John Mauropous (lit. 'Blackfoot') was born in Paphlagonia around 1000. He came to Constantinople, and quickly gained a reputation as a teacher. Among his students, Michael Psellos was to be the most important. It was also Psellos who introduced him to the emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (1042-1055). For a couple of years, Mauropous belonged to the favoured circle of poets and scholars that Constantine gathered around him, and he functioned as a court orator. But for an unknown reason, these friends suddenly fell from favour around the year 1050, and presumably on this occasion, Mauropous was appointed metropolitan of Euchaita. In many letters, Mauropous complained of this "honourable exile", and asked his friend Psellos to urge the succeeding emperors to call Mauropous back to the capital. This seems to have succeeded at the end of Mauropous' life: he retired to the monastery of Agia Petra in Constantinople. He died presumably in the 1070s.
It seems that Mauropous had prepared during his lifetime a collection of his own literary works. The manuscript Vaticano Graeco 676 is a very close copy of this collection. That collection consists of ninety-nine poems (epigrams, polemical and autobiographical poems, funeral orations in verse), seventy-seven letters and thirteen speeches (with for the most part religious content).
Apart from these works, Mauropous composed a huge amount of liturgical canons. Mauropous has been seen as a precursor of the new cultural mentality in mid-11th century Byzantium. The typical blend of religious piety and classical culture links him with his pupil Psellos, and contemporary poets like Christopher of Mytilene. A particular theme in his poems and letters are the vicissitudes and dangers of public life and political careers, which is not surprising given the political and social instability of this period.
- Johannis Euchaitarum metropolitae quae supersunt in cod. Vaticano graeco 676 Ed. P. de Lagarde and J. Bollig. Berlin 1882 (Standard modern edition).
- Karpozilos A., The Letters of Ioannes Mauropous Metropolitan of Euchaita, Thessaloniki 1990.
- Follieri E., "The 'Living Heirmologion' in the Hymnographic Production of John Mauropus, Metropolitan of Euchaita", Studies in Eastern Chant 4 (1979) 54-75 (for references to publications of liturgical works).
- Hussey J.M., "The Writings of John Mauropus", in: Byzantinisches Zeitschrift vol. 44 (1951).
- Karpozilos A., Συμβολή στη μελέτη του βίου και του έργου του Ιώαννη Μαυρόποδος, Ioannina 1982.
- Anastasi R., Giovanni Mauropode, metropolita di Euchaita, Canzoniere, Catania 1984 (Italian translation of the poems).
- Anastasi R., "Su Giovanni d'Euchaita'", Siculorum Gymnasium 29 (1976) 19-49.
- Lefort J., "Rhétorique et politique. Trois discours de Jean Mauropous en 1047", Travaux et mémoires 6 (1976) 265-303.
- This is disputed by Kazhdan in "Some Problems in the Biography of John Mauropous", JÖB 43 (1993) p. 87-111, where he dates Mauropous' appointment in the 1070s. But Kazhdan's arguments are convincingly refuted by A. Karpozilos in "The Biography of Ioannes Mauropous Again", Hellenika 44 (1994) p. 51-60.