Page images

Stephanus; subsequently, and more completely, by Fúlleborn, and recently by Brandis, German philologists.

XENOPHON; a celebrated historian and general, was born at Athens, about 450 B. C. He lived during a period in which the greatest political and intellectual excitement existed at Athens, and in which the most distinguished men, of whom he was one, appeared on the stage. Xenophon was a favorite disciple of the immortal teacher of wisdom, Socrates; and from his writings, especially his Apology, and the Memorabilia of Socrates, we learn the true spirit of the Socratic philosophy. Xenophon was less a speculative than a practical philosopher. He dedicated himself to that state in which he was born, and fought, together with his teacher, in the Peloponnesian war. When the Persian prince, Cyrus the Younger (so called in contradistinction to the founder of the monarchy), contended with his elder brother Artaxerxes Mnemon for the throne, the Lacedæmonians sent him auxiliaries, among whom Xenophon served as a volunteer. He became a favorite of Cyrus, who was defeated and lost his life in the plains of Babylon. The principal officers of the auxiliary army having been likewise killed in battle, or taken prisoners by artifice, and then put to death, Xenophon was selected to command the Greek forces, 10,000 men strong. They were in a most critical situation, in the midst of a hostile country, above two thousand miles from home, without cavalry, surrounded by enemies and innumerable difficulties; but Xenophon was able to inspire them with confidence, to repress insubordination, and to lead them home to Greece. They marched 1155 parasangs, or 34,650 stadia, in 215 days. This retreat is famous in the history of war. It has been compared to various retreats in modern times; for example, that of Moreau, in the south of Germany; but the circumstances are too different to admit of any proper parallel being drawn. Xenophon himself has described this retreat, and, at the same time, the whole expedition of the younger Cyrus, in his Anabasis, which has been geographically illustrated, particularly by James Rennell. That Xenophon is actually the author of this work has been proved by C. W. Krüger (author of the Vita Xenophontis), in his work De Authentia et Integritate Anabaseos Xenophontea (Halle, 1824). The expedition might have been forgotten, or, at least, very imperfectly known, had not the Grecian general been

[ocr errors]

so excellent a writer. Xenophon afterwards accompanied the Spartan king Agesilaus to Asia, on his expedition against the Persians. He enjoyed his confidence; he fought under his standard, and conquered with him in the Asiatic provinces, as well as at the battle of Coronæa. His fame, however, did not escape the aspersions of jealousy: he was publicly banished from Athens for accompanying Cyrus against his brother; and, being now without a home, he retired to Scillus, a small town of the Lacedæmoniaus, in the neighborhood of Olympia. In this solitary retreat, he dedicated his time to literary pursuits; and, as he had acquired riches in his Asiatic expeditions, he began to adorn the country which surrounded Scillus. He built a magnificent temple to Diana, in imitation of that of Ephesus, and spent part of his time in rural employments, or in hunting in the woods and mountains. His peaceful occupations, however, were soon disturbed by a war which arose between the Lacedæmonians and Elis. The sanctity of Diana's temple, and the venerable age of the philosopher, were disregarded; and Xenophon, driven by the Eleans from his favorite spot, retired to the city of Corinth. In this place he died, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. Besides the works already mentioned, Xenophon wrote the Banquet of the Philosophers, a counterpart of a composition of Plato, and several smaller works, relating to agriculture, politics, and the science of war; also a history of the Greeks, in seven books, and a continuation of the history of Thucydides, down to the battle of Mantinea; and the Life of Cyrus the Elder, more known under the name of Cyropædia. This celebrated production is not a real history, but rather a historical novel. It contains Xenophon's ideas respecting the best form of government; and the biography of the greatest ruler known at that time is embellished to illustrate the writer's principles. Xenophon considered the monarchical form of government the best; and his purpose seems to have been to recommend it to his countrymen. His style in general, and particularly in this work, is a model of elegant simplicity. Xenophon is therefore one of those classics which are particularly selected for the instruction of youth, though his philosophical works are not proper for begin ners. The Greeks esteemed his merit as a writer so high that they called him the "Greek bee," and the "Attic muse.' works have been often published, sepa


rately and together. The most recent editions are by Schneider and Weiske. There is no other instance on record of a man who was at the same time so great a general, so excellent a writer, and so amiable a philosopher.-Another Xenophon, an amatory poet, lived towards the beginning of the third century A. D., was a native of Ephesus, and wrote a tale called the History of Habrocomes and Anthia.

