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Chequered mountain, stretches to the west, and gives rise to the river Hi, a considerable stream running northward. This principal chain forms the boundary line between Russia and Independent Tartary, and proceeding onward from the Irtish to the Amur, or Amour river, branches into the mountains of Kamtschatka and Oudskoi, or Okhotsz, terminating in the sea of Kamtschatka, where it forms the extended chain of the Aleutian Islands, uniting the eastern shores of Asia with North-west America. The Lesser Altain chain separates Soongoria from the government of Kolhyvan; and near the conjunction of these two main divisions are the principal sources of the Yenisei, the Oby, and the Irtish, which empty themselves into the Northern ocean. Though such of these mountains as have been explored present many interesting mineralogical and geological facts, and the whole chain, in point of magnitude and extent, can be rivalled only by the Andes of South America, they have never been very accurately laid down in maps, and are known amongst the semi-barbarous people who inhabit the surrounding country, by so many various names and subdivisions, that a connected description of them is exceedingly difficult to gather. That part of the chain immediately south of the lake Baikal is said to be upwards of 10,000 feet in altitude. The Russian maps of these districts are little credited by Major Rennell; and though they are preferred by Mr. Pinkerton, it is admitted that these mountains are very faintly described in them. The map of Isleniff, a Russian officer, appears to be the best.

The part of this chain best known is the nine Russian portions, which are divided into the Alasey or Alaskai, the Kolhyvan, the Korbolikinsk, the Oubinsk, the Buktarminsk, the Teletsk, the Tsharinsk, the Krasnoyarsk, and the Kunetz. The last two ridges are almost wholly inaccessible, and the tops of many of them are covered with perpetual snow, and sometimes the seven preceding divisions are called the Kolhyvan mountains, as situated principally in the government of that name. The best mines of Siberia are found in these mountains, particularly in the Korbolikinsk division. In the course of forty years of the last century, the only period of which any regular account of the annual produce of these mines appears to have been kept, they produced 830 poods Russian (equal to about thirty-six English pounds each) of fine gold; and 24,460 poods of fine silver. The copper mines yield annually 15,000 poods of metal; the iron mines, running through the larger portion of the range, are too extensive, and in the hands of too many agents, to be distinctly estimated; but they form one of the most important sources of the rising greatness of the Russian empire.

ALTAIR, in astronomy, a star of the first magnitude, in the constellation Aquila.

ALTAMIRA, a small town and county of Gallicia, Spain, fifteen miles west of St. Jago de Campostella.

ALTAMURA, a town of Naples, in the territory of Bari, with the title of a principality, and the seat of a royal governor, at the foot of the Appennine mountains. It contains 16,000 inhabitants, many of whom are Greeks, and is six

miles north-east of Gravina. Some have sup posed this to be the ancient Petillia.

ALT'AR, n. Latin altare, (quasi alta ara) the rising altar on which the victims were burnt [the ara being a less elevated spot, where prayers and drink offerings were presented.] A place raised to receive offerings to Jehovah in the Jewish theology, and to the gods in the heathen mythology. Also a term used by some Cha tians to designate the place where the Lord's Supper is dispensed.

pe kyng wepte with his ine, that sight mykelle he & siluer grete plente vpon the altere laid.


R. Brunne, p. 79.

Men of Athenys, bi alle thingis I se ghou as veyne worschiperis, for I passide and segh ghoure mawmetis, and foonde an auter in which was writen to the un

knowun God; therefore which thing, ghe unknowing worschipern, this thing I schewe to ghou.

Wiclif, Dedis. ch. xvi.

Her grace rose; and, with modest paces, Came to the altar; where she kneel'd, and saint-like Cast her fair eyes to heav'n, and pray'd devoutly. Shakspeare.

The way coming into our great churches was an ciently at the west-door, that men might see the altar and all the church before them; the other doors were but posterns. Selden's Table Taik. Thy liberal heart, thy judging eye, The flower unheeded shall descry, And bid it round heaven's altars shed The fragrance of its blushing head.

