carving of the 14th century. The cathedral is almost dwarfed by the Palace of the Popes, a sombre assemblage of buildings, which rises at its side and covers a space of more than 1¼ acres. Begun in 1316 by John XXII., it was continued by succeeding popes until 1370, and is in the Gothic style; in its construction everything has been sacrificed to strength, and though the effect is imposing, the place has the aspect rather of a fortress than of a palace. It was for long used as a barracks and prison, to the exigencies of which the fine apartments were ruthlessly adapted, but it is now municipal property. Among the minor churches of the town are St Pierre, which has a graceful façade and richly carved doors, St Didier and St Agricol, all three of Gothic architecture. The most notable of the civil buildings are the hôtel de ville, a modern building with a belfry of the 14th century, and the old Hôtel des Monnaies, the papal mint which was built in 1610 and is now used as a music-school. The Calvet Museum, so named after F. Calvet, physician, who in 1810 left his collections to the town, is rich in inscriptions, bronzes, glass and other antiquities, and in sculptures and paintings. The library has over 140,000 volumes. The town has a statue of a Persian, Jean Althen, who in 1765 introduced the culture of the madder plant, which long formed the staple and is still an important branch of local trade. In 1873 John Stuart Mill died at Avignon, and is buried in the cemetery. For the connexion of Petrarch with the town see Petrarch.
Avignon is subject to violent winds, of which the most disastrous is the mistral. The popular proverb is, however, somewhat exaggerated, Avenio ventosa, sine vento venenosa, cum vento fastidiosa (windy Avignon, pest-ridden when there is no wind, wind-pestered when there is).
Avignon is the seat of an archbishop and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a council of trade-arbitrators, a lycée, and training college, a chamber of commerce and a branch of the Bank of France. It is in the midst of a fertile district, in the products of which it has a large trade, and has flour-mills, distilleries, oil-works and leather-works, manufactures soap, chemicals and liquorice, and is well known for its sarsanet and other fabrics.
Avignon (Avenio) was an important town of the Gallic tribe of the Cavares, and under the Romans one of the leading cities of Gallia Narbonensis. Severely harassed during the barbarian invasions and by the Saracens, it was, in later times, attached successively to the kingdoms of Burgundy and of Arles and to the domains of the counts of Provence and of Toulouse and of Forcalquier. At the end of the 12th century it became a republic, but in 1226 was taken and dismantled by Louis VIII. as punishment for its support of the Albigenses, and in 1251 was forced to submit to the counts of Toulouse and Provence. In 1309 the city was chosen by Clement V. as his residence, and from that time till 1377 was the papal seat. In 1348 the city was sold by Joanna, countess of Provence, to Clement VI. After Gregory XI. had migrated to Rome, two antipopes, Clement VII. and Benedict XIII., resided at Avignon, from which the latter was expelled in 1408. The town remained in the possession of the popes, who governed it by means of legates, till its annexation by the National Assembly in 1791, though during this interval several kings of France made efforts to unite it with their dominions. In 1791 conflicts between the adherents of the Papacy and the Republicans led to much bloodshed. In 1815 Marshal Brune was assassinated in the town by the adherents of the royalist party. The bishopric, founded in the 3rd century, became an archbishopric in 1475.
See Fantoni Castrucci, Istoria della città d'Avignone e del Contado Venesino (Venice, 1678); J. B. Joudou, Histoire des souverains pontifes qui ont siégé à Avignon (Avignon, 1855); A. Canron, Guide de l'étranger dans la ville d'Avignon et ses environs (Avignon, 1858); J. F. André, Histoire de la Papauté à Avignon (Avignon, 1887).
ÁVILA, GIL GONZALEZ DE (c. 1577-1658), Spanish biographer and antiquary, was born and died at Ávila. He was made historiographer of Castile in 1612, and of the Indies in 1641. Of his numerous works, the most valuable are his Teatro de las Grandezas des Madrid (Madrid, 1623, sqq.), and his Teatro Eclesiastico, descriptive of the metropolitan churches and cathedrals of Castile, with lives of the prelates (Madrid, 1645-1653, 4 vols. 4to).
