AMARAR, a tribe of African “Arabs” inhabiting the mountainous country on the west side of the Red Sea from Suakin northwards towards Kosseir. Between them and the Nile are the Ababda and Bisharin tribes and to their south dwell the Hadendoa. The country of the Amarar is called the Etbai. Their headquarters are in the Ariab district. The tribe is divided into four great families: (1) Weled Gwilei, (2) Weled Aliab, (3) Weled Kurbab Wagadab, and (4) the Amarar proper of the Ariab district. They claim to be of Koreish blood and to be the descendants of an invading Arab army. Possibly some small bands of Koreish Arabs may have made an inroad and converted some of the Amarar to Islam. Further than this there is little to substantiate their claim.
See Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, edited by Count Gleichen (London, 1905); Sir F. R. Wingate, Mahdism and the Egyptian Sudan (London, 1891); A. H. Keane, Ethnology of Egyptian Sudan (London, 1884).
AMARA SINHA (c. A.D. 375), Sanskrit grammarian and poet, of whose personal history hardly anything is known. He is said to have been “one of the nine gems that adorned the throne of Vikramaditya,” and according to the evidence of Hsüan Tsang, this is the Chandragupta Vikramaditya that flourished about A.D. 375. Amara seems to have been a Buddhist; and an early tradition asserts that his works, with one exception, were destroyed during the persecution carried on by the orthodox Brahmins in the 5th century. The exception is the celebrated Amara-Kosha (Treasury of Amara), a vocabulary of Sanskrit roots, in three books, and hence sometimes called Trikanda or the “Tripartite.” It contains 10,000 words, and is arranged, like other works of its class, in metre, to aid the memory. The first chapter of the Kosha was printed at Rome in Tamil character in 1798. An edition of the entire work, with English notes and an index by H. T. Colebrooke, appeared at Serampore in 1808. The Sanskrit text was printed at Calcutta in 1831. A French translation by A. L. A. Loiseleur-Deslongchamps as published at Paris in 1839.
AMARI, MICHELE (1806-1889), Italian orientalist and patriot, was born at Palermo. From his earliest youth he imbibed liberal principles from his relatives, especially from his grandfather, and although at the age of fourteen he was appointed clerk in the Bourbon civil service, he joined the Carbonari like many other young Sicilians and actively sympathized with the revolution of 1820. The movement, which was separatist in its tendencies, was quickly suppressed, but the conspiracies continued, and Amari's father, implicated in that of 1822, was arrested and condemned to death together with many others; but his sentence was commuted to imprisonment, and in 1834 he was liberated. Michele Amari still held his clerkship, but he regarded the Neapolitan government with increasing hatred, and he led a life of active physical exercise to train himself for the day of revolution. He devoted much of his time to the study of English and of history; his first literary essay was a translation of Sir Walter Scott's Marmion (1832), and in 1839 he published a work on the Sicilian Vespers, entitled Un Periodo delle storie Siciliane del XIII. secolo, filled with political allusions reflecting unfavourably on the government. The book had an immediate success and went through many editions, but it brought the author under the suspicion of the authorities, and in 1842 he escaped from a boat just as he was about to be arrested. He settled in Paris, where he came in contact with a number of literary men, such as Michelet and Thierry, as well as with the Italian exiles. Having no private means he had to earn a precarious livelihood by literature. He was much struck with certain French translations of Arabic works on Sicily, which awoke in him a desire to read the authors in the original. With the assistance of Prof. Reinaud and Baron de Slane he soon acquired great proficiency in Arabic, and his translations and editions of oriental texts, as well as his historical essays, made him a reputation. In 1844 he began his great work La Storia dei Musulmani in Sicilia, but the revolution of 1848 plunged him into politics once more. His pamphlet, Quelques Observations sur le droit public de la Sicile, advocating the revival of the 1812 constitution for the island, met with great success, and on arriving at Palermo, whence the Bourbon