AUTHORITIES.—W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites; Jul. Wellhausen, Reste arabischen Heidentums (=Skizzen und Verarbeiten, ritualibus (Tubingae, 1732); Art. "Clean and Unclean'' in Hastings' Bible Dictionary and in Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. iv.; J. G. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris (London, 1906); Joseph Bingham, Antiquities (of the Christian Church, bk. viii.; Hermann Oldenberg, Die Religion des Veda's, Berlin, 1894. (F. C. C.)
ABNAKI ("the whitening sky at daybreak,'' i.e. Easterners), a confederacy of North American Indians of Algonquian stock,
1 By J. E. Harrison, Prolegomena to Creek Religion, p. 493.
called Terrateens by the New England tribes and colonial writers. It included the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Norridgewock, Malecite and other tribes. It formerly occupied what is now Maine and southern New Brunswick. All the tribes were loyal to the French during the early years of the 18th century, but after the British success in Canada most of them withdrew to St Francis, Canada, subsequently entering into an agreement with the British authorities. The Abnaki now number some 1600.
For details see Handbook of American Indians, edited by F. W. Hodge (Washington, 1907). .
ABNER (Hebrew for "father of [or is a light''), in the Bible, first cousin of Saul and commander-in-chief of his army (I Sam. xiv. 50, xx. 25). He is only referred to incidentally in Saul's history (1 Sam. xvii. 55, xxvi. 5), and is not mentioned in the account of the disastrous battle of Gilboa when Saul's power was crushed. Seizing the only surviving son, Ishbaal, he set him up as king over Israel at Mahanaim, east of the Jordan. David, who was accepted as king by Judah alone, was meanwhile reigning at Hebron, and for some time war was carried on between the two parties. The only engagement between the rival factions which is told at length is noteworthy, inasmuch as it was preceded by an encounter at Gibeon between twelve chosen men from each side, in which the whole twenty-four seem to have perished (2 Sam. ii. 12).i In the general engagement which followed, Abner was defeated and put to flight. He was closely pursued by Asahel, brother of Joab, who is said to have been "light of foot as a wild roe.'' As Asahel would not desist from the pursuit, though warned, Abner was compelled to slay him in self-defence. This originated a deadly feud between the leaders of the opposite parties, for Joab, as next of kin to Asahel, was by the law and custom of the country the avenger of his blood. For some time afterwards the war was carried on, the advantage being invariably on the side of David. At length Ishbaal lost the main prop of his tottering cause by remonstrating with Abner for marrying Rizpah, one of Saul's concubines, an alliance which, according to Oriental notions, implied pretensions to the throne (cp. 2 Sam. xvi. 21 sqq.; 1 Kings ii. 21 sqq.). Abner was indignant at the deserved rebuke, and immediately opened negotiations with David, who welcomed him on the condition that his wife Michal should be restored to him. This was done, and the proceedings were ratified by a feast. Almost immediately after, however. Joab, who had been sent away, perhaps intentionally returned and slew Abner at the gate of Hebron. The ostensible motive for the assassination was a desire to avenge Asahel, and this would be a sufficient justification for the deed according to the moral standard of the time. The conduct of David after the event was such as to show that he had no complicity in the act, though he could not venture to punish its perpetrators (2 Sam. iii. 31-39; cp. 1 Kings ii. 31 seq.). (See DAVID.)
1 The object of the story of the encounter is to explain the name Helkath-hazzurim, the meaning of which is doubtful (Ency. Bib. col. 2006; Batten in Zeit. f. alt-test. Wissens. 1906, pp. 90 sqq.).
ABO (Finnish Turku), a city and seaport, the capital of the province of Abo-Bjorneborg, in the grand duchy of Finland, on the Aura-joki, about 3 m. from where it falls into the gulf of Bothnia. Pop. (1810) 10,224; (1870) 19,617; (1904) 42,639. It is 381 m. by rail from St Petersburg via Tavastehus, and is in regular steamer communication with St Petersburg, Vasa, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Hull. It was already a place of importance when Finland formed part of the kingdom of Sweden. When the Estates of Finland seceded from Sweden and accepted the Emperor Alexander of Russia as their grand duke at the Diet of Borga in 1809, Abo became the capital of the new state, and so remained till 1819 when the seat of government was transferred to Helsingfors. In November 1827 nearly the whole city was burnt down, the university and its valuable library being entirely destroyed. Before this calamity Abo contained 1110 houses and 13,000 inhabitants; and its university had 40 professors, more than 500 students, and a library of upwards of 30,000 volumes, together with a botanical garden, an observatory and a chemical laboratory. The university has since been removed to Helsingfors. Abo remains the ecclesiastical capital of Finland, is the seat of the Lutheran archbishop and contains a fine cathedral dating from 1258 and restored after the fire of 1827. The cathedral is dedicated to St Henry, the patron saint of Finland, an English missionary who introduced Christianity into the country in the 12th century. Abo is the seat of the first of the three courts of appeal of Finland. It has two high schools, a school of commerce and a school of navigation. The city is second only to Helsingfors for its trade; sail-cloth, cotton and tobacco are manufactured, and there are extensive saw-mills. There is also a large trade in timber and a considerable butter export. Ship-building has considerably developed, torpedo-boats being built here for the Russian navy. Vessels drawing 9 or 10 feet come up to the town, but ships of greater draught are laden and discharged at its harbour (Bornholm, on Hyrvinsala Island), which is entered yearly by from 700 to 800 ships, of about 200,000 tons.
ABO-BJORNEBORG, a province occupying the S.W. corner of Finland and including the Aland islands. It has a total area of 24,171 square kilometres and a population (1900) of 447,098, of whom 379,622 spoke Finnish and 67,260 Swedish; 446,900 were of the Lutheran religion. The province occupies a prominent position in Finland for its manufacture of cottons, sugar refinery, wooden goods, metals, machinery, paper, &c. Its chief towns are: Abo (pop. 42,639), Bjorneborg (16,053), Raumo (5501), Nystad (4165), Mariehamn (1171), Nadendal (917).
ABODE (from "abide,'' to dwell, properly "to wait for'', to bide), generally, a dwelling. In English law this term has a more restricted meaning than domicile, being used to indicate the place of a man's residence or business, whether that be either temporary or permanent. The law may regard for certain purposes, as a man's abode, the place where he carries on business, though he may reside elsewhere) so that the term has come to have a looser significance than residence, which has been defined as "where a man lives with his family and sleeps at night'' (R. v. Hammond, 1852, 17 Q.B. 772). In serving a notice of action, a solicitor's place of business may be given as his abode (Roberts v. Williams, 1835, 5 L.J.M.C. 23), and in more recent decisions it has been similarly held that where a notice was required to be served under the Public Health Act 18l5, either personally or to some inmate of the owner's or occupier's "place of abode,'' a place of business was sufficient.
ABOMASUM (caillette), the fourth or rennet stomach of Ruminantia. From the omasum the food is finally deposited in the abomasum, a cavity considerably larger than either the second or third stomach, although less than the first. The base of the abomasum is turned to the omasum. It is of an irregular conical form. It is that part of the digestive apparatus which is analogous to the single stomach of other Mammalia, as the food there undergoes the process of chymification, after being macerated and ground down in the three first stomachs.
ABOMEY, capital of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey, West Africa, now included in the French colony of the same name. It is 70 m. N. by rail of the seaport of Kotonu, and has a population of about 15,000. Abomey is built on a rolling plain, 800 ft. above sea-level, terminating in short bluffs to the N.W., where it is bounded by a long depression. The town was surrounded by a mud wall, pierced by six gates, and was further protected by a ditch 5 ft. deep, filled with a dense growth of prickly acacia, the usual defence of West African strongholds. Within the walls, which had a circumference of six miles, were villages separated by fields, several royal palaces, a market-place and a large square containing the barracks. In November 1892, Behanzin, the king of Dahomey, being defeated by the French, set fire to Abomey and fled northward. Under French administration the town has been rebuilt, placed (1905) in railway communication with the coast, and given an ample water supply by the sinking of artesian wells.
ABOMINATION (from Lat. ab, from, and ominare, to forebode), anything contrary to omen, and therefore regarded with aversion; a word used often in the Bible to denote evil doctrines or ceremonial practices which were impure. An incorrect derivation was ab homine (i.e. inhuman), and the spelling of the adjective "abominable'' in the first Shakespeare folio is always "abhominable.'' Colloquially "abomination'' and "abominable'' are used to mean simply excessive in a disagreeable sense.
ABOR HILLS, a tract of country on the north-east frontier of India, occupied by an independent tribe called the Abors. It lies north of Lakhimpur district, in the province of eastern Bengal and Assam, and is bounded on the east by the Mishmi Hills and on the west by the Miri Hills, the villages of the tribe extending to the Dibong river. The term Abor is an Assamese word, signifying "barbarous'' or "independent,'' and is applied in a general sense by the Assamese to many frontier tribes; but in its restricted sense it is specially given to the above tract. The Abors, together with the cognate tribes of Miris, Daphlas and Akas, are supposed to be descended from a Tibetan stock. They are a quarrelsome and sulky race, violently divided in their political relations. In former times they committed frequent raids upon the plains of Assam, and have been the object of more than one retaliatory expedition by the British government. In 1893-94 occurred the first Bor Abor expedition. home military police sepoys were murdered in British territory, and a force of 600 troops was sent, who traversed the Abor country, and destroyed the villages concerned in the murder and all other villages that opposed the expedition. A second expedition became necessary later on, two small patrols having been treacherously murdered; and a force of 100 British troops traversed the border of the Abor country and punished the tribes, while a blockade was continued against them from 1894 to 1900.
See Colonel Dalton's Ethnology of Bengal, 1872.
