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BRANT


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BRANT


ki be due to the action of the electrical, or Hertzian, ves of which the spark was the source. The plienomenon was investigated at great length, and further experiment led to the coherer, which is simply a glass or ebonite tube containing metallic filings which connect the two ends of a wire conductor entering the tube. When the tube is made part of a battery circuit, the filings ordinarily offer a very great resistance to the passage of a current. But if a spark be produced in the neighbourhood between the terminals of an induction coil, or by the discharge of a Leyden Jar, the resistance of the filings is dimin- ished, being no longer measured in millions but in hundreds of ohms. L'pon tapping the tube the filings regain their normal resistance. This simple de\'ice was employed by Lodge in his researches and formed an important part of Marconi's successful system of win-less telegraphy. In fact the coherer first made wireless telegraphy possible. It serves as a receiver, Iji'iiig placed in series with a relay actuating a Morse soimder.

Wiien electrical waves, sent out at a distant sta- tion according to an established code, impinge upon it, its resistance diminishes sufficiently to enable the relay to act and this in turn reproduces the signals in the sounder. A tapper automatically restores the resistance of the filings. Dr. Branly has given the name of radio-conductors to bodies which, like filings, can be made conductors or non- conductors at will. A number of other forms have since been devised, and he himself has found that the tripod coherer, composed of a metal disk making contact with a polished steel plate by means of three steel legs, is more sensitive and uniform in its action than the t ibe colierer. He has also applied his radio-conductors to "telemechanics without wires", I. e. to the production of divers mechanical effects at a distance by means of electrical waves. Among IJr. Branly 's other researches have been those re- lating to the effect of ultra violet light upon positively and negatively charged bodies (1890-93), electrical conductivity of gases (1S94), etc. It may be noted tliat the germ of the "antennse", employed particu- larly in long distance telegraphy, may be found in his papers published in 1S91.

Dr. Branly became Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1899 and was nominated Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1900 for "hav- ing discovered the principle of wireless telegraphy". He received the rjrand prix at the Paris Exposition, 1900, for his radio-conductors, and the prix Usiris. in 1903, from the Syndicate of the Press. He was also made a titular member of the Pontifical Academy dei Nuovi Lined. Besides his papers published â– hiefly in the "Comptes Rendus", Dr. Branly is the author of a "Cours ^lementaire de physique" (5th ed., 190.5); and "Traits dl^mentaire de physique" (3d ed., 1906). For various types of coherer and other apparatus employed in wireless telegraphy, cf. Collins, "Wireless Telegraphy" (New York, 1905).

H. M. Brock.

Brant, Sebastian, a German humanist and poet, b. at Strasburg in 1457 or 1458; d. at the same place, 1.521. He attended the University of Basle where he at first studied philosophy, but soon after aban- doned this for law, obtaining in 1489 the degree of Doctor of Canon and Civil Law. Prior to tliis, from 1484, Brant had begun to lecture at the university, practising his profession at the same time. He wrote a number of poems in Latin and German in which he set forth his religious and political ideals. The election of Maximilian as emperor had filled liim and many other patriots with high hope. To see the emperor the supreme temporal ruler of Christian nations, and the Church the supreme spiritual ruler 11.-47


on earth was his one great desire and hencefoith coloured all his poems. Especially did he hope for the restoration of imperial power in Germany and the strengthening of the realm. But he was doomed to disappointment. In 1499 Basle was separated from the empire and became a member of the Swiss confederacy. Brant's position here now became untenable, and he decided to change his residence. In 1494 he had published his poem "The Ship of Fools", which had won him great popularity. Geiler von Kaisersberg, the famous Strasburg preacher, had made it the basis of a series of sermons, and he now recommended the appointment of Brant to the vacant position of city-syndic in Strasburg. The poet accepted the offer, and in 1501 he returned to his native city, where two years later he was ap- pointed town-clerk and soon rose to considerable prominence. The remainder of his life was un- eventful. Tow-ards the great religious movement of his time, the Reformation, he maintained an at- titude of passive indifference. Repeatedly he served his city in an official capacity, the last time in 1520, as spokesman of an embassy sent to the newly elected Emperor, Charles V, to obtain for Strasburg the usual confirmation of its ancient privileges.

The work to which Brant owes his fame is the "Narrenschiff" (Ship of Fools), a long didactic, allegorical poem, in which the follies and vices of the time are satirized. All the fools are loaded in a ship bound for Narragonia, the land of fools. But this plan is by no means carried out systematically, many descriptions being introduced which have no connexion with the main idea. The resulting lack of unity, however, has its advantage; for it enables the poet to discuss all kinds of social, political, and religious conditions. Not only follies in the usual sense of the word are satirized, but also crimes and vices, which are conceived of as follies in accordance with the medieval way of thinking. Hence among the fools appear such people as usurers, gamblers, and adulterers. A chapter is devoted to each kind of folly, and there are one hundred and twelve chap- ters in which one hundred and ten kinds of fools pass muster. As a work of art the poem does not rank high, though its tone is serious and earnest, especially where the poet pleads for his ideals, as in chapter .xci.x, entitled "Von abgang des glcuben" (on the decline of faith). Knowledge of self is praised as the height of wisdom. The "Narrenschiff" enjoyed a tremendous popularity in Germany, which is attested by the numerous editions that appeared in rapid succession. But its fame was not confined to Germany. It was translated into Latin by Jacob Loclier in 1497 (Stultifera Navis), into French by Paul Rividre in 1497, and by Jehan Droyn in 1498. An English verse translation by Alexander Barclay appeared in London in 1509, and again in 1570; one in prose by Henry Watson in London, 1509, and again in 1517. It was also rendered into Dutch and Low German.

Besides the "Narrenschiff" Brant wrote religious and political poems in Latin and German. He also edited and translated a number of bgal and theologi- cal treatises. The most complete edition of the "Narrenschiff" is that of Father Zarncke (Leipzig, 1854) , which contains also selections from Brant's other works. Other editions are by Karl Gcedeke (Leipzig, 1872) and F. Bobertag (in Kurschner's Deutsche National Litteratur, XVI). A modern German translation was made by Karl Simrock (Berlin, 1872). A new edition of the English translation of Barclay, by T. H. Jamieson, appeared at Edinburgh in 1874 in 2 vols.

For an essay on Brant see Schmidt, Hittoire liUh'aire de I'Alsnce (Pari.s, 1879). I. 189-333, and the introductions to the above-mentioned editions; see also J.\nssen, History of the German People (tr. London, 1896) I, 125.

Arthur F. J. Remy,