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Aer: liturgical veil that covers the holy vessels on the Holy Altar.
Ailios Aristeides (ca. 117 or 129-189 BC): Orator of the Second Sophistic. His was different from Plato's ideology and he supported the primary importance of oratory. Perhaps this was one of the reasons for which he was extremely popular with the Byzantines, such as Maximos Planoudes, Theodora Raoulaina, Theodore Metochites, Thomas Magistros and John Chortasmenos.
Aisle: part of the body of a church, which is defined by the interior series of its supports, pedestals or columns.
Akathistos Hymn (not seated): Hymn honouring the Virgin, which is sung during Lent. According to tradition, it was created in order to praise the Virgin's intervention in the salvation of Constantinople from the raid of the Avars in 626 originally sung by a standing congregation.
Aktouarios: the title of the doctor and probably the head physician of the imperial court.
Akindynos Gregory (ca. 1300-1348): Anti-Palamite theologian, protege of Irene Choumnaina, with a perfect secular education. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1344 by John XIV Kalekas. He was sent into exile as a result of the Council of Blachernai and died shortly afterwards. The most famous theological treatise that he wrote was the "Antirritika", comprising arguments against the teaching of Palamas.
Albanians: National group whose origin is not clearly defined. One supposition is that they come from the ancient Illyrians who survived the barbarian raids and since the 11th century had settled in Arbanon. Later (13th-14th century) they settled in Epiros and Thessaly, whereas a part of them reached Morea of the Palaiologoi.
Alexios I Komnenos: Emperor of the Byzantium from 1081 to 1118. His successful foreign policy and the reforms that he realized in the administration and economy of the state, proved that he was one of the emperors who defined the course of the empire.
Alexios III Angelos: Emperor of the Byzantium from 1195 to 1203. After the invasion of Constantinople by the crusaders and following many hardships, Alexios died in Nicaea in 1211/2.
Alexios Philanthropenos: Nephew of Andronikos II, who was appointed, by the latter, general and doukas of the theme of Thrakesion in Asia Minor. He soon entered into mutiny against the emperor, who, however, arrested and had him blinded in 1295.
Amadeo VI of Savoy ("the Green Count"): Count of Savoy (1343-1383). Leader of a Crusade in 1364 in order to help the Byzantine emperor John V in his fight against the Turks, where he had some success between 1366-67.
Anagnostes: At first he was a secular and later a clergy member, inferior in the hierarchy, who used to read texts from the Epistles of the Apostles and the Old Testament, standing on the ambo, during the Mass.
Andronikos II Palaiologos: Byzantine emperor (1282-1328) with a deep religious nature. He restored Orthodoxy in 1282 after the failure of the Union of the Churches at Lyon in 1274. His reign ended when he abdicated in 1328 in favour of his grandson Andronikos III at the end of civil war between them. He died as monk Anthony in 1332.
Andronikos III Palaiologos: Byzantine emperor (1328-41). He assumed the imperial office after the civil war with his grandfather Andronikos II. He tried to revive the Byzantine empire. His wife Anna of Savoy caused him to introduce western chivalric customs in the court.
Andronikos IV Palaiologos: Emperor of the Byzantium (1376-79) and son of John V. With the help of the Genoans of Galatas and the Ottomans he remained on the Byzantine throne for three years. In 1385 he entered into mutiny and was killed in the battle against his father's troops.
Anna of Savoy (1st half of 14th century): Empress of the Byzantium and wife of Andronikos III Palaiologos. She had much influence on her husband as well as on the Byzantine court, to which she introduced western customs and chivalric customs. After the death of her husband, she got involved, as a member of the viceroy her son John V, in the civil war against Kantakouzenos.
Anna Palaiologina: Niece of the emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (daughter of his sister Irene-Eulogia) and wife of the sovereign of Epiros, Nikephoros I.
Anthony IV: Patriarch of Constantinople (1389-90 and 1391-97).
Aplekton: tax for the maintenance of soldiers, probably for a short period of time.
Apocrypha: religious works, which are not accepted by the official Church. These texts constituted a source of inspiration for the Byzantine artists. A characteristic example is the Protoevangelion of James, which refers to the life of the Virgin and the childhood of Jesus.
Apokaukos Alexios: Byzantine officer, one of the pioneers of the rebellion of Andronikos III against his grandfather, emperor Andronikos II. After Andronikos III's death in 1341, he was involved, as a member of the regency, in the civil war with Kantakouzenos, by whose followers he was murdered in 1345.
Aquinas Thomas (1224-1274): Italian teacher of theology at the Dominican battalion. The form of scholastic philosophy, which he introduced, known later as Thomism, used the philosophical methods and principles of Aristotelian physics. His work became known in the Byzantium through the Dominican monks who lived in the East and were translated by Demetrios Kydones and Gennadios II Scholarios.
Argyropoulos John: Writer and teacher of ancient Greek philosophy in Constantinople and Italy. He was a member of the Byzantine delegation at the Council of Ferrara-Florence and wrote Latin translations of Greek philosophical and theological texts as well as rhetoric and theological works.
Arsenios Autoreianos-Arsenites: Patriarch of Constantinople (1254-59 and 1261-65). A defender of the rights of the Laskarids and of the observation of the rules of the Church. He was disordained by Michael VIII Palaiologos. His followers, the Arsenites, broke away from the official Church, causing the so-called Schism of the Arsenites. The Arsenites came to communion with the Church in 1310, during Andronikos II's reign.
Athanasios I: Patriarch of Constantinople (1289-1293 and 1303-1309). He was involved in the Schism of the Arsenites, he was a defender of virtuous life and monasticism and was actively interested in fighting poverty in the city. Because of this attitude of his, he was declared a Saint of the Church shortly before 1368.
Atticism: archaic language and artificial form of the Greek language which was used in Byzantine literature and which imitated the language of the Athenian writers of the 5th-4th century BC.