ABORIGINES, a mythical people of central Italy, connected in legendary history with Aeneas, Latinus and Evander. They were supposed to have descended from their mountain home near Reate (an ancient Sabine town) upon Latium, whence they expelled the Siceli and subsequently settled down as Latini under a King Latinus (Dion Halic. i. 9. 60). The most generally accepted etymology of the name (ab origine), according to which they were the original inhabitants ( = Gk. autochthones) of the country, is inconsistent with the fact that the oldest authorities (e.g. Cato in his Origines) regarded them as Hellenic immigrants, not as a native Italian people. Other explanations suggested are arborigines, "tree-born,'' and aberrigines, "nomads.'' Historical and ethnographical discussions have led to no result; the most that can be said is that, if not a general term, "aborigines'' may be the name of an Italian stock, about whom the ancients knew no more than ourselves'
In modern times the term "Aborigines'' has been extended in signification, and is used to indicate the inhabitants found in a country at its first discovery, in contradistinction to colonies or new races, the time of whose introduction into the country is known.
The Aborigines' Protection Society was founded in 1838 in England as the result of a royal commission appointed at the instance of Sir T. Fowell Buxton to inquire into the treatment of the indigenous populations of the various British colonies. The inquiry revealed the gross cruelty and injustice with which the natives had been often treated. Since its foundation the society has done much to make English colonization a synonym for humane and generous treatment of savage races.
ABORTION (from Lat. aboriri, to fail to be born, or perish), in obstetrics, the premature separation and expulsion of the contents of the pregnant uterus. It is a common terminology to call premature labour of an accidental type a "miscarriage,', in order to distinguish "abortion', as a deliberately induced act, whether as a medical necessity by the accoucheur, or as a criminal proceeding (see MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE); otherwise the term "abortion'' would ordinarily be used when occurring before the eighth month of gestation, and "premature labour'' subsequently. As an accident of pregnancy, it is far fram uncommon, although its relative frequency'' as compared with that of completed gestation, has been very differently estimated by accoucheurs. It is more liable to occur in the earlier than in the later months of pregnancy, and it would also appear to occur more readily at the periods corresponding to those of the menstrual discharge. It may be induced by numerous causes, both of a local and general nature. Malformations of the pelvis, accidental injuries and the diseases and displacements to which the uterus is liable, on the one hand; and, on the other, various morbid conditions of the ovum or placenta leading to the death of the foetus, are among the direct local causes. The general causes embrace certain states of the system which are apt to exercise a more or less direct influence upon the progress of utero-gestation. The tendency to recurrence in persons who have previously miscarried is well known, and should ever be borne in mind with the view of avoiding any cause likely to lead to a repetition of the accident. Abortion resembles ordinary labour in its general phenomena, excepting that in the former hemorrhage often to a large extent forms one of the leading symptoms. The treatment embraces the means to be used by rest, astringents and sedatives, to prevent the occurrence when it merely threatens; or when, on the contrary, it is inevitable, to accomplish as speedily as possible the complete removal of the entire contents of the uterus.
Among primitive savage races abortion is practised to a far less extent than infanticide (q.v.), which offers a simpler way of getting rid of inconvenient progeny. But it is common among the American Indians, as well as in China, Cambodia and India, although throughout Asia it is generally contrary both to law and religion. How far it was considered a crime among the civilized nations of antiquity has long been debated. Those who maintain the impunity of the practice rely for their authority upon certain passages in the classical authors, which, while bitterly lamenting the frequency of this enormity, yet never allude to any laws by which it might be suppressed. For example, in one of Plato's dialogues (Theaet.), Socrates is made to speak of artificial abortion as a practice, not only common but allowable; and Plato himself authorizes it in his Republic (lib. v.). Aristotle (Polit. 222hb. vii. c. 17) gives it as his opinion that no child ought to be suffered to come into the world, the mother being above forty or the father above fifty-five years of age. Lysias maintained, in one of his pleadings quoted by Harpocration, that forced abortion could not be considered homicide, because a child in utero was not an animal, and had no separate existence. Among the Romans, Ovid (Amor. hb. ii.), Juvenal (Sat. vi. 594) and Seneca Consol. ad Hel. 16) mention the frequency of the offence, but maintain silence as to any laws for punishing it. On the other hand, it is argued that the authority of Galen and Cicero (pro Cluentio) place it beyond a doubt that, so far from being allowed to pass with impunity, the offence in question was sometimes punished by death; that the authority of Lysias is of doubtful authenticity; and that the speculative reasonings of Plato and Aristotle, in matters of legislation, ought not to be confounded with the actual state of the laws. Moreover, Stobaeus (Serm. 73) has preserved a passage from Musonius, in which that philosopher expressly states that the ancient law-givers inflicted punishments on females who caused themselves to abort. After the spread of Christianity among the Romans, however, foeticide became equally criminal with the murder of an adult, and the barbarian hordes which afterwards overran the empire also treated the offence as a crime punishable Fith death. This severe penalty remained in force in all the countries of Europe until the Middle Ages. With the gradual disuse of the old barbarous punishments so universal in medieval times came also a reversal of opinion as to the magnitude of the crime involved in killing a child not yet born. But the exact period of transition is not clearly marked.
In England the Anglo-Saxons seem to have regarded abortion only as an ecclesiastical offence. Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) tells us that if anything is done to "a woman quick or great with child, to make an abortion, or whereby the child within her is killed, it is not murder or manslaughter by the law of England, because it is not yet in rerum natura.'' But the common law appears, nevertheless, to have treated as a misdemeanour any attempt to effect the destruction of such an infant, though unsuccessful. Blackstone (1723-1780), to be sure, a hundred years later, says that, "if a woman is quick with child, and by poison or otherwise killeth it in her womb, or if any one beat her, whereby the child dieth in her body, and she is delivered of a dead child, this, though not murder, was, by the ancient law, homicide or manslaughter.'' Whatever may have been the exact view taken by the common law, the offence was made statutory by an act of 1803, making the attempt to cause the miscarriage of a woman, not being, or not being proved, to be quick with child, a felony, punishable with fine, imprisonment, whipping or transportation for any term not exceeding fourteen years. Should the woman have proved to have quickened, the attempt was punishable with death. The provisions of this statute were re-enacted in 1828. The English law on the subject is now governed by the Offences against the Person Act 1861, which makes the attempting to cause miscarriage by administering poison or other noxious thing, or unlawfully using any instrument equally a felony, whether the woman be, or be not, with child. No distinction is now made as to whether the foetus is or is not alive, legislation appearing to make the offence statutory with the object of prohibiting any risk to the life of the mother. If a woman administers to herself any poison or other noxious thing, or unlawfully uses any instrument or other means to procure her own miscarriage, she is guilty of felony. The punishment for the offence is penal servitude for life or not less than three years, or imprisonment for not more than two years. If a child is born alive, but in consequence of its premature birth, or of the means employed, afterwards dies, the offence is murder; the general law as to accessories applies to the offence.
In all the countries of Europe the causing of abortion is now punishable with more or less lengthy terms of imprisonment. Indeed, the tendency in continental Europe is to regard the abortion as a crime against the unborn child, and several codes (notably that of the German Empire) expressly recognize the life of the foetus, while others make the penalty more severe if abortion has been caused in the later stages of pregnancy, or if the woman is married. According to the weight of authority in the United States abortion was not regarded as a punishable offence at common law, if the abortion was produced with the consent of the mother prior to the time when she became quick with child; but the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania and North Carolina held it a crime at common law, which might be committed as soon as gestation had begun (Mills v. Com. 13 Pa. St. 630; State v. Slagle, 83 N.C. 630). The attempt is a punishable offence in several states, but not in Ohio. Nor was it ever murder at common law to take the life of the child at any period of gestation, even in the very act of delivery (Mitchell v. Com. 78 Ky. 204). If the death of the woman results it is murder at common law (Com. v. Parker, 9 Met. [Mass.] 263). It is now a statutory offence in all states of the Union, but the woman must be actually pregnant. In most states not only is the person who causes the abortion punishable, but also any one who supplies any drug or instrument for the purpose. The woman, however, is not an accomplice (except by statute as in Ohio, State v. M'Coy, 39 N.E. 316), nor is she guilty of any crime unless by statute as in New York (Penal Code, sec. 295) and California (Penal Code, sec. 275) and Connecticut (Gen. Stats. 1902, sec. 1156). She may be a witness, and her testimony does not need corroboration. The attempt is also a crime in New York (1905, People v. Conrad, 102 App. D. 566).
AUTHORITIES.—-Ploncouet, Commentarius Medicus in processus criminales super homicidie et infanticidio, &c. (1736); Burao Ryan, Infanticide, its Law, Prevalence, Prevention and History (1862); G. Greaves, Observations on the Laws referring to Child-Murder and Criminal Abortion (1864); Storer and Heard, Criminal Abortion, its Nature, Evidence and Law (Boston, 1868); J. Cave Browne, Infanticide, its Origin, Progress and Suppression (1857); T. R. Beck, Medical Jurisprudence (1842); A. S. Taylor, Principles and Practice of Medical Jurisprudence (1894); Sir J. Stephen, History of the Criminal Law of England (1883); Sir W. O. Russell, Crimes and Misdemeanours (3 vols., 1896); Archbold's Pleading and Evidence in Criminal:Cases (1900); Roscoe's Evidence in Criminall Cases (1898) Treub, van Oppenraag and Vlaming, The Right to Life of the Unborn Child (New York, 1903); L. Hochheimer, Crimes and Criminal Procedure (York, 1897); A. A. Tardieu, Etude medico-legal sur l'avortement (Paris, 1904); F. Berolzheimer, System der Rechts- und Wissenschaftsphilosophie (Munich, 1904).
ABOUKIR, a village on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, 14 1/2 m. N.E. of Alexandria by rail, containing a castle used as a state prison by Mehemet Ali. Near the village are many remains of ancient buildings, Egyptian, Greek and Roman. About 2 m. S.E. of the village are ruins supposed to mark the site of Canopus. A little farther east the Canopic branch of the Nile (now dry) entered the Mediterranean.
Stretching eastward as far as the Rosetta mouth of the Nile is the spacious bay of Aboukir, where on the 1st of August 1798 Nelson fought the battle of the Nile, often referred to as the battle of Aboukir. The latter title is applied more properly to an engagement between the French expeditionary army and the Turks fought on the 25th of July 1799. Near Aboukir, on the 8th of March 1801, the British army commanded by Sir R. Abercromby landed from its transports in the face of a strenuous opposition from a French force entrenched on the beach. (See FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY WARS.)
