double forms of a great variety of shades; A. pontica (Levant, Caucasus, &c.), 4-6 ft. high, with numerous varieties differing in the colour of the flowers and the tint of the leaves; A. sinensis (China and Japan), a beautiful shrub, 3-4 ft. high, with orange-red or yellow bell-shaped flowers, hardy in the southern half of England, large numbers of varieties being in cultivation under the name of Japanese azaleas.
AZAMGARH, or Azimgarh, a city and district of British India, in the Gorakhpur division of the United Provinces. The town is situated on the river Tons, and has a railway station. It is said to have been founded about 1665 by a powerful landholder named Azim Khan, who owned large estates in this part of the country. Pop. (1901) 18,835.
The area of the district is 2207 sq. m. It is bounded on the N. by the river Gogra, separating it from Gorakhpur district; on the E. by Ghazipur district and the river Ganges; on the S. by the districts of Jaunpur and Ghazipur; and on the W. by Jaunpur and Fyzabad. The portion of the district lying along the banks of the Gogra is a low-lying tract, varying considerably in width; south of this, however, the ground takes a slight rise. The slope of the land is from north-west to south-east, but the general drainage is very inadequate. Roughly speaking, the district consists of a series of parallel ridges, whose summits are depressed into beds or hollows, along which the rivers flow; while between the ridges are low-lying rice lands, interspersed with numerous natural reservoirs. The soil is fertile, and very highly cultivated, bearing magnificent crops of rice, sugar-cane and indigo. There are several indigo factories. A branch of the Bengal & North-Western railway to Azamgarh town was opened in 1898. In 1901 the population was 1,529,785, showing a decrease of 11% in the decade. The district was ceded to the Company in 1801 by the wazirs of Lucknow. In 1857 it became a centre of mutiny. On the 3rd of June 1857 the 17th Regiment of Native Infantry mutinied at Azamgarh, murdered some of their officers, and carried off the government treasure to Fyzabad. The district became a centre of the fighting between the Gurkhas and the rebels, and was not finally cleared until October 1858 by Colonel Kelly.
AẒĀN (Arabic for “announcement”), the call or summons to public prayers proclaimed by the Muezzin (crier) from the mosque twice daily in all Mahommedan countries. In small mosques the Muezzin at Aẓān stands at the door or at the side of the building; in large ones he takes up his position in the minaret. The call translated runs: “God is most great!” (four times), “I testify there is no God but God!” (twice), “I testify that Mahomet is the apostle of God!” (twice), “Come to prayer!” (twice), “Come to salvation!” (twice), “God is most great!” (twice), “There is no God but God!” To the morning Aẓān are added the words, “Prayer is better than sleep!” (twice). The devout Moslem has to make a set response to each phrase of the Muezzin. At first these are mere repetitions of Aẓān, but to the cry “Come to prayer!” the listener must answer, “I have no power nor strength but from God the most High and Great.” To that of “Come to salvation!” the formal response is, “What God willeth will be: what He willeth not will not be.” The recital of the Aẓān must be listened to with the utmost reverence. The passers in the streets must stand still, all those at work must cease from their labours, and those in bed must sit up.
The Muezzin, who is a paid servant of the mosque, must stand with his face towards Mecca and with the points of his forefingers in his ears while reciting Aẓān. He is specially chosen for good character, and Aẓān must not be recited by any one unclean, by a drunkard, by the insane, or by a woman. The summons to prayers was at first simply “Come to prayer!” Mahomet, anxious to invest the call with the dignity of a ceremony, took counsel of his followers. Some suggested the Jewish trumpet, others the Christian bell, but according to legend the matter was finally settled by a dream:—“While the matter was under discussion, Abdallah, a Khazrajite, dreamed that he met a man clad in green raiment, carrying a bell. Abdallah sought to buy it, saying that it would do well for bringing together the assembly of the faithful. 'I will show thee a better way,' replied the stranger; 'let a crier cry aloud “God is most great, &c.”' On awaking, Abdallah went to Mahomet and told him his dream,” and Aẓān was thereupon instituted.