Gray's Ode for Music.
Before thy mystic altar, heavenly Truth,
I kneel in manhood, as I knelt in youth,
Thus let me kneel, 'till this dull form decay
And life's last shade be brighten'd by thy ray
Then shall my soul, now lost in clouds below,
Soar without bound, without consuming glow.
Sir W. Jones.

ALTAR, the Lexicography of which is already given properly signifies a table, or a raised place on which any offering was made. It is so called, because altars were set up by the Hea thens in high places, or, at any rate, raised above the ground. Indeed the opinion has prevailed, that the word altar in its early acceptation de noted nothing more than the spot on which sacrifices were made. Hesychius and Phavonnus expressly speak of people who had sacritices without altars, (or distinct edifices.) Strabo makes a similar assertion respecting the ancient Persians. The history of these celebrated monuments connects itself with one of the most important enquiries of the human mind, viz. the origin of sacrifices, from their connection with which it is inferred, that the date of their first appearance is almost coeval with that of the world. Gen. c. iv. Some attribute their origin to the Egyptians; others to the Jews; others to the patriarchs before the flood. Some remove them as far back as Adam, whose altar is much spoken of by Jewish and even Christian writers. Others are contented to make the patriarch Enoch the first who consecrated a public altar. Be this as it will, the earliest altars of which we find an express testimony are those of Noah, Gen. viii. 20, and of Abraham, Gen. xii. 7, In the patriarchal times altars were, no doubt, of rude construction, and temporary, appro


! riated to the occasion for which they were immediately designed. The altar which Jacob set up at Bethel was merely the stone on which he rested, Gen. xx. 8.; such was also the altar of Gideon, Judges, vi.; and the first altar which Moses erected was made of earth, by the command of God, Exod. xx. 24. Among the Jews, the principal altars were the altar of incense, the altar of burnt-offerings, and the altar or table of shew-bread. These were built of wood, the first and the last were overlaid with pure gold, and the second with brass, but all richly sculptured by the hands of cunning workmen, and enriched with the choicest beauties of Jewish architecture. In this, the Jews, for the times in which they lived, were not inferior to any people; and though our information on these particulars is comparatively scanty, yet the admirable skill with which their temple was contrived and beautified, imposes a magnificent idea of the embellishment attached to their altars. The form of these erections has been a subject of considerable altercation amongst the learned; and accordingly different opinions have been given. They are represented by Josephus as being square, and having horns at the four corHis words are τετραγωνος δ' ίδρυτο, κερατοειδεις προανεχων γωνίας. We find an allusion to such appendages in many parts of scripture; but whether these horns were made of wood, or were in reality the horns of some animal is not obvious. Whether they were merely ornamental appendages, or answered some practical purposes, has also been questioned. Some writers have imagined, that they served to move, and carry the altar with the greater ease and steadiness. Michaelis doubted whether they were real projections, and averred that nothing more was intended by the horns than the four corners of the edifice. Those who have thought otherwise,' says a late writer, have not informed us whether they were upright, oblique, or curved.' Spencer, Le Clerc, Witsius, and others, considered thein horn-shaped, like the ara pacis of the Romans; various theories have been entertained. They have been thought emblematical of dignity and power, and to refer to the diverging rays of the solar orb when breaking forth in the morning or from behind a cloud, especially as the word translated horn, also signifies a ray of light. There can be no doubt that they were real appendages; and their uses, with respect to the larger altar, are sufficiently obvious. They served to secure the sacrificial victims, see Ps. cxviii. 27; and for fugitives to seize, when fleeing to that monument for protection.

The altar of incense was made of shittim wood, adorned after the manner already described. It was one cubit square, and two cubits high, with an ornament of gold like a carved moulding round the top of it; it was carried about by two bars of the same wood, overlaid with gold, and passing through four golden rings. Its use was for burning incense morning and evening. It was particularly to be sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifices that were offered for the sins of ignorance, committed by particular persons, or by the community in general. The following diagram, will perhaps,