ABOUT, EDMOND FRANCOIS VALENTIN (1828-1885), French novelist, publicist and journalist, was born on the 14th of February 1828, at Dieuze, in Lorraine. The boy's school career was brilliant. In 1848 he entered the Ecole Normale, taking the second place in the annual competition for admission, Taine being first. Among his college contemporaries were Taine, Francisque, Sarcey, Challemel-Lacour and the ill-starred Prevost-Paradol. Of them all About was, according to Sarcey, the most highly vitalized, exuberant, brilliant and "undisciplined.'' At the end of his college career he joined the French school in Athens, but if we may believe his own account, it had never been his intention to follow the professorial career, for which the Ecole Normale was a preparation, and in 1853 he returned to France and frankly gave himself to literature and journalism. A book on Greece, La Grece contemporaine (1855), which did not spare Greek susceptibilities, had an immediate success. In Tolla (1855) About was charged with drawing too freely on an earlier Italian novel, Vittoria Savelii (Paris, 1841). This caused a strong prejudice against him, and he was the object of numerous attacks, to which he was ready enough to retaliate. The Lettres d'un bon jeune homme, written to the Figaro under the signature of Valentin de Quevilly, provoked more animosities. During the next few years, with indefatigable energy, and generally with full public recognition, he wrote novels, stories, a play—-which failed,—-a book-pamphlet on the Roman question, many pamphlets on other subjects of the day, newspaper articles innumerable, some art criticisms, rejoinders to the attacks of his enemies, and popular manuals of political economy, L'A B C du travailleur (1868), Le progres (1864). About's attitude towards the empire was that of a candid friend. He believed in its improvability, greeted the liberal ministry of Emile Ollivier at the beginning of 1870 with delight and welcomed the Franco-German War. That day of enthusiasm had a terrible morrow. For his own personal part he lost the loved home near Saverne in Alsace, which he had purchased in 1858 out of the fruits of his earlier literary successes. With the fall of the empire he became a republican, and, always an inveterate anti-clerical, he threw himself with ardour into the battle against the conservative reaction which made head during the first years of the republic. From 1872 onwards for some five or six years his paper, the XIXe Siecle, of which he was the heart and soul, became a power in the land. But the republicans never quite forgave the tardiness of his conversion, and no place rewarded his later zeal. On the 23rd January 1884 he was elected a member of the French Academy, but died on the 16th of January 1885, before taking his seat. His journalism—-of which specimens in his earlier and later manners will be found in the two series of Lettres d'un bon jeune homme a sa cousine Madeleine (1861 and 1863), and the posthumous Collection, Le dix-neuvieme siecle (1892)—-was of its nature ephemeral. So were the pamphlets, great and small. His political economy was that of an orthodox popularizer, and in no sense epoch. making. His dramas are negligible. His more serious novels, Madelon (1863), L'infame (1867), the three that form the trilogy of the Vieille Roche (1866), and Le roman d'un brave homme (1880)—-a kind of counterblast to the view of the French workman presented in Zola's Assommoir—-contain striking and amusing scenes, no doubt, but scenes which are often suggestive of the stage, while description, dissertation, explanation too frequently take the place of life. His best work after all is to be found in the books that are almost wholly farcical, Le nez d'un notaire (1862); Le roi des montagnes (1856); L'homme a l'oreille cassee (1862); Trente et quarante (1858); Le cas de M. Guerin (1862). Here his most genuine wit, his sprightliness, his vivacity, the fancy that was in him, have free play. "You will never be more than a little Voltaire,'' said one of his masters when he was a lad at school. It was a true prophecy. (F. T. M.)
ABRABANEL, ISAAC, called also ABRAVANEL, ABARBANEL (1437-1508), Jewish statesman, philosopher, theologian and commentator, was born at Lisbon of an ancient family which claimed descent from the royal house of David. Like many of the Spanish Jews he united scholarly tastes with political ability He held a high place in the favour of King Alphonso V., who entrusted him with the management of important state affairs. On the death of Alphonso in 1481, his counsellors and favourites were harshly treated by his successor John, and Abrabanel was compelled to flee to Spain, where he held for eight years (14841492) the post of a minister of state under Ferdinand and Isabella. When the Jews were banished from Spain in 1492, no exception was made in Abrabanel's favour. He afterwards resided at Naples, Corfu and Monopoli, and in 1503 removed to Venice, where he held office as a minister of state till his death in 1508. His repute as a commentator on the Scriptures is still high; in the 17th and 18th centuries he was much read by Christians such as Buxtorf. Abrabanel often quotes Christian authorities, though he opposed Christian exegesis of Messianic passages. He was one of the first to see that for Biblical exegesis it was necessary to reconstruct the social environment of olden times, and he skilfully applied his practical knowledge of statecraft to the elucidation of the books of Samuel and Kings.
ABRACADABRA, a word analogous to Abraxas (q.v.), used as a magical formula by the Gnostics of the sect of Basilides in invoking the aid of beneficent spirits against disease and misfortune. It is found on Abraxas stones which were worn as amulets. Subsequently its use spread beyond the Gnostics, and in modern times it is applied contemptuously (e g. by the early opponents of the evolution theory) to a conception or hypothesis which purports to be a simple solution of apparently insoluble phenomena. The Gnostic physician Serenus Sammonicus gave precise instructions as to its mystical use in averting or curing agues and fevers generally. The paper on which the word was written had to be folded in the form of a cross, suspended from the neck by a strip of linen so as to rest on the pit of the stomach, worn in this way for nine days, and then, before sunrise, cast behind the wearer into a stream running to the east. The letters were usually arranged as a triangle in one of the following ways:—
ABRACADABRA ABRACADABRA ABRACADABR BRACADABR ABRACADAB RACADAB ABRACADA ACADA ABRACAD CAD ABRACA A ABRAC ABRA ABR. AB A
ABRAHAM, or ABRAM (Hebrew for "father is high''), the ancestor of the Israelites, the first of the great Biblical patriarchs. His life as narrated in the book of Genesis reflects the traditions of different ages. It is the latest writer (P) who mentions Abram (the original form of the name), Nahor and Haran, sons of Terah, at the close of a genealogy of the sons of Shem, which includes among its members Eber the eponym of the Hebrews. Terah is said to have come from Ur of the Chaldees, usually identified with Mukayyar in south Babylonia. He migrated to Haran1 in Mesopotamia, apparently the classical Carrhae, on a branch of the Habor. Thence, after a short stay, Abram with his wife Sarai, and Lot the son of Haran, and all their followers, departed for Canaan. The oldest tradition does not know of this twofold move, and seems to locate Abram's birthplace and the homes of his kindred at Haran (Gen. xxiv. 4, 7, xxvii. 43). At the divine command, and encouraged by the promise that Yahweh would make of him, although hitherto childless, a great nation, he journeyed down to Shechem, and at the sacred tree (cf. xxxv. 4, Josh. xxiv. 26, Judg. ix. 6) received a new promise that the land would be given unto his seed. Having built an altar to commemorate the theophany, he removed to a spot between Bethel and Ai, where he built another altar and called upon (i.e. invoked) the name of Yahweh (Gen. xii. 1-9). Here he dwelt for some time, until strife arose between his herdsmen and those of Lot. Abram thereupon proposed to Lot that they should separate, and allowed his nephew the first choice. Lot preferred the fertile land lying east of the Jordan, whilst Abram, after receiving another promise from Yahweh, moved down to the oaks of Mamre in Hebron and built an altar. In the subsequent history of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abram appears prominently in a fine passage where he intercedes with Yahweh on behalf of Sodom, and is promised that if ten righteous men can be found therein the city shall be preserved (xviii. 16-33).
A peculiar passage, more valuable for the light it throws upon primitive ideas than for its contribution to the history of Abram, narrates the patriarch's visit to Egypt. Driven by a famine to take refuge in Egypt (cf. xxvi. 11 xli. 57, xlii. 1), he feared lest his wife's beauty should arouse the evil designs of the Egyptians and thus endanger his own safety, and alleged that Sarai was his sister. This did not save her from the Pharaoh, who took her into the royal harem and enriched Abram with herds and servants. But when Yahweh "plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues'' suspicion was aroused, and the Pharaoh rebuked the patriarch for his deceit and sent him away under an escort (xii. 10-xiii. 1). This story of Abram and his increased wealth (xiii. 2) receives no comment at the hands of the narrator, and in its present position would make Sarai over sixty years of age (xii. 4, xvii. 1, 17). A similar experience is said to have happened to Abraham and Sarah at Gerar with the Philistine king Abimelech (xx. E), but the tone of the narrative is noticeably more advanced, and the presents which the patriarch receives are compensation for the king's offence. Here, however, Sarah has reached her ninetieth year (xvii. 17). (The dates are due to the post-exilic framework in which the stories are inserted.) Still another episode of the same nature is re-corded of Isaac and Rebekah at Gerar, also with Abimelech. Ethically it is the loftiest, and Isaac obtains his wealth simply through his successful farming. Arising out of the incident is an account of a covenant between Abimelech and Isaac (xxvi. 16-33, J), a duplicate of which is placed in the time of Abraham (xxi. 22-34, J and E). Beersheba, which figures in both, is celebrated by the planting of a sacred tree and (like Bethel) by the invocation of the name of Yahweh. This district is the scene of the birth of Ishmael and Isaac. As Sarai was barren (cf. xi. 30)2 the promise that his seed should possess the land seemed incapable of fulfilment. According to one rather obscure narrative, Abram's sole heir was the servant, who was over his household, apparently a certain Eliezer of Damascus3 (xv. 2, the text is corrupt). He is now promised as heir one of his own flesh, and a remarkable and solemn passage records bow the promise was ratified by a covenant. The description is particularly noteworthy for the sudden appearance of birds of prey, which attempted to carry off the victims of the sacrificial covenant. The interpretation of the evil omen is explained by an allusion to the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt and their return in the fourth generation (xv. 16; contrast v. 13, after four hundred years; the chapter is extremely intricate and has the appearance of being of secondary origin). The main narrative now relates how Sarai, in accordance with custom, gave to Abram her Egyptian handmaid Hagar, who, when she found she was with child, presumed upon her position to the extent that Sarai, unable to endure the reproach of barrenness (cf. the story of Hannah, 1 Sam. i. 6), dealt harshly with her and forced her to flee (xvi. 1-14, J; on the details see ISHMAEL.) Another tradition places the expulsion of Hagar after the birth of Isaac. It was thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, according to the latest narratives, that God appeared unto Abram with a renewed promise that his posterity should inhabit the land. To mark the solemnity of the occasion, the patriarch's name was changed to Abraham, and that of his wife to Sarah.4 A covenant was concluded with him for all time, and as a sign thereof the rite of circumcision was instituted (xvii. P). The promise of a son to Sarah made Abraham "laugh'', a punning allusion to the name Isaac (q.v.) which appears again in other forms. Thus, it is Sarah herself who "laughs'' at the idea, when Yahweh appears to Abraham at Mamre (xviii. 1-15, J), or who, when the child is horn cries "God hath made me laugh; every one that heareth will laugh at me'' (xxi. 6, E). Finally, there is yet another story which attributes the flight of Hagar and Ishmael to Sarah's jealousy at the sight of Ishmael's "mocking'' (rather dancing or playing, the intensive form of the verb "to laugh'') on the feast day when Isaac was weaned (xxi. 8 sqq.). But this last story is clearly out of place, since a child who was then fourteen years old (cf. xvii. 24, xxi. 5) could scarcely be described as a weak babe who had to be carried (xxi. 14; see the commentaries).
