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Encyclopedia > Bardas Phocas

Bardas Phocas - Vardas Phokas was an eminent Byzantine general of Armenian origine who took a conspicuous part in three revolts pro and contra the ruling Macedonian dynasty. Byzantine Empire (Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων) is the term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. ... Basil I the Macedonian (Βασίλειος Α) (811 - 886, ruled 867 - 886) - married Michael IIIs widow; died in hunting accident Leo VI the Wise (Λέων ΣΤ ο Σοφός) (866 - 912, ruled 886 - 912) – likely either son of Basil I or Michael III; Alexander III (Αλέξανδρος Γ του Βυζαντίου) (870 - 913, ruled 912 - 913) – son of Basil I, regent for nephew...


First rebellion

Bardas's father, Leon Phocas, was a Cappadocian curopalates and brother to the Emperor Nicephorus Phocas of Armenian origin. Even as a young man, Bardas (Vard-as) gained a reputation for his great expertise in the science of war: Cappadocia in 188 BC In ancient geography, Cappadocia (spelled Kapadokya in Turkish) (Greek: Καππαδοκία; see also List of traditional Greek place names) was an extensive inland district of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). ... Nicephorus II Phocas, Byzantine emperor 963-969, belonged to a Cappadocian family which had produced several distinguished generals. ...

According to the historians, this man Bardas (Vard) reminded people of his uncle, the emperor Nicephorus, for he was always wrapped in gloom, and watchful, capable of foreseeing all eventualities, of comprehending everything at a glance. Far from being ignorant of warlike manoeuvres, there was no aspect of siege warfare, no trick of ambush nor tactic of pitched battle, in which he was not thoroughly versed. In the matter of physical prowess, moreover, Bardas was more energetic and virile than Sklerus. In fact, anyone who received a blow at his hand was a dead man straightway, and whole armies trembled even when he shouted from afar.Michael Psellus the Younger, Chronographia.

If his military career was quick to peak, it was even quicker to collapse. Upon his uncle's death in 970, Phocas and his family rebelled against the new emperor and their own cousin, John I Tzimisces. Bardas was proclaimed emperor by troops stationed at Caesaria, but their rebellion was extinguished by another skilled commander, Bardas Sklerus. Phocas and his relatives were captured and exiled to the island of Chios, where he would spend the following seven years. Michael Constantine Psellus (Greek: Psellos) the younger, born in 1018 (probably at Nicomedia; according to some, at Constantinople) of a consular and patrician family, was a philosopher. ... Events Major volcano eruption in Mashu Japan Devastating decade long famine begins in France Byzantine Emperor John I successfully defends the Eastern Roman Empire from massive barbarian invasion Construction completed on Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, worlds oldest Islamic university Births Leif Ericson, Norse explorer Seyyed Razi, important Muslim... Ioannes, protected by God and the Virgin Mary. ... Caesarea Mazaca (modern Kayseri) is an ancient town of Anatolia which served as the residence of the kings of Cappadocia. ... Bardas Skleros or Sklerus was a Byzantine general who led a wide-scale Asian rebellion against Emperor Basil II in 976-979. ... Chios (Italian: Scio, Turkish: Sakız, Χίος; alternative transliterations Khios and Hios, see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. ...

