971 ROMEEPOCH OF DIOCLETIAN.
CHAPTER LXVEPOCH OF DIOCLETIAN.
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
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 directionalso 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