Full Text

Nicephorus II Phocas


Subject History » Military History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631168485.1994.x


(912–69) The arrogant, ascetic and monkish Nicephorus Phocas was a leading Byzantine military aristocrat who came to the imperial throne in 963 through a marriage of political convenience with the dowager Empress Theophano, the second wife of Romanus II (959–63). As Domesticus of the Scholarii of the East (commander-in-chief), he captured Candia after an eight-month siege (960–1), completing the reconquest of Crete later in the same year. During this time, his brother Leo Phocas had defeated Emir Saif of Aleppo in central Asia Minor. Returning from Crete, Nicephorus assumed) Leo's command and prosecuted the war of reconquest in the east. In 962, he recaptured much of Cilicia and raided into Tarsus and Syria. Although Nicephorus ascended the throne in Constantinople in the following year, he continued with his wars of expansion. In 965, Nicephorus, with his brother Leo and John Tzimeskes, later Emperor John I Tzimeskes (969–76), captured Tarsus while the fleet took Cyprus. Nicephorus was successfully campaigning towards Antioch at the time of his death in 969; the city, along with Aleppo, fell to Byzantine forces in 970. However, Nicephorus was not uniformly successful in all aspects of his reign. His nephew, Manuel, failed to recapture Crete in 964 and Nicephorus made an enemy of the Church by his attack on monastic wealth and property and by his insistence that soldiers who fell ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top