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

which the chapter is attached for six months in the year. La Seo (“The See”) is the older of the two, dating chiefly from the 14th century; its prevailing style is Gothic, but the oldest portion, the lower walls of the apse, is Byzantine. The Iglesia Metropolitana del Pilar is the larger building, dating only from the latter half of the 17th century; it was built after designs by Herrera el Mozo, and owes it name to one of the most venerated objects in Spain, the “pillar” of jasper on which the Virgin is said to have alighted when she manifested herself to St James as he passed through Saragossa. It has little architectural merit; externally its most conspicuous features are its cupolas, which are decorated with rows of green, yellow and white glazed tiles. The church of San Pablo dates mainly from the 13th century. The Torre Nueva, an octangular clock tower in diapered brickwork, dating from 1504, was pulled down in 1892; it leaned some 9 or 10 ft. from the perpendicular, owing to faulty foundations, which ultimately rendered it unsafe. Among other conspicuous public buildings are the municipal buildings, the exchange (Lonja), and the civil and military hospitals and almshouse (Hospicio provincial), which are among the largest in Spain. The university was founded in 1474, but its history has not been brilliant. To the west of the town is the Aljaferia or old citadel, originally built as a palace by the Moors and also used as such by its Christian owners. Late in the 15th century it was assigned by Ferdinand and Isabella to the Inquisition, and has since been used as a military hospital, as a prison and as barracks. Saragossa is the headquarters of a large agricultural trade; its industries include iron-founding, tanning, brewing, distillation of spirits, and manufactures of machinery, candles, soap, glass and porcelain.

History.—Saragossa (Celtiberian, Salduba) was made a colony by Augustus at the close of the Celtiberian War (25 b.c.), and renamed Caesarea Augusta or Caesaraugusta, from which “Saragossa” is derived. Under the Romans it was a highly privileged city, the chief commercial and military station in the Ebro valley, and the seat of one of the four conventus juridici (assizes) of Hither Spain. It is now, however, almost destitute of antiquities dating from the Roman occupation. It was captured in 452 by the Suebi, and in 476 by the Visigoths, whose rule lasted until the Moorish conquest in 712, and under whom Saragossa was the first city to abandon the Arian heresy. In 777 its Moorish ruler, the viceroy of Barcelona, appealed to Charlemagne for aid against the powerful caliph of Cordova, Abd-ar-Rahman I. Charlemagne besieged the Cordovan army in Sarkosta, as the city was then called; but a rebellion of his Saxon subjects compelled him to withdraw his army, which suflered defeat at Roncesvalles (q.v.), while recrossing the Pyrenees. The Moors were finally expelled by Alphonso I. of Aragon in 1118, after a siege lasting nine months in which the defenders were reduced to terrible straits by famine. As the capital of Aragon, Saragossa prospered greatly until the second half of the 15th century, when the marriage between Ferdinand and Isabella (1469) resulted in the transference of the court to Castile. In 1710 the allied British and Austrian armies defeated the forces of Philip V. at Saragossa in the war of the Spanish Succession; but it was in the Peninsular War (q.v.) that the city reached the zenith of its fame. An ill-armed body of citizens, led by José de Palafox y Melzi (see Palafox), whose chief lieutenants were a priest and two peasants, held the hastily-entrenched city against Marshal Lefebvre from the 15th of June to the 15th of August 1808. The siege was then raised in consequence of the reverse suffered by the French at Bailen (q.v.), but it was renewed on the 20th of December, and on the 27th of January the invaders entered the city. Even then they encountered a desperate resistance, and it was not until the 20th of February that the defenders were compelled to capitulate, after more than three weeks of continuous street fighting. About 50,000 persons, the majority non-combatants, perished in the city, largely through famine and disease. Among the defenders was the famous “Maid of Saragossa,” Maria Agustin, whose exploits were described by Byron in Childe Harald (1, 55 sqq.).

SARAGOSSA, COUNCILS OF (Concilia Caesaraugustana). In or about 380 a council of Spanish and Aquitanian bishops adopted at Saragossa eight canons bearing more or less directly on the prevalent heresy of Priscillianism. A second council, held in 592, solved practical problems incident to the recent conversion of the West Goths from Arianism to orthodox Christianity. The third council, in 691, issued five canons on discipline. In 1318 a provincial synod proclaimed the elevation of Saragossa to the rank of an archbishopric; and from September 1565 to February 1566 a similar synod made known the decrees of Trent.

