John the Orphanotrophos

   Eunuch (q.v.) who successfully conspired to help his brother, who became Michael IV (q.v.), gain the throne. He used his position as orphanotrophos, i.e., director of imperial orphanages, to gain even greater power during the reign of Romanos III (q.v.). While Michael IV was on the throne John was the most powerful person at court. Although he engineered the accession of Michael V (q.v.), Michael soon exiled him, and Constantine IX (q.v.) blinded him. Michael Psellos (q.v.) was an eyewitness to the blinding, and his account of it in his Chronographia is among the most dramatic passages in Byzantine literature.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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