The family Zeidae has assumed special interest of late, O. Thilo and G. A. Boulenger having shown that they have much in common with the flat-fishes or Pleuronectidae and must be nearly related to the original stock from which this asymmetrical type has been evolved, especially if the Upper Eocene genus Amphistium be taken into consideration. This affinity is further supported by the observations made by L. W. Byrne on the asymmetry in the number and arrangement of the bony plates at the base of the dorsal and anal fins in the young of the John Dory. (G. A. B.)
DOSITHEUS MAGISTER, Greek grammarian, flourished at Rome in the 4th century A.D. He was the author of a Greek translation of a Latin grammar, intended to assist the Greek-speaking inhabitants of the empire in learning Latin. The translation, at first word for word, becomes less frequent, and finally is discontinued altogether. The Latin grammar used was based on the same authorities as those of Charisius and Diomedes, which accounts for the many points of similarity. Dositheus contributed very little of his own. Some Greek-Latin exercises by an unknown writer of the 3rd century, to be learnt by heart and translated, were added to the grammar. They are of considerable value as illustrating the social life of the period and the history of the Latin language. Of these Έρμηνεύματα (Interpretamenta), the third book, containing a collection of words and phrases from everyday conversation (καθημερινὴ ὁμιλία) has been preserved. A further appendix consisted of Anecdotes, Letters and Rescripts of the emperor Hadrian; fables of Aesop; extracts from Hyginus; a history of the Trojan War, abridged from the Iliad; and a legal fragment, Περὶ ἐλευθερώσεων (De manumissionibus).
DOSSAL (dossel, dorsel or dosel; Fr. dos, back), an ecclesiastical ornamented cloth suspended behind the altar.
DOSSERET, or impost block (a Fr. term, from dos, back), in architecture, the cubical block of stone above the capitals in a Byzantine church, used to carry the arches and vault, the springing of which had a superficial area greatly in excess of the column which carried them.
DOST MAHOMMED KHAN (1793–1863), founder of the dynasty of the Barakzai in Afghanistan, was born in 1793. His elder brother, the chief of the Barakzai, Fatteh Khan, took an important part in raising Mahmud to the sovereignty of Afghanistan in 1800 and in restoring him to the throne in 1809. That ruler repaid his services by causing him to be assassinated in 1818, and thus incurred the enmity of his tribe. After a bloody conflict Mahmud was deprived of all his possessions but Herat, the rest of his dominions being divided among Fatteh Khan’s brothers. Of these Dost Mahommed received for his share Ghazni, to which in 1826 he added Kabul, the richest of the Afghan provinces. From the commencement of his reign he found himself involved in disputes with Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler of the Punjab, who used the dethroned Saduzai prince, Shuja-ul-Mulk, as his instrument. In 1834 Shuja made a last attempt to recover his kingdom. He was defeated by Dost Mahommed under the walls of Kandahar, but Ranjit Singh seized the opportunity to annex Peshawar. The recovery of this fortress became the Afghan amir’s great concern. Rejecting overtures from Russia, he endeavoured to form an alliance with England, and welcomed Alexander Burnes to Kabul in 1837. Burnes, however, was unable to prevail on the governor-general, Lord Auckland, to respond to the amir’s advances. Dost Mahommed was enjoined to abandon the attempt to recover Peshawar, and to place his foreign policy under British guidance. In return he was only promised protection from Ranjit Singh, of whom he had no fear. He replied by renewing his relations with Russia, and in 1838 Lord Auckland set the British troops in motion against him. In March 1839 the British force under Sir Willoughby Cotton advanced through the Bolan Pass, and on the 26th of April it reached Kandahar. Shah Shuja was proclaimed amir, and entered Kabul on the 7th of August, while Dost Mahommed sought refuge in the wilds of the Hindu Kush. Closely followed by the British, Dost was driven to extremities, and on the 4th of November 1840 surrendered as a prisoner. He remained in captivity during the British occupation, during the disastrous retreat of the army of occupation in January 1842, and until the recapture of Kabul in the autumn of 1842. He was then set at liberty, in consequence of the resolve of the British government to abandon the attempt to intervene in the internal politics of Afghanistan. On his return from Hindustan Dost Mahommed was received in triumph at Kabul, and set himself to re-establish his authority on a firm basis. From 1846 he renewed his policy of hostility to the British and allied himself with the Sikhs; but after the defeat of his allies at Gujrat on the 21st of February 1849 he abandoned his designs and led his troops back into Afghanistan. In 1850 he conquered Balkh, and in 1854 he acquired control over the southern Afghan tribes by the capture of Kandahar. On the 30th of March 1855 Dost Mahommed reversed his former policy by concluding an offensive and defensive alliance with the British government. In 1857 he declared war on Persia in conjunction with the British, and in July a treaty was concluded by which the province of Herat was placed under a Barakzai prince. During the Indian Mutiny Dost Mahommed punctiliously refrained from assisting the insurgents. His later years were disturbed by troubles at Herat and in Bokhara. These he composed for a time, but in 1862 a Persian army, acting in concert with Ahmad Khan, advanced against Kandahar. The old amir called the British to his aid, and, putting himself at the head of his warriors, drove the enemy from his frontiers. On the 26th of May 1863 he captured Herat, but on the 9th of June he died suddenly in the midst of victory, after playing a great rôle in the history of Central Asia for forty years. He named as his successor his son, Shere Ali Khan. (E. I. C.)
DOSTOIEVSKY, FEODOR MIKHAILOVICH (1821–1881), Russian author, born at Moscow, on the 30th of October 1821, was the second son of a retired military surgeon of a decayed noble family. He was educated at Moscow and at the military engineering academy at St Petersburg, which he left in 1843 with the grade of sub-lieutenant. Next year his father died, and he resigned his commission in order to devote himself to literature—thus commencing a long struggle with ill-health and penury. In addition to the old Russian masters Gogol and Pushkin, Balzac and George Sand supplied him with literary ideals. He knew little of Dickens, but his first story is thoroughly Dickensian in character. The hero is a Russian “Tom Pinch,” who entertains a pathetic, humble adoration for a fair young girl, a solitary waif like himself. Characteristically the Russian story ends in “tender gloom.” The girl marries a middle-aged man of property; the hero dies of a broken heart, and his funeral is described in lamentable detail. The germ of all Dostoievsky’s imaginative work may be discovered here. The story was submitted in manuscript to the Russian critic, Bielinski, and excited his astonishment by its power over the emotions. It appeared in the course of 1846 in the Recueil de Saint-Pétersbourg, under the title of “Poor People.” An English version, Poor Folk, with an introduction by Mr George Moore, appeared in 1894. The successful author became a regular contributor of short tales to the Annals of the Country, a monthly periodical conducted by Kraevsky; but he was wretchedly paid, and his work, though revealing extraordinary power and intensity, commonly lacks both finish and proportion. Poverty and physical suffering robbed him of the joy of life and filled him with bitter thoughts and morbid imaginings. During 1847 he became an enthusiastic member of the revolutionary reunions of the political agitator, Petrachevski. Many of the students and younger members did little more than discuss the theories of Fourier and other economists at these gatherings. Exaggerated
- “Die Vorfahren der Schollen,” Biol. Centralbl. xxii. (1902), p. 717.
- “On the systematic position of the Pleuronectidae,” Ann. and Mag. N. H. x. (1902), p. 295.
- “On the number and arrangement of the bony plates of the young John Dory,” Biometrika, ii. (1902), p. 115.