Nikephoros II Phokas


Nikephoros II Phokas was Byzantine emperor from 963 to 969 CE. Known as “White Death of the Saracens,” Nikephoros was a fearsome commander who conquered Crete, Cilicia, and much of Syria. While he is known as a great military commander, he was a poor politician, and his reign was cut short by his murder.

More about: Nikephoros II Phokas


  • 955
    John Tzimiskes is appointed domestikos of the East in the Byzantine Empire.
  • 955
    The future Nikephoros II Phokas becomes the head Byzantine military commander, replacing his father Bardas.
  • 961
    The Byzantine Empire reconquers Crete from the Arabs under Nikephoros Phokas, the future Emperor Nikephoros II.
  • 962
    Byzantine forces under Nikephoros Phokas sack Anazarbos and Hierapolis in Syria.
  • 963 - 969
    Reign of Byzantine emperor Nikephoros II Phokas.
  • 963
    Romanos II dies.
  • 963
    Nikephoros II Phokas becomes Byzantine emperor.
  • 963
    Nikephoros II Phokas marries Theophano, the widow of Romanos II.
  • 965
    Byzantine forces are defeated and forced out of Sicily by Muslim troops.
  • 967
    Sayf al-Dawla, the Hamdanid Emir of Mosul, dies.
  • 968
    Nikephoros II Phokas marches Byzantine forces as far south as Lebanon.
  • 968
    Rus forces under Sviatoslav raid deep into Bulgaria, effectively occupying it by the next year.
  • 968
    Byzantine forces under Nikephoros II Phokas take the important Lebanese port city of Laodikeia.
  • 969
    Byzantine forces recapture the city of Antioch from the Arabs.
  • 969
    John Tzimiskes murders Nikephoros II Phokas in the imperial Byzantine palace in Constantinople.