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tance of his pontificate, during the struggle between Charles V and Francis I is well known. Ascoli- Piceno contains 167 parishes; 305 churches, chapels, and oratories; 206 secular priests ; 150 seminarians; 15 regular priests, 6 lay brothers; 126 religious (women); 118 confraternities, and a population of 120,210.

Ughelli. Ilalia Sacra (Venice. 1722), I, 436; C.\ppELLETri, U chiete d'ltalia (Venice, 1866). VI, 663; Gams, Series epU- coporum Ecclesvr calholica (Ratisbon, 1873), 667; Colucci. Aniithith atcolinne illustrale con varie dissertazioni (Fermo, 1792): Appiani. Vila de S. Emidio, prima vescovo e protettore di Ascoli, e martire con un ragguaglio della stesaa ciUii occa- gionato da 8. Valentino jnartire. suo diacono, prima scriiiore delle geata del sanio (Ascoli, 1832); Lazzari, Aecoli in pros- pettiva colle sue piu singolari pitture sculture ed architetiure Ascoli, 1724).

Ernesto Buonaiuti.

Ascoli, Satriano, and Oirignola, an Italian dio- cese, suffragan to the Archdiocese of Beneventum, comprising six towns and two villages, in the Prov- ince of Foggia. In 969, Ausculum Appulum appears as an episcopal city amongst the suffragan sees of Beneventum, but the first bishop of whom we have any knowledge is Maurus, present at the consecra- tion of the Church of St. Angelo at Volturno (1059). Cirignola on account of its relative importance, must have been formerly a diocese, but history is silent in the matter. When Pius VII reorganized the ecclesiastical provinces of the Neapolitan Kingdom, on the occasion of the Concordat (16 February, 1818) with Ferdinand I, King of the two Sicilies, he restored Cirignola to its ancient episcopal dignity and united it i^que princi paliter to the Diocese of Ascoli. At the end of the year 1905 this diocese contained 11 parishes; 62 churches, chapels, and ora- tories; 98 secular priests; 60 seminariaas; 8 regular clergy; 4 lay brothers; 4(3 religious (women); 18 con- fraternities; 3 girls' schools with an attendance of 140. Population, 70,115.

Ughelli, Il^dia Sacra (Venice, 17221, VIII, 224; Cappel- LETTi, Le chiese dlialia (Venice, 1866), XIX, 140; Gams. Series episcoporum Ecclesice catholicas (Platisbon, 1873), 855; KiRiATTO, Memorie istoriche di Cerignola (Naples, 1785).

Ernesto Buonaiuti.

Aseity (Lat. a, from, se, itself: ens a se) is the property by which a being exists of and from itself. It will be easily understood that this property be- longs, and can belong only, to God. When we look for the efficient, exemplary, and final cause of all things, of their existence, nature, and organization, we come ultimately to a Being Who does not depend for His existence, realization, or end on any cause other than Himself; Who has within Himself His own reason of existence, Who is for Himself His own exemplary and final cause. It is to this very prop- erty of absolute independence, or self-existence by nature that we give the name of aseity. This notion of aseity includes, therefore, according to our con- ception, a negative and a positive aspect; absolute independence and self-existence, which complement each other and form one single objective property. (See God.) As is easily seen, the Catholic concept of aseity which represents God as absolutely in- dependent and .self-existent by nature, and, con- sequently, all-perfect without any possibility of change from all eternity, is altogether opposed to the pantlieistic concept of absolute or pure being, which absolute or pure being evolves, determines, and realizes itself through all time. (See Panthe- ism.) This quality of independence and self-ex- istence has always been affirmed of God under various names by the Fathers and Catholic theo- logians, though the word aseitti itself began to be used in theology only in the Middle .\gcs. The only point disputed among the theologians is, whether this property constitutes the very essence of God. (See ATTUI11UTK9, Divine.)

St. Thomas. .Sumrrui, I. QQ. ii. iii, iv: Petavius, Theo- loaia Dogm,, 1, vii; Gonkt. Clj/peua Theol. Thorn. (Paris, i875). ^. tr. ^ disp. ii. a. I, 5} 1, 4. 6; Billcaht, .Sum. S.

