Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Emperor Nikephoros Phokas . "The pale death of the Saracens"

Nikephoros Phocas was born in 912 , in 943 he was appointed strategos(general with military an d political authority) of the theme of Anatolikon. After 955 when he was appointed Domestikos of scholae(general of the eastern army) he achieved many victories against the Arabs in the eastern frontier. The time for imperial recognition came in 959 when he was appointed general of the campaign of reconquering Crete.

In 961 when the news about Nikephoros Phokas success in Crete arrived in Constantinople, he bacame very popular and festivities were organised in the hippodrome .After his success in Crete he returned to the eastern front to deal with the main rival of the Byzantines the Hamdanid emir who was based in Halepi.In 962 Nikephoros Phokas took the initiative to order an offensive and invaded Hamdanid Cilicia from Caesaria capturing many cities and forts. During the fall of the same year he entered Syria and sacked Halepi(Aleppo). It's worth to mention that second in command was the general and future emperor Ioannes Tzimisces.

More at General and Hellenic History