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The altar of burnt-offering, described Exodus xxvii. and xxviii., was made of shittim wood, overlaid with brass, and had four brass rings, through which were put two bars, by which it was carried on the shoulders of the priests. At each corner was a horn or spire, wrought out of the same wood with the altar, the uses of which. have already been surmised. Within the hollow was a grate of brass, supposed to be about five feet square: on this the fire was made, and through it fell the ashes into an inferior receptacle. This part of the apparatus was suspended by rings at the corners, attached, possibly, to chains in the cavity of the altar. The dimensions of this altar were five cubits, or two yards and a half square; and three cubits, or a yard and a half high. It was placed towards the east end of the court, fronting the entrance of the tabernacle, and at such a distance that the smoke of the fire might not disfigure the furniture within the tabernacle. The altar made by Solomon, and mentioned 2 Chron. iv. 1, &c. was much larger than the former. We exhibit the following diagram, as an illustration of this edifice,


in which the reader will observe: 1. the horns, or four spires, at the four corners; 2. the grate of brass, in which the fire was made; 3. the pan which received the ashes; 4. the rings and chains by which it was affixed to the horns before alluded to; and 5. the kibbesh, or ascent to the altar, Exod. xx. 26, &c.; 2 Chron. iv. 1, &c. Between the grate and the altar sufficient space was left on every side to prevent the fire from damaging the wood work, and every thing was regulated with the utmost exactness. The fire on this altar was considered as sacred, having first descended upon it from heaven, Lev. ix. 44, and was therefore kept constantly burning, Lev. vi. 13. Hence, probably, the Chaldeans and Persians borrowed their notions of sacred fire,

which was always preserved with great care and attention, and from them this custom is known to have passed to the Greeks and Romans. This altar was demolished by the Babylonians at the conflagration of the temple, but was restored immediately on the return of the Jews from captivity, Ezra iii. 3. It was now a large pile of unhewn stone, 32 cubits square at the bottom, and gradually decreasing to the top, or hearth, which was a square of 24 cubits, and one cubit high, made of solid brass, and hence called the brazen altar. The ascent to the altar was by a gentle rising on the south side, corresponding with the kibbesh in the diagram. This part of the structure was 32 cubits in length, and 16 in breadth, and banded on the upper benching-in next the hearth, or the top of the altar. Prid. Con. vol. i. p. 199.

The altar, or table, of shew-bread, was likewise of shittim-wood, overlaid with gold, and exquisitely adorned. Its dimensions were two cubits long, one wide, and one and a half high. It had a golden border, crown, or rim, round it, and upon it were placed two rows, including twelve loaves of bread, with salt and incense, which were changed every Sabbath-day. This table was also furnished with golden dishes, spoons, and bowls. The Jews gave the name of 'altars' to a kind of tables occasionally raised in the country or fields, on which sacrifices were offered; thus we often read, in such a place an altar was built to the Lord.

The altars of the Heathens were at first made of turf; afterwards of stone, marble, wood, and even of horn, as that of Apollo in Delos. Before temples were in use, altars, as already intimated, were erected in groves, in the highways, and on the tops of mountains; and it was customary to engrave upon them the name or attribute of the deity to whom they were consecrated. They were also of different kinds with regard to their qualities, the uses to which they were applied, and the objects to which they were appropriated; being sacred to gods, heroes, virtues, vices, diseases, &c.: we read also of inner and outer, stationary and portable, public and private altars. Again, they differed in their figure, which was round, square, or triangular. All of them were turned towards the east, and generally adorned with sculpture, basso-relievos, and inscriptions, expressing the gods to whom they were appropriated, or representing their distinguishing symbols. For a specimen of pagan altars, see Plate III, MISC. No. 1 represents an altar dedicated to Neptune, and exhibits a trident, and two dolphins, the attributes of this deity, on its sides. No. 2 is a four-square altar; and, as the inscription informs us, dedicated to the nymphs. No. 3 was erected to Bacchus, and exhibits a Bacchanal, with a thyrsis in his hand, with two other sides, it appeared triangular. Each side of No. 4, which was triangular, exhibited a genius, one of whom is seen carrying an oar upon his neck, which seems to indicate that it belonged to Neptune. No. 5, with the inscription, Ara Neptuni,' is of a round figure; the god is represented wholly naked, preserving the pallium on his shoulder, holding a trident in his left hand, and in his right a dolphin. Altars

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differed also in their height as well as in their figure.