XERES, Francis; a Spanish historian, who accompanied Pizarro in his conquest of Peru, and acted as his secretary. By order of the conqueror, he addressed a detailed account of this great expedition to Charles V. The work of Xeres appeared at Salamanca in 1547, folio, under the title Conquista del Piru: Verdadera Relacion de la Conquista del Piru y de la Provincia del Cuzco llamada la Nueva Castilla, &c. It is sometimes to be found at the end of Oviedo's Natural History of the Indies. The work of Xeres has been translated into Italian, and inserted by Ramusio in the third volume of his Collection of Travels and Voyages. Notwithstanding the great partiality of Xeres for the conqueror of Peru, his history is important, as he was an eye-witness of every thing he relates, and took an active part in the war which decided the fate of that beautiful country.

XERES DE LA FRONTERA; a town of Spain, in Seville, on the Guadalete; fifteen miles north-north-east of Cadiz, and thirty-two south of Seville; lon. 6° 15′ W.; lat. 36° 41' N.; population, between twenty and thirty thousand. It is pleasantly situated, surrounded with walls, the streets wider than those of Cadiz, clean and neatly paved, and some of the houses splendid. It is an ancient town, supposed to be built on the site of Asta Regia. În the environs is produced the wine called sherry, a corruption of Xeres. Some sweet wines are also produced in this neighborhood, of which the best known is the vino tinto, or tent wine. The country around is very fertile, and the climate delightful.-Near this town a battle was fought between the Moors and Goths, in 712, in which Roderic, the last king of the Goths, lost his life.

XERES WINE. (See Sherry.)

XERXES I, king of Persia, famous for his unsuccessful attempt to conquer Greece, began to reign in 485 B. C., and was the second son of Darius Hystaspes. (q. v.) He was preferred to his brother Artabazanes, who had been born before his father was raised to the throne; while

Xerxes was born after that event, and was the son of Atossa, daughter of Cyrus. This preference caused no struggle between the brothers. After having subdued Egypt in a single campaign, he thought himself able to execute the plan of conquering Greece, which had been already conceived by his father. He collected for this purpose an immense army. The historians estimate it at a million of men. In all probability, the Greeks greatly exaggerated the number of their enemies; and the train of women and slaves, who followed the army, made, at least, half of its numerical amount: still, however, the power of Xerxes was beyond all comparison superior to that of the Greeks. But these fought for their home and their freedom, and the Persian soldiers were hirelings. By means of a bridge of boats Xerxes crossed the Hellespont. The Greeks awaited their enemy on the frontier of their country, in the pass of Thermopylæ. (q. v.) After the heroic Leonidas had fallen with his Spartans (see Leonidas, and Ephialtes), Xerxes pressed forward, and burned Athens, which had been forsaken by its inhabitants. The first naval battle between the two powers, at Artemisium, had been undecisive; but it inspired the Greeks with new confidence; and the second naval action, at Salamis (q. v.), in which, if we believe the Greek historians, two thousand Persian vessels were engaged against three hundred and eighty Greek, eventuated in the defeat of the Persians. Xerxes now quitted Greece, leaving behind him his best general, Mardonius, who, not long after, was entirely beaten at Platææ. Xerxes himself returned from his expedition in the most humiliating_manner. The bridge of boats over the Hellespont had been destroyed, and he passed the strait in a small fishing boat. He now gave himself up to debauchery: his conduct offended his subjects, and Artabanus, the captain of his guards, conspired against him, and murdered him in his bed, in the twenty-first year of his reign, about 465 years before the Christian era. The personal accomplishments of Xerxes have been commended by ancient authors; and Herodotus observes that there was not one man among the millions of his army, that was equal to the monarch in coneliness or stature, or that was as worthy to preside over a great and extensive empire. Justin exclaims, that the vast armament which invaded Greece was without a head. It is said of Xerxes, that. when he reviewed his

