Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/409

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393
SOMMER—SOMNATH


the remains of a château of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, once one of the chief strongholds of Picardy; Rue, where there is a fine chapel of the 15th century; and Tilloloy, which has a Renaissance church.


SOMMER, in architecture, a girder or main beam of a floor; if supported on two storey posts and open below, it is called a bress or breast-summer. The word is also spelled “summer,” and is the same as “sumpter,” a pack-horse, Fr. sommier, O. Fr., saume, from Low Lat. salma, pack, burden, Gr. σάγμα, σάττειν, to fasten a pack on a horse.


SOMMERFELD, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Brandenburg, on the Lubis, 40 m. S.E. of Frankfort-on-Oder, by the railway from Berlin to Breslau. Pop. (1905), 12,251. It has a Roman Catholic church, three Evangelical churches, several schools and a hospital. Its manufactures of woollen cloth are important; and it also contains finishing and dyeworks, an ironfoundry, boiler-works and breweries.


SOMMERS, WILLIAM (d. 1560), court fool of Henry VIII., is said to have been brought to the king at Greenwich by Richard Fermor, about 1525. He was soon in high favour with Henry, whose liberality to Sommers is attested by the accounts of the royal household. The jester possessed a shrewd wit, which he exercised even on Cardinal Wolsey. He is said to have warned his master of the wasteful methods of the exchequer and to have made himself the advocate of the poor. His portrait is shown in a painting of Henry VIII. and his family at Hampton Court, and he again appears with Henry VIII. in a psalter which belonged to the king and is now in the British Museum. He was probably the William Sommers whose death is recorded in the parish of St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, on the 15th of June 1560.

For his position in 16th- and 17th-century literature see T. Nash, Pleasant Comedie called Summers’ last Will and Testament (pr. 1600); S. Rowlands, Good Newes and Bad Newes (1622); and a popular account, A Pleasant Historie of the Life and Death of William Sommers (reprinted 1794). See also John Doran, History of Court Fools (1858).


SOMNAMBULISM (from Lat. somnus, sleep, and ambulare, to walk), or sleep-walking, the condition under which people are known to walk along while asleep, apparently unconscious of external impressions, return to bed, and when they awake have no recollection of any of these occurrences. Sometimes the actions performed are of a complicated character and bear some relation to the daily life of the sleeper. Thus a cook has been known to rise out of bed, carry a pitcher to a well in the garden, fill it, go back to the house, fill various vessels carefully and without spilling a drop of water, then return to bed, and have no recollection of what had transpired. Again, somnambulists have been observed to write letters or reports, execute drawings, and play upon musical instruments. Frequently they have gone along dangerous paths, executing delicate movements with precision.

Four types of somnambulists may be noticed: (1) those who speak without acting, a common variety often observed in children and not usually considered somnambulistic; (2) those who act without speaking, also well known and the most common type; (3) those who both act and speak, more exceptional; and (4) those who both act and speak and who have not merely the sense of touch active but also the senses of sight and hearing. The fourth class is the most extreme type and merges into the physiological condition of mesmerism or hypnotism (q.v.), and it is necessary here only to notice it in connexion with the subject of sleep. Many observations indicate that, at all events in some cases, the somnambulist engaged, for example, in writing, has a mental picture of the page before him and of the words he has written. He does not see what he really writes. This has been proved by causing persons to write on a sheet of paper lying on the top of other sheets. After he had been allowed to write a few sentences, the sheet was carefully withdrawn and he continued his writing on the next sheet, beginning on the new sheet at the corresponding point where he left off on the first one. Moreover, the somnambulist, by force of habit, stroked t’s and dotted i’s at the exact places where the t’s and i’s would have been had he written continuously on one sheet, showing that what he was conscious of was not what was before him, but the mental picture of what he had done.

