John the Orphanotrophos

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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  • Michael IV Paphlagon —    Emperor (q.v.) from 1034 1041. He gained access to the court through the influence of his brother John the Orphanotrophos and the empress Zoe (qq.v.), Michael s lover and murderer of Romanos III (q.v.). The influence of John the Orphanotrophos …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

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  • Zoe —    Empress (q.v.) from 1028 to her death in 1050; co ruler in 1042 with her younger sister Theodora (q.v.). She was intimately connected with the succession of five emperors (q.v.) during the final decades of the Macedonian dynasty (q.v.). Her… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

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