Astolphus, Or Astnlphus, called by the Germans Aistulf, king of the Lombards in northern Italy, succeeded his brother Rachis in 749, and died in 756. After having seized the exarchate of Ravenna, he threatened Rome. Pope Stephen II. fled to France and demanded aid from King Pepin, who crossed the Alps in 754 with an army, defeated Astolphus, and besieged Pavia. The Lombard obtained peace on condition of surrendering Ravenna and all his other conquests; but on Pepin's withdrawal he burst forth again, laid siege to Rome, and ravaged all the surrounding country. The pope again supplicated Pepin, who crossed the Alps and shut Astolphus up in Pavia. Astolphus was preparing for a new war, but fell from his horse while hunting, and died three days afterward without leaving male heirs.
Astorga (anc. Asturica Augusta), a city of Spain, in the province and 30 m. by rail W. S. W. of Leon, is situated on an elevated plain 2 m. from the river Tuerto; pop. 5,000. It is surrounded by ruined walls, and has an ancient Gothic cathedral with a high altar of great beauty, an old castle, and some Roman remains. Napoleon made Astorga his headquarters during the pursuit of Sir John Moore, at the beginning of 1809. In 1810 it was taken after an obstinate defence by Junot, and in 1812 retaken by the Spaniards.
Astoria, a town of Clatsop county, Oregon, near the mouth of the Columbia river; pop. in 1870, 639. It was for a long time the depot of the fur trade for all the country west of the Rocky mountains, and was formerly a port of entry. The difficulties in the entrance to the Columbia have, however, opposed a great impediment to its development. It was founded by the Pacific fur company in 1811, and named in honor of John Jacob Astor, the chief proprietor. Its early history is described by Washington Irving in his "Astoria."
Astraea (Gr. aστpaίa, starry), a genus of radiate animals of the polyp family, which attach themselves to marine bodies, and are often found collected together into a globular or hemispherical mass, known as one of the forms of coral. The upper surface of these masses is entirely covered with little cavities of stellar form, each one of which is the receptacle of a polyp, and in the centre is its mouth, from which radiate its numerous tentacula or arms. These cavities are either in close contact or separated by intervening spaces; and this feature is made the basis for dividing the genus into two sections, the first of which is represented by the common East India species, A. favosa, and the other by the A. rotulosa of the West Indies.
Astyages, son of Cyaxares, the last king of Media and grandfather of Cyrus, by whom, according to Herodotus, he was dethroned after a reign of 35 years (594-559 B. C). (See Cyeus).
Asuay, Or Azuny, the largest of the three departments of Ecuador, occupying the whole eastern and southern portions of the country, between lat. 1° N. and 5° S., and lon. 68° and 80° W.; area, about 200,000 sq. m.; pop. about 250,000. In the western portion is an elevated desert, called the Paramo or desert of Asuay, being a plateau formed by the intersection of the Andes by two chains of mountains running E. and W. The eastern parts, however, are fertile, being well watered by the Napo, Putumayo, and other affluents of the Amazon; and the inhabitants here are engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding. On the edges of the western table land grow cinchona trees, whose bark forms one of the few exports of the country. The principal towns are Cuenca and Loja.