apt to acquire a reddish colour. The amber of Sicily seems not to have been recognized in ancient times, for it is not mentioned by local authorities like Diodorus Siculus.
Burmite is the name under which the Burmese amber is now described. Until the British occupation of Burma but little was known as to its occurrence, though it had been worked for centuries and was highly valued by the natives and by the Chinese. It is found in flat rolled pieces, irregularly distributed through a blue clay probably of Miocene age. It occurs in the Hukawng valley, in the Nangotaimaw hills, where it is irregularly worked in shallow pits. The mines were visited some years ago by Dr Fritz Noetling, and the mineral has been described by Dr Otto Helm. The Burmese amber is yellow or reddish, some being of ruby tint, and like the Sicilian amber it is fluorescent. Burmite and simetite agree also in being destitute of succinic acid. Most of the Burmese amber is worked at Mandalay into rosary-beads and ear-cylinders.
Many other fossil resins more or less allied to amber have been described. Schraufite is a reddish resin from the Carpathian sandstone, and it occurs with jet in the cretaceous rocks of the Lebanon; ambrite is a resin found in many of the coals of New Zealand; retinite occurs in the lignite of Bovey Tracey in Devonshire and elsewhere; whilst copaline has been found in the London clay of Highgate in North London. Chemawinite or cedarite is an amber-like resin from the Saskatchewan river in Canada.
Amber and certain similar substances are found to a limited extent at several localities in the United States, as in the green-sand of New Jersey, but they have little or no economic value. A fluorescent amber is said, however, to occur in some abundance in Southern Mexico. Amber is recorded also from the Dominican Republic.
References.—See, for Baltic amber, P. Dahms, “Ueber die Vorkommen und die Verwendung des Bernsteins”, Zeitsch. für praktische Geologie, 1901, p. 201; H. Conwentz, Monographie der baltischen Bernsteinbaume (Danzig, 1890); R. Klebs, Guide to Exhibit of the German Amber Industry al World's Fair (St Louis, 1904); and abstract by G. F. Kunz in Mineral Resources of the U. S. (1904). For Sicilian amber, W. Arnold Buflum, The Tears of the Heliades, or Amber as a Gem (London, 1896). For Burmese amber, papers by Fritz Noetling and Otto Helm in Records of Geol. Surv. of India, vol. xxvi. (1893), pp. 31, 61. For British amber, Clement Reid in Trans. Norfolk Nat. Soc., vol. iii. (1884) p. 601; vol. iv. (1886) p. 247; and H. Conwentz in Natural Science, vol. ix. (1896) pp. 99, 161. (F. W. R.*)
AMBERG, a town of Germany, in the kingdom of Bavaria, formerly the capital of the Upper Palatinate, situated on both sides of the Vils, 42 m. E. of Nuremberg by rail. Pop. 22,089. It has a town hall with handsome rooms, a library, a gymnasium, a lyceum, elementary schools, an arsenal, and eleven churches, the finest of which is St Martin's, of the 15th century, with many excellent paintings and a tower 300 ft. high. A former Jesuit monastery is now used for a grammar school and seminary. There are also a pilgrimage church on a hill 1621 ft. high, a large convict prison for men, an industrial, commercial and other schools. The principal manufactures are firearms, ironmongery, earthenware, woollen cloth, beer, stoneware, zinc goods, colours and salt; in the neighbourhood are iron and coal mines. The French under Jourdan were defeated by the Austrians under the Archduke Charles near Amberg in 1796.
