parts of the country. The harbour is good and safe, and agricultural produce is exported, while coal and iron are among the chief imports. The cathedral of the 13th century (extensively restored) is the largest church in Denmark. There is a museum of art and antiquities. To the south-west (13 m. by rail), a picturesque region extends west from the railway junction of Skanderborg, including several lakes, through which flows the Gudenaa, the largest river in Jutland, and rising ground exceeding 500 ft. in the Himmelbjerg. The railway traverses this pleasant district of moorland and wood to Silkeborg, a modern town having one of the most attractive situations in the kingdom. The bishopric of Aarhus dates at least from 951.
AARON, the traditional founder and head of the Jewish priesthood, who, in company with Moses, led the Israelites out of Egypt (see Exodus; Moses). The greater part of his life-history is preserved in late Biblical narratives, which carry back existing conditions and beliefs to the time of the Exodus, and find a precedent for contemporary hierarchical institutions in the events of that period. Although Aaron was said to have been sent by Yahweh (Jehovah) to meet Moses at the “mount of God” (Horeb, Ex. iv. 27), he plays only a secondary part in the incidents at Pharaoh's court. After the “exodus” from Egypt a striking account is given of the vision of the God of Israel vouchsafed to him and to his sons Nadab and Abihu on the same holy mount (Ex. xxiv. 1 seq. 9-11), and together with Hur he was at the side of Moses when the latter, by means of his wonder-working rod, enabled Joshua to defeat the Amalekites (xvii. 8-16). Hur and Aaron were left in charge of the Israelites when Moses and Joshua ascended the mount to receive the Tables of the Law (xxiv. 12-15), and when the people, in dismay at the prolonged absence of their leader, demanded a god, it was at the instigation of Aaron that the golden calf was made (see Calf, Golden). This was regarded as an act of apostasy which, according to one tradition, led to the consecration of the Levites, and almost cost Aaron his life (cp. Deut. ix. 20). The incident paves the way for the account of the preparation of the new tables of stone which contain a series of laws quite distinct from the Decalogue (q.v.) (Ex. xxxiii. seq.). Kadesh, and not Sinai or Horeb, appears to have been originally the scene of these incidents (Deut. xxxiii. 8 seq. compared with Ex. xxxii. 26 ), and it was for some obscure offence at this place that both Aaron and Moses were prohibited from entering the Promised Land (Num. xx.). In what way they had not “sanctified” (an allusion in the Hebrew to Kādēsh “holy”) Yahweh is quite uncertain, and it would appear that it was for a similar offence that the sons of Aaron mentioned above also met their death (Lev. x. 3; cp. Num. xx. 12, Deut. xxxii. 51). Aaron is said to have died at Moserah (Deut. x. 6), or at Mt. Hor; the latter is an unidentified site on the border of Edom (Num. xx. 23, xxxiii. 37; for Moserah see ib. 30-31), and consequently not in the neighbourhood of Petra, which has been the traditional scene from the time of Josephus (Ant. iv. 4. 7).
Several difficulties in the present Biblical text appear to have arisen from the attempt of later tradition to find a place for Aaron in certain incidents. In the account of the contention between Moses and his sister Miriam (Num. xii.), Aaron occupies only a secondary position, and it is very doubtful whether he was originally mentioned in the older surviving narratives. It is at least remarkable that he is only thrice mentioned in Deuteronomy (ix. 20, x. 6, xxxii. 50). The post-exilic narratives give him a greater share in the plagues of Egypt, represent him as high-priest, and confirm his position by the miraculous budding of his rod alone of all the rods of the other tribes (Num. xvii.; for parallels see Gray, comm. ad loc., p. 217). The latter story illustrates the growth of the older exodus-tradition along with the development of priestly ritual: the old account of Korah's revolt against the authority of Moses has been expanded, and now describes (a) the divine prerogatives of the Levites in general, and (b) the confirmation of the superior privileges of the Aaronites against the rest of the Levites, a development which can scarcely be earlier than the time of Ezekiel (xliv. 15 seq.).