According to Servius, in Virg. Ecl. v. 66. n. ii. 515, those set apart for the honour of the celestial gods, or gods of the higher class, were placed on some pretty tall pile of building, as the altar of Olympian Jupiter, which was nearly 22 feet high; and for that reason were called altaria, from the words alta and ara, a high elevated altar. Those appointed for the terrestrial gods were laid on the surface of the earth, and called aræ-and, on the contrary, they dug into the earth, and opened a pit for those of the infernal gods, which they called Bolpot and λakkot, scrobiculi. But this distinction is not every where observed.

In the great temples of ancient Rome there were commonly three altars: the first placed in the sanctuary, at the foot of the statue of the divinity, upon which incense was burned, and libations offered; the second was before the gate of the temple, and upon it they sacrificed the victims; and the third was a portable altar, upon which were placed the offering and the sacred vessels.

The Greeks had two species of altars: that whereon they sacrificed to the gods was called Bwuoc, and was a real altar, different from the other, whereon they sacrificed to the heroes, which was smaller, and called oxapa. Pollux makes this distinction of altars in his Onomasticon: but adds, that some poets used the word

xapa for the altar whereon sacrifice was offered to the gods. (The Septuagint version sometimes also uses soxapa for a sort of little low altar, which some authors express in Latin by craticula.) The nymphs, instead of altars, had arrpa, caves, in which adoration was paid to them.

The superior altars of the Greeks were ranged under three subdivisions: the eupot, designed for burnt-sacrifices; arvpot, without fire, and avaiμakro, without blood; for upon the two last, only offerings of cakes, or fruits of the earth, and libations, could be presented to their respective divinities. Venus had an altar at Paphos, which was avaiμakrog, but not a vpoc; and Tacitus says that she was worshipped, precibus solis et igne puro, by prayers and fire alone. Among the primitive Greeks, the consecration of their altars was attended but with little expense; but as they increased in riches, they gradually introduced more magnificent and costly ceremonies into this part of their religious worship. From a passage in the Envy of Aristophanes, and from the Danaides of that poet, we find that the ordinary mode of the consecration of altars was similar to that of images. He speaks of a woman dressed in a robe of various colours, with a vessel filled with pulse upon her head, consecrating the statues of Mercury and the altars of Jove. The usual mode of dedication was performed by placing a garland of flowers upon them, then anointing them with oil, and afterwards offering up libations of wine and oblations of fruits. There is no doubt but that the unction, with oil, constituted the principal part of the ceremony of consecration; and that this practice was derived from the most remote antiquity. We all kn**

that, among the Jews, the altar of Moses was consecrated by the pouring out of oil, by the express command of God, and that the altar of Jacob was dedicated by the performance of the same ceremony.

The altars of the ancient heathens, like those of the Jews, were adorned with horns, to which the victims were fastened, and to which criminals, who fled for refuge, used to cling. The ancients also, on solemn occasions, as in forming alliances, and confirming treaties of peace, swore upon them and by them. See Adam's Rom. Ant. p. 140, &c. In the Dionysica of Nonnus, Agave is introduced offering up a sacrifice upon εvкερаw πapa Вwuw. The same ornaments are still visible in those which remain in the ruins of Rome. Although we have given the most common forms of the altars of the ancients, other forms were common, and for the most part different forms appear to have been adopted by different nations. The square form was that most common among the Greeks; but we find, from ancient medals, that altars of the circular and pyramidical figures were not unfrequent. It is probable, that the custom which was observed, of placing the altars on the eastern side of their temples, suggested the Christian custom of placing the sacramental table on the eastern side of the early churches.

