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BELT', n. s. Sax. belt, Lat. baltheus. A girdle; a cincture in which a sword or some weapon, is commonly hung.
Full many ladies often had assay'd,
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. South
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 wvn, 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 JupiSee 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.-PALT 1.
exceed a mile in width, so that the entrance from the Cattegat is completely commanded. 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.
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 flocks 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 B
britis, a superstitious cus-
of te The fiery thank a fre of wood, on which they
eng & turf in the middle: on
1 Lese and winsky; for each of
toy Sat 159 each dedicated to some
O cage! When the ceremony is over, they a
vocat a vet a tad by two persons depuzen, 10.
auben ne aus list the reliques of the 20-
Centre a very different, and sends
account of this festi
Acc Vol. xi. 26
A rat sy of hay," says the Dr.
or be and mourn. Goth. murnan, to mourn, to grieve
Be and muffle; muffle the f. See MUFF.
e and muse. See MUSE. ny, the oily acorn, or ben-nut; he size of a small filbert and of a gular shape, including a kernel of B 2