Antioch recovered
Byzantine recapture of Antioch in 969
969 Oct 28

Antioch recovered

Antakya, Küçükdalyan, Antakya/

In 967, Sayf al-Dawla, the Emir of Alepppo, died of a stroke, depriving Nikephoros of his only serious challenge in Syria. Sayf had not fully recovered from the sack of Aleppo, which became an imperial vassal shortly thereafter.

Following a year of plunder in Syria, the Byzantine Emperor, Nikephoros II Phokas, decided to return to Constantinople for the winter. Before leaving, however, he constructed the Bagras Fort near Antioch and installed Michael Bourtzes as its commander. Nikephoros explicitly forbade Bourtzes from taking Antioch by force in order to maintain the structural integrity of the city. Bourtzes, however, did not want to wait until winter to take the fortress. He also wanted to impress Nikephoros and earn himself glory, and so he entered into negotiations with the defenders seeking terms for surrender. The Byzantines were able to gain a foothold in the outer defenses of the city.

Following the capture of Antioch, Bourtzes was removed from his position by Nikephoros due to his disobedience, and would go on to assist in a plot which would end in Nikephoros' assassination, while Petros would move deeper into Syrian territory, besieging and taking Aleppo itself and establishing the Byzantine Tributary of Aleppo through the Treaty of Safar.