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BELT, n. s. Sax. belt, Lat. baltheus. A exceed a mile in width, so that the entrance from In girdle; a cincture in which a sword or some the Cattegat is completely commanded. weapon, is commonly hung. other parts of the strait the water expands in width to an extent of eight or ten miles. The route from Jutland to Copenhagen, by way of Fredericia, though circuitous, is preferred on account of the regularity and security of the conveyance. The shores of the Little Belt are seldom steep or rugged, but contain several sandbanks; and the current from the Baltic to the Cattegat is of considerable strength. The depth varies from four fathoms to twenty-seven. The passage of both Belts is attended with considerable risk for large vessels, which on that account generally pass through the Sound; the Great Belt, however, was much frequented by British ships during the stoppage of the Sound, from 1807 to 1814, in consequence of our hostilities with Denmark.
Full many ladies often had assay'd, About their middles that fair belt to knit.
He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause Within the belt of rule.
Shakspeare. Ajax slew himself with the sword given him by Hector, and Hector was dragged about the walls of Troy by the belt given him by Ajax.
Then snatch'd the shining belt, with gold inlaid; The belt Eurytion's artful hands had made. Dryden.
BELT, BALTHEUS, a kind of military girdle, commonly of leather, wherewith the sword or other weapons are sustained. Belts are known among the ancient and middle-age writers by divers names, as ovn, Zwva, zona, cingulum, reminiculum, rinca or ringa, and baldrellus. The belt was an essential piece of the ancient armour; insomuch that we sometimes find it used to denote the whole armour. In later ages, the belt was given to a person when he was raised to knighthood; whence it has also been used as a badge or mark of the knightly order.
BELT, a disease in sheep, is cured by cutting their tails off, and laying the sore bare; then casting mould on it, and applying tar and goosegrease.
BELT, BELTIS, in ecclesiastical writers of the middle age, signifies a string of beads.
BELT, in surgery, signifies a bandage; thus quicksilver belts are used for the itch; belts for keeping the belly tight, and discharging the water in the operation of tapping, &c.
BELTS, FASCIA, in astronomy, two zones or girdles surrounding the body of the planet Jupi
ter. See ASTRONOMY.
BELT, THE GREAT AND LITTLE, two straits of Denmark, connecting the Baltic with the Cattegat. The former runs between the island of Zealand and that of Funen, at the entrance of the Baltic. In 1658 it was so completely frozen over, that Charles Gustavus, king of Sweden, marched across it with a design to take Copenhagen. It varies in depth from five to twenty fathoms, and its greatest width is about twenty miles. The neighbouring shores afford several good and convenient harbours. The chief danger in the navigation arises from the sand banks, and the number of small islands. The passageboats cross in summer from Nyborg in Funen to Corsoer in Zealand, a distance of fifteen miles, in the course of three or four hours. In the middle of the passage is the small island of Sprogoe. Vessels passing this strait pay a toll at Nyborg, where a guard ship is stationed. At Fredericia, where the tolls are levied, it does not VOL. IV.-PART 1.
The Lesser lies to the west of the Great Belt, between the island of Funen and the coast of Jutland. It is not three miles in average breadth, and very crooked.
BELTAN, or BELTEIN, a superstitious custom of the Highlands of Scotland. 'It is,' says Mr. Pennant, in his Tour, a kind of rural sacrifice performed by the herdsmen of every village on the first of May. They cut a square trench in the ground, leaving a turf in the middle: on that they make a fire of wood, on which they dress a large caudle of eggs, butter, oatmeal, and milk; and bring, besides the ingredients of the caudle, plenty of beer and whisky; for each of the company must contribute something. The rites begin with spilling some of the caudle on the ground, by way of libation: on that, every one takes a cake of oatmeal, upon which are raised nine square knobs, each dedicated to some particular being, the supposed preserver of their Hlocks and herds, or to some particular animal, the real destroyer of them: each person then turns his face to the fire, breaks off a knob, and flinging it over his shoulder, says, This I give to thee, preserve thou my horses; this to thee, preserve thou my sheep; and so on. After that they use the same ceremony to the noxious animals: This I give to thee, O fox! spare thou my lambs: this to thee, O hooded crow! this to thee, O eagle! When the ceremony is over, they dine on the caudle; and after the feast is finished, what is left is hid by two persons deputed for that purpose; but on the next Sunday they reassemble and finish the reliques of the first entertainment.' Dr. James Robertson, minister of Callander, gives a very different, and seemingly more credible account of this festival, in Sir John Sinclair's Stat. Acc. Vol. xi. 620. Upon the first day of May,' says the Dr., ' which is called
