ALTHAEA, in classical legend, daughter of Thestius, king of Aetolia, wife of Oeneus, king of Calydon, and mother of Meleager (q.v.).
ALTING, JOHANN HEINRICH (1583-1644), German divine, was born at Emden, where his father, Menso Alting (1541-1612), was minister. Johann studied with great success at the universities of Gröningen and Herborn. In 1608 he was appointed tutor of Frederick, afterwards elector-palatine, at Heidelberg, and in 1612 accompanied him to England. Returning in 1613 to Heidelberg, after the marriage of the elector with Princess Elizabeth of England, he was appointed professor of dogmatics, and in 1616 director of the theological department in the Collegium Sapientiae. In 1618, along with Abraham Scultetus, he represented the university in the synod of Dort. When Count Tilly took the city of Heidelberg (1622) and handed it over to plunder, Alting found great difficulty in escaping the fury of the soldiers. He first retired to Schorndorf; but, offended by the “semi-Pelagianism” of the Lutherans with whom he was brought in contact, he removed to Holland, where the unfortunate elector and “Winter King” Frederick, in exile after his brief reign in Bohemia, made him tutor to his eldest son. In 1627 Alting was appointed to the chair of theology at Gröningen, where he continued to lecture, with increasing reputation, until his death in 1644. Though an orthodox Calvinist, Alting laid little stress on the sterner side of his creed and, when at Dort he opposed the Remonstrants, he did so mainly on the ground that they were “innovators.” Among his works are:—Notae in Decadem Problematum Jacobi Behm (Heidelberg, 1618); Scripta Theologica Heidelbergensia (Amst., 1662); Exegesis Augustanae Confessionis (Amst., 1647).
ALTINUM (mod. Altino), an ancient town of Venetia, 12 m. S.E. of Tarvisium (Treviso), on the edge of the lagoons. It was probably only a small fishing village until it became the point of junction of the Via Postumia and the Via Popillia (see Aquileia). At the end of the republic it was a municipium. Augustus and his successors brought it into further importance as a point on the route between Italy and the north-eastern portions of the empire. After the foundation of the naval station at Ravenna, it became the practice to take ship from there to Altinum, instead of following the Via Popillia round the coast, and thence to continue the journey by land. A new road, the Via Claudia Augusta, was constructed by the emperor Claudius from Altinum to the Danube, a distance of 350 m., apparently by way of the Lake of Constance. The place thus became of considerable strategic and commercial importance, and the comparatively mild climate (considering its northerly situation) led to the erection of villas which Martial (Epigr. iv. 25) compares with those of Baiae. It was destroyed by Attila in A.D. 452, and its inhabitants took refuge in the islands of the lagoons, forming settlements from which Venice eventually sprang.
ALTITUDE (Lat. altitudo, from altus, high), height or eminence, and particularly the height above the ground or above sea-level. In geometry, the altitude of a triangle is the length of the perpendicular from the vertex to the base. In astronomy, the altitude of a heavenly body is the apparent angular elevation of the body above the plane of the horizon (see Astronomy: Spherical). Apparent altitude is the value which is directly observed; true altitude is deduced by correcting for astronomical refraction and dip of the horizon; geocentric altitude by correcting for parallax.
ALTMÜHL, a river of Germany, in the kingdom of Bavaria. It is an important left bank tributary of the Danube, rising in the Franconian plateau (Fränkische Terrasse), and after a tortuous course of 116 m., at times flowing through meadows and again in weird romantic gorges, joins the Danube at Kelheim. From its mouth it is navigable up to Dietfurt (18 m.), whence the Ludwigscanal (100 m. long) proceeds to Bamberg on the Regnitz, thus establishing communication between the Danube and the Rhine.
ALTO (Ital. for “high”), a musical term applied to the highest adult male voice or counter-tenor, and to the lower boy's or woman's (contralto) voice.
ALTON, a market-town in the Fareham parliamentary division of Hampshire, England, 46½ m. S.W. of London by the London & South-Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 5479. It has a pleasant undulating site near the headwaters of the river Wey. Of the church of St Lawrence part, including the tower, is Norman; the building was the scene of a fierce conflict between the royalist and parliamentary troops in 1643. There is a museum of natural history; the collection is reminiscent of the famous naturalist Gilbert White, of Selborne in this vicinity. Large markets and fairs are held for corn, hops, cattle and sheep; and the town contains some highly reputed ale breweries, besides paper mills and iron foundries.
ALTON, a city of Madison county, Illinois, U.S.A., in the W. part of the state, on the Mississippi river, about 10 m. above the mouth of the Missouri, and about 25 m. N. of St Louis, Missouri. Pop. (1890) 10,294; (1900) 14,210, of whom 1638 were foreign-born; (1910) 17,528. Alton is served by the Chicago & Alton, the Chicago, Peoria & St Louis, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis, and the Illinois Terminal railways. The river is here spanned by a bridge. The residential portion of the city lies on the river bluffs, some of which rise to a height of 250 ft. above the water level, and the business streets are on the bottom lands of the river. Alton has a public library and a public park. Upper Alton (pop. 2918 in 1910), about 1½ m. N.E. of Alton, is the seat of the Western Military Academy (founded in 1879 as Wyman Institute; chartered in 1892), and of Shurtleff College (Baptist, founded in 1827 at Rock Spring, removed to Upper Alton in 1831, and chartered in 1833), which has a college of liberal arts, a divinity school, an academy and a school of music; and the village of Godfrey, 5½ m. N. of Alton, is the seat of the Monticello Ladies' Seminary, founded by Benjamin Godfrey, opened in 1838, and chartered in 1841. Among the manufactures of Alton are iron and glass ware, miners' tools, shovels, coal-mine cars, flour, and agricultural implements; and there are a large oil refinery and a large lead smelter. The value of the city's factory products increased from $4,250,389 in 1900 to $8,696,814 in 1905, or 104.6 %.
The first settlement on the site of Alton was made in 1807, when a trading post was established by the French. The town was laid out in 1817, was first incorporated in 1821, and in 1827 was made the seat of a state penitentiary, which was later removed to Joliet, the last prisoners being transferred in 1860. Alton was first chartered as a city in 1837. In 1836 the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy (1802-1837), a native of Albion, Maine, removed the Observer, a religious (Presbyterian) periodical of which he was the editor, from St Louis to Alton. He had attracted considerable attention in St Louis by his criticisms of slavery, but though he believed in emancipation, he was not a radical abolitionist. After coming to Alton his anti-slavery views soon became more radical, and in a few months he was an avowed abolitionist. His views were shared by his brother, Owen Lovejoy (1811-1864), a Congregational minister, who also at that time lived in Alton, and who from 1857 until his death was an able anti-slavery member of Congress. Most of the people of southern Illinois were in sympathy with slavery, and consequently the Lovejoys became very unpopular. The press of the Observer was three time destroyed, and on the 7th of November 1837 E. P. Lovejoy was killed while attempting to defend against a mob a fourth press which he had recently obtained and which was stored in a warehouse in Alton. His death caused intense excitement throughout the country, and he was everywhere regarded by abolitionists as a martyr to their cause. In 1897 a monument, a granite column surmounted by a bronze statue of Victory, was erected in his honour by the citizens of Alton and by the state.
See Henry Tanner, The Martyrdom of Lovejoy (Chicago, 1881), and “The Alton Tragedy” in S. J. May's Some Recollections of Our Anti-Slavery Conflict (Boston, 1869).
ALTONA, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein, on the right bank of the Elbe immediately west of Hamburg. Though administratively distinct, the two cities so closely adjoin as virtually to form one whole. Lying