The New Student's Reference Work/Dante Alighieri
Bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles and flies—over a hundred insects—visit it for nectar and pollen. The seeming blossom of seed-time, the white, fluffy head, has given the plant the name of Blowball; and it is also called Peasant's Clock.
Dandolo (dan′dōlō) a famous Venetian family, which gave four doges to the republic. The most illustrious of its members was Enrico, born about 1110. Eminent in learning, eloquence and knowledge of affairs, he ascended from one step to another until he was elected doge in 1192. As doge, Dandolo extended the bounds of the republic, fought and won many battles, marched at the head of the crusaders and subdued Constantinople. When the Emperor Alexius was murdered, Dandolo laid siege to Constantinople and took it by storm. He established there the empire of the Latins. He died at Constantinople in 1205. A later doge of Venice, Andrea Dandolo (1310-54), also achieved eminence.
Dane, Nathan, an American jurist, was born at Ipswich, Mass., Dec. 27, 1752, and died Feb. 15, 1835. A lawyer of high repute, he held many important public positions. But he is chiefly known through the Ordinance of 1787, which he drafted while a member of the Continental Congress. Dane also founded the Dane professorship of law in Harvard Law-School.
Dan′iel (a Hebrew word meaning God is judge) was a Hebrew prophet. According to the book which bears his name, he was descended from one of the highest families in Judah. As a youth he was carried captive to Babylon with three other Hebrew youths of rank. He and his companions were chosen for instruction in the language and literature of the Chaldeans, and the names of all four were changed—Daniel being called Belteshazzar; that is, prince of Bel. Not long after, he interpreted a dream for Nebuchadrezzar, and in consequence rose into high favor and was made governor of the province of Babylon and head-inspector of the priestly caste. This high position he kept under Darius and Cyrus, in spite of the intrigues of hostile courtiers. At one time, because he refused to give up the worship of God, he was cast into a den of lions, but was preserved and reached still higher rank. He assisted his people in their return to their native land. The book of Daniel was written partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic, and is now divided into 12 chapters, the first half consisting of narratives and the second half of predictions. The predictions are in the form of visions, which tell the story of four successive empires, perhaps the Chaldean, Median, Persian and Macedonian, culminating in the eternal kingdom of Christ.
Daniell, John Frederic, a noted English scientist, was born at London, March 12, 1790, and died March 13, 1845. He devoted himself to chemistry and meteorology, and wrote a number of essays, besides an Introduction to Chemical Philosophy. He was professor of chemistry in King's College, London, and received many medals and honors for his valuable scientific labors. He invented the hygrometer, a new pyrometer and the voltaic battery known by his name.
Dante (dăn'tē̇), Alighieri, the great poet of Italy, was born in 1265, in a house in the Place of St. Martin at Florence, which is still pointed out. As with many other great men, a halo of legend surrounds his early life; but he himself, in his New Life, tells the earliest known facts. When only nine years old, he met the Beatrice of his later poems and formed a passion for her from which he never swerved. It, indeed, influenced the whole course of his life. Dante took part in the military and political affairs of his time, when the fierce conflicts of the Guelphs and Ghibellines were tearing Florence to pieces. He rose to high office and was sent on an embassy to the pope at Rome in 1301, when the victory of the more extreme party at home resulted in the banishment of the leaders of the opposite party, Dante included; and later they were condemned to be buried alive, if caught. The remainder of the poet's life was spent in exile. He traveled about a good deal, living in Verona, Tuscany, Romagna and, finally, Ravenna, where he died on September 14, 1321, and was buried. The great work of Dante is the Divine Comedy, made up of three parts, giving a vision of Hell, of Purgatory and of Heaven. In it Dante gives a complete view of the highest culture and knowledge of the age on philosophy, history, classical literature, physical science, morals and religion; all this is expressed in the noblest and most exquisite poetry. This work really made the Italian language, which before was rude and unformed. No work in the world probably, except the Bible, has given rise to so much literature. It was copied in 600 different manuscripts, and about 300 printed editions have been issued; it has been more than 300 times translated into foreign languages; and unnumbered introductions, essays and commentaries have been written on or about it. Dante had not been in his grave 20 years before Italy instinctively recognized that this was her great man. About 50 years after Dante's death a public lectureship on the Divine Comedy was established at Florence, to which Boccaccio was first appointed. Another of Dante's works is the Banquet. Dante, as Boccaccio relates, was of moderate stature, stooping when he walked, slow and dignified both in gait and speech, reserved and silent in habit; but, when he
DANUBE spoke, keen and eloquent. He was devoted to music and painting. Boccaccio calls him "that singular splendor of the Italian race"; Carlyle: "the voice of ten silent centuries." See translations by Cary, Wright, Longfellow and Parsons-Norton. For life, character and works, see A Shadow of Dante, by Maria Francesca Rossetti.
