Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

On three sides the cliffs are precipitous, but they shelve towards the S.W., where landing is effected. The Bass Rock is an intrusive mass of phonolitic trachyte or orthophyre. No nepheline has been detected in the rock, but analcite is present in small quantity together with abundant orthoclase and green soda-augite. It bears a close resemblance to the eruptive masses of North Berwick Law and Traprain Law, butis non-porphyritic. It is regarded by Sir A. Geikie as a plug filling an old volcanic vent, from which lava emanated during the Calciferous Sandstone period. It used to be grazed by sheep, of which the mutton was thought to be unusually good, but its principal denizens are sea-birds, chiefly solan geese, which haunt the rock in vast numbers. A lighthouse with a six-flash lantern of 39,000 candle power was opened in 1902. For a considerable distance E. and W. there runs through the rock a tunnel, about 15 ft. high, accessible at low water. St Baldred, whose name has been given to several of the cliffs on the shore of the mainland, occupied a hermitage on the Bass, where he died in 756. In the 14th century the island became the property of the Lauders, called afterwards Lauders of the Bass, from whom it was purchased in 1671 by government, and a castle with dungeons was erected on it, in which many Covenanters were imprisoned. Among, them were Alexander Peden (1626-1686), for four years, and John Blackadder (1615-1686), who died there after five years' detention. At the Revolution four young Jacobites captured the Rock, and having been reinforced by a few others, held it for King James from June 1691 to April 1694, only surrendering when threatened by starvation. Thus the island was the last place in Great Britain to submit to William III. Dismantled of its fortifications in 1701, the Bass passed into the ownership of Sir Hew Dalrymple, to whose family it belongs. It is let on annual rental for the feathers, eggs, oil and young of the sea-birds and for the fees of visitors, who reach it usually from Canty Bay and North Berwick.

BASSUS, AUFIDIUS, a Roman historian, who lived in the reign of Tiberius. His work, which probably began with the civil wars or the death of Caesar, was continued by the elder Pliny, who, as he himself tells us, carried it down at least as far as the end of Nero's reign. The Bellum Germanicum of Bassus, which is commended, may have been either a separate work or a section of his general history. The elder Seneca speaks highly of him as an historian, but the fragments preserved in that writer's Suasoriae (vi. 23) relating to the death of Cicero, are characterized by an affected style.

Pliny, Nat. Hist., praefatio, 20; Tacitus, Dialogus de Oratoribus, 23; Quintilian, Instit. x. 1. 103.

BASSUS, CAESIUS, a Roman lyric poet, who lived in the reign of Nero. He was the intimate friend of Persius, who dedicated his sixth satire to him, and whose works he edited (Schol. on Persius, vi. 1). He is said to have lost his life in the eruption of Vesuvius (79). He had a great reputation as a poet; Quintilian (Instit. x. 1. 96) goes so far as to say that, with the exception of Horace, he was the only lyric poet worth reading. He is also identified with the author of a treatise De Metris, of which considerable fragments, probably of an abbreviated edition, are extant (ed. Keil, 1885). The work was probably originally in verse, and afterwards recast or epitomized in prose form to be used as an instruction book. A worthless and scanty account of some of the metres of Horace (in Keil, Grammatici Latini, vi. 305), bearing the title Ars Caesii Bassi de Metris is not by him, but chiefly borrowed by its unknown author from the treatise mentioned above.

BASSUS, CASSIANUS, called Scholasticus (lawyer), one of the geoponici or writers on agricultural subjects. He lived at the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 7th century A.D. He compiled from earlier writers a collection of agricultural literature (Geoponica) which was afterwards revised by an unknown editor and published about the year 950, in the reign of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, to whom the work itself has been ascribed. It contains a full list of the authorities drawn upon, and the subjects treated include agriculture, birds, bees, horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, fishes and the like.

