Nasar (Greek: Νάσαρ), originally baptized Basil (Greek:
Βασίλειος), was a distinguished Byzantine military
leader in the Byzantine–Arab conflicts of the latter half of the 9th
4 Further reading
Not much is known about Nasar's family. His father Christopher held
the supreme court position of magistros, and he had a brother named
Barsanes. On account of his name, the historian Michele Amari
speculated that he was of Syrian, perhaps Mardaite, origin.
Michael III (r. 842–867), he was appointed stratēgos
of the Bucellarian Theme, one of the largest and most important of the
Byzantine Empire's themata. In this capacity, together with the
patrician Petronas, he participated in the
Battle of Lalakaon
Battle of Lalakaon in 863,
where the Byzantines inflicted a crushing defeat on Umar al-Aqta, the
emir of Melitene. On their return to Constantinople, the two
generals celebrated a triumph in the Hippodrome.
In 879 or 880,
Niketas Oryphas as the droungarios tou
ploimou, commander of the Byzantine navy's Constantinople-based
Imperial Fleet, and was sent by Emperor
Basil I against the Aghlabid
fleet that was raiding the Ionian islands. A mutiny of the fleet's
rowers forced him to stop for a while at Methoni, but discipline was
restored and the crews strengthened with troops of the local theme.
Nasar proceeded to score a significant victory in a night battle over
the Aghlabids with the aid of Greek fire.
Nasar then proceeded to raid Sicily, capturing many Arab ships and
carrying off much booty and merchandise. Reportedly, the price of
olive oil in the markets of
Constantinople fell sharply as a
result. He then went on to support the concurrent land
operations by the Byzantine generals Prokopios and
Leo Apostyppes in
southern Italy, before defeating another
Aghlabid fleet off the coast
of Calabria; at the same time, another Byzantine squadron scored a
significant victory at Naples. These victories were crucial to the
restoration of Byzantine control over southern Italy (the future
Catepanate of Italy), compensating to an extent for the effective loss
Sicily following the fall of Syracuse in 878.
^ a b c d e f PmbZ,
^ a b c d Kazhdan 1991, p. 1439.
^ a b Pryor & Jeffreys 2006, pp. 65–66.
Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium.
New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pryor, John H.; Jeffreys, Elizabeth M. (2006). The Age of the
ΔΡΟΜΩΝ: The Byzantine Navy ca. 500–1204. Leiden, The
Netherlands and Boston, Massachusetts: Brill Academic Publishers.
Lilie, Ralph-Johannes; Ludwig, Claudia; Zielke, Beate; Pratsch,
Thomas, eds. (2013). Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit
Online. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Nach
Vorarbeiten F. Winkelmanns erstellt (in German). De Gruyter.
Vlysidou, Vasiliki N. (1981). Συμβολὴ στὴ μελέτη
τῆς ἐξωτερικῆς πολιτικῆς τοῦ
Βασιλείου Α΄ στὴ δεκαετία 867-877 [Contribution
to the study of Basil I's foreign policy in the decade 867-877].
Byzantina Symmeikta (in Greek). 4: 301–315. doi:10.12681/byzsym.675.