Diocletian, The Empire Reorganized 284–305 CE


Map Code: Ax00810

In 284 CE Diocletian, a high-ranking soldier in the imperial bodyguard, was proclaimed emperor of the declining Roman Empire, after he avenged his predecessor’s assassination. Diocletian began his reign by creating more administrative efficiency within the empire. He invested two further emperors, making himself the first emperor. He then divided control of the western reaches of the empire between ‘Augustus’ Maximian and ‘Caesar’ Constantius. He used ‘Caesar’ Galerius as his deputy in the east, which Diocletian controlled. The honorifics underlined their elevated status. Both the western and eastern halves of the empire had to be subdued, as there were an increasing number of insurrections. Diocletian doubled the number of provinces from 50 to 100, organizing the provinces into twelve dioceses ruled by ‘vicars’ who had no military responsibilities. Diocletian is famous for his introduction of conscription into the Roman army, and is notorious for his persecution of the Christians. In 305, after a bout of ill health, he abdicated.

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