army from a stately throne in the plains of Asia, he suddenly shed tears on the recollection that, of the multitude of men whom he saw before his eyes, in one hundred years, none would be living. He is also said to have ordered chains to be thrown into the sea, and the waves to be whipped, because the first bridge which he had laid across the Hellespont had been destroyed by a storm. He cut a channel through mount Athos, and saw his fleet sail in a place which before was dry ground. The very rivers are said to have been dried up by his ariny as he advanced towards Greece, and the cities which he entered reduced to want and poverty.

XERXES II succeeded his father, Artaxerxes Longimanus, on the throne of Persia, about 425 years B. C., and was assassinated in the first year of his reign, by his brother Sogdianus.

XIMENES, Francisco, cardinal, archbishop of Toledo, and prime minister of Spain, a great statesman, to whom Spain is very much indebted, was born in 1437, at Torrelaguna, a small village in Old Castile, where his father was a lawyer. He studied at Salamanca, travelled afterwards to Rome, and obtained a papal bull, which secured to him the first vacant benefice in Spain. The archbishop of Toledo refused to give him any place; and, Ximenes having manifested irritation upon this refusal, he caused him to be imprisoned. Ximenes, nevertheless, recovered his freedom, and the cardinal Gonzalez Mendoza, bishop of Siguença, appointed him his grand vicar. He afterwards entered the Franciscan order, became father confessor to queen Isabella of Castile, and, in 1495, archbishop of Toledo. He did not accept this dignity till after many refusals, and an express command from the pope. As an archbishop, he was very zealous, conducting as a father towards the poor, abolishing a multitude of abuses, and adhering steadfastly to his resolution, that the public offices should be filled with honorable and well-qualified men. He gave excellent rules to the clergy of his diocese, and, in spite of all opposition, effected a reform in the mendicant orders of Spain, founded, in 1499, a university at Alcala de Henares, and undertook, some years after, an edition of the Old Testament in six languages. (See Polyglot. Before this, in 1514, he had published, at Henares, an edition of the New Testament, in the original tongue. His activity was also displayed in other ways. Dissensions prevailed in the royal family. Philip of Austria, son of the

emperor Maximilian I, had married Joauna, the only daughter of Ferdinand the Catholic of Arragon, and of Isabella of Castile. After the death of the latter, Philip received the kingdom of Castile, in right of his wife, the sole heiress of her mother. This gave rise to disputes between him and his father-in-law, which were composed by Ximenes. After Philip's early death (1506), Ferdinand became regent of Castile, for his grandson, afterwards the emperor Charles V, who was a minor. On this occasion he had been much assisted by Ximenes. Ximenes now received from the pope the cardinal's hat, was appointed grand inquisitor of Spain, and had a great share in the affairs of state. But as he knew Ferdinand's jealous disposition, he left the court, and returned to his archbishopric. The conversion of the Moors, and the plan of wresting some provinces from these unbelievers, particularly occupied his attention. With this view, he formed the project of passing over to Africa, in order to take the fortress of Oran, which was in the possession of the Moors. He applied the income of his archbishopric (300,000 ducats), the richest in Europe, to this purpose. A mutiny which arose among a part of his troops, who disliked the idea of having a clergyman for their leader, he suppressed immediately by strict measures. In May, 1509, he landed on the coast of Africa. In the dress of an archbishop, over which he wore a suit of armor, surrounded by priests and monks, as if in a religious procession, he led the land forces. A battle soon followed in the neighborhood of Oran, in which the Moors were defeated. The fortress was immediately taken, and the garrison put to the sword. Ximenes caused Oran to be fortified anew, changed the mosques into churches, and then returned as a conqueror to Spain, where Ferdinand received him with much pomp. When the latter died, in 1516, his grandson Charles being still a minor, Ximenes became regent of Spain, and effected many important changes during his regency, which continued only two years. He brought the finances into order, paid the crown debts, and restored the royal domains which had been alienated. He humbled the Spanish nobility, who hated him on account of his pride and severity. He caused the laws to be observed, and placed the Spanish military force upon a respectable footing. All his plans and conceptions were great. He possessed great sagacity and firmness, was slow in decision, but quick in execu

