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Nikephoros II

( Byzantine Emperor)

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Biography Nikephoros II
Nikephoros II - Byzantine emperor, who ruled in 963-969 years. Genus. in 912 g. + 11 December. 969 g

Nicephorus came from a powerful and noble family Fok, who gave the empire a few major generals. He is with youth participated in many battles, was stratц¬ges Anatolika, and 954 g. Constantine VII made his Domestic scholium (Successor of Theophanes: 6, 5, 41). All my life Fock led an ascetic life, wore a hair shirt and did not eat meat. Never, he became a slave to pleasure, and no one could say about him that he had seen it at least in his youth, which betrayed debauchery (Leo the Deacon: 5, 2). During the long years of service Nicephorus gained a reputation for invincible force, active and experienced in military affairs. Roman II appointed him stratц¬ges-autocrat for waging war against Crete. For more than a hundred years, this island was in the hands of Arab pirates, and all attempts to regain its former rulers, under the control of Romans were repulsed with tremendous losses. In the summer of 960 g. Nicephorus assembled troops in Asia and came to Crete with a large number of ships-Powerful. The Arabs do not interfere with the landing of Romans, and were waiting for them near their main city khandaq. Nicephorus ordered the soldiers to close the shields, and so headed straight for the barbarians. Stubborn fight ensued. The Arabs were unable to withstand the onslaught romeyskih copies and ranks them upset, and they fled. Winners of retreating to the most haunted city fortifications. Then inspected the fort and making sure to take it will be difficult, Nicephorus ordered to build a wall all the way from the southern coast to the other and locked in such a way the city's main army Cretans. From local residents, he learned that elsewhere in the island of Arabs gathered another army to attack him from behind. Joining of forces to maintain the siege, with the rest of Nicephorus quietly withdrew from the camp and spoke against the Arab armies. The enemies are not waiting for anything terrible in themselves, set up camp on a hill. Night Romans surrounded this hill, suddenly attacked the sleeping and destroyed them all to the last man. All killed Fock ordered to cut off the head. Some of these heads, he ordered spread on spears around khandaq, while others throw kamnemetami through the wall. According to Leo the deacon, when the besieged saw the system copies, studded heads, and made sure that these heads, as well as those that flew in the direction of their city, belonged to their countrymen and relatives, they covered the horror and madness. Henceforth, they were nowhere to wait for rescue and had to rely only on their strength (Leo the Deacon: 1, 3, 5, 7-9).

In the spring of 961 g. Romans pushed to the wall and the battering ram at the same time led to undermine the foundations. Since the wall was built of sandstone, it is relatively easy to succumb to their efforts and soon collapsed. After that nothing could hold back the onslaught of soldiers Nikiforov - they broke into the breach and the city was subjected to cruel defeat. Khandaq was looted, and all its people into slavery. Then Nicephorus ordered to destroy the wall and near the hill to build a fortress temenos, which posted romeysky garrison. Huge booty, he plunged to 300 ships and triumphantly returned to Constantinople.

Soon Roman again Nikiforou handed power over Asia. He spoke against the old enemy Romans Emir Saif al-Dawud and in a short time mastered many of its cities. Returning from a raid, Fok learned of the sudden death of Roman. After the death of the Emperor power passed to his minor sons, Basil and Constantine, who were still in the care of nurses and their mother Theophanu. But in reality, all control wielded parakimomena Joseph Vringi. Arriving in April, 963 g. in Constantinople, with the support of the patriarch Nicephorus was proclaimed Polievkt autocrat-stratц¬ges Asia. Before the patriarch and all sinklitom Fock sworn that rejects the power of young sovereigns, and will not contemplate anything unfair against their rule (Leo the Deacon: 2, 7-10, 12). However, apparently, Nicephorus was not going to fulfill that promise. He had long dreamed of a supreme power. In addition, he was inflamed with passion for the Empress Theophanu, which just then came in contact (Skylitzes). In late April, Nicephorus went to his army in Cappadocia. Meanwhile, Joseph Vringa, . rightly suspecting Fok being unfriendly and treachery, . as well as the intention to make a coup d'etat, . sent to strategos Anatolika John Tzimisces secret letter inviting them to the army under his command,
. To inspire Tzimiskes, Vringa subsequently promised to elevate him to the highest place in the State. But Tzimiskes, not at all tempted by these promises, took the letter to Nikiforou, and thus the whole affair was disclosed Vringi. Tzimiskes Nikiforou advised to immediately take the imperial power. But that, in the words of Leo the deacon, still doubted (or pretended that varies). Then he gathered all the leaders of the troops. They bared swords, surrounded the tent Nikiforov and proclaimed him emperor. All the soldiers unanimously supported their choice, and put on the Fock imperial clothing. Honoring the dignity of John Masters and designate a Domestic East. Then he sent across romeyskoy Power decrees and orders, and appointed stratц¬ges. Patriarch and sinklitu he sent a message demanding to take it as an autocrat. In turn, he promised to take care of the sons of Roman and raise them to adulthood. When the troops approached the capital, Joseph took refuge in Sofia, and then went into exile. Astride a white horse rode into the capital Nicephorus through the Golden Gate, and the patriarch Polyeuctus crowned him in Sofia, the imperial crown. After that Nicephorus calmly and confidently mastered the affairs of government (Leo the Deacon: 3, 1-4, 6-8). September 20, dropping all pretense, he married the Empress Theophanu. Many this marriage seemed indecent. Moreover, soon after the capital of a rumor that Nicephorus was godfather of one of the sons Theophanu and was with her in spiritual kinship. Patriarch demanded that Nicephorus divorced his wife, and forbade him access to the participle. Emperor barely managed to hush up the scandal. Archpriest of the Grand Palace Stelian announced that Nicephorus was godfather none of the sons of Roman. Although many knew that this was a lie, Polyeuctus relented and recognized marriages as legitimate (Skylitzes).

