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Biography. its limits extended as far as Sintha, a fortress in Media, not take a share in the sentiments which prevailed Caius
and be regarded as under the special protection of the every where around him. His austere manners and Valerius From Romans. The Kings of Iberia were, in like manner, parsimonious habits provoked the sarcasm of the po
Diocletianus relieved from their vassalage to the Persian Crown, and pulace; who, comparing the restricted splendour of
Augustus. 285. placed in a state of dependence on the Imperial Go- his Games with the recollection or description of those
From vernment; and as the people of that country had long more brilliant exhibitions which had been given by 305. been accustomed to the use of arms, and occupied Aurelian and Probus, conceived that their privileges
285. the range of mountains which divides Asia Minor had been violated and their wishes despised. This from the plains of Sarmatia, they proved to their new military pageant, however, has obtained in the eyes of 305. masters a powerful defence against the inroad of Bar- posterity a distinction and an interest which it could barians still more ferocious than themselves. The last not possess at the time; it was the last Triumph ever article of the Treaty respected the neutrality of Nisibis, witnessed in the streets of Rome. The city of Romuas an emporium of merchandise for the mutual con- lus soon afterwards lost the honour of being the seat of venience of the two Empires; an arrangement which, Government; and the successors of Constantine did although it appears to have promised the greatest ad- not long retain those warlike virtues, which used to vantages to Narses, was, nevertheless, the only condi- adorn the Capital of the Empire with the trophies of tion of the Peace to which he thought proper, or was
vanquished Nations and tributary Provinces.* permitted, to make any objections.*
Disgusted with the licentiousness of the people, Dio- Diocletian It continued It was in the year 297 that Diocletian effected the cletian made immediate preparations for returning to returns to forty years. tranquillity of the East, after which nearly half a cen- Nicomedia, his favourite residence. He set out about Nicomedia,
and detertury elapsed before the Persians ventured again to
the middle of December, careless of the severe weather
mines to remake an appeal to arms. This happy result was se
which he must encounter in the mountainous district sign the cured not less by the valour of the Legions than by the through which he had to pass ; or ignorant, perhaps, Empire. wisdom of the Emperor; who employed his victorious
of the effects which it was likely to produce upon a troops in strengthening the frontier, along the Eu- constitution diminished in its vigour by fatigue and phrates, the Tigris, and the Araxes, by a line of gar- anxiety. On his journey he fell into an alarming ille risons and several fortified towns. He bestowed par- ness, from which he never completely recovered. The ticular care on the defences of Circesium, an important following winter he was confined to the palace; and city in Mesopotamia, built at the junction of the first when, in the month of March 305, he showed himself and last of the rivers now mentioned: by which means to his People, he was so pale and wasted by disease he rendered the chances of war so unfavourable to the that he could scarcely be recognised by those to whom enemy, that it was not until the Thrones of Rome, Persia, his person was the most familiar. In these circumand Armenia were occupied by new Sovereigns, that any stances he adopted a resolution, the motives of which attempt was made to disturb the repose which Dio- cannot now be fully ascertained, to resign the cares of cletian had established on so firm a basis.
government, and to retire into the peaceful seclusion of Triumph of During the five or six years which followed the Per- private life. Lactantius ascribes this determination to Diocletian sian campaign, the Emperor devoted his attention to the intriguing impatience of Galerius, who longed to and Maxi- the Arts of Peace, and particularly to the extension exchange the subordinate rank of Cæsar for the full
and embellishment of his Eastern Capital. Feeling honours of Augustus, and who, with this view, urged
ties. But it is not necessary to descend into the depths
Diocletian to divest himself of the Purple, he performed bis purpose. desirous to maintain decorum than to kindie the feel- the ceremony of abdication with much solemnity and ings of gratulation and delight. His trophies were,
decorum. Having assembled the Army and People in indeed, drawn from the remotest parts of the earth, and
a spacious plain about three miles from Nicomedia, he testified the increasing boundaries of Roman dominion ascended a lofty throne, and in a speech full of affecin the West as well as in the East. Persia and the tion and dignity, declared his intention and explained British Isles, Africa and the Forests of Gerniany, the his future purposes: immediately after which he stepped Rhine, the Nile, the Euphrates, the Danube, and the into a covered chariot, passed through the city which Thames supplied their respective tokens of subjuga- he had rendered fit to be the Capital of a great Empire, tion, and added to the interest and magnificence of his and proceeded forthwith to Salona, a pleasant village Triumph. But Diocletian was not a Roman, and could
* Euseb. in Chron. Eutrop. lib. ix, c. 27. Lactant. de Morl.