Complete Editions.—Needham (1704), Niclas (1781), Beckh (1895); see also Gemoll in Berliner Studien, i. (1884); Oder in Rheinisches Museum, xlv. (1890), xlviii. (1893), and De Raynal in Annuaire de l'Assoc. pour l'Encouragement des Études Grecques, viii. (1874).

BASSUS, SALEIUS, Roman epic poet, a contemporary of Valerius Flaccus, in the reign of Vespasian. Quintilian credits him with a vigorous and poetical genius (Instit. x. 1. 90) and Julius Secundus, one of the speakers in Tacitus Dialogus de Oratoribus (5; see also 9) styles him a perfect poet and most illustrious bard. He was apparently overtaken by poverty, but was generously treated by Vespasian, who made him a present of 500,000 sesterces. Nothing from his works has been preserved; the Laus Pisonis, which has been attributed to him, is probably by Titus Calpurnius Siculus (J. Held, De Saleio Basso, 1834).

BASSVILLE, or Basseville, NICOLAS JEAN HUGON DE (d. 1793), French journalist and diplomatist, was born at Abbeville on the 7th of February 1753. He was trained for the priesthood, taught theology in a provincial seminary and then went to Paris. Here in 1784 he published Élements de mythologie and some poems, which brought him into notice. On the recommendation of the prince of Condé he became tutor to two young Americans travelling in Europe. With them he visited Berlin, made the acquaintance there of Mirabeau, and became a member of the Berlin Academy Royal. At the outbreak of the Revolution he turned to journalism, becoming editor of the Mercure international. Then, through the Girondist minister Lebrun-Tondu, he entered the diplomatic service, went in May, 1792, as secretary of legation to Naples and was shortly afterwards sent, without official status, to Rome. Here his conduct was anything but diplomatic. He at once announced himself as the protector of the extreme Jacobins in Rome, demanded the expulsion of the French émigrés who had taken refuge there, including the “demoiselles Capet,” and ordered the fleur-de-lys on the escutcheon of the French embassy to be replaced by a picture of Liberty painted by a French art student. He talked at large of the “purple geese of the Capitol” and met the remonstrances of Cardinal Zelada, the papal secretary of state, with insults. This enraged the Roman populace; a riot broke out on the 13th of January 1793, and Bassville, who was driving with his family to the Corso, was dragged from his carriage and so roughly handled that he died. The affair was magnified in the Convention into a deliberate murder of the “representative of the Republic” by the pope's orders. In 1797 by an article of the treaty of Tolentino the papal government agreed to pay compensation to Bassville's family. Among his writings we may also mention Mémoires historiques, critiques et politiques sur la Révolution de France (Paris 1790; English trans; London, 1790).

See F. Masson, Les Diplomates de la Révolution (Paris, 1882); Silvagni, La Corte e la Società romana nei secoli XVIII. e XIX. (Florence, 1881).

BASTAR, a feudatory state of British India, in the Chattisgarh division of the Central Provinces; area, 13,062 sq. m. In 1901 the population was 306,501, showing a decrease of 1% compared with an apparent increase of 58% in the preceding decade. Estimated revenue £22,000; tribute £1100. The eastern part of Bastar is a flat elevated plateau, from 1800 to 2000 ft. above the level of the sea, the centre and N.W. portions are very mountainous, and the southern parts consist of hills and plains. On the plateau there are but few hills; the streams run slowly and the country is a mixture of plain and undulating ground covered by dense sál forests. Principal mountains of the district: (1) a lofty range which separates it from the Sironcha district; (2) a range of equal height called the Bela Dila lying in the centre of the district; (3) a range running N. and S. near Narayanpur; (4) Tangri Dongri range, running E. and W.; (5) Tulsi Dongri, bordering on the Sabari river and the Jaipur state. There is also a small range running from the river Indravati to the Godavari. The Indravati, the Sabari and the Tal or Talper, are the chief rivers of the district; all of them affluents of the Godavari. The soil throughout the greater portion of Bastar consists of light clay, with an admixture of sand, suited