Page:EB1911 - Volume 03.djvu/66

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51
AVADANA—AVEBURY

bank to Sagaing, with which it was amalgamated in 1889. Amarapura, another ancient capital, lies 5 m. to the north-east of Ava, and Mandalay, the present capital, 6 m. to the north. The classical name of Ava is Yadanapura, “the city of precious gems.” It was founded by Thadomin Payā in A.D. 1364 as successor to Pagān, and the religious buildings of Pagān were to a certain extent reproduced here, although on nothing like the same scale as regards either size or splendour. It remained the seat of government for about four centuries with a succession of thirty kings. In 1782 a new capital, Amarapura, was founded by Bodaw Payā, but was deserted again in favour of Ava by King Baggidaw in 1823. On his deposition by King Tharawaddi in 1837, the capital reverted to Amarapura; but finally in 1860 the last capital of Mandalay was occupied by King Mindōn. For picturesque beauty Ava is unequalled in Burma, but it is now more like a park than the site of an old capital. Traces of the great council chamber and various portions of the royal palace are still visible, but otherwise the secular buildings are completely destroyed; and most of the religious edifices are also dilapidated.

AVADĀNA, the name given to a type of Buddhist romance literature represented by a large number of Sanskrit (Nepalese) collections, of which the chief are the Avadānasataka (Century of Legends), and the Divyāvadāna (The Heavenly Legend). Though of later date than most of the canonical Buddhist books, they are held in veneration by the orthodox, and occupy much the same position with regard to Buddhism that the Purānas do towards Brahminism.

AVAHI, the native name of a Malagasy lemur (Avahis laniger) nearly allied to the indri (q.v.), and the smallest representative of the subfamily Indrisinae, characterized by its woolly coat, and measuring about 28 in. in length, of which rather more than half is accounted for by the tail. Unlike the other members of the group, the avahi is nocturnal, and does not associate in small troops, but is met with either alone or in pairs. Very slow in its movements, it rarely descends to the ground, but, when it does, walks upright like the other members of the group. It is found throughout the forests which clothe the mountains on the east coast of Madagascar, and also in a limited district on the northwest coast, the specimens from the latter locality being of smaller size and rather different in colour. The eastern phase is generally rusty red above, with the inner sides of the limbs white; while the predominant hue in the western form is usually yellowish brown. (See Primates.) (R. L.*)

AVALANCHE (adopted from a French dialectic form, avalance, descent), a mass of snow and ice mingled with earth and stones, which rushes down a mountain side, carrying everything before it, and producing a strong wind which uproots trees on each side of its course. Where the supply of snow exceeds the loss by evaporation the surplus descends the mountain sides, slowly in the form of glaciers, or suddenly in ice-falls or in avalanches. A mass of snow may accumulate upon a steep slope and become compacted into ice by pressure, or remain loosely aggregated. When the foundation gives way, owing to the loosening effect of spring rains or from any other cause, the whole mass slides downward. A very small cause will sometimes set a mass of overloaded snow in motion. Thunder or even a loud shout is said to produce this effect when the mass is just poised, and Swiss guides often enjoin absolute silence when crossing dangerous spots.

AVALLON, a town of central France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Yonne, 34 m. S.S.E. of Auxerre on a branch of the Paris-Lyon railway. Pop. (1906) 5197. The town, with wide streets and picturesque promenades, is finely situated on a promontory, the base of which is washed on the south by the Cousin, on the east and west by small streams. Its chief building, the church of St Lazare, dates from the 12th century. The two western portals are adorned with sculpture in the ornate Romanesque style; the tower on the left of the façade was rebuilt in the 17th century. The Tour de L'Horloge, pierced by a gateway through which passes the Grande Rue, is a 15th century structure containing a museum on its second floor. Remains of the ancient fortifications, including seven of the flanking towers, are still to be seen. Avallon has a statue of Vauban, the military engineer. The public institutions include the subprefecture, a tribunal of first instance, and a communal college. The manufacture of biscuits and gingerbread, and of leather and farm implements is carried on, and there is considerable traffic in wood, wine, and the live-stock and agricultural produce of the surrounding country.

