Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 89 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
ANTANANARIVO, i.e. "town of a thousand" (Fr. spelling Tananarive), the capital of Madagascar, situated centrally as regards the length of the island, but only about 90 M. distant from the eastern coast, in 18° 55' S., 47 30' E. It is 135 M. W.S.W. of Tamatave, the principal seaport of the island, with which it is connected by railway, and for about 6o m. along the coast lagoons, a service of small steamers. The city occupies a commanding position, being chiefly built on the summit and slopes of a long and narrow rocky ridge, which extends north and south for about 21 m., dividing to the north in a Y-shape, and rising at its highest point to 690 ft. above the extensive rice plain to the west, which is itself 4060 ft. above sea-level. For long only the principal village of the Hova chiefs, Antananarivo advanced in importance as those chiefs made themselves sovereigns of the greater part of Madagascar, until it became a town of some 8o,000 inhabitants. Until 1869 all buildings within the city proper were of wood or rush, but even then it possessed several timber palaces of considerable size, the largest being 120 ft. high. These crown the summit of the central portion of the ridge; and the largest palace, with its lofty roof and towers, is the most conspicuous object from every point of view. Since the introduction of stone and brick, the whole city has been rebuilt and now contains numerous structures of some architectural pre-tension, the royal palaces, the houses formerly belonging to the prime minister and nobles, the French residency, the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals, several stone churches, as well as others of brick, colleges, schools, hospitals, courts of justice and other government buildings, and hundreds of good dwelling-houses. Since the French conquest in 1895 good roads have been constructed throughout the city, broad flights of steps connect places too steep for the formation of carriage roads, and the central space, called Andohalo, has become a handsome place, with walks and terraces, flower-beds and trees. A small park has been laid out near the residency, and the planting of trees and the formation of gardens in various parts of the city give it a bright and attractive appearance. Water is obtained from springs at the foot of the hill, but it is proposed to bring an abundant supply from the river Ikopa, which skirts the capital to the south and west. The population, including that of the suburbs, is 69,000 (1907). The city is guarded by two forts built on hills to the east and south-west respectively. Including an Anglican and a Roman Catholic cathedral, there are about fifty churches in the city and its suburbs, as well as a Mahommedan mosque. (J. Si.") `ANTARA IBN SHADDAD, Arabian poet and warrior of the 6th century, was famous both for his poetry and his adventurous life. His chief poem is contained in the Ma'allak4t. The account of his life forms the basis of a long and extravagant romance. His father Shaddad was a soldier, his mother Zabtlba a negro slave. Neglected at first, he soon claimed attention and respect for himself, and by his remarkable personal qualities and courage in battle he gained his freedom and the acknowledgment of his father. He took part in the great war between the related tribes of Abs and Dhubyan, which began over a contest of horses and was named after them the war of Dallis and Ghabra. He died in a fight against the tribe of Tai. His poems, which are chiefly concerned with fighting or with his love for Abla, are published in W. Ahlwardt's The Diwans of the six ancient Arabic Poets (London, 1870); they have also been published separately at Beirut (1888). As regards their genuineness, cf. W. Ahlwardt's Bemerkungen caber die Aechtheit der alien arabischen Gedichte (Greifswald, 1872), pp.50 if. The Romance of `Antar (Sirat 'Antar ibn Shaddad) is a work which was long handed down by oral tradition only, has grown to immense proportions and has been published in 32 vols. at Cairo, 1307 (A.D. 1887), and in Io vols. at Beirut, 1871. It was partly translated by Terrick Hamilton under the title 'Antar, a Bedoueen Romance (4 vols., London, 1820). For an account of the poet and his works see H. Thorbeckes, Antarah, ein vorislamischer Dichter (Leipzig, 1867), and cf. the Book of Songs (see ABULFARAJ), vol. vii. pp. 148-153. (G. W. T.)
End of Article: ANTANANARIVO

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.