Phocas vs. Sklerus

In 978 Bardas was delivered from his prison cell by Armeno-Byzantine eunuch Basileios, Armeno-Byzantine Basil II's uncle and de-facto regent. He was dispatched in disguise to his native Cappadocia or Lesser Armenia to stir up local aristocracy against Sklerus, who had revolted against imperial authorities and advanced to the Hellespont. Phocas eventually suppressed the revolt, gaining victory in a single combat against Armeno-Byzantine Sklerus at Pancalia, despite several previous setbacks. For his vital services to the crown, he was rewarded with a coveted office of Domestic of the Scholae and at once led the Byzantine armies to reconquer Aleppo from the Saracens. Later, to quote Psellus, "he was given the privilege of a triumph and took his place among the personal friends of his sovereign". Events Badìa Fiorentina, an abbey in Italy, is founded by Willa, Margravine of Tuscany. ... Painting of Basil II, from an 11th century manuscript. ... Cappadocia in 188 BC In ancient geography, Cappadocia (spelled Kapadokya in Turkish) (Greek: Καππαδοκία; see also List of traditional Greek place names) was an extensive inland district of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). ... The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (sometimes referred to as Armenia Minor) was a state formed in the Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia. ... Hellespont (i. ... The Byzantine Empire had a complex system of aristocracy and bureaucracy. ... Old Town Aleppo viewed from the Citadel Aleppo is also the name of two townships in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. ... For the rugby club Saracens see Saracens (rugby club) The term Saracen comes from Greek sarakenoi. ... Triumph is a British car brand (see Triumph Motor Company), as well as a motorcycle brand (see Triumph Motorcycles). ...

Second rebellion

While Armeno-Byzantine Constantine VIII was easily swayed by his advisors, his brother Basil II was apparently irked by their supremacy. Basil's energy showed that he was determined to take the administration into his own hands and personally control the army. His growing independence alarmed both Basileios and Phocas. In 987 they entered into secret negotiations with their former enemy, Sklerus, on understanding that the empire would be partitioned if they succeed in their revolt against the emperors. Constantine VIII (in Greek Konstantinos VIII, written Κωνσταντίνος Η) (960 – November 15, 1028), Byzantine emperor (December 15, 1025 – November 15, 1028) was the son of the Emperor Romanus II and the younger brother of the eminent Basil II, who died childless and thus left the rule of the Byzantine Empire... Painting of Basil II, from an 11th century manuscript. ... Events Hugh Capet, Count of Paris, crowned King of France Kukulcan conquers Chichen Itza Births Deaths May 21 King Louis V of France Categories: 987 ...

In a campaign that curiously mimicked Sklerus' revolt a decade earlier, Phocas proclaimed himself emperor and overran most of Asia Minor. "It was no longer in imagination, but in very truth, that he put on the imperial robes, with the emperor's crown and the royal insignia of purple", says Psellus. Anatolia (Greek: ανατολη anatole, rising of the sun or East; compare Orient and Levant, by popular etymology Turkish Anadolu to ana mother and dolu filled), also called by the Latin name of Asia Minor, is a region of Southwest Asia which corresponds today to the Asian portion of Turkey. ...

After relegating his colleague Sklerus to a prison, he proceeded to lay siege to Abydos, thus threatening to blockade the Dardanelles. At this point Basil II obtained timely aid, in the shape of Varangian mercenaries, from his brother-in-law Vladimir, the Russian prince of Kiev, and marched to Abydos. Abydos, an ancient city of Mysia, in Asia Minor, situated at Nagara Point on the Hellespont, which is here scarcely a mile broad. ... The Dardanelles (Turkish: Çanakkale Boğazı), formerly Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. ... The Varangians (Russian: Variags, Варяги) were Scandinavians who travelled eastwards, mainly from Jutland and Sweden. ... Detail of the Millennium of Russia monument in Novgorod (1862) representing St Vladimir and his family. ... A monument to St. ...

The two armies were facing each other, when Basil galloped forward, seeking a personal combat with the usurper who was riding in front of the lines. Phocas, just as he prepared to face him, fell from his horse and was found to be dead (April 13, 989). His head was cut off and brought to Basil. This ended the rebellion. 13 April is the 103rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (104th in leap years). ... For the video game developers, see 989 Studios. ...


By his marriage to a cousin, one Adralestina, Bardas (Vard) left two sons, Leo and Nicholas (+1012). His grandson and namesake, Bardas Phocas, was blinded by imperial authorities in 1025. It is believed that the Cretan family of the Phocaides descends from him. Events April 18 - Boleslaw I Chrobry is crowned as the first king of Poland. ...




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