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ASTARABAD, the capital of the province, is situated on the Astar, a small tributary of the Kara Su (Black river), which flows into the Caspian Sea 20 m. W. of the city, and about 18 m. S. of the Gurgan river, in 36° 51' N. lat. and 54° 26' E. long. It is surrounded by a mud wall about 30 ft. in height and about 3} m. in circuit, but much of the enclosed space is occupied by gardens, mounds of refuse, and ruins. At one time of greater size, it was reduced by Nadir Shah within its present limits. Astarabad owes its origin to Yazid ibn Mohallab, who occupied the province early in the 8th century for Suleiman, the seventh of the Omayyad caliphs (715–717), and was destroyed by Timur (Tamerlane) in 1384. Jonas Hanway, the philanthropist (d. 1786), visited the place in 1744, and attempted to open a direct trade through it between Europe and central Asia. Owing to the noxious exhalations of the surrounding forests the town is so extremely unhealthy during the hot weather as to have acquired the title of the “Abode of the Plague.” It has post and telegraph offices, and a population of about 10,000. Since 1890 the Turkomans who impeded trade by their perpetual raids have been kept more in check, and with the decrease of insecurity the commercial activity of Astarabad has increased considerably. ASTARTE, a Semitic goddess whose name appears in the Bible as Ashtoreth. She is everywhere the great female principle, answering to the Baal of the Canaanites and Phoenicians” and to the Dagon of the Philistines. She had temples at Sidon and at Tyre (whence her worship was transplanted to Carthage), and the Philistines probably venerated her at Ascalon (1 Sam. xxxi. 10). Solomon built a high-place for her at Jerusalem which lasted until the days of King Josiah (1 Kings xi. 5; 2 Kings xxiii. 13), and the extent of her cult among the Israelites is proved as much by the numerous biblical references as by the frequent representations of the deity turned up on Palestinian soil.” The Moabites formed a compound deity, Ashtar-Chemosh (see MoAB), and the absence of the feminine termination occurs similarly in the Babylonian and Assyrian prototype Ishtar. The old South Arabian phonetic equivalent Athtar is, however, a male deity. Another compound, properly of mixed sex, appears in the Aramaean Atargatis ("At{t}ar-'athe), worn down to Derketo, who is specifically associated with sacred pools and fish (Ascalon, Hierapolis-Mabog). (See ATARGATIs.) The derivation of the name Ishtar is uncertain, and the original attributes of the goddess are consequently unknown. She assumes various local forms in the old Semitic world, and this has led to consequent fusion and identification with the deities of other nations. As the great nature-goddess, the attributes of fertility and reproduction are characteristically hers, as also the accompanying immorality which originally, perhaps, was often nothing more than primitive magic. As patroness of the hunt, later identification with Artemis was inevitable. Hence the consequent fusion with Aphrodite, Artemis, Diana, Juno and Venus, and the action and reaction of one upon the other in myth and legend. Her star was the planet Venus, and classical writers give her the epithet Caelestis and Urania. Whether Astarte was also a lunar goddess has been questioned. As the female counterpart of the Phoenician Baal (viewed as a sun-god), and on the testimony of late writers (Lucian, Herodian) that she was represented with horns, the place-name AshterothKarnaim in Gilead (“Ashteroth of the horns”) has been considered ample proof in favour of the theory. But it is probable that the horns were primarily ram's horns," and that Astarte the moon-goddess is due to the influence of the Egyptian Isis * The vocalization suggests the Heb. bösheth, “shame”; see BAAL. *Add also the Hittites; for Sutekh, the Egyptian equivalent of the male partner, see Müller, Milt. d. vorderasiat, Gesell. (1902), v. pp. 11, 38... Astarte was introduced also into Egypt and had her temple at Memphis. See also S. A. Cook, Religion of Ancient Palestine, Index, s.v. * Such figurines are in a sense the prototypes of the Venus of Medici. On the influence of her cult upon that of the Virgin Mary, see Rösch, Studien n. Krit. (1888), pp. 265 sqq. * A model of an Astarte with ram's horns was unearthed by R.A.S. Macalister at Gezer (Pal. Explor. Fund, Quart. Statement, 1903, p. 227 with figure facing).

