An old Italian Jewish family which claimed descent from King David. According to a legend, reproduced by De Pomis in the introduction to his lexicon "Ẓemaḥ Dawid," the Pomeria family was one of the four families brought from Jerusalem to Rome by Titus. The family is a most important one, being related to that of Anaw. Members of the family are said to have lived in Rome until about 1100, when they emigrated, scattering through Italy. Most of them settled at Spoleto in Umbria, where, according to the account of David de Pomis, they and their descendants remained for 420 years; but when Central Italy was sacked by the army of Charles V. of Spain in 1527, the family fell into the hands of the enemy and lost its entire property. In the introduction to his dictionary David de Pomis incorporates his autobiography, and traces his genealogy back to the martyr Elijah de Pomis, as follows: David (b. 1525), Isaac, Eleazar, Isaac, Abraham, Menahem, Isaac, Obadiah, Isaac, and Elijah. This would set the date of Elijah at approximately 1270, which is historically correct. As the last-named lived at Rome, however, the statement that the family left that city about 1100 can not be correct. Moreover, members of the family did not live 420 years, but only 220 years, at Spoleto.

  • David de Pomis, Ẓemaḥ Dawid, Introduction;
  • Nepi-Ghirondi, Toledot Gedole Yisrael, p. 84;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, i. 257.
G. I. E.David ben Isaac de Pomis:

Italian physician and philosopher; born at Spoleto, Umbria, in 1525; died after 1593. When David was born his father was rich; but soon after, he lost his fortune in the following manner: When the Imperialists plundered Rome, Isaac, fearing that they would attack Spoleto, sent all his possessions to Camerino and Civita. The troops of Colonna surprised the convoy on its way, and confiscated all of Isaac's goods. He then settled at Bevegna, where David received his early education. In 1532 Isaac de Pomis settled at Todi and confided the instruction of his son to his uncles Jehiel Alatino and Moses Alatino, who taught the boy the rudiments of medicine and philosophy.

David was graduated, Nov. 27, 1551, as "Artium et Medicinæ Doctor" at the University of Perugia. Later he settled at Magliano, where he practised medicine, holding at the same time the position of rabbi. The anti-Jewish laws enacted by Paul IV. deprived David of his possessions and likewise of his rabbinate; and he entered the service of Count Nicolo Orsini, and five years later that of the Sforza family.

The condition of the Jews of the Pontifical States having improved on the accession of Pius IV., David went to Rome, and, as the result of a Latin discourse delivered before the pope and cardinals, obtained permission to settle at Chiusi and to practise his profession among Christians. Unfortunately, Pius IV. died seven days later, and the permission was annulled by Pius V. David then went to Venice, where a new permission was granted to him by Pope Sixtus V.

De Pomis was the author of the following works: (1) "Ẓemaḥ Dawid," a Hebrew and Aramaic dictionary dedicated to Pope Sixtus V., the words being explained in Latin and Italian. Venice, 1587. This dictionary, variously estimated by the lexicologists (comp. Richard Simon in the appendix to "De Ceremoniis Judæorum"; David de Lara in the introduction to "'Ir Dawid"), was modeled after Jehiel's lexicographical work, "'Aruk." (2) "Ḳohelet," the Book of Ecclesiastes translated into Italian, with explanatory notes, ib. 1571, dedicated to Cardinal Grimani. (3) "Discorso Intorno all' Umana Miseria, e Sopra il Modo di Fuggirla," published as an appendix to "Ḳohelet," ib. 1572, and dedicated to Duchess Margarete of Savoy (David also translated the books of Job and Daniel; but these were never published). (4) "Brevi Discorsi et EficacissimiRicordi per Liberare Ogni Città Oppressa dal Mal Contagioso," ib. 1577. (5) "Enarratio Brevis de Senum Affectibus Præcavendis Atque Curandis" dedicated to the doge and senate of Venice, ib. 1588. (6) A work on the divine character of the Venetian republic, which he cites in his "Enarratio Brevis," but which has not been preserved. (7) "De Medico Hebræo Enarratio Apologica," ib. 1588. This apologetical work, which defends not only Jewish physicians, but Jews in general (see some extracts translated in Winter and Wünsche, "Die Jüdische Litteratur," iii. 698 et seq.), earned much praise from Roman patricians, such as Aldus Manutius the Younger, whose letter of commendation is prefixed to the book.

  • Wolf, Bibl. Hebr. i. 311-313;
  • Jost, Annalen, 1839, p. 223;
  • Grätz. Gesch. ix. 504;
  • Il Vessillo Israelitico, 1875, p. 175; 1876, p. 319;
  • Berliner's Magazin, 1875, p. 48;
  • Steinschneider, Jewish Literature, p. 235;
  • idem, in Monatsschrift, xliii. 32;
  • Dukes, in R. E. J. i. 145-152;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 259-260;
  • Carmoly, Histoire des Médecins Juifs, i. 150-153.
G. I. Br.Elijah de Pomis:

Rabbi and director of the community of Rome; died as a martyr Tammuz 20, 5058 (= July 1, 1298). When the Roman community was assailed under Boniface VIII., Elijah was the first to be seized. To save his coreligionists he pleaded guilty to all the charges brought against him, and was sentenced to trial by fire and water, perishing in the former, whereupon the confiscation of his property, the principal object of the trial, was carried out. Two anonymous elegies were composed on his death.

  • Ḳobeẓ'al Yad, iv. 30 et seq.;
  • Berliner, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 57;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, i. 257.

Moses de Pomis and Vitale de Pomis were known under the name Alatino.

G. I. E.
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