Search Loci: Convergence:
[To the poet
The Difference Engine, by Doron Swade, Viking, 2000
The Magic Squares of Manuel Moschopoulos
Manuel Moschopoulos is generally thought of as a writer and philologist, whose main interests were in drama and poetry. As a student of Maximus Planudes, whose learning and interests were very wide ranging indeed, he appears to have also taken an interest in some aspects of science as well as letters. He seems to have taken both his scholarship and his teaching very seriously, and is praised in both areas in a letter written to his uncle by Planudes.
In 1305 or 1306 he was involved in some kind of political plot resulting in his incarceration and disgrace. Several letters survive written by him from the jail, in which he complains about his treatment and the lack of food. He admits that he has acted incorrectly, but claims to have acted naively rather than with malicious intent. Byzantium had, at this time, entered a period of turmoil and slow decline. Internal strifes combined with external pressures made it a place wherein criticism of the hierarchy could be looked upon with great suspicion if not as an act of disloyalty, and Moschopoulos appears to have been at best imprudent in his public remarks. He may also have been held responsible for the behaviour of his student Matarangides, a foreigner (possibly Albanian), for whom he had staked personal responsibility. The exact details are not known. (See  ).
Moschopoulos' work on magic squares was probably written after this difficult period of his life, perhaps about 1315.