2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

The Cross, the Blade and the Purple: The Life and Death of Nicephorus II Phocas
Thomas W. Lecaque♦
Dr. Patrick Lecaque, Faculty Mentor

The reign of Nicephorus II Phocas (963-969) was the start of the last great period of Byzantine growth and stability before the inevitable decline. The man himself was an ascetic, a warrior, an aristocrat, and a brilliant leader who managed to rebuild the eastern defenses of the Empire and maintained the West. For all of his ability, piety and victory, however, he became deeply unpopular with the people, the church, and finally the military, and he was assassinated by a conspiracy of aristocrats led by his nephew and his wife. How does a reign that shines among a history of deep mismanagement of Byzantium end in murder? Through an examination of the major primary sources, the histories of Leo the Deacon and John Skylitzes, as well as relevant secondary sources and research, the rise and fall of Nicephorus II will be sketched out from his promising beginning to his inevitable fate.

Keywords: Byzantine, Medieval, History, Phocas, Murder

Medieval Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 42-1
Location: OP 2115
Time: 1:15

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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