his direction the building for the Astor library was erected, and to the library he gave about $550,000, including a bequest of $200,000. His son, John Jacob Astor (1822–1890), was also well known as a capitalist and philanthropist, giving liberally to the Astor library.
The son of the last named, William Waldorf Astor (1848–), served in the New York assembly in 1877, and in the state senate in 1880–81. He was United States minister to Italy from 1882 to 1885. He published two romances, Valentine (1885) and Sforza (1889). His wealth, arising from property in New York, where also he built the New Netherland hotel and the Waldorf hotel, was enormous. In 1890 he removed to England, and in 1899 was naturalized. In 1893 he became proprietor of the Pall Mall Gazette, and afterwards started the Pall Mall Magazine.
ASTORGA, EMANUELE D’ (1681–1736), Italian musical composer, was born at Naples on the 11th of December 1681. No authentic account of Astorga’s life can be successfully constructed from the obscure and confusing evidence that has been until now handed down, although historians have not failed to indulge many pleasant conjectures. According to some of these, his father, a baron of Sicily, took an active part in the attempt to throw off the Spanish yoke, but was betrayed by his own soldiers and publicly executed. His wife and son were compelled to be spectators of his fate; and such was the effect upon them that his mother died on the spot, and Emanuele fell into a state of gloomy despondency, which threatened to deprive him of reason. By the kindness of the princess Ursini, the unfortunate young man was placed in a convent at Astorga, in Leon, where he completed a musical education which is said to have been begun in Palermo under Francesco Scarlatti. Here he recovered his health, and his admirable musical talents were cultivated under the best masters. On the details of this account no reliance can safely be placed, nor is there any certainty that in 1703 he entered the service of the duke of Parma. Equally untrustworthy is the story that the duke, suspecting an attachment between his niece Elizabeth Farnese and Astorga, dismissed the musician. The established facts concerning Astorga are indeed few enough. They are: that the opera Dafne was written and conducted by the composer in Barcelona in 1709; that he visited London, where he wrote his Stabat Mater, possibly for the society of “Antient Musick”; that it was performed in Oxford in 1713; that in 1712 he was in Vienna, and that he retired at an uncertain date to Bohemia, where he died on the 21st of August 1736, in a castle which had been given to him in the domains of Prince Lobkowitz, in Raudnitz. Astorga deserves remembrance for his dignified and pathetic Stabat Mater, and for his numerous chamber-cantatas for one or two voices. He was probably the last composer to carry on the traditions of this form of chamber-music as perfected by Alessandro Scarlatti.
ASTORGA, a city of N.W. Spain, in the province of Leon; situated near the right bank of the river Tuerto, and at the junction of the Salamanca-Corunna and Leon-Astorga railways. Pop. (1900) 5573. Astorga was the Roman Asturica Augusta, a provincial capital, and the meeting-place of four military roads. Though sacked by the Goths in the 5th century, and later by the Moors, it is still surrounded by massive walls of Roman origin. A ruined castle, near the city, recalls its strategic importance in the 8th century, when Asturias, Galicia and Leon were the headquarters of resistance to the Moors. Astorga has been the see of a bishop since the 3rd century, and was formerly known as the City of Priests, from the number of ecclesiastics resident within its walls. Its Gothic cathedral dates from the 15th century. The city confers the title of marquis on the Osorio family, the ruins of whose palace, sacked in 1810 by the French, are still an object of interest.
ASTORIA, a city, port of entry, and the county-seat of Clatsop county, Oregon, U.S.A., on the Columbia river, 8 m. from its mouth. Pop. (1890) 6184; (1900) 8381, of whom 3779 were foreign-born (many being Finns,—a Finnish weekly was established here in 1905), and 601 were Chinese; (1910, census) 9599. It is served by the Astoria & Columbia River railroad (Northern Pacific System), and by several coastwise and foreign steamship lines (including that of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Co.). The river here is about 6 m. wide, and the city has a water-front of about 5 m. and a deep, spacious and placid harbour. By dredging and the construction of jetties the Federal government has since 1885 greatly improved the channel at the mouth of the river. The business portion of the city occupies the low ground of the river bottom; the residence portion is on the hillsides overlooking the harbour. Astoria is the port of entry for the Oregon Customs District, Oregon; in 1907 its imports were valued at $21,262, and its exports at $329,103. The city is especially important as a salmon fishing and packing centre (cod, halibut and smaller fish also being abundant); it has also an extensive lumber trade, important lumber manufactories, pressed brick and terra-cotta factories, and dairy interests. In 1905 the value of the factory product was $3,092,628 (of which $1,759,871 was the value of preserved and canned fish), being an increase of 41.8% in five years. Astoria is the oldest American settlement in the Columbia Valley. It was founded in 1811, as a depot for the fur trade, by John Jacob Astor, in whose honour it was named. It was seized by the British in 1813, but was restored in 1818. In 1821, while occupied by the North-West Fur Company, it was burned and practically abandoned, only a few settlers remaining. It was chartered as a city in 1876.
ASTRAEA, in Greek legend, the “star maiden,” daughter of Zeus and Themis, or of Astraeus the Titan and Eos, in which case she is identified with Dikē. During the golden age she remained among men distributing blessings, but when the iron (or bronze) age came on, she was forced to withdraw, being the last of the goddesses to quit the earth. In the heavens she is amongst the signs of the zodiac as the constellation Virgo. She is usually represented with a pair of scales and a crown of stars.
ASTRAGAL (from the Gr. ἀστράγαλος, the ankle-joint), an architectural term for a convex moulding. This term is generally applied to small mouldings, “torus” (q.v.) to large ones of the same form. The Lesbian astragal referred to by Vitruvius, bk. iv. ch. vi., was in all probability an astragal carved with a bead and reel enrichment.
ASTRAKHAN, a government of S.E. Russia, on the lower Volga, bounded N. by the governments of Samara and Saratov, W. by Saratov and the government of the Don Cossacks, S. by Stavropol and Terek, and E. by the Caspian Sea and the government of the Urals. Area, 91,327 sq. m., of which 6730 sq. m. belong to the delta of the Volga and its brackish lagoons, and 62,290 sq. m. are covered by the Kalmuck and Kirghiz Steppes. The surface is a low-lying plain, except that in the west the Ergeni Hills (500–575 ft.) form the water-parting between the Volga basin and that of the Don. The climate is very hot and dry, the average temperature for the year being 50° Fahr., for January 21°, and for July 78°, rainfall 7.3 in., but often there is no rain at all in the summer. Pop. (1897) 1,005,460, of whom 132,383 were urban. The Kalmucks (138,580 in 1897) and Kirghiz (260,000) are semi-nomads. In addition to them the population includes nearly 44,000 Tatars, 4270 Armenians, with Poles and Jews. Fishing off the mouth of the Volga gives occupation to 50,000 persons; the fish, chiefly herrings and sturgeon, together with the caviare prepared from the latter, are sold for the most part at Nizhniy-Novgorod. Over 300,000 tons of salt are extracted annually from the lakes, principally those of Baskunchak and Elton. Cattle-breeding is an important industry. Market-gardening (mustard, water-melons, fruit) is on the increase; but pure agriculture is relatively not much developed. The government is divided into five districts, the chief towns of which are Astrakhan, Enotayevsk (pop. 2810 in 1897), Krasnyi-yar (4680), Chernyi-yar (5140), and Tsarev (8900). The Kalmucks and Kirghiz have their own local administrations, and so have the Astrakhan Cossacks (25,600).