The following table, modified from two such tables given by Benjamin Ball (b. 1833) and Chambard in their classical article " Sjomnambulisme " in the Dictionnaire encyclopedique des sciences medicales, shows the relation of the various intermediate conditions of sleeping and awaking and of the dreaming and somnambulistic states. The horizontal stroke indicates the presence of the condition the name of which heads the column:—

Organic
life.

Conscious-
ness.

Imagin-
ative
faculties.

Co-ordi-
nating
faculties.

Power of

movement

and

sensibility.

Normal waking state

 ——   ——   ——   ——   —— 

Sleep, 1st degree.. .

 ″  2nd degree .

 ″  3rd degree. .

 —— 
 —— 
 —— 
 —— 
 —— 
 —— 
 —— 
 —— 
 —— 

Deep sleep. .

 —— 

Waking, 1st degree

 ″  2nd degree (specially
dreaming state) .

 ″  3rd degree. .

 —— 

 —— 
 —— 

 —— 

 —— 
 —— 



 —— 
 —— 




 —— 

Complete waking .

Dreaming state. .

 —— 

 —— 

 —— 

Ordinary somnambulism
 —(2) above. .

 —— 

 —— 

 —— 

 —— 

Profound somnambulism

 (perfect unconsciousness) .

 —— 

 —— 

Somnambulistic dream

 (movements in a dream)

 —— 

 —— 

 —— 

The following table, modified from two such tables given by Benjamin Ball (b. 1833) and Chambard in their classical article "Somnambulisme" in the Dictionnaire encyclopedique des sciences medicales, shows the relation of the various intermediate conditions of sleeping and awaking and of the dreaming and somnambulistic states. The horizontal stroke indicates the presence of the condition the name of which heads the column: The somnambulist acts his dream. His condition is that of a vivid dream in which the cerebrum is so active as to influence centres usually concerned in voluntary movements. Under the dominant idea he executes the movements that this idea would naturally excite in the waking state. Many of his movements are in a sense purposive; his eyes may be shut so that the movements are executed in the dark, or the eyes may be open so that there is a picture on the retina that may awaken no consciousness, and yet may, by reflex mechanisms, be the starting-point of definite and deliberate movements. In many cases he does not hear, the auditory centres not responding; but in others suggestive words may alter the current of his dream and lead him to perform other actions than what he intended to do. On awaking there is either no memory of what has taken place or the dim recollection of a fading dream.

It is important to notice that there is scarcely any action of which a somnambulist may not be capable, and immoral acts from which the individual would shrink in waking hours may be performed with indifference. Considering the abrogation of self-control peculiar to the physiological condition, it is evident that no moral responsibility can be attached to such actions. In cases where somnambulistic propensities place a person in danger, an endeavour should be made to induce him to return to bed without awaking him; as a rude awakening may produce a serious shock to the nervous system. Inquiry should then be made into the exciting cause of the somnambulistic dream, such as a particular train of thought, over-excitement, the reading of special books, the recollection of an accident or of a crisis in the person’s history, with the view of removing the cause if possible. It should never be forgotten that somnambulism, like chorea, hysteria and epilepsy, is the expression of a general morbid predisposition, an indication of a nervous diathesis, requiring careful treatment so as to avoid more dangerous maladies.

See also Sleep and Muscle and Nerve (physiology).


SOMNATH, an ancient decayed city of Kathiawar in the province of Bombay, India. Pop. (1901), 8341. It is situated on a bay of the Arabian Sea. The port, which is called Verāwal, is distinct from the city proper (Deva-Pattan, Somnath-Pattan, or Prabhas). The latter occupies a prominence on the south side of the bay, is surrounded by massive fortifications, and retains in its ruins and numerous tombs many traces of its former greatness as a commercial port. But the city was most famous for the temple just outside its walls in which stood the great idol or rather columnar emblem of Siva called Somnath (Moon’s lord), which was destroyed by Mahmūd of Ghazni. The famous “Gates of Somnath,” which were supposed to have been carried off by Mahmūd to Ghazni, had probably no connexion with Somnath. They are built of deodar (11 ft. in height and 9½ in width) and are richly carved in geometric