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Dictionary of World Biography
Ostrovsky, Aleksandr Nikolaievich (1823–1886).
Russian dramatist. He had close associations with
the Maly Theatre in Moscow, where he became noted
for realistic plays mostly concerned with the middle
classes, merchants, officials etc. There is much more
poetic force, however, in The Storm (1860), usually
considered his masterpiece.
Otis, Elisha Graves (1811–1861). American
inventor, born in Vermont. He worked on many
inventions including train brakes, a snow plough
and a rotary oven, but secured immediate success
at the 1854 New York World’s Fair with his elevator
(lift) that made the vertical city possible. He died of
Ostwald, Wilhelm Friedrich (1853–1932). German
physical chemist. Professor of chemistry at Riga
1881–87, and at Leipzig 1887–1916, he adopted
and advocated the electrolytic dissociation theory of
*Arrhenius, and applied the laws of mass action to
obtain what is now known as Ostwald’s dilution law.
He discovered the process for the catalytic oxidation
of ammonia into nitric acid by which most nitric acid
is now made and won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry
(1909). He was a profound sceptic about atomic
Otto I (1815–1867). First King of the Hellenes
1833–62. A Bavarian prince, he was imposed on the
Greeks by the London Conference (1832). Although
well-meaning, he was deeply resented and deposed
after a military revolt. *George I, imported from
Denmark, replaced him.
Oswald, St (604–642). Northumbrian King (from
633). A son of King Aethelfrith of Bernicia, he
returned from exile to succeed King *Edwin. At the
time *Cadwallon was ravaging Northumbria, but
Oswald defeated him at Hexham (634) and was
able to consolidate and extend his rule until he was
overlord of nearly all England. He revived Christianity
in Northumbria by inviting Aidan and monks from
Iona to found a monastery at Lindisfarne. Oswald
was killed in battle against King *Penda of Mercia
and received almost immediate recognition as a saint.
Oswald, Lee (Harvey) (1939–1963). American
assassin. After joining the US Marines in 1954, he
defected to the USSR in 1959, married there and
returned to the US, apparently disillusioned, in
1962, and worked in Texas for Communist-fringe
organisations. On 22 November 1963 he assassinated
President John F. *Kennedy by shooting him twice as
he drove in an open car through the streets of Dallas.
Oswald also wounded Governor John *Connally of
Texas and killed a policeman. Two days later Oswald
was shot by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner, as he was
being transferred from one jail to another. Oswald’s
record indicated him to be a psychopathic isolate.
Despite his political associations the president’s murder
was generally thought to have a psychological rather
than a political significance, although speculation
about conspiracies continued for two decades.
Posner, G., Case Closed. 1993.
Othman (or Osman) I see Uthman I
Otho, Marcus Salvius (32–69). Roman Emperor
(69), one of four in that year. While Governor
of Lusitania (Portugal) he joined Galba (68)
against Nero, but, disappointed in his hopes of the
succession, he was proclaimed Emperor by his troops
in the Roman forum and had Galba put to death.
Meanwhile, the troops in Germany had proclaimed
Vitellius, and he defeated Otho in north Italy. Otho
then committed suicide.
Otto I (known as ‘the Great’) (912–973). German
King 936–73 and Holy Roman Emperor 962–73.
He was the son of Heinrich (‘the Fowler’), Duke
of Saxony and German King 919–36. Crowned
Emperor at Rome (962), because of the extension
of his power into Italy and close relations with the
papacy he is held to be the founder of the Holy
Roman Empire. In Germany he centralised the
administration, controlled the Slavs and repelled the
Magyars. In Italy he became King of the Lombards,
mastered Rome and the country to the south as far
as Capua. His first wife was a daughter of *Edward
the Elder of England. His son, Otto II (955–983),
crowned German King in 961, while his father was
still alive, and later Emperor, was defeated by the
Saracens in southern Italy and in consequence lost
control of the Slavs in Germany. An attempt by his
son, Otto III (980–1002), to establish an empire on
the Byzantine pattern centred on Rome failed and was
resented by his German subjects. Otto IV (c.1175–
1218), a son of *Heinrich der Löwe, was crowned
German King (1198) but his title of Emperor was
constantly in dispute. In alliance with the English
king *John he was completely defeated at Bouvines
(1214) by *Philip II of France.
Otto, Nikolaus August (1832–1891). German
inventor. He was co-inventor (1867) of a successful
internal combustion engine and patented (1884) the
four-stroke Otto engine. Gottlieb *Daimler was the
chief engineer of the company formed to exploit the
Ottoboni, Pietro (1667–1740). Italian cardinal,
born in Venice. Created a cardinal in 1689, he was
not ordained as priest until 1724. He patronised the
arts, especially music, and among his protégés were
Arcangelo *Corelli, Alessandro *Scarlatti, George
Frideric *Händel and Antonio *Vivaldi.
Otway, Thomas (1652–1685). English Restoration
dramatist. He left Oxford without taking a degree and
went to London, where, after failing as an actor, he
produced his first successful play, Don Carlos (1676).
Adaptations from *Racine’s Bérenice and *Molière’s
Les Fourberies de Scapin followed (1677). He is chiefly
remembered for the blank verse tragedy The Orphan