and Hathor. Robertson Smith, too, argues that Astarte was originally a sheep-goddess, and points to the interesting use of “Astartes of the flocks” (Deut. vii. 13, see the comm.) to denote the offspring. To nomads, Astarte may well have been a sheep-goddess, but this, if her earliest, was not her only type, as is clear from the sacred fish of Atargatis, the doves of Ascalon (and of the Phoenician sanctuary of Eryx), and the gazelle or antelope of the goddess of love (associated also with the Arabian

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ASTELL, MARY (1668-1731), English author, was born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She was instructed by her uncle, a clergyman, in Latin and French, logic, mathematics and natural philosophy. In her twentieth year she went to London, where she continued her studies. She published, in 1697, a work entitled A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, wherein a Method is offered for the Improvemcnt of their Minds. With the same end in view she elaborated a scheme for a ladies' college, which was favourably entertained by Queen Anne, and would have been carried out had not Bishop Burnet interfered. The most important of her other works was The Christian Religion, as professed by a Daughter of the Church of England, published in 1705. ASTER (Gr. dorip, a star), the name of a genus of plants, given from the fact of the flowers having a radiated or star-like appearance (see below). The Greek word also provides many derivatives: e.g. asterism (Gr. do repuguós), a constellation (q.v.); asteroid (Gr. &g repo-eláhs, star-like), an alternative name for planetoids or minor planets (see PLANET). The genus of composite plants named aster (natural order Compositae) is found largely in North America, and scattered sparingly over Asia, Europe and South America. They are usually herbaceous perennials; their flowers arranged in numerous heads (capitula) recall those of the daisy, whence they are popularly known in England as Michaelmas daisies, since many are in bloom about that time. They are valuable plants in a garden, the various species flowering from late summer right on to November or December. The only British species is Aster Tripolium, found abundantly in saline marshes near the sea. One of the species, Aster alpinus, grows at a considerable height on the mountains of Europe. Some of them, such as Aster spectabilis of North America, are very showy. They are mostly easy to cultivate in ordinary garden soil, and are readily propagated by dividing the roots in early spring. The following are some of the better known forms:—A. alpinus, barely 1 ft. high, and A. Amellus, 13 ft., with its var. bessarabicus, have broadish blunt leaves and large starry bluish flowers; A. longifolius var. formosus, 2 ft., bright rosy lilac, A. acris, 2 to 3 ft., with blue flowers in August; A. ericoides, 3 ft., with heath-like leaves and masses of small white flowers; A. puniceus, 4 to 6 ft., blue or rosy-lilac, A. turbinellus, 2 to 3 ft., mauvecoloured, are showy border plants; and A. Novae-Angliae, 5 to 6 ft., rosy-violet; A. Novi-Belgii, 3 to 6 ft., pale blue; A. laevis, 2 to 6 ft., blue-lilac, and A. grandiflorus, 3 ft., violet, are especially useful from their late-flowering habit. The China aster (Callistephus chinensis) is also a member of the order Compositae. It is a hardy annual, a native of China, which by cultivation has yielded a great variety of forms. Some of the best for ornamental gardening are the chrysanthemumflowered, the paeony-flowered, the crown or cockade, the comet, and the globe-quilled. Crown asters have a white centre, and dark crimson or purple circumference, and are very beautiful. The colours range from white and blush through pink and rose to crimson, and from lilac through blue to purple, in various shades. They should be sown early in March in pans, in a gentle heat, the young plants being quickly transferred to a cool pit, and there pricked out in rich soil as soon as large enough, and eventually planted out in the garden in May or June, in soil which has been well worked and copiously manured, where they grow from

