Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/269

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253
SMELT— SMILES


blind, deaf and dumb, and chiefly depended on smell for keeping up a connexion with the outer world. He readily observed the presence of a stranger in the room and he formed his opinions of persons apparently from their characteristic smells (see Dugald Stewart's Works, iv. 300). In some rare cases, the sense of smell is congenitally absent in human beings, and it may be much injured by the practice of snuffing or by diseases of the nose affecting the olfactory membrane. Subjective impressions of smells, like spectral illusions or sounds in the ears, are occasionally, but rarely, observed in cases of hysteria and in the insane. Excessive smoking injures the sense. Finally, it may be observed that the sense of odour gives information as to the characters of food and drink and as to the purity of the air. Some persons are sensitive to certain smells while they do not recognize others, such as hydrocyanic acid or mignonette. In the lower animals also, the sense is associated with the sexual functions. (J. G. M.)

SMELT (Osmerus eperlanus; Fr. éperlan; Scotch sparling or spirling), the common small European fish of the genus Osmerus, family Salmonidae. It breeds, unless land-locked, in salt or brackish water, and though it often enters rivers it does not ascend beyond tidal influence. Like other British Salmonids it spawns in winter. The true smelt inhabits the coasts of northern and central Europe, and allied species are known from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America (Osmerus mordax, O. thaleichthys, O. Japonicus).

SMERDIS (Pers. Bardiya; by Ctesias, Pers. 8, called Tanyoxarces; by Xenophon, Cyrop. viii. 7. 11, who takes the name from Ctesias, Tanaoxares; by Justin i. 9, Mergis; in Aeschylus, Pers. 774, Mardos), a Persian king of infamous memory; the prevalent Greek form Smerdis has assimilated the Persian name to the Greek (Asiatic) name Smerdis or Smerdies, which occurs in the poems of Alcaeus and Anacreon. Smerdis was the younger son of Cyrus the Great who, according to Ctesias, on his deathbed appointed him governor of the eastern provinces (cf. Xen. Cyrop. viii. 7, 11). Before Cambyses set out to Egypt, he secretly caused him to be murdered (Darius in the Behistun Inscr. i. 10), being afraid that he might attempt a rebellion during his absence. His death was not known to the people, and so in the spring of 522 a usurper pretended to be Smerdis and proclaimed himself king on a mountain near the Persian town Pishiyauvāda. Owing to the despotic rule of Cambyses and his long absence in Egypt, “the whole people, Persians, Medes and all the other nations,” acknowledged the usurper, especially as he granted a remission of taxes for three years (Herod, iii. 68). Cambyses began to march against him, but seeing that his cause was hopeless, killed himself in the spring of 521 (but see further Cambyses). The real name of the usurper was, as Darius tells us, Gaumāta, a Magian priest from Media; this name has been preserved by Justin i. 9 (from Charon of Lampsacus?), but given to his brother (called by Herodotus Patizeithes), who is said to have been the real promoter of the intrigue; the true name of the usurper is here given as Oropastes; by Ctesias as Sphendadates.

The history of the false Smerdis is narrated by Herodotus and Ctesias according to official traditions; Cambyses before his death confessed to the murder of his brother, and in public explained the whole fraud. But, as Darius said, nobody had the courage to oppose the new king, who ruled for seven months over the whole empire. Some contracts dating from his reign have been found in Babylonia, where his name is spelt Barziya (for the chronology cf. Ed. Meyer, Forschungen zur alten Geschichte, ii. 472 ff.). Darius says that he destroyed some temples, which Darius restored, and took away the herds and houses of the people (Behistun Inscr. i. 14). We have no means of explaining this statement, nor can we fully understand all the incidents connected with his usurpation; but the attempts of modern authors to prove that Gaumāta in reality was the genuine Smerdis and Darius a usurper have failed. It is certain that Smerdis transferred the seat of government to Media; and here in a castle in the district of Nisaya he was surprised and killed by Darius and his six associates in October 521. His death was annually celebrated in Persia by a feast called “the killing of the magian,” at which no magian was allowed to show himself (Herod, iii. 79, Ctes. Pers. 15).