Aaron's son Eleazar was buried in an Ephraimite locality known after the grandson as the “hill of Phinehas” (Josh. xxiv. 33). Little historical information has been preserved of either. The name Phinehas (apparently of Egyptian origin) is better known as that of a son of Eli, a member of the priesthood of Shiloh, and Eleazar is only another form of Eliezer the son of Moses, to whose kin Eli is said to have belonged. The close relation between Aaronite and Levitical names and those of clans related to Moses is very noteworthy, and it is a curious coincidence that the name of Aaron's sister Miriam appears in a genealogy of Caleb (1 Chron. iv. 17) with Jether (cp. Jethro) and Heber (cp. Kenites). In view of the confusion of the traditions and the difficulty of interpreting the details sketched above, the recovery of the historical Aaron is a work of peculiar intricacy. He may well have been the traditional head of the priesthood, and R. H. Kennett has argued in favour of the view that he was the founder of the cult at Bethel (Journ. of Theol. Stud., 1905, pp. 161 sqq.), corresponding to the Mosaite founder of Dan (q.v.). This throws no light upon the name, which still remains quite obscure; and unless Aaron (Aharon) is based upon Ārōn, “ark” (Redslob, R. P. A. Dozy, J. P. N. Land), it must be placed in a line with the other un-Hebraic and difficult names associated with Moses and Aaron, which are, apparently, of South Palestinian (or North-Arabian) origin.
AARON'S ROD, the popular name given to various tall flowering plants (“hag taper,” “golden rod,” &c.). In architecture the term is given to an ornamental rod with sprouting leaves, or sometimes with a serpent entwined round it (from the Biblical references in Exodus vii. 10 and Numbers xvii. 8).
AARSSENS, or Aarssen, FRANCIS VAN (1572-1641), a celebrated diplomatist and statesman of the United Provinces. His talents commended him to the notice of Advocate Johan van Oldenbarneveldt, who sent him, at the age of 26 years, as a diplomatic agent of the states-general to the court of France. He took a considerable part in the negotiations of the twelve years' truce in 1606. His conduct of affairs having displeased the French king, he was recalled from his post by Oldenbarneveldt in 1616. Such was the hatred he henceforth conceived against his former benefactor, that he did his very utmost to effect his ruin. He was one of the packed court of judges who in 1619 condemned the aged statesman to death. For his share in this judicial murder a deep stain rests on the memory of Aarssens. He afterwards became the confidential counsellor of Maurice, prince of Orange, and afterwards of Frederick Henry, prince of Orange, in their conduct of the foreign affairs of the republic. He was sent on special embassies to Venice, Germany and England, and displayed so much diplomatic skill and finesse that Richelieu ranked him among the three greatest politicians of his time.
AASEN, IVAR (1813-1896), Norwegian philologist and lexicographer, was born at Aasen Magdalene Thoresen, in Herö, and here he picked up the elements of Latin. Gradually, and by dint of infinite patience and concentration, the young peasant became master of many languages, and began the scientific study of their structure. About 1841 he had freed himself from all the burden of manual labour, and could occupy his thoughts with the dialect of his native district, the Söndmöre; his first publication was a small collection of folk-songs in the Söndmöre language (1843). His remarkable abilities now attracted general attention, and he was helped to continue his studies undisturbed. His Grammar of the Norwegian Dialects (1848) was the result of much labour, and of journeys taken to every part of the country. Aasen's famous Dictionary of the Norwegian Dialects appeared in its original form in 1850, and from this publication dates all the wide cultivation of the popular language in Norwegian, since Aasen really did no less than construct, out of the different materials at his disposal, a popular language or definite folke-maal for Norway. With certain modifications, the most important of which were introduced later by Aasen himself, this artificial language is that which has been adopted ever since by those who write in dialect, and which later enthusiasts have once more endeavoured to foist upon Norway as her officialÖrsten, in Söndmöre, Norway, on the 5th of August 1813. His father, a small peasant-farmer named Ivar Jonssön, died in 1826. He was brought up to farmwork, but he assiduously cultivated all his leisure in reading, and when he was eighteen he opened an elementary school in his native parish. In 1833 he entered the household of H. C. Thoresen, the husband of the eminent writer