Soapstone is a talc-schist, a type of metamorphic rock. It is composed of the mineral talc, thus is rich in magnesium, it is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occur in the zones where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx of fluids, but without melting. It has been a medium for carving for thousands of years. Petrologically, soapstone is composed dominantly of talc, with varying amounts of chlorite and amphiboles, trace to minor iron-chromium oxides, it may be massive. Soapstone is formed by the metamorphism of ultramafic protoliths and the metasomatism of siliceous dolostones. By mass, "pure" steatite is 63.37% silica, 31.88% magnesia, 4.74% water. It contains minor quantities of other oxides such as CaO or Al2O3. Pyrophyllite, a mineral similar to talc, is sometimes called soapstone in the generic sense, since its physical characteristics and industrial uses are similar, because it is commonly used as a carving material. However, this mineral does not have such a soapy feel as soapstone.
Soapstone is soft because of its high talc content, talc having a definitional value of 1 on the Mohs hardness scale. Softer grades may feel similar to soap the name. No fixed hardness is given for soapstone because the amount of talc it contains varies from as little as 30% for architectural grades such as those used on countertops, to as much as 80% for carving grades. Soapstone is used as an insulator for housing and electrical components, due to its durability and electrical characteristics and because it can be pressed into complex shapes before firing. Soapstone undergoes transformations when heated to temperatures of 1000–1200°C into enstatite and cristobalite. Ancient Egyptian Scarab signet/amulets were most made from glazed steatite. Soapstone is used for inlaid designs, sculpture and kitchen countertops and sinks; the Inuit used soapstone for traditional carvings. Some Native American tribes and bands make bowls, cooking slabs, other objects from soapstone. Locally quarried soapstone was used for gravemarkers in 19th century northeast Georgia, US, around Dahlonega, Cleveland, as simple field stone and "slot and tab" tombs.
Small blocks of soapstone were heated on the cookstove or near the fire and used to warm cold bedclothes or to keep hands and feet cozy while sleighing. Vikings hewed soapstone directly from the stone face, shaped it into cooking pots, sold these at home and abroad. Soapstone is sometimes used for construction of fireplace surrounds, cladding on wood-burning stoves, as the preferred material for woodburning masonry heaters because it can absorb and evenly radiate heat due to its high density and magnesite content, it is used for countertops and bathroom tiling because of the ease of working the material and its property as the "quiet stone". A weathered or aged appearance occurs over time as the patina is enhanced; the ancient trading city of Tepe Yahya in southeastern Iran was a center for the production and distribution of soapstone in the fifth to third millennia BC. It was used in Minoan Crete. At the Palace of Knossos, archaeological recovery has included a magnificent libation table made of steatite.
The Yoruba people of West Nigeria used soapstone for several statues, most notably at Esie, where archaeologists have uncovered hundreds of male and female statues about half of life size. The Yoruba of Ife produced a miniature soapstone obelisk with metal studs called superstitiously "the staff of Oranmiyan". Soapstone has been used in India for centuries as a medium for carving. Mining to meet worldwide demand for soapstone is threatening the habitat of India's tigers. In Brazil in Minas Gerais, due to the abundance of soapstone mines in that Brazilian state, local artisans still craft objects from that material, including pots and pans, wine glasses, jewel boxes and vases; these handicrafts are sold in street markets found in cities across the state. Some of the oldest towns, notably Congonhas and Ouro Preto, still have some of their streets paved with soapstone from colonial times; some Native Americans use soapstone for smoking pipes. Its low heat conduction allows for prolonged smoking without the pipe heating up uncomfortably.
Some wood-burning stoves make use of soapstone to take advantage of its useful thermal and fire-resistant properties. Soapstone is used to carve Chinese seals. Soapstone is most used for architectural applications, such as counter tops, floor tiles and interior surfacing; the active North American soapstone mines include one south of Quebec City with products marketed by Canadian Soapstone, the Treasure and Regal mines in Beaverhead County, Montana mined by the Barretts Minerals Company, another in Central Virginia operated by the Alberene Soapstone Company. Architectural soapstone is mined in Canada, Brazil and Finland and imported into the United States. Welders and fabricators use soapstone as a marker due to its resistance to heat, it has been used for many years by seamstresses and other craftsmen as a marking tool because its marks are visible and no
Europe is a continent located in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, it comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe is most considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity; the division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary places two comparatively small countries and Georgia, in both continents.