Abraham was now commanded by God to offer up Isaac in the land of Moriah. Proceeding to obey, he was prevented by an angel as he was about to sacrifice his son, and slew a ram which he found on the spot. As a reward for his obedience he received another promise of a numerous seed and abundant prosperity (xxii. E). Thence he returned to Beersheba. The story is one of the few told by E, and significantly teaches that human sacrifice was not required by the Almighty (cf. Mic. vi. 7 seq.). The interest of the narrative now extends to Isaac alone. To his "only son'' (cp. xxii. 2, 12) Abraham gave all he had, and dismissed the sons of his concubines to the lands outside Palestine; they were thus regarded as less intimately related to Isaac and his descendants (xxv. 1-4, 6). The measures taken by the patriarch for the marriage of Isaac are circumstantially described. His head-servant was sent to his master's country and kindred to find a suitable bride, and the necessary preparation for the story is contained in the description of Nahor's family (xxii. 20-24). The picturesque account of the meeting with Rebekah throws interesting light on oriental custom. Marriage with one's own folk (cf. Gen. xxvii. 46, xxix. 19; Judg. xiv. 3), and especially with a cousin, is recommended now even as in the past. For its charm the story is comparable with the account of Jacob's experiences in the same land (xxix.). For the completion of the history of Abraham the compiler of Genesis has used P's narrative. Sarah is said to have died at a good old age, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah near Hebron, which the patriarch had purchased, with the adjoining field, from Ephron the Hittite (xxiii.); and here he himself was buried. Centuries later the tomb became a place of pilgrimage and the traditional site is marked by a fine mosque.5
The story of Abraham is of greater value for the study of Old Testament theology than for the history of Israel. He became to the Hebrews the embodiment of their ideals, and stood at their head as the founder of the nation, the one to whom Yahweh had manifested his love by frequent promises and covenants. From the time when he was bidden to leave his country to enter the unknown land, Yahweh was ever present to encourage him to trust in the future when his posterity should possess the land, and so, in its bitterest hours, Israel could turn for consolation to the promises of the past which enshrined in Abraham its hopes for the future. Not only is Abraham the founder of religion, but he, of all the patriarchal figures, stands out most prominently as the recipient of the promises (xii. 2 seq. 7, xiii. 14-17, xv., xvii., xviii. 17-19, xxii. 17 seq.; cf. xxiv. 7), and these the apostle Paul associates with the coming of Christ, and, adopting a characteristic and artificial style of interpretation prevalent in his time, endeavours to force a Messianic interpretation out of them.6
For the history of the Hebrews the life of Abraham is of the same value as other stories of traditional ancestors. The narratives, viewed dispassionately, represent him as an idealized sheikh (with one important exception, Gen. xiv., see below), about whose person a number of stories have gathered. As the father of Isaac and Ishmael, he is ultimately the common ancestor of the Israelites and their nomadic fierce neighbours, men roving unrestrainedly like the wild ass, troubled by and troubling every one (xvi. 12). As the father of Midian, Sheba and other Arabian tribes (xxv. 1-4), it is evident that some degree of kinship was felt by the Hebrews with the dwellers of the more distant south, and it is characteristic of the genealogies that the mothers (Sarah, Hagar and Keturah) are in the descending scale as regards purity of blood. This great ancestral figure came, it was said, from Ur in Babylonia and Haran and thence to Canaan. Late tradition supposed that the migration was to escape Babylonian idolatry (Judith v., Jubilees xii.; cf. Josh. xxiv. 2), and knew of Abraham's miraculous escape from death (an obscure reference to some act of deliverance in Is. xxix. 22). The route along the banks of the Euphrates from south to north was so frequently taken by migrating tribes that the tradition has nothing improbable in itself, but the prominence given in the older narratives to the view that Haran was the home gives this the preference. It was thence that Jacob, the father of the tribes of Israel, came and the route to Shechem and Bethel is precisely the same in both. A twofold migration is doubtful, and, from what is known of the situation in Palestine in the 15th century B.C., is extremely improbable. Further, there is yet another parallel in the story of the conquest by Joshua (q.v.), partly implied and partly actually detailed (cf. also Josh. viii. 9 with Gen. xii. 8, xiii. 3), whence it would appear that too much importance must not be laid upon any ethnological interpretation which fails to account for the three versions. That similar traditional elements have influenced them is not unlikely; but to recover the true historical foundation is difficult. The invasion or immigration of certain tribes from the east of the Jordan; the presence of Aramaean blood among the Israelites (see JACOB); the origin of the sanctity of venerable sites,—-these and other considerations may readily be found to account .for the traditions. Noteworthy coincidences in the lives of Abraham and Isaac, noticed above, point to the fluctuating state of traditions in the oral stage, or suggest that Abraham's life has been built up by borrowing from the common stock of popular lore.7 More original is the parting of Lot and Abraham at Bethel. The district was the scene of contests between Moab and the Hebrews (cf. perhaps Judg. iii.), and if this explains part of the story, the physical configuration of the Dead Sea may have led to the legend of the destruction of inhospitable and vicious cities (see SODOM AND GOMORRAH.)
Different writers have regarded the life of Abraham differently. He has been viewed as a chieftain of the Amorites (q.v.), as the head of a great Semitic migration from Mesopotamia; or, since Ur and Haran were seats of Moon-worship, he has been identified with a moon-god. From the character of the literary evidence and the locale of the stories it has been held that Abraham was originally associated with Hebron. The double name AbramAbraham has even suggested that two personages have been combined in the Biblical narrative; although this does not explain the change from Sarai to Sarah.8 But it is important to remember that the narratives are not contemporary, and that the interesting discovery of the name Abi-ramu (Abram) on Babylonian contracts of about 2000 B.C. does not prove the Abram of the Old Testament to be an historical person, even as the fact that there were "Amorites'' in Babylonia at the same period does not make it certain that the patriarch was one of their number. One remarkable chapter associates Abraham with kings of Elam and the east (Gen. xiv.). No longer a peaceful sheikh but a warrior with a small army of 318 followers,9 he overthrows a combination of powerful monarchs who have ravaged the land. The genuineness of the narrative has been strenuously maintained, although upon insufficient grounds.
"It is generally recognized that this chapter holds quite an isolated place in the Pentateuchal history; it is the only passage which presents Abraham in the character of a warrior, and connects him with historical names and political movements, and there are no clear marks by which it can be assigned to any one of the documents of which Genesis is made up. Thus, while one school of interpreters finds in the chapter the earliest fragment of the political history of western Asia, some even holding with Ewald that the narrative is probably based on old Canaanite records, other critics, as Noldeke, regard the whole as unhistorical and comparatively late in origin. On the latter view, which finds its main support 1n the intrinsic difficulties of the narrative, it is scarcely possible to avoid the conclusion that the chapter is one of the latest additions to the Pentateuch (Wellhausen and many others).''
On the assumption that a recollection of some invasion in remote days may have been current, considerable interest is attached to the names. Of these, Amraphel, king of Shinar (i.e. Babylonia, Gen. x. 10), has been identified with Khammurabi, one of the greatest of the Babylonian kings (c. 2000 B.C.), and since he claims to have ruled as far west as the Mediterranean Sea, the equation has found considerable favour. Apart from chronological difficulties, the identification of the king and his country is far from certain, and at the most can only be regarded as possible. Arioch, king of Ellasar, has been connected with Eriaku of Larsa—the reading has been questioned—-a contemporary with Khammurabi. Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, bears what is doubtless a genuine Elamite name. Finally, the name of Tid'al, king of Goiim, may be identical with a certain Tudhulu the son of Gazza, a warrior, but apparently not a king, who is mentioned in a Babylonian inscription, and Goiim may stand for Gutim, the Guti being a people who lived to the east of Kurdistan. Nevertheless, there is as yet no monumental evidence in favour of the genuineness of the story, and at the most it can only be said that the author (of whatever date) has derived his names from a trustworthy source, and in representing an invasion of Palestine by Babylonian overlords has given expression to a possible situation.11 The improbabilities and internal difficulties of the narrative remain untouched, only the bare outlines may very well be historical. If, as most critics agree, it is a historical romance (cf., e.g., the book of Judith), it is possible that a writer, preferably one who lived in the post-exilic age and was acquainted with Babylonian history, desired to enhance the greatness of Abraham by exhibiting his military success against the monarchs of the Tigris and Euphrates, the high esteem he enjoyed in Palestine and his lofty character as displayed in his interview with Melchizedek.