H. T. Bruns, Canones apostolorum et conciliorum saeculorum iv., v., vi., vii., pars altera (Berlin, 1839); P. B. Gams, Die Kircheneschichte von Spanien (Regensburg, 1862–1879).  (W. W. R.*) 

SARAN, a district of British India, in the Tirhut division of Bengal. Area, 2674 sq. m. It is a vast alluvial plain, possessing scarcely any undulations, but with a general inclination towards the south-east, as indicated by the flow of the rivers in that direction. The principal rivers, besides the Ganges, are the Gandak and Gogra, which are navigable throughout the year. The district has long been noted for its high state of cultivation. It yields large crops of rice, besides other cereals, pulses, oil seeds, poppy, indigo and sugar-cane.

The population in 1901 was 2,409,509, showing a decrease of 2.2%, compared with an increase of 7.4% in the previous decade. The average density of population, 901 per square mile, is the highest rate for all India. The indigo industry, formerly of the first importance, has declined, and sugar refining has in great part taken its place. Some saltpetre is produced, and shellac is manufactured. Saran is exposed to drought and flood. It suffered from the famine of 1874, and again in 1896–1899. An irrigation scheme from the river Gandak, started in 1878, proved a failure, after a capital expenditure of Rs. 7,000,000. The Bengal North-Western railway runs through the south of the district. The administrative headquarters are at Chapra.

See Saran District Gazetteer (Calcutta, 1908).

SARAPUL, a town of N. Russia, in the government of Vyatka, on the river Kama, 333 m. by river E.N.E. of Kazan and 266 m. S.W. of Perm. Pop. (1855) 12,367; (1897) 21,395. Boots, shoes and gloves are manufactured, the first-named being mostly exported to Siberia, Caucasia and Turkestan. It has also tanneries, flax mills, distilleries, ironworks and rope-works, and is a busy river-port, trafficking in corn and timber. There are a lace-making school and a municipal library.

SARASATE Y NAVASCUES, PABLO MARTIN MELITON DE (1844–1908), Spanish violinist, was born at Pamplona on the 10th of March 1844. From his early years he displayed his aptitude for the violin, and at the age of 12 he began to study under Alard at the Paris Conservatoire. His first public appearance as a concert violinist was in 1860. He played in London in 1861, and in the course of his career he visited all parts of Europe and also both North and South America. His artistic pre-eminence was due principally to the purity of his tone, which was free from any tendency towards sentimentality and rhapsodic mannerism, and to the astonishing facility of execution which made him in the best sense of the word a virtuoso. Although in the Beethoven and Mendelssohn Concertos, and in modern French and Belgian works, his playing was unrivalled, his qualities were most clearly revealed in the solos which he himself composed, which were “the spirit of Spanish dance translated into terms of the violin virtuoso.” Sarasate died at Biarritz on the 20th of September 1908.

SARASIN, or Sarrazin, JEAN FRANÇOIS (1611?–1654), French author, son of Roger Sarasin, treasurer-general at Caen, was born at Hermanville near Caen. He was educated at Caen, and settled in Paris. As a writer of vers de société he rivalled Voiture, but he was never admitted to the inner circle of the hôtel de Rambouillet. He was on terms of intimate friendship with Scarron, with whom he exchanged verses, with Ménage, and with Pellisson. In 1639 he supported Georges de Scudéry in his attack on Corneille with a Discours de la tragédie, He accompanied Léon Bouthillier, comte de Chavigny, secretary of state for foreign affairs, on various diplomatic errands. He was to have been sent on an embassy to Rome, but spent the money allotted for the purpose in Paris. This weakened his position with Chavigny, from whom he parted in the winter of 1643–1644. To restore his fallen fortunes he married a rich widow, but the alliance was of short duration. He joined in the pamphlet war against Pierre de Montmaur, against whom he directed his satire, Bellum parasiticum (1644). He was accused of writing satires on Mazarin, and for a short time gave up the practice of verse. In 1648, supported, by the cardinal