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SESAME—SESSA AURUNCA

London, 1886); Möller, Der serbisch-bulgarische Krieg, 1885 (Hanover, 1888); Regenspursky, Die Kämpfe bei Slivnitza (Vienna, 1895); Der serbiseh-bulgarische Krieg bis zum Wajenstillstande (Berlin, 1886); Der serbisch-bulgarische Krieg, eine militarische Studie (Berlin, 1887); Kunz, Taktische Beispiele aus den Kriegen der neuesten Zeit: I. Der serbiseh-bulgarische Krieg (Berlin, 1901); Bujac, Précis de quelques campagnes contemporaines: I. Dans les Balkans (Limoges and Paris).


SESAME, the most important plant of the genus Sesamum (nat. ord. Pedalineae), is that which is used throughout India and other tropical countries for the sake of the oil expressed from its seeds. S. indicum is a herb 2 to 4 ft. high, with the lower leaves on long stalks, broad, coarsely toothed or lobed. The upper leaves are lanceolate, and bear in their axils curved, tubular, two-lipped flowers, each about 3/4 in. long, and pinkish or yellowish in colour. The four stamens are of unequal length, with a trace of


a fifth stamen, and the two-celled ovary ripens into a two-valved pod with numerous seeds. The plant has been cultivated in the tropics from time immemorial, and is supposed on philological grounds to have been disseminated from the islands of the Indian Archipelago, but at present it is not known with certainty in a wild state. The plant varies in the colour of the flower, and especially in that of the seeds, which range from light yellow or whitish to black. Sesame oil, otherwise known as gingelly or til (not to be confounded with that derived from Guizotia oleifera, known under the same vernacular name), is very largely used for the same purposes as olive oil, and, although less widely known by name, is commercially a much more important oil. The oil is included in the Indian and Colonial Addendum (1900) to the British Pharmacopeia. The seeds and leaves also are used by the natives as demulcents and for other medicinal purposes. The soot obtained in burning the oil is said to constitute one of the ingredients in India or Chinese ink. The plant might be cultivated with advantage in almost all the tropical and semi-tropical colonies of Britain, but will not succeed in any part of Europe.

A detailed account of its history and the cultivation of the plant in India is given by Sir G. Watt, Dictionary of Economic Products of India (1893).

SESOSTRIS, the name of a legendary king of Egypt. According to Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus (who calls him Sesoosis) and Strabo, he conquered the whole world, even Scythia and Ethiopia, divided Egypt into administrative districts or nomes, was a great law-giver, and introduced a system of caste and the worship of Serapis. He has been considered a compound of Seti I. and Rameses II., belonging to the XIXth Dynasty. In Manetho, however, he occupied the place of the second Senwosri (formerly read Usertesen) of the XIIth Dynasty, and his name is now usually viewed as a corruption of Senwosri. So far as is known no Egyptian king penetrated a day’s journey beyond the Euphrates or into Asia Minor, or touched the continent of Europe. The kings of the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties were the greatest conquerors that Egypt ever produced, and their records are clear on this point. Senwosri III. raided south Palestine and Ethiopia, and at Semna beyond the second cataract set up, a stela of conquest that in its expressions recalls the stelae of Sesostris in Herodotus: Sesostris may, therefore, be the highly magnified portrait of this Pharaoh. Khian, the powerful but obscure Hyksos king of Egypt, whose prenomen might be pronounced Sweserenrē, is perhaps at possible prototype, for objects inscribed with his name have been found from Bagdad to Cnossus. Sesostris is evidently a mythical figure calculated to satisfy the pride of the Egyptians in their ancient achievements, after they had come into contact with the great conquerors of Assyria and Persia. When we recollect that the Ethiopian Tearchus (Tirhaka) of the 7th century B.C., who was hopelessly worsted by the Assyrians and scarcely ventured outside the Nile valley, was credited by Megasthenes (4th century) and Strabo with having extended his conquests as far as India and the pillars of Hercules, it is not surprising if the dim figures of antiquity were magnified to a less degree. In the case of Tearchus, the miscellaneous levies which he employed himself and those which composed the Egyptian and Assyrian armies opposed to him, and the lands that Egypt and Ethiopia traded with, must all have been counted, partly through misunderstanding, partly through wilful perversion, to his empire.

Herodotus ii. 102-111; Diod. Sic. i. 53-59; Strabo xv. p. 687; see also article Egypt; and Kurt Sethe, “Sesostris,” 1900, in his Unters. z. Gesch. u. Altertumskunde Ägyptens, tome ii.  (F. Ll. G.) 


SESSA AURUNCA, a town and episcopal see of Campania, Italy, in the province of Caserta, on the S.W. slope of the extinct volcano of Rocca Monfina, 27 m. by rail W.N.W. of Caserta and 201/2 m. E. of Formia by the branch railway to Sparanise, 666 ft. above sea-level. Pop. 5945 (town), 22,077 (commune). It is situated on the site of the ancient Suessa Aurunca, on a small affluent of the Liri. The hill on which Sessa lies is a mass of volcanic tufa. The town contains many ancient remains, notably the ruins of an ancient bridge in brickwork of twenty-one arches, of substructures in opus reticulatum under the church of S. Benedetto, of a building in opus quadratum, supposed to have been a public portico, under the monastery of S. Giovanni, and of an amphitheatre. The Romanesque cathedral is a basilica with a vaulted portico and a nave and two aisles begun in 1103, a mosaic pavement in the Cosmatesque style, a good ambo resting on columns and decorated with mosaics showing traces of Moorish influence, a Paschal candelabrum, and an organ gallery of similar style. The portal has curious sculptures with scenes from the life of SS. Peter and Paul. In the principal streets are memorial stones with inscriptions in honour of Charles V., surmounted by an old crucifix with a mosaic cross. The hills of Sessa are celebrated for their wine.

The ancient chief town of the Aurunci, Aurunca or Ausona, is believed to have lain over 2000 ft. above the level of the sea, on the narrow south-western edge of the extinct crater of Rocca Monfina. Here some remains of Cyclopean masonry exist; but the area enclosed, about 100 yds. by 50, is too small for anything but a detached fort. It dates, doubtless, from a time prior to Roman supremacy. In 337 B.C. the town was abandoned, under the pressure of the Sidicini, in favour of the site of the modern Sessa. The new town kept the old name until 313, when a Latin colony under the name Suessa Aurunca was founded here. It was among the towns that had the right of coinage, and it manufactured carts, baskets, &c. Cicero speaks of it as a place of some importance. The triumvir settled some of their veterans here, whence it appears as Colonia Julia Felix Classica Suessa. From inscriptions it appears that Matidia the younger, sister-in-law of Hadrian, had property in the district. It was not on a highroad, but on a branch between the Via Appia at Minturnae and the Via Latina