Emperor Nicephorus Phocas BYZANTIUM, II
- Born: 912, Anatolia, , Byzantium
- Married: 20 Sep 963
- Died: 10 Dec 969, Boukoleion, , Byzantium
Other names for Nicephorus were Nikephoros and BYZANTIUM Emperor.
Ancestral File Number: HRBH-SB.
BYZANTINE Emperor Reigned 963-969.
The New Columbia Encyclopedia, 1975, p2350, Romanus II: "...A profligate, [Romanus II] came under the domination of his second wife, Theophano. She, along with the eunuch Joseph Bringus, ruled the empire. His reign was marked by the brilliant victories of Nicephorus Phocas over the Arabs. After the death of Romanus, Nicephorus married Theophano and became emperor..."
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Macropaedia, Vol XIII, p64, Nicephorus II Phocas: "Byzantine emperor from 963 to 969...a member of a great aristocratic landowning family that had distinguished itself under the Macedonian emperors in wars against the Arabs...
"...Born in 912, the son of Bardas Phocas, an important Byzantine general in Anatolia, on the borders of the empire...
"...After the death of Romanus II on 15 Mar 963, the situation in the capital changed. The Emperor's will had left a eunuch, Joseph Bringas, in charge of the affairs of state and the 20-year-old Empress, Theophano, as acting regent for the legitimate emperors, Basil and Constantine, aged six and three, respectively. These circumstances do not seem to have tempted Nicephorus [then aged 51].
"In spite of his great popularity, there was no indication that Niceph- orus- whose physical appearance was reportedly not very agreeable and who seemed destined under the influence of Athanasius the Athonite to embrace the monastic life- would end up seducing and being seduced by the young and beautiful empress. If such a plan existed at the time (and there is reason to believe it did) it was probably the brainchild of the ambitious Theophano, who was unhappy with Bringas' government. The people of Constantinople, aroused by Basil the chamberlain, revolted against Bringas; and the imperial army, through the intermediation of Joh Tzimisces, Nicephorus' faithful lieutenant, `obliged' the soldier to accept the crown at Caesarea on July 3, 963, and to march against Constantinople. On August 16, 963, Nicephorus was crowned in the Hagia Sophia by the patriarch Polyeuctus, and on September 20 he celebrated his marriage to Theophano.
"Smitten with the young woman and influenced by his brother Leo Phocas, whose self-interested machinations stirred up the discontent of the people of Constantinople, Nicephorus gradually became taciturn and suspicious even of his best advisers, who, one after another, were removed from office. As emperor, Nicephorus continued his exploits against the Arabs until finally, abandoned by all, he retired tothe fortified palace of Boukoleion, which he had built for his personal safety. During the night of 10 Dec 969, he was killed there by former friends, guided by Tzimisces and advised by Theophano...
"The contradictions in Nicephorus' lifeand character also marked his domestic politics...the remonstrances of his spiritual director, Athanasius, against his private life; and the apprehensions of Theophano that her children would be ousted through the machinations of Leo Phocas. These all created a climate of intrigue, which resulted in Nicephorus' assassination and brought John Tzimisces to the throne..."
"His life was summed up in the phrase inscribed on his sarcophagus: `You conquered all but a woman.'"
The Story of Civilization, Will Durant, Vol IV, The Age of Faith, Bk IV, The Dark Ages, Ch XVIII, The Byzantine World, Sec III, p429: "...Perhaps Romanus II (958-963) was like other children, and did not read his father's books. He married a Greek girl, Theophano; she was suspected of poisoning her father-in-law and hastening Romanus' death; and before her twenty- four-year-old husband was dead she seduced into her arms the ascetic general Nicephorus II Phocas, who with her connivance seized the throne. Nicephorus had already driven the Moslems from Aleppo and Crete (961); in 965 he drove them from Cyprus, in 968 from Antioch; it was these victories that shattered the Abbasid caliphate. Nicephorus pled with the patriarch to promise all the rewards and honors of martyrdom to soldiers who should fall in battle against the Moslems; the patriarch refused on the ground that all soldiers were temporarily polluted the blood that they shed; had he consented, the Crusades mighthave begun a century earlier. Nicephorus lost amibition, and retired to the palace to live like an anchorite. Bored with this monastic existence, Theophano became the mistress of the General John Tzimisces. With her connivance he killed Nicephorus (969) and seized the throne; remorseful, he repudiated and exiled her, and went off to atone for his crimes by transient victories against the Moslems and the Slavs."
Wall Chart of World History, Edward Hull, 1988, Studio Editions, GreekEastern Empire 963: "Nicephorus, Emperor 963-969..."
Ancestral File Ver 4.13 HRBH-SB Nikephoros II Emperor of the BYZANTINE EMPIRE.
Nicephorus married Empress Theophano BYZANTIUM, daughter of Anastaso BYZANTINE EMPIRE, on 20 Sep 963. (Empress Theophano BYZANTIUM was born about 936-956 in Constantinople, Byzantium, Turkey and died in 991 in , , Byzantium.)