Aurochs, the bos bison of Europe, one of the contemporaries of the mammoth (elephas primigenius), an animal of the ox family, once abundant, but now existing only in the forests of Lithuania belonging to the czar of Russia, and possibly in the Caucasus. It would long ago have become extinct but for the protection of man. The ure-ox (B. urus or B. primigenius), found in the post-tertiary deposits, is believed to be the same as was described by Caesar in his Commentaries as abounding in the forests of Gaul; it existed in Switzerland as late as the 16th century. Both species are found abundantly in the post-tertiary of Europe, and corresponding species in America, and no doubt furnished a large share of the food of prehistoric man.
Auschwitz (Pol. Osiciecim), a town of western Galicia, in Austria, 32 m. W. of Cracow, and about 3 m. from the frontier of Prussian Silesia; pop. 3,600. It is the principal town of the former, originally Polish, then Silesian, and then again Polish, duchies of Auschwitz und Zator, with an area of about 1,000 sq. m., which in 1564 were united into one duchy by King Sigismund Augustus, and in 1773 incorporated with Austria. Although belonging to Galicia, the territory of the duchy was in 1818 declared by Austria to belong to the Germanic confederation. Only about one tenth of the population of the duchy speak German. In the war of 1866 there was an engagement at Auschwitz on June 27 between Prussian and Austrian troops.
Ausones, the name of one of the most ancient tribes of Italy, whose origin is unknown. Tradition made them descendants of Auson, son of Ulysses and Calypso. They are held by Niebuhr to have been a portion of the great Oscan nation. From them the southern part of Italy, later known as Magna Gra3cia, was called Ausonia.
Aussig, a town of Bohemia, in the circle of Leitmeritz, at the junction of the Bila with the Elbe, 44 m. (direct) N. N. W. of Prague, with which it is connected by railway; pop. in 1869, 10,933. It was formerly strongly fortified, but in 1426 it was destroyed by the Hussites, and in 1639 it was seized by the Swedish general Baner. It has a church said to have been built in 826, containing a Madonna by Carlo Dolce, presented to the town by the father of Raphael Mengs, who was born here. The town has an active trade in fruit, mineral waters, timber, and especially in coal. The battlefield of Kulm is in the vicinity.
Australasia (South Asia), the S. W. division of Oceania, extending from the equator to lat. 47° S., and from about lon. 112° to about 170° E. It embraces Australia, Tasmania or Van Diemen's Land, New Zealand, and Chatham isle, on the west and south; 'Papua, the Admiralty isles, New Ireland, and the Solomons archipelago on the north; Queen Charlotte's isles, the New Hebrides, and New Caledonia, on the east; and all the interjacent islands. On account of the black color of its natives, Australasia is also called Melanesia, chiefly by French geographers. (See Oceania)