Beltan, or Baltein day, all the boys in a township or hamlet, meet in the moors. They cut a table in the green sod, of a round figure, by casting a trench in the ground, of such circumference as to hold the whole company.' After dressing the caudle as above-mentioned-They knead a cake of oatmeal, which is toasted at the embers against a stone. After the custard is eaten up, they divide the cake into so many portions, as similar as possible to one another in size and shape, as there are persons in the company. They daub one of these portions all over with charcoal, until it be perfectly black.. They put all the bits of the cake into a bonnet. Every one, blindfold, draws out a portion. He who holds the bonnet, is entitled to the last bit. Whoever draws the black bit, is the devoted person who is to be sacrificed to Baal, whose favor they mean to implore, in rendering the year productive of the sustenance of man and beast. There is little doubt of those inhuman sacrifices having been once offered in this country, as well as in the east, although they now pass from the act of sacrificing, and only compel the devoted person to leap three times through the flames; with which the ceremonies of this festival are closed.' The Dr. in a note traces the origin of this and other superstitions from our ancient Druidism. Bal-tein signifies the fire of Baal. Baal, or Ball, is the only word in Gaelic for a globe. This festival was probably in honor of the sun, whose return, in his apparent annual course, they celebrated, on account of his having such a visible influence, by his genial warmth, on the productions of the earth. That the Caledonians paid a superstitious respect to the sun, as was the practice among many other nations, is evident, not only by the sacrifice at Baltein, but upon many other occasions. When a Highlander goes to bathe, or to drink waters out of a consecrated fountain, he must always approach by going round the place, from east to west on the south side, in imitation of the apparent diurnal motion of the sun. When the dead are laid in the earth, the grave is approached by going round in the same manner. The bride is conducted to her future spouse, in the presence of the minister, and the glass goes round a company, in the course of the sun. This is called, in Gaelic, going round the right, or the lucky way. The opposite course is the wrong, or the unlucky way. BELTESHAZZAR, the name given to the prophet Daniel, by Nebuchadnezzar's chief eunuch.
BELTURBET, a market town of Ireland, in the county of Cavan, situated on the river Erne, eight miles from Cavan, and sixty from Dublin. Before the union, it sent two members to the Irish parliament. All articles offered for sale in the market pay toll in kind. They principally consist of oatmeal, potatoes, and yarn. Brewing and distilling are also carried on here. It appears to have been once a military station; there being some ancient fortifications still visible.
BELTZ, or BELZO, a town of Poland, and capital of the province, seated on the confines of Upper Volhynia, among marshes, thirty-five miles north of Lemberg.
BELVEDERE, a town of European Turkey, on the west coast of the Morea, and standing on the site of the ancient Elis. It is poorly built, but receives the name of Belvedere from its fine situation. It is the capital of a province which comprises the Messenia and Elis of the ancients, and is one of the most beautiful and fertile in Greece. The town is thirty-six miles south of Patras, and sixty-five west of Corinth. Long. 21° 30′ E., lat. 37° 59′ N.
BELVEDERE, in the Italian architecture, &c. denotes either a pavilion on the top of a building, or an artificial eminence in a garden; the word literally signifying a fine prospect.
BELVIDERE, in botany. See CHENOPO
BELVIS, a small town of Spain, in Estremadura, with a castle, seated between two mountains.
BELUGA, in zoology, a name of the delphinus albicano; this fish occasionally containing a morbid concretion called the beluga stone. Its figure is globular or oval; it is of a yellowish white color, smooth polished surface, and between the size of a pigeon's and goose's egg. It is ponderous, and requires a strong blow to break it. When scraped and sprinkled on hot iron it emits a faint urinous smell, and calcines into a light insipid grayish earth. The Asiatics of the Volga give it in doses of from ten grains to a dram, in calculous disorders; and they believe also that it facilitates childbirth.
BELTZ, or BELZO, a province of Red Russia in Poland, bounded by Leopold on the south, by Chelm on the north, Little Poland on the east, and Volhynia on the west.
BELULCUM, a chirurgical instrument for extracting darts, arrows, &c. from wounds.
BELUNUM, in ancient geography, a town of Rhætia, above Feltria, in the territory of the Veneti; now called Belluno.
BELUR, a general name given to the Alpine region which divides the southern part of ancient Scythia, or Great Bucharia, from Little Bucharia. It lies in about the 37th degree of north latitude, and the 71st of east longitude.
BELUR TAGH, a range of mountains in central Asia, which runs nearly north and south, about the 71st degree of east longitude. The term, in the Mongul language, implies the dark or cloudy mountains.' They belong to a part of the ancient Imaus, and are perpetually covered
BELUS, in ancient geography, a small river of Galilee, at the distance of two stadia from Ptolemais, running from the foot of Mount Carmel out of the lake Cendevia. Near this place, according to Josephus, was a round hollow or valley, where was a kind of sand fit for making glass; which, though exported in great quantities, was found to be inexhaustible. Strabo says, the whole of the coast from Tyre to Ptolemais has a sand fit for making glass; but that the sand of the rivulet Belus and its neighbourhood is a better sort; and here, according to Pliny, the making of glass was first discovered.
