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SEMLIN—SEMO SANCUS

SEMLIN (Hungarian, Zimony; Servian, Zemun), a town of Croatia-Slavonia, in the county of Syrmia, situated beside the south bank of the Danube, on a tongue of land between that river and the Save. Pop. (1900) about 15,079; the majority being Serbs, the remainder Croats, Jews, Germans, Magyars and Gipsies. Semlin is the seat of an Orthodox archbishop; but most of the inhabitants are Roman Catholic. Apart from numerous churches, its chief buildings are the law-courts, prison, theatre, synagogue, a higher grade school or real-gymnasium, and two technical schools, one being for girls. Much of the town is modern, but its suburb F ranzenthal near the Danube consists partly of mud huts thatched with reeds. Standing at the confluence of two navigable rivers, and on the main line from Buda-Pest to Constantinople and Salonica, Semlin is the principal customs and quarantine station for travellers between Austria-Hungary and the Balkan states. It communicates with Vienna and the Black Sea, by the Danube; with Sissek, by the Save; and with Belgrade by a steam-ferry and a bridge over the Save. There are a few factories, but far more important is the transit trade in grain, fruit, livestock and timber.

Various Roman remains have been discovered near Semlin. On the top of Zigeunerberg, a hill overlooking the Danube, are the ruins of the castle of Hunyadi Janos, who died here in 1456. Until 1881 the town belonged to the Military frontier (q.v.).


SEMMELWEIS, IGNATZ PHILIPP (1818-1865), Hungarian physician, was born at Buda on the 1st of July 1818, and was educated at the universities of Pest and Vienna. At first he intended to study law, but soon abandoned it for medicine; and such was his promise that, even as an undergraduate, he attracted the attention of men like Joseph Skoda and Carl Rokitansky. He graduated M.D. at Vienna in 1844, and was then appointed assistant professor in the maternity department, under Johann Klein. In Klein's time the deaths in this department from what was then known as " puerperal fever " became portentous, the ratio being rarely under 5.03 and sometimes exceeding 7.45%. Between October 1841 and May 1843, of 5139 parturient women 829 died; giving the terrible death-rate of 16%, not counting those of patients transferred to other wards. It was observed that this rate of mortality prevailed in the students' clinic; in the midwives' clinic it ruled much lower. Semmelweis found no satisfactory explanation of this mortality in such causes as overcrowding, fear, mysterious atmospheric influences or even contaminated wards; yet that the cause lay in some local conditions he felt certain. The patients would die in rows, others escaping; and women delivering before arrival, or prematurely, would escape. At last, he tells us, the death of a colleague from a dissection wound, "unveiled to my mind an identity" with the fatal puerperal cases; and the beginning of a scientific pathology of septicaemia was made. The students often came to the lying-in wards from the dissecting room, their hands cleansed with soap and water only. In May 1847 Semmelweis prescribed ablutions with chlorinated lime water: in that month the mortality rate stood at 12.24%; before the end of the year it had fallen to 3.04, and in the second year to 1.27; thus even surpassing the results in the midwives' clinic. Skoda and other eminent physicians were convinced by these results (Zeitschrift d. k. k. Gesellschaft der Ärtzte in Wien, J. vi. B. i. p. 107). Klein however, apparently blinded by jealousy and vanity, supported by other reactionary teachers, and aided by the disasters that then befell the Hungarian nation, drove Semmelweis from Vienna in 1849. Fortunately, in the following year Semmelweis was appointed obstetric physician at Pest in the maternity department, then as terribly afflicted as Klein's clinic had been; and in his six years' tenure in office he succeeded, by antiseptic methods, in reducing the mortality to 0.85%. Semmelweis was slow and reluctant as an author, or no doubt his opinions would have obtained an earlier vogue; moreover, he was not only tender-hearted but also irascible, impatient and tactless. Thus it cannot be said that the stupidity or malignity of his opponents was wholly to blame for the tragical issue of the conflict which brought this man of genius within the gates of an asylum on the 20th of July 1865. Strange to say, he brought with him into this retreat a dissection wound of the right hand, and on the 17th of the following August he died, a victim of the very disease for the relief of which he had already sacrificed his health and fortune.

