties in the Admiralty were mainly concerned with supply, he waged a continuous struggle with corrupt officials and dishonest contractors. In the Admiralty he rose to be Secretary to the Commission 1673–79 and 1684–89, where he worked with great industry and efficiency. He served as MP 1673–79, 1679, 1685–87. One of many falsely accused (1679) in the Popish plot (Titus *Oates), he was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London, and not restored to his post until 1684. A friend of *Wren, *Newton and *Dryden, Pepys was President of the Royal Society 1684–86.
His famous diary covers the years 1660–69. The gossip and scandal of *Charles II’s court, theatrical life, and public events (e.g. the Plague, the sailing up the Thames by the enemy Dutch fleet and the Great Fire) are all vividly recorded. The diary also describes his own domestic life with his lively wife, Elizabeth St Michel, daughter of a Huguenot refugee, who was only 15 when he married her (1655). Throughout his constant philanderings, their mutual jealousies and ardent reconciliations, he and his wife, ‘poor wretch’, never ceased to be in love. The diary, written in Thomas Shelton’s system of short-hand (tachygraphy), lay unread in the library of Magdalen College, Cambridge. Successful publication (1818) of John *Evelyn’s diaries revived interest in Pepys. Transcribed by John Smith, bowdlerised sections of the diary were published in 1825. About 90 per cent appeared in the edition of H. B. Wheatley, published 1893–99. The complete work, transcribed by William Matthews, edited by Robert Latham, was published in 11 volumes 1970–83.
Ollard, R., Pepys. 1974; Latham, R. (ed.), Shorter Pepys. 1985.
Perahia, Murray (1947– ). American pianist and conductor , born in New York. Of Spanish Sephardic ancestry, he became a friend of Vladimir *Horowitz (although their styles were radically different), recorded all *Mozart’s piano works and toured extensively. He suffered a series of hand injuries and withdrew from playing for several years, but turned to conducting. Awarded an Hon. KBE (2004), he became a specialist in *Bach, *Beethoven, *Schubert and *Chopin.
Perceval, Spencer (1762–1812). British Tory politician and barrister. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he entered parliament in 1796 and with the support of *Pitt had risen to be Attorney-General when Pitt died (1806). He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Portland 1807–09 and succeeded him as Prime Minister 1809–12. He was shot by a lunatic, John Bellingham, in the lobby of the House of Commons, the only British prime minister ever assassinated.
Percy, Sir Henry (known as ‘Hotspur’) (1364–1403). English nobleman. His Norman family held lordships in the north from 1067 and his father, Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland (1342–1408) was a supporter of *Wyclif. ‘Hotspur’ had already gained renown as hero of the Battle of Otterburn (1388) against the Scots when supporting his father in his quarrel with *Henry IV, he joined a conspiracy to replace the king by a rival claimant, Edmund, Earl of March. Intercepted on his way to join the Welsh rebel leader Owen *Glendower, he was killed in the battle of Shrewsbury.
Perec, Georges (1936–1982). French novelist, born in Paris. Of Polish-Jewish descent, he became an archivist in a medical research laboratory and joined a group of literary experimenters, OuLiPo (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentialle). His first novel, Les Choses (1965, translated as Things, 1990) won the Prix Renaudot. W ou le Souvenir d’enfance (1975, W or The Memory of Childhood 1989) presents, in alternating chapters, an autobiographical account of a young man of uncertain identity whose parents are lost in war and the history of a totalitarian state devoted to the Olympic ideal. His masterpiece La Vie mode d’emploi (1978, superbly translated by David Bellos as Life A User’s Manual, 1987) is a complex and encyclopaedic jigsaw of life in an apartment block in the XVIIth arrondisement of Paris. His last novel, 53 Days, partly written in Brisbane in 1981, was published incomplete in 1989 (English translation, 1992). Perec received great posthumous literary acclaim.
Bellos, D., Georges Perec: A Life in words. 1993.
Perelman, S(idney) J(oseph) (1904–1979). American humorist, born in New York. He wrote scripts for the *Marx Brothers’ films Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, was a regular contributor to The New Yorker from 1931 until his death, produced several travel books and won a 1956 Academy Award for his Around the World in 80 Days. He had a genius for parody and a mastery of language comparable to *Joyce and *Nabokov.
Herrmann, D., S. J. Perelman. 1986.
Peres, Shimon (Szymon Perski) (1923–2016). Israeli Labour politician, born in Poland. He migrated to Palestine in 1934 and studied in the US (NYU and Harvard). He served in the Knesset 1959–2006, 2006–07, and was Minister of Defence 1974–77, Labour Leader 1977–92, 1995–96, 2003–05, Prime Minister in a ‘national unity’ coalition 1984–86 and Foreign Minister 1986, 1992–95, 2001–03, 2004–07. Yasser *Arafat, Itzhak *Rabin and Peres shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize. After Rabin’s assassination he became Prime Minister again 1995–96, until his narrow defeat by Binyamin *Netanyahu. He served as a minister under Ehud *Barak and was unexpectedly defeated for the presidency in 2000. Defeated as Labour Leader in November 2005, he joined *Sharon’s new Kadima Party. He became President of Israel 2007–14. He was a cousin of the actor Lauren Bacall and received a GCMG in 2008 from the UK and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Perez de Cuellar, Javier (1920–2020). Peruvian diplomat. He was permanent delegate to the United Nations 1971–75, Undersecretary-General 1979–81 and succeeded Kurt *Waldheim as Secretary-General 1982–91. He contested the presidency of Peru against Alberto *Fujimori in 1995 but on his fall became Prime Minister 2000–01.
Pérez Galdós, Benito (1843–1920). Spanish writer, born in the Canary Islands. Considered the greatest Spanish novelist since *Cervantes, in his 46 Episodios nacionales (1873–1912) he followed a plan of relating important historical events to ordinary lives. In his extensive series of Novelas espanolas contemporneos he throws into dramatic relief the incompatibles of 19th-century life and thought, e.g. liberalism and absolutism, science and imagination, progress and tradition, in others (e.g. the Torquemada series) he dramatises the parallel conflicts in the individual conscience. Many of his plays are dramatised versions of his novels.
Varey, J. E. (ed.), Galdós Studies. 1970.
Peri, Jacopo (1561–1633). Italian composer, born in Rome. He worked for the *Medici in Florence and composed Dafne (1598), probably the first opera, now lost. Euridice (1600), based on the Orpheus legend, is occasionally performed, but Peri was unlucky to have been overtaken by *Monteverdi.
Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista (1710–1736). Italian composer. He wrote religious music (e.g. the famous Stabat Mater for female voices and strings), instrumental pieces and operas (serious and comic) but is best known for the enormously successful La Serva Padrona (1733), which, though it came to be performed as a comic opera, was initially a series of intermezzi between the acts of his serious opera Il Prigionier superbo. Tuberculosis and personal disappointments clouded his short life.
Pericles (c.490–429 BCE). Athenian statesman. He came of a noble family and was educated by leading thinkers, e.g. *Anaxagoras. Though aloof in manner and never courting popularity, politically he was a radical and opposed the ruling oligarchy headed by the Commander-in-Chief Cimon and backed by the Spartans. A rift between the latter and Cimon enabled Pericles to reorient the constitution by depriving the Areopagus (the conservative council of ex-magistrates) of its power (462) and securing the ostracism of Cimon (461). A change in foreign policy followed, Athens and Sparta parted company and thereafter were either at war or enjoying uneasy peace. Peace too was made with Persia, and most of the states that comprised the Delian League against Persia were gradually converted under the guidance of Pericles, who dominated the Athenian assembly until his death, into a maritime empire under Athenian control. He even secured the acceptance of a proposal that the League funds collected for the war should be used not only for policing the seas but for rebuilding and beautifying Athens, which had suffered much during the Persian invasion. Under his guidance, and through his patronage of such artists as the great *Phidias, Athens grew in a few years into the most beautiful city in the world: the Parthenon, the Propyhaea and the Odeum being among the buildings constructed at this time. Meanwhile there was mounting jealousy of Athens’ growing strength. Some of the allies, including Samos (which was decisively crushed), revolted, and the Spartans invaded Attica (446) but were bribed by Pericles to withdraw and renew the truce. The crisis was thus delayed until 433 when Pericles, feeling that the time was ripe for a final trial of strength, induced the assembly to accept the plea of Corcyra (Corfu) for an alliance against Sparta’s ally Corinth. This provoked the Peloponnesian War with Sparta (which lasted with intervals from 431 to 404 and eventually brought about the Athenian Empire’s downfall). Pericles’s death was caused by the great plague of 430, during which a quarter of the population died. His domestic life was dominated by his mistress, the beautiful and talented Aspasia.
Burn, A. R., Pericles and Athens. 1970.
Perkin, Sir William Henry (1838–1907). English chemist. While attempting to synthesise quinine when he was only 18, he discovered the first aniline dye, which he named ‘mauve’. The commercial application of his discovery was pursued much more intensively in Germany than in Britain, which had no sizable synthetic dye industry until after World War I. Perkin made a number of discoveries in organic chemistry, the most important of which was probably the ‘Perkin synthesis’ (1867) for the preparation of unsaturated aromatic acids. He was knighted in 1906. His son, also William Henry Perkin (1860–1929), was an organic chemist who worked on the formation of rings of carbon atoms and berberine, and made important contributions to the organisation and extension of chemical studies and facilities at Oxford.
Garfield, S., Mauve, 2000.
Perkins, Frances (1882–1965). American social worker. A pioneer consumer lobbyist and industrial safety investigator in New York, she was a friend of Franklin D. *Roosevelt who appointed her Secretary of Labor 1933–45. She was the first US woman cabinet member.
Perlman, Ithzak (1945– ). Israeli-American violinist and conductor, born in Tel Aviv. Handicapped by polio from the age of four, he studied in New York, gained early recognition as an exceptional player, toured and recorded extensively, then became an active teacher and conductor. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
Perón, Juan Domingo (1895–1974). Argentinian soldier and politician, born in Lobos. One of a group of discontented officers in the 1930s, he served as military attaché in Rome 1939–41, observing *Mussolini, then led a revolt (1943) against President Ramón Castillo and became Vice President and War Minister under Edelmiro Farrell. He won favour with labour unions by decrees that granted social welfare benefits. Briefly imprisoned in 1946 he was released following labour demonstrations largely organised by his wife Eva, and in the general election of 1946 was elected President by an overwhelming majority. For the next nine years (he was re-elected in 1951) he ruled as a dictator backed by the militant support of the industrial workers who were delighted with his policy (‘peronismo’), which was in essence to favour the workers at the expense of other classes and fiscal stability. From 1952 Perón had increasing difficulty in managing the country and was foolish enough to provoke the antagonism of the Roman Catholic Church. This, together with the chaos caused by inflation, provoked the revolt of the army and navy (1955) which led to his exile. He remained in exile for 18 years but in 1973 he returned to Argentina and assumed the presidency. At his death the country was in political chaos.
His second wife Eva Perón (née María Eva Duarte), generally known as ‘Evita’ (1919–1952), was a stage and radio actor. She threw her vast energy and ambition on the side of Perón whom she married in 1945. She skilfully wooed the support of Argentinian women, especially through the Eva Perón Social Aid Foundation for dispensing help to the poor. Her death from cancer led to extraordinary public demonstrations of grief (a mood captured in Andrew *Lloyd Webber’s 1976 musical Evita). After periods refrigerated in Buenos Aires, Milan and Madrid her body was finally interred in Buenos Aires in 1976. Perón’s third wife, Isabel Martínez de Perón (née María Estela Martínez Cartas) (1931– ), was a folk and cabaret dancer when he married her in 1961. Elected as Vice President in 1973, she succeeded as President on his death (1974) until deposed by the army (1976).
Ferns, H. S. Argentina. 1969; Rock, D. (ed.), Argentina in the Twentieth Century. 1975.
Perot, H(enry) Ross (1930–2019). American industrialist, born in Texarkana. Educated at the US Naval Academy, he served with the navy and with IBM before forming Electronic Data Systems in 1962, and was its Chief Executive until 1986. A billionaire, he attracted international interest by securing the release of EDS personnel held prisoner in Iran and for attempting to find missing US military personnel in Vietnam. In 1992 he ran as an independent candidate for president, withdrew, then re-entered, securing 19 per cent of the vote and contributing to the defeat of President George H. W. *Bush. He ran for president again in 1996 when his vote fell to 8 per cent.
Pérotin [Perotinus Magnus] (c.1160–1205). French composer. His three- and four-part music [organum] for voices, written in Paris, perhaps for Notre Dame, was of tremendous importance in the development of polyphony. He is considered to be the earliest great European composer.
Perrault, Charles (1628–1703). French civil servant and writer. The son of a lawyer, he became adviser on art to *Colbert and was elected (1671) to the Académie française. In his own time he was known in France for his part in the ‘quarrel of the ancients and the moderns’ in which he championed the moderns in a lengthy controversy with *Boileau. His greater fame comes from his Histoires du Contes du temps passe (1697), a collection of eight traditional fairy stories, among them Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood, Blue Beard, Puss in Boots and Cinderella, to which he gave a definitive shape of lasting popularity. They are sometimes called Mother Goose’s Tales after the secondary title Contes de ma mère l’Oye on the frontispiece of the original edition.
Perret, Auguste (1874–1954). French architect, born in Brussels. He worked in Paris, Grenoble and Le Havre, where his reconstruction became a World Heritage Site in 2005. *Le Corbusier was a protégé. His Rue Franklin apartments in Paris (1904) were important ferro-concrete structures with large windows.
Perry, Matthew Calbraith (1794–1858). American sailor. As commodore of a US squadron he was sent to Japan (1853) by President *Fillmore to conclude a trade agreement, he succeeded on his second attempt in January 1854. In March he signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the shogun’s adviser *Ii Naosuke, opening up two ports, Shimoda and Hakodate, to the US, ending Japan’s isolation from the West since 1642. He received a grant of $20,000 from Congress, wrote Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan (1856) and died in New York.
Perse, Saint-John (pen name of Marie René Auguste Alexis Saint-Léger Léger) (1887–1975). French poet and diplomat, born near Guadeloupe. He became Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and was consistently opposed to appeasement. He escaped from Vichy France to the US (1940) where he became an adviser on French affairs to the US administration. His best known poem, Anabase (1924), was translated into English by T. S. *Eliot (1930). Later volumes of poetry include Exil (1942), Vents (1946), Amers (1957) and Chroniques (1960). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1960) for ‘the soaring flight and evocative imagery of his poetry, which in visionary fashion reflects the condition of our times’.
Little, J. R., Saint-John Perse. 1973.
Pershing, John Joseph (1860–1948). American general, born in Missouri. He served in Cuba (1898), the Philippines (1899–1903) and invaded Mexico (1916) to capture Pancho *Villa. Known as ‘Black Jack’, he was Commander-in-Chief of the US Expeditionary Force in France 1917–19. He accomplished a remarkable feat in building up a huge army of 38 divisions, which played a critical role in stopping the last German offensive (1918). He was created General of the Armies in 1919. He became Chief of Staff of the US Army 1921–24, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his My Experiences in the World War (1931).
Persson, Göran (1949– ). Swedish Socialist politician. Active in cooperatives and education, he succeeded Ingvar *Carlsson as Prime Minister of Sweden 1996–2006.
Pertinax (Publius Helvius Pertinax Augustus) (126–193 CE). Roman Emperor 193. Son of a freed slave, he became a teacher, then a soldier, provincial governor and senator. After the murder of *Commodus, he was raised to the purple in the ‘Year of the Five Emperors’. He attempted modest reforms but after three months was murdered.
Pertini, Alessandro (1896–1990). Italian Socialist politician. A lawyer who was active in the anti-Fascist underground and imprisoned many times between 1930 and 1943, he served in parliament 1946–76, becoming chairman of the Chamber of Deputies 1968–76. As President of Italy 1978–85, he brought dignity, unpretentiousness, warmth and humour to the office and remained a consistent advocate of human rights.
Perugino, II (Pietro Vannucci) (c.1445–1523). Italian painter. After working in Florence and Rome he settled at Perugia, where some of his best work remains. His art is characterised by clearly articulated composition, and he is traditionally regarded as the teacher of *Raphael, and certainly Raphael’s early works bear striking Peruginesque qualities. Perugino executed (1481) part of the decorative program in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican (e.g. the fresco of Christ giving the keys to Peter). He is represented in the National Gallery, London, by a characteristic triptych, originally at Pavia.
Castellanata, C., Pietro Vannucci Perugino. 1969.
Perutz, Max Ferdinand (1914–2002). British biochemist, born in Vienna. He left Austria in 1936, worked at Cambridge but was interned during World War II as an enemy alien. He directed the Medical Research Council Laboratory (originally Unit) of Molecular Biology at Cambridge 1947–79 and won the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry (with J. C. *Kendrew) for their use of X-ray diffraction in working out the structure of protein molecules. Awarded the CH (1975), the Copley Medal (1979) and the OM (1988), he was also a perceptive writer on scientific issues e.g. Is Science Necessary? (1989).
Pessoa, Fernando Antonio Nogueira (1888–1935). Portuguese poet. He grew up in South Africa, returning to Portugal in 1908 and worked as a commercial correspondent. Virtually nothing was published in his lifetime (his experience paralleled *Cavafy’s in Egypt) but he is regarded as the greatest Portuguese poet since *Camõens.
Pestalozzi, Johann Heinrich (1746–1827). Swiss educational reformer. Under the influence of *Rousseau he believed that primary education for the masses (and especially for destitute children) would best achieve its aim of creating useful and virtuous people in the natural surroundings and occupations of agricultural life; he therefore started his first educational experiment in a farm at Neulof, but lack of practical ability led to its failure (1780). He then gave up for a time his educational experiments to think out a system derived from his experience. His books, especially the social novel How Gertrude Teaches her Children (1801), propound his basic theory that education should develop and train all the faculties, not merely the intellect. In 1798 he again opened an orphan school at Stanz but within eight months it was ruined by peasant bigotry. Finally (1805) he established himself at Yverdon, but, though he had many admirers and followers, the attempt to extend his methods to secondary education was one of several mistakes that caused him to die a disappointed man.
Pétain, (Henri) Philippe (Omer Benomi Joseph) (1856–1951). French marshal and politician, born in Cauchy-a-la-Tour. He joined the army in 1875, studied at St Cyr and taught at the War College. His promotion was slow because his preference for defensive tactics was unfashionable. During World War I, as Commander in Charge of the Centre Group 1916–17, he became famous for his defence of Verdun (1916). He succeeded (1917) General *Nivelle as Commander-in-Chief of the French armies in the field. He restored discipline and morale and, under Foch’s supreme command, conducted the final victorious offensives. On Armistice Day 1918 he was made a marshal. He suppressed *Abd el-Krim’s nationalist revolt in Morocco 1926–28 and was elected to the Académie française in 1929. He became Ambassador to *Franco’s Government in Spain 1939–40, until his recall in May to become Vice Premier in *Reynaud’s Government. As Premier, June 1940, he negotiated surrender with the Germans, and with the overwhelming support of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies became ‘Chief of the French State’ 1940–45. France was divided, and Pétain’s authority was confined to the southern unoccupied portion, with its capital at Vichy. Pétain, with his deeply conservative and mystical concept of patriotism, influenced by *Maurras, detested democracy and the French Revolutionary tradition, and in a senile Bonapartism replaced ‘Liberty, Fraternity, Equality’ with ‘Work, Family, Fatherland’. He collaborated with the Nazis in persecution of the Jews and provision of forced labour, but tried to hedge his bets by secret contact with the Allies. He dismissed his premier Pierre *Laval in December 1940 but was forced to take him back in April 1942 after which Pétain’s influence declined, although as late as April 1944 his official visit to Paris was cheered by more than 1,000,000 people. After the allied invasion of France and the recapture of Paris (August 1944), the Germans put Pétain into protective custody at Sigmaringen. On his return to France (1945) he was tried and condemned to death but *de Gaulle commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.
Griffith, R. M., Pétain. 1970; Lottman, H. R., Philippe Pétain. 1984; Atkin, N., Pétain. 1997; Williams, C., Pétain. 2005.
Peter, St (Petros in Greek: Shimon in Aramaic) (d.c.64 CE). Christian apostle, born in Bethsaida. The name Peter (from the Greek petra, the equivalent of the Aramaic Kephas, ‘stone’) is the Anglicised form of the name given by Jesus to the most prominent of his disciples, Simon, son of Jonah. The interpretation of the sentence ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church’ (Matthew xvi:18) has long been the subject of controversy between Roman Catholics (who use the text to assert the supremacy of Peter’s Church in Rome) and Protestants.
