FHW Button

Machairas, Leontios (ca. 1380-1432): Cypriot chronicler who was attached to the court of the Lusignans. We know little of his life, other than the fact that he held the post of secretary to Jean de Nores,that in 1426 he was responsible for the distribution of wine in Choirokitia (a city in southern Cyprus) and that in 1432 he was an envoy to the Turkish ruler at Laras in Asia Minor.
Magnesia: area in western Asia Minor. It flourished mainly during the time of the Laskarid dynasty.
Mamluks: Dynasty of sultans who governed Egypt from 1250 to 1517 and Syria from 1260 to 1516.
Manasses: writer in the court of Manuel I Komnenos (1130-85). His most important work is a chronicle (Chronike Synopsis) covering the period from Adam to the year 1081.
Manfred: King of Sicily (1258-66) and illegitimate son of Frederick II Hohenstaufen. Main opponent of the Byzantine emperor, since he continued the expansionist policy of his ancestors in the Balkans throughout the whole period of his reign.
Manuel Angelos: Younger brother of Theodore I Doukas and emperor at Thessalonike (1230-ca.37). In 1233 he restored relations between his state and the empire of Nicaea. His brother John succeeded him to the throne (1237-42).
Manuel II Palaiologos: Byzantine emperor (1391-1425) and son of John V Palaiologos.
Manuel Kantakouzenos: Second son of John VI Kantakouzenos, despotes of the Morea (1349-80) and patron of the church of Hagia Sophia at Mistra.
Manuscript: a book or document (an original or a copy), written by hand on papyrus, parchment or paper before the invention of typography. It could be cylindrical in shape, that is it could be rolled up as a scroll, or cut into rectangular sheets that were bound like a book, in which case it was known as a codex.
Maritime democracies (Italian): this refers to the Italian cities of Venice, Genoa and Pisa, to which the Byzantine emperors granted commercial privileges after the 10th century. Especially after 1204 these democracies gradually dominated the economic life of the Byzantine Empire.
Martyrion: church dedicated to the memory of a martyr-saint.
Matthew Asen Kantakouzenos: Co-emperor (1353-57) with his father John VI Kantakouzenos. In the last years of his life he occupied himself with the writing of philosophical and theological works. He died in 1383 in the Peloponnese.
Mazaris, Maximos: Writer of the satirical dialogue entitled Journey to Hades, which was probably addressed to Theodore II Palaiologos. Besides being a social satire of the higher class of Constantinople and of the various national groups of the Morea, his work also offers valuable historical - mostly prosopographical - information.
Medusa (or Gorgo or Gorgon): Monster of ancient Greek mythology, often mentioned in ancient sources. Her head and her gaze in particular were believed to turn any beholder to stone, which is why she was used as a magic symbol both in Classical times and in later periods.
Megas Domestikos:supreme military commander of the imperial army. High-ranking title which was generally given to close relatives of the emperor.
Megas Doux:commander of the imperial fleet.
Megas Logothetes: top-ranking official in the political administration. This title was used at the end of the 12th century and replaced that of logothetes ton sekreton, which was created in the years of Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) to unite all the civil services under one post. The logothetes may be compared to a prime minister today.
Megas Stratopedarches: superior officer responsible for the provision of equipment and supplies for the military forces of the empire.
Mehmed I:Sultan of the Ottoman empire (1413-21) and son of Bayezid I. Even though he had to face internal unrest, he managed to prevail and to expand the borders of his state.
Mehmed II the Conqueror:Sultan of the Ottoman empire (1444-46 and 1451-1481). An able military man and a shrewd politician who managed to establish the multinational Ottoman empire on a solid foundation after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
Melissenos: Family of Byzantine nobles, whose members and branches can be traced from the 9th to the 13th century. They were landowners and often held the highest administrative positions in the state. In the 13th century the Melissenoi were known as landowners in the area of Smyrna.
Meliteniotes, Theodore: Patriarchal official, archdeacon of the palatine clergy and writer. He was a Palamite and an anti-Unionist. He corresponded with Makarios Chrysokephalos, Joseph Bryennios and Demetrios Kydones, and wrote works on astronomy, music and poetry.