In the next year, another pseudo-Smerdis, named Vahyazdāta, rose against Darius in eastern Persia and met with great success. But he was finally defeated, taken prisoner and executed (Behistun Inscr. iii. 40 ff.; perhaps he is identical with the King Maraphis “the Maraphian,” name of a Persian tribe,who occurs as successor in the list of Persian kings given by Aeschylus, Pers. 778).

See Darius (I.) and Persia, Ancient History. (Ed. M.)

SMETANA, FRIEDRICH (1824-1884), Bohemian composer and pianist, was born at Leitomischl in Bohemia on the 2nd of March 1824. He made such rapid progress in his studies under Ikavec, at Neuhaus, that at the age of six he appeared in public as pianist so successfully that his father's opposition to a musician's career was overcome. He then went to Proksch, at Prague, until he left for Leipzig to make the acquaintance of Schumann and Mendelssohn. Limited means prevented him from studying with the latter, and he returned to Prague, where he at once became Konzert-meister to the Emperor Ferdinand. In 1848 he married Katharina Kolar, pianist, and with her founded a music school at Prague. At the same time he met Liszt, who subsequently influenced him greatly, and with whom he afterwards stayed at Weimar. In 1856 Smetana accepted Alexander Dreyschock's suggestion to go as conductor of the Philharmonic Society at Gothenburg. There he remained five years, when, owing to his wife's ill-health, he returned to Prague after a successful concert tour. The death of his wife at Dresden on their return caused Smetana to change his mind, and he went back to Sweden. But the opening of the Interims Theater in 1866, and the offer of its conductorship, induced his return. In Sweden he had already written Hakon Jarl, Richard III., and Wallenstein's Lager, and had completed his opera Die Brandenburger in Bohmen (5th January 1866). Five months later it was followed by his best-known opera, Die verkaufte Braut, and in 1868 Dalibor was given. Between 1874 and 1882 he produced Zwei Witwen, Hubicka (Der Kuss), Tajewstvi (Das Geheimnis), Certova Stena, and Die Teufelsmauer, as well as the "grand prize" opera Libuse, written for the opening of the National Theatre at Prague, 11th June 1881. In Die Teufelsmauer were clear signs of decay in Smetana's powers, he having already in 1874 lost his sense of hearing. To celebrate his sixtieth birthday a fête was arranged by the combined Bohemian musical societies; but on that day Smetana lost his reason and was removed to a lunatic asylum, where he died on the 12th of May 1884. A great deal of his pianoforte music is interesting, the Stammbuchblätter, for example; while his series of symphonic poems, entitled Mein Vaterland (Vlast), and his beautiful string-quartet, Aus meinem Leben, have made the tour of the civilized world. He was an admirable pianist, and in many ways justified his countrymen's title of the “Czechisch Beethoven.”

SMETHWICK, a municipal and county borough in the Handsworth parliamentary division of Staffordshire, England, 3 m. W. of Birmingham on the Great Western and the London & North Western railways. Pop. (1891) 36,106; (1901) 54,539. There are large glass, chemical and machine works; nuts and bolts are made, and lighthouse fittings are a specialty. Adjoining Smethwick on the E. is the district of Soho, famous as the scene of the engineering experiments of James Watt during his partnership with Matthew Boulton (c. 1770). The town of Smethwick is a modern growth about an ancient village, the name of which appears in Domesday. The borough, incorporated in 1899 (county borough, 1907), is under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 1929 acres.

SMILES, SAMUEL (1812-1904), British author, was born at Haddington, Scotland, on the 23rd of December 1812. He was the eldest of eleven children left, on their father's death, to be supported by their mother on slender means. To her spirit and example must be attributed some of the enthusiasm for self-reliance and self-education, that was later embodied in Dr Smiles's writings and led to their popularity and influence. Educated at the Haddington Grammar School and at Edinburgh University, where he studied medicine and graduated in 1832, Smiles tried, unsuccessfully, to practise in his native village among 3000 healthy Scotsmen and in competition with seven