Peter, a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, lived with his wife at Capernaum. He and his brother *Andrew, followers of *John the Baptist, were among the first disciples of *Jesus, regarded with special affection. He was the first to hail Jesus as Messiah, but just before the Crucifixion, he denied three times that he had any connexion with Jesus. Peter (as Kephas) was, with *James and *John, one of the ‘three pillars’ of the Christian community. He had an uncomfortable relationship with James and, later, *Paul. Peter preached in Antioch and became its first bishop. In the controversy concerning the observance of Jewish practices by Gentile converts, Peter appears to have supported the compromise view eventually adopted. The first and second Epistles of St Peter seem to be by different hands: the first, early in date and simple in doctrine, is usually accepted as Peter’s work. Both Peter and Paul were in Rome and presumably shared leadership of the Christian community. Acts xxviii locates Paul in Rome but 1 Peter v:13 has only a single reference linking Peter with ‘the Church that is at Babylon’. He is said to have lodged for seven years with the family of Pudens. According to Catholic tradition, Peter became first Bishop of Rome and was martyred there during *Nero’s persecution, as was Paul, either in 64 or 67. Presumably crucified, the tradition that he was executed head down is very late. The assumption of Petrine primacy by Church in Rome had a decisive influence on the adoption of Christianity as a state religion by *Constantine. However, some historians reject the Petrine primacy, arguing that the Church had a collegiate leadership until about 200. Peter is often represented in art holding keys, as the gatekeeper of Heaven. St Peter’s is the metropolitan church of the bishopric of Rome. In 324 Constantine began to build a basilica on the presumed site of his burial. This was pulled down in the 15th century and the new St Peter’s, designed by *Bramante, was begun by *Julius II in 1506. Excavations 1939–49 uncovered a tomb believed to be Peter’s.
Culmann, O., Peter. 1962.
Peter (Pyotr) I (‘the Great’) (1672–1725). Tsar (Emperor) of Russia 1682–1725. Only son of Tsar *Aleksei by his second wife, he succeeded Fyodor II, but, after a revolt engineered by his half-sister Sophia, he shared the throne (under her regency) with his feeble minded half-brother Ivan. When the latter died (1696) Peter assumed full power. Much of his education, mainly in mechanics, navigation, and military science, he had acquired from young foreigners in Moscow whom he made his companions. Two expeditions (1695 and 1696) against the Turks, by which Russia acquired the fortress of Azov and so gained access to the Black Sea from the Don, gave him his first experience of leadership. While travelling abroad (1696–98) he spent much of his time in the shipyards of Holland and England (where he worked for a time at Deptford) working with his own hands and learning shipbuilding and navigation. He also engaged skilled men to go to Russia as instructors. With the aim of modernising Russia he started schools, arranged for textbooks to be translated, edited the first Russian newspaper, opened the first museum; he brought the Church entirely under state control by abolishing the patriarchate and substituting a Holy Synod; and, without abandoning any of his autocratic powers, he turned the administration into an efficient machine, but the poll-tax and other impositions to provide revenue were not popular. Peter’s most spectacular undertaking, designed to make the country look westwards, was to build an entirely new capital on swampy ground won from Sweden at the point where the Neva joins the Baltic Sea. Thousands of peasants, many of whom died in the unhealthy conditions, were forcibly enrolled for the task, government offices and palaces sprang up, and nobles and wealthy men were compelled to build houses in the new capital. So, through the Emperor’s initiative and genius for planning, the city of St Petersburg became one of the most beautiful cities of the world.
Peter’s foreign policy was in line with his westernising policy. In the course of a prolonged war with Sweden (1700–21), defeat after defeat was finally reversed by a great victory over *Karl XII of Sweden at Poltava (1709) which enabled him to annex parts of Finland, Estonia and Livonia and secure for Russia a commanding influence in the Baltic.
Peter’s domestic life was unhappy. Under the influence of his first wife, his son Aleksei joined the faction opposed to his policies and died mysteriously during the investigation into their intrigues. After his divorce, Peter married Catherine, his peasant mistress and ultimate successor, whom he had taken over from his friend and collaborator *Menshikov. She bore him 12 children, but Peter died without naming an heir.
Kliuchevskii, V., Peter the Great. 1965; Anderson, M. S., Peter the Great. 1978; De Jorge, A., Fire and Water. 1979; Massie, R.K., Peter the Great. 1981.
Peter (Petar) I (1844–1921). King of Serbia 1903–18 and of Yugoslavia 1918–21. As a member of the *Karageorgevic dynasty, he lived in exile until the assassination (1903) of King *Alexander of the rival Obrenovic dynasty brought him to the Serbian throne. He secured great territorial advantages for his country at the expense of Turkey and Bulgaria in the two Balkan Wars (1912–13). Meanwhile he had reversed his predecessor’s policy by aligning Serbia with Russia instead of Austria, and it was a Serb patriot who murdered the Austrian Archduke *Franz Ferdinand, sparking off World War I. Peter remained steadfast while his country was overrun and after the final victory, which united the Austro-Hungarian South Slav territories with his own, he was declared King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia). He was succeeded by his son *Alexander I. His grandson, Peter II (1923–1970), became King in 1934 and was declared of age (1941) when his uncle Paul was deposed from the regency during World War II for acquiescing to *Hitler’s demands. Peter went into exile in London (1941) but in 1945, after the allied victory, Marshal *Tito abolished the monarchy. Peter worked in New York, became an alcoholic and died in Los Angeles.
Peter (Potyr) II (1715–1730). Tsar of Russia 1727–30. As the son of Aleksei, *Peter the Great’s dead son, he would have been his grandfather’s natural successor had not *Menshikov secured the proclamation of the emperor’s widow as *Catherine I. On her death Peter II inherited peacefully, but died from smallpox within three years.
Peter (Pyotr) III (né Karl Pieter Ulrich von Holstein-Gottorp, later Pyotr Fydorovich Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov) (1728–1762). Tsar of Russia 1761–62. Born in Kiel, his father was Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, his mother Anna Petrovna, daughter of *Peter the Great. His aunt, the Tsarina *Elizabeth (Yelizaveta), nominated him as her successor. He made his single contribution to European history when he immediately withdrew Russia from the coalition which at that stage of the Seven Years’ War was threatening *Friedrich II (‘the Great’) with disaster. He was one of Friedrich’s most uncritical admirers, and one of his more harmless hobbies was drilling soldiers dressed in Prussian style. Vain, obstinate and feeble minded, Peter was soon seen to be unfit to rule. A plot was formed by the guards regiment and successfully carried out by which his wife was to be proclaimed Empress as *Catherine II. Peter abdicated and was killed a week later, allegedly in a drunken brawl.
Peter the Hermit (Pierre l’Ermite) (c.1050–c.1115). French monk. One of the many preachers in Germany and France who aroused enthusiasm for the 1st Crusade, in 1096 he led a group of fanatical peasants across Hungary into Asia Minor. By then they had become so unruly that he left them to almost inevitable slaughter at the hands of the Turks. He returned to Constantinople and joined the main body of crusaders who in 1099 captured Jerusalem. On his return he founded a monastery at Huy (now in Belgium), where he died.
Peterborough, Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of (1658?–1735). English adventurer. After naval service in the Mediterranean he was able to render such help to *William III in his bid for the throne that he received high office and rewards. Under Queen *Anne he was given joint command (1705), with Sir Clowdisley *Shovell, of an expedition sent to Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession, he captured Barcelona and made a spectacular victorious march through Catalonia, quarrelling constantly, however, with his associates or allies. Ambassadorial appointments followed, each ended by some irregular or impetuous action. His appointment (1714) as Governor of Minorca was terminated when Queen Anne died in the same year. This closed his official career though he continued to tour Europe as a self-appointed and self-accredited envoy. He was a friend of *Pope and *Swift.
Peters, Winston Raymond (1946– ). New Zealand politician. Of Scottish-Maori parentage, he worked in Australia, then became a rugby player, MP and National Minister. He founded the New Zealand First Party in 1993 and was Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer 1997–98 in coalitions under Jim *Bolger and Jenny *Shipley. He was Foreign Minister in Helen *Clark’s Labour Government 2005–08, lost his seat but was re-elected 2011– . New Zealand First supported Labour after the 2017 election and Peters became, again, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
Petipa, Marius (1822–1910). French dancer and choreographer. He performed at the Comédie Française and soon became well known throughout France and in Spain. He went to Russia (1847) where he was immediately acclaimed, and he is regarded as one of the founders of the Russian ballet. His best remembered works were produced in association with *Tchaikovsky, e.g. The Sleeping Beauty (1890) and Swan Lake (1895).
Petit, Roland (1924–2011). French dancer and choreographer. He worked as a boy with the Paris Opera ballet, and in 1948 formed his own company which appeared at the Théâtre Marigny. He created many new ballets, e.g. Le Loup, Ballabille (for the London Royal Ballet) and Cyrano de Bergerac (1959), his first full length ballet. In 1965 he created and danced in Notre Dame de Paris, suggesting the hunchback’s deformity without padding.
Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) (1304–1374). Italian poet and scholar, born at Arezzo. His father moved (1311) to Avignon, then the seat of the papacy, and Francesco later returned there after three years uncongenial study of civil law at Bologna; he then took minor orders. He first saw Laura (plausibly identified as the wife of Hugues de Sade) in church at Avignon at Eastertide in 1327. Worshipped from a distance, she remained the love of his life until and even after her death (1348) and was the inspiration of his famous love poems (Rime or Canzoniere). Petrarch did not invent the 14–line sonnet form, in which nearly 300 of them were written, but his fame inspired the many imitators (e.g. Sir Thomas *Wyatt) and so justifies the name Petrarchan sonnet. By his contemporaries, however, Petrarch was acclaimed for scholarship. He was among the first to revive interest in the language and literature of classical Rome. He took advantage of his travels to search for and discover old MSS., including an interesting batch of *Cicero’s letters. Through the patronage of the Colonna family, in Avignon and Rome he came to know the learned and great and even to correspond with rulers on political affairs. Evidence of his fame came after he had settled (1337) in retirement at Vaucluse in Provence and had started his epic Africa on the life of *Scipio Africanus. Invitations came to him simultaneously from the university of Paris and the Roman Senate to accept the tribute of a laurel crown. Back in Vaucluse he must have begun to question his own motives, for in the imaginary dialogues of De Contemptu Mundi (1343) he finds himself confronted with *St Augustine’s censure for his attachment to Laura and to fame. Laura’s death and the failure of the attempt (1347) by his friend *Cola di Rienzi to establish a republic in Rome seem to have stirred in him a deep pessimism about the state of Italy. From Rome, where he met and won the admiration of *Boccaccio, he went to Padua and then to Venice, where he advocated peace with Genoa. He returned to France (1351), but after further travels in Italy he settled at Arqua in the hills near Padua and there he was found dead with his head resting on a book. Petrarch is commonly regarded as the father of Italian humanism.
Petrie, Sir (William Matthew) Flinders (1853–1942). English archaeologist, born near Greenwich. A grandson of Matthew *Flinders, he was educated at home. He first went to Egypt in 1881, surveyed the pyramids at Giza, establishing new standards of excavation procedure. He explored the Greek city of Naukratis in the Nile delta 1884–85. In 1888 he discovered hundreds of vivid, naturalistic portraits in encaustic at Fayum and exhibited them in London. From 1890 he worked on stratification and established the principle of sequence dating from potsherds and other artefacts. He was professor of Egyptology at University College, London 1892–1933. He also excavated Abydos, Tell el Armana, the Ramesseum at Thebes and in Palestine from 1926. He retired to Jerusalem in 1933 and died there.
Marek, W. K., Gods, Graves and Scholars. 2nd ed. 1967.
Petronius (Arbiter), Gaius (d.66). Roman courtier and author, born in Massalia. As ‘Arbiter elegantiae’ at the court of *Nero, he directed the Emperor’s lavish entertainments. His only surviving works are fragments of the Saturae (wrongly known as Satyricon), a prose extravaganza interspersed with verse, parodying the sentimental Greek romances of the day, among episodes relating the obscene adventures of three rascals in Dinner with Trimalchio, a banquet in the house of a typical nouveau riche. To avoid execution by Nero, Petronius staged an elaborate suicide to the accompaniment of a witty discourse, delaying his death by continually re-bandaging the opened veins.
Sullivan, J. P., The Satyricon of Petronius. 1968.
Peugeot, Armand (1849–1915). French automobile maker. His family ran weaving, dying and steelmaking firms. After a career as a bicycle-maker, Peugeot produced a steam car in 1889, a petrol car in 1891 and the popular ‘Bébé Peugeot’ in 1911.
Pfeiffer, Michelle (1958– ). American film actor. Her films include The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), The Russia House (1990) and The Age of Innocence (1993), White Oleander (2002), Hairspray (2007), Personal Effects (2009) and Dark Shadows (2012).
Pheidippides (5th century BCE). Greek runner. He carried the news of the Persian invasion and a request for help from Athens to Sparta (490 BCE), covering the distance of 240 km in two days. Some versions of the story name him also as the runner who fell dead after conveying news of victory from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens. This exploit is commemorated in the modern Olympic Games by the Marathon race (42.2 km).
Phelps, Michael Fred (1985– ). American swimmer, born in Baltimore. He won a total of 23 Gold Olympic medals, setting a record, six in Athens (2004), eight in Beijing (2008), four in London (2012) and nine in Rio (2016).
Phidias (c.490–c.430 BCE). Athenian sculptor. He was the principal artist employed by *Pericles to carry out the beautification of Athens, which he had planned. The frieze of the Parthenon was probably carved from his designs, but none of his actual work survives. Representations of the two works for which he was most famous in the Ancient World, the ivory and gold statues of Athena Parthenos in Athens and of Zeus at Olympia can be seen on coins etc. Accusations of theft and sacrilege, made by the enemies of Pericles, caused Phidias to leave Athens (432).
Richter, G., A Handbook of Greek Art. 1969.
Philby, Kim (Harold Adrian Russell) (1912–1988). British journalist and KGB agent, born in India. Son of (Harry) St John (Bridger) Philby (1885–1960), an explorer and writer on Arab affairs, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was a journalist in Germany, Austria and Spain and joined MI6 in 1940, using membership of the foreign service as a cover, becoming First Secretary at the British Embassy in Washington 1949–51. After the defection to Moscow of *Burgess and Maclean, his friendship with Guy Burgess led to an investigation and, although nothing was proved against him, he was forced to resign, largely because of his Communist associations in the 1930s. He went to the Middle East as an Observer correspondent until he disappeared from Beirut in January 1963. He soon surfaced in Moscow as a KGB Major General and confirmed that he had been ‘the third man’ in the Burgess and Maclean case.
Seale, P., and McConville, M., Philby, the Long Road to Moscow. 1972; Macintyre, B., A Spy Among Friends. 2014.
Philidor, François André Danican (1726–1795). French musician and chess-player. He composed many operas, and through his Analyse du jeu des échecs (1749) he became one of the most famous names in the early history of chess. His ‘Philidor’s Defence’ is an example of his tactical mastery of the game.
Philip the Good see Philippe le Bon
Philip, St (Philippos in Greek: ‘lover of horses’) (d.c.80 CE). Christian apostle, born in Bethsaida. He may have been a follower of *John the Baptist. He traditionally preached in Phrygia, Scythia and (possibly) Ethiopia, and is said to have died in Hierapolis, now in Turkey.
Philip I, II, III, IV, V and VI. Spanish Kings see Felipe I, II, III, IV, V and VI
Philip II and IV. French kings see Philippe II and IV
Philip II (Philippos) (382–336 BCE). King of Macedon 359–336 BCE. Father of *Alexander the Great, born in Pella, youngest son of Amyntas III and Eurydice, he was chosen to succeed his infant nephew Amyntas IV, for whom he was briefly regent. When he began to rule, his kingdom was poor and backward, but when he died he had made it by war and diplomacy the dominant power in Greece and had created an army with which his son achieved his great victories. An early success (356) which made the others possible was his occupation of Grenides (Philippi) to gain control of the vital gold and silver deposits. Another stage was his occupation of Thessaly. To Thebes he readily gave help against Phocis, thus bringing both states into his power-orbit. Roused by the warnings of *Demosthenes (in the famous Philippics), Athens at last saw her danger, but it was too late and after Philip’s great victory at Chaeronea (338) all Greece except Sparta lay at his mercy. He now showed his statesmanship by creating the League of Corinth, a confederacy in which every state but Sparta had votes to accord with its military strength, Philip himself being its supreme head. Now all was ready for the trial of strength with Persia, which Philip had long planned, but as the first Macedonian troops moved into Asia Minor he was assassinated by Pausanias. His tomb and remains were found in 1977 at Vergína.
Momigliano, A., Philip of Macedon (ed. M. Hatzopoulos and L. Loukopoulos). 1981; Parker, G., Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II. 2014.
Philip, Prince see Edinburgh, Duke of
Philip Neri, St see Neri, St Philip
Philipp (Philip) I (‘the Magnanimous’) (1504–1567). German ruler, Landgrave of Hesse 1509–67. He succeeded his father Wilhelm II as a child and exercised full power from 1518. He became one of the most prominent supporters of the Protestant cause: he initiated the Reformation in Hesse (1526) and founded (1527) the first Protestant university at Marburg, where in 1529 he tried to reconcile *Luther and *Zwingli. A far-sighted plan to reform the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire and at the same time overcome the dominance of the Habsburg emperors was frustrated when the League of Schmalkalden, formed for that purpose, was defeated (1547). Philip’s bigamy, agreed to by his first wife and (reluctantly) by Luther, was a lively scandal of the time.
Philippa of Hainaut (1314?–l369). English queen consort 1327–69. Daughter of William, Count of Hainaut and Holland, she married her second cousin *Edward III (1328) and bore seven sons and five daughters. It was her pleas that resulted in the sparing of six prominent burghers of Calais, whose lives Edward, incensed by his year-long siege, had demanded as his price for not sacking the city. She appointed the chronicler *Froissart as her secretary and is buried at Windsor.
Philippe II Auguste (1165–1223). King of France 1180–1223. Son of Louis VII, King of the Franks, of the House of Capet, he was more successful than any other French medieval king in asserting his suzerainty over the feudal nobles, winning his greatest triumph over the most powerful of all his feudatories, the English King. He quickly returned from the 3rd Crusade and was able to take advantage of the captivity of *Richard I to despoil him of his possessions. Interrupted briefly by Richard’s return, he was soon able to exploit *John’s difficulties and eventually gained Normandy, Anjou and parts of Poitou. At Bouvines, between Lille and Tournai, Philippe Auguste gained his greatest victory (1214) over a coalition of the court of Flanders, the emperor Otto IV and King John. By his success he established the strength and prestige of the French monarchy for a century and more. He was the first ruler to be styled ‘King of France’.
Painter, S., and Tierney, B., Western Europe in the Middle Ages: 1300–1475. 1970.
Philippe IV (‘le Bel’; ‘the Fair’) (1268–1314). King of France 1285–1314. A strong ruler, he was determined to extend the royal power. This led him into quarrels with *Edward I of England, the Flemish burghers, his own nobles and above all with Pope *Boniface VIII, this last settled only by the pope’s death, when Philip secured the election of a Frenchman, Clement V, and the removal of the papacy from Rome to Avignon. He further asserted his strength by forcing the pope to disband the Order of the Templars. The monarchy’s power was also increased by developing centralised institutions, e.g. the Parlement of Paris.
Philippe le Bon (Philip the Good; in Dutch, Filips de Goede) (1396–1467). Duke of Burgundy 1419–67. A member of the *Valois dynasty, he was the son of Jean sans Puer (John the Fearless/Jan vonder Vrees) (1371–1419). To avenge his father’s murder by adherents of the Dauphin (later *Charles VII), he negotiated the Treaty of Troyes (1420) with the English king *Henry V. This treaty disinherited the Dauphin in favour of any child that Henry might have by Princess Catherine of France. Philippe therefore supported the cause of *Henry VI in the wars in which *Joan of Arc played a notable part, but he was reconciled with Charles in 1435. He employed Jan van *Eyck from 1425. Most of his energies were devoted to the extension of his inheritance in the Netherlands, almost all of which he brought under his control, suppressing a rebellion (1454) with great bloodshed. He founded (1430) the Order of the Golden Fleece and made his court one of the most magnificent of medieval Europe. He died in Bruges.
Vaughan, R., Philip the Good. 1970.
Philips, Anton Frederik (1874–1951). Dutch industrialist. Son of a banker, with his elder brother Gerard he founded a factory at Eindhoven in 1892 for the manufacture of electric light bulbs. The company became the largest European manufacturer of radios and television, with subsidiaries throughout the world. The Philips brothers were young cousins of *Marx.
Phillip, Arthur (1738–1814). English sailor and administrator, born in London. Son of a German language teacher (possibly Jewish) from Frankfurt, he trained as a merchant seaman, joined the Royal Navy during the Seven Years War, but saw little active service. He was a skilled surveyor and modest property developer. Seconded to the Portuguese navy 1774–78, he served in Brazil. The reasons for his appointment as first governor of the penal settlement in New South Wales are unclear, but he showed firmness and courage in his period in office 1788–92. In January 1788 he chose the site on Port Jackson where Sydney was to be built, clearly foresaw the colony’s future greatness, and was committed to Enlightenment principles. In February 1788 he established a penal settlement on Norfolk Island. He faced tremendous difficulties, the risk of famine, insubordinate officers and corrupt contractors. Sympathetic to Aborigines, he lacked enthusiasm for the death penalty. After a long period of illness, he returned to active naval service in the French wars, retired to Bath in 1805 and was promoted to Admiral of the Blue. Geoffrey Robertson, QC, asserts (2007) that his remains have been lost.