Memorandum writer:high ecclesiastical official who served in the Patriarchate.
Mesarites, Nicholas (ca.1163-after 1124):  Writer of original rhetorical works. He held high ecclesiastical offices, such as that of skeuophylax at the Pharos church in Constantinople, and was also metropolitan of Ephesus and exarch of Asia.
Mesazon:The mesazon was the"mediator" between the emperor and his subjects, which is why this office, which made its appearance in the 11th-12th century, acquired considerable importance. After the time of the Empire of Nicaea it designated the supreme post in the imperial administration and its holder assisted the emperor, as his confidant, in the administration of the state.
Michael I Asen:Bulgarian tsar (1246-56).
Michael I Angelos:Michael I Komnenos Doukas, better known as Angelos, was a cousin of the Byzantine emperors Isaac and Alexios III Angelos. With the disintegration of the Byzantine Empire after the Fourth Crusade, he established himself as ruler of the independent state of Epiros, with Arta as his capital (1205-15).
Michael II Angelos: Michael II Komnenos Doukas was ruler of the state of Epiros from 1231 to 1271. He was an illegitimate son of Michael I and one of the main opponents of Michael VIII Palaiologos for the recovery of the Byzantine throne.
Michael VIII Palaiologos: Byzantine emperor (1259-82). Son of the megas domestikos Andronikos Palaiologos and founder of the last dynasty of Byzantium, that of the Palaiologoi. As Emperor of the state of Nicaea, he is associated with the recovery of Constantinople from the Latins in 1261.
Michael IX Palaiologos: Son of the emperor Andronikos II and co-emperor with his father (1283-1320).
Mircea the Great:Prince of Wallachia (1386-1418), known for his unsuccessful wars against the Turks, but also for his administrative and diplomatic skills, thanks to which Wallachia acquired the structure of a unified state and retained its autonomy.
Mitaton:obligation to offer lodgings to the military, or tax imposed for this purpose.
Monastery of Lips: Monastery of Constantinople founded in 907 by the droungarios tou ploimou (of the fleet), Constantine Lips.
Monastic schema: the monastic habit.
Mongolian Peace:Period of peace, which lasted for about 100 years from 1240 to 1340. The Mongols were able to impose political stability and to establish conditions favourable to the civil administration, the army as well as to commercial activity.
Mongols or Tatars: Asian nation which, under the leadership of Genghis Khan, created an empire extending from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The Mongols were divided into the Mongols of the Golden Horde and those of Persia and were united under the leadership of Timur(1370-1405) at the beginning of the 15th century. After his death their empire fell apart. By 1475 all their territories were incorporated into the Ottoman empire.
Moschopoulos, Manuel:Constantinopolitan writer and philologist born ca.1265. He was a nephew of the bibliophile bishop of the reign of Andronikos II, Nikephoros Moschopoulos. He was a student of Maximos Planoudes and a commentator (perhaps also an editor) of classical Greek poets. Among other works he wrote a grammar of the ancient Greek language, a treatise on magic squares and an anti-Latin treatise.
Mouzalon, George:Regent of the Empire of Nicaea after the death of Theodore II Laskaris. The aristocracy treated him with hostility mainly because of his humble origins. He was murdered on Michael VIII Palaiologos' order by the Latin mercenaries of the imperial troops in 1258.
Murad I:Sultan of the Ottoman empire (1362-89), who conquered the greater part of the Balkans.
Murad II:Sultan of the Ottoman empire (1421-44 and 1446-51) the son of Mehmed I and his successor. He organised the army and administration of the state, thus preparing it for the conquests which his son, Mehmed II, would realise.
Myrepsos, Nicholas: Most probably the writer of a Late-Byzantine compilation of pharmaceutical recipes collected in a work called the Dynameron. He has been traditionally identified with Nicholas, the aktouarios (head physician) of the court of John III Vatatzes. The name Myrepsos itself means "producer of unguents", that is perfumes, pharmaceutical oils and ointments.