time countenanced by Western geographers, loses more and more probability now that it is evident that at a relatively recent period the Caspian Sea extended much farther eastward than it does now, and that Lake Aral communicated with it through the Sary-kamysh depression. The present writer is even inclined to think that, besides this southern communication with the Caspian, Lake Aral may have been, even in historical times, connected with the Mortvyi Kultuk (Tsarevich) Gulf of the Caspian, discharging part of its water into that sea through a depression of the Ust-Urt plateau, which is marked by a chain of lakes (Chumyshty, Asmantai). In this case it might have been easily confounded with a gulf of the Caspian (as by Jenkinson). That the level of Lake Aral was much higher in post-Pliocene times is proved by the discovery of shells of its characteristic species of Pecten and Mytilus in the Kara-kum Desert, 33 m. south of the lake and at an altitude of 70 ft. above its present level, and perhaps even up to 200 ft. (by Syevertsov).
The fish of Lake Aral belong to fresh-water species, and in some of its rapid tributaries the interesting Scaphirhynchus, which represents a survival from the Tertiary epoch, is found. The fishing is very productive, the fish being exported to Turkestan, Merv and Russia. The shores of the lake are uninhabited; the nearest settlements are Kazala, 55 m. east, on the Syr, and Chimbai and Kungrad in the delta of the Amu.
ARAM, EUGENE (1704–1759), English scholar, but more famous as the murderer celebrated by Hood in his ballad, the Dream of Eugene Aram, and by Bulwer Lytton in his romance of Eugene Aram, was born of humble parents at Ramsgill, Yorkshire, in 1704. He received little education at school, but manifested an intense desire for learning. While still young, he married and settled as a schoolmaster at Netherdale, and during the years he spent there, he taught himself both Latin and Greek. In 1734 he removed to Knaresborough, where he remained as schoolmaster till 1745. In that year a man named Daniel Clark, an intimate friend of Aram, after obtaining a considerable quantity of goods from some of the tradesmen in the town, suddenly disappeared. Suspicions of being concerned in this swindling transaction fell upon Aram. His garden was searched, and some of the goods found there. As, however, there was not evidence sufficient to convict him of any crime, he was discharged, and soon after set out for London, leaving his wife behind. For several years he travelled through parts of England, acting as usher in a number of schools, and settled finally at Lynn, in Norfolk. During his travels he had amassed considerable materials for a work he had projected on etymology, to be entitled a Comparative Lexicon of the English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Celtic Languages. He was undoubtedly an original philologist, who realized, what was then not yet admitted by scholars, the affinity of the Celtic language to the other languages of Europe, and could dispute the then accepted belief that Latin was derived from Greek. Aram’s writings show that he had grasped the right idea on the subject of the Indo-European character of the Celtic language, which was not established till J. C. Prichard published his book, Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations, in 1831. But he was not destined to live in history as the pioneer of a new philology. In February 1758 a skeleton was dug up at Knaresborough, and some suspicion arose that it might be Clark’s. Aram’s wife had more than once hinted that her husband and a man named Houseman knew the secret of Clark’s disappearance. Houseman was at once arrested and confronted with the bones that had been found. He affirmed his innocence, and, taking up one of the bones, said, “This is no more Dan Clark’s bone than it is mine.” His manner in saying this roused suspicion that he knew more of Clark’s disappearance than he was willing to admit. He was again examined, and confessed that he had been present at the murder of Clark by Aram and another man, Terry, of whom nothing further is heard. He also gave information as to the place where the body had been buried in St Robert’s Cave, a well-known spot near Knaresborough. A skeleton was dug up here, and Aram was immediately arrested, and sent to York for trial. Houseman was admitted as evidence against him. Aram conducted his own defence, and did not attempt to overthrow Houseman’s evidence, although there were some discrepancies in that; but made a skilful attack on the fallibility of circumstantial evidence in general, and particularly of evidence drawn from the discovery of bones. He brought forward several instances where bones had been found in caves, and tried to show that the bones found in St Robert’s Cave were probably those of some hermit who had taken up his abode there. He was found guilty, and condemned to be executed on the 6th of August 1759, three days after his trial. While in his cell he confessed his guilt, and threw some light on the motives for his crime, by asserting that he had discovered a criminal intimacy between Clark and his own wife. On the night before his execution he made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide by opening the veins in his arm.
ARAMAIC LANGUAGES, a class of languages so called from Aram, a geographical term, which in old Semitic usage designates nearly the same districts as the Greek word Syria. Aram, however, does not include Palestine, while it comprehends Mesopotamia (Heb. Aram of two rivers), a region which the Greeks frequently distinguish from Syria proper. Thus the Aramaic languages may be geographically defined as the Semitic dialects originally current in Mesopotamia and the regions extending south-west from the Euphrates to Palestine. (See Semitic Languages; Syriac; Targum.)
ARANDA, PEDRO PABLO ABARCA DE BOLEA, Count of (1719–1798), Spanish minister and general, was born at the castle of Siétamo, a lordship of his family near Huesca in Aragon, on the 1st of August 1719. The house of Abarca was very ancient, a fact of which Don Pedro, who never forgot that he was a “rico hombre” (noble) of Aragon, was deeply conscious. He was educated partly at Bologna and partly at the military school of Parma. In 1740 he entered the army as captain in the regiment “Castilla,” of which his father was proprietary colonel. On the death of his father he became colonel, and served in the Italian campaigns of the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1749 he married Doña Ana, daughter of the 9th duke of Hijar, by whom he had one son, who died young, and a daughter. During the following years he travelled and visited the camp of Frederick the Great, whose system of drill he admired and afterwards introduced into the Spanish army. After a short period of diplomatic service in Portugal, where his exacting temper made it impossible for him to agree with the premier, Pombal, he returned to Madrid, was made a knight of the Golden Fleece, and director-general of artillery—a post which he threw up, together with his rank of lieutenant-general, because he was not allowed to punish certain fraudulent contractors. The king, Ferdinand VI., exiled him to his estates, but Charles III. on his accession took him into favour. He was again employed in diplomacy, and then appointed to command an army against Portugal in 1763. In 1764 he was made governor of Valencia. When in 1766 the king was driven from his capital in a riot, he summoned Aranda to Madrid and made him president of the council, and captain-general of New Castile. Until 1773 Aranda was the most important minister in Spain. He restored order and aided the king most materially in his work of administrative reform. But his great achievements, which gave him a high reputation throughout Europe with the philosophical and anti-clerical parties, were his expulsion of the Jesuits, whom the king considered responsible for the riot of 1766, and the active part he took in the suppression of the order. Aranda had come much under foreign influence by his education and his travels, and had acquired the reputation of being a confirmed sceptic. By Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists he was erected into a hero from whom great things were expected. His ability, his