Frost, A., Arthur Phillip. His Voyaging. 1987; Parker, D., Arthur Phillip. Australia’s First Governor. 2012.
Phillipps, Sir Thomas, 1st Baronet (1792–1872). English bibliomaniac, born in Manchester. He inherited a substantial fortune (textile manufacturing and land) but devoted himself to amassing what was probably the greatest single collection of 40,000 books and 60,000 manuscripts, driving his family to distraction in the process.
Philo of Alexandria (Philo Judaeus, originally Yedidia HaCohen) (c.20 BCE–c.45 CE). Jewish philosopher, born in Alexandria. He made a wide study of Greek philosophy and literature, but remained a Jew and accepted the Old Testament without reservations. He conceived his task as the integration of Greek philosophy, based on reason, with Jewish religion, based on revelation and faith. The lógos (λόγος), word, message, thought or narrative, especially originating from God, he regarded as supreme, but recognised that it can reach mankind through the lips of Greek philosophers such as *Plato. This thought was taken up by the neoplatonists, both Christian and pagan, and is at the root of nearly all medieval philosophy.
Sandmel, S., Philo’s Place in Judaism. 1956.
‘Phiz’ see Browne, Hablot K.
Phryne (4th century BCE). Greek courtesan. Traditionally, she was the model for a picture by Apelles of Aphrodite (Venus) rising from the waves and for the Aphrodite of Cnidos, a famous statue by *Praxiteles. Accused of profaning the Eleusinian mysteries, she was acquitted after her robe was cast aside to reveal her naked beauty to the judges.
Phyfe, Duncan (originally Fife) (1768–1854). American furniture designer, born in Scotland. He became a cabinet maker in New York, employing more than 100 craft workers, and designed in the Neoclassical and Empire style.
Piaf, Edith (Edith Giovanna Gassion) (1915–1963). French singer. ‘The Little Sparrow’s’ career began with street singing at 15. She achieved success as a cabaret and concert performer, touring the US, and appearing in films.
Lauge, M., Piaf. 1982.
Piaget, Jean (1896–1980). Swiss psychologist. Educated in Neuchâtel, Zürich and Paris, he was professor of child psychology at Geneva 1929–71 and wrote over 50 books, many on the intellectual developmental stages in children, such as concept formation, classification and ordering. He argued that classroom teaching is inappropriate when it attempts to impose adult reasoning on children who are not yet genetically programmed to receive it. He was a member of UNESCO’s Executive Board 1950–54.
Piano, Renzo (1937– ). Italian architect, born in Genoa. Educated in Milan, he was joint winner with Richard *Rogers of the competition to design the Pompidou Centre Paris (1971). Other works include the Menil Art Gallery, Houston; Bercy commercial centre, Paris; Zentrum Paul Klee, Berne; and Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome.
Piazzolla, Ástor Pantaleon (1921–1992). Argentinian composer. Son of Italian migrants, his father became a hairdresser in New York. He mastered the bandaneon, studied in Paris with Nadia *Boulanger and created ‘tango neuvre’, a fusion of tango, jazz and the classics. He composed 46 film scores and a total of about 3000 works, 500 of them recorded.
Picasso, Pablo Ruiz (1881–1973). Spanish painter and sculptor, born in Málaga. Son of a Castilian artist and teacher, José Ruiz Blanco, and an Andalusian mother Maria Picasso y Lopez, his family moved to Corunna in northwest Spain in 1891. Pablo studied with his father and in 1895 painted his first important oils, in the style of the old masters. In Barcelona he attended the School of Fine Arts (1895–97), then the San Fernando Academy in Madrid (1897–99). He held his first one-man exhibition in Barcelona (Feb. 1900), showed paintings in Paris (June 1901) and the powerful large blue Self-Portrait dates from the end of that year. He moved to and from Spain, settling in Paris in 1904 and remained there for 44 years, apart from a short period in Holland (1905). The works of *Cézanne and *Toulouse-Lautrec were among the strongest influences on him. In his ‘Blue Period’ (1901–05), the colour provided symbolic background for anguished pictures of the poor and lonely. The poet *Apollinaire published the first book on Picasso in 1905. The Lady with a Fan (1905) was a transitional work. His ‘Rose Period’ (1905–07) was notable for many paintings of circus life, e.g. Family of Saltimbanques (1905) but included the striking Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906) and young nudes, strangely vulnerable against their rose and terracotta backgrounds. An abrupt change of style (1907) derived from a study of African, Iberian and Pacific Island art in museums, demonstrates the forcefulness that a work of art can gain from simplification and distortion. ‘Cubism’, developed by Picasso and Georges *Braque, began in 1907 with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Picasso continued his experiments until about 1925. The impact of photography and film meant that painters could abandon static representation, interpreting ‘reality’ in a new way, seeing objects from every geometric position, as with sculpture. His shapes, now in subdued greys and browns, were not entirely abstract, retaining some relationship to actual objects. Picasso’s art usually reflected his private life and his extraordinary sexual energy. He lived with Fernande Olivier 1905–12 and with Marcelle (‘Eva’) Humbert (d.1915) from 1911. The impact of World War I revived his interest in colour and decoration. He designed Parade (1917), The Three Cornered Hat (1919) and Pulcinella (1920) for *Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. In 1918 he married the Russian dancer Olga Koklova (d.1955). A son Paulo was born in 1921 and his Classical period (1920–25), influenced by *Ingres, reflects a rare serenity e.g. Mother and Child and Woman Bathers. Then the women in his paintings become huge and shapeless until Marie-Thérèse Walter entered his life in 1927, followed by Dora Maar in 1936. Both inspired some of his most passionate paintings. He turned to sculpture and his Woman with a Vase (1933), a masterpiece, is on his grave. Political turmoil in the 1930s drew Picasso towards Surrealism. He was a strong (but absentee) supporter of the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War and was made Honorary Director of the Prado Museum, Madrid 1936–39. His enormous tormented work Guernica (1937), denouncing German bombing of a Basque town, has the power of *Goya. He lived in Paris undisturbed during the German occupation, joining the Communist Party after liberation in 1944, although the CP considered his work decadent, contrary to *Stalin’s doctrine of ‘socialist realism’. He lived 1943–53 with the painter Françoise Gilot (1921– ), and had two children by her. He moved to the south of France in 1947, first to Vallauris, then to Cannes, Vauvenargues and to Mougins (where he died). He spent much of his creative energy from the 1950s on lithographs, ceramics and sculptures, especially of animals (bulls and bullfights), birds (notably the ‘Dove of Peace’) and flowers. He wrote the Symbolist play Desire Caught by the Tail (1952) and some poetry. In August–December 1957 he painted 44 studies of *Velázquez’s Maids of Honour (Las Meninas) and completed a huge (unsuccessful) mural The Fall of Icarus for UNESCO. He lived with Jacqueline Roque (1927–1986) from 1954, marrying her in 1961: in 1962 he produced 70 Jacquelines—paintings; drawings; engravings and ceramic tiles. He was buried at his home at the Chateau de Vauvenargues, near Aix. Picasso claimed to be the most important artist since Michelangelo—and for sheer originality, range and influence, few have exceeded him. *Titian, *Rembrandt, *Velázquez, *Goya and El *Greco climbed higher peaks, but they worked within an established tradition: Picasso created several new traditions. With an unequalled production of about 20,000 works, Picasso was certainly the greatest artist of the 20th century. He asserted that painting ‘isn’t an aesthetic operation. It’s a form of magic designed as a mediator between this strange, hostile world and us, a way of seizing power by giving form to our terrors as well as our desires’. In 1971 the Louvre held a retrospective Picasso exhibition—the first for a living artist. Picasso made the world look at reality in a new way but he remains intensely controversial. He was also a great collector. Picasso Museums were established in Antibes (1947), Barcelona (1963) and Paris (1985). The literature on him is enormous.
His daughter, Paloma Picasso (1949– ), a couturier, designed jewellery for Yves *Saint Laurent, ceramics and pottery for Villeroy and Boch, and produced perfume under her own name.
Penrose, R., Picasso. 1971; Palau i Fabre, J. Picasso, the Early Years 1881–1907. 1980; Richardson, J. A Life of Picasso. Vol. 1. The Prodigy: 1881–1906. 1991, Vol. 2. The Painter of Modern Life: 1907–1916. 1996, Vol. 3. The Triumphant Years: 1917–32. 2007.
Piccard, Auguste (1884–1962). Swiss physicist. Best known as a pioneer explorer of the stratosphere and the deep oceans, he was professor of physics at the Free University of Brussels (1922–54) and a close associate of *Einstein. With his twin brother Jean-Felix (1884–1963), a pioneer in studying cosmic radiation, he took up ballooning and finally (1932), in an airtight gondola designed by himself, reached a height of 17,766 m (54,150 ft). After World War II he turned to investigating the ocean depths and designed a special steel diving capsule or ‘bathyscaphe’. With his son Jacques Piccard (1922–2008) he descended to a record depth of 3391 m (10,335 ft) off the island of Capri (1953) and Jacques, with a US naval officer, reached a depth of 14,401 m (37,800 ft) off the Pacific island of Guam (1960), Jean’s son Bertrand Piccard (1958– ), a psychiatrist, completed, with Brian Jones, the first balloon circumnavigation in the Breitling Orbiter III (March 1999).
Pichegru, Charles (1761–1804). French soldier. He gained rapid promotion in the revolutionary armies. In 1793 as Commander-in-Chief of the Rhine army he thrust back the Austrians and overran the Palatinate. In the following year he was given the command in Flanders and in January 1795 entered Amsterdam. After this triumph he returned to the Rhine, but was soon in active correspondence with the Bourbons. Arrested in Paris (1797), he was sentenced to banishment in Cayenne but managed to escape. He returned to France (1804) with another conspirator against the life of *Napoléon but was arrested and shortly after found strangled in prison.
Pickford, Mary (Gladys Smith) (1893–1979). American film star, born in Canada. Having first appeared on the stage at the age of five, she started to act in films in 1909 and through her childlike sentimental parts soon became known as ‘the world’s sweetheart’. With her second husband, Douglas *Fairbanks, she was one of the founders (1919) of the cinema company United Artists. Among the most popular of her films were Poor Little Rich Girl (1916) and Daddy Long Legs (1919). She has been described as the founder of the Hollywood ‘star system’.
Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni (1463–1494). Italian philosopher. Having settled in Florence (1484), he applied his immense industry and powers of memory to the search for Christian truths in the works of *Pythagoras, *Moses and *Zoroaster. Subsequently he offered to defend 900 theses at public disputations, but 13 of the theses were condemned (1487) by Pope Innocent VIII, and Pico went into exile in France, where he was briefly imprisoned. His book De Hominis Dignitate, with its stress on the spiritual freedom of humanity, provided a philosophic justification for the proudly individualistic outlook of Renaissance man. His writings influenced Sir Thomas *More (who translated some) and John *Colet.
Kristeller, P. O., The Renaissance Concept of Man. 1973.
Pierce, Franklin (1804–1869). 14th President of the US 1853–57. Born in New Hampshire, where his father became governor, he became prominent in state politics and later served as a US Congressman 1833–37 and senator 1837–42. He fought with distinction in the Mexican War 1846–48, and in 1852 was chosen as Democratic candidate for President, being elected as a compromise on the 49th ballot, after Lewis *Cass and James *Buchanan withdrew in his favour. In November he defeated Winfield *Scott. Pierce was the only president to take an affirmation of office. With the Gadsden Purchase he secured from Mexico some 76,800 square kilometres of valuable territory (now in Arizona or New Mexico), but the unpopularity of his Kansas-Nebraska Act, which left the question of slavery there to the decision of the inhabitants and so provoked a competing rush of partisan immigrants, led to his defeat for renomination by Buchanan at the 1856 Democratic Convention in Cincinnati. In 20 Presidential rankings by US historians and political scientists, Pierce scored No. 36 in the aggregate.
Piero della Francesca (Piero di Benedetto de’Franceschi) (c.1416–1492). Italian Renaissance painter of the Umbrian school, born at Sansepolcro, between Arezzo and Urbino. He studied in Florence under Domenico Veneziano, whose methods of revealing form by sight he learned and improved upon. During his career his patrons included Sigismondo *Malatesta of Rimini, Federigo da *Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino and Pope *Pius II. He studied mathematics and wrote treatises on geometry and perspective which he hoped would influence later artists. His composition followed a geometric pattern. Most of his works are frescoes based on religious themes, e.g. his most ambitious work, The Story of the True Cross in Arezzo (1452–66). Like *Caravaggio and *Vermeer, Piero was a forgotten artist until Edouard *Manet and Henry *Layard revived interest in his work, and only in the 20th century was he recognised as one of the supreme artists of his time. Among his outstanding paintings are The Baptism of Christ (1450, National Gallery, London); The Flagellation of Christ (1460, Urbino); The Resurrection (c.1465, Sansepolcro), which Aldous *Huxley hailed as ‘the best picture in the world’, and magnificent portraits of Montefeltro and his wife Battista (Uffizi, Florence).
Clark, K.M., Piero della Francesca. 1951; Pope-Hennessy, J., The Piero della Francesca Trail. 1991.
Pierre de Montreuil (d.1267). French architect. He worked for *Louis IX and built the chapel at the palace at St Germain-en-Laye (1235–38). His masterpiece was Sainte Chapelle in Paris, designed in the Rayonnant style and consecrated in 1248.
Pigott, Richard (1828?–1889). Irish journalist. He forged documents purporting to implicate *Parnell in the murders (1882) of Lord Frederick Cavendish and T. H. Burke (the Irish chief secretary and his Undersecretary) in Phoenix Park, Dublin. The publication of these documents in The Times (April 1887) caused a political sensation which was not abated until a commission of inquiry (1888–89) proved them to be forged. Pigott, having confessed, escaped to Madrid where he shot himself.
Piketty, Thomas (1971– ). French economist, born in Paris. He studied in Paris and London and directed the Paris School of Economics in 2006– . His research concentrated on wealth distribution. His book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013) became a bestseller and stimulated debate. Capital and Ideology (2020) was also controversial.
Pilate, Pontius (d.c.55 CE). Roman official. Procurator of Judaea and Samaria 26–36, he is remembered for his question ‘What is truth?’ put to *Jesus at his trial and for sentencing him to be crucified. He was ignorant of Jewish character and beliefs and was recalled to Rome to face charges of venality and brutality. Among many legends is one that he became a Christian; his wife Claudia Procula, said to have been converted, even became a saint in the Orthodox Church. His later career is unknown but *Eusebius wrote that he committed suicide. Mt Pilatus, near Lucerne, has been traditionally identified as where he fell to his death.
Piłsudski, Józef Klemens (1867–1935). Polish soldier and politician, born in Zułów, then part of Russia, now in Lithuania. Educated in Vilnius, he began studying medicine in Kharkov. He spent the first part of his life in two overlapping causes, revolutionary socialism and freeing what was then Russian Poland from tsarist rule. Sent to Siberia (1887–92), on release he founded the Polish Socialist party. Arrested again (1900), after pretending to be insane he escaped abroad. He soon returned and from 1907 began to create units of Polish riflemen on Austrian territory. With these he fought for Austria against Russia in World War I but, finding himself exploited for German aims, disbanded his forces and was imprisoned (1917) at Magdeburg. On the Allied victory, he became Chief of State (November 1918) of the newly proclaimed Poland and played a prominent part in the battles, political as well as military, by which Poland’s frontiers were determined. He was appointed ‘First Marshal of Poland’ in March 1920 but refused the presidency in 1922 and 1926. He lived in retirement until, in May 1926, he organised a coup d’état after which he exercised almost dictatorial powers until his death, in a variety of roles: Prime Minister 1926–28, 1930, Inspector General of the Armed Forces 1926–35 and Minister of Military Affairs 1926–35. He became increasingly critical of democracy but opposed totalitarianism and rejected anti-Semitism.
Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth (1746–1825). American soldier and politician, born in Charleston, South Carolina. Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, he practised as a lawyer in his home town and was a slave owner. Active in the first Continental Congress, which precipitated the War of Independence, he became ADC to *Washington and rose to be a brigadier general. At the Constitutional Convention (1787), he introduced the clause forbidding religious tests. He served as US Minister to France 1796–97. He was an unsuccessful Federalist candidate for the presidency, losing to *Jefferson in 1804 and *Madison in 1808.
Pincus, Gregory Goodwin (1903–1967). American biologist. He directed the Worcester (Mass.) Foundation for Experimental Biology 1944–67 and led research that produced the oral contraceptive pill.
Pindar (c.522–c.440 BCE). Greek lyric poet, born near Thebes. He wrote numerous ceremonial odes, hymns, convivial songs etc. for rulers and cities throughout Greece. From 476 to 474 he was at the court of Hieron, King of Syracuse and other rulers in Sicily. Of the 17 book rolls of his poetry only four survive almost entire, i.e. those celebrating victories in the Olympic, Nemean, Pythian and Isthmian games. Into these he introduced myths and other apparent irrelevancies which give colour and variety to what might seem a monotonous theme, though to the Greeks themselves the games were religious festivals and victory symbolised divine favour as well as conferring prestige on the athletes and their cities. The poems are choral odes to be accompanied by dancing, but owing to their early date and linguistic problems they are hard to translate and their merits difficult to assess. The Greeks, however, counted Pindar among their greatest poets. *Dryden’s Alexander’s Feast is an imitation of a Pindaric ode.
Bowra, C. M., Pindar. 1964.
Pinel, Philippe (1745–1826). French physician, born in Languedoc. He qualified at Toulouse and went to Paris (1778), in 1787 he began to write about insanity, of which he had made a firsthand study. Both at the Bicêtre, of which he became head in 1793, and later at the Salpêtrière he introduced more humane treatment of the insane (e.g. removal of chains by which they were restrained) and as far as possible substituted empirical and psychological treatment for the then customary drugs, bleeding etc. He paved the way for future improvements by establishing the custom of keeping case histories and records for research.
Pinkerton, Allan (1819–1884). American detective, born in Scotland. He emigrated to the US (1842) and founded in Chicago the private detective agency which became the best known in the world. During the American Civil War he did secret service work and in 186l frustrated a plot against *Lincoln’s life. The agency was continued and enlarged by his sons.
Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto (1915–2006). Chilean general. As army Commander-in-Chief, he led the coup that deposed President Salvador *Allende (September 1973), headed a provisional government 1973–74, and was President of Chile 1974–90. He remained Commander-in-Chief until 1998, then became a senator for life. In 1998 he was arrested in London, after surgery, when Spain demanded his extradition. He returned to Chile in March 2000 after the *Blair Government made a controversial decision to release him on the grounds of his age and incapacity. The Chilean courts then removed his immunity from prosecution. His supporters insisted that he had saved the Chilean economy; his opponents charged that he was brutal and corrupt.
Pinter, Harold (1930–2008). English playwright and producer, born in London. He left school at 16, and was an actor in repertory before turning to writing. He attracted attention with The Dumb Waiter (1957) and The Caretaker (1960), plays written in ostensibly colloquial, ‘ordinary’ speech, and concerned with problems of communication between individuals. His screen plays include The Servant (1962), The Go-Between (1969), The Last Tycoon (1974) and Betrayal (1983). He was Associate Director of the National Theatre 1973– 83. He married Lady Antonia Fraser (née *Pakenham) in 1980, received a CH in 2002 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.
Piper, John Egerton Christmas (1903–1992). English painter. His vivid and effective use of bold, vigorous draughtsmanship and dramatic colour contrasts was seen at its best in architectural themes (e.g. the pictures of bombed buildings for which he became known in World War II). He designed stage sets, engraved glass and tapestries, e.g. in Coventry cathedral. Piper also wrote poetry and architectural and topographical guides. He was awarded a CH in 1972.
Woods, J., John Piper. 1955.
Pirandello, Luigi (1867–1936). Italian writer, born in Sicily. His novels include Si Gira (1916) which introduces the reader to film stars and photographers. During World War I he began to write plays of a slightly surrealistic nature: among the best known of about 40 are Six Characters in Search of an Author (192l), in which a rehearsal stage is invaded by a group of characters seeking to take part in a play, and Henry IV (1922), where the theme of madness is treated in an original way. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1934).
Starkie, W., Luigi Pirandello, 1867–1936. 4th ed. 1967.
Piranesi, Giambattista (1720–1778). Italian draftsman and etcher. His powerful series Carceri d’invenzione (‘Imaginary Prisons’, 1745) were precursors of Romantic art and his Roman scenes were conceived on the grand scale.
Pires, Maria João (Alexandre Barbosa) (1944– ). Portuguese pianist, born in Lisbon. Long esteemed in Portugal and Brazil, where she taught, she won late recognition internationally for her superb performances of *Mozart and *Beethoven.
Pisano, Andrea (c.1290–1348). Italian architect, sculptor and goldsmith, born near Pisa. Apparently unrelated to Nicola and Giovanni *Pisano, he produced two doors for the Baptistry at Florence (*Ghiberti) and worked on the cathedral’s campanile with *Giotto.