Thomtr. (Paris), I. diss. ii. a. 1, §§ 1, 2. 3; Franjelin De Dee (/no (Rome. 1883). iii. arts. 1.2; Boder. Natural Theology, in Stonyhurat Series, II. vii; Hontheim. Instil. Theodic. (1893), viii; TocssAiNT in Diet, de th^ol. cath.. s. v.

George M. Sauvage.

Aseneth (Heb., nJDS; Vulg., Aseneth), the daugh- ter of Putiphare (Poti-phera), priest of On. The Pharaoh of Egypt gave her to wife to the Hebrew Pa- triarch Joseph; and she bore him two sons, Manasses and Ephraim (Gen., xli, 45-50; xlvi, 20). In the an- cient polity of the Egyptians the priests were second in honour only to the Pharaoh; hence the I haraoh of Joseph's time gave him to wife one of the fiist princesses of the land. All Egyptologists agree that into the composition of the name Aseneth there enters the name of the goddess Neith, a tutelary deity ol Sais. Neith was considered as an emanation of Ammon, and was associated with him as the female prin^-iple in the creation of the universe. Her hieroglyph is a shuttle. The Greeks identified her with Athene. Some interpret Asenath, "dwelling of Neith ", others interpret the name, "servant of Neith", or "sacred to Neith". The name Aseneth has not been found among the monuments of Egj'pt; but similar ones have been found as As-Ptah, As- Menti, As-Hathor, etc. In the apocryphal literature there are many curious legends of Aseneth.

Erman, .Sgypten, 49, 393; ViGOUHOux. La Bible tt let decourertes jrwdernes, 6th ed.. II. 134; Levesque in Did. de la Bible, I, 1082-83; Lieblein, Diet, des noms hieroglyph\ques, 193. 241; BRUG.SCH, Gesc/iiffcte .'Egyptens, 248; de Lagarde. MiUheilungen, III. 229; Steindorff, in Zeitschrilt fur jEgypt. Sprache, XXVII, 41; XXX. 51; Hagen, Lexicon Biblicum, I, 436-437.

A. E. Breen.

Aser (Heb., Iti'X). — Though the form Aser uni- formly appears in the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Douay versions, an inspection of the original text clearly shows that the correct form of the name is Asher. I. Aser was the eighth son of Jacob, bom to him in Paddan-Aram. He was the second son of Zelpha, the handmaid of Lia, Jacob's wife. His name is derived from the root Asher, to make or declare kapp;/. His mother bestowed this name on him; for she declared that through her childbearing, "women will call me blessed" (Gen., xxx, 13) In the Bible there are recorded of Aser four sons and one daughter called Sara (Gen., xlvi, 17). The descendants of Aser are enumerated (I Par., vii, 30-40).

II. One of the twelve tribes of Israel, being de- scended from Aser, the son of Israel. Its tribal territory is described in Josue,xix, 24-31. It stretched along the Mediterranean Sea from Mt. Carmel north- ward to the river Leontes, the modern Nahr el- Quasimiyeh. Its eastern boimdary was an irregular line, dividing it from Zabulon and Nephtali. Its farthest eastward boundary was the city .\halab, probably the modern El-Djich. The land of Aser held twenty-two cities, with their villages; but the Aserites did not drive out the inhabitants of these cities, but dwelt among them. Tlieir land was fertile, as was foretold by Jacob: the bread of Aser was fat; he yielded royal dainties (Gen., xlix, 20); he dipped his foot in oil (Deut., xxxiii, 24). The niimerous valleys of the land are well watered by the wadys El-Houbeichiyeh, El-Ezziyeh, Ez-Zerka, Ker Kera, El-Kourn; and the rivers Nal)r Mefsihoukh, Nahr Semiriyeh, Nahr Namin, and Nahr ol-Mouk- hatta, the ancient CHson. Aser's littoral was irregu- lar. Its northern portion has a mean width of less than two miles. At R;is en-Naqurah, the ancient Scala T>/riorum, the mountain plunges its wall of rock out to the water-lino. Southward from this point the littoral broadens until, at Ez-zib and on southward to Saint Jean d'.\cre. it is sometimes more than ten miles in width. This great plain and the valleys extending inland produced for Aser an abundance of wheat, barley, and other cereals.