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BELVIDERE—BEMBERG

BELVIDERE, a city and the county-seat of Boone county, Illinois, U.S.A., in the N. part of the state, on the Kishwaukee river, about 78 m. N.W. of Chicago. Pop. (1890) 3867; (1900) 6937 (1018 foreign-born); (1910) 7253. It is served by the Chicago & North-Western railway, and by an extensive inter-urban electric system. Among its manufactures are sewing machines, boilers, automobiles, bicycles, roller-skates, pianos, gloves and mittens, corsets, flour and dairy products, Borden’s condensed milk factory being located there. Belvidere was settled in 1836, was incorporated in 1852 and was re-incorporated in 1881.

BELZONI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA (1778–1823), Italian explorer of Egyptian antiquities, was born at Padua in 1778. His family was from Rome, and in that city he spent his youth. He intended taking monastic orders, but in 1798 the occupation of the city by the French troops drove him from Rome and changed his proposed career. He went back to Padua, where he studied hydraulics, removed in 1800 to Holland, and in 1803 went to England, where he married an Englishwoman. He was 6 ft. 7 in. in height, broad in proportion, and his wife was of equally generous build. They were for some time compelled to find subsistence by exhibitions of feats of strength and agility at fairs and on the streets of London. Through the kindness of Henry Salt, the traveller and antiquarian, who was ever afterwards his patron, he was engaged at Astley’s amphitheatre, and his circumstances soon began to improve. In 1812 he left England, and after travelling in Spain and Portugal reached Egypt in 1815, where Salt was then British consul-general. Belzoni was desirous of laying before Mehemet Ali a hydraulic machine of his own invention for raising the waters of the Nile. Though the experiment with this engine was successful, the design was abandoned by the pasha, and Belzoni resolved to continue his travels. On the recommendation of the orientalist, J. L. Burckhardt, he was sent at Salt’s charges to Thebes, whence he removed with great skill the colossal bust of Rameses II., commonly called Young Memnon, which he shipped for England, where it is in the British Museum. He also pushed his investigations into the great temple of Edfu, visited Elephantine and Philae, cleared the great temple at Abu Simbel of sand (1817), made excavations at Karnak, and opened up the sepulchre of Seti I. (“Belzoni’s Tomb”). He was the first to penetrate into the second pyramid of Giza, and the first European in modern times to visit the oasis of Baharia, which he supposed to be that of Siwa. He also identified the ruins of Berenice on the Red Sea. In 1819 he returned to England, and published in the following year an account of his travels and discoveries entitled Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia, &c. He also exhibited during 1820–1821 facsimiles of the tomb of Seti I. The exhibition was held at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London. In 1822 Belzoni showed his model in Paris. In 1823 he set out for West Africa, intending to penetrate to Timbuktu. Having been refused permission to pass through Morocco, he chose the Guinea Coast route. He reached Benin, but was seized with dysentery at a village called Gwato, and died there on the 3rd of December 1823. In 1829 his widow published his drawings of the royal tombs at Thebes.

BEM, JOSEF (1795–1850), Polish soldier, was born at Tarnow in Galicia, and was educated at the military school at Warsaw, where he especially distinguished himself in mathematics. Joining a Polish artillery regiment in the French service, he took part in the Russian campaign of 1812, and subsequently so brilliantly distinguished himself in the defence of Danzig (January-November 1813) that he won the cross of the Legion of Honour. On returning to Poland he was for a time in the Russian service, but lost his post, and his liberty as well for some time, for his outspokenness. In 1825 he migrated to Lemberg, where he taught the physical sciences. He was about to write a treatise on the steam-engine, when the Polish War of Independence summoned him back to Warsaw in November 1830. It was his skill as an artillery officer which won for the Polish general Skrynecki the battle of Igany (March 8, 1831), and he distinguished himself at the indecisive battle of Ostrolenká (May 26). He took part in the desperate defence of Warsaw against Prince Paskievich (September 6–7, 1831). Then Bem escaped to Paris, where he supported himself by teaching mathematics. In 1833 he went to Portugal to assist the liberal Dom Pedro against the reactionary Dom Miguel, but abandoned the idea when it was found that a Polish legion could not be formed. A wider field for his activity presented itself in 1848. First he attempted to hold Vienna against the imperial troops, and, after the capitulation, hastened to Pressburg to offer his services to Kossuth, first defending himself, in a long memorial, from the accusations of treachery to the Polish cause and of aristocratic tendencies which the more fanatical section of the Polish emigrant Radicals repeatedly brought against him. He was entrusted with the defence of Transylvania at the end of 1848, and in 1849, as the general of the Szeklers (q.v.), he performed miracles with his little army, notably at the bridge of Piski (February 9), where, after fighting all day, he drove back an immense force of pursuers. After recovering Transylvania he was sent to drive the Austrian general Puchner out of the Banat of Temesvár. Bem defeated him at Orsova (May 16), but the Russian invasion recalled him to Transylvania. From the 12th to 22nd of July he was fighting continually, but finally, on the 31st of July, his army was annihilated by overwhelming numbers near Segesvár (Schässburg), Bem only escaping by feigning death. Yet he fought a fresh action at Gross-Scheueren on the 6th of August, and contrived to bring off the fragments of his host to Temesvár, to aid the hardly-pressed Dembinski. Bem was in command and was seriously wounded in the last pitched battle of the war, fought there on the 9th of August. On the collapse of the rebellion he fled to Turkey, adopted Mahommedanism, and under the name of Murad Pasha served as governor of Aleppo, at which place, at the risk of his life, he saved the Christian population from being massacred by the Moslems. Here he died on the 16th of September 1850. The tiny, withered, sickly body of Bem was animated by an heroic temper. Few men have been so courageous, and his influence was magnetic. Even the rough Szeklers, though they did not understand the language of their “little father,” regarded him with superstitious reverence. A statue to his honour has been erected at Maros-Vásárhely, but he lives still more enduringly in the immortal verses of the patriot poet Sandor Petöfi, who fell in the fatal action of the 31st of July at Segesvár. As a soldier Bem was remarkable for his excellent handling of artillery and the rapidity of his marches.

See Johann Czetz, Memoiren über Bems Feldzug (Hamburg, 1850); Kálmán Deresényi, General Bem’s Winter Campaign in Transylvania, 1848–1849 (Hung.), (Budapest, 1896).  (R. N. B.) 


BEMA (βῆμα), in ecclesiastical architecture, the semicircular recess or exedra, in the basilica, where the judges sat, and where in after times the altar was placed. It generally is roofed with a half dome. The seats, θρόνοι, of the priests were against the wall, looking into the body of the church, that of the bishop being in the centre. The bema is generally ascended by steps, and railed off. In Greece the bema was the general name of any raised platform. Thus the word was applied to the tribunal from which orators addressed assemblies of the citizens at Athens. That in the Pnyx, where the Ecclesia often met, was a stone platform from 10 to 11 ft. in height. Again in the Athenian law court counsel addressed the court from such a platform: it is not known whether each had a separate bema or whether there was only one to which each counsel (? and the witnesses) in turn ascended (cf. W. Wyse in his edition of Isaeus, p. 440). Another bema was the platform on which stood the urns for the reception of the bronze disks (ψῆφοι) by means of which at the end of the 4th century the judges recorded their decisions.

BEMBERG, HERMAN (1861–), French musical composer, was born of French parents at Buenos Aires, and studied at the Paris Conservatoire, under Massenet, whose influence, with that of Gounod, is strongly marked in his music. As a composer he is known by numerous songs and pieces for the piano, as well as by his cantata La Mort de Jeanne d’Arc (1886), comic opera Le Baiser