Pisano, Nicola (c.1225–c.1278). Italian sculptor. Founder of the Pisan school, he had made a study of classical sculpture, and though he applied the knowledge that he had gained to essentially Gothic structures he has a claim to be regarded as the first Renaissance sculptor. For example, on the pulpit of the baptistery at Pisa, for the characteristically Gothic line of figures against a flat background he substitutes groups, each member of which is expressively natural in pose, dress and expression and so carved as to give an impression of depth. Among the best known of his other works are the pulpit at Siena Cathedral and the fountain in the market place, Perugia. In much of his work Nicola was helped by his son Giovanni Pisano (c.1250–1330) who won an independent reputation both as architect and as sculptor and was praised by *Michelangelo.
Pope-Hennessy, J., Italian Gothic Sculpture. 1955.
Pissarro, Camille (1830–1903). French painter, born in the West Indies. His early pictures show the influence of *Corot, but after meeting *Manet (1866) he worked closely with the Impressionist group, of which he was the oldest member. For a time (1884–88) he adopted *Seurat’s pointillist techniques. In the last years of his life he painted figure studies of peasants etc. and pictures of warmly sunlit Paris streets.
Rewald, J., Camille Pissarro. 1963.
Pitman, Sir Isaac (1813–1879). English inventor. His shorthand system based on phonetic principles gained worldwide popularity. He also devised a simplified spelling of English but he won little support for this.
Pitt, William (‘the Elder’), 1st Earl of Chatham (1708–1778). English Whig politician, born in Westminster. Grandson of ‘Diamond Pitt’ who had made a fortune in India, he inherited little, was educated at Eton and, briefly, at Oxford and Utrecht. After service in the King’s Own Horse Regiment 1731–36, he became a Whig MP 1735–66 (originally in the rotten borough of Old Sarum), earning the enmity of *George II by serving as Groom of the Bedchamber 1737–45 to *Frederick, Prince of Wales. As Paymaster General of the Forces 1746–55, he created a precedent by refusing bribes. He married (1754), Hester Grenville, sister of Earl Temple and George *Grenville, and had a strong network of family connections. He was Secretary of State for the South (in effect, Minister for War) December 1756–April 1757 under the nominal leadership of the Duke of *Devonshire and July 1757–October 1761 under the Duke of *Newcastle. He was an expansionist, or Big Englander, who thought that Britain should be actively involved in European affairs, in sharp contrast to *Walpole’s isolationist policy. He proved an outstanding leader during the Seven Years’ War and was the virtual founder of the British Empire, the colonial system and ensuring primacy in sea power. Under his direction, *Clive established British supremacy in India, *Amherst and *Wolfe defeated the French in Canada and *Rodney dominated the West Indies. Claiming to have ‘conquered America on the plains of Germany’, Pitt retired in 1761 on the grounds of health (he suffered acutely from gout and manic depression, which he called ‘attacks of gout in the head’), securing a peerage and a £3,000 pension for his wife. He opposed the Treaty of Paris (1763) as too favourable to France. In 1765 he attacked *Grenville’s Government over the Stamp Act, a measure that imposed taxation without representation on the American colonies. He returned to office under the Duke of *Grafton as Lord Privy Seal July 1766–October 1768, but de facto Prime Minister, until acute depression forced his withdrawal early in 1767. Known as ‘the Great Commoner’, he had made the grave mistake of going to the House of Lords (1766) as Earl of Chatham, at which, as *Chesterfield observed, ‘his enemies rejoiced and his friends were stupefied’, since his power base was in the Commons and the City of London. In 1768 he resigned when Charles *Townshend imposed new taxes on the Americans. When the American War of Independence began, Chatham was in an untenable position: opposed both to British military intervention and to withdrawal. He collapsed after his last speech in the Lords, denouncing government weakness in America, died at Hayes five weeks later and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Aloof, aggressive, passionate, wayward and anti-social, Pitt had allies but no friends and was not an effective party leader or manager. His oratory was powerful and his mood-swings alarming.
Plumb, J. H., Chatham. 1965; Brown, P. D., William Pitt, Earl of Chatham: The Great Commoner. 1978; Black, J., Pitt the Elder. 1992.
Pitt, William (‘the Younger’) (1759–1806). English Tory politician, born in Hayes. Second son of *Pitt the Elder, ill health prevented him from attending school, and although a precocious classical scholar, isolation from contemporaries increased his reserve and aloofness. He went to Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1773, read at Lincoln’s Inn, London 1778 and was a Member of Parliament 1781–1806. He attached himself to Lord *Shelburne, an oppositionist who had supported the elder Pitt. After Lord *North fell in March 1782, there were three ministries in the following 21 months: *Rockingham, who soon died, Shelburne, who appointed Pitt as Chancellor of the Exchequer (July 1782–Apr. 1783), and *Portland (essentially a *Fox-North coalition). *George III appointed Pitt as First Lord of the Treasury, in effect Prime Minister, although the title was not then used, and he served in that office and also as Chancellor of the Exchequer December 1783–March 1801, May 1804–January 1806. He disregarded defeats in the Commons and held on until winning a majority in the general election of 1784. Notably efficient in public finance, he was a reformer in his first years, bringing India into shared control between the East India Company and the government (1784), admitting Roman Catholics to the bar and the army and attempting to achieve parliamentary reform. After the French Revolution and especially after the reign of terror, Pitt became more conservative, reflecting fear of change in society. He was a strong administrator, an effective manager in the House of Commons and a persuasive orator. He emphasised national security and sometimes acted ruthlessly to crush political dissent. He abandoned the cause of parliamentary reform and failed to moderate harsh penal and game laws. In 1800 he secured the passage of the Act that incorporated Ireland in the United Kingdom and dissolved its parliament. Pitt was prepared to legislate for Catholic emancipation to enable Irish MPs to represent Catholic voters in Westminster, but the king objected so strongly that he felt obliged to resign. *Addington proved to be embarrassingly inept as a successor. In 1803 war was resumed and a year later Pitt returned, organising the Third Coalition against *Napoléon. He died 20 months later at the age of 46, his health worsened by his heavy drinking. In his last speech, at the Guildhall, he said: ‘England is not to be saved by a single man: England has saved herself by her exertions and will, I trust, save Europe by her example.’ Pitt had an extraordinarily narrow range of experience. He never married, had few friends, never travelled far from London apart from a few weeks in France (and knew nothing of Scotland and Ireland), read little and was ignorant of art and science. He left debts of £40,000 (£3.1 million in 2016 values), which were paid off by the Parliament.
Ehrmann, J., The Younger Pitt. 3 vols, 1969, 1983, 1996.
Pitt-Rivers, Augustus Henry Lane-Fox (1827–1900). British archaeologist and army officer. He began his career in the army in 1845 and rose to Lieutenant General. In 1880 he succeeded to the Dorset estate of his cousin, Lord Rivers, adopting his surname Pitt-Rivers, and pioneered there scientific, properly recorded archaeological digs. His work in Dorset is preserved in the Pitt-Rivers museum at Farnham. His personal ethnological and archaeological collection formed the Pitt-Rivers Museum at Oxford University. He was also the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments 1882–1900 and elected FRS. He wrote Excavations in Cranborne Chase (1887–98).
Pius II (Enea Silvio de Piccolomini) (1405–1464). Pope 1458–64. Born near Siena, of noble parentage, he was poet laureate at the court of *Friedrich III, worked as a diplomat, wrote histories, a play and a novel and generously patronised artists and writers. He became Bishop of Siena 1450–58. As Pope, he strove for European unity against the Turks and died at Ancona, trying to organise a crusade.
Pius VI (Giovanni Angelo Braschi) (1717–1799). Pope 1775–99. Born in Emilia, of aristocratic family, he had no pastoral experience, worked in the Papal Curia, became secretary to *Benedict XIV and was created cardinal in 1773. Elected after a four month conclave, his long pontificate was a disaster. Vain, extravagant and inclined to nepotism, he completed St Peter’s Basilica and patronised the arts. In 1782 he visited Vienna in a futile attempt to persuade *Joseph II to moderate his anti-clerical policies. He condemned the French Revolution for legislating State control of the clergy and Church property. In 1798 Napoléon’s troops occupied Rome, and Pius died in Valence (France) as a prisoner.
Pius VII (Luigi Barnaba Chiaramonti) (1742–1823). Pope 1800–23. A Benedictine, he became a professor of theology and Bishop of Imola 1785–1800. In 1797 he expressed some sympathy for political change. He had the extraordinarily difficult task of facing the consequences of the French Revolution and *Napoléon’s rise to power without offending Austria, the papacy’s firmest ally. His first great achievement, assisted by *Consalvi, his Secretary of State, was the Concordat (1801) with France, whereby he recognised the Republic and Napoléon’s rule in return for the withdrawal of all anti-Catholic laws. In 1804 he went to Paris to anoint Napoléon at his coronation. He refused, however, to take part in the French Emperor’s measures against England and in consequence the papal states were invaded and the Pope held in captivity (1809–14). His reign is also remembered for his restoration (1814) of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
Pius VIII (Francesco Saverino Castiglione) (1761–1830). Pope 1829–30. A disciple of *Pius VII, imprisoned by the French 1808–14, Bishop of Frascati 1821–29, he attacked Freemasonry and the rise of nationalism and laid down rules about mixed marriages.
Pius IX (Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti) (1792–1878). Pope 1846–78. Son of a count, ordained in 1819, he served in Chile 1823–25 and was Bishop of Imola 1832–46. On his election as Pope, he began as a liberal reformer of the constitution and government of the papal territories, but his failure (1848) to head a national movement against Austria’s influence in Italy caused an uprising in Rome, the murder of several members of the administration, the flight of the Pope to Neapolitan territory and the establishment of a republic under *Garibaldi and *Mazzini. Restored by a French army (1849) and his secular power maintained by a French garrison, the reformer became a conservative, his main preoccupation being to retain his political status. In the ‘Syllabus of Errors’ (1864) he denounced 80 elements relating to ‘progress, liberalism and modern civilisation’, including socialism, democracy, science and freedom of conscience. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870) the French withdrew and Rome became the capital of unified Italy. Pius responded by refusing to recognise these events and henceforth remained in self-imposed imprisonment in the Vatican an example followed by his successors until *Pius XI concluded the Lateran Treaty with the Italian state (1929). During his papacy—the longest in history—the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated (1856), and at the Vatican Council, which ran for seven months 1869–70, the dogma of Papal Infallibility in matters of faith and morals was defined. Pius IX was amiable, witty and of great charm, with no personal enemies. He was an epileptic. His beatification by *John Paul II in 2000 was controversial.
Hales, E. E. Y., Pio Nono. 1954.
Pius X, St (Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto) (1835–1914). Pope 1903–14. Born in Riese, he came from a very poor family and had spent his whole previous career in diocesan work, so his talents were essentially practical. He was cardinal-patriarch of Venice from 1892 until his election to the papacy. A strong conservative, deeply opposed to ‘modernism’, he codified the canon law, reorganised the papal administration and rearranged the missal and the breviary. His refusal to accept secular control over the French Church led to a 20-year breach between the papacy and the French State. Much beloved for his simplicity and holiness, he was canonised in 1954.
Pius XI (Achille Ambrogio Damiano Ratti) (1857–1939). Pope 1922–39. He won three doctorates at the Gregorian University, Rome and worked at the Ambrosian Library, Milan 1888–1911 and the Vatican Library 1911–18. He was an expert palaeographer and intrepid mountaineer. At the age of 61 he was appointed Nuncio to Poland (1918). After seven months as cardinal and Archbishop of Milan 1921–22, he was elected Pope on the 14th ballot as a compromise candidate. He showed great ability as a diplomat. He signed the Lateran Treaty (1929) with *Mussolini, by which, in return for recognition of his papal sovereignty within the Vatican City and of Roman Catholicism as the state religion of Italy, the papacy recognised the kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy. He established Catholic Action, updated *Leo XIII’s social teachings teachings in Rerum Novarum (1891) in his Quadragesimo anno (‘In the fortieth year…’, 1931) and supported *Franco in Spain. He made some concessions to modernism, promoted scholarship and established a Vatican radio station (1931). He attacked Nazism as anti-Christian in the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (With burning anxiety, 1937) and his relations with Mussolini worsened.
Pius XII (Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli) (1876–1958). Pope 1939–58. Born in Rome, to an aristocratic family, he studied at the Gregorian University, became a priest in 1899 and joined the papal secretariat in 1902. He was Papal Nuncio to Bavaria during World War I and to Germany 1925–31. Created a cardinal in 1929, he became *Pius XI’s Secretary of State 1931–39, travelled widely, including South America and the US, and was multi-lingual (although awkward with English). Thus he had considerable diplomatic experience when, on the eve of World War II, he was elected Pope on the second ballot, in the shortest conclave of modern times. (He was the first Roman pope since 1730.) His main objective was to ensure that the Roman Catholic Church survived with its independence and strength unimpaired. His fear of Communism’s threat to Christianity made him unduly accommodating to the regimes of Mussolini and *Franco. He conspicuously failed to denounce *Hitler’s Third Reich, and its genocide against the Jews, although some individuals were saved in Rome. (This issue remains deeply controversial.) Power became concentrated during his pontificate and bishops who questioned his authority were pushed aside (e.g. the future *Pius VI). However, he appointed many non-Italian cardinals and reduced Italian dominance in the Curia. He made effective use of radio and television and published 41 deeply conservative encyclicals on social issues and sexuality. In 1950 he proclaimed the doctrine of the bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary—the first exercise of papal infallibility since 1870. Processes for the beatification, or even canonisation of Pius XII, which began in 1965, were described as ‘stalled’ in 2014 by Pope *Francis. The Vatican’s war-time archives were opened up in 2019.
Falconi, C., The Popes in the Twentieth Century. 1967; Cornwell, J., Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. 1999; Dalin, D. G., The Myth of Hitler’s Pope. 2005.
Pizarro, Francisco (c.1475–1541). Spanish (Castilian) conquistador, born in Trujillo, Extremadura. Illegitimate and illiterate, he became a soldier and went to Darien (Panama) and in 1524 and 1526–27 made his first attempts, with Diego de *Almagro, to conquer Peru. This failed but after returning to Spain and receiving authorisation and the title of Governor, he again set out (1531), from Panama, with his brothers Hernando, Juan and Gonzalo and a band of 62 horsemen and 106 infantry to conquer the Inca empire (Tawantinsuyu—‘Land of the Four Quarters’), landing at Tumbes in May 1532. Luck was with him—the Incas were fighting a savage civil war and the use of armour, guns, steel swords, cannon and horses gave the Spaniards a great advantage. So did introduced smallpox. In Cajamarca (Nov. 1532), he seized *Atahualpa, the Inca ruler (whom he later had murdered), and, with the heart of the resistance broken, spent the next nine years in overrunning the country and amassing a vast treasure from the Inca hoards. He founded Lima in 1535. A dispute with Almagro, his fellow conquistador, mainly concerned with the ownership of Cuzco, proved disastrous. Almagro occupied the city (1537) but was defeated by Hernando Pizarro, tried and strangled. In revenge Francisco Pizarro was attacked and killed in his own house by some of Almagro’s men. He and the conquistadors wiped out the whole Inca nobility and virtually destroyed every trace of Inca culture. He was buried in Lima.
Innes, H., The Conquistadors. 1969.
Place, Francis (1771–1854). English reformer, born in London. Son of a bailiff, he achieved a remarkable feat of self-education and became a successful master tailor, while sponsoring practical causes such as the monitorial schools associated with the name of Joseph *Lancaster, and birth control. He retired from business in 1817 but the library behind his old shop in Charing Cross remained a centre for his political activities, in which he was associated with Jeremy *Bentham and other reformers. Although not an MP he became a master of parliamentary lobbying, his greatest achievement being to secure the repeal (1824) of the Combination Acts which made trade unions illegal. He was a leading figure in the agitation that led to the Reform Act (1832) and he helped William Lovett to draw up the People’s Charter in 1838.
Thale, M., Francis Place. 1972.
Planck, Max Ernst Ludwig (1858–1947). German mathematical physicist. Son of a professor at Kiel, at Berlin University he attended the lectures of *Kirchhoff, whom he eventually succeeded as professor (1889). Planck originated (1900) the quantum theory stating that energy, like matter, is not continuous in nature but is radiated and absorbed in small portions called quanta. Planck won the Nobel Prize for Physics (1918), and in 1930 became President of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Berlin. His son Edwin was executed in 1945 for his involvement in the plot against *Hitler.
Planck, M., Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers. 1949.
Plantagenet. English dynasty sprung from *Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, whose badge was a sprig of broom (planta genista). The first English Plantagenet king was *Henry II, Geoffrey’s son by *Matilda, daughter of *Henry I: the last of the line was *Richard III.
Harvey, J., The Plantagenets, 1154–1485. 1970.
Plantagenet, Geoffrey see Geoffrey V (Plantagenet)
Plantin, Christophe (1514–1589). French printer. He settled in Antwerp and is one of the best known of the early printers, and versions of the type which he designed for his Biblia Polyglotta and editions of the classics are still in use. He established branches for his sons-in-law in Paris and Leyden and his Antwerp office is now maintained by the city as a museum.
Plath, Sylvia (1932–1963). American poet, born in Boston. She graduated from Smith College, won a Fulbright Scholarship to Cambridge and in 1956 married the poet Ted *Hughes. Her searingly painful poetry was published in The Colossus (1960), Ariel (1965) and Collected Poems (1981, which won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize). She wrote an autobiographical novel The Bell Jar (1963) and committed suicide by gassing herself shortly afterwards. Her death became a feminist cause célèbre, with blame directed at her husband.
Malcolm, J., The Silent Woman.1994; Wilson, A., Mad Girl’s Love Song. Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted. 2013.
Plato (Plátōn) (c.427–347 BCE). Greek philosopher, born in Athens. Of noble descent, he almost certainly studied under *Socrates. After Socrates was put to death by the restored democracy (399), Plato lived and travelled abroad for a number of years, visiting probably Egypt and certainly Sicily, where he won Dion to his philosophy. On his return (388) he set up a school at his house in Athens which became known as the Academy because it was near the grove of the mythical hero Academus. The students, mainly young aristocrats, devoted themselves to philosophy and mathematics and to practical studies in politics and administration. After the death (368) of *Dionysius I of Sicily, Plato was invited by Dion, the tyrant’s son-in-law, to return to Syracuse to train Dionysius II to become the philosopher-king of Plato’s dreams. The young ruler soon tired of his studies; he quarrelled with Dion, and Plato had to depart. A later visit (c.361), undertaken to reconcile Dionysius with Dion, was again unsuccessful. Plato is said to have died at a wedding feast.
Almost all Plato’s work seems to have survived: most is in the shape of dialogue, a method of discussion known as dialectic. Socrates, the venerated teacher of his youth, is nearly always a participant. It is not clear therefore how much of the thought is that of the historic Socrates and how much Plato’s own. The Socratic method was not to propound a philosophic scheme but, by exposing a pupil’s statements to a searching cross-examination, to achieve precise definitions and so enable him to reach towards the truth for himself. Thus an approach to a general answer to such questions as ‘What is beauty?’ ‘What is justice?’ or ‘What is knowledge?’ is made by a series of questions leading to the elucidation of specific points. In the Republic, a discussion about the ideal state, a conclusion is reached favouring rule by a philosopher-king. Theories about the universe ascribed to *Pythagoras are expounded in the Timaeus, the dialogue which was regarded as essentially Platonic by those neoplatonists who helped to give Christian theology its Platonic character. The influence of Pythagoras is also apparent in the Symposium, from a literary point of view one of Plato’s most attractive works. Here Socrates, *Aristoplanes, *Alcibiades and others discuss the nature of love, the real background and real people here, as so often in Plato adding to the charm and naturalness of the dialogue. Perhaps the most important of Plato’s own contributions to philosophic thought is his theory of ‘ideas’ (or more literally ‘forms’). According to this theory the ‘idea’ of a thing is the unchanging and fundamental reality behind the superficial and mutable concepts produced by imagination or the senses. Highest of such ‘ideas’ is ‘the good’, knowledge of which is supreme virtue. But, since such complete knowledge is all but unattainable, for practical purposes man must act in accordance with his true nature under such guidance or constraint as the education implicit in the laws of the ideal state would provide.
Through his own writing and those of his most famous pupil, *Aristotle, Plato’s influence has probably been the greatest of any philosopher.
Taylor, A. E., Plato, the Man and his Work. 7th ed. 1960; Kraut, R. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato. 1993; Fine, G., Plato. 2000; Jackson, R., Plato: A Beginner’s Guide. 2001; Moore, E., Plato. 2007.
Plautus, Titus Maccus (Maccius) (c.250–184 BCE). Roman writer of comedies. He began to write plays (c.224) after failing in business and continued to produce them with remarkable regularity for the rest of his life. Twenty-one comedies—those regarded by Varro as the only certainly genuine ones—survive complete. The plots of the plays were derived from Greek originals (e.g. Menander), as were the stock characters—the clever rascal of a servant, the long-lost daughter, the duped father, the interchangeable twins. Indeed they have served the turn of *Shakespeare, *Molière and many lesser men, but Plautus made the farce much broader than that of his Greek originals and introduced songs and sometimes a chorus. One of his best known plays is Miles Gloriosus (Boastful Soldier): its chief character, Captain Pyrgopolynices, may have been a model for Falstaff.