Pers. c. 38. * Pet, Pat. in Legat. Eutrop. lib. ix.
† Aurel. Victor.
Biography. in his native Province Dalmatia, where he had resolved and anarchy into the means of national security and Caius to spend the remainder of his life. Maximianus, on confidence.
Valerius the same day, executed a similar resolution at Milan, It was with a similar view that he diminished the Diocletianus
now become the place of his usual abode. In this act number of the Prætorian Guards, those insolent and Augustus. 235. of self-denial, so much at variance with his natural love formidable soldiers who had so frequently assumed the
From of power, he yielded to the ascendency which his wiser right of giving away the Imperial diadem, and supplied 305. colleague had acquired over him, and immediately re- their place by two faithful Legions of his own country
285. tired to a villa in Lucania, in search of that enjoyment men, who, under the titles of Jovians and Herculians, which he had associated with his dreams of repose, but were appointed to perform the service of the Imperial 305. which neither his temper nor his habits were calcu- household. Regarding the Senate, too, which since the lated to find amidst the scenes of tranquillity.*
days of Probus had recovered a part of its original inReflections Diocletian lived eight or nine years after his abdi- fluence, as an obstacle to the exercise of the simple cabis plan of cation ; but as he never agaia mingled in the affairs of despotism which he wished to establish in the person of Gorerament
Government, we may be permitted, at this stage of the the Emperors, he resolved to annihilate the power of
and purity to have enabled it to throw off the corrupt been reactive associates. During his long reign, there was no
taint which it had derived from its long association with stored. insurrection to shake the foundations of the Monarchy, arbitrary rule; and whether the Senators could have or even to wrest the sceptre from the hands of any one resumed so much of their ancient authority as to have of his colleagues, however unfortunate or unpopular. checked the insubordination of the armies, and extended The Constitution was so equally balanced, that an exer- once more the Civil power of the Consul over that of cise of strength in one quarter was uniformly compen- the Military Commander. But, whatever may be the sated by corresponding vigour in some other; so that opinion entertained on the point now stated, there can the four Sovereigns who wielded the energies of Europe be no doubt that the progress of despotism was acceand of Asia, found it their interest not less than their lerated at Rome, by the practice of nominating the first duty to confine their ambition within the limits of their Magistrate of the State the principal officer of the several Governments. In short, he adjusted so exactly Legions : for, although the term of command was the elements of Civil and Military power, distributed them short, and the General descended into the Citizen as with so much wisdom, and opposed them to each other soon as the hour of danger was past, the People were in portions so well calculated to check every tendency thereby accustomed to see the laws, civil and military, to excess, that he converted the instruments of sedition executed by the same person, and to obey in Peace the
• Panegyr. Vet. vii. 15.
* Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch, xiii.
Biography. authority at which they were accustomed to tremble in insensibly be productive of sentiments of venera
Valerius War. It was, accordingly, to be expected, that the in- tion.*
Diocletianus From dividual who found himself placed permanently at the The support of such an establishment necessarily Augustus.
head of the army, would soon forget the origin and na- implied the existence of a regular system of taxation. 285, ture of the power with which he was intrusted. The We find, accordingly, that the reign of Diocletian is From
Civil offices of Consul, Proconsul, Censor, and of Tri- distinguished in the Annals of Rome as a season of 305.
bune, by the union of which it had been formed, might, severe oppression, and of multiplied grievances. In 285.
Romans had no cause to complain that their wealth Commander-in-chief ceased to be elective. Had Probus was squandered on the pleasures or magnificence even thought fit to relinquish the prerogative conferred upon of the most tyrannical Princes. A life spent in a Augustus, and resigned his office at the end of the first camp, and frequently in the presence of an active enemy, year after his elevation to the Empire, he might have presented few temptations to indulge in expensive show restored the Senate to vigour, and the Constitution to or sensual enjoyments. But when the more luxurious Moderation the activity of its first principles. The title which he and majestic system of Diocletian was established, the of Dioclebore, it is true, denoted originally no higher rank than Romans beheld four Sovereigns in different parts of the tian. that of General of the Roman armies; but it had, long Empire, contending with each other for the vain supeprior to his accession, assumed a more lofty import, riority of pomp and grandeur; multiplying the number and was felt to convey the unlimited authority of the of their servants and officers beyond all example; and most powerful of all Princes, a Military Sovereign. It crowding every department of the State with dependis probable, therefore, that before the reign of the ents, who at once encouraged and imitated their proEmperor just named, the influence of custom had be- fusion. Deploring the misery which resulted from come too strong for that of a mere speculative reve- such a condition of things, Lactantius asserts, that rence for ancient institutions ; and that the Sword had those who were maintained upon the public taxes, too long triumphed over the Gown to permit the existe exceeded those who contributed to them, and hence ence of a rational hope pointed towards the restoration that the Provinces were oppressed by the weight of of Public liberty.
