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Ridpath's History of the World

You are currently in Volume 3 Part 2 on Page 0971 | Pages range from 0971 to 1440

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NOW it was that the spectral shadows of the old Republic, which, out of deference to the past, had still been allowed to haunt the capitol, disappeared forever. The names of consul, tribune, Senate ceased to be heard in the nomenclature of the administration. The government became a monarchy without republican accessories. The offices were filled henceforth by appointment. It was the purpose of Diocletian to reestablish in Rome a central authority whose edicts should be again felt not only in Italy, but throughout the provinces of the Empire. Instead of being merely a military commander, directing the movements of the legions in some quarter of the horizon, the Emperor was again to become a civil ruler, whose Imperial edicts were to command obedience in every part.

In the choice of a colleague Diocletian named Maximianus, an Blyriari peasant by birth, a soldier by profession. On him, in 286, was conferred the title of Augustus. The two sovereigns also assumed the respective names of Jovius and Herculius. Meanwhile a certain Carausius had raised a revolt in Britain, and was advancing his claims to the throne. Against him Maximian directed the army in Gaul, and the pretender was over thrown. About the same time the insurrectionary spirit manifested itself in the eastern provinces of the Empire, and Diocletian undertook in person the pacification of the rebellious countries.

But before setting out for the East the Emperor inaugurated a new system of government, which consisted of a subdivision of the administrative prerogatives among two Augusti and two Caesars, the latter being respectively subordinate to the former. Thus in A. D. 292 Constantius Chlorils was appointed Caesar under Maximian in the West, while Galerius was put in like relation with Diocletian in the East. To give solidarity to the system, the daughters of the Augusti were married to the respective Caesars. The supreme sovereignty of the state was still nominally lodged in Diodetian, who established his court in Nicomedia, and retained for his personal government the provinces of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. The Caesar Galerius was stationed at Sirmium, and to him was committed the duty of maintaining peace on the Danubian frontier. The court of Maximian was fixed at Milan, and to his immediate supervision were intrusted the home provinces of Italy, the islands of the Mediterranean, and Africa. The Caesar Constantius was established at Treves, and the defense of the Rhenish frontier and on Transalpine Gaul, Spain, and Britain was committed to his valor.

For a season the system thus instituted brought favorable results. The Egyptian rebellion was suppressed by Diocletian. Maximian reduced Mauritania to submission. Constantius overthrew the Alemanni, and then defeated the pretenders, Carausius and Allectus, in Britain. Galerius routed the Persians from the borders of Syria. After twenty years of victorious warfare Diocletian returned to the andent capital of the Empire, and there celebrated a triumph in honor of liis own successes and those of his colleagues.

A novel episode occurred soon afterwards. In A. D. 305 the Emperor, being then in his sixtieth year, journeyed to Morgus, in Maesia, and there on the first day of May, on the spot where he had been proclaimed, resigned the crown. On the same day Maximian acting either in emulation of his colleague or by his direction—also resigned liis authority. The Imperial power was thus left in the hand of the two Caesars, who now became Augusti by succession. Such was the plan of Diodetian.

After his abdication the late Emperor retired to private life, and, tempting fate no further, sought in the cultivation of his garden

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