Duckworth, G. E., The Nature of Roman Comedy. 1952.
Playford, Sir Thomas (1896–1981). Australian Liberal politician. An orchardist who fought in World War I, he was a Member of the South Australian Parliament 1933–68, serving as Premier 1938–65 for a record term, assisted by an electoral redistribution that favoured rural voters. He was a vigorous interventionist in economic policy.
Plekhanov, Georgi Valentinovich (1857–1918). Russian socialist and propagandist. Born to a noble family, he was an army officer, then joined the Populists, became a Marxist and was exiled, living in Geneva 1883–1917. Regarded as the founder of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP), he founded the journal Iskra (The Spark) in 1900 but gradually active leadership passed to his disciple *Lenin. He became a Menshevik after 1904 and opposed Lenin’s dictatorship after 1917. He was a prolific theoretical writer.
Pletnev, Mikhail (Vasilievich) (1957– ). Russian pianist and conductor. He won the 1978 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow, toured extensively, made many recordings and founded the Russian National Orchestra in 1990.
Plimsoll, Samuel (1824–1898). British politician. Known as ‘the merchant seaman’s friend’, he was in the coal trade in London when he became interested in the condition of merchant ships and seamen. Overloading and undermanning and the deliberate sending out of unseaworthy ships in order to collect insurance after shipwreck were among the evils he fought against. To obtain reform he became a Liberal MP 1868–80, but the Merchant Shipping Act was not passed until 1876. One provision was that ships should carry the ‘Plimsoll line’, a disc with a horizontal line drawn through it to indicate the loading limit.
Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus) (23–79 CE). Roman official and writer. Brought up as an accomplished, well-educated soldier, administrator and naval commander, he is known to have practised law. But he is chiefly remembered for his interest in natural history. His Natural History is the most comprehensive account of its kind written in antiquity. The first two books deal with astronomical and cosmological matters; Pliny then moves on to cover the geography of the globe and the nature of man. Books 8–11 treat of the animal world, and books 12–19 deal with plants, including long discussions of agriculture and the use of herbs for medical purposes. The last sections of the work discuss such topics as pharmaceuticals, metals, precious stones, the history of painting, magic and charms. Pliny’s work is essentially a compilation; it is comprehensive, but Pliny was careless in his use of sources, and frequently credulous. He enjoyed the fabulous and the moralistic aspects of natural history, and retold old wives’ tales. Pliny’s Natural History remained the standard encyclopaedic compilation covering the three kingdoms of nature down to the 17th century. He commanded the fleet in the Bay of Naples, described the eruption of Mt Vesuvius with remarkable accuracy but after landing for closer examination was overcome by fumes and died.
A figure of lesser stature was his nephew and adopted son Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus) (61/2–c.114), a notable orator and a diligent official under *Trajan. His letters are factually interesting as they deal with the lives of ordinary respectable citizens in provincial towns, and his exchanges of letters with Trajan reveal how even the more enlightened men of his time regarded the early Christians, whom he found ‘unboundedly superstitious’ but not ‘grossly immoral’.
Pliny, Natural History (ed. and trans. Rackham, H. et al.). 10 vols, 1938–63.
Plisetskaya, Maya see Shchedrin, Rodion
Plotinus (205–270). Roman philosopher, born in Egypt. Having studied philosophy in Alexandria, he joined a military expedition to the east in the hope of learning the philosophy of Persia and India and barely escaped with his life in Mesopotamia. In 244 he went to Rome, where he founded a school and lived for the rest of his life. As an old man he attempted to found in Campania a ‘republic’ on the pattern of Plato’s ideal state. Relying on inward vision rather than reasoning, he effects in his writings an integration of all Greek philosophy in order to provide a philosophic basis for a renaissance of Greco-Roman civilisation. He regards all souls as one with a world-soul, all intelligences as one with a world-mind, the source of both being the Light of God within us (variously described as the ‘One’ or the ‘Good’). This pagan version of the Trinity was adapted by Christian neoplatonists to accord with their own creed.
Plowright, Dame Joan (Ann) (1929– ). English actress. She made her London debut in 1954 and married Laurence *Olivier in 1961. Successful on stage, her films included Enchanted April (1992) and Tea with Mussolini (1999).
Plücker, Julius (1801–1868). German physicist and mathematician. Professor of mathematics 1836–47 and of Physics 1847–68 at Bonn, his investigations into electrical discharge in gases at low pressure led to his discovery (1859) of cathode rays, which formed the basis of later work on atomic structure and of many technical developments, including television.
Plumer, Herbert Charles Onslow, 1st Viscount Plumer (1857–1932). English field marshal. He was a cautious field commander in France in World War II, with a low casualty rate, defeating the Germans heavily at Messines in June 1917. He declined appointment as Chief of the Imperial General Staff but later served as Governor of Malta 1919–24 and High Commissioner in Palestine 1925–28.
Plunket, St Oliver (1629–1681). Irish Roman Catholic bishop and martyr. Primate of all Ireland from 1669, he was one of many victims of the Popish Plot campaigns of Titus *Oates, who accused him of plotting a foreign invasion of Ireland. He was tried and acquitted in Ireland, tried again in London, convicted and executed. He was canonised in 1975.
Curtayne, A., The Trial of Oliver Plunket. 1953.
Plutarch (Ploútarkhos, later Lucius Metrius Plutarchus) (c.46–120CE). Graeco-Roman historian, born in Chaeronera. Educated in Athens, he often visited Rome but spent most of his life in his native Boeotia. Best known of his works on history and philosophy is his Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans (often called Parallel Lives), containing biographies of 23 Greek and 23 Roman figures notable in history. Distinguished by their literary excellence and narrative interest, the lives vary much in historical value owing to Plutarch’s uncritical use of his sources. They became available to Elizabethans through *North’s translation (1579) of Amyot’s great French translation (1559) and *Shakespeare used them for his Roman plays.
Barrow, R. H., Plutarch and his Times. 1967.
Pobedonostsev, Konstantin Petrovich (1827–1907). Russian administrator, jurist and philosopher. From 1880 he was the government administrator of the Russian Orthodox Church, a powerful influence on Tsars *Aleksandr III and *Nikolai II, and, in part, a model for *Tolstoy’s Aleksei Karénin. (He excommunicated Tolstoy in 1901.)
Pocahontas (or Matoaka) (1595–1617). American Indian princess. When Captain John *Smith, leader of the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, was captured, Pocahontas, though only 11 years old, allegedly saved his life ‘by taking his head in her arms’. Five years later, when she was held as a hostage in Jamestown, one of the settlers, John Rolfe, fell in love with her. They were married and in 1616 he took her (now baptised ‘Rebecca’) to England where she was received by the king and queen. She had one son.
Poděbrad, Jiří (George) z Kunštátu (1420–1471). King of Bohemia 1458–71. As leader of the moderate Hussites, he was elected King by the Diet although he had no blood ties with the former rulers. He quickly restored the country after the Hussite Wars and strengthened the power of the monarchy at the expense of the nobility, the Catholic members of which formed a league against him. This acted in concert with the invading army of *Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, whose pretext was a mandate of deposition by the Pope, by whom Jiří had been excommunicated (1446). Jiří, however, held his opponents at bay and fighting was still in progress when he died.
Podgorny, Nikolai Viktorovich (1903–1983). Russian Communist politician, born in the Ukraine. Originally a mechanic, he became a food technologist and a protégé of *Khrushchev, serving as Secretary of the Ukraine CP 1957–63 and a Politburo member 1960–77. He was President of the USSR 1965–77.
Poe, Edgar Allan (1809–1849). American poet and short-story writer, born in Boston. Both his parents were on the stage, and on his mother’s death (1811) he was adopted by John Allan, a merchant who sent him to school in England and to the University of Virginia, from which he ran away after a quarrel over debts. A projected career as an army officer became financially impossible when Allan married again, and Poe had to manoeuvre his dismissal from West Point (1831). Meanwhile his first book Tamberlane and Other Poems (1827) had appeared, but like its two successors (1829 and 1831) attracted little notice. A prizewinning short story, MS. Found in a Bottle (1833), obtained for him the editorship of a paper in Richmond, Virginia, which he turned into a success. In 1836 he married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm and to better himself moved to New York and then Philadelphia. In 1840 he published Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (which included The Fall of the House of Usher) and in 1841 he joined George Graham for whom he edited Graham’s Magazine, the circulation of which he raised from 5000 to 35,000, his own contributions including the famous detective story The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Recognition as a major poet came with the publication of The Raven and Other Poems (1845). After the death of his wife (1847) he had a nervous breakdown and he died in Baltimore two years later on his way to fetch his aunt, Mrs Clemm, to attend his second marriage to a boyhood sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster. The commonly held view that Poe was a drug addict and an alcoholic is derived from a slanderous account in the preface to the collected edition written by his literary executor, Rufus W. Griswold, an old enemy with whom Poe believed himself reconciled. Every item has been refuted by his many loyal friends but the myth persists. He was in fact hard working and much loved. Few writers have equalled Poe in his presentation of the macabre and his tales of mystery and horror (e.g. The Pit and the Pendulum, The Gold Bug a classical reference for the solution of ciphers and The Cask of Amontillado) have been reprinted over and over again. His poems, e.g. The Raven, Annabel Lee and The Bells, show metrical mastery, haunting rhythms and resonances and undertones of melancholy which deeply influenced *Baudelaire and the French Symbolists.
Quinn. A. H., Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. 1969.
Poincaré, (Jules) Henri (1854–1912). French physical scientist and mathematician. Originally trained as a mining engineer, he became a physics lecturer first at Caen University and then at the Paris Faculté des Sciences where he taught until his death. His major work was in the field of functions. He developed important techniques of probing their properties by partial differential equations (which he termed ‘fuchsian’ and ‘kleinian’ functions). In much of his mathematical work he was a follower of Charles Hermite, especially in regard to the application of non-Euclidian geometry to the theory of quadratic forms. Another interest was an investigation of the properties of integral curves of differential equations. His longstanding concern for probability theory was expressed in his book of 1895 Leçons sur le Caleul des Probabilités. By the turn of the century he was thinking more philosophically about the foundations of Newtonian physics, and becoming aware of some of the dimensions of relativity. He grasped how absolute motion was incapable of being observed (i.e. that for the observer, everything in nature must be relative to something else). Poincaré was a gifted writer with deep insight into the creative process of mathematical discovery and logic, capable of being understood by the layman.
Poincaré, Raymond Nicholas Landry (1860–1934). French politician, born in Lorraine. A cousin of Henri *Poincaré, he first became a deputy in 1887 and held a number of government offices including two terms as Finance Minister 1894–95 and 1906, and was elected to the Académie française in 1909. A firm but popular Premier 1912–13, as President of the Republic 1913–20, he expanded the powers of his office during World War I. Premier again 1922–24, he insisted upon a stern reparations policy towards Germany and ordered the occupation of the Ruhr when German payments were in arrears (1923). Recalled to ‘save the franc’ he was Premier for the last time 1926–29.
Poiret, Paul (1879–1944). French fashion designer. *Matisse and *Dufy created fabrics for him; he designed stage costumes and popularised Oriental motifs.
Poisson, Simon-Denis (1781–1840). French mathematical physicist. He adopted a two-fluid theory of electricity: like fluids repelled and unlike attracted. Their strengths were in proportion to the inverse square law. He presupposed that the normal condition of any body was to possess equal quantities of both fluids. Bodies became electrically charged when they acquired a superfluity of one. Using *Lagrange’s methods, he attempted to render these ideas in mathematical terms. He developed the bell shaped normal distribution curve. He shared the Copley Medal with *Faraday (1832).
Poitiers, Diane de (1499–1566). French mistress. Although she was 48 when her lover *Henri II came to the throne she long kept her beauty and used her power to counteract that of the Guises.
Pol Pot (originally Saloth Sar) (1925–1998). Cambodian (Kampuchean) Communist politician. A rubber worker and teacher, educated in Paris, he led the Khmer Rouge which took power on the US withdrawal from Indo-China and he became Premier 1976–79, with China’s backing, until overthrown by Vietnamese forces. He imposed a totalitarian regime that sought to eliminate all religion, urbanisation and Western influence (Year Zero). Deaths in the ‘killing fields’ have been estimated at 3 million.
Chandler, D., Brother Number One. 1993.
Polanski, Roman (1933– ). Polish-French film director. Educated at the Polish Film School, Lodz, his first film was Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958), followed by Repulsion (1964), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Chinatown (1978) and Frantic (1988). He also directed the operas Lulu, Rigoletto and Tales of Hoffmann. In 1968 his wife Sharon Tate was murdered by Charles Manson.
Polanyi, Michael (1891–1976). Hungarian-British chemist, social scientist and philosopher. He made fundamental contributions to adsorption, X-ray diffraction and reaction kinetics, lived in England from 1933 and created a new career as a social scientist. His son John Charles Polanyi (1929– ), a professor at Toronto, shared the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work in chemical kinetics, and was active in the Pugwash Group on Sciences and World Affairs.
Pole, Reginald (1500–1558). English cardinal, born in Staffordshire. His mother, Margaret Pole (née Plantagenet), Countess of Salisbury (1473–1541) was the niece of *Edward IV and *Richard III. Educated at Oxford and Padua, he became a distinguished humanist scholar and a friend of *Henry VIII. Ecclesiastical preferment, including the archbishopric of York, was offered in the hope that he would approve the annulment of Henry’s marriage to *Catherine of Aragon. Unable to respond, Pole withdrew abroad and made public his disapproval of the divorce and of Henry’s claim to supremacy of the English Church in De Unitate Eeclesiastica (1536). Henry was even more enraged when (1536–37) Pope *Paul III made Pole a cardinal, although not then ordained, and appointed him papal legate. He attainted him, arrested members of his family and later had his mother executed. Pole continued in papal employment and in 1545 was one of the three legates who presided over the opening of the Council of Trent. He remained abroad during *Edward VI’s reign, but on the accession of Queen *Mary I, he returned as papal legate and was the principal instrument by which Roman Catholicism was reimposed. He succeeded *Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury (1556) and was instrumental in the burnings of Cranmer, *Latimer and Ridley as Protestant martyrs. However, in 1558 his legateship was revoked by *Paul IV and he died of influenza on the same day as Queen Mary.
Schenk, W., Reginald Pole. 1950.
Politian (or Poliziano: Angelo Ambrogini) (1454–1494). Italian scholar and poet. He was educated in the Florence of Lorenzo *de’Medici, whose patronage he attracted by a Latin translation of *Homer’s Iliad which he began at the age of 17. His later works include translations of the great medical writers *Hippocrates and *Galen. In 1584 he became professor of Latin and Greek at Florence University. Some of his poetry (e.g. his Latin elegy on Lorenzo) shows both depth of feeling and metrical skill. His Orfeo was the first secular drama written in Italian. He was a major influence on *Michelangelo.
Polk, James Knox (1795–1849). 11th President of the US 1845–49. Born in North Carolina, he became a lawyer in Tennessee. He entered the US House of Representatives in 1825, was speaker 1835–39 , and Governor of Tennessee 1839–41, being defeated twice (1841, 1843.) In 1844 he was the original ‘dark horse’ candidate, winning the Democratic nomination on the eighth ballot, after Martin *Van Buren, having won a simple majority, failed to gain the two-thirds vote. Although comparatively unknown, and failing to win his own state, in November he defeated Henry *Clay and won the presidency. His term of office was notable for the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute with Britain, the occupation of Texas and the ensuing war with Mexico by which California and New Mexico were acquired. He pledged to serve only a single term and did not contest the 1848 election, when Zachary *Taylor succeeded, and died three months after his term ended. In 20 Presidential ranking lists by US historians and political scientists, Polk scores No. 12 in the aggregate, far ahead of any President between Andrew *Jackson and Abraham *Lincoln.
Pollini, Maurizio (1942– ). Italian pianist, born in Milan. His repertoire was exceptionally wide, from Renaissance music to the works of *Boulez, *Stockhausen and *Nono, and he combined technical brilliance with deep interpretative gifts.
Pollock, Jackson (1912–1956). American painter. The pioneer and leading exponent of New York Abstract-Expressionism, by spraying or dribbling paint on to an unstretched canvas tacked to floor or wall and being thus enabled to approach his picture from all sides, he claimed that he could achieve an intimacy with his subject otherwise unattainable. Using this method, he created tense and intricate patterns of swirling lines and shapes into which representational elements were sometimes introduced. He had great influence among his contemporaries. His Blue Poles (1952) was bought by the Australian National Gallery for $US1.9 million in 1973, at that time a record price for his work. (In 2016 Blue Poles was insured for $350 million.) In 2006 his Number 5 (1948) sold for $US140 million.
Polo, Marco (1254–1324). Venetian traveller, born possibly in Korčula, Dalmatia. The journeys which he vividly described resulted from an earlier expedition (1260–69) by his two uncles to Mongol territory during which they were persuaded to visit the great khan, *Kublai, who as the result of Mongol conquests was also Emperor of China. They set out (1271) on a second journey, taking Marco with them, and travelled overland from Acre through Persia, Turkestan and the Gobi Desert, reaching Cambuluc (Peking) in 1275. Marco became a favourite of Kublai Khan who employed him on missions that took him to the furthest parts of the country, and also appointed him Governor of Yangchow. So high were the Polos in the khan’s favour that it was not until 1292 that they were allowed to leave as part of the escort of a Mongolian princess on her way to Persia to marry a prince. The voyage took two years and the bridegroom had died meanwhile, but she married his brother, and the Polos eventually reached Venice in 1295. In 1296 Marco commanded a galley against the Genoese and was captured. While in prison he was allowed to send for his notes and, with the help of a fellow prisoner, Rustichello (or Rusticiano), he composed from them a record of his adventures. The book was published in 1298 as Divisament dou Monde (‘Description of the World’) but was soon better known, because of the incredulity it provoked, as Il milione, and became the great bestseller of the pre-Gutenberg age. Although the book contains some legendary material, its descriptions of China are generally accurate.
Latham, R., ed. and trans., The Travels of Marco Polo. 1958.
Polybius (c.200–c.120 BCE). Greek historian. Sent to Rome (166) as a hostage, he became friendly with *Scipio Aemilianus whom he accompanied when Carthage was destroyed (146). It was thanks to the encouragement of the Scipio family that he wrote his Universal History, one of the greatest historical works ever written. The first five books survive intact, but of the other 35 only fragments remain. The extant books mainly cover the period 221–168 BCE and provide a careful and critical account of the Punic Wars.
Walbank, F. W., Polybius. 1973.
Polycarp, St (c.70–155/6). Greek Bishop of Smyrna. His long life made him a link between the apostles and the Fathers of the Church: *Irenaeus relates that as a boy he had heard Polycarp speaking of his ‘intercourse with *John and others who had seen the Lord’. He wrote a notable epistle to the Church at Philippi. He was martyred in Smyrna. His feast day is 26 January.
Polyclitus (5th century BCE). Greek sculptor. He worked particularly in bronze and was contemporary with *Phidias. *Pliny thought his Doryphorus perfect sculpture.
Polycrates (d.522 BCE). ‘Tyrant’ of Samos c.535–522 BCE. Having built a large fleet, he dominated the Aegean as a kind of pirate king. Enriched with spoils, he beautified Samos and made it temporarily the cultural centre of the Greek world, Anacreon being one of the many poets and artists attracted to his court. At last the Persian Governor of Lydia, whose ships and ports had suffered most heavily, lured him to Magnesia where he had him assassinated. The famous legend of the ring and the fish relates to Polycrates: told to throw away something precious, lest his prosperity provoke the envy of the gods, he hurled a valuable ring into the sea. When the ring came back to him the next day in the belly of a fish, it was taken as a portent of his doom.
Pombal, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of (1699–1782). Portuguese statesman. He showed his outstanding ability as Foreign Minister 1750–55 and Prime Minister 1755–77 under King *José (Joseph). The skill with which he met the problems created by the earthquake that destroyed Lisbon (1755) gave him a reputation that enabled him to carry out important reforms and curb powers of the Church he thought excessive. Thus sentences passed by the Inquisition now required government approval, censorship passed to state control; he also expelled the Jesuits, whom he suspected of political intrigue. Facilities for education, hitherto almost entirely in Church hands, were extended by building 800 schools and reforming the universities. He promoted the development of Brazil and decreed the liberation of the Indian slaves. Ruthlessness in carrying out his policies gradually built up opposition and when Maria I succeeded (1777), he was dismissed. Energy, honesty and vision made Pombal one of the greatest figures of Portuguese history.
Maxwell, K., Pombal: Paradox of the Enlightenment. 1995.
Pompadour, Jeanne Antoinette, Marquise de (1721–1764). French mistress of *Louis XV. Daughter of a speculator, François Poisson, she was beautiful and accomplished, and married Lenormant d’Etoiles, a man rich enough to enable her to entertain and be entertained. She became the king’s mistress in 1745 and for the rest of her life maintained a hold over him even after her sexual attractions had ceased. As her beauty faded her extravagance increased, but she had good taste and her patronage of literature and the arts was wisely bestowed, e.g. on *Voltaire and *Boucher. She founded the porcelain factory at Sèvres and the École Militaire. Her meddling in politics resulted in the diplomatic upheaval by which the hereditary enemies France and Austria fought as allies in the disastrous Seven Years War (1756–63). Her protégé the Duc de *Choiseul became Foreign Minister in 1758.
