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was then at Constantinople; and, at the head of 40,000 cavalry, according to the highest accounts, he defeated Romanus Diogenes, commanding an army of 100,000 men, in the Armenian territory, and took him prisoner; but treated him kindly till he was ransomed, when he was dismissed loaded with presents. After a reign of ten years, in which he was not more distinguished for his valour, than for his liberality, piety, patience, justice, and sincerity, he was stabbed by a desperate Carizmian, whom he had taken prisoner, in 1072. His words to his attendants, when he found his end approaching, are worthy record: my youth,' said he,' I was advised by a wise 'In man to humble myself before God; never to confide in my own strength, or despise the most contemptible enemy. These lessons I have neglected, for which I have now met deserved punishment. Yesterday, when I beheld from an eminence the number and discipline of my troops, I said in the confidence of my heart, 'What power on earth can oppose me? What man dares to attack me? To day, vainly trusting to my own strength and dexterity, I foolishly checked the prompt zeal and alacrity of my guards for my safety, and now I have fallen by the hand of an assassin! but I perceive that no force or address can resist fate.' Alp Arslan had a fine appearance, and covered his head with a high turban, folded in the form of a crown. caliph Bemrillah conferred on him the title of Ezzedin, or Adadheddin, signifying Defender of the Faith.' It is said 1200 princes, or sons of princes, have stood at the foot of his throne.

The

ALPEN, a town of Germany, in the circle of the Lower Rhine, and electorate of Cologne; eight miles south-west of Wesel, and fifty north north-west of Cologne.

ALPHA, the name of the first letter in the Greek alphabet; corresponding to our A. It is formed from the Hebrew (aleph); and according to Plutarch, was placed at the head of all the letters, because, in the Phoenician language, it denotes an ox; which was thought the most important among beasts. In composition this letter sometimes denotes privation, ir the same sense with arep, without; sometimes augmentation, as ayav, much; and sometimes union, as aua, together. It is also used as a letter of order, to denote the first; and of number, to signify one; but when it was a numerical letter, a little stroke, or an acute accent, was drawn above it thus, A, to distinguish it from the mere A, which was a letter of order. See A.

ατερ,

ALPHA and OMEGA, in Scripture, signify the beginning and the end, or the first and the last, (i. e. before and after all things; and are therefore used as a hieroglyphic of the Divine Being.) They were also formerly the symbol of Christianity, and engraved accordingly on the tombs of the ancient Christians, to distinguish them from those of idolaters. They are still seen on some altar-pieces. The Alpha and Omega' is a title of Jesus Christ in the Apocalypse, derived from a mode of expression frequent amongst the Jewish rabbin. Some have supposed the verb aw to breathe, is designedly formed from the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, to denote the first and last act of life.

ALPHA, in ancient geography, a river in the vicinity of Aquileia, near which Constantine was killed, and into which his body was thrown. ALPHABET, n. ALPHABETICAL, ALPHABETICALLY,

Αλφα alpha, βετα beta. The literal characters of

Thou shalt not sighe,

ALPHABETA RIAN. any language collectively. Nor winke, nor nod, nor kneele, nor make a signe; Nor winke, nor nod, nor kneele, nor make a signe; But I of these will wrest an alphabet, And by still practice learne to know thy meaning. Shakspeare.

motions of the mouth; and the great variety of sylThe letters of the alphabet, formed by the several lables, composed of letters, and formed with almost equal velocity; and the endless number of words, capable of being framed out of the alphabet, either of more syllables or of one, are wonderful.

Taught by their nurses, little children get This saying, sooner than their alphabet.

Holder.

Dryd. jun. Juv.

I have digested, in an alphabetical order, all the counties, corporations, and boroughs in Great-Britain, with their respective tempers. Swift.

I had once in my thoughts, to contrive a grammar, more than I can now comprise in short hints; and a dictionary, alphabetically containing the words of the language, which the deaf person is to learn.

Holder's Elements of Speech.

ALPHABET, in grammar, of αλφα and βετα, Greek; alphabetum, Latin: the whole order or collection of letters which are used in any language. An extensive controversy has existed amongst learned men, whether the method of expressing our ideas by visible symbols, called letters, be really a human invention; or whether we ought to attribute an art so exceedingly useful, to an immediate intimation from the Deity. In favour of the latter opinion it has been urged, 1. That the five books of Moses are universally acknowledged to be the most ancient compositions, as well as the most early specimens of alphabetical writing extant. If, therefore, we suppose writing to be the result of human ingenuity, it must be different from all other arts, having been brought to perfection at once; as the Hebrew alphabet contains every thing essential to the exposition of human thoughts. It may indeed be replied, that alphabetical characters perhaps existed ages before the writings of Moses, though the more ancient specimens have perished. But the simplicity of manners predominant in the early ages, and the little intercourse which nations had with one another, will scarce allow us to suppose that such a complex and curious contrivance as alphabetical writing could be invented by a race of men whose wants were so few, their advantages so circumscribed, and their ideas so limited. 2. If alphabetical characters were a human invention, it might be expected that different nations would have fallen upon the same expedient independent of each other during the compass of so many ages. But no such thing has taken place; and the writing of every people on earth may be referred to one common original. If this can be proved, the argument from successive derivation, without a single instance of independent discovery, must be allowed to amount to the very highest degree

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