Page:EB1911 - Volume 28.djvu/237
Vryheid, a town of northern Natal, 291 m. by rail N. by W. of Durban. Pop. (1904) 2287, of whom 1344 were whites. It is the chief town of a district, of the same name, rich in mineral wealth, including copper, coal and gold. The coalfields of Hlobane are S.E. of the town. Originally part of Zululand the district of Vryheid was ceded by Dinizulu to a party of Boers under Lucas Meyer, who aided him to crush his opponents, and was proclaimed an independent state under the title of the New Republic in 1884. In 1888 it was incorporated with the Transvaal and in 1903 annexed to Natal (see Transvaal, § History; and Zululand, § History).
V-shaped Depression, in meteorology, a narrow area of low pressure usually occurring between two adjacent anticyclones, and taking the form of a V or tongue, as do the isobars representing it on a weather-chart. Such a depression may be regarded as a projection from a cyclonic system lying to one side of the two anticyclones. A similar depression, however, is frequently formed within a larger area of depression, i.e. an ordinary cyclone, and sometimes develops so far as to have a complete circulation of its own; it is then known as a “secondary.” The line of lowest depression following the axis of the V brings with it heavy squalls and a sudden change of wind from one direction almost to the opposite. It is preceded by signs of break in the weather such as usually herald the approach of an ordinary cyclone, and is followed by the usual signs of clearance. The occurrence of a V-depression or secondary within an ordinary cyclonic system intensifies, often to a dangerous degree, the usual disturbances in the weather accompanying that system. Conditions exactly opposite to those accompanying a V-shaped depression are provided by a “wedge.” (q.v.).
Vulcan (Volcanus), the Roman god of fire, and more especially of devouring flame (Virg. Aen. 5. 662). Whether he was also, like Hephaestus, the deity of smiths, is very doubtful; his surname Mulciber may rather be referred to his power to allay conflagrations. In the Comitium was an “area Volcani,” also called “Volcanal”, and here on the 23rd of August (Volcanalia) the Flamen Volcanalis sacrificed, and the heads of Roman families threw into the fire small fish, which the Tiber fishermen sold on the spot. This flamen also sacrificed on the 1st of May to Maia, who in an old prayer formula (Gellius 13. 23) was coupled with Volcanus as Maia Volcani. It is not easy to explain these survivals of an old cult. But in historical times the association of this god with conflagrations becomes very apparent; when Augustus organized the city in regiones and vici to check the constant danger from fires, the magistri vicorum (officers of administrative districts) worshipped him as Volcanus quietus augustus (C.I.L. vi. 801 and 802) and on the 23rd of August there was a sacrifice to him together with Ops Opifera and the Nymphae, which suggests the need of water in quenching the flames. At Ostia, where much of the corn was stored which fed the Roman population, the cult of this god became famous; and it is probable that the fixing of his festival in August by the early Romans had some reference to the danger to the newly harvested corn from fire in that month.
Vulgate (from Lat. vulgus, the common people), a Latin version of the Bible prepared in the 4th century by St Jerome, and so called from its common use in the Roman Catholic Church (see Bible: Texts and Versions). Pius X. in 1908 entrusted to the Benedictine Order the task of revising the text, beginning with the Old Testament.
Vulpecula et Anser (“The Fox and Goose” ), in astronomy, a modern constellation of the northern hemisphere, introduced by Hevelius, who catalogued twenty-seven stars. Interest is attached to Nova Vulpeculae, a “new” star discovered by Anthelm in 1670; T Vulpeculae, a short period variable; and the famous “Dumb-bell” nebula.
Vulpius, Christian August (1762–1827), German author, was born at Weimar on the 23rd of January 1762, and was educated at Jena and Erlangen. In 1790 he returned to Weimar, where Goethe, who had entered into relations with Vulpius’s sister Christine (1765–1816), whom he afterwards married, obtained employment for him. Here Vulpius began, in imitation of Christian Heinrich Spiess, to write a scries of romantic narratives. Of these (about sixty in number) his Rinaldo Rinaldini (1797), the scene of which is laid in Italy during the middle ages, is the best. In 1797 Vulpius was given an appointment on the Weimar library, of which he became chief librarian in 1806. He died at Weimar on the 25th of June 1827.
Vulture, the name of certain birds whose best-known characteristic is that of feeding upon carcases. The genus Vultur, as instituted by Linnaeus, is now restricted by ornithologists to a single species, V. monachus. The other species included therein by him, or thereto referred by succeeding systematists, being elsewhere relegated (see Lammergeyer). A most important taxonomic change was introduced by T. H. Huxley (Proc. Zool. Society, 1867, pp. 462–64), who pointed out the complete structural difference between the vultures of the New World and those of the Old, regarding the former as constituting a distinct family, Cathartidae (which, however, would be more properly named Sarcorhamphidae), while he united the latter with the ordinary diurnal birds of prey as Gypaetidae.
The American vulture may be said to include four genera: (1) Sarcorhamphus, the gigantic condor, the male distinguished by a large fleshy comb and wattle; (2) Gypagus, the king vulture, with its gaudily coloured head and nasal caruncle; (3) Catharista, containing the so-called turkey-buzzard with its allies; and (4) Pseudogryphus, the great Californian vulture — of very limited range on the western slopes of North America. Though all these birds are structurally different from the true vultures of the Old World, in habits the Vulturidae and Sarcorhamphidae are much alike.The true vultures of the Old World, Vulturidae in the restricted sense, are generally divided into five or six genera, of which Neophron has been separated as forming a distinct subfamily, Neophroninae — its members, of comparatively small size, differing both in structure and habit considerably from the rest. One of them is the so-called Egyptian vulture or Pharaoh’s hen, N. percnopterus, a remarkably foul-feeding species, living much on ordure. It is a well-known species in some parts of India, and thence westward to Africa, where
- In the eastern part of the Indian peninsula it is replaced by a smaller race or (according to some authorities) species, N. ginginianus, which has a yellow instead of a black bill.