See further, Pinches, Old Test. in Light of Hist. Records, pp. 208. 236) Driver, Genesis, p. xlix., and notes on ch. xiv.; Addis, Documents of the Hexateuch, ii. pp. 208-213; Carpenter and Harford-Battersby, The Hexateuch, i. pp. 157-159, 168, Bezold, Bab.-Assyr. Keilinschriften, pp. 24 sqq., 54 sqq.; A. Jeremias, Altes Test. im Lichte d. Alten Orients,2,, pp. 343 seq.; also the literature to the art. GENESIS. Many fanciful legends about Abraham founded on Biblical accounts or spun out of the fancy are to be found in Josephus, and in post-Biblical and Mahommedan literature; for these, reference may be made to Beer, Leben Abrahams (1859); Grunbaum, Neue Beitrage z. semit. Sagenkunde, pp. 89 seq. (1893); the apocryphal "Testament of Abraham'' (M. R. James in Texts and Studies, 1892); W. Tisdall, Original Sources of the Quran, passim (1905). (S. A. C.)
1 The name is not spelt with the same guttural as Haran the son of Terah.
2 Barrenness is a motif which recurs in the stories of Rebekah, Rachel, the mother of Samson, and Hannah (Gen. xxv. 21, xxix. 31; Judg. xiii. 2; 1 Sam. i. 5).
3Ebram's connexion with Damascus is supplemented in the traditions of Nicolaus of Damascus as cited by Josephus (Antiq. 1. 7. 2).
4 Abram (or Abiram) is a familiar and old-attested name meaning "(my) father is exalted''; the meaning of Abraham is obscure a,nd the explanation Gen. xvii. 3 is mere word-play. It is possible that raham was originally only a dialectical form of ram.
5 See Sir Charles Warren's description, Hasting's Dict. Bible, vol. iii. pp. 200 seq. The so-called Babylonian colouring of Gen. xxiii. has been much exaggerated; see S. R. Driver, Genesis, ad loc.; S. A, Cook, Laws of Moses, p. 208.
6 See H. St. J. Thackeray, Relation of St Paul to Contemporary Jewish Thought, p. 69 seq. (1900).
7 On the other hand, the coincidences in xx. xxi. are due to E, who is also the author of xxii. Apart from these the narratives of Abraham are from J and P.
8 According to Breasted (Amer. Journ. of Sem. Lit., 1904, p. 56), the "field of Abram'' occurs among the places mentioned in the list of the Egyptian king Shishak (No. 71-2) in the 10th century. See also his History of Egypt, p. 530.
9 The number is precisely that of the total numerical value of the consonants of the name "Eliezer'' (Gen. xv. 2); an astral signification has also been found.
10 W. R. Smith, Ency. Brit. (9th ed., 1883), art. "Melchizedek.''
11 That the names may be those of historical personages is no proof of historical accuracy: "We cannot therefore conclude that the whole account is accurate history, any more than we can argue that Sir Walter Scott's Anne of Geirstein is throughout a correct account of actual events because we know that Charles the Bold and Margaret of Anjou were real people'' (W. H. Bennett, Century Bible: Genesis, p. 186).
ABRAHAM A SANCTA CLARA (1644-1709), Austrian divine, was born at Kreenheinstetten, near Messkirch, in July 1644. His real name was Ulrich Megerle. In 1662 he joined the order of Barefooted Augustinians, and assumed the name by which he is known. In this order he rose step by step until he became prior provincialis and definitor of his province. Having early gained a great reputation for pulpit eloquence, he was appointed court preacher at Vienna in 1669. The people flocked to hear him, attracted by the force and homeliness of his language, the grotesqueness of his humour, and the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and of the court in particular. In general he spoke as a man of the people, the predominating quality of his style being an overflowing and often coarse wit. There are, however, many passages in his sermons in which he rises to loftier thought and uses more dignified language. He died at Vienna on the 1st of December 1709. In his published writings he displayed much the same qualities as in the pulpit. Perhaps the most favourable specimen of his style is his didactic novel entitled Judas der Erzschelm (4 vols., Salzburg, 1686-1695).
His works have been several times reproduced in whole or in part though with many serious interpolations. The best edition is that published in 21 vols. at Passau and Lindau (1835-1854). See Th. G. von Karaiesn, Abraham a Sancta Clara (Vienna, 1867); Wanckenburr, Studien uber die Sprache Abrahams al S. C. (Halle, 1897); Sexto, Abraham a S. C. (Sigmaringen, 1896); Schnell, Pater A. a S. C. (Munich, 1895); H. Mareta, Uber Judas d. Erzschelm (Vienna, 1875).
ABRAHAM IBN DAUD (c. 1110-1180), Jewish historiographer and philosopher of Toledo. His historical work was the Book of Tradition (Sepher Haqabala), a chronicle down to the year 1161. This was a defence of the traditional record, and also contains valuable information for the medieval period. It was translated into Latin by Genebrad (1519). His philosophy was expounded in an Arabic work better known under its Hebrew title 'Emunah Ramah (Sublime Faith.) This was translated into German by Well (1882). Ibn Daud was one of the first Jewish scholastics to adopt the Aristotelian system; his predecessors were mostly neo-Platonists. Maimonides owed a good deal to him.
ABRAHAMITES, a sect of deists in Bohemia in the 18th century, who professed to be followers of the pre-circumcised Abraham. Believing in one God, they contented themselves with the Decalogue and the Paternoster. Declining to be classed either as Christians or Jews, they were excluded from the edict of toleration promulgated by the emperor Joseph II. in 1781, and deported to various parts of the country, the men being drafted into frontier regiments. Some became Roman Catholics, and those who retained their "Abrahamite', views were not able to hand them on to the next generation.
ABRAHAM-MEN, the nickname for vagrants who infested England in Tudor times. The phrase is certainly as old as 1561, and was due to these beggars pretending that they were patients discharged from the Abraham ward at Bedlam. The genuine Bedlamite was allowed to roam the country on his discharge, soliciting alms, provided he wore a badge. This humane privilege was grossly abused, and thus gave rise to the slang phrase "to sham Abraham.''
ABRANTES, a town of central Portugal, in the district of Santarem, formerly included in the province of Estremadura; on the right bank of the river Tagus, at the junction of the Madrid-Badajoz—Lisbon railway with the Guarda-Abrantes line. Pop. (1900) 7255. Abrantes, which occupies the crest of a hill covered with olive woods, gardens and vines, is a fortified town, with a thriving trade in fruit, olive oil and grain. As it commands the highway down the Tagus valley to Lisbon, it has usually been regarded as an important military position. Originally an Iberian settlement, founded about 300 B.C., it received the name Aurantes from the Romans; perhaps owing to the alluvial gold (aurum) found along the Tagub. Roman mosaics, coins, the remains of an aqueduct, and other antiquities have been discovered in the neighbourhood. Abrantes was captured on the 24th of November 1807 by the French under General Junot, who for this achievement was created duke of Abrantes. By the Convention of Cintra (22nd of August 1808) the town was restored to the British and Portuguese.
ABRASION (from Lat. ab, off, and radere, to scrape), the process of rubbing off or wearing down, as of rock by moving ice, or of coins by wear and tear; also used of the results of such a process as an abrasion or excoriation of the skin. In machinery, abrasion between moving surfaces has to be prevented as much as possible by the use of suitable materials, good fitting and lubrication. Engineers and other craftsmen make extensive use of abrasion, effected by the aid of such abrasives as emery and carborundum, in shaping, finishing and polishing their work.
ABRAUM SALTS (from the German Abraum-salze, salts to be removed), the name given to a mixed deposit of salts, including halite, carnallite, kieserite, &c., found in association with rocksalt at Stassfurt in Prussia.
ABRAXAS, or ABRASAX, a word engraved on certain antique stones, called on that account Abraxas stones, which were used as amulets or charms. The Basilidians, a Gnostic sect, attached importance to the word, if, indeed, they did not bring it into use. The letters of abraxas, in the Greek notation, make up the number 365, and the Basilidians gave the name to the 365 orders of spirits which, as they conceived, emanated in succession from the Supreme Being. These orders were supposed to occupy 365 heavens, each fashioned like, but inferior to that above it; and the lowest of the heavens was thought to be the abode of the spirits who formed the earth and its inhabitants, and to whom was committed the administration of its affairs. Abraxas stones are of very little value. In addition to the word Abraxas and other mystical characters, they have often cabalistic figures engraved on them. The commonest of these have the head of a fowl, and the arms and bust of a man, and terminate in the body and tail of a serpent.
ABROGATION (Lat. abrogare, to repeal or annul a law; rogare, literally "to ask,'' to propose a law), the annulling or repealing of a law by legislative action. Abrogation, which is the total annulling of a law, is to be distinguished from the term derogation, which is used where a law is only partially abrogated. Abrogation may be either express or implied. It is express either when the new law pronounces the annulment in general terms, as when in a concluding section it announces that all laws contrary to the provisions of the new one are repealed, or when in particular terms it announces specifically the preceding laws which it repeals. It is implied when the new law contains provisions which are positively contrary to the former laws without expressly abrogating those laws, or when the condition of things for which the law had provided has changed and consequently the need for the law no longer exists. The abrogation of any statute revives the provisions of the common law which had been abrogated by that statute. See STATUTE; REPEAL.