imposts and every other species of exaction. It is ad. Diocletian did not attempt to imitate the example of mitted, indeed, even by those Historians who condemn and manners his Pannonian predecessor, nor to amuse the Romans this Emperor for giving birth to a scheme so pernicious of Eastern
with the exhibition of a phantom which he had no in- to the Commonwealth, that the evil, during his reign, Sovereignty. tention to clothe with reality. He saw that the time was confined within the bounds of moderation ; that
was come when all the power of the State must be the Revenue was managed with prudence and economy;
Aurel. Victor. Eutrop. lib. ix. c. 26. Panegyr. Vet. Lactart.
de Mort. Pers. c. 39, &c. the multitude ; that the Monarch would thereby be
+ Utinam Salona posselis visere olera nostris manibus instituta, protected from the rude license of the People and profectò numquam istud tentundum judicuretis. Aurel. Victor, of the soldiers; and that habits of submission would Epit. 54.
Bagtapby. has no means of arriving at the truth, and is compelled The few years which he passed at Salona after his Caius to believe what they are pleased to communicate. resignation of the Throne, were devoted to those
Diocletianus Hence, he promotes men who are unfit for the employ- pleasures in which a mind unembued with Litera
Augustus. ment with which they are intrusted ; and he removes ture finds the readiest amusement and relaxation. He 285.
from his service others whose fidelity and worth give built, he planted and improved his fields; but the From 305.
them the best claim to his confidence. In short, by most splendid monument of his taste was the Palace the collusion of a few unprincipled courtiers, a bene- which he erected at Spalatro, a delightful spot about 285. volent and even a cautious Monarch, animated too with six or seven miles distant from his native village. A the best intentions, is frequently betrayed and sold ; his modern who has described the ruins of this ancient edi
305. power is rendered an instrument to effect the worst fice informs us, that the “ soil is dry and fertile, the air Palace of
Spalatro. purposes, and his exertions for the public good are pure and wholesome; and though extremely hot during
converted into the means of injustice and oppression." the summer months, the country seldom feels those consed After this acknowledgment we ought not to be sur- sultry and noxious winds, to which the coasts of Istria sumu- prised, when we are informed that he was sometimes and some parts of Italy are exposed. The views from
suspicious, and unwilling to resign himself to the pro- the Palace are no less beautiful than the soil and clifessions of those who were the most ready to offer their mate are inviting. Towards the West lies the fertile services. Being taught by experience the necessity of shore that stretches along the Adriatic, in which a reserve, he has been charged with timidity and artifice number of small Islands are scattered in such a manin the conduct of his Government; and although it is ner as to give this part of the sea the appearance of a admitted that he was singularly fortunate in the choice great lake. On the North side lies the bay which led of the best instruments for effecting his purposes, the to the ancient city of Salona; and the country beyond Historians of his reign insinuate that his prudence was it, appearing in sight, forms a proper contrast to that not always free from insincerity, and that in the selec- more extensive prospect of water, which the Adriatic tion of his Ministers he was influenced much more by presents both to the South and to the East. Towards a regard to his own interest than by esteem for the charac- the North the view is terminated by high and irregular ter of the individuals whom he promoted. The quali- mountains, situated at a proper distance, and in many ties of his mind are supposed to have presented a consi- places covered with villages, woods, and vineyards.” derable resemblance to those of Augustus, the founder In this favourite retreat Diocletian ended his days in Death of of the Empire. Neither of these Princes was a stran- the year 313; not without suspicion of having had re- Diocletian. ger to dissimulation, while both proved excellent rulers, course to a voluntary death, to which he is said to have from a certain innate love of peace, as well as from an un- been urged by the misfortunes of his family, and the usual dexterity in identifying the welfare of the State with crimes of his former associates.* their more secret views of personal aggrandizement.t
CONSTANTIUS CHLORUS AUGUSTUS.
FROM A. D. 305 to 306.
From A. D.
