Diocletian in Roman Biography

Diocletian, dl-o-kle'she-an, [Lat. Diocletia'nus ; Fr. Diocletien, de'o'kla'te^aV,] or, more fully, Cai'ua Vale'rius Aure'ljus Diocletia'nus, a Roman emperor, was born of obscure parents at Dioclea, in Dalmatiaabout 245 A.D. He entered the army young, served under Aurelian, and obtained a high command under Probus. He accompanied Carus in his expedition against Persia, and at the death of that prince, in 283, he became commander of the imperial guards of his successor, Niimerianus. The latter having been assassinated by Aper, the army at Chalcedon proclaimed Diocletian emperor in 284. In 286 he adopted Maximian as his colleague in the empire, and gave him the title of Augustus. They were successful in suppressing revolts in Gaul and other parts of the empire. About 292 they nominated two Csesars to divide the labours of the administration,- namely, Galerius and Constantius Chlorus. Diocletian reserved to himself Asia and Egypt, and fixed his court at Nicomedia. He assigned Italy and Africa to Maximian, Gaul and Spain to Constantius, and Thrace and lllyricum to Galerius. The supremacy of Diocletian was recognized by the other three, and general prosperity resulted from this arrangement. One design of this policy was to prevent the revolt of the armies in favour of their commanders, by which so many emperors had been ruined. After this division the Roman arms were successful in Egypt, Persia, and Britain. In 297 a peace was made with Persia, which was maintained forty years. The Christians had enjoyed the favour and protection of Diocletian ; but in 303 Galerius, by false accusations, persuaded him to issue an edict against them. This persecution, to which he unwillingly assented, is the chief error of a reign otherwise honourable and happy. In 304 he had a long attack of sickness, and in the next year he abdicated in favour of Galerius, and retired to Salona, where he turned his attention to the cultivation of a vegetable-garden, and died in 313. His political talents were superior, and entitle him to a place among the most eminent Roman emperors. See Tillemont, "Histoiredes Empereurs:" Gibbon, "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire;" Ai'kelius Victor, "De Cjesaribus ;" J. C. Sickel, "Dioclelianus et Maximums," 1792.

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