8 to 18 in. high, and flower towards the end of summer. They also make handsome pot plants for the conservatory. ASTERIA, or STAR-STONE (from Gr. do rip, star), a name applied to such ornamental stones as exhibit when cut en cabochon a luminous star. The typical asteria is the starsapphire, generally a bluish-grey corundum, milky or opalescent, with a star of six rays. (See SAPPHIRE.) In red corundum the stellate reflexion is less common, and hence the star-ruby occasionally found with the star-sapphire in Ceylon is among the most valued of “fancy stones.” When the radiation is shown by yellow corundum, the stone is called star-topaz. Cymophane, or chatoyant chrysoberyl, may also be asteriated. In all these cases the asterism is due to the reflexion of light from twinlamellae or from fine tubular cavities or thin enclosures definitely arranged in the stone. The astrion of Pliny is believed to have been our moonstone, since it is described as a colourless stone from India having within it the appearance of a star shining with the light of the moon. All star-stones were formerly regarded with much superstition. ASTERID, a group of starfish. They are the starfish proper, and have the typical genus Asterias (see STARFISH). ASTERISK (from Gr. &a replakos, a little star), the sign" used in typography. The word is also used in its literal meaning in old writers, and as a description of an ornamental form (star-shaped) in one of the utensils in the Greek Church. ASTERIUS, of Cappadocia, sophist and teacher of rhetoric in Galatia, was converted to Christianity about the year 3oo, and became the disciple of Lucian, the founder of the school of Antioch. During the persecution under Maximian (304) he relapsed into paganism, and thus, though received again into the church by Lucian and supported by the Eusebian party, never attained to ecclesiastical office. He is best known as an able defender of the semi-Arian position, and was styled by Athanasius the “advocate” of the Arians. His chief work was the Syntagmation, but he wrote many others, including commentaries on the Gospels, the Psalms, and Romans. He attended many synods, and we last hear of him at the synod of Antioch 1n 341. ASTERIUS, bishop of Amasia, in Pontus, c. 4oo. He was partly contemporary with the emperor Julian (d. 363) and lived to a great age. His fame rests chiefly on his Homilies, which were much esteemed in the Eastern Church. Most of these have been lost, but twenty-one are given in full by Migne (Patrol. Ser. Gr. xl. 164-477), and there are fragments of others in Photius (Cod. 271). Asterius was a man of much culture, and his works are a valuable contribution to our knowledge of the history of preaching. ASTHMA (Gr. Gaffua, gasping, whence āqūualvo, I gasp for breath), a disorder of respiration characterized by severe paroxysms of difficult breathing (dyspnoea) usually followed by a period of complete relief, with recurrence of the attacks at more or less frequent intervals. The term is often loosely employed in reference to states of embarrassed respiration, which are plainly due to permanent organic disease of the respiratory organs (see RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: Pathology). The attacks occur quite suddenly, and in some patients at regular, in others at irregular intervals. They are characterized by extreme difficulty both in inspiration and expiration, but especially in the latter, the chest becoming distended and the diaphragm immobile. In the case of “pure” “idiopathic.” or

“nervous” asthma, there is no fever or other sign of inflamma

tion. But where the asthma is secondary to disease of some organ of the body, the symptoms will depend largely on that organ and the disease present. Such secondary forms may be bronchitic, cardiac, renal, peptic or thymic. The mode of onset differs very markedly in different cases. In some the attack begins quite suddenly and without warning, but in others various sensations well known to the patient announce that an attack is imminent. According to the late Dr Hyde Salter the commonest warning is that of an intense desire for sleep, so overpowering that though the patient knows his only chance of warding off the attack is to keep awake, he is

yet utterly unable to fight against his drowsiness. Among other patients, however, a condition of unwonted mental excitement presages the attack. Again the secondary forms of the disease may be ushered in by flatulence, constipation and loss of appetite, and a symptom which often attends the onset, though it is not strictly premonitory, is a profuse diuresis, the urine being watery and nearly colourless, as in the condition of hysterical diuresis. In the majority of instances the attack begins during the night, sometimes abruptly but often by degrees. The patient may or may not be aware that his asthma is threatening. A few hours after midnight he is aroused from sleep by a sense of difficult breathing. In some cases this is a slowly increasing condition, not becoming acute for some hour or more. But in others the attack is so sudden, so severe, that the patient springs from his bed and makes his way at once to an open window, apparently struggling for breath. Most asthmatics have some favourite attitude which best enables them to use all the auxiliary muscles of respiration in their struggle for breath, and this attitude they immediately assume, and guard fixedly until the attack begins to subside. The picture is characteristic and a very painful one to watch. The face is pale, anxious, and it may be livid. The veins of the forehead stand out, the eyes bulge, and perspiration bedews the face. The head is fixed in position, and likewise the powerful muscles of the back to aid the attempt at respiration. The breath is whistling and wheezing, and if it becomes necessary for the patient to speak, the words are uttered with grcat difficulty. If the chest be watched it is seen to be almost motionless, and the respirations may become extraordinarily slowed. Inspiration is difficult as the chest is already over-distended, but expiration is an even far greater struggle. The attack may last any time from an hour to several days, and between the attacks the patient is usually quite at ease. But notwithstanding the intensely distressing character of the attacks, asthma is not one of the diseases that shorten life. In the child, asthma is usually periodic in its recurrence, but as he ages it tends to become more erratic in both its manifestations and time of appearance. Also, though at first it may be strictly “pure” asthma, later in life it becomes attended by chronic bronchitis, which in its turn gives rise to emphysema. As to the underlying cause of the disease, one has only to read the many utterly different theorics put forward to account for it, to see how little is really known. But it has now been clearly shown that in the asthmatic state the respiratory centre is in an unstable and excitable condition, and that there is a morbid connexion between this and some part of the nasal apparatus. Dr Alexander Francis has shown, however, that the disease is not directly due to any mechanical obstruction of the nasal passages, and that the nose comparatively rarely supplies the immediate exciting cause of the asthmatic attack. Paroxysmal sneezing is another form in which asthma may show itself, and, curiously enough, this form occurs more frequently in women, asthma of the more recognized type in men. In infants and young children paroxysmal bronchitis is another form of the same disease. Dr James Goodhart notes the connexion between asthma and certain skin troubles, giving cases of the alternation of asthma and psoriasis, and also of asthma and eczema. The disease occurs in families with a well-marked neurotic inheritance, and twice as frequently in men as in women. The immediate cause of an attack may be anything or nothing. Dr Hyde Salter notes that 80% of cases in the young date from an attack of whooping cough, bronchitis or measles. In the general treatment of asthma there are two methods of dealing with the patient, either that of hardening the individual, widening his range of accommodation, and thus making him less susceptible, or that of modifying and adapting the environment to the patient. These two methods correspond to the two methods of drug treatment, tonic or sedative. During the last few years the method of treatment first used by Dr Alexander Francis has come into prominence. His plan is to restore the stability of the respiratory centre, by cauterizing the septal mucous membrane, and combining with this general hygienic measures. In his own words the operation, which is entirely