The altar which the apostle Paul found at Athens, bearing the inscription of the Ayvwsos Aɛoç, eternized by the memorable discourse of which it became the basis, has created considerable diversity, and even contrariety of opinion among biblical critics. The erection of this altar has been ascribed, by some, to Dionysius, the Areopagite; who, unable to account for the eclipse at our Lord's death, was yet sensible that it was the sympathy of nature with a superior being. Theophylact attributes it to the appearance of an unknown spectre after a battle lost by the Athenians: others to a complaint of the god Pan, during the war between the Persians and the Greeks, who, considering himself neglected, acted accordingly; whence, lest any other deity should have like cause of displeasure, an altar was erected intended to include all those gods who were not named in the general description. Lucian, in his Philopatris, swears by the unknown god of Athens.' Some have supposed the god of the Jews to be intended, whose name was unknown to them. Jerome supposes, that the inscription on this altar was not, as St. Paul quotes it, to the unknown god,' but to the gods of Asia and Europe and Africa, unknown and strange gods;' and that the apostle has not quoted the inscription exactly, but dexterously applied it to the occasion. Theophylact and Ecumenius are also of opinion, that the inscription was 'to gods,' in the plural number. But Chrysostom, and Isidore of Pelusium, assert, that the inscription was as St. Paul quotes it. Le Clerc says, that though the inscription was in the plural number, St. Paul was in the right to allege it in the singular. The notions of Diogenes Laertius, in Epimen. lib. i. seg. 110. p. 70, 71, are as follows: about 600 years before Christ, the fame of Epimenides was very great

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among all the Greeks, and he was supposed to be in favour with the gods. The Athenians being afflicted with a pestilence, they were directed by the Pythian oracle to get their city purified by expiation. They therefore sent Nicías, son of Niceratus, in a ship to Crete, inviting Epimeaides to come to them. He came accordingly, in the forty-sixth Olympiad, purified their city, and delivered them from the pestilence in this manner: taking several sheep, some black, others white, he led them up to the areopagus, and then let them go where they would; and gave orders to those who followed them, whereever any one of them should lie down, to sacrifice it to the god to whom it belonged; and so the plague ceased. Hence it comes to pass, that to this present time may be found, in the boroughs of the Athenians, anonymous altars, a memorial of the expiation then made.'

ALTAR of Adam, in antiquity, is pretended by some rabbin and others to have been erected by the first man posterior to the fall; when, being overwhelmed with sorrow, the promise was made him by the ministry of the angel Haziel, of a redeemer. In gratitude he is said to have built an altar, and sacrificed. The reliques of this monument have been mentioned by several writers of later ages.

ALTAR, in modern times, is used for a square table placed on the eastern side of the church, raised a little above the floor, and set apart for the celebration of the sacrament. Its form is not borrowed either from that of the heathen altars, or even from that of the Jews in the temple; but from the view taken of the eucharist as a supper. Its name is the communion table; the denomination, altar, is founded on the supposition that the eucharist is a proper sacrifice; which, though the standing doctrine of the church of Rome, is utterly denied by most of the reformed churches. Accordingly, bishop Ridley, in the reign of Edward VI. A.D. 1550, issued injunctions for taking down all altars, and requiring the churchwardens of every parish to provide a table, decently covered, and to place it in such a part of the choir or chancel as should be most meet, so that the ministers and communicants should be separated from the rest of the people. The canons of the council of Nice, as well as the fathers St. Chrysostom and St. Augustin, call it the Lord's table; and though they sometimes call it an altar, it is to be understood figuratively. An altar has relation to a sacrifice; so that if we retain the one, we must admit the other. The practice of consecrating altars with their furniture was introduced and vindicated by archbishop Laud, in the reign of Charles I., but objected to by Prynne, as having no higher original than the Roman missal and pontifical edicts. To the antiquity of altars it was replied, that though the name is often mentioned in Scripture, yet it is never applied to the Lord's table; but altars and priests are put in opposition to the Lord's table, and ministers of the New Testament, 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14. It was added, that it cannot be pretended, by any law or canon of the church of England, that it is called an altar more than once, stat. 1 Edward

VI. cap. 1., which statute was repealed within three years, and another made in which the word altar is changed into table.

ALTAR of Prothesis, is a name given by the modern Greeks to a smaller preparatory kind of altar, wherein they bless the bread, before it is carried to the large altar where the liturgy is performed. F. Goar maintains that the table of prothesis was anciently in the sacristy or vestry; which he makes appear from some Greek copies, where sacristy is made use of in lieu of prothesis.

ALTAR, in church history, is also used for the oblations or contingent incomes of the church. In ancient days they distinguished between the church and the altar. The tithes, and other settled revenues, were called the church, ecclesia; and other incidental incomes, the altar.