AZARA, DON JOSE NICHOLAS DE (1731-1804), Spanish diplomatist, was born in 1731 at Barbunales, Aragon, and was appointed in 1765 Spanish agent and procurator-general, and in 1785 ambassador at Rome. During his long residence there he distinguished himself as a collector of Italian antiquities and as a patron of art. He was also an able and active diplomatist, took a leading share in the difficult and hazardous task of the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain, and was instrumental in securing the election of Pius VI. He withdrew to Florence when the French took possession of Rome in 1798, but acted on behalf of the pope during his exile and after his death at Valence in 1799. He was afterwards Spanish ambassador in Paris. In that post it was his misfortune to be forced by his government to conduct the negotiations which led to the treaty of San Ildefonso, by which Spain was wholly subjected to Napoleon. Azara was friendly to a French alliance, but his experience showed him that his country was being sacrificed to Napoleon. The First Consul liked him personally, and found him easy to influence. Azara died, worn out, in Paris in 1804. His end was undoubtedly embittered by his discovery of the ills which the French alliance must produce for Spain.
Several sympathetic notices of Azara will be found in Thiers, Consulat et Empire. See also Reinado de Carlos IV, by Gen. J. Gomez de Arteche, in the Historia General de España, published by the R. Acad. de la Historia, Madrid, 1892, &c. There is a Notice historique sur le Chevalier d'Azara by Bourgoing (1804).
His younger brother, Don Felix de Azara (1746-1811), spent twenty years in South America as a commissioner for delimiting the boundary between the Spanish and Portuguese territories. He made many observations on the natural history of the country, which, together with an account of the discovery and history of Paraguay and Rio de la Plata, were incorporated in his principal work, Voyage dans l'Amérique méridionale depuis 1781 jusqu'en 1801, published at Paris in 1809 in French from his MS. by C. A. Walckenaer.
AZARIAH, the name of several persons mentioned in the Old Testament. (1) One of Solomon's “princes,” son of Zadok the priest (1 Kings iv. 2), was one of several Azariahs among the descendants of Levi (1 Chron. vi. 9, 10, 13, 36; 2 Chron. xxvi. 17). (2) The son of Nathan, a high official under King Solomon (1 Kings iv. 5). (3) King of Judah, son of Amaziah by his wife Jecholiah (2 Kings xv. 1, 2), also called Uzziah (2 Chron. xxvi. 1). (4) Son of Ethan and great-grandson of Judah (1 Chron. ii. 8). (5) Son of Jehu, of the posterity of Judah (1 Chron. ii. 38). (6) A prophet in the reign of Asa, king of Judah (2 Chron. xv. 1). (7) Two sons of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah (2 Chron. xxi. 2). (8) King of Judah, also called Ahaziah and Jehoahaz, son of Jehoram (2 Chron. xxi. 17; xxii. 1, 6). (9) The son of Jeroham, and (10) the son of Obed, were made “captains of hundreds” by Jehoiada the priest (2 Chron. xxiii. 1). (11) Son of Hilkiah and grandfather of Ezra the Scribe (Ezra vii. 1; Neh. vii. 7, viii. 7, x. 2). (12) Son of Maaseiah, one of those who under the commission of Artaxerxes restored the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. iii. 23). (13) Son of Hoshaiah, an opponent of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. xliii. 2). (14) One of the companions in captivity of the prophet Daniel, called Abednego by Nebuchadrezzar, by whom with two companions he was cast into a “burning fiery furnace” for refusing to worship the golden image set up by that monarch (Dan. i. 6, iii. 8-30).
AZAY-LE-RIDEAU, a town of western France, in the department of Indre-et-Loire, on the Indre, 16 m. S.W. of Tours by rail. Pop. (1906) 1453. The town has a fine Renaissance château, well restored in modern times, with good collections of furniture and pictures.
AZEGLIO, MASSIMO TAPARELLI, Marquis d' (1798-1866), Italian statesman and author, was born at Turin in October 1798, descended from an ancient and noble Piedmontese family. His father, Cesare d'Azeglio, was an officer in the Piedmontese army and held a high position at court; on the return of Pope