tion. The Spanish cabinet was much indebted to him for the consideration in which it was held in Europe for a long time after his death. We have already mentioned that he was a patron of science. He was truly a great man. He has been accused, not entirely without foundation, of pride, severity, and even cruelty; but circumstances sometimes rendered such conduct necessary: his severity was particularly directed against the arrogance of the nobility of the kingdom. Upon various occasions he showed a benevolent spirit. Upon his entrance into Oran, when he saw the numerous corpses of the Moors who had fallen, he shed tears. "They were unbelievers," said he, "but men, who might have been brought to Christ. Their death has deprived me of the principal advantage of this victory." He died in 1517. His life, and his administration, have been the subject of various works.-See Histoire du Cardinal Ximénes, par Fléchier, Evêque de Nismes (Amsterdam, 1700), and the Historie von dem Staatsministerio des Cardinal Ximenes (Hamburg, 1791).

XIMENES, Augustin Louis, marquis de, a well-known French poet, descended from a family originally Spanish, was born in Paris in 1726. He was a soldier in his youth, and fought at the battle of Fontenai (May 11, 1745). He then became the associate of the most distinguished French savans of the eighteenth century, particularly Voltaire. Ximenes wrote some tragedics, among them Don Carlos;

a poem called César au Sénat Romain and another, in which he illustrates the idea, that the sciences contributed as much to the glory of Louis XIV, as he did to their progress. Two Discours of his, one in praise of Voltaire, the other on the influence of Boileau on his century, are esteemed. He also wrote Lettres sur la Nouvelle Héloïse de J. J. Rousseau. His works appeared in 1772 and 1792; the later ones under the title of Codicille d'un Vieillard. Ximenes was a friend of the revolution, but without passion or selfishness. He took no part in the proceedings, nor did he hold any office. His last work is Discours au Roi. He died at Paris in 1817.

XIMENES, Leonardo; a distinguished mathematician, who died in Florence in 1786, in his sixty-fifth year. He did much for hydraulics and astronomy.

XIPHIAS. (See Sword-Fish.)

XUTHUS; the third son of Hellen and of Orseis. As he was passed over by his father in the partition of his lands, and his brothers expelled him from Thessaly, he went to Attica, where he assisted Erictheus against the Eleusinians, and married his daughter Creusa. (q. v.) But he was driven away again by his brothers-in-law, after he had founded the four cities of Attica. His sons were

Achæus and Ion. (q. v.)

XYLOGRAPHY (from guλov, wood, and youdw, I write); a name sometimes given to wood engraving. (q. v.)


Y; the twenty-fifth letter of the English alphabet, sometimes used as a vowel, sometimes as a consonant. It is a consonant at the beginning of words, in which cases it is produced by the emission of breath, whilst the root of the tongue is brought into contact with the hinder part of the palate, and nearly in the position into which the close g brings it, only a greater part of the tongue is pressed against the roof of the mouth. It has, in this case, the same sound with the German j, or the g in some parts of Germany. The letter y is derived from the Greek v, which, however, had a different sound.

The Germans have entirely rejected it, except in names of persons. A few persons of the old school continue it, and some use it still in the case of seyn (to be), to distinguish that word from sein (his); but these are very few, and the distinction is unnecessary, as the context will always show which word is meant. In Spanish, the custom of using i instead of y, where this letter is a vowel, is becoming more general; thus, reyno, reynar, are now giving way to reino, reinar. The Romans either retained the Greek y in nouns originally Greek, and betraying a Greek origin, as physica, mythus, synodus, Harpyia, syste

ma, Libya, myrrha, mysterium; or changed it into a short u, or o, as in the case of déo changed into duo, pus into mus (musculus), pikav into mugire, μúdλw, μúλn, into molo, mola; or wrote it i, as in inclitus, and probably pronounced it like the Greek v, or the French u, or the German ű. Y, as a numeral letter, signifies 150, or, ac-cording to Baronius, 159, as in the verse