Europe covers 2 % of the Earth's surface. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million as of 2016; the European climate is affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization; the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic and social change in Western Europe and the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals, it includes all European states except for Belarus and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most used among Europeans. In classical Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess; the word Europe is derived from her name. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, "wide, broad" and ὤψ "eye, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" or Phoenician'ereb "evening, west", at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, sunset", in opposition to Asu " sunrise", i.e. Asia.
The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή. Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is poor." Next to these hypotheses there is a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which produced Greek Erebus. Most major world languages use words derived from Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu. In some Turkic languages the Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa; the prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water
Loess is a clastic, predominantly silt-sized sediment, formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. Ten percent of the Earth's land area is covered by similar deposits. Loess is an aeolian sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown silt in the 20–50 micrometer size range, twenty percent or less clay and the balance equal parts sand and silt that are loosely cemented by calcium carbonate, it is homogeneous and porous and is traversed by vertical capillaries that permit the sediment to fracture and form vertical bluffs. The word loess, with connotations of origin by wind-deposited accumulation, came into English from German Löss, which can be traced back to Swiss German and is cognate with the English word loose and the German word los, it was first applied to Rhine River valley loess about 1821. Loess is homogeneous, friable, pale yellow or buff coherent non-stratified and calcareous. Loess grains are angular with little polishing or rounding and composed of crystals of quartz, feldspar and other minerals.
Loess can be described as a dust-like soil. Loess deposits may become thick, more than a hundred meters in areas of China and tens of meters in parts of the Midwestern United States, it occurs as a blanket deposit that covers areas of hundreds of square kilometers and tens of meters thick. Loess stands in either steep or vertical faces; because the grains are angular, loess will stand in banks for many years without slumping. This soil has a characteristic called vertical cleavage which makes it excavated to form cave dwellings, a popular method of making human habitations in some parts of China. Loess will erode readily. In several areas of the world, loess ridges have formed that are aligned with the prevailing winds during the last glacial maximum; these are called "paha ridges" in "greda ridges" in Europe. The form of these loess dunes has been explained by a combination of tundra conditions. Loess comes from the German Löss or Löß, from Alemannic lösch meaning drop as named by peasants and masons along the Rhine Valley.
The term "Löß" was first described in Central Europe by Karl Cäsar von Leonhard who reported yellowish brown, silty deposits along the Rhine valley near Heidelberg. Charles Lyell brought this term into widespread usage by observing similarities between loess and loess derivatives along the loess bluffs in the Rhine and Mississippi. At that time it was thought that the yellowish brown silt-rich sediment was of fluvial origin being deposited by the large rivers, it wasn't until the end of the 19th century that the aeolian origin of loess was recognized the convincing observations of loess in China by Ferdinand von Richthofen. A tremendous number of papers have been published since focusing on the formation of loess and on loess/palaeosol sequences as archives of climate and environment change; these water conservation works were carried out extensively in China and the research of Loess in China has been continued since 1954. Much effort was put into the setting up of regional and local loess stratigraphies and their correlation.
But the chronostratigraphical position of the last interglacial soil correlating to marine isotope substage 5e has been a matter of debate, owing to the lack of robust and reliable numerical dating, as summarized for example in Zöller et al. and Frechen, Horváth & Gábris for the Austrian and Hungarian loess stratigraphy, respectively. Since the 1980s, thermoluminescence, optically stimulated luminescence and infrared stimulated luminescence dating are available providing the possibility for dating the time of loess deposition, i.e. the time elapsed since the last exposure of the mineral grains to daylight. During the past decade, luminescence dating has improved by new methodological improvements the development of single aliquot regenerative protocols resulting in reliable ages with an accuracy of up to 5 and 10% for the last glacial record. More luminescence dating has become a robust dating technique for penultimate and antepenultimate glacial loess allowing for a reliable correlation of loess/palaeosol sequences for at least the last two interglacial/glacial cycles throughout Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.
