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THE PENNY CYCLOPAEDIA
THE SOCIETY FOR THE DIFFUSION OF
A T H
ATHA'NARIC, a chief or judge of the Goths who had settled themselves on the borders of the Roman empire, north of the Danube, about the middle of the fourth century. Having aided Procopius in his rebellion, the Goths were attacked and defeated by the emperor Valens in 369. They then sued for peace, and an interview took place on this occasion between Valens and Athanaric, in a boat in tho middle of the Danube. Some years after, the Huns having come down from the banks of the Volga, threatening the territory of the Goths, Athanaric opposed the barbarians at the passage of the river Dniester, but he was surprised, and obliged to retire with a part of his followers into the fastnesses of the Carpathian mountains. The rest of the Goths, under Fritigem, threw themselves on the empire for protection, and were allowed to cross the Danube and settle in Thrace. They afterwards quarrelled with the emperor Valens, whom they defeated and killed in the battle of Adrianople, in August, A.d. 378. After the death of Fritigem, and the elevation of Theodosius to the empire, Athanaric, who had remained in his fastnesses, was elected king of the Goths. He then concluded a peace with Theodosius, and repaired to Constantinople, where he was received with great pomp, in January, A.d. 381; but having surfeited himself at the emperor's table, he soon after died, and was buried with great magnificence by order of Theodosius. (Gibbon, c. xxv.)
ATHAN AS (Leach), a genus of the long-tailed crustaceans, bearing much resemblance to Lysmata (Risso), from which it differs in having the first pair of feel of larger size than the rest; while the second pair of Lysmata are the largest. It is small in size, and has been taken on the south coast of England and on the shores of France.
ATHANASIAN CREED, or Symbolum Athanasianum, which is also called from the words of its beginning the Symbolum Quicunque, is not extant in the works of Athanasius (which contain, vol. i. part i. p. 98, seq. another creed, stating the same doctrine, but differently expressed), and is not quoted by contemporary writers : it seems to refer to the later Nestorian and Eutychian controversies—has a Latinized character, or it sounds in Greek like a translation from a Latin original, and appears to contain phrases taken from the writings of Augustine, the bishop of Hippo. Hence we conclude that it was composed about the middle of the fifth century. Some have supposed that Vincentius Lerinensis; others, that Venantius Fortunatus; others again, that Hilarius Arelatensis wrote what is now called the Athanasian creed. According to Paschasius Quesnel, Virgilius of Tapsus, who has been considered to have interpolated the passage, 1 John. v. 7, was also the author of the Athanasian creed.
From the seventh century we find that the Athanasian creed has been considered in the western churches to be the most genuine document of the ecclesiastical trinity. It is remarkable that the Athanasian creed was not introduced by the authority of ecclesiastical councils, nor by any external compulsion, but was generally received by the free conviction of the churches that it contained a correct cxpo
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sition of christian doctrine, and that it was necessary to give some ecclesiastical definitions of the statements of the New Testament. This important document may illustrate the difference between the solution of an historical question concerning authenticity, and one involving the internal truth of doctrinal contents. (See Cave, Historia Litter., vol. i. p. 189; Oudin, de Sariptor Eccles., vol. i. p. 312; Fabricius, Biblioth. Or., vol. v. p. 297; Montfaucon, Prcef. ad Op. Athanasii; and Sctaockh, Kirchengesch. vol.xii. pp. 93-252.) Sherlock has also written on the Athanasian creed. Dr. Waterland supposed it, without much foundation, to have been made by Hilary, bishop of Aries; and Archbishop Tillotson said, 'The church were well rid of it.' (See Clarke's Succession of Sacred Literature: London, 1830, p. 274.) A defence of the Athanasian creed on physiological principles, by Thomas William Chevalier, Esq., has been printed in the Morning- Watch, and published separately: London, 1830. In this dissertation a surgeon refutes the attack of some clergymen.
Before the close of the sixth century, the Athanasian Creed had become so well known, that comments were written upon it; it was not, however, then styled the Athanasian Creed, but simply the Catholic Faith. Before the expiration of another century, it had obtained the appellation which it has since preserved. It is supposed to have received the epithet' Athanasian,' on account of its reference to the subjects of the controversy between the orthodox and the Arians. But Athanasius himself confined his exertions to the establishment of the doctrine of the incarnation, and seems not to have insisted much upon the doctrines relative to the Spirit.
This creed was used in France about the year 850; was received in Spain about a hundred years later, and in Germany about the same time. It was both said and sung in England in the tenth century; was commonly used in Italy at the expiration of that century, and at Rome a little later.
Many learned men, especially Cardinal Bona, Petavius, Bellarmine, and Rivet, are of opinion that the creed which bears the name of Athanasius was really the production of that bishop. Baronius maintains this opinion, and suggests that it was composed by Athanasius when at Rome, and offered to Julius as a confession of his faith.
The controversy on the Athanasian creed has produced in England a great number of works: the most learned and impartial work on this subject is,' A Critical History of the Athanasian Creed," by Daniel Waterland, D.D.; the second edition, corrected and improved: Cambridge, 1728.
ATHANA'SIUS, ST., surnamed Apostolicus, was one of the most noted divines and theological controversialists of the fourth century. The ecclesiastical history of that period is chiefly occupied with the narration of events in which he either bore a part or was closely concerned.
Athanasius was born at or near Alexandria, about the close of the third century. The Benedictines of St. Maur give A.d. 296 as the year of his birth, Elmarin relates that the