Oppidum Pomeiooc (The Town of Pomeiooc)
Original Author: Theodor de Bry after original by John White
Created: ca. 1590
Medium: Printed hand-colored engraving
Publisher: The Mariners' Museum

Oppidum Pomeiooc (The Town of Pomeiooc)

The Roanoke Indian town of Pomeiooc is portrayed in this colored engraving by Theodor de Bry based on a watercolor painting by John White. Adding considerable detail to White's eyewitness sketch, de Bry shows village life as it was lived by the Algonquian-speaking Indians in the Outer Banks region of present-day North Carolina. These Indians are closely related in language and culture to the Indians of Tidewater Virginia, and White's works, along with their related engravings, are important sources of historical and ethnographic information about both groups.

White's original painting had the following inscription beneath it: "The towne of Pomeiock and true forme of their howses, couered and enclosed some wth matts, and some with barcks of trees. All compassed abowt with smale poles stock thick together in stedd of a wall." The largest longhouse, designated here as "B," was described as being the "king's lodging"; the structure with the pointed roof, designated "A," was referred to as the "tempel" of the village. De Bry added a number of elements, including a pond at upper right, a field of corn, as well as flowers and trees. A domestic dog, which was part of the original White painting, was not included in this version. De Bry based his engravings in part on descriptions by Thomas Hariot, who accompanied White and approximately 600 colonists to Roanoke in 1585. A group of about sixty Englishmen, led by their Indian guide Manteo, visited Pomeiooc in mid-July.

De Bry's engravings accompanied A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia, Hariot's description of his year at Roanoke, which was intended to serve, in part, as a justification for further colonizing efforts. These rare, hand-colored versions of the illustrations appeared in a 1590 edition published in Latin.