ABRUZZI E MOLISE, a group of provinces (compartimento) of Southern Italy, bounded N. by the province of Ascoli, N.W. and W. by Perueia, S.W. by Rome and Casertz, S. by Benevento. E. by Foggia and N.E. by the Adriatic Sea. It comprises the provinces of Teramo (population in 1901, 307,444), Aquila (396,620), Chieti (370,907) and Campobasso (366,571), which, under the kingdom of Naples, respectively bore the names Abruzzo Ulteriore I., Abruzzo Ulteriore II., Abruzzo Citeriore (the reference being to their distance from the capital) and Molise. The total area is 6567 sq. m. and the population (1901) 1,441,551. The district is mainly mountainous in the interior, including as it does the central portion of the whole system of the Apennines and their culminating point, the Gran Sasso d'Italia. Towards the sea the elevation is less considerable, the hills consisting mainly of somewhat unstable clay and sand, but the zone of level ground along the coast is quite inconsiderable. The coast line itself, though over 100 miles in length, has not a single harbour of importance. The climate varies considerably with the altitude, the highest peaks being covered with snow for the greater part of the year, while the valleys running N.E. towards the sea are fertile and well watered by several small rivers, the chief of which are the Tronto, Vomano, Pescara, Sangro, Trigno and Biferno. These are fed by less important streams, such as the Aterno and Gizio, which water the valleys between the main chains of the Apennines. They are liable to be suddenly swollen by rains, and floods and landslips often cause considerable damage. This danger has been increased, as elsewhere in Italy, by indiscriminate timber-felling on the higher mountains without provision for re-afforestation, though considerable oak, beech, elm and pine forests still exist and are the home of wolves, wild boars and even bears. They also afford feeding-ground for large herds of swine, and the hams and sausages of the Abruzzi enjoy a high reputation. The rearing of cattle and sheep was at one time the chief occupation of the inhabitants, and many of them still drive their flocks down to the Campagna di Roma for the winter months and back again in the summer, but more attention is now devoted to cultivation. This flourishes especially in the valleys and in the now drained bed of the Lago Fucino. The industries are various, but none of them is of great importance. Arms and cutlery are produced at Campobasso and Agnone. At the exhibition of Abruzzese art, held at Chieti in 1905, fine specimens of goldsmiths' work of the 15th and 16th centuries, of majolica of the 17th and 18th centuries, and of tapestries and laces were brought together; and the reproduction of some of these is still carried on, the small town of Castelli being the centre of the manufacture. The river Pescara and its tributary the Tirino form an important source of power for generating electricity. The chief towns are (1) Teramo, Atri, Campli, Penne, Castellammare Adriatico; (2) Aquila, Avezzano, Celano, Tagliacozzo, Sulmona; (3) Chieti, Lanciano, Ortona, Vasto; (4) Campobasso, Agnone, Iscrnia. Owing to the nature of the country, communications are not easy. Railways are (i) the coast railway (a part of the Bologna-Gallipoli line), with branches from Giulianova to Teramo and from Termoli to Campobasso; (2) a line diverging S.E. from this at Pescara and running via Sulmona (whence there are branches via Aquila and Rieti to Terni, and via Carpinone to (a) Isernia and Caianello, on the line from Rome to Naples, and (b) Campobasso and Benevento), and Avezzano (whence there is a branch to Roccasecca) to Rome.
The name Abruzzi is conjectured to be a medieval corruption of Praetuttii. The district was, in Lombard times, part of the duchy of Spoleto, and, under the Normans, a part of that of Apulia; it was first formed into a single province in 1240 by Frederick II., who placed the Justiciarius Aprutii at Solmona and founded the city of Aquila. After the Hohenstauffen lost their Italian dominions, the Abruzzi became a province of the Angevin kingdom of Naples, to which it was of great strategic importance. The division into three parts was not made until the 17th century. The Molise, on the other hand, formed part of the Lombard duchy of Benevento, and was placed under the Justiciarius of Terra di Lavoro by Frederick II.: after various changes it became part of the Capitanata, and was only formed into an independent province in 1811. The people are remark. ably conservative in beliefs, superstitions and traditions.
See V. Bindi, Monumenti storici ed artistici degli Abruzzi (Naples, 1889); A. de Nino, Ulsi e costumi Abruzzesi (Florence, 1879-1883).
ABSALOM (Hebrew for "father of [or is] peace''), in the Bible, the third son of David, king of Israel. He was deemed the handsomest man in the kingdom. His sister Tamar having been violated by David's eldest son Amnon, Absalom, after waiting two years, caused his servants to murder Amnon at a feast to which he had invited all the king's sons (2 Sam. xiii.). After this deed he fled to Talmai, "king'' of Geshur (see Josh. xii. 5 or xiii. 2), his maternal grandfather, and it was not until five years later that he was fully reinstated in his father's favour (see JOAB.) Four years after this he raised a revolt at Hebron, the former capital. Absalom was now the eldest surviving son of David, and the present position of the narratives (xv.-xx.)—after the birth of Solomon and before the struggle between Solomon and Adonijah—-may represent the view that the suspicion that he was not the destined heir of his father's throne excited the impulsive youth to rebellion. All Israel and Judah flocked to his side, and David, attended only by the Cherethites and Pelethites and some recent recruits from Gath, found it expedient to flee. The priests remained behind in Jerusalem, and their sons Jonathan and Ahimaaz served as his spies. Absalom reached the capital and took counsel with the renowned Ahithophel. The pursuit was continued and David took refuge beyond the Jordan. A battle was fought in the "wood of Ephraim'' (the name suggests a locality west of the Jordan) and Absalom's army was completely routed. He himself was caught in the boughs of an oak-tree, and as David had strictly charged his men to deal gently with the young man, Joab was informed. What a common soldier refused to do even for a thousand shekels of silver, the king's general at once undertook. Joab thrust three spears through the heart of Absalom as he struggled in the branches, and as though this were not enough, his ten armour-bearers came around and slew him. The king's overwhelming grief is well known. A great heap of stones was erected where he fell, whilst another monument near Jerusalem (not the modern "Absalom's Tomb,'' which is of later origin) he himself had erected in his lifetime to perpetuate his name (2 Sam. xviii. 17 seq.). But the latter notice does not seem to agree with xiv. 27 (cf. 1 Kings xv. 2). On the narratives in 2 Sam. xiii.-xix., see further DAVID; SAMUEL, BOOKS OF.
ABSALON (c. 1128-1201), Danish archbishop and statesman, was born about 1128, the son of Asser Rig of Fjenneslev, at whose castle he and his brother Esbjorn were brought up along with the young prince Valdemar, afterwards Valdemar I. The Rigs were as pious and enlightened as they were rich. They founded the monastery of Soro as a civilizing centre, and after giving Absalon the rudiments of a sound education at home, which included not only book-lore but every manly and martial exercise, they sent him to the university of Paris. Absalon first appears in Saxo's Chronicle as a fellow-guest at Roskilde, at the banquet given, in 1157, by King Sweyn to his rivals Canute and Valdemar. Both Absalon and Valdemar narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of their treacherous host on this occasion, but at length escaped to Jutland, whither Sweyn followed them, but was defeated and slain at the battle of Grathe Heath. The same year (1158) which saw Valdemar ascend the Danish throne saw Absalon elected bishop of Roskilde. Henceforth Absalon was the chief counsellor of Valdemar, and the promoter of that imperial policy which, for three generations, was to give Denmark the dominion of the Baltic. Briefly, it was Absalon's intention to Clear the northern sea of the Wendish pirates, who inhabited that portion of the Baltic littoral which we now call Pomerania, and ravaged the Danish coasts so unmercifully that at the accession of Valdemar one-third of the realm of Denmark lay wasted and depopulated. The very existence of Denmark demanded the suppression and conversion of these stiff-necked pagan freebooters, and to this double task Absalon devoted the best part of his life. The first expedition against the Wends, conducted by Absalon in person, set out in 1160, but it was not till 1168 that the chief Wendish fortress, at Arkona in Rugen, containing the sanctuary of their god Svantovit, was surrendered, the Wends agreeing to accept Danish suzerainty and the Christian religion at the same time. From Arkona Absalon proceeded by sea to Garz, in south Rugen, the political capital of the Wends, and an all but impregnable stronghold. But the unexpected fall of Arkona had terrified the garrison, which surrendered unconditionally at the first appearance of the Danish ships. Absalon, with only Sweyn, bishop of Aarhus, and twelve "house carls,'' thereupon disembarked, passed between a double row of Wendish warriors, 6000 strong, along the narrow path winding among the morasses, to the gates of the fortress, and, proceeding to the temple of the seven-headed god Rugievit, caused the idol to be hewn down, dragged forth and burnt. The whole population of Garz was then baptized, and Absalon laid the foundations of twelve churches in the isle of Rugen. The destruction of this chief sally-port of the Wendish pirates enabled Absalon considerably to reduce the Danish fleet. But he continued to keep a watchful eye over the Baltic, and in 1170 destroyed another pirate stronghold, farther eastward, at Dievenow on the isle of Wollin. Absalon's last military exploit was the annihilation, off Strela (Stralsund), on Whit-Sunday 1184, of a Pomeranian fleet which had attacked Denmark's vassal, Jaromir of Rugen. He was now but fifty-seven, but his strenuous life had aged him, and he was content to resign the command of fleets and armies to younger men, like Duke Valdemar, afterwards Valdemar II., and to confine himself to the administration of the empire which his genius had created. In this sphere Absalon proved himself equally great. The aim of his policy was to free Denmark from the German yoke. It was contrary to his advice and warnings that Valdemar I. rendered fealty to the emperor Frederick Barbarossa at Dole in 1162; and when, on the accession of Canute V. in 1182, an imperial ambassador arrived at Roskilde to receive the homage of the new king, Absalon resolutely withstood him. "Return to the emperor,'' cried he, "and tell him that the king of Denmark will in no wise show him obedience or do him homage.'' As the archpastor of Denmark Absalon also rendered his country inestimable services, building churches and monasteries, introducing the religious orders, founding schools and doing his utmost to promote civilization and enlightenment. It was he who held the first Danish Synod at Lund in 1167. In 1178 he became archbishop of Lund, but very unwillingly, only the threat of excommunication from the holy see finally inducing him to accept the pallium. Absalon died on the 21st of March 1201, at the family monastery of Soro, which he himself had richly embellished and endowed.
Absalon remains one of the most striking and picturesque figures of the Middle Ages, and was equally great as churchman, statesman and warrior. That he enjoyed warfare there can be no doubt; and his splendid physique and early training had well fitted him for martial exercises. He was the best rider in the army and the best swimmer in the fleet. Yet he was not like the ordinary fighting bishops of the Middle Ages, whose sole concession to their sacred calling was to avoid the "shedding of blood'' by using a mace in battle instead of a sword. Absalon never neglected his ecclesiastical duties, and even his wars were of the nature of Crusades. Moreover, all his martial energy notwithstanding, his personality must have been singularly winning; for it is said of him that he left behind not a single enemy, all his opponents having long since been converted by him into friends.