Furthermore, the numerical dating provides the basis for quantitative loess research applying more sophisticated methods to determine and understand high-resolution proxy data, such as the palaeodust content of the atmosphere, variations of the atmospheric circulation patterns and wind systems, palaeoprecipitation and palaeotemperature. According to Pye, four fundamental requirements are necessary for the formation of loess: a dust source, adequate wind energy to transport the dust, a suitable accumulation area, a sufficient amount of time. Periglacial loess is derived from the floodplains of glacial braided rivers that carried large volumes of glacial meltwater and sediments from the annual melting of continental icesheets and mountain icecaps during the spring and summer. During the autumn and winter, when melting of the icesheets and icecaps ceased, the flow of meltwater down these rivers either ceased or was reduced; as a consequence, large parts of the submerged and unvegetated floodplains of these braided rivers dried out and were exposed to the wind.
Because these floodplains consist of sediment containing a high content of glacial
Venus is a Roman goddess, whose functions encompassed love, desire, fertility and victory. In Roman mythology, she was the ancestor of the Roman people through her son, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles; the Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the classical tradition of the West, Venus became one of the most referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality. Venus embodies sex, beauty, enticement and persuasive female charm among the community of immortal gods, it has connections to venerari and venia through a possible common root in an Indo-European *wenes- or *u̯enis. Their common Proto-Indo-European root is assumed as *wen- or *u̯en- "to strive for, wish for, love"). Venus has been described as "the most original creation of the Roman pantheon", "an ill-defined and assimilative" native goddess, combined "with a strange and exotic Aphrodite".
Her cults may represent the religiously legitimate charm and seduction of the divine by mortals, in contrast to the formal, contractual relations between most members of Rome's official pantheon and the state, the unofficial, illicit manipulation of divine forces through magic. The ambivalence of her persuasive functions has been perceived in the relationship of the root *venes- with Latin venenum, in the sense of "a charm, magic philtre". In myth, Venus-Aphrodite was born of sea-foam. Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life, her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon and Mars, are active and fiery. Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence, uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection, she is assimilative and benign, embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions. She can give sexual success, good fortune and prosperity. In one context, she is a goddess of prostitutes. Images of Venus have been found in domestic murals and household shrines.
Petronius, in his Satyricon, places an image of Venus among the Lares of the freedman Trimalchio's lararium. Prospective brides offered Venus a gift "before the wedding"; some Roman sources say. In dice-games, a popular pastime among Romans of all classes, the luckiest, best possible roll was known as "Venus". Venus' signs were for the most part the same as Aphrodite's, they include roses, which were offered in Venus' Porta Collina rites, above all, cultivated for its white, sweetly scented flowers, evergreen leaves and its various medical-magical properties. Venus' statues, her worshipers, wore myrtle crowns at her festivals. Before its adoption into Venus' cults, myrtle was used in the purification rites of Cloacina, the Etruscan-Roman goddess of Rome's main sewer. Roman folk-etymology transformed the ancient, obscure goddess Murcia into "Venus of the Myrtles, whom we now call Murcia". Myrtle was thought a potent aphrodisiac; the female pudendum the clitoris, was known as murtos. As goddess of love and sex, Venus played an essential role at Roman prenuptial rites and wedding nights, so myrtle and roses were used in bridal bouquets.
Marriage itself was not a seduction but a lawful condition, under Juno's authority. Venus was a patron of the ordinary, everyday wine drunk by most Roman men and women. In the rites to Bona Dea, a goddess of female chastity, Venus and anything male were not only excluded, but unmentionable; the rites allowed women to drink the strongest, sacrificial wine, otherwise reserved for the Roman gods and Roman men. Under these special circumstances, they could get virtuously, religiously drunk on strong wine, safe from Venus' temptations. Outside of this context, ordinary wine tinctured with myrtle oil was thought suitable for women. Roman generals given an ovation, a lesser form of Roman triumph, wore a myrtle crown to purify themselves and their armies of blood-guilt; the ovation ceremony was assimilated to Venus Victrix, held to have granted and purified its "easy" victory. The first known temple to Venus was vowed to Venus Obsequens by Q. Fabius Gurges in the heat of a battle against the Samnites, it was dedicated in 295 BC, at a site near the Aventine Hill, was funded by fines imposed on Roman women for sexual misdemeanours.
