UNIVERSAL HISTORY-TEE ANCIENT WORLD.
he defeated the Goths, whom no reverses could long restrain from incursions
across the Danube. The Emperor next proceeded to the East, where he gained
such signal successes over the Persians that he was enabled to dictate an
honorable peace. He then gave some attention to civil affairs, using his
army for the commendable work of draining marshes and planting orchards. He
issued a rescript abrogating the monopoly hitherto possessed by the wine-
growers of Italy, and making free the cultivation of the vine in the
countries beyond the Alps. These useful measures, however, soon aroused the
enmity of the soldiers, and the Emperor was slain in a mutiny.
Next came Carus, chosen by the legions of Gaul. The Senate, as usual,
accepted the nomination, and the nation had little cause to regret the
choice. The new Emperor had many of the tastes and virtues of his
predecessor. The son, Carinus, whom he associated with himself in the
government, was of far less admirable temper, and the people of Italy had
cause to regret that to him was assigned the government of the West. The
Emperor himself assumed command of the legions and began a great campaign
against the Persians. He crossed Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, left behind
the frontier post of Ctesiphon on the Tigris and penetrated the enemy's
country to a greater distance than had ever before been reached by the
Caesars. Fate, however, laid an early limit to his progress. He met a
doubtful death in the camp; for it was said by some that he was struck by
lightning; by others that he died of disease; and still by others that he
was assassinated by his lieutenant, Aper.
Numerian, the son of Carus, a youth of promise, who by his oratorical gifts
and culture had won the esteem of the Romans, was present at his father's
death, and on him, by proclamation of the soldiers, was devolved the
command of the army. Marching hastily toward Rome to place himself in
authority, he, too, was killed, and the command passed to a certain Diodes
or Diocletianus, a Dalmatian by birth, already an officer of the legions.
To him a Druidess had already promised the Imperial dignity, but before
reaching the purple he must slaughter a boar. He now chose to regard Aper,
the murderer of Carus, as the prophetic beast which he must slay. The
vicarious sacrifice was accordingly performed, and it remained for
Diocletian and Carinus to decide by arms the possession of the Empire. In
several engagements the latter was successful, but the assassin's dagger
was again to determine the conflict. Carinus had led astray the wife of one
of his subordinates, who now sought revenge by the murder of his imperial
rival. The dominion of the world was thus, in 284, left to Diocletian,
whose reign was so distinguished as to constitute an epoch in the history
of the Empire.