mountain chain of the Mounth and the Firth of Forth. Dr. Skene recommends the use of the word abthany or abthanry. Many of these abthains passed into the hands of laymen, and were transmitted from father to son. They paid certain ecclesiastical tributes, and seem to have closely resembled the termon lands of the early Irish Church.
Abucara, Theodore, a bishop of Caria in Syria; d., probably, in 770. In his anti-heretical dialogues (P. G., XCVII. 1461–1609) he claimed frequently to reproduce the identical words of the great Eastern theologian, St. John of Damascus, whoso disciple he was. St. John addressed to him the famous discourses in defence of the sacred images. There are attempts to identify him with a Bishop Theodore of Caria who attended the Eighth Œcumenical Council of Constantinople (869).
Marin, in Dict. théol. cath., 1, 287.
Abulpharagius. See Bar Hebræus.
Abundius, an Italian bishop, b. at Thessalonica early in the fifth century; d. 469. He was the fourth Bishop of Como, in Italy, was present at the Council of Constantinople in 450, and took an active part against the Eutychian heresy at Chalcedon (451), where he was the representative of Pope Leo the Great. In 452 he also took part in the Council of Milan, convened to refute the same heresy. Abundius is one of those to whom the authorship of the "Te Deum" is occasionally attributed.
Westcott, in Dict. of Christ. Biogr., I, 10; Tillemont, Mem., X, 962.
Abydus (Abydos), a titular see of Troas in Asia Minor, suffragan of Cyzicus in the Hellespontic province. It was situated at the narrowest point of the Hellespont, and was famous as the legendary spot where Leander swam over to Sestus to visit his mistress, Hero. Here, too, Xerxes built the famous bridge of boats (480 b.c.) on which he crossed with his troops to a promontory on the opposite European shore.
Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Geogr. (London, 1878), I, 7–8; Mas Latrie, Trésor de chronolgie, etc. (Paris, 1887), I, 1978; Lequien, Oriens Christianus, III. 1115–16.
Abyss (Greek ἄβυσσος), is primarily and classically an adjective, meaning deep, very deep (Wisd. x, 19; Job. xxxviii, 16). Elsewhere in the Bible, and once in Diog. Laert., it is a substantive. Some thirty times in the Septuagint it is the equivalent of the Hebrew tēhóm, Assyrian tihamtu, and once each of the Hebrew miçūlah, "sea-deep", çūlah, "deep flood", and rāchābh, "spacious place". Hence the meanings: (1) primeval waters; (2) the waters beneath the earth; (3) the upper seas and rivers; (4) the abode of the dead, limbo; (5) the abode of the evil spirits, hell. The last two meanings are the only ones found in the New Testament.
Abyssinia.—Geography.—Abyssinia, extending from the sixth to the fifteenth degree of north latitude, and situated to the south of Nubia, is, by reason of its peculiar contour, unique among the countries of the African continent. It has been compared, indeed, to a vast fortress, towering above the plains of eastern Africa. It is, in fact, a huge, granitic, basaltic mass, forming a great mountainous oval, with its main ridge toward the east. A chain runs for over 650 miles from north to south; seen from the shores of the Red Sea, it looks like a vast wall, some 8,000 feet high near Kasen, opposite Massowah; over 10,300 at Mount Souwaira; 11,000 at the plateau of Angolala, and more than 10,000 in Shoa. The Abyssinian chain, however, is mountainous only on the eastern side. On the other, it consists of plateaux of varying altitudes, broken up by mountains shattered by volcanic forces, the summits of which are over 6,500 feet high in Tigré, and from 13,000 to 16,000 in Simien. A comparative depression, that of Lake Tana, hollows out the highlands to the southwest. The lake itself is at an elevation of some five thousand feet, and the neighbouring plateaux, from that height to six thousand. The volcanic mass of Gojam, on the south, attains a height of more than 13,000 feet, while the peaks of Kaffa arise to an altitude of some 12,000 feet. The remarkable elevation of Abyssinia gives it a peculiar climate, and savants have classified its territory into three chief zones. That of the low valleys, or kollas, is a district having the Sudanese climate, great heat, and a heavy summer rainfall. The soil is sandy, dry, and stony; the crops, maize, sugar cane, and cotton.
Church of St. Joseph, Laftu, Abyssinia Various kinds of acacias and mimosas form the sole vegetations of these arid, unhealthy regions, whose rushing torrents of the rainy season are but stony beds during the dry. The rocks and caverns are the haunts of lions and leopards; the trees swarm with monkeys. The scattered inhabitants of these burning plains are small, withered, nervous, irritable, and quarrelsome, devoid of the dignity which marks those who live in the high lands. The middle zone, or Voina-dega, with an elevation of from 6,000 to 8,000 feet, is by far the largest part of Abyssinia, with an equable heat little greater than that of the Mediterranean. Thus Gondar (6,000 feet) has a mean annual temperature of 19° C. (66.2 Fahr.), with 16° C. (60.8 Fahr.) as the minimum of the coldest month. This is a temperature slightly higher than that of Southern Spain, Italy, and Greece, but as, in Abyssinia, the summer is the rainy season, the heat is by no means so unbearable as the summer months of the South of Europe. The lands of this region form a series of vast plateaux, covered with rich pasturage, the grazing ground of great herds of sheep and cattle. The air is pure and dry, the temperature moderate, water plentiful and of good quality; vines, olives, lemons, and pomegranates thrive there. Nearly the whole population of Abyssinia lives in this region. Here, too, are the cities, which are seldom found elsewhere, as the natural divisions of the country are such as keep the inhabitants in a state of patriarchal feudalism. The climate is very healthy, and sickness very infrequent. The cold zone, or dega, at an altitude of more than 8,000 feet, is marked by a variable temperature, and by chilly nights. The British army at a height of 10,400 feet met with four degrees of frost on 28