government had been expelled, he was chosen member of the war committee and appointed professor of public law at the university. At the general elections Amari was returned for Palermo and became minister of finance in the Stabile cabinet. On its fall he was sent to Paris and London to try to obtain help for the struggling island; having failed in his mission he returned to Sicily in 1849, hoping to fight. But the Neapolitan troops had re-occupied the island, the Liberals were in disagreement among themselves, and Amari with several other notables with difficulty escaped to Malta. Characteristic of his scholarly nature is the fact that he delayed his flight to take the impress of an important Arabic inscription. He returned to Paris, sad and dejected at the collapse of the movement, and devoted himself once more to his Arabic studies. He published a work on the chronology of the Koran, for which he received a prize from the Académie des Inscriptions, edited the Solwan el Mota by Ibn Zafer (a curious collection of philosophical thoughts) and Ibn Haukal's Description of Palermo, and in 1854 the first volume of his history of the Mahommedans in Sicily appeared. He received a meagre stipend for cataloguing the Arabic MSS. in the Bibliothèque Nationale, and he contributed many articles to the reviews. Although a firm friend of Mazzini, he discouraged the latter's premature conspiracies. In 1859, after the expulsion of the central Italian despots, Amari was appointed professor of Arabic at Pisa and afterwards at Florence. But when Garibaldi and his thousand had conquered Sicily, Amari returned to his native island, and was given an appointment in the government. Although intensely Sicilian in sentiment, he became one of the staunchest advocates of the union of Sicily with Italy, and was subsequently made senator of the kingdom at Cavour's instance. He was minister of education in the Farini and Minghetti cabinets, but on the fall of the latter in 1864, he resumed his professorship at Florence and spent the rest of his life in study. His circle of acquaintances, both in Italy and abroad, was very large, and his sound scholarship was appreciated in all countries. He died in 1889, loaded with honours. The last volume of his Storia dei Musulmani appeared in 1873, and in addition to the above-mentioned works he published many others on oriental and historical subjects. His work on the Sicilian Vespers was re-written as La Guerra del Vespro (9th ed., Milan, 1886). He was the pioneer of Arabic studies in modern Italy, and he still remains the standard authority on the Mussulman domination in Sicily, though his judgment on religious questions is sometimes warped by a violently anti-clerical bias.
See A. D'Ancona, Carteggio di Michele Amari coll' elogio di lui (Turin, 1896); and Oreste Tommasini's essay in his Scritti di storia e critica (Rome, 1891). (L. V.*)
AMARYLLIS (the name of a girl in classical pastoral poetry), in botany, a genus of the natural order Amaryllidaceae, containing the belladonna lily (Amaryllis Belladonna), a native of South Africa, which was introduced into cultivation at the beginning of the 18th century. This is a half-hardy bulbous plant, producing in the spring a number of strap-shaped, dull green leaves, 1-1½ ft. long, arranged in two rows, and in autumn a solid stem, bearing at the top a cluster of 6-12 funnel-shaped flowers, of a rose colour and very fragrant. Several forms are known in cultivation. Most of the so-called Amaryllis of gardens belong to the allied genus Hippeastrum (q.v.).
AMASIA (anc. Amasia), the chief town of a sanjak in the Sivas vilayet of Asia Minor and an important trade centre on the Samsun-Sivas road, beautifully situated on the Yeshil Irmak (Iris). Pop. 30,000; Moslems about 20,000, of whom a large proportion are Kizilbash (Shia); Christians (mostly Armenians), 10,000. It was one of the chief towns of the kingdom of Trebizond and of the Seljuks, one of whose sultans, Kaikobad I., enriched it with fine buildings and restored the castle, which was thus enabled to stand a seven months' siege by Timur. It was also much favoured by the early Osmanli sultans, one of whom, Selim I., was born there. Bayezid II. built a fine mosque. The place was modernized about a generation ago by Zia Pasha, the poet, when governor, and is now an unusually well built Turkish town with good bazaar and khans and a fine clock-tower. The