Abbasid Caliphate

Byzantine reconquer Crete
961 Mar 6

Byzantine reconquer Crete

Heraklion, Greece

The Siege of Chandax in 960-961 was the centerpiece of the Byzantine Empire's campaign to recover the island of Crete which since the 820s had been ruled by Muslim Arabs. The campaign followed a series of failed attempts to reclaim the island from the Muslims stretching as far back as 827, only a few years after the initial conquest of the island by the Arabs, and was led by the general and future emperor Nikephoros Phokas. It lasted from autumn 960 until spring 961, when the main Muslim fortress and capital of the island, Chandax (modern Heraklion) was captured. The reconquest of Crete was a major achievement for the Byzantines, as it restored Byzantine control over the Aegean littoral and diminished the threat of Saracen pirates, for which Crete had provided a base of operations.