Ascham’s orders, and invited Ascham to write a treatise on “the right order of teaching.” The Scholemaster was the result. It is not, as might be supposed, a general treatise on educational method, but “a plaine and perfite way of teachyng children to understand, write and speake in Latin tong”; and it was not intended for schools, but “specially prepared for the private brynging up of youth in gentlemen and noblemens houses.” The perfect way simply consisted in “the double translation of a model book”; the book recommended by this professional letter-writer being “Sturmius’ Select Letters of Cicero.” As a method of learning a language by a single pupil, this method might be useful; as a method of education in school nothing more deadening could be conceived. The method itself seems to have been taken from Cicero. Nor was the famous plea for the substitution of gentleness and persuasion for coercion and flogging in schools, which has been one of the main attractions of the book, novel. It was being practised and preached at that very time by Christopher Jonson (c. 1536–1597) at Winchester; it had been enforced at length by Wolsey in his statutes for his Ipswich College in 1528, following Robert Sherborne, bishop of Chichester, in founding Rolleston school; and had been repeatedly urged by Erasmus and others, to say nothing of William of Wykeham himself in the statutes of Winchester College in 1400. But Ascham’s was the first definite demonstration in favour of humanity in the vulgar tongue and in an easy style by a well-known “educationist,” though not one who had any actual experience as a schoolmaster. What largely contributed to its fame was its picture of Lady Jane Grey, whose love of learning was due to her finding her tutor a refuge from pinching, ear-boxing and bullying parents; some exceedingly good criticisms of various authors, and a spirited defence of English as a vehicle of thought and literature, of which it was itself an excellent example. The book was not published till after Ascham’s death, which took place on the 23rd of December 1568, owing to a chill caught by sitting up all night to finish a New Year’s poem to the queen.
ASCHERSLEBEN, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Saxony, 36 m. by rail N.W. from Halle, and at the junction of lines to Cöthen and Nienhagen. Pop. (1900) 27,245; (1905) 27,876. It contains one Roman Catholic and four Protestant churches, a synagogue, a fine town-hall dating from the 16th century, and several schools. The discovery of coal in the neighbourhood stimulated and altered its industries. In addition to the manufacture of woollen wares, for which it has long been known, there is now extensive production of vinegar, paraffin, potash and especially beetroot-sugar; while the surrounding district, which was formerly devoted in great part to market-gardening, is now turned almost entirely into beetroot fields. There are also iron, zinc and chemical manufactures, and the cultivation of agricultural seeds is carried on. In the neighbourhood are brine springs and a spa (Wilhelmsbad). Aschersleben was probably founded in the 11th century by Count Esico of Ballenstedt, the ancestor of the house of Anhalt, whose grandson, Otto, called himself count of Ascania and Aschersleben, deriving the former part of the title from his castle in the neighbourhood of the town. On the death of Otto III. (1315) Aschersleben passed into the hands of the bishop of Halberstadt, and at the peace of 1648 was, with the bishopric, united to Brandenburg.
ASCIANO, a town of Tuscany, in the province of Siena, 19 m. S.E. of the town of Siena by rail. Pop. (1901) 7618. It is surrounded by walls built by the Sienese in 1351, and has some 14th-century churches with paintings of the same period. Six miles to the south is the large Benedictine monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, founded in 1320, famous for the frescoes by Luca Signorelli (1497–1498) and Antonio Bazzi, called Sodoma (1505), in the cloister, illustrating scenes from the legend of St Benedict; the latter master’s work is perhaps nowhere better represented than here. The church contains fine inlaid choir stalls by Fra Giovanni da Verona. The buildings, which are mostly of red brick, are conspicuous against the gray clayey and sandy soil. The monastery is described by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pope Pius II.) in his Commentaria. Remains of Roman baths, with a fine mosaic pavement, were found within the town in 1898 (G. Pellegrini in Notizie degli scavi, 1899, 6).
ASCITANS (or Ascitae; from ἀσκός, the Greek for a wine-skin), a peculiar sect of 2nd-century Christians (Montanists), who introduced the practice of dancing round a wine-skin at their meetings.
ASCITES (Gr. ἀσκίτης, dropsical, from ἀσκός, bag; sc. νόσος, disease), the term in medicine applied to an effusion of non-inflammatory fluid within the peritoneum. It is not a disease in itself, but is one of the manifestations of disease elsewhere—usually in the kidneys, heart, or in connexion with the liver (portal obstruction). Portal obstruction is the commonest cause of well-marked ascites. It is produced by (1) diseases within the liver, as cirrhosis (usually alcoholic) and cancer; (2) diseases outside the liver, as cancer of stomach, duodenum or pancreas, causing pressure on the portal vein, or enlarged glands in the fissure of the liver producing the same effect. Ascites is one of the late symptoms in the disease, and precedes dropsy of the leg, which may come on later, due to pressure on the large veins in the abdominal cavity by the ascitic fluid. In ascites due to heart disease, the dropsy of the feet and legs precedes the ascites, and there will be a history of palpitation, shortness of breath, and perhaps cough. In the ascites of kidney troubles there will be a history of general oedema—puffiness of face and eyes on rising in the morning probably having attracted the attention of the patient or his friends previously. Other less common causes of ascites are chronic peritonitis, either tuberculous in the young, or due to cancer in the aged, and more rarely still pernicious anaemia.
ASCLEPIADES, Greek physician, was born at Prusa in Bithynia in 124 B.C., and flourished at Rome in the end of the 2nd century B.C. He travelled much when young, and seems at first to have settled at Rome as a rhetorician. In that profession he did not succeed, but he acquired great reputation as a physician. He founded his medical practice on a modification of the atomic or corpuscular theory, according to which disease results from an irregular or inharmonious motion of the corpuscles of the body. His remedies were, therefore, directed to the restoration of harmony, and he trusted much to changes of diet, accompanied by friction, bathing and exercise, though he also employed emetics and bleeding. He recommended the use of wine, and in every way strove to render himself as agreeable as possible to his patients. His pupils were very numerous, and the school formed by them was called the Methodical. Asclepiades died at an advanced age.
ASCLEPIADES, of Samos, epigrammatist and lyric poet, friend of Theocritus, flourished about 270 B.C. He was the earliest and most important of the convivial and erotic epigrammatists. Only a few of his compositions are actual “inscriptions”; others sing the praises of the poets whom he specially admired, but the majority of them are love-songs. It is doubtful whether he is the author of all the epigrams (some 40 in number) which bear his name in the Greek Anthology. He possibly gave his name to the Asclepiadean metre.
ASCLEPIODOTUS, Greek military writer, flourished in the 1st century B.C. Nothing is known of him except that he was a pupil of Poseidonius the Stoic (d. 51 B.C.). He is the supposed author of a treatise on Graeco-Macedonian tactics (Τακτικὰ Κεφάλαια), which, however, is probably not his own work, but the skeleton outline of the lectures delivered by his master, who is known to have written a work on the subject.
ASCOLI, GRAZIADIO ISAIA (1820–1907), Italian philologist; of Jewish family, was born at Görz at an early age showed a