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BATRACHOMYOMACHIA (Gr. βάτραχος, “frog,” μῦς, “mouse,” and μάχη, “battle”), the “Battle of Frogs and Mice,” a comic epic or parody on the Iliad, definitely attributed to Homer by the Romans, but according to Plutarch (De Herodoti Malignitate, 43) the work of Pigres of Halicarnassus, the brother (or son) of Artemisia, queen of Caria and ally of Xerxes. Some modern scholars, however, assign it to an anonymous poet of the time of Alexander the Great.
Edition by A. Ludwich (1896).
BATTA, an Anglo-Indian military term, probably derived from the Canarese bhatta (rice in the husk), meaning a special allowance made to officers, soldiers, or other public servants in the field.
BATTAGLIA, a town of Venetia, Italy, in the province of Padua, 11 m. S.S.W. by rail from Padua. Pop. (1901) 4456. It lies at the edge of the volcanic Euganean Hills, and is noted for its warm saline springs and natural vapour grotto. A fine palace was erected in the Palladian style in the 17th century by Marchese Benedetto Selvatico-Estense, then owner of the springs.
BATTAKHIN, African “Arabs” of Semitic stock. They occupy the banks of the Blue Nile near Khartum, and it was against them that General Gordon fought most of his battles near the town. Their sheikh, El Obeid, routed Gordon’s troops on the 4th of September 1884, a defeat which led to the close investment of Khartum. In the 18th century James Bruce described them as “a thieving, pilfering lot.”
BATTALION, a unit of military organization consisting of four or more companies of infantry. The term is used in nearly every army, and is derived through Fr. from It. battaglione, Med. Lat. battalia (see Battle). “Battalion” in the 16th and 17th centuries implied a unit of infantry forming part of the line of battle, but at first meant an unusually large battalia or a single large body of men formed of several battalias. In the British regular service the infantry battalion is commanded by a lieut.-colonel, who is assisted by an adjutant, and consists at war strength of about 1000 bayonets in eight companies. Engineers, train, certain kinds of artillery, and more rarely cavalry are also organized in battalions in some countries.
BATTAMBANG, or Battambong (locally Phratabong), the chief town of the north-western division of Cambodia, formerly capital of Monton Kmer, i.e. “The Cambodian Division,” one of the eastern provinces of Siam, now included in the French protectorate of Cambodia. It is situated in 103° 6′ E., 13° 6′ N., in the midst of a fertile plain and on the river Sang Ke, which flows eastwards and falls into the Tonle or Talé Sap, the great lake of Cambodia. The town is a collection of bamboo houses of no importance, but there is a walled enceinte of some historical interest. Trade is small and is carried on by Chinese settlers, chiefly overland with Bangkok, but to a small extent also by water with Saigon. The population is about 5000, two-thirds Cambodian and the remainder Chinese and Siamese. The language is Cambodian.
Battambang was taken by the Siamese when they overran the kingdom of Cambodia towards the end of the 18th century, and was recognized by the French as belonging to Siam when the frontier of Cambodia was adjusted by treaty in 1867–1872. In another treaty in 1893, Siam bound herself to maintain no armed forces there other than police, but this arrangement was annulled by the treaty of 1904, by which Battambang was definitely admitted to lie within the French sphere of influence. Under a further treaty in March 1907 (see Siam), the district of Battambang was finally ceded to the French.
BATTANNI, or Bhitani, a small tribe on the Waziri border of the North-West Frontier Province of India. The Battannis hold the hills on the borders of Tank and Bannu in the Dera Ismail Khan district, from the Gabar mountain on the north to the Gomal valley on the south. They are only 3000 fighting men strong, and are generally regarded as the jackals of the Waziris. Their chief importance arises from the fact that no raids can be carried into British districts by the Mahsud Waziris without passing through Battanni territory. A small British expedition against the Battannis was led by Lt.-Col. Rynd in 1880. Under the excitement caused by the preaching of a fanatical mullah the Mahsud Waziris had attacked the town of Gomal. The Battannis failed to supply information as to their