Mitford, N., Madame de Pompadour. 1964.
Pompeo, Michael Richard (1963– ). American Republican politician and administrator. Educated at Harvard, he was a Congressman 2011–17, Director of the CIA 2017–18 and US Secretary of State 2018– .
Pompey the Great (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus) (106–48 BCE). Roman soldier and politician. He sided with *Sulla against *Marius in the Civil War and for his successes in Africa won the title Magnus (‘the great’). After Sulla’s death (78) he put down a revolt by *Lepidus, and in Spain crushed the remaining faction of Marius. Back in Rome, his quest for office led him to break with the senatorial party, heal an old feud with *Crassus and jointly with him hold the consulship of 70, gaining popularity by restoring the power of the tribunes. He received a special commission to clear the Mediterranean of pirates, which he accomplished in a single brilliant campaign (67). His next achievements were to finish off the war with *Mithridates (66), annex Syria and capture Jerusalem (63). On his return to Rome (61) he found the timid and jealous Senate reluctant to concede his two reasonable demands: provision for his veterans and confirmation of his eastern settlement which involved the creation of four new Roman provinces, Bithynia (with Pontus), Cilicia, Syria and Crete. He was thus almost forced into forming (60) the First Triumvirate with *Caesar, whose daughter Julia he married, and Crassus. Caesar departed to pursue his conquests in Gaul, and Crassus went east. Pompey began to be suspicious of the activities of Caesar’s friends in Rome, and following the deaths of Julia (54) and Crassus (53) the friendship deteriorated. The death of *Clodius, followed by anarchy in Rome, brought about the final breach. Pompey and the Senate, the only sources of law and order, were reconciled and in 52 Pompey was made sole consul. Caesar, seeing his prospects of renewed power and even his life endangered if he returned unarmed, took the symbolic step of crossing the Rubicon and entering Italy with his legions (49). Pompey with most of the senators withdrew to Greece to collect an army but when the rivals finally met at Pharsalus (48), Pompey was defeated, fled and was murdered in Egypt.
His son, Sextus Pompeius (Magnus Pius) (c.67–36 BCE), a general, fought against the Second Triumvirate (*Octavian, Mark *Antony and *Lepidus), controlled Sicily 42–36 and invaded southern Italy. He defeated Octavian in two battles (37, 36) but *Agrippa destroyed his navy (36). Escaping to Asia Minor, he was captured and summarily executed in Miletus.
Gelzer, M., Pompeius. 1959; Seager, R., Pompey the Great: A Political Biography. 2002; Southern, P., Pompey the Great: Caesar’s Friend and Foe. 2002.
Pompidou, Georges Jean Raymond (1911–1974). French politician, born in Montboudif. Originally a teacher of literature, during World War II he became active in the Resistance, joined *de Gaulle’s personal staff in 1944 and was a member of the Council of State from 1946 until he became director general of Rothschild’s French banking house (1954). When de Gaulle returned to power (1958) he chose Pompidou to plan the transition to the Fifth French Republic and assist in drafting a Constitution. He then returned to banking until appointed to succeed Michel *Debré as Prime Minister 1962–68, holding office for a record term, although never serving in the National Assembly. He fell out with de Gaulle, but when the latter resigned suddenly, Pompidou won the nomination of the Gaullist Party (UDR) and was President of France 1969–74, dying in office, suddenly, from Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, a rare form of lymphoma. The great Centre Pompidou (Beaubourg), for modern art, was named for him and he encouraged *Boulez’ avant-garde music.
Poncelet, Jean Victor (1788–1867). French mathematician and engineer. He served in the Napoléonic army at Walcheren and in Russia, where he was wounded, and imprisoned. During his years of captivity (until 1814) he applied himself to the mathematical works of Monge, and wrote some important papers. He returned to Metz in 1814 and worked in the field of projective geometry, producing his Traité des Propriétés Projectives des Figures in 1822. Poncelet’s most fertile period in applied mechanics was between 1825 and 1840. He spent much time on the improvement of water wheels and turbines. He made some important advances in the field of fortifications, and wrote extensively about the theory of machines. His main influence, however, was as a practical teacher. In 1848 he was made head of the Paris École Polytechnique.
Ponchielli, Amilcare (1834–1886). Italian composer. A prolific writer of opera, he is now remembered only for La Giaconda (1876), and his significant influence on *Puccini.
Poniatowski, Josef Antoni (1762–1813). Polish patriot and marshal of France. A nephew of *Stanisław Augustus, the last king of Poland, in the struggle that preceded the final partition of the Polish kingdom (1793), he gained several victories over the Russians. In 1794 he commanded the division of *Kosciuszko’s patriot army which vainly defended Warsaw. When *Napoléon formed the grand duchy of Warsaw, Poniatowski became War Minister and Commander-in-Chief. In 1812 he headed the large Polish contingent which fought its way with Napoléon to Moscow and, still with the French army after the retreat, he performed so gallantly at Leipzig (1813) that Napoléon created him Marshal. He was drowned whilst covering the French retreat.
Ponti, Gio(vanni) (1891–1979). Italian architect, designer and craftsman. From 1923, when he appeared at the Triennale Exhibition as a ceramics designer, he designed furniture, industrial products, the interiors of liners, and stage costume and settings, as well as buildings throughout Europe and America. Of his modern commercial buildings, the Pirelli tower (1957) in Milan is among the most striking. He founded (1928) the magazine Domus and became its editor.
Pontiac (c.1720–1769). American Ottawa Indian chief. He planned a large-scale concerted attack on the British colonists in which all the frontier forts from Canada to Virginia except Detroit and Pittsburgh were captured (1763). Pontiac agreed to a peace treaty in 1766.
Peckham, H. H., Pontiac and the Indian Uprising. 1947.
Pope, Alexander (1688–1744). English poet, born in London. Son of a linen merchant, his family, to avoid persecution as Roman Catholics, left London (c.1700) to live in Windsor Forest. Deprived of a normal education by lifelong deformity caused by a tubercular spine, the boy Alexander educated himself, with his father’s encouragement and help. By precocious reading and writing he began an epic at the age of 12. His pastoral poems were the first to be published, followed by the Essay on Criticism (1711) and the mock-heroic Rape of the Lock (1712). With these works and other poems he was steadily building up a reputation when the publication of his Homeric translations, The Iliad (1715–20) and The Odyssey (1725–26), brought fame and enough fortune to enable him to rent a villa at Twickenham and lay out a five-acre garden in the romantic fashion of the time, with a temple, obelisk (in memory of his mother), ‘sacred groves’, an orangery and above all a grotto, where he could talk with his many and famous visiting friends.
His edition of *Shakespeare (1725) produced much criticism, to which the Dunciad (1728), in which his opponents were satirised as pedants and dunces, was a reply. His Essay on Man (1733–34) is a popular exposition in verse of current philosophical beliefs, while his Moral Essays (1731–35) deal with the characters of men and women, the use of riches, and good taste. The fitting of names to the imaginary characters involved the author in several literary quarrels. The most famous of them was with Lady Mary Wortley *Montagu by whom Pope was at first dazzled but whose unkind cynicism soon disillusioned him. In his Imitations of Horace, perhaps the best of Pope’s satirical works, she saw herself in the lines:
From furious Sappho scarce a milder fate.
Poxed by her love, or libelled by her hate.
But if Pope had a talent for making enemies, he had also a gift, much truer to his real character, of making friends—*Swift, *Gay, *Bolingbroke, *Arbuthnot, and Martha Blount. Pope’s ‘heroic couplets’ in which so much of his work is written would be monotonous were it not for the flexibility he introduced by variation of stress, turn of phrase and exact choice of word. The wit and wisdom is accompanied, too, by a poet’s imaginative vision. In spite of his deficiencies of character, Pope is one of the great figures of English literature.
Mack, M. Alexander Pope, 1985.
Popper, Sir Karl Raimund (1902–1994). British philosopher, born in Vienna. Educated at Vienna University, he left Europe after *Hitler came to power, lectured at Canterbury University College, Christchurch, New Zealand 1937–45, was denied Sydney University’s senior lectureship in philosophy (1945), became reader in logic 1945–49 and professor of logic and scientific method 1949–69 at the London School of Economics. His books e.g. The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1934), The Open Society and its Enemies (1945), The Poverty of Historicism (1957) and Conjectures and Refutations (1963), examine the conditions of scientific and social progress and elaborate his main theories that the confirmation of a theory can never be more than provisional, while its refutation will always be final; that ethical standards are ‘autonomous’ (i.e. are not derivative from facts), hence that individuals have the right to criticise authorities and institutions, and finally that progress is made possible not by Utopian approach but by readiness to make the best of existing material resources. He argued that the proponents of an idea must be able to propose methods for testing ‘falsifiability’, leading to confirmation or refutation of the hypothesis. In Popper’s view, followers of *Marx, *Freud, religions and most economic theories are unable (or unwilling) to meet the test. He was elected FRS (1976), a rare honour for a non-scientist, and made a CH (1982).
Popper, K., Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography. 1976.
Porpora, Nicola Antonio (1686–1768). Italian composer and teacher, born in Naples. He worked in Naples, Vienna, Venice, London and Dresden and was considered as a rival to *Händel. He wrote about 50 operas (some in one act, beginning with Agrippina,1706), ending with The triumph of Camilla (1760). He taught the outstanding castrato *Farinelli, for whom he wrote many virtuoso arias.
Porsche, Ferdinand (1875–1951). German engineer and motorcar designer. He began work with *Daimler and Auto Union, and set up his own workshops in 1931. In 1934 he designed the revolutionary Volkswagen, a cheap, reliable people’s car with a rear engine, intended for a mass market in the 1930s but not produced until after 1945. The Porsche company produced very sophisticated sports cars.
Georgano, G. N. (ed.), The Complete Encyclopaedia of Motorcars: 1885–1968. 1968.
Porson, Richard (1759–1808). English classical scholar. The founder of scientific textual criticism, his editions of *Euripides and those of *Aeschylus and *Aristophanes compiled from his notes, set new standards of criticism. He was also a connoisseur of wine, and his correspondence reveals a mischievous sense of humour.
Portal of Hungerford, Charles Frederick Algernon Portal, 1st Viscount (1893–1971). British airman. Educated at Winchester and Oxford, after a brilliant record (MC, DSO, and bar) in World War I, he held important administrative posts between the wars and became Chief of Bomber Command 1940. As Chief of Staff, RAF 1940–45 he largely directed operational strategy, was proponent of the firebombing of German cities, and became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1945. Created a marshal of the RAF (1944), he was made a baron in 1945, a viscount, KG and OM in 1946. He was controller of production (atomic energy) 1946–51. *Eisenhower thought him the most impressive of Britain’s war leaders.
Porter, Cole (1891–1964). American composer and lyricist, born in Indiana. Educated at Yale and Harvard, he spent years in France and studied music with Vincent d’*Indy in Paris. Rich, married and homosexual, he lost a leg after a riding accident. He developed an astringent, sophisticated style with both words and music. His musicals include Anything Goes (1934), Kiss Me Kate (1949), Can Can (1953) and Silk Stockings (1955) and he wrote the film score for High Society (1956). His best songs include You’re the Top, Begin the Beguine, Night and Day, In the Still of the Night and My Heart Belongs to Daddy.
Porter, George, Baron Porter of Luddenham (1920–2002). British chemist. Educated at Cambridge, he taught there at Sheffield and (from 1963) at the Royal Institution, London. He shared the 1967 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for work on photo-chemistry. He was a successful populariser of science in writing and on television, became President of the Royal Society 1985–1990, and received the OM and a peerage.
Porter, Michael Eugene (1947– ). American economist. He taught economics at Harvard from 1973, and was a professor 1982– . In The Competitive Advantage of Nations (1980) he modified *Ricardo’s concept of ‘comparative advantage’, demonstrating how nations with no history or experience in particular areas developed niche markets against ferocious competition, e.g. Finland’s Nokia mobile telephones or Kone medical assay equipment.
Portillo, Michael Denzil Xavier (1953– ). English politician and television presenter. His father was Spanish, his mother Scottish. Educated at Harrow and Peterhouse, Cambridge, he worked in the oil industry, was MP 1984–97, Minister for Employment 1994–95 and Secretary for Defence 1995–97. He was re-elected as MP 1999–2005 and became Shadow Chancellor 2000–01, failing in a bid for the Conservative leadership. He left the Conservative Party in 2006 and became a presenter in many television series.
Portland, William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, 3rd Duke of (1738–1809). British politician. He served twice as Prime Minister, in April–December 1783 as nominal head of the *Fox–*North coalition and 1807–09 in a government dominated by *Canning and *Castlereagh.
Portsmouth, Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of (1649–1734). French mistress of *Charles II of Britain. She also acted as confidential agent of *Louis XIV of France. Charles Lennox, her son by the king, was created Duke of Richmond and Gordon.
Post, Emily (1873–1960). American writer, born in Baltimore. After writing some novels on social themes she turned to becoming mentor to Americans in all matters of social behaviour and etiquette, broadcasting and writing newspaper articles on these subjects. Her reputation was based on the book Etiquette (1922).
Potemkin, Grigori Aleksandrovich, Prince of Tauris (1739–1791). Russian soldier. He was one of the guards officers who conspired to put *Catherine the Great on the throne (1762), he became her lover (1769) and perhaps her secret husband (1774). He was of impressive physique and personality and showed his talents as an administrator when he was sent to colonise territory conquered from Turkey. He also created the Russian Black Sea fleet and founded the naval base of Sevastopol. He acquired his princely title and vast wealth from Catherine, but he was not merely the self-seeking rascal portrayed by those who invented the tale that, to deceive foreigners, he had built cardboard villages to convey a false impression of the prosperity of the Crimea.
Potter, Dennis (Christopher George) (1935–1994). English playwright. A journalist and critic, he wrote many successful television dramas, reaching a vast international audience. They include Blade on the Feather (1980), Pennies from Heaven (1981) and The Singing Detective (6 parts, 1987).
Potter, (Helen) Beatrix (1866–1943). English author and illustrator. She produced notable children’s books, e.g. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1900) and The Tailor of Gloucester (1902). She lived in the Lake District for many years and left her extensive estate to the National Trust. Her books have been translated into many languages, modern and classical, and are still highly popular.
Lane, M., The Tale of Beatrix Potter. 1970.
Poujade, Pierre (1920–2003). French bookseller. In 1953–54 he organised a tax revolt by small businessmen, and in 1956, 52 Poujadist deputies were elected (with 12 per cent of the vote) on a policy proposing tax cuts, regionalism and vaguely Fascist social policies. His movement faded with *de Gaulle’s return to power (1958).
Poulenc, Francis (1899–1963). French composer and pianist, born in Paris. One of ‘Les Six’ (*Honegger), his output included concertos for harpsichord (1928), two pianos (1932) and organ (1938), chamber music, piano pieces, e.g. Mouvements Perpetuels (1918), the ballet Les Biches (1923), the Mass in G Minor (1937), the cantata La Figure Humaine (1943) and the operas Les Mamelles de Tirésias (1944) and Dialogues des Carmélites (1956). He wrote many songs for his lover, the baritone Pierre Bernac (1899–1979), touring and recording with him.
Roy, J., Francis Poulenc. 1964.
Pound, Sir (Alfred) Dudley (Pickman Rogers) (1877–1943). British Admiral of the Fleet. A captain in World War I, after distinguishing himself at Jutland, he became director of operations at the Admiralty. He was Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean 1936–39 and promoted Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord 1939–43, gaining credit for successes in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and blame for failures in the Far East. He received the OM just before his death.
Pound, Ezra (Weston Loomis) (1885–1972). American poet, born in Idaho. After spending the years 1906–07 in European travel he lived mainly in England. His early works, e.g. Provenca (1910), Canzone (1911) and Ripostes (1912), included adaptations of Latin, Provençal, Chinese and Japanese verses (the latter two based on literal translations). As a leader of the Imagist group (c.1914), which attempted to transfer to poetry the modern movements in art, he was distinctive with his ‘velvet coat … pointed beard … and fiery hair’. In pursuit of the same aim he was co-editor with Wyndham Lewis of Blast, the organ of Vorticism. He was also foreign correspondent of Poetry (Chicago) (1912–19) and the Little Review (1917–19). Among his best works were Quia Paupera Amavi (1919) and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920). During this time he formed literary friendships with W. B. *Yeats (whose secretary he became), Robert *Frost, James *Joyce, Ernest *Hemingway and T. S. *Eliot (and edited his The Waste Land). He lived in Paris from 1920, moved to Rapallo in 1924, became an enthusiastic supporter of *Mussolini and helped to revive interest in *Vivaldi. From about 1919 to 1960, he worked intermittently on his Cantos, a vast, complex compilation, publishing the first part in 1925. He made much use of ‘free association’ and distorted spellings and contained a sprawling medley of quotations ranging from ancient Greek and Chinese to modern slang. Meanwhile he had taken up, in turn, Social Credit (C. H. *Douglas) and Fascism, for reasons deriving in part at least from his obsessive hatred of ‘usury’ as the basis of all the evils of modern life, and wrote Jefferson and/or Mussolini (1935). During World War II he made regular broadcasts from Italy supporting Mussolini, and in 1945 he was arrested, charged with treason and returned to the US. Certified insane, he was held in St Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, but produced the controversial The Pisan Cantos (1948). Released in 1958, he returned to Italy and died in Venice, where he is buried. He had a major influence upon modern poetry but critics are sharply divided about the quality of his poetry.
Pound, E., Letters. 1951; Stock, N., The Life of Ezra Pound. 1970; Tytell, J., Ezra Pound. The Solitary Volcano. 1987; Moody, A. D., Ezra Pound: Poet. 3 vols, 2007, 2014, 2015.
Pound, Roscoe (1870–1964). American jurist. Trained as a botanist, and without a law degree, he held a number of academic appointments, especially in his native Nebraska and in the Harvard Law School, where he was Story professor 1910–13, Carter professor of jurisprudence 1913–16 and then Dean 1916–36. His influence in the development of modern jurisprudence was important in directing attention to social implications. He turned against the New Deal after 1937.
Poussin, Nicolas (1594–1665). French painter, born in Normandy. He was trained in Paris then went to Rome (1624), where he remained for the rest of his life. The carefully planned compositions for which he is famous show historical, mythological and biblical scenes in settings where usually some statue or building exactly copied from the antique gives the necessary verisimilitude. His work is remarkably homogeneous but the passage of years is marked by the change from the warm colours of the Venetians, *Titian and *Tintoretto, to the cool, clear tones of the north. From about 1645 Poussin devoted more attention to landscapes, which he peopled with mythological figures. In these he achieves, even more significantly than in other works, the beauty that comes from perfect compositional balance. In 1640 Poussin accepted an invitation from *Louis XIV to return to France and decorate the long gallery of the Louvre, but he found the work uncongenial and returned to Rome. Poussin’s influence was strong during the classical revival of the following century.
Blunt, A., Nicolas Poussin. 1967.
Powell, Anthony Dymoke (1905–2000). English novelist, born in London. Educated (unhappily) at Eton and Oxford, he worked in publishing, married Lady Violet *Pakenham and became an assiduous book reviewer for Punch and The Daily Telegraph. His first novel was Afternoon Men (1931). In 1951, he published Question of Upbringing, the first of a 12-novel sequence called A Dance to the Music of Time, completed in 1975 with Hearing Secret Harmonies. The books, running to 1,130,000 words, have a single narrator, Nick Jenkins, who records (somewhat satirically) his own life and circle in a prosperous, fashionable society from 1914 to 1971. V. S. *Pritchett thought the sequence was like *Proust translated by *Wodehouse: it became a television series in 1997–98. Powell also wrote John Aubrey and His Friends (1948) and received a CH in 1988.
Spurling, H., Anthony Powell. Dancing to the Music of Time. 2017.
Powell, Colin Luther (1937– ). American general, born in New York. Of Jamaican parentage, he was educated at the City University of New York and George Washington University. Commissioned in the US Army in 1958, he had an unusual degree of political experience for a serving soldier and became the first African-American to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1989–93. His memoirs My American Journey (1995) encouraged support for Powell as a Republican presidential candidate in 1996 but he declined to run. As Secretary of State 2001–05, he was deeply uneasy about George W. *Bush’s plan to invade Iraq (2003) but became compromised by his advocacy for it at the United Nations.
Powell, (John) Enoch (1912–1998). English politician and classicist. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he was professor of Greek at the University of Sydney 1937–39. During World War II he served in the army (general staff) and rose to the rank of brigadier. He became Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in the Conservative Government of 1955, Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1957–58 and Minister for Health 1960. He became famous for his views on the dangers he saw attending coloured immigration and for his opposition to Britain’s membership of the Common Market. He refused to stand as a Conservative in the general election of February 1974 and was an Ulster Unionist MP 1974–87.
Powell, J. E., Wrestling with the Angel. 1977.