Its rites and character were influenced by or based on Greek Aphrodite's cults, which were diffused in various forms throughout Italian Magna Graeca. Its dedication date connects Venus Obsequens to the Vinalia rustica festival. In 217 BC, in the early stages of the Second Punic War with Carthage, Rome suffered a disastrous defeat at the battle of Lake Trasimene; the Sibyllin
Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century; the territory of Siberia extends eastwards from the Ural Mountains to the watershed between the Pacific and Arctic drainage basins. The Yenisei River conditionally divides Siberia into two parts and Eastern. Siberia stretches southwards from the Arctic Ocean to the hills of north-central Kazakhstan and to the national borders of Mongolia and China. With an area of 13.1 million square kilometres, Siberia accounts for 77% of Russia's land area, but it is home to 36 million people—27% of the country's population. This is equivalent to an average population density of about 3 inhabitants per square kilometre, making Siberia one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth. If it were a country by itself, it would still be the largest country in area, but in population it would be the world's 35th-largest and Asia's 14th-largest. Worldwide, Siberia is well known for its long, harsh winters, with a January average of −25 °C, as well as its extensive history of use by Russian and Soviet administrations as a place for prisons, labor camps, exile.
The origin of the name is unknown. Some sources say that "Siberia" originates from the Siberian Tatar word for "sleeping land". Another account sees the name as the ancient tribal ethnonym of the Sirtya, an ethnic group which spoke a Paleosiberian language; the Sirtya people were assimilated into the Siberian Tatars. The modern usage of the name was recorded in the Russian language after the Empire's conquest of the Siberian Khanate. A further variant claims; the Polish historian Chyliczkowski has proposed that the name derives from the proto-Slavic word for "north", but Anatole Baikaloff has dismissed this explanation. He said that the neighbouring Chinese and Mongolians, who have similar names for the region, would not have known Russian, he suggests that the name might be a combination of two words with Turkic origin, "su" and "bir". The region has paleontological significance, as it contains bodies of prehistoric animals from the Pleistocene Epoch, preserved in ice or in permafrost. Specimens of Goldfuss cave lion cubs and another woolly mammoth from Oymyakon, a woolly rhinoceros from the Kolyma River, bison and horses from Yukagir have been found.
The Siberian Traps were formed by one of the largest-known volcanic events of the last 500 million years of Earth's geological history. Their activity continued for a million years and some scientists consider it a possible cause of the "Great Dying" about 250 million years ago, – estimated to have killed 90% of species existing at the time. At least three species of human lived in Southern Siberia around 40,000 years ago: H. sapiens, H. neanderthalensis, the Denisovans. In 2010 DNA evidence identified the last as a separate species. Siberia was inhabited by different groups of nomads such as the Enets, the Nenets, the Huns, the Scythians and the Uyghurs; the Khan of Sibir in the vicinity of modern Tobolsk was known as a prominent figure who endorsed Kubrat as Khagan of Old Great Bulgaria in 630. The Mongols conquered a large part of this area early in the 13th century. With the breakup of the Golden Horde, the autonomous Khanate of Sibir was established in the late 15th century. Turkic-speaking Yakut migrated north from the Lake Baikal region under pressure from the Mongol tribes during the 13th to 15th century.
Siberia remained a sparsely populated area. Historian John F. Richards wrote: "... it is doubtful that the total early modern Siberian population exceeded 300,000 persons."The growing power of Russia in the West began to undermine the Siberian Khanate in the 16th century. First, groups of traders and Cossacks began to enter the area; the Russian Army was directed to establish forts farther and farther east to protect new settlers from European Russia. Towns such as Mangazeya, Tara and Tobolsk were developed, the last being declared the capital of Siberia. At this time, Sibir was the name of a fortress at Qashlik, near Tobolsk. Gerardus Mercator, in a map published in 1595, marks Sibier both as the name of a settlement and of the surrounding territory along a left tributary of the Ob. Other sources contend that the Xibe, an indigenous Tungusic people, offered fierce resistance to Russian expansion beyond the Urals; some suggest. By the mid-17th century, Russia had established areas of control; some 230,000 Russians had settled in Siberia by 1709.
