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SAINT GEORGE (d. 303)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 736 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SAINT GEORGE (d. 303), the patron saint of England, Aragon and Portugal. According to the legend given by Metaphrastes the Byzantine hagiologist, and substantially repeated in the Roman Acta sanctorum and in the Spanish breviary, he was born in Cappadocia of noble Christian parents, from whom he received a careful religious training. Other accounts place his birth at Lydda, but preserve his Cappadocian parentage. Having em-braced the profession of a soldier, he rapidly rose under Diocletian to high military rank. In Persian Armenia he organized and energized the Christian community at Urmi (Urumiah), and even visited Britain on an imperial expedition. When Diocletian had begun to manifest a pronounced hostility towards Christianity, George sought a personal interview with him, in which he made deliberate profession of his faith, and, earnestly remonstrating against the persecution which had begun, resigned his commission. He was immediately laid under arrest, and after various tortures, finally put to death at Nicomedia (his body being afterwards taken to Lydda) on the 23rd of April 303. His festival is observed on that anniversary by the entire Roman Catholic Church as a semi-duplex, and by the Spanish Catholics as a duplex of the first class with an octave. The day is also celebrated as a principal feast in the Orthodox Eastern Church, where the saint is distinguished by the titles peyaXopaprvp and r•porratorbOpos. The historical basis of the tradition is particularly unsound, there being two claimants to the name and honour. Eusebius, Hist. eccl. viii. 5, writes: " Immediately on the promulgation of the edict (of Diocletian) a certain man of no mean origin, but highly esteemed for his temporal dignities, as soon as the decree was published against the churches in Nicomedia, stimulated by a divine zeal and excited by an ardent faith, took it as it was openly placed and posted up for public inspection, and tore it to shreds as a most profane and wicked act. This, too, was done when the two Caesars were in the city, the first of whom was the eldest and chief of all and the other held fourth grade of the imperial dignity after him. But this man, as the first that was distinguished there in this manner, after enduring what was likely to follow an act so daring, preserved his mind, calm and serene, until the moment when his spirit fled." Rivalling this anonymous martyr, who is often supposed to have been St George, is an earlier martyr briefly mentioned in the Chronicon Pascale: " In the year 225 of the Ascension of our Lord a persecution of the Christians took place, and many succession of great French mathematicians, for example, G. Monge, Geometrie descriptive (1800); J. V. Poncelet, Traite des proprietes projectives des figures (1822); M. Chasles, AperQu historique sur l'origine et le developpement des methodes en geometric (Bruxelles, 1837), and Traite de geometrie superieure (Paris, 1852) ; and many others. But the works which have been, and are still, of decisive influence on thought as a store-house of ideas relevant to the foundations of geometry are K. G. C. von Staudt's two works, Geometrie der Lage (Nurnberg, 1847) ; and Beitrdge zur Geometrie der Lage (Nurnberg, 1856, 3rd ed. 1860). The final period is characterized by the successful production of exact systems of axioms, and by the final solution of problems which have occupied mathematicians for two thousand years. The successful analysis of the ideas involved in serial continuity is due to R. Dedekind, Stetigkeit and irrationale Zahlen (1872), and to G. Cantor, Grundlagen einer allgemeinen Mannigfaltigkeitslehre (Leipzig, 1883), and Acta math. vol. 2. Complete systems of axioms have been stated by M. Pasch, loc. cit. ; G. Peano, loc. cit. ; M. Pieri, loc. cit. ; B. Russell, Principles of Mathematics; O. Veblen, loc. cit.; and by G. Veronese in his treatise, Fondamenti di geometria (Padua, 1891; German transl. by A. Schepp, Grundzuge der Geometrie, Leipzig, 1894). Most of the leading memoirs on special questions involved have been cited in the text; in addition there may be mentioned M. Pieri, " Nuovi principii di geometria projettiva complessa," Trans. Accad. R. d. Sci. (Turin, 1905); E. H. Moore, " On the Projective Axioms of Geometry," Trans. Amer. Math. Soc., 1902; O. Veblen and W. H. Bussey, " Finite Projective Geometries," Trans. Amer. Math. Soc., 1905; A. B. Kempe, " On the Relation between the Logical Theory of Classes and the Geometrical Theory of Points," Proc. Lond. Math. Soc., 1890; J. Royce, " The Relation of the Principles 'of Logic to the Foundations of Geometry," Trans. of Amer. Math. Soc., 1905; A. Schoenflies, " Ober die Moglichkeit einer projectiven Geometrie bei transfiniter (nichtarchimedischer) Massbestimmung," Deutsch. M.-V. Jahresb., 1906. For general expositions of the bearings of the above investigations, cf. Hon. Bertrand Russell, loc. cit. ; L. Couturat, Les Principes des mathematiques (Paris, 19o5); H. Poincar6, loc. cit. ; Russell and Whitehead, Principia mathematica (Cambridge, Univ. Press). The philosophers whose views on space and geometric truth de-serve especial study are Descartes, Leibnitz, Hume, Kant and J. S. Mill. (A. N. W.)
End of Article: SAINT GEORGE (d. 303)
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