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

CHAMOMILE, or Camomile Flowers, the flores anthemidis of the British Pharmacopoeia, the flower-heads of Anthemis nobilis (Nat. Ord. Compositae), a herb indigenous to England and western Europe. It is cultivated for medicinal purposes in Surrey, at several places in Saxony, and in France and Belgium,—that grown in England being much more valuable than any of the foreign chamomiles brought into the market. In the wild plant the florets of the ray are ligulate and white, and contain pistils only, those of the disk being tubular and yellow; but under cultivation the whole of the florets tend to become ligulate and white, in which state the flower-heads are said to be double. The flower-heads have a warm aromatic odour, which is characteristic of the entire plant, and a very bitter taste. In addition to a bitter extractive principle, they yield about 2% of a volatile liquid, which on its first extraction is of a pale blue colour, but becomes a yellowish brown on exposure to light. It has the characteristic odour of the flowers, and consists of a mixture of butyl and amyl angelates and valerates. Angelate of potassium has been obtained by treatment of the oil with caustic potash, and angelic acid may be isolated from this by treatment with dilute sulphuric acid. Chamomile is used in medicine in the form of its volatile oil, of which the dose is ½-3 minims. There is an official extract which is never used. Like all volatile oils the drug is a stomachic and carminative. In large doses the infusion is a simple emetic.

Wild chamomile is Matricaria Chamomilla, a weed common in waste and cultivated ground especially in the southern counties of England. It has somewhat the appearance of true chamomile, but a fainter scent.

CHAMONIX, a mountain valley in south-east France, its chief village, of the same name, being the capital of a canton of the arrondissement of Bonneville in the department of Haute-Savoie. The valley runs from N.E. to S.W., and is watered by the Arve, which rises in the Mer de Glace. On the S.E. towers the snowclad chain of Mont Blanc, and on the N.W. the less lofty, but rugged chain of the Brévent and of the Aiguilles Rouges. Near the head of the valley is the village of Argentière (4101 ft.), which is connected with Switzerland by “char” (light carriage) roads over the Tête Noire and past Salvan, and by a mule path over the Col de Balme, which joins the Tête Noire route near Trient and then crosses by a “char” road the Col de la Forclaz to Martigny in the Rhone valley. The principal village, Chamonix (3416 ft.), is 6 m. below Argentière by electric railway (which continues via Finhaut to Martigny) and is visited annually by a host of tourists, as it is the best starting-point for the exploration of the glaciers of the Mont Blanc chain, as well as for the ascent of Mont Blanc itself. It is connected with Geneva by a railway (55 m.). In 1906 the population of the village was 806, of the commune 3482.

The valley is first heard of about 1091, when it was granted by the count of the Genevois to the great Benedictine house of St Michel de la Cluse, near Turin, which by the early 13th century established a priory therein. But in 1786 the inhabitants bought their freedom from the canons of Sallanches, to whom the priory had been transferred in 1519. In 1530 the inhabitants obtained from the count of the Genevois the privilege of holding two fairs a year, while the valley was often visited by the civil officials and by the bishops of Geneva (first recorded visit in 1411, while St Francis de Sales came thither in 1606). But travellers for pleasure were long rare. The first party to publish (1744) an account of their visit was that of Dr R. Pococke, Mr W. Windham and other Englishmen who visited the Mer de Glace in 1741. In 1742 came P. Martel and several other Genevese, in 1760 H. B. de Saussure, and rather later Bourrit.

See J. A. Bonnefoy and A. Perrin, Le Prieuré de Chamonix (2 vols., Chambery, 1879 and 1883); A. Perrin, Histoire de la vallée et du prieuré de Chamonix (Chambéry, 1887); L. Kurz and X. Imfeld, Carte de la chaîne du Mont Blanc (1896; new ed., 1905); L. Kurz, Climbers’ Guide to the Chain of Mont Blanc (London, 1892); also works referred to under Blanc, Mont.  (W. A. B. C.) 