Avallon (Aballo) was in the middle ages the seat of a viscounty dependent on the duchy of Burgundy, and on the death of Charles the Bold passed under the royal authority.

AVALON (also written Avallon, Avollon, Avilion and Avelion), in Welsh mythology the kingdom of the dead, afterwards an earthly paradise in the western seas, and finally, in the Arthurian romances, the abode of heroes to which King Arthur was conveyed after his last battle. In Welsh the name is Ynys yr Afallon, usually interpreted “Isle of Apples,” but possibly connected with the Celtic tradition of a king over the dead named Avalloc (in Welsh Afallach). If the traditional derivation is correct, the name is derived from the Welsh afal, an apple, and, as no other large fruit was well known to the races of northern Europe, is probably intended to symbolize the feasting and enjoyments of elysium. Other forms of the name are Ynysvitrin and Ynysgutrin, “Isle of Glass”—which appear to be identical with Glasberg, the Teutonic kingdom of the dead. Perhaps owing to a confusion between Glasberg or Ynysvitrin and the Anglo-Saxon Glaestinga-burh, Glastonbury, the name “Isle of Avalon” was given to the low ridge in central Somersetshire which culminates in Glastonbury Tor, while Glastonbury itself came to be called Avalon. Attempts have also been made to identify Avalon with other places in England and Wales.

See Studies in the Arthurian Legend, by J. Rhys (Oxford, 1891); also Arthur (King); Atlantis.

AVARAY, a French territorial title belonging to a family some of whose members have been conspicuous in history. The Béarnaise family named Bésiade moved into the province of Orléanais in the 17th century, and there acquired the estate of Avaray. In 1667 Théophile de Bésiade, marquis d'Avaray, obtained the office of grand bailiff of Orleans, which was held by several of his descendants after him. Claude Antoine de Bésiade, marquis d'Avaray, was deputy for the bailliage of Orleans in the states-general of 1789, and proposed a Declaration of the Duties of Man as a pendant to the Declaration of the Rights of Man; he subsequently became a lieutenant-general in 1814, a peer of France in 1815, and duc d'Avaray in 1818. Antoine Louis François, comte d'Avaray, son of the above, distinguished himself during the Revolution by his devotion to the comte de Provence, afterwards Louis XVIII., whose emigration he assisted. Having nominally become king in 1799, that prince created the estate of Ile-Jourdain a duchy, under the title of Avaray, in favour of the comte d'Avaray, whom he termed his “liberator.” (M. P.*)

AVARS, or Avari, an East Caucasian people, the most renowned of the Lesghian tribes, inhabiting central Daghestan (see Lesghians). They are the only Lesghian tribe who possess a written language, for which they make use of the Arabic characters. They are often confused with the Avars whose empire on the Danube was broken by Charlemagne; but Komarov asserts that they are of more recent origin as a tribe, their name being Lowland Turki for “vagrant” or “refugee.”

AVATAR, a Sanskrit word meaning “descent,” specially used in Hindu mythology (and so in English) to express the incarnation of a deity visiting the earth for any purpose. The ten Avatars of Vishnu are the most famous. The Hindus believe he has appeared (1) as a fish, (2) as a tortoise, (3) as a hog, (4) as a monster, half man half lion, to destroy the giant Iranian, (5) as a dwarf, (6) as Rāma, (7) again as Rāma for the purpose of killing the thousand-armed giant Cartasuciriargunan, (8) as Krishna, (9) as Buddha. They allege that the tenth Avatar has yet to occur and will be in the form of a white-winged horse (Kalki) who will destroy the earth.

AVEBURY, JOHN LUBBOCK, 1st Baron (1834- ), English banker, politician and naturalist, was born in London