Powys, John Cowper (1872–1963). British writer. His works include the historical novels A Glastonbury Romance (1933) and Owen Glendower (1941), the epic poem Lucifer (written 1905), and literary criticism, e.g. Dostoevsky (1947) and Rabelais (1948). His brother Llewelyn (1884–1939) was also a novelist and essayist of distinction e.g. The Pathetic Fallacy (1928) and Love and Death (1939) as was his brother Theodore Francis (1875–1953). He wrote chiefly on rural and allegorical themes, notably Mr Weston’s Good Wine (1927).
Graves, R. P., The Powys Brothers. 1983.
Poynings, Sir Edward (1459–1521). English statesman. An opponent of *Richard III, he fled to France to join the Earl of Richmond, who became King of England as *Henry VII (1485). Poynings was later appointed (1494) the king’s deputy in Ireland and his name is given to the law (1494) which laid down that the summoning of an Irish parliament and its legislative agenda were both dependent upon the consent of the English Privy Council and that all laws passed in Westminster were applicable in Ireland.
Pozzo, Andrea (1642–1709). Italian painter, architect, stage designer and art theorist, born in Trento. He worked for the Jesuits and his masterpiece is the astonishing trompe l’oeil ceiling, Apotheosis of St Ignatius (1685–94) at the Church of St Ignatius (S. Ignazio) in Rome. He designed the tomb of St Ignatius *Loyola in the Church of the Gesù, then worked in Vienna, where he died.
Praetorius, Michael (originally Schulz or Schultheiss) (1571–1621). German composer, born in Silesia. Influenced by Giovanni *Gabrieli and the Venetians, he was prolific in many forms, both religious and secular, including Terpsichore, arrangements of 300 dances. A distant kinsman, Hieronymous Praetorius (1560–1629) was organist at Hamburg and wrote a splendid Magnificat (1599).
Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925–2006). Indonesian writer, born in Java. His first major novel, The Fugitive, written 1947–49 as a prisoner of the Dutch, was published in 1950. Imprisoned without trial by the Indonesians 1965–79, he wrote the tetralogy The Earth of Mankind. His books have been extensively translated but remain banned in Indonesia.
Prasad, Rajendra (1884–1963). Indian politician. A lawyer, teacher and follower of *Gandhi, he was President of the Indian National Congress Party 1932–43, 1939–41 and 1947–48, and imprisoned for nationalist activities 1942–45. He entered *Nehru’s Government as Minister of Food 1946–47 and became first president of the Republic of India 1950–62.
Pratchett, Sir Terry (Terence David John) (1948–2015). English novelist. He wrote 40 fantasy novels in the Discworld series and campaigned vigorously about Alzheimer’s disease.
Pratt, Sir Charles see Camden, 1st Earl
Praxiteles (c.390–330 BCE). Greek sculptor. He was the first to sculpt an entire female nude figure, using his mistress, Phryne. The only surviving statue believed to be original is of ‘Hermes carrying off the infant Dionysus’, in the Archaeological Museum in Olympia. His famous statue of ‘Aphrodite of Cnidus (Venus)’ no longer exists but some ancient copies survive, of which the finest are in the Vatican and at Munich.
Richter, G., A Handbook of Greek Art. 1969.
Prendergast, Maurice Brazil (1859–1924). American painter, born in Newfoundland. He trained in Boston, painted extensively in France and Italy, was influenced by *Cézanne, *Whistler, *Signac, *Degas and *Sickert, and had seven paintings in the 1913 Armory Show in New York. His work, first in watercolour, then oil, reflects the colour and form of Impressionism, in sharp contrast to the prevailing academic style in American painting.
Prescott, John Leslie, Baron Prescott (1938– ). English Labour politician. He worked as a ship’s steward and union official, became MP 1970–2010, a leader of the Left, and Deputy Leader 1994–2007. He was Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions 1997–2007 under Tony *Blair.
Prescott, William Hickling (1796–1859). American historian, born in Salem, Mass. Educated at Harvard, he was blinded in the left eye, had limited sight in the right and suffered from acute rheumatism. He devoted himself to the history of Spain and the conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires, working from primary sources where possible although he never visited South America. His major works are History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic (3 vols, 1838), History of the Conquest of Mexico (3 vols, 1843), History of the Conquest of Peru (2 vols, 1847) and A History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain (3 vols, 1858), impressive but biased in favour of the Spanish.
Gardner, C. H., William Hickling Prescott. 1970.
Presley, Elvis Aron (1935–1977). American rock and roll singer and film actor. He became an international cult-figure for teenagers and succeeded in widening his appeal even after his early death.
Goldman, A., Elvis. 1981.
Pressler, Manahem (1923– ). Israeli-American pianist, born in Germany. He escaped from Germany in 1939, taught in the US, was pianist with the Beaux Arts Trio 1955–2008, then began touring as a soloist, with his Berlin debut at the age of 90.
Prester John (Latin: Presbyter Johannes). Legendary Christian patriarch, elder and king, a subject of great medieval interest. His location moved through the centuries, identified first with India where St *Thomas had established Christian communities, then with Nestorians in Mongolia, later with the Christian (Coptic) rulers of Ethiopia. Prester John was referred to by *Marco Polo and *Shakespeare.
Silverberg, R., The Realm of Prester John. 1996.
Pretender, the Old and the Young see Stuart, James Edward and Stuart, Charles Edward
Pretorius, Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus (1799–1853). South African Boer leader, born in Cape Colony. He became prominent during the Great Trek from the Cape to Natal, when by his victory over the Zulus (1838) he avenged the massacre of Piet Retief and his 60 followers by the Zulu chief, *Dingaan. After the British occupation of Natal, Pretorius moved on to the Transvaal, the independence of which was secured by the Sands River Convention (1842). First President of the Transvaal South African Republic 1852–53, its capital Pretoria was named for him. His son Marthinus Wessels Pretorius (1819–1901), President of both the Transvaal 1855–71 and the Orange Free State 1859–63, tried, vainly, to unite them.
Prévost (d’Exiles), Antoine François (1697–1763). French novelist, known as l’Abbé Prevost. Having left his Jesuit college to serve as a soldier, he joined the Benedictines and became a priest. His vocation was real enough but often in conflict with the demands of his nature for passion and adventure. His life in consequence contained clashes with his Church superiors (and even the police) as well as periods when he found it wise to live abroad, especially in England. The conflict was to some extent resolved by his writings in which he could enjoy by proxy some of the experiences otherwise denied. In the Abbey of St Germain des Prés in Paris, he wrote the novel Les Memoires d’un homme de qualité (1728–31). This included the famous love story Manon Lescaut (later an opera by *Puccini) in which the titular heroine was the femme fatale in the life of the chevalier Des Grieux, a young man closely resembling Prevost himself. He translated several of *Richardson’s novels into French.
Price, Richard (1723–1791). Welsh Unitarian minister. A thinker on moral and political problems and ideas, he advocated the reduction of the National Debt in 1771 and defended the policies and aspirations of the American Revolutionaries. A friend of Benjamin *Franklin, he was well regarded in America and was invited over by Congress in 1778, after his Observations on Civil Liberty and the War with America (1776).
Prichard, Katherine Susannah (1883–1969). Australian novelist, born in Fiji. She grew up in poverty in Tasmania and Victoria, became a governess, then a journalist, lived in London 1908–16 and in Western Australia from 1919. Her novels included The Pioneers (1915), Working Bullocks (1926), Coonardo (1929) and The Roaring Nineties (1946). She joined the Australian Communist Party in 1920 and became an inflexible Stalinist. Her husband, Jim (Hugo Vivian Hope) Throssell (1884–1933) won a VC at Gallipoli, supported her politics and pacifism but suffered from depression and shot himself.
Priestley, J(ohn) B(oynton) (1894–1984). English novelist, playwright and essayist, born in Bradford. Wounded in France in World War I, he studied at Cambridge University, then worked as publisher’s reader in London. After making his name with critical studies of Meredith (1926) and Peacock (1927) he wrote the picaresque novel The Good Companions (1929), the most popular of all his works, followed by e.g. Angel Pavement (1930), Bright Day (1946) and Festival at Farbridge (1951). The plays Dangerous Corner (1932) and Laburnum Grove (1933) show his skill and originality in a new medium. Four others Time and the Conways (1937), I Have Been Here Before (1937), Music at Night (1938) and An Inspector Calls (1946) have plots based on J. W. *Dunne’s space-time concepts. He wrote more than 100 books, including three volumes of autobiography, history and criticism, and was a particularly effective broadcaster (especially during World War II). He received the OM in 1977.
Priestley, Joseph (1733–1804). English Unitarian clergyman and chemist, born in Yorkshire. The orphaned son of a preacher, he was largely self-educated, with a gift for languages. He met *Franklin in 1766 and this encouraged him to concentrate on science and to write a History of Electricity (1767). He was the first to produce several gases e.g. ammonia, sulphur dioxide and the oxides of nitrogen. Experiments with carbon dioxide led to the invention of soda water (1772), which earned him the Copley Medal. He became librarian (1772–80) to Lord *Shelburne, adviser to Josiah *Wedgwood and a member of the Birmingham Lunar Society. The first to realise that air is not an elementary substance, but a compound of gases, Priestley isolated—as did *Scheele—the active component which he called ‘dephlogisticated air’ (1774), named ‘oxygen’ by *Lavoisier in 1779. His History of Early Opinion concerning Jesus Christ (1786) was deeply controversial. He strongly supported the French Revolution and this led to his Birmingham house being sacked by a mob (1791). Cold, remote and disagreeable, he felt increasingly isolated and migrated to America (1794). He first advocated the goal of ‘the greatest happiness for the greatest number’, later taken up by *Bentham.
Gibbs, F. W., Joseph Priestley: Adventurer in Science and Champion of Truth. 1965.
Prieur de la Cöte-d’Or (originally Prieur-Duvernois), Claude-Antoine (1763–1832). French military engineer and politician. He served in the Legislative Assembly 1791–92, Convention 1792–95, Committee of Public Safety 1793–94 and the Council of 500 1795–99. He worked with *Carnot as de facto Minister for Supply in providing the weapons in the revolutionary wars. He founded the École Polytechnique, pushed for adoption of the metric weights and measures, then ran a wallpaper factory.
Prigogine, Ilya Romanovich (1917–2003). Belgian physicist, born in Russia. He held chairs in physics at Brussels 1951–87, Chicago 1961–66, and the University of Texas (Austin) 1967–2003. He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977 for his work on the thermodynamics of systems which are not in a state of equilibrium. His books include From Being to Becoming (1980).
Primakov, Evgenyi Maksimovich (1929–2015). Russian economist and politician. He was *Yeltsin’s Foreign Minister 1996–97 and Prime Minister 1998–99.
Prim y Prats, Juan, Count of Reus, Marques de los Castillejos (1814–1870). Spanish soldier and politician. He was a capable general and military administrator in several fields and also had a chequered but influential political career. He played a large part in the rivalries of Queen *Isabella’s reign and helped to overthrow *Espartero. Exiled for a time for complicity in a military plot, he returned to Spain in 1850. Again exiled (1864–66) he was prominent in the revolution that deposed Isabella (1868) and in 1870, now Prime Minister, he took the unpopular step of offering the crown to Prince *Amadeo of Savoy, which provoked his murder by an unknown assassin.
Primo de Rivera (y Orbaneja), Miguel, Marques d’Estella (1870–1930). Spanish dictator. After a military career which took him to Morocco, Cuba and the Philippines, he held a number of administrative appointments. After a military coup (1923) he set up a dictatorship welcomed by King *Alfonso XIII. As Prime Minister 1923–30, he with France to crush *Abd el-Krim in Morocco (1926) and he improved Spain’s infrastructure. However, opposition to his authoritarian rule steadily grew and in January 1930 he was forced to resign, dying in Paris six weeks later. His son José Antonio Primo de Rivera (1903–1936), a charismatic lawyer, whose friends included the poet Garcia *Lorca, founded the Falange Party, was elected to the Cortes and executed by Republican extremists in Alicante. *Franco, who saw him as a rival but found him a useful martyr, posthumously created him a duke in 1947. His name is memorialised on many church walls in Spain.
Payne, S. G. Falange. 1961; Carr, R., Spain 1808–1939. 1966.
Princip, Gavrilo (1895?–1918). Bosnian Serb nationalist. A student, he joined the Black Hand and assassinated *Franz Ferdinand and his wife at Sarajevo (28 June 1914). Fifteen youths were arrested for treason and six executed. Reprieved on account of his age, Princip died of tuberculosis in prison.
Prior, Matthew (1664–1721). English poet and diplomat, born in Wimborne. Son of a joiner, he was educated under the patronage of Lord Dorset and sent to Holland as secretary to the British Ambassador. There he was noticed by William of Orange (*William III) and later played so important a part in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) that it was known as ‘Matt’s Peace’. The success of his Poems on Several Occasions (1718) relieved him of financial anxiety and, though the Whigs had no use for his political services, he led an agreeable life much courted for his wit. Much of his work was in the form of burlesque and he was a successful writer of light verse.
Pritchett, Sir V(ictor) S(awdon) (1900–1997). English author and critic. He wrote biographies of *Balzac, *Turgenev and *Chekhov, an autobiography, many essays and much admired short stories. He was awarded the CH in 1993.
Proclus (410–485). Greek philosopher, born in Constantinople. Of wealthy parentage, he studied rhetoric, grammar and law, and was a mathematician and astronomer as well as a philosopher. He is ranked with neoplatonists, and indeed he carries to an extreme their practice of forming a synthesis of all beliefs and philosophical systems, using not only the inner vision of *Photinus but a Euclidian method of classification of gods, demons etc. derived from all the mythologies and theologies known to him. Using the method of dialectic, he also applied this system of subdivision to the Intellect (or Mind) and Soul, forming an elaborate chain of descent from the One. Having thus carried the neoplatonist process of integration to an extreme point, he could have no direct successors, though he influenced *Descartes and *Spinoza among others, and in a sense anticipated deism. He lived as an ascetic and, though like the other neoplatonists he interpreted *Plato as a theologian, he was an initiate of the pagan mysteries.
Procopius (d.c.565). Byzantine historian. He accompanied *Belisarius on his campaigns, and wrote De Bellis (Wars) in eight books and the scurrilous Anecdota (Historia arcana or Secret History), which provide valuable first-hand accounts of the wars against the Vandals and other events of *Justinian’s reign. His De aedificiis, a book describing the public buildings of his time, has great archaeological interest.
Prodi, Romano (1939– ). Italian economist and politician. A professor at the University of Bologna, he was Premier of Italy 1996–98, as head of the ‘Olive Tree’ Centre-Left coalition. He became President of the European Union 1999–2001, and Prime Minister 2006–08, after a tight contest with *Berlusconi, but his left coalition fell apart in 2008 and Berlusconi returned to office.
Profumo, John Denis (1915–2000). English soldier and Conservative politician. Of Italian descent, he was MP 1940–45, 1950–62, served in World War II and reached the rank of brigadier. In 1954 he married the beautiful film star Valerie Hobson (1917–1998). As Secretary of State for War 1960–63, under Harold *Macmillan, he was at the vortex of a scandal (‘the Profumo Affair’) involving his liaison with Christine Keeler, who had informal relations with a Russian agent, creating media frenzy about sex, snobbery, espionage and the consequences of lying to Parliament. The affair paralysed the last months of the Macmillan Government. The disgraced Profumo redeemed himself by active involvement in charities.
Davenport-Hines, R., An English Affair. 2013.
Prokhorov, Aleksandr Mikhailovich (1916–2002). Russian physicist, born in Peeramon, Queensland. His family, political exiles, returned to Russia in 1923. With Nikolai Basov he worked out the theoretical basis of the maser, which led to the laser, independent of C. H. *Townes’ research. All three shared the 1964 Nobel Prize for Physics.
Prokofiev, Sergei Sergeyevich (1891–1953). Russian composer, born in the Ukraine. A brilliant pianist from his early childhood, he studied composition with *Glière, *Rimsky Korsakov and *Lyadov. Among his early works written before he left Russia in 1918 or during his sojourn abroad were his Classical Symphony (1916–17) the first and still perhaps the best known of seven symphonies, the opera Love of Three Oranges (1921) and ballet scores for *Diaghilev in Paris (1921–27). He returned to the USSR in 1933. A prolific composer, his later works included two violin concertos, five piano concertos, the operas The Flaming Angel (1922–25) and War and Peace (1941–42), scores for *Eisenstein’s films Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible, the ballets Romeo and Juliet (1935) and Cinderella (1941–44), the popular ‘symphonic fairy tale’ for children Peter and the Wolf (1936) and nine piano sonatas. His music is noted for its satirical, often astringent, tone.
Shlifstein, S. (ed.), S. Prokofiev: Autobiography, Articles, Reminiscences. 1960
Propertius, Sextus (c.50–c.15 BCE). Roman poet. He spent most of his life in Rome. Almost all his poems are dedicated to his passion for ‘Cynthia’, the courtesan Hostia. His elegiacs lack the smooth perfection of *Ovid’s but show much deeper feeling.
Luck, G., The Latin Love Elegy. 2nd ed. 1969.
Protagoras (c.485–c.411 BCE). Greek sophist from Abdera in Thrace. His religious scepticism was, he explained, due to ignorance of the existence of the gods, owing to ‘the obscurity of the subject and the shortness of human life’. He is remembered for his maxim ‘Man is the measure of all things, of the existence of the things that are and the non-existence of the things that are not’. Good (i.e. efficient) conduct, leading to success, was the target at which his teaching was aimed. He is portrayed in *Plato’s dialogue bearing his name.
Guthrie, W. K. C., A History of Greek Philosophy. 1965.
Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1809–1865). French political theorist, born in Besançon. From a poor family, he was educated with the help of friends and later won a three-year bursary given by the Besançon Académie. He went to Paris where he published Qu’est-ce que la proprieté? (1840), the answer to the question being ‘property is theft’, arguing that owners of property whether in land or industry exact the produce of labour in the form of rent, interest, profit etc., without giving equivalent recompense. The clearest exposition of his views is found in his Systeme des Contradictions économiques (1846). In the revolution of 1848 he was elected to the assembly. His hostility to *Napoléon III resulted in imprisonment (1849–52) and exile. His writings fill 33 volumes with another 14 of correspondence. Another main thesis, that anarchy is the culmination of social progress, predicts that when man attains his full social development he will have acquired enough self-discipline to enable police and government restraints to be dispensed with. He was anti-Semitic and—anomalously—supported the patriarchal family, even condoning violence towards women. Much of Proudhon’s thought was adopted by others, but he died neglected.
Woodcock, G., Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work. 1972.
Proulx, E(dna) Annie (1935– ). American novelist, born in Connecticut. After years writing magazine articles, she gained critical recognition with her first novel Postcards (1992), and won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize with her second, The Shipping News (1993).
Proust, (Valentin Louis Georges Eugène) Marcel (1871–1922). French novelist, born in Auteuil (now a suburb of Paris). His father, a physician, was Catholic, his mother Jewish, and he grew up in a wealthy bourgeois environment. Asthmatic from the age of nine, his education was much interrupted by illness. He abandoned law studies at the Sorbonne but read avidly and was influenced by the aesthetics of John *Ruskin and the philosophy of his relative by marriage Henri *Bergson. He was an early and active supporter of Alfred *Dreyfus. He lived as a dilettante until he was 35, ambitious to rise in society and haunting the literary salons. During this time he published only a few volumes of verse and, although his grasp of English was imperfect, translations of Ruskin’s The Bible of Amiens (1899–1900) and Sesame and Lilies (1904–05).
He had become attracted to Bergson’s views on time and the unconscious. He explored the limitations placed on the intellect’s ability to grasp and hold by the continuous process of time, and finally on the superiority of intuition over intellect in assessing reality. His mother’s death (1905) brought a complete change. Without her protective care and understanding the sensitive invalid withdrew into the seclusion of a cork-lined flat and devoted himself for the rest of his life to writing seven novels (3,300 printed pages in total; 1,240,000 words) which bear the collective title À la recherche du temps perdu.
À la recherche du temps perdu describes events (estimated as 182 days) between 1877 and 1925 (a projection, three years after Proust’s death), but providing a panoramic view of French society, especially in the decade 1892–1902, la belle époque, during the Third French Republic, seen through the eyes of a social climber, a heterosexual and non-Jew, not Proust himself. The Narrator describes himself as ‘I’ (‘je’) throughout, but there are two casual references to ‘Marcel’. The work provides a penetrating analysis of personalities, class, painting and music, the belle époque, the Dreyfus case and the demoralising impact of war. It is both a comic masterpiece and an examination of time and memory. Proust’s psychological insights are profound. The dividing line between real and imaginary is often unclear. But this is no dream sequence; the characters are sharply, and often ironically, drawn. It defies definition and comparison. The contrast between Swann’s Way (Du côté de chez Swann, 1913) and The Guermantes Way (Le côté de Guermantes, 1920) is both literal and metaphorical: two areas bisected by the Seine, the bourgeois Faubourg Saint-Honoré on the right bank, the aristocratic Faubourg Saint-Germain on the left.