Most of his rule, the new emperor spent in campaigns. The Arabs have suffered from it one crushing defeat after another. In the summer of 964 g. Nicephorus besieged Tarsus, but was unable to take it. Ro-Mei captured several nearby towns, including Mopsuestiyu (Leo the Deacon: 3, 10-11). Winter of troops held in Cappadocia, and the spring of 965 g. again stepped up to Tarsus. The emperor ordered to surround the city heavy guard, in the hope that hunger will force residents to surrender sooner or later. And indeed, several months later, draining dire necessity, the Arabs asked for mercy. Nicephorus allowed them to leave town, taking only his clothes. In the spring of 966 g. he invaded Syria, captured several towns and for some time besieging Antioch (Leo the Deacon: 4, 1, 4, 9). Busy in the east, he could not give sufficient attention to the western border. However, after the death of Simeon of the Bulgarians noticeably weakened, but considerable destruction of the empire caused raids of the Hungarians. In 967 g., circling the Thracian city, Nicephorus wrote the Bulgarian Tsar Peter and demanded that he prevented the Hungarians cross the Danube and ravage ownership Romans. But Peter did not obey, and under various pretexts evaded the execution of this. Then Nicephorus Patrika Kalokira sent to the Russian Prince Svyatoslav, telling him to persuade the Russian promises to attack the Bulgarians. Svetoslav quickly gathered his warriors, attacked Bulgaria, destroyed many towns and villages of the Bulgarians, conquered abundant prey and returned to his. The following year he again attacked the Bulgarians and made the same as for the first time (Skylitzes). Meanwhile, 968 g. Emperor once again stepped up to Antioch, then passed on to Phenicia and took the city's Arch. On the way back he ordered to build a fortress not far from Antioch, and left in her 2000 soldiers (Leo the Deacon: 4, 10). In the spring of 969 g. this unit finally captured Antioch.

This was the last glorious act in the reign of Nicephorus. Soon he was overthrown, and the coup by those who had helped him win power: John Tzimisces and Theophanu. Tzimiskes emperor had just dismissed from the post of Domestic and sent into exile in Khalkedon. Theophanu persuaded her husband to return from his exile and then entered into a conspiracy with Tzimiskes. Kill the Emperor is not an easy task - the palace when it was turned into a real fortress, and get there in the usual way was impossible. Only enlisted the help of Theophanu, Tzimiskes decided on a coup. He sent the empress, under various pretexts, two strong men, whom she hid in his chambers. Late at night on December 10 boat with the conspirators went to the palace of Vukoleona. Soldiers had taken refuge in the chambers Theophanu, one after another, dragging them on the ropes at the palace. The Empress, leaving the bedroom of her husband, left the door unlocked. The conspirators burst into the bedroom Nicephorus, and beat him and kicked, and one of them struck a powerful blow on the head with a sword. Bleeds emperor was dragged to John. He grabbed the unfortunate beard, mercilessly tormented her, and the others beat him with the handles of swords on the cheeks and crumble it with all his teeth. Finally, sated with anguish, John pushed Nikifora kick in the chest, waved his sword and cut him in half a skull. Then cut off the head and the body thrown into the street. All day he lay on the snow under the open sky. In the evening the remains were put in Foca haywire box, carried to the temple of the Holy Apostles, and was buried there (Leo the Deacon: 5, 4, 6, 7, 9).

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