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ANTARCTIC—ANTELOPE

He died in a fight against the tribe of Ṭai. His poems, which are chiefly concerned with fighting or with his love for Abla, are published in W. Ahlwardt’s The Diwans of the six ancient Arabic Poets (London, 1870); they have also been published separately at Beirūt (1888). As regards their genuineness, cf. W. Ahlwardt’s Bemerkungen über die Aechtheit der alten arabichen Gedichte (Greifswald, 1872), pp. 50 ff. The Romance of ‘Antar (Sīrat ‘Antar ibn Shaddād) is a work which was long handed down by oral tradition only, has grown to immense proportions and has been published in 32 vols. at Cairo, 1307 (A.D. 1889), and in 10 vols. at Beirūt, 1871. It was partly translated by Terrick Hamilton under the title ‘Antar, a Bedoueen Romance (4 vols., London, 1820).

For an account of the poet and his works see H. Thorbeckes, Antarah, ein vorislamischer Dichter (Leipzig, 1867), and cf. the Book of Songs (see Abulfaraj), vol. vii. pp. 148-153.  (G. W. T.) 

ANTARCTIC (Gr. ἀντί, opposite, and ἄρκτος, the Bear, the northern constellation of Ursa Major), the epithet applied to the region (including both the ocean and the lands) round the South Pole. The Antarctic circle is drawn at 66° 30′ S., but polar conditions of climate, &c., extend considerably north of the area thus enclosed. (See Polar Regions.)

ANTEATER, a term applied to several mammals, but (zoologically at any rate) specially indicating the tropical American anteaters of the family Myrmecophagidae (see Edentata). The typical and largest representative of the group is the great anteater or ant-bear (Myrmecophaga jubata), an animal measuring 4 ft. in length without the tail, and 2 ft. in height at the shoulder. Its prevailing colour is grey, with a broad black band, bordered with white, commencing on the chest, and passing obliquely over the shoulder, diminishing gradually in breadth as it approaches the loins, where it ends in a point. It is extensively distributed in the tropical parts of South and Central America, frequenting low swampy savannas, along the banks of rivers, and the depths of the humid forests, but is nowhere abundant. Its food consists mainly of termites, to obtain which it opens their nests with its powerful sharp anterior claws, and as the insects swarm to the damaged part of their dwelling, it draws them into its mouth by means of its long, flexible, rapidly moving tongue covered with glutinous saliva. The great anteater is terrestrial in habits, not burrowing underground like armadillos. Though generally an inoffensive animal, when attacked it can defend itself vigorously and effectively with its sabre-like anterior claws. The female produces a single young at a birth. The tamandua anteaters, as typified by Tamandua (or Uroleptes) tetradactyla, are much smaller than the great anteater, and differ essentially from it in their habits, being mainly arboreal. They inhabit the dense primeval forests of South and Central America. The usual colour is yellowish-white, with a broad black lateral band, covering nearly the whole of the side of the body.

The little or two-toed anteater (Cyclopes or Cycloturus didactylus) is a native of the hottest parts of South and Central America, and about the size of a rat, of a general yellowish colour, and exclusively arboreal in its habits. The name scaly anteater is applied to the pangolin (q.v.); the banded anteater (Myrmecobius fasciatus) is a marsupial, and the spiny anteater (Echidna) is one of the monotremes (see Marsupialia and Monotremata).

ANTE-CHAPEL, the term given to that portion of a chapel which lies on the western side of the choir screen. In some of the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge the ante-chapel is carried north and south across the west end of the chapel, constituting a western transept or narthex. This model, based on Merton College chapel (13th century), of which only chancel and transept were built though a nave was projected, was followed at Wadham, New and Magdalen Colleges, Oxford, in the new chapel of St John’s College, Cambridge, and in Eton College. In Jesus College, Cambridge, the transept and a short nave constitute the ante-chapel; in Clare College an octagonal vestibule serves the same purpose; and in Christ’s, Trinity and King’s Colleges, Cambridge, the ante-chapel is a portion of the main chapel, divided off from the chancel by the choir screen.

ANTE-CHOIR, the term given to the space enclosed in a church between the outer gate or railing of the rood screen and the door of the screen; sometimes there is only one rail, gate or door, but in Westminster Abbey it is equal in depth to one bay of the nave. The ante-choir is also called the “fore choir.”

ANTE-FIXAE (from Lat. antefigere, to fasten before), the vertical blocks which terminate the covering tiles of the roof of a Greek temple; as spaced they take the place of the cymatium and form a cresting along the sides of the temple. The face of the ante-fixae was richly carved with the anthemion (q.v.) ornament.

ANTELOPE, a zoological name which, so far as can be determined, appears to trace its origin, through the Latin, to Pantholops, the old Coptic, and Antholops, the late Greek name of the fabled unicorn. Its adoption by the languages of Europe cannot apparently be traced farther back than the 4th century of our era, at which date it was employed to designate an imaginary animal living on the banks of the Euphrates. By the earlier English naturalists, and afterwards by Buffon, it was, however, applied to the Indian blackbuck, which is thus entitled to rank as the antelope. It follows that the subfamily typified by this species, in which are included the gazelles, is the one to which alone the term antelopes should be applied if it were employed in a restricted and definable sense.

Although most people have a general vague idea of what constitutes an “antelope,” yet the group of animals thus designated is one that does not admit of accurate limitations or definition. Some, for instance, may consider that the chamois and the so-called white goat of the Rocky Mountains are entitled to be included in the group; but this is not the view held by the authors of the Book of Antelopes referred to below; and, as a matter of fact, the term is only a vague designation for a number of more or less distinct groups of hollow-horned ruminants which do not come under the designation of cattle, sheep or goats; and in reality there ought to be a distinct English group-name for each subfamily into which “antelopes” are subdivided.

The great majority of antelopes, exclusive of the doubtful chamois group (which, however, will be included in the present article), are African, although the gazelles are to a considerable extent an Asiatic group. They include ruminants varying in size from a hare to an ox; and comprise about 150 species, although this number is subject to considerable variation according to personal views as to the limitations of species and races. No true antelopes are American, the prongbuck (Antilocapra), which is commonly called “antelope” in the United States, representing a distinct group; while, as already mentioned, the Rocky Mountain or white goat stands on the borderland between antelopes and goats.

Antelope 1.png
Fig. 1.—Female Bushbuck
(Tragelaphus scriptus).

The first group, or Tragelaphinae, is represented by the African elands (Taurotragus), bongo (Boöcercus), kudus (Strepsiceros) and bushbucks or harnessed antelopes (Tragelaphus), and the Indian nilgai (Boselaphus). Except in the bongo and elands, horns are present only in the males, and these are angulated and generally spirally twisted, and without rings. The muzzle is naked, small glands are present on the face below the eyes, and the tail is comparatively long. The colours are often brilliant; white spots and stripes being prevalent. The harnessed antelopes, or bushbucks, are closely allied to the kudus, from which they chiefly differ by the spiral formed by the horns generally having fewer turns. They include some of the most brilliantly coloured of all antelopes; the ornamentation taking the form of vertical white lines and rows of spots. Usually the sexes differ in colour. Whereas most of the species have hoofs of normal shape, in some, such as the nakong, or situtunga (Tragelaphus spekei), these are greatly elongated, in order to be suited for walking in soft mud, and these have accordingly been separated as Limnotragus. The last-named species spends most of its time in water, where it may be observed not infrequently among the reeds with all but its head and horns submerged. The true or smaller bushbucks, represented by the widely spread Tragelaphus scriptus, with several local races (fig. 1) are sometimes separated as Sylvicapra,