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Encyclopedia > Nicephorus II
Emperor Nicephoros Phocas
Emperor Nicephoros Phocas

Nicephorus II Phocas was one of the most brilliant generals in the history of Byzantium who rose to become a mediocre emperor from 963 until his assassination in 969. An inscription carved out on the side of his tomb reads: "You conquered all but a woman". ImageMetadata File history File links Nikifor. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Nikifor. ... Byzantium was an ancient Greek city-state, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas. ... This is a list of Byzantine Emperors. ... Events Holy Roman Emperor Otto I defeats Mieszko I of Poland, compels him to pay tribute Luxembourg is founded, and the Belgium area becomes part of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. ... Events December 11 - John I becomes Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire. ...

Contents


Early exploits

Nicephorus belonged to a Cappadocian family which had produced several distinguished generals. He was born about 912, joined the army at an early age, and, under Constantine VII, became commander on the eastern frontier. In the war with the Saracens he began with a severe defeat (956), which he retrieved in the years following by victories in Syria. 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). ... Events Orso II Participazio becomes Doge of Venice Patriarch Nicholas I Mysticus becomes patriarch of Constantinople Births November 23 - Otto I the Great Holy Roman Emperor (+ 973) Abd-ar-rahman III - prince of the Umayyad dynasty Deaths Oleg of Kiev Categories: 912 ... Constantine and his mother Zoë. Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos (the Purple-born) (Constantinople, 905 – Constantinople, November 9, 959) was the son of Byzantine emperor Leo VI and his fourth wife Zoe Karvounopsina. ... For the rugby club Saracens see Saracens (rugby club) The term Saracen comes from Greek sarakenoi. ... Deaths April 8 - Gilbert of Chalon, Duke of Burgundy Categories: 956 ...


In 960 he led an expedition to Crete, stormed Candia after a ten months' siege, and wrested the whole island from the Saracens. After receiving the unusual honours of a triumph, he returned to the east with a large and well-equipped army. In the campaigns of 962-963 by brilliant strategy he forced his way through Cilicia into Syria and captured Aleppo, but made no permanent conquests. It was on these campaigns he earned the sobriquet "The Pale Death of the Saracens." Events Edgar the Peaceable crowned King of England. ... Greece and Crete Crete (Greek Κρήτη / Kriti) is the largest of the Greek islands and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea. ... Morozini Fountain on Venizelou square in Heraklion, Crete, built in 1628 Heraklion or Iraklion (Greek: Ηράκλειο), Greece is the largest city and the capital of Crete. ... Triumph is a British car brand (see Triumph Motor Company), as well as a motorcycle brand (see Triumph Motorcycles). ... Events February 2 - Pope John XII crowns Otto I the Great Holy Roman Emperor. ... Events Holy Roman Emperor Otto I defeats Mieszko I of Poland, compels him to pay tribute Luxembourg is founded, and the Belgium area becomes part of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. ... Cilicia as Roman province, 120 AD In ancient geography, Cilicia (Ki-LIK-ya) formed a district on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), north of Cyprus. ... Old Town Aleppo viewed from the Citadel Aleppo is also the name of two townships in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. ...


Ascension to the throne

On March 15, 963, Emperor Romanus II unexpectedly died at the age of twenty-six. The cause of his death is uncertain. Both contemporary sources and later historians seem to either believe that the young Emperor had exhausted his health with the excesses of his sexual life and his heavy drinking, or suspect Empress Theophano (c. 941 - after 976), his wife, of poisoning him. Theophano had already at the time gained a reputation as an intelligent and ambitious woman. She would later gain a reputation for ruthlesness in achieving her goals. Romanus had, before his death, already crowned as co-emperors his two sons, the later Emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII. At the time, however, Basil was five years old and Constantine only three years old, and they were not able to assume the duties that came with their title. Theophano was named regent. March 15 is the 74th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (75th in Leap years). ... Events Holy Roman Emperor Otto I defeats Mieszko I of Poland, compels him to pay tribute Luxembourg is founded, and the Belgium area becomes part of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. ... Romanus II (939 - 963) succeeded his father Constantine VII as Byzantine emperor in 959 at the age of twenty-one, and died, poisoned, it was believed, by his wife, Theophanu in 963. ... Theophano was a Byzantine empress. ... Events Oda the Severe becomes Archbishop of Canterbury Births Charles dOutremer son of Louis IV of France Deaths Categories: 941 ... Events January 10 - Basil II becomes Eastern Roman Emperor, see Byzantine Emperors. ... Painting of Basil II, from an 11th century manuscript. ... Constantine VIII (in Greek Konstantinos VIII, written Κωνσταντίνος Η, lived 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...