ALTAR, in astronomy. See ARA. ALTARAGE, in law, altars erected in virtue of donations, before the reformation, within a parochial church, for the purpose of singing of mass for deceased friends.

ALTARIST, ALTARISTA, or ALTARTHAN, properly denotes the vicar of a church who serves the altar, and to whom the alterage, or produce of the altar, is assigned for his maintenance. The altarist is likewise called altararius, and sometimes altar priest. It is also used for chaplain.

ALTAR-THANE, or ALTARIST. See ALTARIST. ALTASRIF, in literary history, the title of a medicinal book written in Arabic, describing the medical practice in use among the Arabs. It was written by Alsaharavius, and translated into Latin by P. Ricius in 1519.

ALTA TENURA, in law, the high tenure in chief, or by military service.

ALTAVELA, in ichthyology, the name of a flat cartilaginous fish, of the aquila marina kind; but with its wings, as they are called, that is, its thin and flat sides, broad and obtuse towards their lower part. The fishermen, from the resemblance these flat sides have to wings, have an opinion that this fish can fly. The tail is very short, being scarce half the length of the body. Its flesh is solid, and well tasted, and it sells well in the markets. It abounds in the Mediterranean.

ALTAVELLA, in geography, a town of Italy, in the kingdom of Naples, and province of Principato Ultra, seven miles south of Bene


ALTAVILLA, a town and county of Naples, in the Principato Citra, eighteen miles southeast of Salerno.

ALTDORF, or AITORF, a handsome town of Switzerland, chief of the canton of Uri. It is situated below the lake of the four cantons, in a plain, at the foot of a mountain, whose passages are difficult, and serve instead of fortifications. It is celebrated for being the place where William Tell shot the apple from his son's head. See TELL (William.) The town-house and the arsenal are worth seeing.

ALTE et RASSE, in middle age writers, sovereignty, or a thing done with supreme power. ALTEA, a sea-port town of Valencia, in Spain, on the coast of the Mediterranean.

was taken in 1706 in favour of the archduke Charles; but lost after the battle of Almanza, in 1707. It is twenty-four miles north-east of Alicant.


ALTENA, a manufacturing town in the Prussian grand duchy of the Lower Rhine, formerly included in the Westphalian county of Mark. It is seated on the Lenne and Nette, and has a Lutheran and Calvinist church, a court of justice, 590 good houses, and about 3300 inhabitants. Thirty miles north-east of Cologne. Also, a small district of South Holland, between the Maese and Biesbosch.

ALTENBERG, a lordship and flourishing town of Germany, in the Saxe Gotha portion of the old principality of Altenburg, Upper Saxony. Of that principality, this was the capital. At present it has excellent manufactures of cotton and wool; and a good trade in corn and cattle. Population about 9500. This is also the name of a mining town in the Erzgeberg, or miners' portion of Saxony. Eighteen miles south of Dresden.

ALTENBURG, or OLDENBURG, an ancient town of Germany, in the duchy of Holstein.

ALTENHOFEN, a market town in Carinthia, on the small river Metnitz, with a castle. There are iron-works in the neighbourhood. Four miles north-east of Vei

ALTENKIRCHEN a small town of Germany, in the Westerwald, which was the scene of several obstinate conflicts between the French and Austrians, in 1796. Fifteen miles north-north-east of Coblentz. Long. 7°. 29′. E. lat. 50°. 38. N. Also a market-town of Pomerania, in the land of Wittow, situated near the point of the peninsula.

ALTENMARKT, or ALTENWICHT, a market town in Upper Bavaria, circle of the Iser, district of Obing, on the borders of Saltzburg, twenty-six miles north-west of Saltzburg,

ALTENMARKT, two market towns in the Austrian dominions; one near the Ens, in the circle of Bruck, Styria, fourteen miles north-east of Rottenmann; the other in the quarter above the forest of Vienna, Lower Austria, four miles southwest of Baden.

ALTEN-OETINGEN, a market town in Upper Bavaria, with 1400 inhabitants. ALTENSTADT, a market town and bailiwick in the grand duchy of Hesse.

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