Bardas Phocas the Elder

Bardas Phocas the Elder

Bardas Phokas (c. 878-c. 968) was the father of Nikephoros II, emperor of the Byzantine Empire. He was from the Phokas family, one of the large land-holding families of Anatolia. Bardas was the son of Nikephoros Phokas the Elder, an eminent Byzantine general.

He was governor of the theme of Armeniakon, in the area previously known as Bithynia in 941. In this year the Rus navy under the leadership of Igor I of Kiev attacked the villages. Bardas kept the attacking Rus from doing too much damage with his local militia levies until the larger Byzantine army under John Curcuas came and drove the Russians out.

In 945 he was appointed supreme commander of the Byzantine armies of the east by Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. In this command he did not make much progress against the Arab forces, but he was severely wounded in 953 and replaced by his son Nikephoros.

When Nikephoros came to the throne he made his father Caesar, only a step below the imperial title. He died about 968 at the age of 90.


*Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Apogee. (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1992)

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