Siberia was a destination for sending exiles. The first great modern change in Siberia was the Trans-Siberian Railway, constructed during 1891–1916, it linked Siberia more to the industrialising Russia of Nicholas II. Around seven million people moved to Siberia from European Russia between 1801 and 1914. From 1859 to 1917, more than half a million people migrated to the Russian Far East. Siberia has extensive natural resources. During the 20th century, large-scale exploitation of these was developed, industrial towns cropped up throughout the region. At 7:15 a.m. on 30 June 1908, millions of trees were felled near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in central Siberia in the Tunguska Event. Most scientists believe this resulted from the air burst of a comet. Though no crater has been found, the landscape in the area still bears the scars of this event. In the early decades of the Soviet Union (
Austria the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2, a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion, it is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north and Slovakia to the east and Italy to the south, Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps; the majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, Slovene. Austria played a central role in European History from the late 18th to the early 20th century, it emerged as a margraviate around 976 and developed into a duchy and archduchy. In the 16th century, Austria started serving as the heart of the Habsburg Monarchy and the junior branch of the House of Habsburg – one of the most influential royal houses in history.
As archduchy, it was a major component and administrative centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Following the Holy Roman Empire's dissolution, Austria founded its own empire in the 19th century, which became a great power and the leading force of the German Confederation. Subsequent to the Austro-Prussian War and the establishment of a union with Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was created. Austria was involved in both world wars. Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of government. Major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz and Innsbruck. Austria is ranked as one of the richest countries in the world by per capita GDP terms; the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2018 was ranked 20th in the world for its Human Development Index. The republic declared its perpetual neutrality in foreign political affairs in 1955. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995.
It is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol. Austria signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, adopted the euro currency in 1999; the German name for Austria, Österreich, derives from the Old High German Ostarrîchi, which meant "eastern realm" and which first appeared in the "Ostarrîchi document" of 996. This word is a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Another theory says that this name comes from the local name of the mountain whose original Slovenian name is "Ostravica" - because it is steep on both sides. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976; the word "Austria" was first recorded in the 12th century. At the time, the Danube basin of Austria was the easternmost extent of Bavaria; the Central European land, now Austria was settled in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province. Present-day Petronell-Carnuntum in eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province.
Carnuntum was home for 50,000 people for nearly 400 years. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was invaded by Bavarians and Avars. Charlemagne, King of the Franks, conquered the area in AD 788, encouraged colonization, introduced Christianity; as part of Eastern Francia, the core areas that now encompass Austria were bequeathed to the house of Babenberg. The area was known as the marchia Orientalis and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976; the first record showing the name Austria is from 996, where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March. In 1156, the Privilegium Minus elevated Austria to the status of a duchy. In 1192, the Babenbergs acquired the Duchy of Styria. With the death of Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs was extinguished; as a result, Ottokar II of Bohemia assumed control of the duchies of Austria and Carinthia. His reign came to an end with his defeat at Dürnkrut at the hands of Rudolph I of Germany in 1278. Thereafter, until World War I, Austria's history was that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs began to accumulate other provinces in the vicinity of the Duchy of Austria. In 1438, Duke Albert V of Austria was chosen as the successor to his father-in-law, Emperor Sigismund. Although Albert himself only reigned for a year, henceforth every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was a Habsburg, with only one exception; the Habsburgs began to accumulate territory far from the hereditary lands. In 1477, Archduke Maximilian, only son of Emperor Frederick III, married the heiress Maria of Burgundy, thus acquiring most of the Netherlands for the family. In 1496, his son Philip the Fair married Joanna the Mad, the heiress of Castile and Aragon, thus acquiring Spain and its Italian and New World appendages for the Habsburgs. In 1526, following the Battle of Mohács, Bohemia and the part of Hungary not occupied by the Ottomans came under Austrian rule. Ottoman expansion into Hungary led to frequent conflicts between the two empires evident in the Long War of 1593 to 1606.
