Julius Pollux (Greek: Ἰούλιος Πολυδεύκης, Ioulios Polydeukes; fl. 2nd century) was a Greek grammarian and sophist, scholar and rhetorician, 2nd century AD, from Naukratis, Egypt. Emperor Commodus appointed him a professor-chair of rhetoric in Athens at the Academy — on account of his melodious voice, according to Philostratus' Lives of the Sophists.
Nothing of his rhetorical works has survived except some of their titles (in the Suda).
Pollux was the author of the Onomasticon (Ὀνομαστικόν), a Greek thesaurus or dictionary of Attic synonyms and phrases, arranged not alphabetically but according to subject-matter, in ten books. It supplies in passing much rare and valuable information on many points of classical antiquity — objects in daily life, the theater, politics — and quotes numerous fragments of lost works. Thus, Julius Pollux became invaluable for William Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 1842, etc.
Appreciation by contemporaries
Pollux was probably the person satirized by Lucian as a worthless and ignorant person who gains a reputation as an orator by sheer effrontery, and pilloried in his Lexiphanes, a satire upon the affectation of obscure and obsolete words.
A first Latin translation, published at Venice in 1502, made Julius Pollux more available to Renaissance antiquaries and scholars, and anatomists, who adopted obscure Greek words for parts of the body.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica " Greek scholar and rhetorician from Naukratis, Egypt."
- John Hazel, Who's who in the Greek world, p.197, Routledge, 1999
- Elizabeth Langland, Nobody's Angels: Middle-Class Women and Domestic Ideology in Victorian Culture, p. 139, Cornell University Press, 1995
- Andrew Dalby, Food in the Ancient World: From A to Z, p.265, Routledge, 2003
- This article is based in part on material from the 1999 Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Cinzia Bearzot, Franca Landucci, Giuseppe Zecchini (ed.), L'Onomasticon di Giulio Polluce. Tra lessicografia e antiquaria. Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 2007. Pp. viii, 173 (Contributi di storia antica, 5)
- Text of the Onomasticon at archive.org