ARATOR, of Liguria, a Christian poet, who lived during the 6th century. He was an orphan, and owed his early education to Laurentius, archbishop of Milan, and Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, who took great interest in him. After completing his studies, he practised with success as an advocate, and was appointed to an influential post at the court of Athalaric, king of the Ostrogoths. About 540, he quitted the service of the state, took orders and was elected sub-deacon of the Roman Church. He gained the favour of Pope Vigilius, to whom he dedicated his De Actibus Aposlolorum (written about 544), which was much admired in the middle ages. The poem, consisting of some 2500 hexameters, is of little merit, being full of mystical and allegorical interpretations and long-winded digressions; the versification, except for certain eccentricities in prosody, is generally correct.
ARATUS, Greek statesman, was born at Sicyon in 271 B.C., and educated at Argos after the death of his father, at the hands of Abantidas, tyrant of Sicyon. When twenty years old Aratus delivered Sicyon from its tyrant by a bold coup de main. By enrolling it in the Achaean League (q.v.) he secured it against Macedonia, and with funds received from Ptolemy Philadelphus he pacified the returned exiles. Ever anxious to extend the league, in which after 245 he was general almost every second year, Aratus took Corinth by surprise (243), and with mingled threats and persuasion won over other cities, notably Megalopolis (233) and Argos (229), whose tyrants abdicated voluntarily. He fought successfully against the Aetolians (241), and in 228 induced the Macedonian commander to evacuate Attica. But when Cleomenes III. (q.v.) opened hostilities, Aratus sustained several reverses, and was badly defeated near Dyme (226 or 225). Rather than admit Cleomenes as chief of the league, where he might have upset the existing timocracy, Aratus opposed all attempts at mediation. As plenipotentiary in 224 he called in Antigonus Doson of Macedonia, and helped to recover Corinth and Argos and to crush Cleomenes at Sellasia, but at the same time sacrificed the independence of the league. In 220–219 the Aetolians defeated him in Arcadia and harried the Peloponnese unchecked. When Philip V. of Macedon came to expel these marauders, Aratus became the king’s adviser, and averted a treacherous attack on Messene (215); before long, however, he lost favour and in 213 was poisoned. The Sicyonians accorded him hero-worship as a “son of Asclepius.” To Aratus is due the credit of having made the Achaean League an effective instrument against tyrants and foreign enemies. But his military incapacity and his blind hatred of democratic reform went far to undo his work.
ARATUS, of Soli in Cilicia, Greek didactic poet, a contemporary of Callimachus and Theocritus, was born about 315 B.C. He was invited (about 276) to the court of Antigonus Gonatas of Macedonia, where he wrote his most famous poem, Φαινόμενα (Appearances, or Phenomena). He then spent some time with Antiochus I. of Syria; but subsequently returned to Macedonia, where he died about 245. Aratus’s only extant works are two short poems, or two fragments of his one poem, written in hexameters; an imitation of a prose work on astronomy by Eudoxus of Cnidus, and Διοσημεῖα (on weather signs), chiefly from Theophrastus. The work has all the characteristics of the Alexandrian school of poetry. Although Aratus was ignorant of astronomy, his poem attracted the favourable notice of distinguished specialists, such as Hipparchus, who wrote commentaries upon it. Amongst the Romans it enjoyed a high reputation (Ovid, Amores, i. 15, 16). Cicero, Caesar Germanicus and Avienus translated it; the two last versions and fragments of Cicero’s are still extant. Quintilian (Instit. x. i, 55) is less enthusiastic. Virgil has imitated the Prognostica to some extent in the Georgics. One verse from the opening invocation to Zeus has become famous from being quoted by St Paul (Acts xvii. 28). Several accounts of his life are extant, by anonymous Greek writers.
ARAUCANIA, the name of a large territory of Chile, South America, S. of the Bio-bio river, belonging to the Araucanian Indians (see below) at the time of their independence of Spanish and Chilean authority. The loss of their political independence has been followed by that of the greater part of their territory, which has been divided up into the Chilean provinces of Arauco, Bio-bio, Malleco and Cautin, and the Indians, much reduced in number, now live in the wooded recesses of the three provinces last named.
ARAUCANIANS (or Auca), a tribal group of South American Indians in southern Chile (see above). Physically a fine race, their hardiness and bravery enabled them successfully to resist the Incas in the 15th century. Their government was by four toquis or princes, independent of one another, but confederates against foreign enemies. Each tetrarchy was divided into five provinces, ruled by five chiefs called apo-ulmen; and each province into nine districts, governed by as many ulmen, who were subject to the apo-ulmen, as the latter were to the toquis. These various chiefs (who all bore the title of ulmen) composed the aristocracy of the country. They held their dignities by hereditary descent in the male line, and in the order of primogeniture. The supreme power of each tetrarchy resided in a council of the ulmen, who assembled annually in a large plain. The resolutions of this council were subject to popular assent. The chiefs, indeed, were little more than leaders in war; for the right of private revenge limited their authority in judicial matters; and they received no taxes. Their laws were merely traditional customs. War was declared by the council, messengers bearing arrows dipped in blood being sent to all parts of the country to summon the men to arms. From the time of the first Spanish invasion (1535) the Araucanians made a vigorous resistance, and after worsting the best soldiers and the best generals of Spain for two centuries obtained an acknowledgment of their independence. Their success was due as much to their readiness in adopting their enemy’s methods of warfare as to their bravery. Realizing the inefficiency of their old missiles when opposed to musket balls, they laid aside their bows, and armed themselves with spears, swords or other weapons fitted for close combat. Their practice was to advance rapidly within such a distance of the Spaniards as would not leave the latter time to reload after firing. Here they received without shrinking a volley, which was certain to destroy a number of them, and then rushing forward in close order, fought their enemies hand to hand.
The Araucanians believe in a supreme being, and in many subordinate spirits, good and bad. They believe also in omens and divination, but they have neither temples nor idols, nor religious rites. Very few have become Roman Catholics. They believe in a future state, and have a confused tradition respecting a deluge, from which some persons were saved on a high mountain. They divide the year into twelve months of thirty days, and add five days by intercalation. They esteem poetry and eloquence, but can scarcely be induced to learn reading or writing.
The tribal divisions have little or no organization. Some 50,000 in number, they spend a nomad existence wandering from pasture to pasture, living in low skin tents, their herds providing their food. They still preserve their warlike nature, though in 1870 they formally recognized Chilean rule. In 1861 Antoine de Tounens (1820–1878), a French adventurer in Chile, proclaimed himself king of Araucania under the title of Orélie Antoine I., and tried to obtain subscriptions from France to support his enterprise. But his pretensions were ludicrous; he was quickly captured by the Chileans and sent back to France (1862) as a madman; and though he made one more abortive effort in 1874