Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
1770, from Latin Byzantinus (see Byzantium); originally used of art style; later in reference to the complex, devious, and intriguing character of the royal court of Constantinople (1937). As a noun from 1770.
A term describing any system that has so many labyrinthine internal interconnections that it would be impossible to simplify by separation into loosely coupled or linked components.
The city of Byzantium, later renamed Constantinople and then Istanbul, and the Byzantine Empire were vitiated by a bureaucratic overelaboration bordering on lunacy: quadruple banked agencies, dozens or even scores of superfluous levels and officials with high flown titles unrelated to their actual function, if any.
Access to the Emperor and his council was controlled by powerful and inscrutable eunuchs and by rival sports factions.
[Edward Gibbon, "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"].