The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly 20 times, of which some are c
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between Spain and France. Reaching a height of 3,404 metres altitude at the peak of Aneto, the range separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, extends for about 491 km from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea. For the most part, the main crest forms a divide between Spain and France, with the microstate of Andorra sandwiched in between; the Principality of Catalonia alongside with the Kingdom of Aragon in the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre have extended on both sides of the mountain range, with smaller northern portions now in France and larger southern parts now in Spain. In Greek mythology, Pyrene is a princess; the Greek historian Herodotus says. According to Silius Italicus, she was the virgin daughter of Bebryx, a king in Mediterranean Gaul by whom the hero Hercules was given hospitality during his quest to steal the cattle of Geryon during his famous Labours.
Hercules, characteristically drunk and lustful, violates the sacred code of hospitality and rapes his host's daughter. Pyrene runs away to the woods, afraid that her father will be angry. Alone, she pours out her story to the trees, attracting the attention of wild beasts who tear her to pieces. After his victory over Geryon, Hercules passes through the kingdom of Bebryx again, finding the girl's lacerated remains; as is the case in stories of this hero, the sober Hercules responds with heartbroken grief and remorse at the actions of his darker self, lays Pyrene to rest tenderly, demanding that the surrounding geography join in mourning and preserve her name: "struck by Herculean voice, the mountaintops shudder at the ridges. … The mountains hold on to the wept-over name through the ages." Pliny the Elder connects the story of Hercules and Pyrene to Lusitania, but rejects it as fabulosa fictional. Other classical sources derived the name from the Greek word for fire, Ancient Greek: πῦρ. According to Greek historian Diodorus Siculus "..in ancient times, we are told, certain herdsmen left a fire and the whole area of the mountains was consumed.
The Spanish Pyrenees are part of the following provinces, from east to west: Girona, Lleida, Huesca and Gipuzkoa. The French Pyrenees are part of the following départements, from east to west: Pyrénées-Orientales, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Atlantiques; the independent principality of Andorra is sandwiched in the eastern portion of the mountain range between the Spanish Pyrenees and French Pyrenees. Physiographically, the Pyrenees may be divided into three sections: the Atlantic, the Central, the Eastern Pyrenees. Together, they form a distinct physiographic province of the larger Alpine System division. In the Western Pyrenees, from the Basque mountains near the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean, the average elevation increases from west to east; the Central Pyrenees extend eastward from the Somport pass to the Aran Valley, they include the highest summits of this range: Pico d'Aneto 3,404 metres in the Maladeta ridge, Pico Posets 3,375 metres, Monte Perdido 3,355 metres.
In the Eastern Pyrenees, with the exception of one break at the eastern extremity of the Pyrénées Ariègeoises in the Ariège area, the mean elevation is remarkably uniform until a sudden decline occurs in the easternmost portion of the chain known as the Albères. Most foothills of the Pyrenees are on the Spanish side, where there is a large and complex system of ranges stretching from Spanish Navarre, across northern Aragon and into Catalonia reaching the Mediterranean coast with summits reaching 2,600 m. At the eastern end on the southern side lies a distinct area known as the Sub-Pyrenees. On the French side the slopes of the main range descend abruptly and there are no foothills except in the Corbières Massif in the northeastern corner of the mountain system; the Pyrenees are older than the Alps: their sediments were first deposited in coastal basins during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. Between 100 and 150 million years ago, during the Lower Cretaceous Period, the Bay of Biscay fanned out, pushing present-day Spain against France and applying intense compressional pressure to large layers of sedimentary rock.
The intense pressure and uplifting of the Earth's crust first affected the eastern part and moved progressively to the entire chain, culminating in the Eocene Epoch. The eastern part of the Pyrenees consists of granite and gneissose rocks, while in the western part the granite peaks are flanked by layers of limestone; the massive and unworn character of the chain comes from its abundance of granite, resistant to erosion, as well as weak glacial development. The upper parts of the Pyrenees contain low-relief surfaces forming a peneplain; this peneplain originated no earlier than in Late Miocene times. It formed at height as extensive sedimentation raised the local base