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Pomi(S) de'


POMI(S), DE' (Heb. מִן הַתַּפּוּחִים), Min ha-Tappuḥim), one of the four distinguished Roman families which, according to an ancient tradition, were brought by Titus from Ereẓ Israel to Italy (see title page of David de' Pomis, Ẓemaḥ David).

elijah de' pomi(s) (d. 1298), rabbi and possibly also head of the community in Rome, martyred on the 20th Tammuz 5058. The Inquisition sought to strike at the richer Jews since it considered them supporters of the Patrician Colonna family, who opposed Pope Boniface viii (1294–1303). While denying that there was any basis for the allegation, Elijah allowed all suspicion to fall on him alone. He was burned at the stake and his family sought refuge in Spoleto. Two anonymous elegies on his death have been preserved.

david de' pomis (1525–1593) was linguist, physician, and philosopher. Son of the learned R. Isaac, he was born in Spoleto. He received his early education from his father and later, at Todi, from his uncles Rabbi Jehiel (Vitale) and Moses *Alatino, both physicians who were well versed in philosophy. For six years David studied medicine and philosophy in Perugia, where he received his doctorate in medicine in 1551. He was rabbi and physician at Magliano near Rome, but on account of the edict of Pope *Pauliv forbidding Jewish physicians to attend Christians (1555), he moved from town to town in Italy before he settled in 1569 in Venice, where he published the greater part of his works. Pius iv (1559–65) gave him permission to attend Christians, a concession revoked by Pius v (1565–72) and later restored by Pope Sixtus V (1585–90). In his booklet De Medico Hebraeo Enarratio Apologica (Venice, 1588) David de' Pomis refutes the charges brought against Jews and Jewish physicians in particular by a bull of 1581 by Gregory xiii (1572–85). He stresses that according to the Bible and Talmud a Jewish physician must give help to every sufferer, and cites numerous instances of Jewish doctors who had distinguished themselves by their work and their loyalty. The volume ends with a selection of talmudic rules translated into Latin in order to prove that the Talmud should not be despised.

David de' Pomis is famous above all for the Ẓemaḥ David, a trilingual Hebrew, Latin, and Italian dictionary (Venice, 1587). The work, which is dedicated to Pope Sixtus v, contains numerous discourses of a scientific and historical nature; the preface embodies the author's genealogy and autobiography. Among his other works are a translation into Italian of Ecclesiastes with explanatory notes (Venice, 1571) dedicated to Cardinal G. Grimani; Discorso intorno a l'humana miseria e sopra il modo di fuggirla ("A Discourse on Human Suffering and How to Escape It"; Venice 1572), dedicated to Margaret of Savoy, was published as an appendix to this work. His medical works include a treatise on the plague (Venice, 1577) and another on maladies of old age (Venice, 1588) dedicated to the doge and senate of Venice; in the latter, he mentions a work on the divine origin of the Venetian Republic which has not been preserved; also lost were Sukkat David and Migdal David (mentioned in the preface to Ẓemaḥ David) and a treatise on the battering ram (mentioned under the name of תותק). His translations of Daniel and Job have never been published.


Vogelstein-Rieger, 1 (1896), 255–7; 2 (1895), 259–60; H. Friedenwald, in: jqr, 32 (1941/42), 228–30; 407–8; idem, Jews and Medicine (1944), index s.v.Pomis, David de; C. Roth, Venice (1930), 95, 186–8; idem, Jews in the Renaissance (1959), 223–5; L. Muenster, in: Revue d'Histoire de la Médicine Hebraique, 7 (1954), 7–16, 125–36; Milano, Italia, 82, 633, 662; idem, Il ghetto di Roma (1964), 418, 422.

[Alfredo Mordechai Rabello]

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