Fiography. The retirement of Diocletian and Maximianus was This arrangement excluded from power the son of Constantius immediately followed by the accession of the two Maximianus, who had married a daughter of Galerius,
Chlorus Cæsars, Constantius and Galerius, to the Imperial as also the heir of Constantius, the celebrated Con- Augustus,
Throne. The plan 'of Government required that the stantine, who was at that period resident at Nicomedia, 305,
From new Emperors should each appoint an assistant, to a visiter or a hostage in the hands of Diocletian. The occupy the second rank in the State, and to command former of these young men was rejected on account of
the Legions in their respective Provinces. Galerius, his rough and disrespectful manners, which gave great 2. Galerius whose ambitious views are said to have extended to offence to his father-in-law; the latter was confined to 306. see the the possession of the whole Empire, hastily usurped a private station, because it was apprehended that, if
the privilege of election; and named as Cæsars, his own once invested with sovereign authority, his aspiring nephew Daza, or Maximinus, and Severus, an officer genius could not rest satisfied with any degree under of rank and ability, but more distinguished, perhaps, for the very highest. his attachment to his master than for virtue or profes- Maximianus could not conceal the reluctance with Two new sional reputation.
which he conferred upon Severus the ornaments of his Cæsars, Senew dignity. But Constantius, whose health was
Maximin. * Ego a patre meo audivi, Diocletianum Principem, jam priva much impaired, and whose temper was naturally calm tum, dirisse nihil esse difficilius quam bene imperare, foc. Vopisc. in and pacific, submitted to the decision of his colleague Aurel. c. 43.
+ Aurel. Victor, Epit. Parum honesta in amieos fides. Eutrop. lib. x. c. 1, 2.
* Morte consumtus est, ut satis patuit, per formitudinem.
Aurel, Victor, Epit.
Biography. without a murmur. Galerius, therefore, found himself Having subdued the Northern Barbarians, Constan- Constantin the master of the greater part of the Roman dominions. tius returned to York, where he died in the month of
He governed, in person, Illyricum, Thrace, and Asia July in the year 306. Finding his end drawing near, he Augustus.
Minor; he intrusted to Maximin the important Pro- announced to the army that he had appointed Con305.
From vinces of Egypt and Syria; while he confided to the stantine the sole heir of his power, and desired that
command of Severus the whole of Italy as well as that they would honour and obey him as their future Em306.
305. part of Africa which stretches from Cyrene to the peror. The troops, who were deeply attached to the Western Ocean. Constantius, on the other hand, saw cause of their master, took pleasure in complying with
306. in the administration of the Civil and military duties his last request; and no sooner did he expire, than Constantiu: connected with Gaul, Spain, and Britain, a sufficient they saluted his son by the title of Augustus, and pre- dies at York field for the exercise of his talents, his virtues, and his pared to invest him with the Purple. Ambition as well and nomiambition. His age, not less than the rank which he as prudence whispered to Constantine the expediency stantine bil
Dates Conhad held under Diocletian, entitled him indeed to the of accepting the high office to which he was thus in- heir, precedency in the Empire, a distinction which does not vited. He forthwith wrote to Galerius, that death had appear to have been disputed by his more assuming deprived himself and the Empire of a parent, and that and imperious colleague; but it is manifest, at the the Legions, actuated by a feeling of strong affection same time, that both from the situation of his Govern- for their late Commander, had substituted in his place ment and the limits within which his power was re- the individual who now addressed him, and who, as he stricted, the successor of Diocletian did not inherit the had not been able to obtain power in a regular and full share of his authority.
Constitutional manner, would have been much more The Empire It has been maintained by several writers, ancient as gratified to see it bestowed elsewhere. The Emperor supposed to well as modern, that upon the accession of Constan- of the East received the intelligence with a burst of have been tius and Galerius the Roman Empire was actually passion, during which he threatened to cast both the divided.
divided. But there is no evidence on record that any messenger and the letter into the flames; but, when
Oct. 306. power.
mianus, who appears to have fixed his residence at Constantine The distinguished person just named was, as we
Galerius, following the example of Diocletian, escapes from have already mentioned, at the Court of Nicomedia attempted to humble the Capital, by reducing still farNicomedia.
when the late Emperors executed their purpose of ther the establishment of Prætorian Guards, by imposing
* Eumen. Panegyr. Vet. Victor, Epit. Euseb. in Vit. Const,
Ercles. Hist. lib. viii. c. 13. Liban. Orat. iii. * Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. viii. c. 13. Eutrop. lib. Xo,
+ Lactant. de Mort. Pers. c 25. Panegyr. Vet. in Max. el. + Zosim, lib. ii. Lactant, de Mort. Pers.
Const. Zosim. lib. ii. Aurel. Victor, Epit.