See Saxo, Gesta Danorum, ed. Holder (Strassburg, 1886), books xvi.; Steinstrup, Danmark's Riges Historic. Oldtiden og den (eldre Middelalder, pp. 570-735 (Copenhagen, 1897-1905). (R. N. B.)
ABSCESS (from Lat. abscedere, to separate), in pathology, a collection of pus among the tissues of the body, the result of bacterial inflammation. Without the presence of septic organisms abscess does not occur. At any rate, every acute abscess contains septic germs, and these may have reached the inflamed area by direct infection, or may have been carried thither by the blood-stream. Previous to the formation of abscess something has occurred to lower the vitality of the affected tissue—- some gross injury, perchance, or it may be that the power of resistance against bacillary invasion was lowered by reason of constitutional weakness. As the result, then, of lowered vitality, a certain area becomes congested and effusion takes place into the tissues. This effusion coagulates and a hard, brawny mass is formed which softens towards the centre. If nothing is done the softened area increases in size, the skin over it becomes thinned, loses its vitality (mortifies) and a small "slough'' is formed. When the slough gives way the pus escapes and, tension being relieved, pain ceases. A local necrosis or death of tissue takes place at that part of the inflammatory swelling farthest from the healthy circulation. When the attack of septic inflammation is very acute, death of the tissue occurs en masse, as in the core of a boil or carbuncle. Sometimes, however, no such mass of dead tissue is to be observed, and all that escapes when the skin is lanced or gives way is the creamy pus. In the latter case the tissue has broken down in a molecular form. After the escape of the core or slough along with a certain amount of pus, a space, the abscess-cavily', is left, the walls of which are lined with new vascular tissue which has itself escaped destruction. This lowly organized material is called granulation tissue, and exactly resembles the growth which covers the floor of an ulcer. These granulations eventually fill the contracting cavity and obliterate it by forming interstitial scar-tissue. This is called healing by second intention. Pus may accumulate in a normal cavity, such as a joint or bursa, or in the cranial, thoracic or abdominal cavity. In all these situations, if the diagnosis is clear, the principle of treatment is evacuation and drainage. When evacuating an abscess it is often advisable to scrape away the lining of unhealthy granulations and to wash out the cavity with an antiseptic lotion. If the after-drainage of the cavity is thorough the formation of pus ceases and the watery discharge from the abscess wall subsides. As the cavity contracts the discharge becomes less, until at last the drainage tube can be removed and the external wound allowed to heal. The large collections of pus which form in connexion with disease of the spinal column in the cervical, dorsal and lumbar regions are now treated by free evacuation of the tuberculous pus, with careful antiseptic measures. The opening should be in as dependent a position as possible in order that the drainage may be thorough. If tension recurs after opening has been made, as by the blocking of the tube, or by its imperfect position, or by its being too short, there is likely to be a fresh formation of pus, and without delay the whole procedure must be gone through again. (E. O.*)
ABSCISSA (from the Lat. abscissus, cut off), in the Cartesian system of co-ordinates, the distance of a point from the axis of y measured parallel to the horizontal axis (axis of x.) Thus PS (or OR) is the abscissa of P. The word appears for the first time in a Latin work written by Stefano degli Angeli (1623-1697), a professor of mathematics in Rome. (See GEOMETRY, sec. Analytical.)
ABSCISSION (from Lat. abscinidere), a tearing away, or cutting off; a term used sometimes in prosody for the elision of a vowel before another, and in surgery especially for abscission of the cornea, or the removal of that portion of the eyeball situated in front of the attachments of the recti muscles; in botany, the separation of spores by elimination of the connexion.
ABSCOND (Lat. abscondcre, to hide, put away), to depart in a secret manner; in law, to remove from the jurisdiction of the courts or so to conceal oneself as to avoid their jurisdiction. A person may "abscond'' either for the purpose of avoiding arrest for a crime (see ARREST), or for a fraudulent purpose, such as the defrauding of his creditors (see BANKRUPTCY.)
ABSENCE (Lat. absentia), the fact of being "away,'' either in body or mind; "absence of mind'' being a condition in which the mind is withdrawn from what is passing. The special occasion roll-call at Eton College is called "Absence,'' which the boys attend in their tall hats. A soldier must get permission or "leave of absence' before he can be away from his regiment. Seven years' absence with no sign of life either by letter or message is held presumptive evidence of death in the law courts.
ABSENTEEISM, a term used primarily of landed proprietors who absent themselves from their estates, and live and spend their incomes elsewhere; in its more extended meaning it includes all those (in addition to landlords) who live out of a country or locality but derive their income from some source within it. Absenteeism is a question which has been much debated, and from both the economic and moral point of view there is little doubt that it has a prejudicial effect. To it has been attributed in a great measure the unprosperous condition of the rural districts of France before the Revolution, when it was unusual for the great nobles to live on their estates unless compelled to do so by a sentence involving their "exile'' from Paris. It has also been an especial evil in Ireland, and many attempts were made to combat it. As early as 1727 a tax of four shillings in the pound was imposed on all persons holding offices and employments in Ireland and residing in England. This tax was discontinued in 1753, but was re-imposed in 1769. In 1774 the tax was reduced to two shillings in the pound, but was dropped after some years. It was revived by the Independent Parliament in 1782 and for some ten years brought in a substantial amount to the revenue, yielding in 1790 as much as 63,089 pounds.
AUTHORITIES.—For a discussion of absenteeism from the economic point of view see N. W. Senior, Lectures on the Rate of Wages, Political Economy; J. S. Mill, Political Economy; J. R. Mcculloch, Treatises and Essays on Money, &c., article "Absenteeism''; A. T. Hadley, Economics; on absenteeism in Ireland see A. Young, Tour in Ireland (1780); T. Prior, List of. Absentees (1729); E. Wakefield, Account of Iteland (1812); W. E. H. Lecky, Ireland in the 18th Century (1892): A. E. Murray, History of the Commercial and Financial Relations between England and Helanid (1903); Parliamentary Papers, Ireland, 1830, vii., ditto, 1845, xix.-xxii.; in France, A. de Monchretien, Traicte de l'oekonomie politique (1615); A. de Tocqueville, L'Ancien Regime (1857); H. Taine, Les Origines de la France contemporaine, l'ancien Regime (1876).
ABSINTHE a liqueur or aromatized spirit, the characteristic flavouring matter of which is derived from various species of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium.) Among the other substances generally employed in its manufacture are angelica root, sweet flag, dittany leaves, star-anise fruit, fennel and hyssop. A colourless "alcoholate'' (see LIQUEURS) is first prepared, and to this the well-known green colour of the beverage is imparted by maceration with green leaves of wormwood, hyssop and mint. Inferior varieties are made by means of essences, the distillation process being omitted. There are two varieties of absinthe, the French and the Swiss, the latter of which is of a higher alcoholic strength than the former. The best absinthe contains 70 to 80% of alcohol. It is said to improve very materially by storage. There is a popular belief to the effect that absinthe is frequently adulterated with copper, indigo or other dye-stuffs (to impart the green colour), but, in fact, this is now very rarely the case. There is some reason to believe that excessive absinthe-drinking leads to effects which are specifically worse than those associated with over-indulgence in other forms of alcohol.
ABSOLUTE (Lat. absolvere, to loose, set free), a term having the general signification of independent, self-existent, unconditioned. Thus we speak of "absolute'' as opposed to "limited'' or "constitutional'' monarchy, or, in common parlance, of an "absolute failure,'' i.e. unrelieved by any satisfactory circumstances. In philosophy the word has several technical uses. (1) In Logic, it has been applied to non-connotative terms which do not imply attributes (see CONNOTATION), but more commonly, in opposition to Relative, to terms which do not imply the existence of some other (correlative) term; e.g. "father'' implies "son,'' "tutor'' "pupil,'' and therefore each of these terms is relative. In fact, however, the distinction is formal, and, though convenient in the terminology of elementary logic, cannot be strictly maintained. The term "man,'' for example, which, as compared with "father,'' "son,'' "tutor,'' seems to be absolute, is obviously relative in other connexions; in various contexts it implies its various possible opposites, e.g. "woman,'' "boy,'' "master'', "brute.'' In other words, every term which is susceptible of definition is ipso facto relative, for definition is precisely the segregation of the thing defined from all other things which it is not, i.e. implies a relation. Every term which has a meaning is, therefore, relative, if only to its contradictory.
(2) The term is used in the phrase "absolute knowledge'' to imply knowledge per se. It has been held, however, that, since all knowledge implies a knowing subject and a known object, absolute knowledge is a contradiction in terms (see RELATIVITY.) So also Herbert Spencer spoke of "absolute ethics,'' as opposed to systems of conduct based on particular local or temporary laws and conventions (see ETHICS.)
(3) By far the most important use of the word is in the phrase "the Absolute'' (see METAPHYSICS.) It is sufficient here to indicate the problems involved in their most elementary form. The process of knowledge in the sphere of intellect as in that of natural science is one of generalization, i.e. the co-ordination of particular facts under general statements, or in other words, the explanation of one fact by another, and that other by a third, and so on. In this way the particular facts or existences are left behind in the search for higher, more inclusive conceptions; as twigs are traced to one branch, and branches to one trunk, so, it is held, all the plurality of sense-given data is absorbed in a unity which is all-inclusive and self-existent, and has no "beyond.'' By a metaphor this process has been described as the odos ano (as of tracing a river to its source). Other phrases from different points of view have been used to describe the idea, e.g. First Cause, Vital Principle (in connexion with the origin of life), God (as the author and sum of all being), Unity, Truth (i.e. the sum and culmination of all knowledge), Causa Causans, &c. The idea in different senses appears both in idealistic and realistic systems of thought.
