Many tried to find ways to escape the obligation. Diocletian understood that a major problem in ruling a territory of the extent of the Roman Empire was its immense size. [294], Partly in response to economic pressures and in order to protect the vital functions of the state, Diocletian restricted social and professional mobility.

[136] Diocletian travelled south along the Nile the following summer, where he visited Oxyrhynchus and Elephantine. He established new administrative centres in Nicomedia, Mediolanum, Sirmium, and Trevorum, closer to the empire's frontiers than the traditional capital at Rome. Meanwhile, Diocletian built forts north of the Danube,[123] at Aquincum (Budapest, Hungary), Bononia (Vidin, Bulgaria), Ulcisia Vetera, Castra Florentium, Intercisa (Dunaújváros, Hungary), and Onagrinum (Begeč, Serbia). Diocletian publicly humiliated Galerius, forcing him to walk for a mile at the head of the Imperial caravan, still clad in the purple robes of the Emperor. Constantius succeeded Maximian as augustus of the West, but Constantine and Maxentius were entirely ignored in the transition of power. The army unanimously saluted Diocles as their new Augustus, and he accepted the purple imperial vestments. [120], Diocletian spent the spring of 293 travelling with Galerius from Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) to Byzantium (Istanbul, Turkey).

[77] At the conclusion of discussions with the Persians, Diocletian re-organized the Mesopotamian frontier and fortified the city of Circesium (Buseire, Syria) on the Euphrates. In, Helgeland, John. [58] Most recently, Emperor Carus and his sons had ruled together, albeit unsuccessfully. Related Content [74], Around the same time, perhaps in 287,[75] Persia relinquished claims on Armenia and recognized Roman authority over territory to the west and south of the Tigris. [266] Arrears became the norm for most troops. Dukljan, a major villain in Serbian mythology who is presented as the adversary of God[306] is considered to be a mythological reflection of the historical Diocletian. [214] In its place he established an effectively autocratic structure, a shift later epitomized in the institution's name: it would be called a consistorium, not a council. The young emperor’s reign would be short-lived. However, Diocletian’s reforms went well beyond designing the Tetrarchy. [157] This road would remain in use for centuries but proved ineffective in defending the border as conventional armies could not operate in the region.

[301], Constantine ignored those parts of Diocletian's rule that did not suit him. Diocletian led the subsequent negotiations and achieved a lasting and favourable peace. Our site makes use of cookies. To stop runaway inflation he issued the Edict of Maximum Prices, legislation that fixed the prices of goods and services as well as wages to be paid; however, this edict proved to be unenforceable. [125] Later during both 299 and 302, as Diocletian was then residing in the East, it was Galerius's turn to campaign victoriously on the Danube. Lacking an heir, in November of 285 CE, shortly after securing the imperial throne for himself, he named an Illyrian officer (who happened to be his son-in-law) named Maximian as Caesar in the west. Diocletian therefore issued his Edict on Coinage, an act re-tariffing all debts so that the nummus, the most common coin in circulation, would be worth half as much. He campaigned against the Sarmatians again in 294, probably in the autumn,[122] and won a victory against them. [281] It appears that the edict was made in an attempt to preserve the current price of gold and to keep the Empire's coinage on silver, Rome's traditional metal currency. [63] For all their religious connotations, the emperors were not "gods" in the tradition of the Imperial cult – although they may have been hailed as such in Imperial panegyrics. [81] Carausius strove to have his legitimacy as a junior emperor acknowledged by Diocletian: in his coinage (of far better quality than the official one, especially his silver pieces) he extolled the "concord" between him and the central power (PAX AVGGG, "the Peace of the three Augusti", read one bronze piece from 290, displaying, on the other side, Carausius together with Diocletian and Maximian, with the caption CARAVSIVS ET FRATRES SVI, "Carausius & his brothers" [3] ). To fill these new positions, Maximian adopted and then named his praetorian commander Constantius as his Caesar. [176] A second fire occurred sixteen days after the first. After the defeat and death of the Roman emperor Philip the Arab in 249 CE, the empire endured over three decades of ineffective rulers. ", Nakamura, Byron J.

