Athos a mountain at the extremity of the promontory of Chalcis, in the province of Salonica, in European Turkey. It was an early resort of monks and anchorets, and is called Monte Santo, or "Holy Mountain," in the lingua franca, and in Greek ἄγιον ὄρος. There are now upon the sides of the mountain between twenty and thirty monasteries, and a vast multitude of hermitages, which contain more than six thousand monks called Caloyers (q.v.), mostly Russian, of the order of St. Basil. Here they live in a state of complete abstraction from the world; and so strict are their regulations that they do not tolerate any female being, not even of the class of domestic animals, among them. They still own considerable possessions in Bulgaria, Servia, the Danubian Principalities, and Russia. They elect annually a common council of administration, called Prototaton. They are now chiefly occupied in carving little images of the saints, which they send down to the market-town of Kareis, where a weekly market is held, and where purchases are made for various parts, especially Russia; but formerly they were occupied with the nobler work of transcription. The libraries of the monasteries are particularly rich in MSS. and other literary treasures. Many of these works have of late years been purchased by travelers, and thus found their way into various libraries of Europe. The monasteries and churches on this mountain are the only ones in the Ottoman empire that have bells. Under the reign of Catharine II of Russia. the learned Eugen Bulgaris took up his abode on Mount Athos as director of an academy founded by Patriarch Cyril of Constantinople. For some time the academy was very flourishing, but at length the patriarch had to yield to the demands of the ignorant portion of the monks and to abolish it. From that time ignorance has generally prevailed among the monks, and only recently (1859) they have set up a printing-press and commenced the publication of a religious newspaper. No complete list of the MSS. extant at Mount Athos has yet been made. See Curzon, Monasteries of the Levant (N. Y. 1851, 12mo); Leake, Trav. in N. Greece, vol. 3; Jour. of Geog. Soc. of Lond. 1837, 7:61; Fallmerayer, Fragmente aus dem Orient, 2, 1 sq. (Stuttg. 1845); Didron aine, Ann. Archeolog. 1, 29 sq., 173 sq.; 4:70 sq.; 5, 148 sq.; 7:41 sq.; Miller, in Miclosich's Slav. Bib. vol. 1 (Vienna, 1837); Pischon, Die Monchsrepublik des Athos, in Raumer's Tist. Taschenbuch (Leipz. 1860); Gass, Zur Geschichte der Athos-Kloster (Giessen, 1863).

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