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BRAHMANAS, treatises on the ceremonial system of Brahminism, with prescriptions bearing upon ritual, and abounding in legends and speculations.

BRAHMAPUTRA (i. e. son of Brahma), a river which rises in Tibet, circles round the E. of the Himalayas, and, after a course of some 1800 m., joins the Ganges, called the Sampo in Tibet, the Dihong in a.s.sam, and the Brahmaputra in British India; it has numerous tributaries, brings down twice as much mud as the Ganges, and in the lower part of its course overflows the land, particularly a.s.sam, like an inland sea.

BRAHMINISM, the creed and ritual of the Brahmans, or that social, political, and religious organisation which developed among the Aryans in the valley of the Ganges under the influence of the Brahmans. According to the religious conception of this cla.s.s, Brahma, or the universal spirit, takes form or incarnates himself successively as Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, which triple incarnation const.i.tutes a trimurti or trinity. In this way Brahma, the first incarnation of the universal spirit, had four sons, from whom issued the four castes of India–Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras–all the rest being outcasts or pariahs. See CASTE.

BRAHMO-SOMAJ (i. e. church of G.o.d), a secession from traditional Hinduism, originated in 1830 by Rammohun Roy, and developed by Chunder Sen; founded on theistic, or rather monotheistic, i. e. unitarian, principles, and the rational ideas and philosophy of Europe, as well as a profession of a sense of the brotherhood of man no less than the unity of G.o.d.

BRAHMS, JOHANNES, a distinguished composer, born at Hamburg; of great promise from a boy; settled in Vienna; has no living rival; the appearance of compositions of his an event in the musical world; approaches Beethoven as no other does; distinguished as a performer as well as a composer; _b_. 1833.

BRAIDWOOD, JAMES, born in Edinburgh; director of the London fire brigade; distinguished for his heroism on the occasion of great fires both in Edinburgh and London (1790-1861).

BRAILLE, a blind Frenchman, invented printing in relief for the blind (1809-1852).

BRAINERD, American missionary to the Red Indians, born in Connecticut; his Life was written by Jonathan Edwards, in whose house he died (1718-1747).

BRAMAH, JOSEPH, an engineer, born in Barnsley, Yorkshire; author of many mechanical inventions, 18 of which were patented, among others the hydraulic press, named after him (1748-1814).

BRAMANTE, DONATO, architect; laid the foundation of St. Peter’s at Rome, which he did not live to complete (1444-1514).

BRAMBLE, MATTHEW, a gouty humorist in “Humphrey Clinker”; of a fretful temper, yet generous and kind, who has a sister, MISS TABITHA, an ungainly maiden at forty-five, and of anything but a sweet temper.

BRAMHALL, JOHN, archbishop of Armagh, born in Yorkshire, a high-handed Churchman and imitator of Laud; was foolhardy enough once to engage, nowise to his credit, in public debate with such a dialectician as Thomas Hobbes on the questions of necessity and free-will (1594-1663).

BRAMWELL, SIR FREDERICK, civil engineer, president of the British a.s.sociation in 1888, and previously of a.s.sociation of Engineers; _b_.


BRAN, name given to Fingal’s dog.

BRAND, JOHN, antiquary, born in Durham, wrote a “Popular Antiquities” (1744-1784).

BRANDAN, ST., ISLAND OF, an island reported of by St. Brandan as lying W. of the Canary Islands, and that figured on charts as late as 1755, in quest of which voyages of discovery were undertaken as recently as the beginning of the 18th century, up to which time it was believed to exist.

BRANDE, chemist, born in London; author of “Manual of Chemistry” and other works (1788-1866).

BRANDENBURG (2,542), in the great northern plain of Germany, is a central Prussian province, and the nucleus of the Prussian kingdom; most of it a sandy plain, with fertile districts and woodlands here and there.

BRANDENBURG, THE HOUSE OF, an ill.u.s.trious German family dating from the 10th century, from which descended the kings of Prussia.

BRANDES, GEORGE, a literary critic, born at Copenhagen, of Jewish parents; his views of the present tendency of literature in Europe provoked at first much opposition in Denmark, though they were received with more favour afterwards; the opposition to his views were such that he was forced to leave Copenhagen, but, after a stay in Berlin, he returned to it in 1862, with the support of a strong party in his favour.

BRANDT, a Swedish chemist; chanced on the discovery in 1669 of phosphorus while in quest of a solvent to trans.m.u.te metals, such as silver, into gold; _d_. 1692.

BRANDT, SEBASTIAN, a satirical writer, born at Stra.s.sburg; author of the “Narrenschiff” or “Ship of Fools,” of which there have been many translations and not a few imitations (1458-1521).

BRANDY NAN, a nickname for Queen Anne, from her fondness for brandy.

BRANDYWINE CREEK, a small river in Delaware; scene of a victory of the British over the Americans in 1777.

BRANGTONS, THE, a vulgar, evil-spoken family in Miss Burney’s “Evelina.”

BRANT, JOSEPH, Indian chief who sided with the British in the American war; a brave and good man; _d_. 1807.

BRANToME, PIERRE DE BOURDEILLES, a French chronicler, contemporary of Montaigne, born in Perigord; led the life of a knight-errant, and wrote Memoirs remarkable for the free-and-easy, faithful, and vivid delineations of the characters of the most celebrated of his contemporaries (1527-1614).

BRASIDAS, a Spartan general, distinguished in the Peloponnesian war; his most celebrated action, the defeat at the expense of his life, in 422 B.C., of the flower of the Athenian army at Amphipolis, with a small body of helots and mercenaries.

BRa.s.s, SAMPSON, a knavish attorney in “Old Curiosity Shop”; affected feeling for his clients, whom he fleeced.

BRa.s.sES, sepulchral tablets of a mixed metal, called latten, inlaid in a slab of stone, and insculpt with figures and inscriptions of a monumental character; the oldest in England is at Stoke d’Abernon, in Surrey.

BRa.s.sEY, THOMAS, a great railway contractor, born in Cheshire; contracted for the construction of railways in all parts of the world (1805-1870).

BRAUN, AUGUSTE EMIL, German archaeologist, born at Gotha; works numerous, and of value (1809-1856).

BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE, Marshal Ney, so called from his fearlessness in battle; Napoleon had on one occasion said, “That man is a lion.”


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