CHAMPAGNE, an ancient province of the kingdom of France, bounded N. by Liége and Luxemburg; E. by Lorraine; S. by Burgundy; and W. by Picardy and Isle de France. It now forms the departments of Ardennes, Marne, Aube and Haute Marne, with part of Aisne, Seine-et-Marne, Yonne and Meuse. Its name—in Latin Campania, “country of plains”—is derived from the immense plains near Reims, Châlons and Troyes. It was constituted towards the end of the middle ages by joining to the countship of Champagne the ecclesiastical duchies of Reims and Langres, together with the ecclesiastical countship of Châlons. Documents of the 12th and 13th centuries make it possible to determine the territorial configuration of the countship of Champagne with greater accuracy than in the case of any other fief of the crown of France. Formed at random by the acquisitions of the counts of the houses of Vermandois and Blois, Champagne reckoned among its dependencies, from 1152 to 1234, the countship of Blois and Chartres, of which Touraine was a fief, the countship of Sancerre, and various scattered fiefs in the Bourbonnais and in Burgundy. Officially called the “countship of Champagne and Brie” since 1217, this state was formed by the union of the countships of Troyes and Meaux, to which the greater part of the districts embraced in the country known, since the beginning of the middle ages, by the name of Champagne and Brie came in course of time to be attached. Placed under the authority of a single count in 960, the countships of Troyes and Meaux were not again separated after 1125. For the counts of Troyes before the 11th century see Troyes. We confine ourselves here to the counts of Champagne of the house of Blois.

About 1020 Eudes or Odo I. (Odo II., count of Blois) became count of Champagne. He disputed the kingdom of Burgundy with the emperor Conrad, and died in 1037, in a battle near Bar-le-Duc. In 1037 he was succeeded by his younger son, Stephen II. About 1050 Odo II., son of Stephen II., became count. This prince, guilty of murder, found refuge in Normandy, where he received the castle of Aumale. He took part in 1066 in the conquest of England, and became earl of Holderness. About 1063 Theobald (Thibaud) I., count of Blois and Meaux, eldest son of Odo I., became count of Champagne. In 1077 he seized the countships of Vitry and Bar-sur-Aube, left vacant by Simon of Valois, who had retired to a monastery. In 1089 Odo III., second son of Theobald II., became count, and was succeeded about 1093 by his younger brother, Hugh, who became a templar in 1125, and gave up the countship to his suzerain, the count of Blois. In 1125 the countship of Champagne passed to Theobald II. the Great, already count of Blois and Meaux, and one of the most powerful French barons of his time. He was related to the royal house of England, and incurred the displeasure of the king of France, who in 1142 invaded Champagne and burnt the town of Vitry. After Theobald the Great the countship of Blois ceased to be the dominant fief of his house and became the appanage of a younger branch. In 1152 Henry the Liberal, eldest son of Theobald II., became count of Champagne; he married Mary, daughter of Louis VII. of France, and went to the crusade in 1178. He was taken prisoner by the Turks, recovered his liberty through the good offices of the emperor of the East, and died a few days after his return to Champagne. In 1181 his eldest son, Henry II., succeeded him under the tutelage of Mary of France. In 1190 he went to the Holy Land, and became king of Jerusalem in 1192 by his marriage with Isabelle, widow of the marquis of Montferrat. He died in 1197 in his town of Acre from the results of an accident. In 1197 Theobald III., younger son of Henry I., became count, and was succeeded in 1201 by Theobald IV., “le Chansonnier” (the singer), who was the son of Theobald III. and Blanche of Navarre, and was born some days after the death of his father. From 1201 to 1222 he remained under the tutelage of his mother, who governed Champagne with great sagacity. The reign of this prince was singularly eventful. The two daughters of count Henry II. successively claimed the countship, so that Theobald had to combat the claims of Philippa, wife of Erard of Brienne, seigneur of Rameru, from 1216 to 1222, and those of Alix, queen dowager of Cyprus, in 1233 and 1234. In 1226 he followed king Louis VII. to the siege of Avignon, and after the death of that monarch played a prominent part during the reign of St Louis. At first leagued with the malcontent barons, he allowed himself to be gained over by the queen-mother, and