Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/452

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437
PROMOTER—PROOF

other cause. What, then, is the origin of the widely-diffused myth that fire was stolen? We offer a purely conjectural suggestion. No race is found without fire, but even some civilized races have found the artificial reproduction of fire very tedious. Thus we read (Od. v. 488-493), “ As when a man hath hidden away a brand in the black embers at an upland farm, one that hath no neighbour nigh, and so saveth the seed of fire that he may not have to seek a light other where, even so did Odysseus cover him with the leaves.” If, in the Homeric age, men found it so hard to get the seed of fire, what must the difficulty have been in the earliest dawn of the art of fire-making? Suppose, then, that the human groups of early savages are hostile. One group lets its fire go out, the next thing to do would be to borrow a light from the neighbour, perhaps several miles off. But if the neighbours are hostile the unlucky group is cut off from fire, igni interdicitur. The only way to get fire in such a case is to steal it. Men accustomed to such a precarious condition might readily believe that the first possessors of fire, wherever they were, set a high value on it, and refused to communicate it to others. Hence the belief that fire was originally stolen. This hypothesis at least explains all myths of fire-stealing by the natural needs, passions, and characters of men, “ a jealous race,” whereas the philological theory explains the Greek myth by an exceptional accident of changing language, and leaves the other widely diffused myths of fire-stealing in the dark. It would occupy too much space to discuss, in the ethnological method, the rest of the legend of Prometheus. Like the Australian Pundjel, and the Maori Tiki, he made men of clay. He it was who, when Zeus had changed his wife into a fly, and swallowed her, broke open the god's head and let out his daughter Athena. He aided Zeus in the struggle with the Titans. He was punished by him on some desolate hill (usually styled Caucasus) for fire-stealing, and was finally released by Heracles.

His career may be studied in Hesiod; in the splendid Prometheus vinctus of Aeschylus, with the scholia; in Heyne's Apollodorus; in the excursus (I) of Schüzius to the Aeschylean drama, and in the frequently quoted work of Kuhn. The essay of Steinthal may also be examined (Goldziher, Myth. Hebr., Eng. trans., p. 363–392), where the amused student will discover' that “ Moses is a Pramanthas," with much else that is as learned and convincing. See also Tylor's Early History of Man; Nesfield in Calcutta Review (January, April, 1884); and the article Fire.  (A. L.) 


PROMOTER, one who promotes (Lat. promovere, to move forward), advances or forwards any scheme, project or undertaking. The most general specific sense in which the word is now used is that of a person who takes the steps necessary to the incorporation of a joint-stock company (see Company) or to the passing of a private or local act of parliament. In legal history, a promoter was one who prosecuted offenders, originally as an officer of the Crown, later as a common informer; the term is still used thus of the prosecutor in a suit in an ecclesiastical court.


PRONGBUCK. Prongbuck, or (in America) simply Antelope, the sole existing representative of a family (Antilocapridae) of hollow-horned ruminants in which the horn-sheaths are forked and annually shed and renewed. Standing about 3 ft. high at the shoulder and slightly more at the croup, the male prongbuck has the black horns rising vertically upwards immediately above the eyes. The general colour is bright sandy fawn, with much white on the face, three white bars on the throat and white under parts and buttocks. The white throat-bands are evidently protective; and the long white hair on the buttocks can be erected and expanded into large chrysanthemum-like bunches as in japanese deer; these being guides to the members of the herd when in flight. The tail is short; lateral hoofs are wanting; and the teeth are tall-crowned. Female prongbuck produce one or two young at a birth, and are either hornless or furnished with small and more or less rudimentary horns.

Prongbuck, of which two races, the typical Antilocapra americana and A. mexicana, are recognized by American naturalists, inhabit the open plains of the temperate districts of western North America, where they were formerly very abundant. Nowadays their numbers have become greatly diminished and small and isolated bands represent the great herds of former years. Young prongbuck are very liable to be attacked by wolves; to protect them from these marauders the females first clear an area in the middle of a patch of cactus, by jumping on the plants with their sharp hoofs, and bring forth their offspring in the protected space. Certain extinct American ruminants, namely Cosoryx, Blastomeryx and Merycodus are believed to be in some way related to the prongbuck; but they have frontal appendages more like antlers than horns. In view of this presumed relationship it seems preferable to retain the family Antilocapridae rather than relegate it to the rank of a sub-family of Bovidae. (See Pecora.)  (R. L.*) 


PRONUNCIATION (Lat. pronuntiatio, from pronuntiare, proclaim, announce, pronounce), the action of pronouncing, the manner of uttering an articulate vocal sound (see Phonetics and Voice). The original sense of the Latin, a public declaration, is preserved in Spanish pronunciamiento, a manifesto or proclamation, especially as issued by a party of insurrection or revolution.


PRONY, GASPARD CLAIR FRANÇOIS MARIE RICHE DE (1755–1839), French engineer, was born at Chamelet, in the department of the Rhone, on the 22nd of July 1755, and was educated at the École des Ponts et Chaussées. His Mémoire sur la poussée des voûtes published in 1783, in defence of the principles of bridge construction introduced by his master J. R. Perronnet, attracted special attention. The laborious enterprise of drawing up the famous Tables du Cadastre was entrusted to his direction in 1792, and in 1794 he was appointed professor of the mathematical sciences at the École Polytechnique, becoming director at the École des Ponts et Chaussées four years later. He was employed by Napoleon to superintend the engineering operations for protecting the province of Ferrara against the inundations of the Po and for draining and improving the Pontine Marshes. After the Restoration he was likewise engaged in regulating the course of the Rhone, and in several other important works. He was made a baron in 1828, and a peer in 1835. He died at Asnières (Seine) on the 29th of luly 1839. For the “ Prony Brake ” see Dynamometer.


PROOF (in M. Eng. preove, proeve, preve, fro., from O. Fr . prueve, proeve, &c., mod. preufue, Late. Lat. proba, probare, to prove, to test the goodness of anything, probus, good), a word of which the two main branches are derived from those of “ to prove, ” viz. to show to be true, to test, to try; Of the first division the chief meanings are: that which establishes the truth of a fact or the belief in the truth, demonstration, for the nature of which see Logic. In law “ proof ” is the general term for the establishment of the material facts in issue ina particular case by proper legal means to the satisfaction of the court (see Evidence); specifically, documents so attested as to form legal evidence, written copies of what a witness is prepared to support on oath, and the evidence of any case in the court records are all termed “ proofs.” In Scots law the term is used of a trial before a judge alone as opposed to trial by jury. From the general sense of examination, trial or assay derived from “ to prove, ” to test the quality of anything, “ proof ” is used of that which has succeeded in standing a trial or test; the commonest form in which this use appears is as a compound adjective, thus materials are said to be “ waterproof, ” “ armour-” “ bullet-proof, ” and the like. The principal other uses are for a standard of strength for spirit (see Alcohol and Spirits) for a trial impression, in printing, on which corrections and additions can be made (see article Proof-Reading) and, in engraving and etching, for one of a limited number of impressions made before the ordinary issue is printed. In the earlier history of engraving a “ proof ” was an impression during the process of printing made for the artist's inspection, approval or correction, whence its name. In the modern use of the term, where the impression has been taken before the inscription has been added to the plate, it is called a “proof before letter.”

In bookbinding, some of the shorter or narrower leaves are left with rough edges, “uncropped," to show that the book has not been “cut,” these are styled “proofs.”