A revolt within the city soon afterwards resulted in the abdication of the reigning emperor Maurice, and in the elevation of Phocas to the throne, which seems to have been accomplished by one of the circus factions against the wish of the troops.
Phocas proved entirely incapable of governing the empire.
As early as 970 the recovery of the territories lost to Mahommedanism in the East had been begun by emperors like Nicephoras Phocas and John Zimisces: they had pushed their conquests, if only for a time, as far as Antioch and Edessa, and the temporary occupation of Jerusalem is attributed to the East Roman arms. At the opposite end of the Mediterranean, in Spain, the Omayyad caliphate was verging to its fall: the long Spanish crusade against the Moor had begun; and in 1018 Roger de Toeni was already leading Normans into Catalonia to the aid of the native Spaniard.
At the beginning of his reign he favoured the Christians; but when in 602 Maurice had been murdered by Phocas, he began war with Rome to avenge his death.
At last, in 622, the emperor Heraclius (who had succeeded Phocas in 610) was able to take the field.
In 927 Taranto was entirely destroyed by the Saracens, but rebuilt in 967 by Nicephorus Phocas, to whom is due the construction of the bridge over the channel to the N.W.
The state, represented by the emperor Phocas, is persuaded to connive at the pope's assumption of spiritual authority; the other churches are intimidated into acquiescence; Lucifer's projects seem fully accomplished, when Heaven raises up Henry VIII.
Schlumberger, Nicephore Phocas (Paris, 1890); K.
With the accession of Phocas (602) began the great war which shook the two kingdoms. The loss of Edessa, where Narses revolted, was temporary; but the Roman fortress of Dara fell after nine months' siege (c. 605); Harran, Ras al-`Ain and Edessa followed in 607, many of the Christian inhabitants being transported to the Far East, and Chosroes carried the victorious arms of Persia far into the Roman Empire.
The worst blot on his fair fame is his adulatory congratulation of the murderous usurper Phocas; though his correspondence with the Frankish queen Brunhilda, and the series of letters to and concerning the renegade monk Venantius also present problems which his admirers find difficult of solution.
Strange to say, as Syracuse fell in the reign of Basil the Macedonian, the Saracen occupation was completed in the reign of Nikephoros Phokas (Nicephorus Phocas), the deliverer of Crete.
He obtained from Phocas recognition of the "headship of the church at Rome," which signifies, no doubt, that Phocas compelled the patriarch of Constantinople to abandon (momentarily) his claim to the title of oecumenical patriarch.
His volumes include Cueille d'avril (1885); Les Cygnes (1887; new series, 1892); La Chevauchee d'Yeldis (1893); Swanhilde, a dramatic poem (1894); Laus Veneris (1895), a volume of translations from Swinburne; Poemes et Poesies (1895), a collection containing much of his earlier work; Phocas le jardinier (1898); and La Legende ailee de Wieland le Forgeron (1899), a dramatic poem.
In 967 it was captured by the Russian prince Sviatoslav, whom the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus Phocas had summoned to his assistance.
After their father's death (963) he and his younger brother Constantine were nominal emperors during the actual reigns of Nicephorus Phocas, their stepfather, and John Tzimisces.
During this time the throne was seriously endangered by the rebellion of an ambitious general who aspired to play the part of Nicephorus Phocas or Tzimisces.
To oppose him, Bardas Phocas, another general who had revolted in the previous reign and been interned in a monastery, was recalled.
Phocas remained general in the East till 987, when he rebelled and was proclaimed emperor by his troops.
Phocas advanced to the Hellespont and besieged Abydos.
Phocas, just as he prepared to face him, fell from his horse and was found to be dead.
He received from the emperor Phocas the Pantheon at Rome, which was converted into a Christian church.
NICEPHORUS (Phocas), emperor 963-969, belonged to a Cappadocian family which had produced several distinguished generals.