His chief publication was Die Ätiologie der Begriff und die Prophylaxis des Kindbettfiebers (Vienna, 1861). There are biographies by Hegar (Freiburg, 1882), Bruck (Vienna and Tischen, 1887), Duka (Hertford, 1882), Grosse (Vienna, 1898) and Schürer von Waldheim (Vienna, 1905). For the relations in the order of discovery of Semmelweis to Lister see Lister.

 (T. C. A.) 


SEMMERING PASS, the lowest of all the great passes across the Alps. The hospice, near the summit, was founded about 1160, but the pass was certainly used used at a much earlier date. Between 1848 and 1854 a railway line (the first in any sense to cross the Alps) was constructed, but passes 282 ft. below the summit of the pass (3225 ft.) by a tunnel about 1 m. long. The line runs from Wiener Neustadt (30½ m. from Vienna) past Bruck to Graz (139 m. from Vienna), the capital of Styria, whence it is 227 m. by rail to Trieste.


SEMOIS (also spelt Semoy and Semoys), a river of less than 120 m. in length rising near Arlon in Belgium, and flowing into the Meuse near Monthermé in France. It is Belgian for about 100 m. and French for the remainder, entering France a short distance west of the village of Bohan. It passes through the most picturesque scenery in Belgium and is remarkable for its sinuous course, its length of 120 m. representing only 47 in a straight line. Bouillon is the only town on its banks, and since it is not navigable it has escaped the contamination of manufacturing life; its valley remains an ideal specimen of sylvan scenery and medieval tranquillity.


SEMONVILLE, CHARLES LOUIS HUGUET, Marquis de (1759-1839), French diplomat, was born in Paris on the 9th of March 1759, the son of one of thelroyal secretaries. Minister and envoy extraordinary of France at Genoa in 1790-1791, he was instructed by Dumouriez to go to Turin to detach Victor Amadeo III. of Sardinia from the Austrian alliance, but was not permitted to cross the Sardinian frontier. In 1793 he had started with H. B. Maret (afterwards duc de Bassano) for Italy where they had missions to Florence and Naples respectively, when the two envoys were kidnapped by Austrian orders in the Valtelline. They remained in a Tirolese prison until December 1795, when there was an exchange of prisoners on the release of Madame Royale, daughter of Louis XVI., from the Temple. In 1799 Bonaparte, through whose influence his release had been obtained, sent him to the Hague to consolidate the alliance between France and the Batavian Republic. In this mission he was entirely successfulfand he is credited with another diplomatic success in the inception of the Austrian marriage. He accepted the Restoration and sat on the commission which drew up the charter. Sémonville, who enjoyed a great measure of Louis XVIII.'s confidence, took no part in the Hundred Days. A frank opponent of the extremist policy of Charles X., he tried to save him in 1830; in company with Antoine d'Argout he visited the Tuileries and persuaded the king to withdraw the ordinances and to summon the Council. He had been made a count of the Empire in 1808, and marquis in 1819. He died in Paris on the IIth of August 1839. .


SEMO SANCUS, an Italian divinity worshipped by the Sabines, Umbrians and Romans, also called Dius Fidius and (perhaps wrongly) identified with the Italian Hercules. His dual nature, as a god of light and good faith, is indicated by the names Dius Fidius. Sancus is obviously from sanclre, meaning one who hallows the acts in which he takes part. Semo has been variously explained as: (1) one who presides over seed-time and harvest (serere, cf. the female Semonia); (2) a being apart from and superior to man (se-homo); (3) a demigod (semis). The priests called bidentales, whose existence is attested by inscriptions, were specially connected with his worship, since lightning which fell from heaven during the day was looked upon as sent by Dius Fidius, and a special class of birds (sanquales) was under his protection. As the god of oaths, he protected the sanctity of the marriage tie, the rights of hospitality, international treaties

and alliances. In his sanctuary on the Quirinal, the foundation