Y dat centenos et quinquaginta novenos. Y, on French coins, denotes the mint of Bourges. Y, in its Greek form (r), is also called the Pythagorean letter, because the Pythagoreans were said to signify by it the proceeding of the duad out of the monad, or the sacred triad (q. v.); according to others, convalescence (byɛia), or the dividing road of life. It is also called the Druid's foot. In geography, Y is the name of several Chinese towns; also of Y, or Wye, an arm or inlet of the Zuyder Zee, Netherlands, on the south shore of which Amsterdam is built.-We have known, in Germany, a person whose family name was Y, pronounced, as this letter always is in Germany, ee.

live principally by the chase, fishing, or the raising of reindeer. (See Tartary, and Tunguses.) There are but few Russians here. (See Siberia.)

YALE COLLEGE. (See New Haven.)

YAM (dioscorea sativa); a slender herbaceous vine, having large tuberous roots, which are much used for food in Africa and the East and West Indies. They are mealy, and esteemed to be easy of digestion, are palatable, and not inferior to any roots now in use, either for delicacy of flavor or nutriment. They are eaten either roasted or boiled, and the flour is also made into bread and puddings. The juice of the roots, when fresh, is acrid, and excites an itching on the skin. There are many varieties of the roots; some spreading out like the fingers; others twisted like a serpent; others, again, very small, scarcely weighing more than a pound, with a whitish, ash-colored bark, whereas the bark is usually black. The flesh of the yam is white or purplish, and viscid, but becomes farinaceous or mealy when cooked. -D. aculeata, by some considered only an improved variety of the preceding, is universally cultivated in the East and West Indies, in Africa, and in all the

YACHT; a vessel. of state usually employed to convey princes, ambassadors, or other great personages, from one kingdom to another. As the principal de-islands of the Pacific. The roots are sign of a yacht is to accommodate the passengers, it is usually fitted with a variety of convenient apartments, with suitable furniture. Private pleasure boats, when sufficiently large for a sea voyage, are also termed yachts.

YADKIN. (See Pedee.)

YAKOUTSK, or JAKUTSK; a town in Siberia, capital of a province of the same name, situated on the Lena; lat. 62° 2′ N.; lon. 130° E.; population, about 7000. Yakoutsk lies in a plain, surrounded with mountains, and is the emporium of the northern fur trade, and an important entrepot of Russian and Chinese goods. Furs, corn, wine and salt are brought from Irkoutsk and Ilimsk by the Lena, and wines from Archangel. The cold is so excessive here in winter, that mercury freezes. The province of Yakoutsk was formed in 1823, of a part of the government of Irkutsk. It borders on the Frozen ocean on the north, and the Chinese territories on the south, extending from 53° 15 to 76° 15′ N. lat., and from 104° to 163° E. lon., and covering a superficial area of nearly 1,500,000 square miles, with a population of 140,000 souls. A great part of this extensive region is sterile and desolate. The inhabitants, who are chiefly Yakoutes and Tunguses,

frequently three feet long, and weigh thirty pounds. All the varieties are propagated like the potato, but they arrive much sooner at maturity. The buds of the roots are not apparent; but still a small piece of skin is left to each set; for from this piece of bark, alone, the shoots proceed. Holes are made in rows two feet apart, and eighteen inches distant in the row: into these holes two or three sets are put, first covered with earth, and then with a little haum or rubbish, to retain moisture. The only after-culture consists in hoeing up the weeds. They are commonly planted in August, and are ripe about the November or December following. When dug up, the greatest care is taken not to wound them, as that occasions them to sprout much earlier than they would otherwise. An acre of ground has been known to produce from twenty to thirty thousand pounds weight. The species of dioscorea are all vines, bearing, usually, heart-shaped and strongly-nerved leaves, and inconspicuous flowers. One of them is common in our Middle and Southern States.

YANG-TSE-KIAN, or KIAN-KU; a ver of Asia, which rises in the mountains of Thibet, and, after crossing the empire of China, from west to east, with a course

« PreviousContinue »