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MAZEPPA, IVAN, hetman of the Cossacks, born in Podolia; became page to John Casimir, king of Poland; was taken by a Polish n.o.bleman, who surprised him with his wife, and tied by him to the back of a wild horse, which galloped off with him to the Ukraine, where it had been bred, and where some peasants released him half-dead; life among those people suited his taste, he stayed among them, became secretary to their hetman, and finally hetman himself; he won the confidence of Peter the Great, who made him a prince under his suzerainty, but in an evil hour he allied himself with Charles XII. of Sweden, and lost it; fled to Bender on the defeat of the Swedish king at Pultowa in 1709 (1644-1709).

MAZURKA, a lively Polish dance, danced by four or eight couples, and much practised in the N. of Germany as well as in Poland.

MAZZINI, JOSEPH, Italian patriot, born at Genoa; consecrated his life to political revolution and the regeneration of his country on a democratic basis by political agitation; was arrested by the Sardinian government in 1831 and expelled from Italy; organised at Ma.r.s.eilles the secret society of Young Italy, whose motto was “G.o.d and the People”; driven from Ma.r.s.eilles to Switzerland and from Switzerland to London, he never ceased to agitate and conspire for this object; on the outbreak of the Revolution in 1848 at Paris he hastened thither to join the movement, which had spread into Italy, and where in 1849 he was installed one of a triumvirate in Rome and conducted the defence of the city against the arms of France, but refusing to join in the capitulation he returned to London, where he still continued to agitate till, his health failing, he retired to Geneva and died (1805-1872).

MEAD, a brisk liquor made by fermenting honey, and used in civilised and barbarous Europe from very early times.

MEADE, GEORGE GORDON, American general, born at Cadiz, son of an American merchant; he pa.s.sed through West Point and joined the engineers; he served in the Mexican War, became captain and major, and was employed surveying and lighthouse building till the Civil War; in it, first in command of volunteers and afterwards as general in the regular army, he distinguished himself chiefly by frustrating Lee in 1863; after the war he continued in the service till his death at Philadelphia (1815-1872).


MEATH (77), a county in Leinster, Ireland, touching the Irish Sea between Louth and Dublin, is watered by the Boyne River and its tributary the Blackwater; the surface is undulating, the soil fertile; some oats and potatoes are grown, but most of the county is under pasture; there is a little linen and coa.r.s.e woollen industry; the chief towns are Navan (4), Kells (2), and the county town Trim (1).

MEAUX (13), on the Marne, 28 m. NE. of Paris, a well-built town, with Gothic cathedral; has a large corn and provision trade, and some copper and cotton industries; Bossuet was bishop here, and it contains his grave.

MECCA, the birthplace of Mahomet, the Holy City and Keblah of the Moslems, the capital of Hedjaz and the true capital of Arabia; in the midst of sandy valleys, and 60 m. distant from Jeddah, its port; a city to which every true Mussulman must make a pilgrimage once in his life; has a population which varies from 30,000 to 60,000. See CAABA.

MECHANICAL POWERS, the lever, inclined plane, wheel and axle, screw, pulley, and wedge, the elementary contrivances of which all machines are composed.

MECHANICS’ INSt.i.tUTES, a.s.sociations of working-men which aim at providing a general education for artisans, and particularly instruction in the fundamental principles of their own trades; are managed by committees of their own election, usually have a reading-room and library, and provide and lectures; Dr. Birkbeck started a journeymen’s cla.s.s in Glasgow 1800, and in 1824 in London organised the first Mechanics’ Inst.i.tute.

MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN (578), a German grand-duchy, on the of the Baltic, between Schleswig-Holstein and Pomerania; is mostly a level, fertile plain, with numerous small rivers and many lakes; agriculture is the chief industry; merino sheep are renowned; there are iron-founding, sugar-refining, and tanning works, and amber is found on the coasts; social inst.i.tutions are very backward; still largely feudal; serfdom was abolished in 1824 only. SCHWERIN (34), on Lake Schwerin, is the capital. ROSTOCK (44), has a university; is a busy Baltic port, from which grain, wool, and cattle are shipped; has important wool and cattle fairs, shipbuilding, and other industries. MECKLENBURG-STRELITZ (98), adjacent to the foregoing on the SE., presents similar characteristics, and is united to it in government; the capital is Neustrelitz (9).

MEDEA, a famous sorceress of Greek legend, daughter of aeetes, king of Colchis, by whose aid JASON (q. v.) accomplished the object of his expedition, and acquired the Golden Fleece, and who accompanied him back to Greece as his wife; by her art she restored the youth of Eson, the father of her husband, but the latter having abandoned her she avenged herself on him by putting the children she had by him to death; the art she possessed was that of making old people young again by first chopping them in pieces and then boiling them in a caldron.

MEDIA, a country on the SW. of the Caspian Sea, originally a province of the a.s.syrian empire, from which it revolted; was after 150 years of independence annexed to Persia by Cyrus, of which it had formed the NW. portion.

MEDIaeVALISM, a tendency in literature and art to conform in spirit or otherwise to mediaeval models.

MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE OR FORENSIC MEDICINE, is the branch of medical study which bears on legal questions, the detection of crime or the determination of civil rights.