BELUS. See BEL.
BELUSSA, a market town of Hungary, in the county of Trentschin, near which are warm sulphur springs.
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the Greeks, the length of which was equivalent
measure a road.
BELWETHER, n. s. From bell and wether. A sheep which leads the flock with a bell on his neck.
The fox will serve my sheep to gather, And drive to follow after their belwether.
Spenser. To offer to get your living by the copulation of Shakspeare, cattle; to be a bawd to a belwether.
The flock of sheep and belwether thinking to break into another's pasture, and being to pass over another bridge, jostled till both fell into the ditch.
BEMA, in ecclesiastical writers, denotes 1. The
cended. 3. The reader's desk. This in the
BELZONI (John Baptist), a modern traveller, celebrated for his discoveries in Egyptian antiquities. He was, according to his own preface to hisTravels, born at Padua, of a Roman family, and his original destination was to a monastic The disturbed state of his country, ever, in consequence of the French invasion in 1800, induced him to seek an asylum in EngHere he land, whither he repaired in 1803. married, and continued to reside nine years. Being considerably more than six feet high, robust and well proportioned, he at one time exhibited feats of strength at Astley's amphitheatre; but subsequently devoted himself to the grand object of exploring the north-eastern shores of Africa. Taking Mrs. Belzoni with him he left England in 1815, and passed by Portugal and Spain to Malta and Egypt, where he was much encouraged and assisted in his researches by Mr. Salt, the British consul. He returned to England in 1820, to lay the results before the public, and published a Narrative of the Operations and recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs, and Excavations, in Egypt and Nubia; and of a Journey to the coast of the Red Sea, in search of the ancient Berenice; and another to the Oasis of Jupiter Ammon, 4to; together with forty-four illustrative plates in folio. In 1821 Mr. Belzoni exhibited, at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, a model of the tomb which he had explored near Thebes; fac-similies of the paintings on the walls of one or two of the sepulchral apartments, with other Egyptian curiosities. This exhibition attracted much public attention, and probably proved very profitable; but in Paris the following season it did not meet Our traveller afterwards with equal success. undertook an expedition of discovery to the central parts of Africa, and reached the mouth of Benin river on the coast of Guinea, in the autumn of 1823. On the night of the 24th of November he set off for Gato with a gentleman of some But having influence with the king of Benin. reached Benin he was seized with a disease which speedily terminated in death, and was interred at Gato; the following monumental inscription being placed over his grave:
BEMA was particularly used by the Manichees for their altar, which was in a different place from that of the Catholics. Bema was also a denomination given by this sect to the anniversary of the day on which Manes was killed, which with them was a solemn feast and day of rejoicing. One of the chief ceremonies of the feast consisted in setting out and adorning their bema or altar with great magnificence.
BE'MAD. Be and mad. See MAD.
BEMBER, a chain of mountains in Asia, which divide India from Tartary.
BEMBO (Flavio), a native of Amalfi, in Naples, the inventor of that most useful instrument in navigation, the mariner's compass, flourished about the beginning of the fourteenth
BEMBO (Peter), a noble Venetian, secretary to Leo X. and afterwards cardinal, was one of the best writers of the sixteenth century. He was a good poet, both in Italian and Latin; but he is justly censured for the looseness and immodesty He published also Ă of some of his poems. History of Venice; Letters; and a book in praise of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino. He died in 1547, aged seventy-two.
BE'METE. Be and mete. See METE. BEMETRE, in ornithology, a name by which the Portuguese in the Brasils call a greenish black bird of the starling kind, common there, and more generally known by its Brasilian name, pitan
Here lie the remains of
Who was attacked with dysentery at Benin,
BEMILUCIUS, in mythology, a surname of
BEMA, ẞnua, denotes a step or pace. The bema made a kind of itinerary measure among
the same figure, covered with a white skin. is the fruit of the hyperanthera moringa, a native of the East Indies. These nuts, on expression, yield one-fourth of their weight of a yellow insipid oil, which does not grow rancid with long keeping. It is impregnated with the odor of roses, jessamine, and other flowers, by stratifying them with cotton dipped in the oil, and repeating the process with fresh flowers, until the oil becomes sufficiently odorous; after which, it is squeezed out from the cotton in a press. In this manner the celebrated huile antique de la rose, or otto of roses, is prepared.
BEN-ABOURD, or BENAVOURD, the Table hill, a mountain of Scotland, between the shires of Aberdeen and Inverness. It is about three miles long, and nearly flat at the top, presenting a huge barren mass of rock, rising to the height of 3940 feet above the level of the sea. A few topazes and beryls are sometimes found there.
