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COMMUTATION—COMO

also known as Economites. Emigrants from Württemberg also founded the community of Zoar in Ohio in 1817, being incorporated in 1832 as the Society of Separatists of Zoar; it was dissolved in 1898. The Amana (q.v.) community, the strongest of all American communistic societies, originated in Germany in the early part of the 18th century as “the True Inspiration Society,” and some 600 members removed to America in 1842–1844. The Bethel (Missouri) and Aurora (Oregon) sister communities were founded by Dr Keil (1812–1877) in 1844 and 1856 respectively, and were dissolved in 1880 and 1881. The Oneida Community (q.v.), created by John Humphrey Noyes (1811–1886), the author of a famous History of American Socialisms (1870), was established in 1848 as a settlement for the Society of Perfectionists. All these bodies had a religious basis, and were formed with the object of enjoying the free exercise of their beliefs, and though communistic in character they had no political or strictly economic doctrine to propagate.

2. The Owenite communities rose under the influence of Robert Owen’s work at New Lanark, and his propaganda in America from 1824 onwards, the principal being New Harmony (acquired from the Rappists in 1825); Yellow Springs, near Cincinnati, 1824; Nashoba, Tennessee, 1825; Haverstraw, New York, 1826; its short-lived successors, Coxsackie, New York, and the Kendal Community, Canton, Ohio, 1826. All these had more or less short existences, and were founded on Owen’s theories of labour and economics.

3. The Fourierist communities similarly were due to the Utopian teachings of the Frenchman Charles Fourier (q.v.), introduced into America by his disciple Albert Brisbane (1809–1890), author of The Social Destiny of Man (1840), who was efficiently helped by Horace Greeley, George Ripley and others. The North American Phalanx, in New Jersey, was started in 1843 and lasted till 1855. Brook Farm (q.v.) was started as a Fourierist Phalanx in 1844, after three years’ independent career, and became the centre of Fourierist propaganda, lasting till 1847. The Wisconsin Phalanx, or Ceresco, was organized in 1844, and lasted till 1850. In Pennsylvania seven communities were established between 1843 and 1845, the chief of which were the Sylvania Association, the Peace Union Settlement, the Social Reform Unity, and the Leraysville Phalanx. In New York state the chief were the Clarkson Phalanx, the Sodus Bay Phalanx, the Bloomfield Association, and the Ontario Union. In Ohio the principal were the Trumbull Phalanx, the Ohio Phalanx, the Clermont Phalanx, the Integral Phalanx, and the Columbian Phalanx; and of the remainder the Alphadelphia Phalanx, in Michigan, was the best-known. It is pointed out by Morris Hillquit that while only two Fourierist Phalanxes were established in France, over forty were started in the United States.

4. The Icarian communities were due to the communistic teachings of another Frenchman, Étienne Cabet (q.v.) (1788–1856), the name being derived from his social romance, Voyage en Icarie (1840), sketching the advantages of an imaginary country called Icaria, with a co-operative system, and criticizing the existing social organization. It was his idea, in fact, of a Utopia. Robert Owen advised him to establish his followers, already numerous, in Texas, and thither about 1500 went in 1848. But disappointment resulted, and their numbers dwindled to less than 500 in 1849; some 280 went to Nauvoo, Illinois; after a schism in 1856 some formed a new colony (1858) at Cheltenham, near St Louis; others went to Iowa, others to California. The last branch was dissolved in 1895.

See also the articles Socialism; Owen; Saint-Simon; Fourier, &c.; and the bibliography to Socialism. The whole subject is admirably covered in Morris Hillquit’s work, referred to above; and see also Noyes’s History of American Socialisms (1870); Charles Nordhoff’s Communistic Societies of the United States (1875); and W. A. Hinds’s American Communities (1878; 2nd edition, 1902), a very complete account.


