It is clear then that the period c. 850–c. 886 was one of great moment in the recovery and advance of the Byzantine empire. Whether this was due to individuals such as Theoktistos,Michael, Bardas and Basil, or to favourable conditions such as an already progressing revival and altered international circumstances, is a matter for debate. Probably there is an element of both. However, the failures of the period and the persistent problems, such as the Arabs’ occupation of Sicily and naval threat, should not be overlooked, nor should the uncertainties of the evidence. But whatever overall verdict is reached on this phase of the empire’s life, it surely qualifies as one of the most intriguing periods of Byzantine history.