Danton (ddn'tun), Georges Jacques, one of the great leaders in the French Revolution, was born at Arcis-sur-Aube, Oct. 28, 1759. A quiet, studious lawyer, practicing as an advocate in Paris, the fever of the times, however, soon filled his veins. Mirabeau quickly recognized his genius, and Danton became the leader of the populace. Along with Marat and Camille Des-moulins, he founded the Cordelier's Club, which soon became the rallying-point of all the hotter revolutionists. His harsh and daring countenance, his beetling black brows and voice of enormous power, thundering against the aristocrats, roused the people to fury. He became minister of justice, and for some time was the leading spirit of the Revolution. He roused the people of Paris to send forth armies to repel invaders from the soil of France. He probably had a share in the September murders in the prisons. He voted for the death of Louis XVI, and was a member of the committee of public safety. He succeeded in crushing the moderate party; but he could not restrain the forces he had created, and he himself at last fell a victim to the guillotine. The Mountain, as the ruling party was now called, saw a bloodier leader in the narrow and bitter Robespierre. When arrested, Danton showed no fear, but treated his judges with a contempt which hastened his doom. When asked his name before the bar of the tribunal, he replied: "My name is Danton, a name tolerably known in the Revolution; my abode will soon be annihilation; but I shall live in the Pantheon of history." He was guillotined on April 5, 1795. To the headsman he remarked: "Thou wilt show my head to the people; it is worth showing." See Carlyle's French Revolution.
Dantzic (dant'ztk), an important seaport and capital of West Prussia, and a fortress of the first rank, stands on the bank of the western branch of the Vistula. It is about four miles from the river's mouth, in the Gulf of Dantzic, an inlet of the Baltic. Dantzic was an important town in the loth century, and passed through various hands. Since 1793 ^ nas been a city of Prussia, except during the time of Napoleon, when it existed as a separate dukedom. Several old churches and monasteries, with the town-hall and exchange, are the chief buildings. Dantzic was at one time a prominent member of the Hanseatic league, and is still one of the chief commerical cities of northern Europe. Besides its
large trade by sea, river and railroad, there are many manufactures, including beer, sugar, tobacco, iron-works, etc. There is a library of 100,000 volumes. Population, 170,347.
Dan'ube, the second river of Europe, inferior only to the Volga. It is formed by the Brege and the Brigach, two mountain-streams rising in the Black Forest in Baden and uniting at Donaueschingen, 2,264 feet above sea level. At Ulm, the head of steam navigation, its elevation is about 1,500 feet; at Vienna 500 ; at Budapest 350; and at Moldova 200 feet. The Danube has a total length, including windings, of 1,740 miles, and drains an area estimated at 315,000 square miles. There are 400 tributaries, 100 of them navigable. There are three principal divisions of the river-basin. The upper course ends at Passau, where the river leaves German territory. At Passau its width is 231 yards and its depth 16 feet. The river then enters Austrian territory, and for some distance its scenery rivals that of the Rhine. It passes from the Austrian dominions through an opening called the Carpathian Gate, where it is 320 yards wide. After dividing and forming several islands, it enters the fertile Hungarian plain. Lower down, it forms the boundary between Hungary and Servia, and near Belgrade it is 1,706 yards wide. But within a stretch of 75 miles, beyond Ujpalanka are eight distinct rapids, shut in by lofty walls. The lower Klissura is the most strikingly picturesque of these; but the most difficult passage is the shortest (one and a half miles), the Iron Gate, below Orsova, where the middle course of the river ends. Here the stream has a breadth of only 129 yards, and the piled-up waters reach a depth of 28 fathoms; ledges of rock lift their tooth-like points above the surface; and all around a seething stretch of whirlpools, cataracts, eddies and counter-eddies combines with the river's rapid fall to present a serious and, formerly, impassable obstacle to navigation. Thence the lower course passes in a wide stream till it divides into the delta, through which it pours its waters into the Black Sea. The delta is a vast wilderness, covering an area of 1,000 square miles, and resembling an immense green sea of rushes; it is cut up by numerous channels and lakes, and is the haunt of sea-birds, wolves and buffaloes. The farthest mouths are 60 miles apart. The three main channels are the Kilia, St. George and Sulina. It is by the Sulina mouth that ships enter, although it discharges only two twenty-sevenths of the river's waters. The Danube is of great commercial importance. One company alone, which does a large business on its waters, has nearly 200 steamers and over 700 towboats. The Danube is connected with the Rhine by Ludwig's Canal, and with the Elbe by the Moldau, Muhl and other canals. Since 1856 the