BEN LEDL, a mountain in the county of Perth, in Scotland, rising 3009 feet above the level of the sea; on the summit is a small lake.
BEN-LOMOND, a mountain in the county of Stirling, in Scotland. It rises conically from Lochlomond, above the level of which it towers 3240 feet, and above that of the sea 3262. It is chiefly composed of granite and masses of quartz. It is entirely the property of the duke of Mon
BEN MACDUIE, a mountain on the western confines of the county of Aberdeen, in Scotland, the second highest in Britain: It is 4300 feet in height.
BEN NEVIS, a mountain in the county of Dumbarton, in Scotland, rising 4370 feet above the level of the sea. It is the highest in Britain. It is chiefly composed of porphyry and red granite, and it contains a vein of lead ore richly impregntaed with silver.
BENA, or BENE, a town of Piedmont, in the district of Mondovi, on the road from Finale to Turin, from which it is about twenty-eight miles distant. It is a fortified place, defended by a castle; and contains nearly 5000 inhabitants. It was taken by the French in April, 1796.
BENACO, a department of the late Italian republic, so named from the Benacus, comprehending part of the ci-devant Venetian territory of Verona, and the whole of the late territory of Salo, on the lake of Garda. It is now a part of the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom. It was eighty Italian miles long and fifteen broad, and being partly level, partly mountainous, exhibits one of the most charming spots in Italy. It abounds in corn, wine, oil, silk, fruits, lemons, oranges, iron, lead, copper, marble, granite, &c. It contains forty-two parishes, 150 villages, one large, and several small towns; and sent nine deputies to the two councils of the republic. Its population in October, 1797, was 150,895. Desenzano was the capital.
BENE LAPIS, in the natural history of the ancients, the name given by the earliest writers to that fossil body, afterwards called thracius lapis.
BENAIAH, 7, i. e. the Lord's building, the son of Jehoidah, one of David's heroes, and captain of his guards. Having adhered to Solo
mon's interest, in opposition to Adonijah, he was appointed general instead of Joab. He appears also to have been appointed public executioner, an office, it would seem, not held dishonorable in those days; we find him ordered to put to death Joab and Adonijah. His personal prowess, in killing the lion, the Egyptian, and the two Moabitish champions, is recorded in 2 Sam. xxiii. 20.
BENARES. See BANARES.
BENAVENTO, or BENAVENTE, a town of Spain, in Leon, with the title of duchy. It is seated on the river Ezla, forty miles south of Leon, and has a strong castle; but though it contains nine parishes, an abbey, two convents, three hospitals, and other public establishments, the population does not exceed 3000. The churches are old, but well built, and the palace of the dukes is a noble and very ancient structure. Not far from the town is a famous monastery of Hieronymites. It is twenty miles north of Zamora.
BENAVIDIO (Marc), a lawyer, born at Padua in 1489, and died in 1582. His principal works are, 1. Dialogus de Concilio, 4to. Venet. 1541. 2. Epitome Illustrium Jurisconsultorum, 8vo. Patav. 1553; printed afterwards in Fichard's Lives of Lawyers, Patav. 1665; and in Hoffman's edition of Pancirollus, 4to. Leips. 1721. 3, Illustrium Jurisconsultorum Imagines, fol. Rom. 1566; Venet. 1657. 4. Observationes Legales, 8vo. Venet. 1745. 5. Polymathiæ Libri Duodecim. Venet. 1558. &c.
BENBECULA, Beau-vealla, Gael., a small island on the west coast of Scotland, belonging to the parish of South Uist, from which it is separated by a narrow channel, nearly dry at low water. It is a low island, about nine miles in length, and nearly the same in breadth. The soil is sandy, and unproductive. Great quantities of sea-weed are thrown annually upon the coast, from which the inhabitants make kelp. There are the remains of a large Danish tower upon it, said to contain the ashes of the daughter of a Danish chief. It is situated between the islands of North and South Uist. Long.8° 10′ W., lat. 57° 26′ N.
BENBOW (John), an English admiral, born about 1650. He was brought up to the sea, in the merchant service, and in 1680 commanded a ship in the Mediterranean trade, with which he beat off a Sallee rover. His gallantry being reported to Charles II. of Spain, he invited the captain to court, and gave him a letter of recommendation to king James, from whom he received a commission in the navy. He was afterwards sent to the West Indies by king William, where he relieved the British colonies; and when he returned home he was greatly honored, though the house of commons severely censured those who had sent out the squadron. He was despatched a second time to that quarter; and, not long after his arrival, fell in with the French admiral, Du Casse, near St. Martha, on the Spanish coast. A skirmishing action commenced, and continued three or four days; but on the last, the other ships having fallen a-stern, left the admiral alone engaged with the French. In this situation, though a chain-shot had shat