R THE twentieth letter in the Phoenician alphabet, the nineteenth in the numerical Greek, the seventeenth in the ordinary Greek and the Latin and (owing to the addition of J) the eighteenth in the English. Its earliest form in the Phoenician alphabet when written from right to left was , thus resembling the symbol for D with one side of the triangle prolonged. In Aramaic and other Semitic scripts which were modified by opening the heads of the letters, the symbol in time became very much changed. Greek, however, maintained the original form with slight variations from place to place. Not infrequently in the Greek alphabets of Asia Minor and occasionally also in the West, R was written as , thus introducing a confusion with D (q.v.). Elsewhere a short tail was added, as occasionally in the island of Melos, in Attica and in western Greece, but nowhere does this seem to have been universal. The earliest Latin forms are exactly like the Greek. Thus in the very early inscriptions found in the Forum in 1899 R appears as (from right to left), and (from left to right). Later the forms and come in; sometimes the back is not quite connected in the middle to the upright, when the form is produced. The name of the Semitic symbol is Rēsh; why it was called by the Greeks Rhō (ῥῶ) is not clear. The h which accompanies r in the transliteration of Greek ρ, indicates that it was breathed, not voiced, in pronunciation. No consonant varies more in pronunciation than r. According to Brockelmann, the original Semitic r was probably a trilled r, i.e. an r produced by allowing the tip of the tongue to vibrate behind the teeth while the upper surface of the tongue is pressed against the sockets of the teeth. The ordinary English r is also produced against the sockets of the teeth, but without trilling; another r, also untrilled, which is found in various parts of the south of England, is produced by turning up the tip of the tongue behind the sockets of the teeth till the tongue acquires something of a spoon shape. This, which is also common in the languages of modern India, is called the cerebral or cacuminal r, the former term, which has no meaning in this connexion, being only a bad translation of a Sanscrit term. The common German r is produced by vibrations of the uvula at the end of the soft palate, and hence is called the uvular r. There are also many other varieties of this sound. In many languages r is able to form syllables by itself, in the same way that l, m, n may do, as in the English brittle (britl), written (rltn). In Europe r with this value is most conspicuous in Slavonic languages like Bohemian (Czech) and Croatian; in English r in this function is replaced by a genuine vowel in words like mother (moðꝺ). This syllabic r is first recorded for Sanscrit, where it is common, but is replaced in the languages descended from Sanscrit by r and a vowel or by a vowel only, according to the position in which it occurs. Most philologists are of opinion that syllabic r existed also in the mother-tongue of the Indo-European languages. (P. Gi.)
RAABE, HEDWIG (1844–1905), German actress, was born in Magdeburg on the 3rd of December 1844, and at the age of fourteen was playing in the company of the Thalia theatre, Hamburg. In 1864 she joined the German Court theatre at St Petersburg, touring about Germany in the summer with such success that in 1868 she relinquished her Russian engagement to devote herself to starring. In 1871 she married Albert Niemann (b. 1831), the operatic tenor. She excelled in classical rôles like Marianne in Goethe's Geschwister and Franziska in Minna von Barnhelm. It was she who first played Ibsen in Berlin. She died on the 21st of April 1905.
RAABE, WILHELM (1831–1910), German novelist, whose early works were published under the pseudonym of Jakob Corvinus, was born at Eschershausen in the duchy of Brunswick on the 8th of September 1831. He served apprenticeship at a bookseller’s in Magdeburg for four years (1849–1854); but tiring of the routine of business, studied philosophy at Berlin (1855–1857). While a student at that university he published his first work, Die Chronik der Sperlingsgasse (1857), which at once attained to great popularity. Raabe next returned to Wolfenbüttel, and then lived (1862–1870) at Stuttgart, where he devoted himself entirely to authorship and wrote a number of novels and short stories; notably Unseres Herrgotts Kanzlei (1862); Der Hungerpastor (1864); Abu Tehfan (1867) and Der Schüdderump (1870). In 1870 Raabe removed to Brunswick and published the narratives Horacker (1876)—perhaps his masterpiece; Das Odfeld (1889); Kloster Lugau (1894) and Hastenbeck (1899), and numerous other stories. The distinguishing characteristic of Raabe’s work is a genial humour which reminds us occasionally of Dickens; but this humour is often combined with a pessimism that is foreign to the English novelist.
Raabe’s Gesammelte Erzählungen appeared in 4 vols. (1896–1900); there is no uniform edition of his larger novels. See P. Gerber, Wilhelm Raabe (1897); A. Otto, Wilhelm Raabe (1899); A. Bartels, Wilhelm Raabe: Vortrag (1901).
RABA BEN JOSEPH BEN ḤAMA (c. 280–352), Babylonian rabbi or amora. He is closely associated in his studies with Abaye. The latter was head of the Academy at Pumbeditha. Raba founded a new school at Maḥuza, which eventually became so long as Raba lived the only academy in Babylonia (Persia). The development of Talmudic Law (or Halakhah) was much indebted to this rabbi, whose influence in all branches of Jewish learning was supreme. His friendship with the King Shapur II. enabled Raba to secure a relaxation of the oppressive laws enacted against the Jews of Persia.
See Graetz, History of the Jews; (Eng. trans., vol. ii. ch. xxi.); Bacher, Agada der Babyl. Amoräer, p. 108, &c. and 114–133.
RABAH ZOBEIR (d. 1900), the conqueror of Bornu (an ancient sultanate on the western shores of Lake Chad, included since 1890 in British Nigeria), was a half-Arab, half negro chieftain. He was originally a slave or follower of Zobeir Pasha (q.v.), and is said to have formed one of the party which served as escort to Miss Tinne (q.v.) in her journeys in the Bahr-el-Ghazal in 1862–64. In 1879, Zobeir being in Egypt, his son Suleiman and Rabah were in command of Zobeir’s forces in the Bahr-el-Ghazal. They persisted in slave raiding, and denied the khedive’s authority, and Colonel C. G. Gordon sent against them Romolo Gessi Pasha. Gessi captured Suleiman and routed Rabah, who in July 1879 fled westward with some seven hundred Bazingirs (black slave soldiers). He made himself master of Kreich and Dar Banda, countries to the south and south-West of Wadai. In 1884–85 he was invited by Mahommed Ahmed (the mahdi) to join him at Omdurman, but did not do so. According to one account he learnt that the mahdi intended, had he gone to Omdurman, to put him to death. In 1891 Paul Crampel, a French explorer, was killed in Dar Banda by a chieftain tributary to Rabah, and Crampel’s stores, including 300 rifles, were sent to Rabah. With this reinforcement of arms he marched towards Wadai, but being stoutly opposed by the people of that country he turned west and established himself in Bagirmi, a state south-east of Lake Chad. In 1893 Rabah overthrew the sultan of Bornu. In his administration of the country he showed considerable ability and a sense of public needs. To the British, represented by the Royal Niger Company, Rabah gave comparatively little trouble. During 1894–95 he continually (but unavailingly) asked the company’s representatives at Yola and Ibi to supply him with gunpowder. Rabah then tried threats, and in 1896 all communication between him and the company ceased. Early in 1897 he began an advance in the direction of Kano, the most important city in the Fula empire. The news of the crushing defeat by Sir George Goldie of the Fula at Bida, and of the capture of Illorin, induced