COMMUTATION (from Lat. commutare, to change), a process of exchanging one thing for another, particularly of one method of payment for another, such as payment in money for payment in kind or by service, or of payment of a lump sum for periodical payments; for various kinds of such substitution see Annuity; Copyhold and Tithes. The word is also used similarly of the substitution of a lesser sentence on a criminal for a greater. In electrical engineering, the word is applied to the reversal of the course of an electric current, the contrivance for so doing being known as a “commutator” (see Dynamo). In America, a “commutation ticket” on a railway is one which allows a person to travel at a lower rate over a particular route for a certain time or for a certain number of times; the person holding such a ticket is known as a “commuter.”


COMNENUS, the name of a Byzantine family which from 1081 to 1185 occupied the throne of Constantinople. It claimed a Roman origin, but its earliest representatives appear as landed proprietors in the district of Castamon (mod. Kastamuni) in Paphlagonia. Its first member known in Byzantine history is Manuel Eroticus Comnenus, an able general who rendered great services to Basil II. (976–1025) in the East. At his death he left his two sons Isaac and John in the care of Basil, who gave them a careful education and advanced them to high official positions. The increasing unpopularity of the Macedonian dynasty culminated in a revolt of the nobles and the soldiery of Asia against its feeble representative Michael VI. Stratioticus, who abdicated after a brief resistance. Isaac was declared emperor, and crowned in St Sophia on the 2nd of September 1057. For the rulers of this dynasty see Roman Empire, Later, and separate articles.

With Andronicus I. (1183–1185) the rule of the Comneni proper at Constantinople came to an end. A younger line of the original house, after the establishment of the Latins at Constantinople in 1204, secured possession of a fragment of the empire in Asia Minor, and founded the empire of Trebizond (q.v.), which lasted till 1461, when David Comnenus, the last emperor, was deposed by Mahommed II.

For a general account of the family and its alleged survivors see article “Komnenen,” by G. F. Hertzberg, in Ersch and Gruber’s Allgemeine Encyklopädie, and an anonymous monograph, Précis historique de la maison impériale des Comnènes (Amsterdam, 1784); and, for the history of the period, the works referred to under Roman Empire, Later.


COMO (anc. Comum), a city and episcopal see of Lombardy, Italy, the capital of the province of Como, situated at the S. end of the W. branch of the Lake of Como, 30 m. by rail N. by W. of Milan. Pop. (1881) 25,560; (1905) 34,272 (town), 41,124 (commune). The city lies in a valley enclosed by mountains, the slopes of which command fine views of the lake. The old town, which preserves its rectangular plan from Roman times, is enclosed by walls, with towers constructed in the 12th century. The cathedral, built entirely of marble, occupies the site of an earlier church, and was begun in 1396, from which period the nave dates: the façade belongs to 1457–1486, while the east of the exterior was altered into the Renaissance style, and richly decorated with sculptures by Tommaso Rodari in 1487–1526. The dome is an unsuitable addition of 1731 by the Sicilian architect Filippo Juvara (1685–1735), and its baroque decorations spoil the effect of the fine Gothic interior. It contains some good pictures and fine tapestries. In the same line as the façade of the cathedral are the Broletto (in black and white marble), dating from 1215, the seat of the original rulers of the commune, and the massive clock-tower. The Romanesque church of S. Abondio outside the town was founded in 1013 and consecrated in 1095; it has two fine campanili, placed at the ends of the aisles close to the apse. It occupies the site of the 5th-century church of SS. Peter and Paul. Near it is the Romanesque church of S. Carpoforo. Above it is the ruined castle of Baradello. The churches of S. Giacomo (1095–1117) and S. Fedele (12th century), both in the town, are also Romanesque, and the apses have external galleries. The Palazzo Giovio contains the Museo Civico. Como is a considerable tourist resort, and the steamboat traffic on the lake is largely for travellers. A climate station is established on the hill of Brunate (2350 ft.) above the town to the E., reached by a funicular railway. The Milanese possess many villas here. Como is an industrial town, having large silk factories and other industries (see Lombardy). It is connected with Milan by two lines of railway, one via Monza (the main line,