Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
811
COMPIÈGNE—COMPOSITAE

COMPIÈGNE, a town of northern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Oise, 52 m. N.N.E. of Paris on the Northern railway between Paris and St Quentin. Pop. (1906) 14,052. The town, which is a favourite summer resort, stands on the north-west border of the forest of Compiègne and on the left bank of the Oise, less than 1 m. below its confluence with the Aisne. The river is crossed by a bridge built in the reign of Louis XV. The Rue Solférino, a continuation of the bridge ending at the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, is the busy street of the town; elsewhere, except on market days, the streets are quiet. The hôtel de ville, with a graceful façade surmounted by a lofty belfry, is in the late Gothic style of the early 16th century and was completed in modern times. Of the churches, St Antoine (13th and 16th centuries) with some fine Renaissance stained glass, and St Jacques (13th and 15th centuries), need alone be mentioned. The remains of the ancient abbey of St Corneille are used as a military storehouse. Compiègne, from a very early period until 1870, was the occasional residence of the French kings. Its palace, one of the most magnificent structures of its kind, was erected, chiefly by Louis XV. and Louis XVI., on the site of a château of King Charles V. of France. It now serves as an art museum. It has two façades, one overlooking the Place du Palais and the town, the other, more imposing, facing towards a fine park and the forest, which is chiefly of oak and beech and covers over 36,000 acres. Compiègne is the seat of a subprefect, and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a communal college, library and hospital. The industries comprise boat-building, rope-making, steam-sawing, distilling and the manufacture of chocolate, machinery and sacks and coarse coverings, and at Margny, a suburb, there are manufactures of chemicals and felt hats. Asparagus is cultivated in the environs. There is considerable trade in timber and coal, chiefly river-borne.

Compiègne, or as it is called in the Latin chronicles, Compendium, seems originally to have been a hunting-lodge of the early Frankish kings. It was enriched by Charles the Bald with two castles, and a Benedictine abbey dedicated to Saint Corneille, the monks of which retained down to the 18th century the privilege of acting for three days as lords of Compiègne, with full power to release prisoners, condemn the guilty, and even inflict sentence of death. It was in Compiègne that King Louis I. the Debonair was deposed in 833; and at the siege of the town in 1430 Joan of Arc was taken prisoner by the English. A monument to her faces the hôtel de ville. In 1624 the town gave its name to a treaty of alliance concluded by Richelieu with the Dutch; and it was in the palace that Louis XV. gave welcome to Marie Antoinette, that Napoleon I. received Marie Louise of Austria, that Louis XVIII. entertained the emperor Alexander of Russia, and that Leopold I., king of the Belgians, was married to the princess Louise. In 1814 Compiègne offered a stubborn resistance to the Prussian troops. Under Napoleon III. it was the annual resort of the court during the hunting season. From 1870 to 1871 it was one of the headquarters of the German army.


COMPLEMENT (Lat. complementum, from complere, to fill up), that which fills up or completes anything, e.g. the number of men necessary to man a ship. In geometry, the complement of an angle is the difference between the angle and a right angle; the complements of a parallelogram are formed by drawing parallel to adjacent sides of a parallelogram two lines intersecting on a diagonal; four parallelograms are thus formed, and the two not about the diagonal of the original parallelogram are the complements of the parallelogram. In analysis, a complementary function is a partial solution to a differential equation (q.v.); complementary operators are reciprocal or inverse operators, i.e. two operations A and B are complementary when both operating on the same figure or function leave it unchanged. A “complementary colour” is one which produces white when mixed with another (see Colour). In Spanish the word cumplimento was used in a particular sense of the fulfilment of the duties of polite behaviour and courtesy, and it came through the French and Italian forms into use in English, with a change in spelling to “compliment,” with the sense of an act of politeness, especially of a polite expression of praise, or of social regard and greetings. The word “comply,” meaning to act in accordance with wishes, orders or conditions, is also derived from the same origin, but in sense is connected with “ply” or “pliant,” from Lat. plicare, to bend, with the idea of subserviently yielding to the wishes of another.


COMPLUVIUM (from Lat. compluere, to flow together, i.e. in reference to the rain being collected and falling through), in architecture, the Latin term for the open space left in the roof of the atrium of a Roman house for lighting it and the rooms round (see Cavaedium).


COMPOSITAE, the name given to the largest natural order of flowering plants, containing about one-tenth of the whole number and characterized by the crowding of the flowers into heads. The order is cosmopolitan, and the plants show considerable variety in habit. The great majority, including most British representatives, are herbaceous, but in the warmer parts of the world shrubs and arborescent forms also occur; the latter are characteristic of the flora of oceanic islands. In herbaceous plants the leaves are often arranged in a rosette on a much shortened stem, as in dandelion, daisy and others; when the stem is elongated the leaves are generally alternate. The root is generally thickened, sometimes, as in dahlia, tuberous; root and stem contain oil passages, or, as in lettuce and dandelion, a milky white latex. The flowers are crowded in heads (capitula) which are surrounded by an involucre of green bracts,—these protect the head of flowers in the bud stage, performing the usual function of a calyx. The enlarged top of the axis, the receptacle, is flat, convex or conical, and the flowers open in centripetal succession. In many cases, as in the sunflower or daisy, the outer or ray-florets are larger and more conspicuous than the inner, or disk-florets; in other cases, as in dandelion, the florets are all alike. Ray-florets when present are usually pistillate, but neuter in some genera (as Centaurea); the disk-florets are hermaphrodite. The flower is epigynous; the calyx is sometimes absent, or is represented by a rim on the top of the ovary, or takes the form of hairs or bristles which enlarge in the fruiting stage to form the pappus by means of which the seed is dispersed. The corolla, of five united petals, is regular and tubular in shape as in the disk-florets, or irregular when it is either strap-shaped (ligulate), as in the ray-florets of daisy, &c., or all the florets of dandelion, or more rarely two-lipped. The five stamens are attached to the interior of the corolla-tube; the filaments are free; the anthers are joined (syngenesious) to form a tube round the single style, which ends in a pair of stigmas. The inferior ovary contains one ovule (attached to the base of the chamber), and ripens to form a dry one-seeded fruit; the seed is filled with the straight embryo.

EB1911 Compositae - Fig. 1.—Marigold; fruits.jpg
Fig. 1.
1. Flower head of Marigold. 3. Head of fruits, nat. size.
2. Same in vertical section. 4. A single fruit.

The flower-heads are an admirable example of an adaptation for pollination by aid of insects. The crowding of the flowers in heads ensures the pollination of a large number as the result of a single insect visit. Honey is secreted at the base of the style, and is protected from rain or dew and the visits of short-lipped insects by the corolla-tube, the length of which is