[245] They were probably given more free rein over their codes than the later compilers of the Codex Theodosianus (438) and Codex Justinianeus (529) would have. At long last, the persecution came to an end in 305 CE. This “Caesar” would then succeed the “Augustus” should he die or resign. 2 Answers. Even Maximian preferred Mediolanum (Milan). [222], To avoid the possibility of local usurpations,[223] to facilitate a more efficient collection of taxes and supplies, and to ease the enforcement of the law, Diocletian doubled the number of provinces from fifty to almost one hundred. Diocletian soon grew impatient with the city, as the Romans acted towards him with what Edward Gibbon, following Lactantius, calls "licentious familiarity". [228] Diocletian's reforms shifted the governors' main function to that of the presiding official in the lower courts:[229] whereas in the early Empire military and judicial functions were the function of the governor, and procurators had supervised taxation, under the new system vicarii and governors were responsible for justice and taxation, and a new class of duces ("dukes"), acting independently of the civil service, had military command.

This edict introduced a general five-year census for the whole empire, replacing prior censuses that had operated at different speeds throughout the empire. Finally, any Christian who refused was tortured and killed. [51] The other figures who retained their offices might have also betrayed Carinus. Requisition, forced purchase, was used to supply armies on the march. Diocletian wanted stability and that meant a return to the more traditional gods of Rome, but Christianity prevented this. [250] In spite of Diocletian's attempts at reform, the provincial restructuring was far from clear, especially when citizens appealed the decisions of their governors. [251] Diocletian's reign marks the end of the classical period of Roman law. Long before Diocletian, Gallienus (r. 253–68) had chosen Milan as the seat of his headquarters. Last month’s blog covered the rise of Diocletian to the position of emperor and his changes to the status and image of the position. Chapters from The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume XII: The Crisis of Empire are marked with "(CAH)". [24] In full view of the army, Diocles drew his sword and killed Aper. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Penalties are laid out for various pricing transgressions. [22] Numerianus's generals and tribunes called a council for the succession, and chose Diocles as Emperor,[23] in spite of Aper's attempts to garner support. Most officials who had served under Carinus, however, retained their offices under Diocletian. [129] He would return to Syria in 295 to fight the revanchist Persian empire. The Devil's Dykes, for example, the Danubian earthworks traditionally attributed to Diocletian, cannot even be securely dated to a particular century. The suggested dates for Galerius's appointment are 1 March and 21 May.

[268][Note 13], Most taxes were due on each year on 1 September, and levied from individual landowners by decuriones (decurions). [29] Bassus was a member of a senatorial family from Campania, a former consul and proconsul of Africa, chosen by Probus for signal distinction. Lactantius criticizes Diocletian for his absence from the front, The range of dates proposed for Diocletian's death have stretched from 311 through to 318. Christol & Nony, "Rome et son empire" 241. [152], Narseh sent an ambassador to Galerius to plead for the return of his wives and children in the course of the war, but Galerius dismissed him. Through coercion and threats, he eventually convinced Diocletian to comply with his plan. Diocletian demonstrated similar skills in Persia by defeating the Sarmatians in 289 CE and Saracens in 292 CE. Around 287 Diocletian assumed the title Iovius, and Maximian assumed the title Herculius. Within Persia, however, Narseh was destroying every trace of his immediate predecessors from public monuments. Corcoran, "Before Constantine", 43; Potter, 290. Galerius left the city for Rome, declaring Nicomedia unsafe. Beyond that, much discussion is speculative and reliant on the broad generalizations of written sources. [6] The Byzantine chronicler Joannes Zonaras states that he was Dux Moesiae,[7] a commander of forces on the lower Danube. Diocletian refused and fought a battle with them, but was unable to secure a complete victory. In this system of counting, the beginning of Diocletian's reign in 284 was used as the epoch, making Diocletian's first year in power into the Year 1 of that calendar.

Diocletian also persuaded Maximian to step down as well. Although some suspect Diocletian of having a role in Numerian’s death in 284 CE, the Praetorian Guard commander Arrius Aper, Numerian’s father-in-law, shouldered the blame; he realized his son-in-law was incompetent and hoped to secure the imperial throne for himself. These officials represented the interests of the fisc, which collected taxes in gold, and the Imperial properties.

[212] This style of presentation was not new – many of its elements were first seen in the reigns of Aurelian and Severus – but it was only under the tetrarchs that it was refined into an explicit system. [175] Diocletian would soon follow. [52], The assassinations of Aurelian and Probus demonstrated that sole rulership was dangerous to the stability of the empire. An eventual victory in 286 CE would bring him not only a long awaited peace but the title of Germanicus Maximus. [47], Diocletian replaced the prefect of Rome with his consular colleague Bassus. The quasi-republican ideals of Augustus's primus inter pares were abandoned for all but the tetrarchs themselves.