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.
It belonged to the Eastern Caliphate (the Hamdanids) until temporarily reoccupied by John Zimisces, emperor of Byzantium and a native of neighbouring Hierapolis, A.D.
Nicephorus refused to admit the validity of Otto's title, and the bishop was roughly repulsed; but the succeeding emperor, John Zimisces, was more reasonable, and Theophano, daughter of the emperor Romanus II., was married to the younger Otto in 972.
In the 10th century the emperor John Zimisces, himself of Armenian origin, transplanted no less than 200,000 Armenian Paulicians to Europe and settled them in the neighbourhood of Philippopolis, which henceforth became the centre of a far-reaching propaganda.
In 971 "the first Bulgarian empire" was overthrown by the emperor John Zimisces, but Bulgarian power was soon revived under the Shishman dynasty at Ochrida.