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painless and insignificant, is performed as follows:—“After painting one side of the septum nasi with a few drops of cocaine and resorcin, I draw a line with a galvano-cautery point from a spot opposite the middle turbinated body, forwards and slightly downwards for a distance of rather less than half an inch. In about one week's time I repeat the operation on the other side.” In his monograph on the subject, he classifies a large number of cases treated in this manner, most of which resulted in complete relief, some in very great improvement, and a very few in slight or no relief. ASTI (anc. Hasta), a town and episcopal see of Piedmont, Italy, in the province of Alessandria, situated on the Tanaro; it is 22 m. W. by rail from Alessandria. Pop. (1901) town, 19,787; commune, 41,047. Asti has still numerous medieval towers, a fine Gothic cathedral of the 14th century, the remains of a Christian basilica of the 6th century, and the octagonal baptistery of S. Pietro (11th century). It was the birthplace of the poet Vittorio Alfieri. In ancient times it manufactured pottery. It is now famous for its sparkling wine (Asti spumante), and is a considerable centre of trade. ASTLEY, JACOB ASTLEY, BARON (1579–1652), royalist commander in the English Civil War, came of a Norfolk family. In 1598 he joined Counts Maurice and Henry of Orange in the Netherlands, where he served with distinction, and afterwards fought under the elector palatine Frederick W. and Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty Years' War. He was evidently thought highly of by the states-general, for when he was absent, serving under the king of Denmark, his company in the Dutch army was kept open for him. Returning to England with a welldeserved reputation, he was in the employment of Charles I. in various military capacities. As "sergeant-major,” or general of the infantry, he went north in 1639 to organize the defence against the expected Scottish invasion. Here his duties were as much diplomatic as military, as the discontent which ended in the Civil War was now coming to a head. In the ill-starred “Bishops' War,” Astley did good service to the cause of the king, and he was involved in the so-called “Army Plot.” At the outbreak of the Great Rebellion (1642) he at once joined Charles, and was made major-general of the foot. His characteristic battle-prayer at Edgehill has become famous: “O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me. March on, boys!” At Gloucester he commanded a division, and at the first battle of Newbury he led the infantry of the royal army. With Hopton, in 1644, he served at Arundel and Cheriton. At the second battle of Newbury he made a gallant and memorable defence of Shaw House. He was made a baron by the king, and at Naseby he once more commanded the main body of the foot. He afterwards served in the west, and with 1500 men fought stubbornly but vainly the last battle for the king at Stow-on-the-Wold (March 1646). His remark to his captors has become as famous as his words at Edgehill, “You have now done your work and may go play, unless you will fall out amongst yourselves.” His scrupulous honour forbade him to take any part in the Second Civil War, as he had given his parole at Stow-on-the-Wold; but he had to undergo his share of the discomforts that were the lot of the vanquished royalists. He died in February 1651/2. The barony became extinct in 1668. ASTLEY, SIR JOHN DUGDALE, Bart. (1828-1894), English soldier and sportsman, was a descendant of Lord Astley, and son of the 2nd baronet (cr.1821). From 1848 to 1859 he was in the army, serving in the Crimean War and retiring as lieutenantcolonel. He married an heiress in 1858, and thenceforth devoted himself to horse-racing, pugilism and sport in general. He succeeded to the baronetcy in 1873, and from 1874 to 188o was Conservative M.P. for North Lincolnshire. He was a popular figure on the turf, being familiarly known as “the Mate,” and won and lost large sums of money. Just before his death, on the 10th of October 1894, he published some entertaining reminiscences, under the title of Fifty Years of my Life. ASTON, ANTHONY (fl. 1712-1731), English actor and dramatist, began to be known on the London stage in the early

