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Asterius, name of several prominent persons in early Christian historj-. — (1) Asterius of Petra, a bishop of .^abia, iU-treated by the Arian faction at the CouncU of Sardica (343)' for withdrawing from them his support, and exiled to Upper Libya in Egj'pt, whence he was recalled in 362 by the edict of Julian that restored all the banished" bish- ops. He took part in the Council of Alexandria (362). called, among other reasons, for the pur- pose of healing the Meletian schism that was rend- mg the Church of Antioch. He was one of the bearers of the letter addressed by the council to the stubborn Lucifer of Cagliari and the other bishops then at .\ntioch. The^e peaceful measures were, however, rendered useless by Lucifer's pre- cipitancy in consecrating Paidimis as successor to Meletius of Antioch. whereby the schism gained a new lease of life. — (2) Asterius of Amasea in Pontus (c. 400). The only fact in his life that is kiioT\-n is related by himself, viz. his education by a Scj'thian or Goth who had been sent in his youth to a schoolmaster of Antioch and thus ac- quired an excellent education and great fame among both Greeks and Romans. The extant wTitings of Asterius are twenty-one homilies, scriptural and panegjTical in content. The two on penance and "on the beginning of the fasts" were formerly as- cribed to St. Gregory of \yssa (Bardenli'ewer, Patrologie, 1901, 267). A life of his prede- cessor, St. Basil, is ascribed to Asterius (Acta SS., 26 April). His works (P. G., XL) are described by Tillemont (M6ni., X, 409). He was a student o'f Demosthenes and an orator of repute. Lightfoot says (Diet, of Christ. Biogr.. I, 178) that his best sermons display "no inconsiderable skill in rhetoric, great power of expression, and great earnestness of moral conviction; some passages are even strikingly eloquent." The homilies of Asterius, like those of Zeno of Verona, offer no little valuable material to the Christian archaeologist. [De Buck in Acta SS., 30 Oct. (Paris, 1SS3), XIII. 330-334.]— (3) Asterius of Cappadocia. a Greek sophist, a friend of .Arius, and also his fellow student in the school of Lucian of Antioch. St. Athanasius quotes more than once from a pro-Ariau work of this writer He wrote commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans, the Gos- pels, the Psalms, and "many other works (Jerome, De Vir. 111., e. xciv), all of which have perished (Zahn, Mareellus von AncjTa, Gotha, 1867, 68 sqq ). — (4) .\sterius, a Roman senator mentioned by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., VH, 16) as a Christian dis- tinguished for faith and charitj'. Rufinus says that he suffered martyrdom at Caesarea in Palestine in 262 (Baronius, An. Eccl. ad an. 262, §§ 81, 82). — (,i) Asterius I7rbanus, a Jlontanist writer of the latter part of the second century, referred to in Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., V, 16, 17); his work was probably a compilation of the pseudo-prophetic ut- terances of Montanus and his female companions Priscilla and Maximilla. Thom.\s J. Sh.\hax.

Asti, Diocese of, one of the divisions of the province of .\lexandria, and suffragan of Turin. Asti is a very old towii. It became Christian at an early period of the Christian Era. The first known bishop was Pastor in 451. After him. were Majoranus in 465. Benenatus in 680, and St. Evasius in 730. From 800 begins the regular list of bishops, thougli the see was vacant from 1857 to 1867. There has been some con- troversy as to the beginning of the Diocese of Asti and the episcopate of St. Evasius, once placed by some at much earlier dates. .\sti has 1S2.600 Catho- lics. 107 parishes, 300 secular priests, 12 regulars, 92 seminarists, 525 churches or chapels.

G\Mf. Seru-t epiacop. Eccles. cathoi. (Ratisbon. 1873). S12- Ughf.lli. llnlia Sacra (Venice. 1722), IV, 332; C.ippelletti. Lr chiese dllalia (Venice. 1866). XIV, 179; S.tvio, Gli antu-hi veacori dllalia: Premonte (Turin. 1897), I, 109-157.

