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Nikephoros II Phokas

Author(s) : Stankovic Vlada (10/5/2003)
Translation : Andriopoulou Vera

For citation: Stankovic Vlada, "Nikephoros II Phokas",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=8634>

Νικηφόρος Β΄ Φωκάς (3/17/2008 v.1) Nikephoros II Phokas (4/1/2009 v.1) 



In the Roman Empire the title of Caesar was given to the Emperor. From the reign of Diocletian (284-305) on this title was conferred on the young co-emperor. This was also the highest title on the hierarchy of the Byzantine court. In the 8th c. the title of Caesar was usually given to the successor of the throne. In the late 11th c. this office was downgraded and from the 14th c. on it was mainly conferred on foreign princes.

domestikos ton scholon
Commander of the regiment of scholae. The first officer with this title appears in 767/8. In the 10th C the domesticos became very powerful among the army of the themata; in mid-10th C the office was divided in two, domestikoi ton scholon of the East and those of the West, commanders in chief of the eastern and the western provinces´ army respectively.

Heavy armored horsemen ridind armored horses. They are mentioned in Emperor Maurice's Strategikon in the 6th c., but in the following four centuries they are not reported. Nikephoros II Phokas organised again the corps of the kataphraktoi, which he greatly relied on; he describes it thoroughly in his military treatise Praecepta militaria.

A high-ranking dignity, which from Justinian I was conferred on members of the imperial family and on foreign princes. During the 11th c. it was conferred on several generals, not belonging to the imperial family.

Higher office that Philotheos in his Kletorologion places above the anthypatos. This title lost its importance from the 10th century and gradually disappeared - most probably in the middle of the 12th century.

novel (novella)
Τerm meaning ad verbum "new decree" and used since around the 4th century in order to denote the provisions of the emperors as separate from the organized codes. They were written mainly in Greek and used extensively in the Middle Byzantine Era. Since the days of Komnenoi and after, they were replaced by other more specialized terms and they are very rare in the Late Byzantine era

Τhe guardian of the imperial private chambers. This high office was given usually to eunuchs that were persons of confidence, since they could not ascend to the throne. From the 9th and up to the 11th century, this office assumed a great importance and there were παρακοιμώμενοι that played important roles in the course of the empire, such as Joseph Bringa.

A high office of the Byzantine court, first known under Nikephoros II Phokas. The responsibilities of the proedros are rather uncertain. In the 11th c. the title was accorded oftenly, but it disapears after the 12th c. As an ecclesiastical office, proedros was equal to a metropolitan and was accorded to the regent metropolitan of a bishopric or a metropolitan see, until the election of a hierarch there.

protimesis (preemption)
The right of certain categories of persons to preemption in cases of the sale of property. According to a novel of Romanos I (934), the poor peasants who sold their land when in need, could by right of protimesis buy their land back in no high a price. This right of the small landowners was abolished under Nikephoros II Phokas.

strategos ("general")
During the Roman period his duties were mainly political. Οffice of the Byzantine state´s provincial administration. At first the title was given to the military and political administrator of the themes, namely of the big geographic and administrative unities of the Byzantine empire. Gradually the title lost its power and, already in the 11th century, strategoi were turned to simple commanders of military units, responsible for the defence of a region.


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