up to be skilled with the bow, swift, and fond of the chase, like the virgin goddess Artemis. At the Calydonian boar-hunt her arrows were the first to hit the monster, for which its head and hide were given her by Meleager. At the funeral games of Pelias, she wrestled with Peleus, and won. For a long time she remained true to Artemis and rejected all suitors, but Meilanion at last gained her love by his persistent devotion. She was the mother of Parthenopaeus, one of the Seven against Thebes (Apollodorus iii. 9; Hyginus, Fab. 99). (2) The Boeotian Atalanta was the daughter of Schoeneus. She was famed for her running, and would only consent to marry a suitor who could outstrip her in a race, the consequence of failure being death. Hippomenes, before starting, had obtained from Aphrodite three golden apples, which he dropped at intervals, and Atalanta, stopping to pick them up, fell behind. Both were happy at the result; but forgetting to thank the goddess for the apples, they were led by her to a religious crime, and were transformed into lions by the goddess Cybele (Ovid, Metam. x. 560; Hyginus, Fab. 185). The characteristics of these two heroines (frequently confounded) point to their being secondary forms of the Arcadian Artemis.
ATARGATIS, a Syrian deity, known to the Greeks by a shortened form of the name, Derketo (Strabo xvi. c. 785; Pliny, Nat. Hist. v. 23. 81), and as Dea Syria, or in one word Deasura (Lucian, de Dea Syria). She is generally described as the “fish-goddess.” The name is a compound of two divine names; the first part is a form of the Himyaritic ’Athtar, the equivalent of the Old Testament Ashtoreth, the Phoenician Astarte (q.v.), with the feminine ending omitted (Assyr. Ishtar); the second is a Palmyrene name ’Athe (i.e. tempus opportunum), which occurs as part of many compounds. As a consequence of the first half of the name, Atargatis has frequently, though wrongly, been identified with Astarte. The two deities were, no doubt, of common origin, but their cults are historically distinct. In 2 Macc. xii. 26 we find reference to an Atargateion or Atergateion (temple of Atargatis) at Carnion in Gilead (cf. 1 Macc. v. 43), but the home of the goddess was unquestionably not Palestine, but Syria proper, especially at Hierapolis (q.v.), where she had a great temple. From Syria her worship extended to Greece, Italy and the furthest west. Lucian and Apuleius give descriptions of the beggar-priests who went round the great cities with an image of the goddess on an ass and collected money. The wide extension of the cult is attributable largely to Syrian merchants; thus we find traces of it in the great seaport towns; at Delos especially numerous inscriptions have been found bearing witness to its importance. Again we find the cult in Sicily, introduced, no doubt, by slaves and mercenary troops, who carried it even to the farthest northern limits of the Roman empire. In many cases, however, Atargatis and Astarte are fused to such an extent as to be indistinguishable. This fusion is exemplified by the Carnion temple, which is probably identical with the famous temple of Astarte at Ashtaroth-Karnaim.
Atargatis appears generally as the wife of Hadad (Baal). They are the protecting deities of the community. Atargatis, in the capacity of πολιοῦχος, wears a mural crown, is the ancestor of the royal house, the founder of social and religious life, the goddess of generation and fertility (hence the prevalence of phallic emblems), and the inventor of useful appliances. Not unnaturally she is identified with the Greek Aphrodite. By the conjunction of these many functions, she becomes ultimately a great Nature-Goddess, analogous to Cybele and Rhea (see Great Mother of the Gods); in one aspect she typifies the function of water in producing life; in another, the universal mother-earth (Macrobius, Saturn, i. 23); in a third (influenced, no doubt, by Chaldaean astrology), the power of destiny. The legends are numerous and of an astrological character, intended to account for the Syrian dove-worship and abstinence from fish (see the story in Athenaeus viii. 37, where Atargatis is derived from ἄτερ Γάτιδος “without Gatis,”—a queen who is said to have forbidden the eating of fish). Thus Diodorus Siculus, using Ctesias, tells how she fell in love with a youth who was worshipping at the shrine of Aphrodite, and by him became the mother of Semiramis, the Assyrian queen, and how in shame she flung herself into a pool at Ascalon or Hierapolis and was changed into a fish (W. Robertson Smith in Eng. Hist. Rev. ii., 1887). In another story she was hatched from an egg found by some fish in the Euphrates and by them thrust on the bank where it was hatched by a dove; out of gratitude she persuaded Jupiter to transfer the fish to the Zodiac (cf. Ovid, Fast. ii. 459-474, Metam. v. 331).
ATAULPHUS (the Latinized form of the Gothic Ataulf, “Father-wolf,” from atta, father, and vulfs, wolf; mod. Germ. Adolf, Latinized as Adolphus, the form used by Gibbon for the subject of this article), king of the Goths (d. 415). On the death of Alaric (q.v.) his followers acclaimed his brother-in-law Ataulphus as king. In 412 he quitted Italy and led his army across the Alps into Gaul. Here he fought against some of the usurpers who threatened the throne of Honorius; he made some sort of compact with that emperor and, in 414, he married his sister Placidia, who had been since the siege of Rome a captive in the camp of the Goths. The ex-emperor Attalus danced at the marriage festival, which was celebrated with great pomp at Narbonne. In 415 Ataulphus crossed the Pyrenees into Spain and died at Barcelona, being assassinated by a groom. The most important fact in his history is his confession, recorded by Orosius, that he saw the inability of his countrymen to rear a civilized or abiding kingdom, and that consequently his aim should be to build on Roman foundations and blend the two nations into one.
ATAVISM (from Lat. atavus, a great-great-great-grandfather or ancestor), the term given in biology to the reproduction in a living person or animal of the characteristics of an ancestor more remote than its parents (see Heredity). Loosely used, it connotes a reversion to an earlier type. Individuals reproduce unexpectedly the traits of earlier ancestors, and ethnologists and criminologists frequently explain by “atavism” the occurrence of degenerate species of man; but the whole subject is complicated by other possible explanations of such phenomena, included in the scientific study of normal “variation.”
ATBARA (Bahr-el-Aswad, or Black River), the most northern affluent of the river Nile, N.E. Africa. It rises in Abyssinia to the N.W. of Lake Tsana, unites its waters with a number of other rivers which also rise in the Abyssinian highlands, and flows north-west 800 m. till its junction at Ed Damer with the Nile (q.v.). The battle of the Atbara, fought near Nakheila, a place on the north bank of the river about 30 m. above Ed Damer, on the 8th of April 1898, between the khalifa’s forces under Mahmud and Sir Herbert (afterwards Lord) Kitchener’s Anglo-Egyptian army, resulted in the complete defeat of the Mahdists and the capture of their leader, and paved the way for the decisive battle of Omdurman on the 2nd of September following (see Egypt: Military Operations).
ATCHISON, a city and the county-seat of Atchison county, Kansas, U.S.A., on the west bank of the Missouri river, which is navigable at this point but is utilized comparatively little for commerce. Pop. (1890) 13,963; (1900) 15,722, of whom 2508 were of negro descent and 1308 were foreign-born; (1910) 16,429. Atchison is served by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, and the Missouri Pacific railways. The city is the seat of Midland College (Lutheran, 1887), St Benedict’s College (Roman Catholic, 1858) for boys, Mt. Scholastics Academy (Roman Catholic) for girls, and Western Theological Seminary (Evangelical-Lutheran, 1893); a state soldiers’ orphans’ home is also located here. Atchison’s situation and transportation facilities make it an important supply-centre, its trade in grains and live-stock being particularly large; it has large railway machine shops, and its principal manufactures are flour, furniture, lumber, hardware and drugs. The value of the city’s factory