Aston, name of several English Catholics of promi- nence. — -Sir Arthur, meml^er of an ancient and knightly family, an able militarj' officer in the army of Charles I, governor of O.xford for the king, and made governor of Drogheda (Ireland) in 1649. He was killed 10 September, 1649, at the siege of that town by the forces of Oliver Cromwell; his brains were dashed out with his wooden leg during the massacre that followed the capture (D. Murphy, Cromwell in Ireland. Dublin, 1897, p. 99). — Herbert, an English poet, b. at Chelsea, 1614, third son of Walter, first Lord Aston of Forfar, whom he accompanied to Madrid on his second embassy in 1635. author of "Tixall Poetrj', Collected by "the Hon. Herbert Aston. 1658 (ed. with notes and illustrations by Arthur Clifford, Esq., Edinburgh. 1813, 4to).— W.u.TER, father of the preceding and son of Sir Ed- ward Aston, of Ti.xall in Staffordshire, educated under the direction of Sir Edward Coke, sent as one of the two ambassadors to Spain (1619) to negotiate a marriage treaty Ijetween Charles (I), Prince of Wales, and the Infanta, daughter of Philip III. He became a convert to tlie Catholic Faith on this occa- sion, and on his return to England was made Lord of Forfar (Scotland). He had a decided taste for literature, and was the patron of Draj-ton, who dedi- cated to him (1.59S) his "Black Prince", and in his "Polyolbion" praises the Aston's "ancient seat" of Tixall. — WiLLUM, b. 22 April, 1735, educated at St.-Omer, entered the Society of Jesus in 1751, and taught for several years in the Society's colleges of St.-Omer, Watten. and Bruges, until the suppres- sion in 1773; d. at Liege, 15 March, 1800, as canon of the cathedral. Among his writings are "Lettres t'ltramontaines" and "Le Cosmopolite".

GiLLow. Bibl. Diet, of Engl. Catholics, I, 76-82; Foley, Records of Engl. Province, S. J.

Thom.vs J. Sh.\

Astorga (Asturig.\ ArGUST.\), Diocese of, suf- fragan of Valladolid in Spain, dates, it is said, from the third centurj'. It was the principal church of the -Asturias in 344, after a long eclipse was again an episcopal see in 747, and exhibits since 841 a regular succession of bishops. It was at different times a suffragan of Braga and of Santiago. It includes the whole province of Leon, and counts 300,115 Catholics, 990 parishes, and as many parish churches, 431 chapels, and 1,183 priests.

B.\TT-4ND1ER, Ann. pimt. cath. (raris. 1905). 215; Wer.ner, Orbis Terr. Cath. (Freiburg. 1890), 47 ; Gams, Series ep. (1873) 6-9; Florez, Espana Sagrada (1762), XVI, 77, 519; Mrxoz, Bibl. Hist. Esp. (1S5S) 40.

Thomas J. Sh.\han.

Astrolatry. See S.vb.^ism.

Astrology, the supposed science which determines the influence of the stars, especially of the five older planets, on the fate of man {a.strologia jndiciaria; mundane, or judicial astrologj-) or on the changes of the weather (astrologia ywturalif:: natural astrologj') according to certain fixed rules dependent upon the controlling position of the stars (constellations and aspects) at the time under consideration. Judicial astrologj- — the more important branch of this occult art — depended for its predictions upon the position of the planets in the "twelve houses" at the moment of the birth of a human being. The calculations necessarj' to settle these positions were called casting the horoscope or the diagram of the heavens {thema call) at the nati%-ity. Starting with the point that was rising just at the moment of birth, the celestial equator was di\-ided into twelve equal parts, six above and six below the horizon, and circles were dra^\-n through these points and the intersecting points of the horizon and the meridian. Thus the hea^•ens were divided into twelve houses. The first house (horoscopus) begins with the point of the ecliptic that is just rising (ascendens). The twelve