MEDICI, an ill.u.s.trious family who attained sovereign power in Florence in the 15th century, the most celebrated members of which were: COSMO DE, surnamed the “Father of his Country,” was exiled for ten years but recalled, and had afterwards a peaceful and prosperous reign; was a student of philosophy, and much interested in literature (1389-1464). LORENZO DE, the Magnificent, did much to demoralise Florence, but patronised literature and the arts (1448-1492). Other celebrated members of the family were POPES LEO X., CLEMENT VII., and CATHERINE AND MARY DE MEDICI (q. v.).

MEDICINE-MAN, one among the American Indians who professes to cure diseases or exorcise evil spirits by magic.

MEDINA (lit. the city) (76), called also Medina-en-Nabi, 210 m. N.

of Mecca, the City of the Prophet, as the place in which he found refuge after his “flight” from Mecca in 632; it was here he from that date lived, where he died, and where his tomb is, in a beautiful and rich mosque called El Haram (i. e. the inviolate), erected on the site of the prophet’s house. See HEGIRA.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA, so called by the ancients as lying in the presumed middle of the earth surrounded by Europe, Asia, and Africa; the largest enclosed sea in the world; its communication with the Atlantic is Gibraltar Strait, 9 m. wide; it communicates with the Black Sea through the Dardanelles, and in 1869 a ca.n.a.l through the isthmus of Suez connected it with the Red Sea, 2200 m. long by 100 to 600 m. broad; its S. are regular; the N. has many gulfs, and two great inlets, the aegean and Adriatic Seas; the Balearic Isles, Corsica, and Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Cyprus, and Crete, the Ionian Isles, and the Archipelago are the chief islands; the Rhone, Po, and Nile the chief rivers that discharge into it; a ridge between Sicily and Cape Bon divides it into two great basins; it is practically tideless, and salter than the Atlantic; its waters too are warm; northerly winds prevail in the E. with certain regular variations; the surrounding territories are the richest in the world, and the greatest movements in civilisation and art have taken place around it in Africa, Phoenicia, Carthage, Greece, and Rome.

MEDIUM, in modern spiritualism a person susceptible to communication with the spirit-world.

MEDJIDIE, an Ottoman order of knighthood inst.i.tuted in 1852 by the Sultan Abd-ul-Medjid, as a reward of merit in civil or military service.

MeDOC, a district in the dep. of the Gironde, on the left of the estuary, in the S. of France, famous for its wines.

MEDUSA, one of the THREE GORGONS (q. v.), is fabled to have been originally a woman of rare beauty, with a magnificent head of hair, but having offended Athena, that G.o.ddess changed her hair into hideous serpents, and gave to her eyes the power of turning any one into stone who looked into them; PERSEUS (q. v.) cut off her head by the help of Athena, who afterwards wore it on the middle of her breastplate or shield.

MEDWAY, a river in Kent, which rises in Surrey and Suss.e.x, and which after a NE. course of 58 m. falls into an estuary at Sheerness.

MEEANEE, a village in Sind, 6 m. N. of Hyderabad, where Sir Charles Napier defeated an army of the Ameer of Sind in 1843.

MEERSCHAUM (lit. sea-foam), a fine white clay, a hydrate-silicate of magnesia, supposed, as found on the sea-sh.o.r.e in some places, to have been sea-foam petrified.

MEERUT (119), an Indian town in the North-West Provinces, on the Nuddi, 40 m. NE. of Delhi; is capital of a district of the same name, and an Important military station; it is noted as the scene of the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857.

MEGARIS, a small but populous State of ancient Greece, S. of Attica, whose inhabitants were adventurous seafarers, credited with deceitful propensities. The capital, Megara, famous for white marble and fine clay, was the birthplace of Euclid.

MEGATHERIUM, an extinct genus of mammalia allied to the sloth, some 18 or 20 ft. in length and 8 ft. in height, with an elephantine skeleton.

MEHEMET ALI, pasha of Egypt, born in Albania; entered the Turkish army, and rose into favour, so that he was able to seize the pashalic, the Sultan compromising matters by exaction of an annual tribute in acknowledgment of his suzerainty; the Mamelukes, however, proved unruly, and he could not otherwise get rid of them but by luring them into his coils, and slaughtering them wholesale in 1811; he maintained two wars with the Sultan for the possession of Syria, and had Ibrahim Pasha, his son, for lieutenant; compelled to give up the struggle, he inst.i.tuted a series of reforms in Egypt, and prosecuted them with such vigour that the Sultan decreed the pashalic to remain hereditary in his family (1769-1849).

MEISSEN (15), a town of Saxony, on the Upper Elbe, 15 m. NW. of Dresden; has a very fine Gothic cathedral and an old castle. Gellert and Lessing were educated here. There is a large porcelain factory, where Dresden china is made, besides manufactures of iron.

MEISSONIER, JEAN LOUIS ERNEST, French painter, born at Lyons; began as a book ill.u.s.trator of “Paul and Virginia” amongst other works, practising the while and perfecting his art as a figure painter, in which he achieved signal success, from his “Chess-player” series to his designs for the decoration of the Pantheon, “The Apotheosis of France,” in 1889 (1811-1891).


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