ÁVILA, a province of central Spain, one of the modern divisions of the kingdom of Old Castile; bounded on the N. by Valladolid, E. by Segovia and Madrid, S. by Toledo and Cáceres, and W. by Salamanca. Pop. (1900) 200,457; area, 2570 sq. m. Ávila is naturally divided into two sections, differing completely in soil, climate, productions and social economy. The northern portion is generally level; the soil is of indifferent quality, strong and marly in a few places, but rocky in all the valleys of the Sierra de Ávila; and the climate alternates from severe cold in winter to extreme heat in summer. The population of this part is mainly agricultural. The southern division is one mass of rugged granitic sierras, interspersed, however, with sheltered and well-watered valleys, abounding with rich vegetation. The winter here, especially in the elevated region of the Paramera and the waste lands of Ávila, is long and severe, but the climate is not unhealthy. In this region stock-breeding is an important industry. The principal mountain chains are the Guadarrama, separating this province from Madrid; the Paramera and Sierra de Ávila, west of the Guadarrama; and the vast wall of the Sierra de Gredos along the southern frontier, where its outstanding peaks rise to 6000 or even 8000 ft. The ridges which ramify from the Paramera are covered with valuable forests of beeches, oaks and firs, presenting a striking contrast to the bare peaks of the Sierra de Gredos. The principal rivers are the Alberche and Tietar, belonging to the basin of the Tagus, and the Tórmes, Trabáncos and Adaja, belonging to that of the Douro. The mountains contain silver, copper, iron, lead and coal, but their mineral wealth has been exaggerated, and at the beginning of the 20th century mining had practically been abandoned. Quarries of fine marble and jasper exist in the district of Arenas. The province declined in wealth and population during the 18th and 19th centuries, a result due less to the want of activity on the part of the inhabitants than to the oppressive manorial and feudal rights and the strict laws of entail and mortmain, which acted as barriers to progress.
Towards the close of this period many improvements were introduced, although the want of irrigation is still keenly felt. Wide tracts of waste land were planted with pinewoods by the ducal house of Medina Sidonia. The main roads are fairly good; and Ávila, the capital, is connected by rail with Salamanca, Valladolid and Madrid; but in many parts of the province the means of communication are defective. Except Ávila there are no important towns. The principal production is the wool of the merino sheep, which at one time yielded an immense revenue. Game is plentiful, and the rivers abound in fish, specially trout. Olives, chestnuts and grapes are grown, and silk-worms are kept. There is little trade, and the manufactures are few, consisting chiefly of copper utensils, lime, soap, cloth, paper and combs. The state of elementary education is comparatively good, rather more than two-thirds of the population being able to read and write, and the ratio of crime is proportionately low.
ÁVILA (anc. Abula or Avela), the capital of the province described above; on the right bank of the river Adaja, 54 m. W. by N. of Madrid, by the Madrid-Valladolid railway. Pop. (1900) 11,885. The city is built on the flat summit of a rocky hill, which rises abruptly in the midst of a veritable wilderness; a brown, arid, treeless table-land, strewn with immense grey boulders, and shut in by lofty mountains. The ancient walls of Ávila, constructed of brown granite, and surmounted by a breastwork, with eighty-six towers and nine gateways, are still in excellent repair; but a large part of the city lies beyond their circuit. Ávila is the seat of a bishop, and contains several ecclesiastical buildings of high interest. The Gothic cathedral, said by tradition to date from 1107, but probably of 13th or 14th century workmanship, has the appearance of a fortress, with embattled walls and two solid towers. It contains many interesting sculptures and paintings, besides one especially fine silver pyx, the work of Juan de Arphe, dating from 1571. The churches of San Vicente, San Pedro, Santo Tomás and San