Proust had a profound psychological understanding, matched by his analysis of time and aesthetics. In Time Regained the Narrator writes: ‘Every reader is, as he reads, actually the reader of himself. The work of the writer is only a kind of optical instrument that he offers the reader so he is able to discern what he would perhaps never have seen in himself without this book. The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth.’ The novel is marked by a preoccupation with optics—with the process of seeing, sorting and interpreting images. Even more important is memory, especially involuntary memory, the celebrated and often quoted moments bienheureux, incidents apparently trivial which keep being recalled: a madeleine dipped in tea, his mother’s failure to kiss him good night, the unevenness of cobblestones, the clink of cutlery on a plate. Proust picked up from *Montaigne the concept of ‘soul error’ (‘une erreur d’âme’), the persistent undervaluing of our own observation or experience. Nevertheless, he recognised that memory is not fixed, but ever-changing as creativity interacts with the raw material of experience.
The first novel Du côte de chez Swann (Swann’s Way) was completed in 1912 but only published at the author’s expense; the first volume appeared in 1913. (André *Gide had rejected it for serialisation in Nouvelle Revue Française.) World War I interrupted publication and meanwhile the author had changed and expanded his plan. A new publisher took over, and a second volume, À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleur, was awarded the Prix Goncourt (1919). The remaining volumes, including the notorious Sodome et Gomorrhe (3 volumes, 1922), continued to appear until his death and afterwards (1920–25). À la recherche appeared in an English translation by C. K. Scott Moncrieff between 1922 and 1931, under the Biblical and Shakespearean title Remembrance of Things Past. Since the 1992 revision, based on a corrected French text, the title In Search of Lost Time (less poetic but closer to Proust’s own title) has been used. Although he was never even nominated for the Nobel Prize, by the year 2000 Proust was often identified in surveys as the greatest novelist of the 20th century.
Painter, G. D., Marcel Proust: 2 vols, 1959, 1965; Shattuck, R., Proust. 1974; Hayman, R., Proust. 1990; de Botton, A., How Proust Can Change Your Life. 1997; Carter, W. C., Marcel Proust: A Life. 2000; Tadie, J.-Y., Marcel Proust: A Life. 2000.
Prout, William (1785–1850). English chemist and physician. He pioneered researches into organic chemistry, principally on the digestive system, and on urine. He recognised that the gastric juices of many animals contain hydrochloric acid, and experimented on the chemical decomposition of foodstuffs (seeing them as combinations of water, fats, carbohydrates and proteins). Prout’s main theoretical concept was the belief based on some experimental work that the atomic weights of all elements were integral if the atomic weight of hydrogen was taken as unity. He had an underlying conception of hydrogen as a kind of primary matter from which all other matter might be formed. Prout’s hypothesis turned out to be untrue, but it proved an important stimulus through the 19th century to the study of atomic weights, and to attempts to classify the elements.
Prynne, William (1600–1669). English Puritan politician and pamphleteer. Because his Histriomastix (1632), a huge work attacking the stage and its players, was alleged to defame *Charles I and his queen Prynne, he was savagely sentenced by the Star Chamber to imprisonment in the Tower of London, a large fine and the loss of his ears. Three years later he was again fined, and branded ‘S. L.’ (seditious libeller) on his cheeks for attacking Archbishop *Laud in pamphlets. He was released in 1640, became an MP in the Long Parliament and a strong supporter of the parliamentary cause. In December 1648 he was expelled, following Pride’s Purge. He wrote many pamphlets attacking the army and the developments of the 1650s. Under *Cromwell he suffered imprisonment and became a vigorous propagandist for the Restoration, after which event he was rewarded by being appointed Keeper of the Records at the Tower of London. He published valuable historical work.
Lamont, W. H., Marginal Prynne. 1963.
Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus) (c.90–168). Greek astronomer and geographer. He lived in Alexandria and wrote an astronomical treatise (known under its Arabic name Almagest) which is the source of almost all our knowledge of Greek astronomy and was a fundamental textbook until the discoveries of *Copernicus upset its basic theory that the earth is the centre of the universe. His Guide to Geography, with the accompanying maps, was equally influential. He conceived of the world as a sphere and he introduced the method of fixing locations by means of parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude. That he made mistakes of measurement is of small account when compared with the greatness of his achievement, to which the whole science of cartography owed its origin. It was due to Ptolemy’s mismeasurement of the equator that *Columbus believed that he had reached Asia by a westward route when he discovered the West Indies.
Thomson. J. O., History of Ancient Geography. 1948; Dreyer, J. H. E., A History of Astronomy. 1963; Bevan. E. R., The House of Ptolemy. 1968.
Ptolemy I (c.367–283 BCE). Macedonian founder of an Egyptian dynasty. One of *Alexander the Great’s Macedonian generals, he became Governor of Egypt when the Macedonian conquests were divided after the king’s death. In 305 for his assistance to besieged Rhodes he was named Soter (Saviour), and in the same year assumed the title King of Egypt. He made Alexandria, his capital, a centre of commerce and Greek culture.
His son Ptolemy II Philadelphus (c.308?–246 BCE) founded the great Alexandrine library and raised Ptolemaic Egypt to its zenith. There followed a long line of which Ptolemy XIV (47–30 BCE) was the last. Ptolemy XII was the brother of *Cleopatra.
Bevan, E. R. The House of Ptolemy. 1968.
Puccini, Giacomo (Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria) (1858–1924). Italian composer, born in Lucca. Last of a musical family, he became an organist and studied composition at Milan. He wrote some religious and instrumental music but, influenced by *Verdi and *Wagner, turned to opera and had his first success at La Scala in 1884 with Le Villi, followed by Edgar (1889). The last great practitioner of verismo (realism) in Italian opera, his melodic gift, capacity to exploit vocal and orchestral resources, and theatrical sense were enormously successful. Far more than his contemporary Richard *Strauss, he was open to new ideas and recognised the importance of *Debussy, *Schoenberg and *Stravinsky. His intensely romantic operas, e.g. Manon Lescaut (1893), La bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West, 1910) and La rondine (1917) brought him international fame and great wealth. Il trittico (The Triptych, 1918) comprises three one-act operas, Il tabarro (The Cloak), Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) and Gianni Schicchi. He died in Brussels after a failed operation for throat cancer. Turandot, unfinished at his death, was completed by Franco Alfano and premiered in 1926.
Marek, G. R., Puccini. 1951; Phillips-Matz, M. J., Puccini: A Biography. 2003.
Pugachev, Emelian Ivanovich (1744?–1775). Russian impostor. He was a Cossack who posed (1773) as *Catherine the Great’s dead husband *Peter III. He managed to attract a large force, mainly of serfs whom he had enlisted with promises of freedom. Despite early successes he was defeated, betrayed into captivity, taken to Moscow in an iron cage and there executed.
Pugin, Augustus Welby Northmore (1812–1852). English architect and writer. Protagonist of the Gothic Revival, although he designed more than 60 churches (e.g. St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, and his masterpiece, St Giles, Cheadle, Staffordshire) and many country houses, he exercised more influence through his writings, notably The True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841), which became the textbook of Victorian Gothic. He worked under *Barry on the Houses of Parliament and much of the elaborate detail of ornament and fittings was designed by him. Pugin was no mere copyist but indicated how Gothic forms and structural principles were adaptable to modern buildings.
Stanton, P., Pugin. 1971; Hill, R., God’s Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain. 2007.
Pulitzer, Joseph (1847–1911). American newspaper proprietor, born in Hungary. Having fought in the Civil War he became a reporter, and later acquired the St Louis Post Despatch (1877) and the New York World (1883), which he made the leading Democratic newspaper. In his will he established a fund for annual prizes for journalism, literature and music.
Pullman, George Mortimer (1831–1897). American industrialist. He invented and, in America, practically monopolised the manufacture of the railway sleeping-cars and luxury day-coaches that bear his name. The town of Pullman in Illinois was built for his employees.
Pullman, Sir Philip (Nicholas Outram) (1946– ). English novelist, born in Norwich. Educated at Oxford, he became a teacher. His fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (Northern Lights, 1995; The Subtle Knife, 1997; The Amber Spyglass, 2000), aimed at children, was a bestseller and critical success. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ (2010) was controversial, but had influential supporters. His trilogy The Book of Dust is incomplete.
Pulteney, William, 1st Earl of Bath (1684–1764). English politician and orator. He served as a Whig MP 1705–42, was Secretary of State for War 1714–17 and originally a strong supporter of *Walpole. However, he came to regard Walpole as corrupt and from 1725 led ‘the Patriot Whigs’ in opposition to him. He accepted a peerage from *George II in 1742. In 1742 and 1746 he almost became Prime Minister but on both occasions lacked enough support in the House of Commons.
Purcell, Henry (1659–1695). English composer, born in London. He came from a family of musicians and as a boy was a chorister of the Chapel Royal, London (1669?–73). He later sang as a counter-tenor ‘with incredible graces’. After being a music copyist at Westminster Abbey he was appointed (1677) composer to the king’s violin band. Two years later he became organist of Westminster Abbey, and from 1682 of the Chapel Royal. He composed much Church music, over 200 songs, duets and catches, keyboard works, chamber music (some early string fantasies on the Elizabethan model and later works in the new Italian concerted style), nearly 70 anthems, many with orchestral accompaniment, and incidental music for plays. His six operas and semi-operas include Dido and Aeneas (1689?), King Arthur (1691), The Fairy Queen (1692), an adaptation of *Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Indian Queen (1695) to words by *Dryden. His occasional works include the ode for St Cecilia’s Day Hail, Bright Cecilia (1692) and odes of welcome and birthday odes for the sovereign, e.g. Come ye sons of art (1694). His name is pronounced like the soap powder.
Westrup, J. A., Purcell. 7th ed. 1973; Holman, P., Henry Purcell. 1995; Keates, J., Henry Purcell. 1995.
Purkyně (or Purkinje), Jan Evangelista (1787–1869). Czech physiologist, born in Libochovice. Educated at the Charles University, Prague, where he held a chair, in 1819 he described the ‘Purkinje shift’, different perceptions of colour in bright and low light. Much of his work centred on cell observations, cutting wafer thin slices of tissue, examined with a compound microscope. He discovered sweat glands in 1833 and ‘Purkinje cells’, large neurons with branching dendrites in the brain, in 1837. ‘Purkinje fibres’ (1839) conduct electrical impulses to the ventricals of the heart. He coined the terms ‘plasma’ for the extracellular matrix in blood and ‘protoplasm’ for the fluid in a cell in 1839. He pioneered research into the physiology of the senses and performed self-experimentation on the visual effects of applying pressure to the eyeball. The physiological basis of subjective visual effects had been examined but hitherto largely ignored in the German-speaking world, partly because of the assumption, made by *Goethe and other Romantics, that they were essentially products of the imagination. A moon crater and Asteroid 3701 Purkyně are named for him.
Pusey, Edward Bouverie (1800–1882). English religious leader. After being ordained (1828), he was Regius professor of Hebrew at Oxford 1829–82. With *Newman and *Keble he was a leader of the Tractarian or Oxford Movement which started in 1833 with the publication of the first issues of Tracts for the Times, to which Pusey made notable contributions on the eucharist and baptism. The movement was designed to combat rationalism and by stressing the common heritage of the Roman Catholic and English Catholic churches it was hoped to pave the way for eventual reunion. But Pusey did not himself follow Newman’s example of joining the Roman Catholic Church and in his writings and sermons argued against such a course. He was responsible for many benefactions and worked in the East End of London during the cholera epidemic of 1866. His book collection formed the nucleus of the library at Pusey House, Oxford, opened in his memory in 1884.
Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeivich (1799–1837). Russian poet, dramatist and short-story writer, born in Moscow. He came of a poor but noble family, with an exotic strain in his ancestry: his maternal great-grandfather, Abram Petrovich Gannibal, claimed to be an Abyssinian prince and became a general under *Peter the Great. In St Petersburg as a young man, he combined work at the Foreign Office with life as a poet and man about town, but many of his poems, e.g. the fiery Ode to Liberty (1820), were infected with the ideas that the French armies had carried with them through Europe and he was exiled to south Russia. There, under *Byron’s influence, he began to replace the rigid classicism that Russia had borrowed from France by freer, romantic and more dramatic forms. Twenty-four of his works became operas (some set several times). In Odessa he began (1824) his verse novel Evgeny Onegin suggested by *Byron’s Don Juan and later converted into an opera by *Tchaikovsky. A similar musical destiny awaited several of Pushkin’s best known creations. Ruslan and Lyudmila (1820), his first major work, became an opera by *Glinka. The tragic drama Boris Godunov (1825) is even better known as *Mussorgsky’s opera. The Queen of Spades, a remarkable short novel, had a future not only as an opera by Tchaikovsky but also as a film. Mozart and Salieri (1831) and Ruslan and Lyudmilla (1820), his first major work, was set by *Glinka. The Gypsies (1824), an epic poem, became *Rachmaninoff's opera Aleko (1892). Mozart and Salieri (1831) and The Golden Cockerel (1835) became operas by *Rimsky-Korsakov. Among Pushkin’s other works was the narrative poem The Bronze Horsemen (1833) and the novel The Captain’s Daughter (1836). He also wrote folk and fairy stories and many beautiful lyrics, several of which have been turned into songs. Pushkin returned to St Petersburg after the accession of Tsar *Nikolai I, and a visit to the Caucasus (1829) resulted in a finely descriptive prose work, The Journey to Aryrum. In 1831 he succeeded at last in making the beautiful but frivolous Natalya Nikolaeyevna Gonchorova (1813–1863) his wife, but the marriage was unhappy and he died of wounds received in a duel with a French officer Georges d’Anthès whom he suspected of being his wife’s lover. Like *Shakespeare and *Goethe, Pushkin’s work is all the more extraordinary because he created a national literary tradition rather than building on one. *Gogol, *Turgenev, *Dostoevsky and *Tolstoy were his heirs.
Troyat, H., Pushkin. 1974; Feinstein, E., Pushkin. 1998; Binyon, T. J., Pushkin. 2002.
Putin, Vladimir Vladimirovich (1952– ). Russian administrator and politician, born in Leningrad (now St Petersburg). A law graduate from Leningrad University, he was a KGB operative 1975–91, and a spy in Dresden 1985–90. He became an advisor to Anatoli *Sobchak, Mayor of St Petersburg, 1991–96, then relocated to Moscow, working in Boris *Yeltsin’s secretariat 1996–99. Prime Minister of the Russian Federation 1999–2000, he became Acting President after Yeltsin’s sudden resignation (December 1999). President of Russia 2000–08; 2012– , he won the March 2000 election on the first ballot, with 53 per cent of the votes, gaining 72 per cent in 2004. In 2008, constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term, he secured the election of Dmitri *Medvedev, who then appointed him Prime Minister 2008–12. Putin and Medvedev exchanged roles in 2012, with Putin being re-elected with 64 per cent of the votes. In March 2018, after the Constitution was amended to provide for six year terms, Putin secured a vote of 76 per cent after a campaign in which he was the only serious candidate, with total media support. His personal wealth was calculated at $42 billion and his rule often described as a kleptocracy.
Gessen, M., The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. 2012; Myers, S. L., The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin. 2014.
Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre (1824–1898). French painter. He attempted with partial success to restore to wall paintings their significant place in art. Examples of his work are the paintings of the life of St Genevieve on the walls of the Panthéon, which occupied him from 1874 until his death.
Jullian, P., Dreamers of Decadence. 1971.
Pu’yi, Henry (Xuantong) (1906–1967). Last Qing (Manchu) emperor of China 1908–12. A nephew of the murdered emperor Guangxu, he was appointed to the throne by the dowager empress *Cixi (Tz’u Hsi) at the age of two. Deposed by *Sun Yatsen’s revolution (1912), he adopted his English pre-name as a tribute to *Henry VIII. In July 1917 he was restored for one week. He lived in Japan 1932–34 and, after the invasion of Manchuria, became as Gang De, the puppet emperor of Manchukuo 1934–45. Held by the Russians 1945–50, and jailed in China as a political criminal 1950–59, he declared himself as a supporter of the Peoples’ Republic, worked as a gardener in Shenyang, then as a research worker in Beijing. He wrote memoirs and was the subject of *Bertolucci’s film The Last Emperor (1986).
Pym, Barbara (Mary Crampton) (1913–1980). English novelist. She published six novels between 1950 and 1961 with modest success, only gaining wider recognition after 1977 when critics in the Times Literary Supplement singled her out as one of the most underrated writers of the century. Her books include No Fond Return of Love (1961), Quartet in Autumn (1977) and The Sweet Dove Died (1978).
Pym, John (1584–1643). English parliamentarian, born in Somerset. He studied law at Oxford, was a Member of Parliament 1614–22; 1624–29; 1640–43, and after the accession of *Charles I became the crown’s sternest and most effective opponent. Prominent in the impeachment of *Buckingham, he took an active part in promoting the Petition of Right (1628). After the 11 years during which Charles called no parliament (1629–40) he was foremost in pressing the proceedings against *Strafford and *Laud. In 1642 he was one of the five MPs whom Charles tried to arrest. Until his death in December 1643, he led the Commons. After the outbreak of the Civil War he devised the alliance with the Scots which eventually gave the parliamentarians the victory. An outstanding parliamentary orator, he died of cancer, was buried in Westminster Abbey, then exhumed on the Restoration.
Hexter, J. H., The Reign of King Pym. 1941; Glow, L., Pym and Parliament: The Methods of Moderation. 1964.
Pynchon, Thomas (Ruggles) (1937– ). American novelist, born in New York. He studied engineering at Cornell University, wrote several short stories and published the novels V (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) and Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), hailed by critics as major works. He published nothing further until some early short stories, Slow Learner (1984), and the novels Vineland (1990), Mason & Dixon (1997), Against the Day (2006), Inherent Vice (2009) and Bleeding Edge (2013). Pynchon was a recluse, rarely photographed and never interviewed.
Pyrrho of Elis (c.310–270 BCE). Greek philosopher. He taught an extreme form of scepticism, which held that it was impossible to understand the nature of things and that the best state of mind was obtained by suspending judgment rather than attempting to make decisions. He would admit that man could have a sensation of sweetness or pain but in the latter case would lessen its effect by not believing it to be evil. The term ‘Pyrrhonian scepticism’ passed into common speech. None of his writings survive.
Zeller, E., Stoics, Epicureans and Skeptics. 1962.
Pyrrhus (319–272 BCE). King of Epirus c.297–272 BCE. After the death of *Alexander the Great, to whom he was related, he tried to carve an empire for himself out of the Macedonian heritage. With the help of *Ptolemy I he became joint king of Epirus (roughly the equivalent of modern Albania). Seeking new conquests, he accepted an invitation (281) from Tarentum (Taranto), a Greek city in Italy, for help against Rome, and his army of 25,000 men with elephants (seen by the Romans for the first time) gained a hard fought victory near Heraclea with the loss of 4000 men. Another victory near Asculum (279) brought such losses that the phrase ‘Pyrrhic victory’ gained immortal currency. After further campaigns he returned to Epirus (275). After an unsuccessful attack on Sparta he retreated to Argos, where he was killed by a tile thrown by a woman.
Hammond, N. G. H., Epirus. 1967.
Pythagoras (6th century BCE). Greek philosopher and mathematician, born in Samos. He later established a school or brotherhood in Croton, a Greek colony of southern Italy. The brotherhood seems to have formed a mystical cult, to have led an ascetic life and to have practised purification rites. It seems also to have formed a ruling oligarchy, for, after 20 years, the people rose against it and forced it to leave Croton. Pythagoras withdrew to Megapontum, where he died. No writings of his have survived, and it is difficult therefore to separate his views from those of his followers.
Pythagoras adopted the belief in transmigration of souls, both from animal to man and from man to animal, the necessity for this being removed when purification, attained by ritual practices and spiritual contemplation, was complete. Pythagoras was primarily a mathematician. He had a mathematical conception of the universe: that its order is due to the mathematical relationships of one component to another, both location and movement conforming to strict mathematical laws. This concept has been followed by many others, e.g. *Copernicus, *Galileo, *Newton and *Einstein. These laws he related to those of music, hence such terms as music (or harmony) of the spheres, and his analysis of harmony was unchallenged until the 15th century (*Dunstable). He ascribed day and night to the rotation of the earth, which he is said to have discovered. To his mathematical conception he gave philosophic point by asserting that by the contemplation of such harmonies man achieves virtue and that virtue is in fact a harmony of the soul just as health indicates a harmony of the body. Many of these ideas were adopted by *Plato and *Aristotle or critically examined by them. Pythagoreanism, with its emphasis on discernible order in being, paved the way for rational metaphysical speculation as against a materialistic (or simply positive) classification and explanation of knowledge. It fathered most schools of philosophy that existed in the European tradition for the next two millennia.
Guthrie, W. K. C., A History of Greek Philosophy. 1962; Vogel, C. J. de, Pythagoras and Early Pythagoreanism. 1966.
Pytheas (4th century BCE). Greek navigator and geographer, born at Massilia (Marseilles). He sailed past the coasts of Brittany and reached Cornwall, where he traded in tin at an island believed to be St Michael’s Mount. Eventually he reached ‘Thule’ (probably one of the Shetlands) and the Baltic Sea. His account, now lost, was received with incredulity in his own day, but was used by *Strabo and seems to have been as accurate as possible with his limited resources. He attributed tidal movement to lunar attraction.
Pythias see Damon and Pythias