AMBERGRIS (Ambra grisea, Ambre gris, or grey amber), a solid, fatty, inflammable substance of a dull grey or blackish colour, the shades being variegated like marble, possessing a peculiar sweet, earthy odour. It occurs as a biliary concretion in the intestines of the spermaceti whale (Physeter macrocephalus), and is found floating upon the sea, on the sea-coast, or in the sand near the sea-coast. It is met with in the Atlantic Ocean; on the coasts of Brazil and Madagascar; also on the coast of Africa, of the East Indies, China, Japan and the Molucca islands; but most of the ambergris which is brought to England comes from the Bahama Islands, Providence, &c. It is also sometimes found in the abdomen of whales, always in lumps of various shapes and sizes, weighing from ½ oz. to 100 or more pounds. Ambergris, when taken from the intestinal canal of the sperm whale, is of a deep grey colour, soft consistence and a disagreeable smell. On exposure to the air it gradually hardens, becomes pale and develops its peculiar sweet, earthy odour. In that condition its specific gravity ranges from 0·780 to 0·926. It melts at about 62° C. to a fatty, yellow resinous-like liquid; and at 100° C. it is volatilized into a white vapour. It is soluble in ether, and in volatile and fixed oils; it is only feebly acted on by acids. By digesting in hot alcohol, a substance termed ambrein, closely resembling cholesterin, is obtained, which separates in brilliant white crystals as the solution cools. The use of ambergris in Europe is now entirely confined to perfumery, though it formerly occupied no inconsiderable place in medicine. In minute quantities its alcoholic solution is much used for giving a “floral” fragrance to bouquets, washes and other preparations of the perfumer. It occupies a very important place in the perfumery of the East, and there it is also used in pharmacy and as a flavouring material in cookery. The high price it commands makes it peculiarly liable to adulteration, but its genuineness is easily tested by its solubility in hot alcohol, its fragrant odour, and its uniform fatty consistence on being penetrated by a hot wire.
AMBERT, a town of central France, capital of an arrondissement of the department of Puy-de-Dôme, on the Dore, 52 m. E.S.E. of Clermont-Ferrand by rail. Pop. (1906), town, 3889; commune, 7581. The town has a church of the 15th and 16th centuries and carries on the manufacture of paper, lace, ribbon, rosaries, &c., and trade in cheese. It is the seat of a sub-prefect, and the public institutions include tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of arts and manufactures, and a communal college.
AMBIENT (from Lat. ambi, on both sides, and ire, to go), surrounding; a word implying a moving rather than a stationary encircling. It is used mostly in the phrase the “ambient air,” though Bacon applied it as an adjective to the clergy, suggesting “ambition.” In astrology it means the sky.
AMBIGU, a French game of cards, composed of the characteristic elements of whist, bouillotte and piquet. A whist pack with the court cards deleted is used, and from two to six persons may play. Each player is given an equal number of counters, and a limit of betting is agreed upon. Two cards are dealt, one at a time, to each player, after each has placed two counters in a pool. Each player then either keeps his hand, saying “Enough,” or takes one or two new cards from the top of the stock, after which the stock is reshuffled and cut, and each player receives two more cards, one at a time. The players then either “play” or “pass.” If a person “plays,” he bets a number of counters and the others may equal this bet or raise it. Should no player meet the first bet, the bettor takes back his bet, leaving the pool intact, and receives two counters from the last player who refuses to play. When two or more bet the same number, they again draw cards and “pass” or “play” as before. If all “pass,” each pays a counter to the pool and a new deal ensues. The player betting more than the others call wins the pool. He then exposes his hand and is paid by each adversary according to its value. The hands rank as follows:— “Point,” the number of pips on two or more cards of a suit (one counter). “Prime,” four cards of different suits (two counters). “Grand Prime,” the same with the number of pips over 30 (three counters). “Sequence,” a hand containing three cards of the same suit in sequence (three counters). “Tricon," three of a kind (four counters). “Flush,” four cards of the same suit (five counters). “Doublet,” a hand containing two counting combinations at once, as 2, 3, 4 and 7 of spades, amounting to both a “sequence” and a “flush” (eight counters). “Fredon,” four of a kind (the highest possible hand), ten or eleven counters, according to the number of pips. Ties are decided by the number of pips.
AMBIGUITY (Fr. ambiguïté, med. Lat. ambiguitas, from Lat. ambiguus, doubtful; ambi, both ways, agere, to drive), doubtfulness or uncertainty. In law an ambiguity as to the meaning of the words of a written instrument may be of considerable importance. Ambiguity, in law, is of two kinds, patent and latent. (1) Patent