But Theophano wasn't allowed to rule alone. Joseph Bringas, a eunuch palace official who had become Romanus' chief council, maintained his position. According to contemporary sources he intended to keep the authority to take decisions for the actual matters of importance at his own hands, rather than those of the young Empress. He also tried to remove part of the authority that had been concentrated at the hands of Nicephorus Phocas. The victorious general had been accepted as the actual commander of the army and maintained his strong connections to the aristocracy. Joseph was afraid that Nicephorus could claim the throne with the support of both the army and the aristocracy. Joseph's intrigues during the following months turned both Theophano and Nicephorus against him. Unknown to Joseph, Theophano and Nicephorus had started negotiations with each other. Chinese Eunuchs A eunuch is an infertile human male whose testicles have either been removed (deliberately or by accident) or are otherwise non-functional. ...


With the help of Theophano and the patriarch, Phocas received supreme command of the eastern forces, and being proclaimed emperor by these marched upon the capital, where meanwhile his partisans had overthrown his enemy Bringas. Thanks to his popularity with the army, Nicephorus was crowned emperor by the side of Romanus's infant sons, and in spite of the patriarch's opposition married their mother, the regent Theophano.


Later campaigns

During his reign he continued to wage numerous wars. From 964-966 he definitely conquered Cilicia and again overran Mesopotamia and Syria, while the patrician Nicetas recovered Cyprus. In 968 he reduced most of the fortresses in Syria, and after the fall of Antioch and Aleppo (969), which were recaptured by his lieutenants, secured his conquests by a peace. On his northern frontier he began a war against the Bulgars, to whom the Byzantines had of late been paying tribute (967), and by instigating an attack from Svyatoslav I of Kiev, distracted their attention effectively. Events Nicephorus II begins campaign to recapture Cilicia. ... Events April 14 or April 30 - Mieszko I, first duke of Poland, baptised a Christian Births Fujiwara no Michinaga, Japanese regent Deaths King Dubh I of Scotland Categories: 966 ... Sumerian list of gods in cuneiform script, ca. ... Nicetas of Remesiana (335–414) was the bishop of the Dacians in what is now Serbia. ... Events Births Emperor Kazan of Japan Ethelred II of England Romanus Argyrus, later Romanus III of the Eastern Roman Empire. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Events December 11 - John I becomes Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire. ... Bulgars (also Bolgars or proto-Bulgarians) - a people of Central Asia, probably originally Pamirian, who became Turkified and later Slavicized over time. ... Events Emperor Reizei ascends to the throne of Japan The Khazar capital of Atil falls to the Kievan Rus around this year Births Deaths Emperor Murakami of Japan Abu al-Faraj Ali of Isfahan, scholar. ... ... A monument to St. ...

Nicephorus and his step-son Basil, later Basil II.
Enlarge
Nicephorus and his step-son Basil, later Basil II.