years of the 18th century. He had tried the law and other professions, which he finally abandoned for the theatre. He had some success as a dramatic author, writing Love in a Hurry, performed in Dublin about 1709, and Pastora, or the Coy Shepherdess, an opera (1712). For many years he toured the English provinces with his wife and son, producing pieces which he himself wrote, or medleys from various plays fitted together with songs and dialogues of his own. ASTON MANOR, a municipal and parliamentary borough of Warwickshire, England, adjoining Birmingham on the north-east. Pop. (1901) 77,326. There are extensive manufactures, including those of motors and cycles with their accessories, also papermills, breweries, &c., and the population is largely industrial. Aston Hall, erected by Sir Thomas Holte in 1618–1635, is an admirable architectural example of its period, built of red brick. It stands in a large park, the whole property being acquired by the corporation of Birmingham in 1864, when the mansion became a museum and art gallery. It contains the panelling of a room from the house of Edmund Hector, which formerly stood in Old Square, Birmingham, where Dr Samuel Johnson was a frequent visitor. Aston Lower Grounds, adjoining the park, contain an assembly hall, and the playing field of the Aston Villa Football Club, where the more important games are witnessed by many thousands of spectators. Aston Manor was incorporated in 1903. The parliamentary borough returns one member. The corporation consists of a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 960 acres. ASTOR, JOHN JACOB (1763–1848), American merchant, was born at the village of Walldorf, near Heidelberg, Germany, on the 17th of July 1763. Until he was sixteen he worked in the shop of his father, a butcher; he then joined an elder brother in London, and there for four years was employed in the piano and flute factory of an uncle, of the firm of Astor & Broadwood. In 1783 he emigrated to America, and settled in New York, whither one of his brothers had previously gone. On the voyage he became acquainted with a fur-trader, by whose advice he devoted himself to the same business, buying furs directly from the Indians, preparing them at first with his own hands for the market, and selling them in London and elsewhere at a great profit. He was also the agent in New York of the firm of Astor & Broadwood. By his energy, industry and sound judgment he gradually enlarged his operations, did business in all the fur markets of the world, and amassed an enormous fortune, -the largest up to that time made by any American. He devoted many years to carrying out a project for organizing the fur trade from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean, and thence by way of the Hawaiian Islands to China and India. In 1811 he founded at the mouth of the Columbia river a settlement named after him Astoria, which was intended to serve as the central depot; but two years later the settlement was seized and occupied by the English. The incidents of this undertaking are the theme of Washington Irving's Astoria. A series of disasters frustrated the gigantic scheme. Astor made vast additions to his wealth by investments in real estate in New York City, and erected many buildings there, including the hotel known as the Astor House. The last twenty-five years of his life were spent in retirement in New York City, where he died on the 29th of March 1848, his fortune then being estimated at about $30,000,ooo. He made various charitable bequests by his will, and among them a gift of $50,000 to found an institution, opened as the “Astor House” in 1854, for the education of poor children and the relief of the aged and the destitute in his native village in Germany. His chief benefaction, however, was a bequest of $400,ooo for the foundation and endowment of a public library in New York City, since known as the Astor library, and since 1895 part of the New York public library. 'Fanon. Life of John Jacob Astor (New York, 1865). His eldest son, WILLIAM BACKHouse AstoR (1792-1875), inherited the greater part of his father's fortune, and chiefly by judicious investments in real estate greatly increased it. He was sometimes known as the “Landlord of New York.” Under

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