AMPHITRITE, in ancient Greek mythology, a sea-goddess, daughter of Nereus (or Oceanus) and wife of Poseidon. She was so entirely confined in her authority to the sea and the creatures in it, that she was never associated with her husband either for purposes of worship or in works of art, except when he was to be distinctly regarded as the god who controlled the sea. She was one of the Nereids, and distinguishable from the others only by her queenly attributes. It was said that Poseidon saw her first dancing at Naxos among the other Nereids, and carried her off (Schol. on Od. iii. 91). But in another version of the myth, she then fled from him to the farthest ends of the sea, where the dolphin of Poseidon found her, and was rewarded by being placed among the stars (Eratosthenes, Catast. 31). In works of art she is represented either enthroned beside him, or driving with him in a chariot drawn by sea-horses or other fabulous creatures of the deep, and attended by Tritons and Nereids. In poetry her name is often used for the sea.
AMPHITRYON, in Greek mythology, son of Alcaeus, king of Tiryns in Argolis. Having accidentally killed his uncle Electryon, king of Mycenae, he was driven out by another uncle, Sthenelus. He fled with Alcmene, Electryon's daughter, to Thebes, where he was cleansed from the guilt of blood by Creon, his maternal uncle, king of Thebes. Alcmene, who had been betrothed to Amphitryon by her father, refused to marry him until he had avenged the death of her brothers, all of whom except one had fallen in battle against the Taphians. It was on his return from this expedition that Electryon had been killed. Amphitryon accordingly took the field against the Taphians, accompanied by Creon, who had agreed to assist him on condition that he slew the Teumessian fox which had been sent by Dionysus to ravage the country. The Taphians, however, remained invincible until Comaetho, the king's daughter, out of love for Amphitryon cut off her father's golden hair, the possession of which rendered him immortal. Having defeated the enemy, Amphitryon put Comaetho to death and handed over the kingdom of the Taphians to Cephalus. On his return to Thebes he married Alcmene, who gave birth to twin sons, Iphicles being the son of Amphitryon, Heracles of Zeus, who had visited her during Amphitryon's absence. He fell in battle against the Minyans, against whom he had undertaken an expedition, accompanied by the youthful Heracles, to deliver Thebes from a disgraceful tribute. According to Euripides (Hercules Furens) he survived this expedition, and was slain by his son in his madness. Amphitryon was the title of a lost tragedy of Sophocles; the episode of Zeus and Alcmene forms the subject of comedies by Plautus and Molière. From Molière's line “Le véritable Amphitryon est l'Amphitryon où l'on dîne” (Amphitryon, iii. 5), the name Amphitryon has come to be used in the sense of a generous entertainer, a good host.
AMPHORA (a Latin word from Gr. ὰμφορεύς, derived from άμφὶ, on both sides, and φἐρειν, to bear), a large big-bellied vessel used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for preserving wine, oil, honey, and fruits; and in later times as a cinerary urn. It was so named from usually having an ear or handle on each side of the neck (diōta). It was commonly made of earthenware, but sometimes of stone, glass or even more costly materials. Amphorae either rested on a foot, or ended in a point so that they had to be fixed in the ground. The older amphorae were oval-shaped, such as the vases filled with oil for prizes at the Panathenaic festival, having on one side a figure of Athena, on the other a representation of the contest; the latter were tall and slender, with voluted handles. The first class exhibits black figures on a reddish background, the second red figures on a black ground. The amphora was a standard measure of capacity among both Greeks and Romans, the Attic containing nearly nine gallons, and the Roman about six. In modern botany it is a technical term sometimes denoting the lower part of the capsule called pyxidium, attached to the flower stalk in the form of an urn.
AMPLIATIVE (from Lat. ampliare, to enlarge), an adjective used mainly in logic, meaning “extending” or “adding to that which is already known.” In Norman law an “ampliation” was a postponement of a sentence in order to obtain further evidence.
AMPLITUDE (from Lat. amplus, large), in astronomy, the angular distance of the rising or setting sun, or other heavenly body, from the east or west point of the horizon; used mostly by navigators in finding the variation of the compass by the setting sun. In algebra, if α be a real positive quantity and ω a root of unity, then α is the amplitude of the product αω. In elliptic integrals, the amplitude is the limit of integration when the integral is expressed in the form . The hyperbolic or Gudermannian amplitude of the quantity x is tan−1 (sinh x). In mechanics, the amplitude of a wave is the maximum ordinate. (See Wave.)
AMPSANCTUS, or Amsanctus (mod. Sorgente Mefita), a small lake in the territory of the Hirpini, 10 m. S.E. of Aeclanum, close to the Via Appia. There are now two small pools which exhale carbonic acid gas and sulphuretted hydrogen. Close by was a temple of the goddess Mephitis, with a cave from which suffocating vapours rose, and for this reason the place was brought into connexion with the legends of the infernal regions. Virgil's description (Aeneid, vii. 563) is not, however, very accurate.
AMPTHILL, ODO WILLIAM LEOPOLD RUSSELL, 1st Baron (1829–1884), British diplomatist and ambassador, was born in Florence on the 20th of February 1829. He was the son of Major-General Lord George William Russell, by Elizabeth Ann, niece of the marquess of Hastings, who was governor-general of India during the final struggle with the Mahrattas. His education, like that of his two brothers—Hastings, who became eventually 9th duke of Bedford, and Arthur, who sat for a generation in the House of Commons as member for Tavistock—was carried on entirely at home, under the general direction of his mother, whose beauty was celebrated by Byron in Beppo. Lady William Russell was as strong-willed as she was beautiful, and certainly deserved to be described as she was by Disraeli, who said in conversation, “I think she is the most fortunate woman in England, for she has the three nicest sons.” If it had not been for her strong will it is as likely as not that all the three would have gone through the usual mill of a public school, and have lost half their very peculiar charm. In March 1849 Odo was appointed by Lord Malmesbury attaché at Vienna. From 1850 to 1852 he was temporarily employed in the foreign office, whence he passed to Paris. He remained there, however, only about two months, when he was transferred to Vienna. In 1853 he became second paid attaché at Paris, and in August 1854 he was transferred as first paid attaché to Constantinople, where he served under Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. He had charge of the embassy during his chief's two visits to the Crimea in 1855, but left the East to work under Lord Napier at Washington in 1857. In the following year he became secretary of legation at Florence, but was detached from that place to reside in Rome, where he remained for twelve years, till August 1870. During all that period he was the real though unofficial representative of England at the Vatican, and his consummate tact enabled him to do all, and more than all, that an ordinary man could have done in a stronger position. A reference, however, to his evidence before a committee of the House of Commons in 1871 will make it clear to any unprejudiced reader that those were right who, during the early 'fifties, urged so strongly the importance of having a duly accredited agent at the papal court. The line taken by him during the Vatican council has been criticized, but no fault can justly be found with it. Abreast as he was of the best thought of his time—the brother of Arthur Russell, who, more perhaps than any other man, was its most ideal representative in London society—he sympathized strongly with the views of those who