Nicephorus was less successful in his western wars. After renouncing his tribute to the Fatimid caliphs, he sent an expedition to Sicily under Nicetas (964—965), but was forced by defeats on land and sea to evacuate that island completely. In 967 he made peace with the Saracens of Kairawan and turned to defend himself against their common enemy, Otto I, who had proclaimed himself Western emperor and attacked the Byzantine possessions in Italy; but after some initial successes his generals were defeated and driven back upon the southern coast. Image File history File links Nicephorus II, Phocas, with Basil II. 963-969 AD. AV Solidus (now the Histamenon Nomisma) (4. ... Image File history File links Nicephorus II, Phocas, with Basil II. 963-969 AD. AV Solidus (now the Histamenon Nomisma) (4. ... Painting of Basil II, from an 11th century manuscript. ... The Fatimids or Fatimid Caliphate (Arabic الفاطميون) is the Ismaili Shiite dynasty that ruled much of North Africa from A.D. 5 January 910 to 1171. ... Caliph is the term or title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or community of Islam. ... Sicilian disambiguates here; see also Sicilian language or Sicilian Defence. ... Events March 1 - Pope Benedict V is put in place of Pope Leo VIII by the people October 1 - John XIII becomes Pope The Khazar fortress of Sarkel falls to the Kievan Rus Births Sweyn I of Denmark Deaths February 22 - Odo, Duke of Burgundy July 4 - Pope Benedict V... Kairouan (Kairwan, Al Qayrawan) is a city in Tunisia, about 160 kilometres south of Tunis. ...


Civil administration

Owing to the care which he lavished upon the proper maintenance of the army, Nicephorus was compelled to exercise rigid economy in other departments. He retrenched the court largesses and curtailed the immunities of the clergy, and although himself of an ascetic disposition forbade the foundation of new monasteries. The word ascetic derives from the ancient Greek term askesis (practice, training or exercise). ... A monastery is the habitation of monks, derived from the Greek word for a hermits cell. ...


By his heavy imposts and the debasement of the coinage he forfeited his popularity with the rest of the community, and gave rise to riots. Last of all, he was forsaken by his wife, and, in consequence of a conspiracy which she headed with his nephew and her lover John Tzimisces, was assassinated in his sleeping apartment. Following his death, the Phocaides family broke into insurrection, but their revolt was promptly subdued. Anastasius 40 nummi and 5 nummi Byzantine currency, money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West, consisted of mainly two types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins. ... John I, last name Kourkouas and surnamed Tzimisces (Greek: Ioannes Tzimisces Kourkouas, written Ιωάννης «Τζιμισκής» Κουρκούας), lived c. ... It has been suggested that Targeted killing be merged into this article or section. ... Bardas Phocas was an eminent Byzantine general who took a conspicuous part in three revolts pro and contra the ruling Macedonian dynasty. ...


Nicephorus was the author of an extant treatise on military tactics which contains valuable information concerning the art of war in his time.


External links

Commons
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Nicephorus II
  • A more detailed profile of the Emperor
  • Nicephorean coinage
Preceded by:
Romanus II
Byzantine Emperor Succeeded by:
John I Tzimisces

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ... Romanus II (939 - 963) succeeded his father Constantine VII as Byzantine emperor in 959 at the age of twenty-one, and died, poisoned, it was believed, by his wife, Theophanu in 963. ... This is a list of the Emperors of the late Roman Empire, called Byzantine. ... Ioannes, protected by God and the Virgin Mary. ...

References


  Results from FactBites:
 
Nicephorus II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (926 words)
Nicephorus II Phocas was one of the most brilliant generals in the history of Byzantium who rose to become a mediocre emperor from 963 until his assassination in 969.
On March 15, 963, Emperor Romanus II unexpectedly died at the age of twenty-six.
Thanks to his popularity with the army, Nicephorus was crowned emperor by the side of Romanus's infant sons, and in spite of the patriarch's opposition married their mother, the regent Theophano.
Nicephorus II - definition of Nicephorus II in Encyclopedia (577 words)
Nicephorus II Phocas, Byzantine emperor 963-969, belonged to a Cappadocian family which had produced several distinguished generals.
Thanks to his popularity with the army, Nicephorus was crowned emperor by the side of Romanus's infant sons, and in spite of the patriarch's opposition married their mother Theophano.
Last of all, he was forsaken by his wife, and, in consequence of a conspiracy which she headed with his nephew John Tzimisces, was assassinated in his sleeping apartment.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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