Biology (Gr. βίoς life, and λoγoc doctrine), the study of the conditions and phenomena of life and living beings. This term was introduced by Lamarck and Treviranus in 1802, and has been used by Carus, Oken, Schelling, and other German philosophers, to denote the ultimate conditions of human life. It was partially revived by Comte (Philosophie positive) in 1838, and has since been employed by some writers in preference to physiology, as being a term of greater scientific comprehensiveness and exactitude. We have accordingly the "Biological Journal" and the "Society of Biology," and Herbert Spencer has made biology the title of one of the departments in his system of "Synthetic Philosophy."


Bion, a Greek pastoral poet, born near Smvrna, flourished about 280 B. C. On at-taining manhood he Sicily, where he fell a victim to a conspiracy and died of poison. His poems are all in hexameter verse, some of them erotic. A few remain entire, and fragments of others are extant; they are generally printed with the bucolic poems of his disciple Moschus and of Theocritus.

Bipont Editions

Bipont Editions, famous editions of the Latin classics, published in the city of Deux-Ponts or Zweibrucken (Lat. Bipontium), in the Rhenish Palatinate. The publication was begun in 1779, but after the French conquest was finished in Strasburg. The collection forms 50 vols. 8vo.

Bird Islands

Bird Islands, a cluster of the Leeward islands of the Lesser Antilles, immediately N. of the gulf of Triste, Venezuela. They are so named from the immense numbers of birds that frequent them. They belong to the Dutch, and are inhabited by only a few fishers.

Birde, Or Byrd, William

Birde, Or Byrd, William, an English composer, born about 1540, died July 21, 1623. He was a pupil of Tallis, and in 1563 was chosen organist of Lincoln cathedral. In 1569 he was appointed gentleman of the chapel royal, and six years afterward organist to Queen Elizabeth. The number of his vocal compositions, chiefly sacred, was enormous; and his pieces for the organ and virginals were almost as numerous. Among the latter is a collection of nearly 70 MS. compositions, known as Queen Elizabeth's virginal book. The fine canon, Ron nobis, Domine, frequently sung in England, is a good specimen of his sacred vocal music.


Birkenfeld, an outlying principality belonging to the grand duchy of Oldenburg, Germany, surrounded by the Rhenish Prussian districts of Treves and Coblentz; area, 194 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 36,128, of whom 7,300 were Roman Catholics. The soil is poor, though well cultivated wherever practicable. The surface is covered with forests and mountains. The principality possesses iron mines, and produces agates, chalcedony, etc, which are wrought for exportation. It has a market town of the same name, 23 m. E. S. E. of Treves; pop. 2,249. The principality was from early times a separate state under the suzerainty of the palatines of Deux-Ponts. In 1802 it came into possession of France, and in 1815 of Prussia, which in 1817 ceded it to Oldenburg.