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Dictionary of World Biography
he became, in the conspiracy by which her husband
was deposed (1327) in favour of her son, the boyking *Edward III, and soon murdered, presumably
on Mortimer’s orders. Three years later the hatred
inspired by Mortimer’s rule encouraged Edward
to have him seized and hanged at Tyburn without
trial. Another Roger Mortimer (1374–1398), his
descendant, became heir presumptive to *Richard II
and (through the marriage of his daughter, Anne) the
source of the Yorkist claim to the throne.
Morton, James Douglas, 4th Earl of (c.1516–1581).
Scottish nobleman. A Protestant, he was (from 1557)
at the centre of the plots and intrigues against *Mary
Queen of Scots. He took part in *Rizzio’s murder and
was almost certainly privy to that of *Darnley. It was
he who discovered the ‘casket letter’ which, if genuine,
implicated Mary. After the death of *Moray he was
twice Regent of Scotland, 1572–78 and 1578–80, for
*James VI and attempted to restore tranquillity to a
land torn by religious dissension and war. A party of
the nobles plotted to secure his dismissal. He seized
Stirling Castle and the young king, but a further plot
resulted in his execution for the murder of Darnley.
Morton, John (1423–1500). English ecclesiastic
and lawyer. After various turns of fortune during
the Wars of the Roses he became *Henry VII’s most
trusted adviser: he was Archbishop of Canterbury
1486–1500, Lord Chancellor 1487–1500, and
became a cardinal (1493). It is said (though the
story is probably apocryphal) that he assisted the
king’s extortions by impaling potential victims on
the horns of a dilemma known as Morton’s Fork, but
he certainly used his visits to nobles to assess their
wealth: if they had a costly retinue, he concluded they
were rich and able to pay heavy taxes; if modest, that
they were avaricious and equally able to pay.
Morton, William Thomas Green (1819–1868).
American dentist. Famous for introducing ether as
an anaesthetic, he used it (1846) at Massachusetts
General Hospital, Boston, in the first successful major
operation using general anaesthesia.
Keys, T. E., The History of Surgical Anaesthesia. 1945.
Moseley, Henry Gwynn-Jeffreys (1887–1915).
English physicist. Lecturer in physics at Manchester
University under *Rutherford, he studied the X-ray
spectra of many elements and discovered (1913)
that the frequency of the characteristic line in each
spectrum increases in regular sequence from one
element to the next in the periodic table. He thus
showed the fundamental importance of the atomic
number of an element, which defines the element
and is directly related to its atomic structure. He was
killed at Gallipoli.
Moses (Moshe, probably from the Egyptian mos,
‘child’) (c.14th-13th centuries BCE). Hebrew leader
and law-giver, born in Egypt. According to the
Pentateuch, he was a Levite, hidden in bullrushes to
avoid slaughter by the Egyptians, found and brought
up by Pharaoh’s daughter, an account paralleling
birth legends in mythology. After killing an Egyptian
overseer, he took refuge with the Midianites and
married Zipporah. After many years he received in
a vision an order from Jehovah to lead the Jewish
people from their captivity in Egypt to Palestine. The
10 plagues that afflicted Egypt are reputed to have
been among the reasons why Pharaoh allowed them
to depart. Moses and his brother Aaron led them to
Mount Sinai where the ‘Ten Commandments’ were
received. Moses led his people for many years in the
wilderness but died at the age of 120 on Mount Nebo
(Sinai) in sight of the ‘Promised Land’ of Palestine,
which he never reached. The Pentateuch took its
present form about 600 years after his time and he
was almost certainly a composite figure.
Freud, S., Moses and Monotheism 1939.
Moses, Grandma (Anna Mary Robertson) (1860–
1961). American painter. A farmer’s wife, she took
up painting at the age of 77 and won fame for her gay
and spontaneous pictures of rural scenes.
Mosley, Sir Oswald Ernald, 6th Baronet (1896–
1980). British politician. His first wife, Lady Cynthia
Blanche Mosley (1898–1933), daughter of Lord
*Curzon, was a Labour MP 1929–31. He became a
Conservative MP (1918) but joined the Labour Party
(1924) and was a member of Ramsay MacDonald’s
Government 1929–30, resigning because of its failure
to cope with unemployment. He formed the New
Party (1931) and founded (1932) the British Union
of Fascists. The violence of his followers was a feature
of prewar politics. In World War II he was detained
under defence regulations. In 1948 he started a
new Union movement. His second wife was Diana
Mosley, N., Rules of the Game: Sir Oswald and Lady
Cynthia Mosley, 1896–1933. 1982; Beyond the Pale:
Sir Oswald Mosley 1933–1980. 1983.
Mostel, Zero (Samuel Joel) (1915–1977). American
actor, born in Brooklyn. A masterful mime, skilled in
drama and comedy, he starred in Ulysses in Nighttown
(1958), *Ionesco’s Rhinoceros (1961, stage and film)
and created the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof
(1964). He starred in the film The Producers (1968).
Motley, John Lothrop (1814–1877). American
historian. He wrote the classic The Rise of the Dutch
Republic (1856) and served as US Minister to Austria
1861–67 and Great Britain 1869–70.
Moulin, Jean (1899–1943). French administrator
and Resistance leader. Prefect of Chartres 1936–40,
he became the courageous leader of the Underground,
supported de *Gaulle’s leadership of the Free French
and encouraged him to embrace more progressive
policies. He died in German custody and is much
commemorated in France.