The theories of the Absolute may be summarized briefly as follows. (1) The Absolute does not exist, and is not even in any real sense thinkable. This view is held by the empiricists, who hold that nothing is knowable save phenomena. The Absolute could not be conceived, for all knowledge is susceptible of definition and, therefore, relative. The Absolute includes the idea of necessity, which the mind cannot cognize. (2) The Absolute exists for thought only. In this theory the absolute is the unknown x which the human mind is logically compelled to postulate a priori as the only coherent explanation and justification of its thought. (3) The Absolute exists but is unthinkable, because it is an aid to thought which comes into operation, as it were, as a final explanation beyond which thought cannot go. Its existence is shown by the fact that without it all demonstration would be a mere circulus in probando or verbal exercise, because the existence of separate things implies some one thing which includes and explains them. (4) The Absolute both exists and is conceivable. It is argued that we do in fact conceive it in as much as we do conceive Unity, Being, Truth. The conception is so clear that its inexplicability (admitted) is of no account. Further, since the unity of our thought implies the absolute, and since the existence of things is known only to thought, it appears absurd that the absolute itself should be regarded as non-existent. The Absolute is substance in itself, the ultimate basis and matter of existence. All things are merely manifestations of it, exist in virtue of it, but are not identical with it. (5) Metaphysical idealists pursue this line of argument in a different way. For them nothing exists save thought; the only existence 1hat can be predicated of any thing and, therefore, of the Absolute, is that it is thought. Thought creates God, things, the Absolute. (6) Finally, it has been held that we can conceive the Absolute, though our conception is only partial, just as our concepuon of all things is limited by the imperfect powers of human intellect. Thus the Absolute exists for us only in our thought of it (4 above). But thought itself comes from the Absolute which, being itself the pure thought of thoughts, separates from itself individual minds. It is, therefore, perfectly natural that human thought, being essentially homogeneous with the Absolute, should be able by.the consideration of the universe to arrive at some imperfect conception of the source from which all is derived.
The whole controversy is obscured by inevitable difficulties in terminology. The fundamental problem is whether a thing which is by hypothesis infinite can in any sense be defined, and if it is not defined, whether it can be said to be cognized or thought. It would appear to be almost an axiom that anything which by hypothesis transcends the intellect (i.e. by including subject and object, knowing and known) is ipso facto beyond the limits of the knower. Only an Absolute can cognize an absolute.
ABSOLUTION (Lat. absolutio from absolvo, loosen, acquit), a term used in civil and ecclesiastical law, denoting the act of setting free or acquitting. In a criminal process it signifies the acquittal of an accused person on the ground that the evidence has either disproved or failed to prove the charge brought against him. In this sense it is now little used, except in Scottish law in the forms assoilzie and absolvitor. The ecclesiastical use of the word is essentially different from the civil. It refers not to an accusation, but to sin actually committed (after baptism); and it denotes the setting of the sinner free from the guilt of the sin, or from its ecclesiastical penalty (excommunication), or from both. The authority of the church or minister to pronounce absolution is based on John xx. 23; Matt. xviii. 18; James v. 16, &c. In primitive times, when confession of sins was made before the congregation, the absolution was deferred till the penance was completed; and there is no record of the use of any special formula. Men were also encouraged, e.g. by Chrysostom, to confess their secret sins secretly to God. In course of time changes grew up. (1) From the 3rd century onwards, secret (auricular) confession before a bishop or priest was practised. For various reasons it became more and more common, until the fourth Lateran council (1215) ordered all Christians of the Roman obedience to make a confession once a year at least. In the Greek church also private confession has become obligatory. (2) In primitive times the penitent was reconciled by imposition of hands by the bishop with or without the clergy: gradually the office was left to be discharged by priests, and the outward action more and more disused. (3) It became the custom to give the absolution to penitents immediately after their confession and before the penance was performed. (4) Until the Middle Ages the form of absolution after private confession was of the nature of a prayer, such as "May the Lord absolve thee''; and this is still the practice of the Greek church. But about the 13th century the Roman formula was altered, and the council of Trent (1551) declared that the "form'' and power of the sacrament of penance lay in the words Ego te absolvo, &c., and that the accompanying prayers are not essential to it. Of the three forms of absolution in the Anglican Prayer Book, that in the Visitation of the Sick (disused in the church of Ireland by decision of the Synods of 1871 and 1877) runs "I absolve thee,'' tracing the authority so to act through the church up to Christ: the form in the Communion Service is precative, while that in Morning and Evening Prayer is indicative indeed, but so general as not to imply anything like a judicial decree of absolution. In the Lutheran church also the practice of private confession survived the Reformation, together with both the exhibitive (I forgive, &c.) and declaratory (I declare and pronounce) forms of absolution. In granting absolution, even after general confession, it is in some places still the custom for the minister, where the numbers permit of it, to lay his hands on the head of each penitent. (W. O. B.)
ABSOLUTISM, in aesthetics, a term applied to the theory that beauty is an objective attribute of things, not merely a subjective feeling of pleasure in him who perceives. It follows that there is an absolute standard of the beautiful by which all objects can be judged. The fact that, in practice, the judgments even of connoisseurs are perpetually at variance, and that the so-called criteria of one place or period are more or less opposed to those of all others, is explained away by the hypothesis that individuals are differently gifted in respect of the capacity to appreciate. (See AESTHETICS.)
In political philosophy absolutism, as opposed to constitutional government, is the despotic rule of a sovereign unrestrained by laws and based directly upon force. In the strict sense such governments are rare. but it is customary to apply the term to a state at a relatively backward stage of constitutional development.
ABSORPTION OF LIGHT. The term "absorption'' (from Lat. absorbere) means literally "sucking up'' or "swallowing,'' and thus a total incorporation in something, literally or figuratively; it is technically used in animal physiology for the function of certain vessels which suck up fluids; and in light and optics absorption spectrum and absorption band are terms used in the discussion of the transformation of rays in various media.
If a luminous body is surrounded by empty space, the light which it emits suffers no loss of energy as it travels outwards. The intensity of the light diminishes merely because the total energy, though unaltered, is distributed over a wider and wider surface as the rays diverge from the source. To prove this, it will be sufficient to mention that an exceedingly small deficiency in the transparency of the free aether would be sufficient to prevent the light of the fixed stars from reaching the earth, since their distances are so immense. But when light is transmitted through a material medium, it always suffers some loss, the light energy being absorbed by the medium, that is, converted partially or wholly into other forms of energy such as heat, a portion of which transformed energy may be re-emitted as radiant energy of a lower frequency. Even the most transparent bodies known absorb an appreciable portion of the light transmitted through them. Thus the atmosphere absorbs a part of the sun's rays, and the greater the distance which the rays have to traverse the greater is the proportion which is absorbed, so that on this account the sun appears less bright towards sunset. On the other hand, light can penetrate some distance into all substances, even the most opaque, the absorption being, however, extremely rapid in the latter case.
The nature of the surface of a body has considerable influence on its power of absorbing light. Platinum black, for instance, in which the metal is in a state of fine division, absorbs nearly all the light incident on it, while polished platinum reflects the greater part. In the former case the light penetrating between the particles is unable to escape by reflexion, and is finally absorbed.
The question of absorption may be considered from either of two points of view. We may treat it as a superficial effect, especially in the case of bodies which are opaque enough or thick enough to prevent all transmission of light, and we may investigate how much is reflected at the surface and how much is absorbed; or, on the other hand, we may confine our attention to the light which enters the body and inquire into the relation between the decay of intensity and the depth of penetration. We shall take these two cases separately.
Absorptive Power.—When none of the radiations which fall on a body penetrates through its substance, then the ratio of the amount of radiation of a given wave-length which is absorbed to the total amount received is called the "absorptive power'' of the body for that wave-length. Thus if the body absorbed half the incident radiation its absorptive power would be 1/2, and if it absorbed all the incident radiation its absorptive power would be 1. A body which absorbs all radiations of all wavelengths would be called a "perfectly black body.'' No such body actually exists, but such substances as lamp-black and platinum-black approximately fulfil the condition. The fraction of the incident radiation which is not absorbed by a body gives a measure of its reflecting power, with which we are not here concerned. Most bodies exhibit a selective action on light, that is to say, they readily absorb light of particular wave-lengths, light of other wave-lengths not being largely absorbed. All bodies when heated emit the same kind of radiations which they absorb—-an important principle known as the principle of the equality of radiating and absorbing powers. Thus black substances such as charcoal are very luminous when heated. A tile of white porcelain with a black pattern on it mill, if heated red-hot, show the pattern bright on a darker ground. On the other hand, those substances which either are good reflectors or good transmitters, are not so luminous at the same temperature; for instance, melted silver, which reflects well, is not so luminous as carbon at the same temperature, and common salt, which is very transparent for most kinds of radiation, when poured in a fused condition out of a bright red-hot crucible, looks almost like water, showing only a faint red glow for a moment or two. But all such bodies appear to lose their distinctive properties when heated in a vessel which nearly encloses them, for in that case those radiations which they do not emit are either transmitted through them from the walls of the vessel behind, or else reflected from their surface. This fact may be expressed by saying that the radiation within a heated enclosure is the same as that of a perfectly black body.
Coefficient of Absorption, and Law of Absorption.—-The law which governs the rate of decay of light intensity in passing through any medium may be readily obtained. If I0 represents the intensity of the light which enters the surface, I1 the intensity after passing through 1 centimetre, I2 the intensity after passing through 2 centimetres, and so on; then we should expect that whatever fraction of I0 is absorbed in the first centimetre, the same fraction of I1 will be absorbed in the second. That is, if an amount jI0 is absorbed in the first centimetre, JI1 is absorbed in the second, and so on. We have then I1 = I0(1—j) I2 = I1(1—j) = I0(1—j)2 I3 = I2(1—j) = I0(1—j)3 and so on, so that if I is the intensity after passing through a thickness t in centimetres I = I0(1—j)t (1). We might call j, which is the proportion absorbed in one centimetre, the "coefficient of absorption'' of the medium. 1/2t would, however, not then apply to the case of a body for which the whole light is absorbed in less than one centimetre. It is better then to define the coefficient of absorption as a quantity k such that k/n of the light is absorbed in 1/nth part of a centimetre, where n may be taken to be a very large number. The formula (1) then becomes I=I0e-kt (2) where e is the base of Napierian logarithms, and k is a constant which is practically the same as for bodies which do not absorb very rapidly.