Loading presentation...

Present Remotely

Send the link below via email or IM


Present to your audience

Start remote presentation

  • Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
  • People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
  • This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
  • A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
  • Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article

Do you really want to delete this prezi?

Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.


Make your likes visible on Facebook?

Connect your Facebook account to Prezi and let your likes appear on your timeline.
You can change this under Settings & Account at any time.

No, thanks

E&D 19: Diocletian and the Tetrarchic Revolution

No description

James Corke-Webster

on 1 May 2016

Comments (0)

Please log in to add your comment.

Report abuse

Transcript of E&D 19: Diocletian and the Tetrarchic Revolution

Imp. Caesar Flavius Valerius
Augustus (305-306)
Imp. Caesar C.
Valerius Maximianus Augustus (305-311)

end 290: Diocletian & Maximian meet at Milan
lay foundations of tetrarchy?
in response to Carausius - the new "pirate king" (from 287)
command fleet protecting coast Briton & Gaul
allowing pillage then taking for self?
Maximian orders death - flees to Briton
Briton surrenders & Carausius declared emperor
more likely about government of west post-Postumus
Carausius providing local security [cf. Odaenathus]
Maximian tried to raise fleet - lost in storm 290
Mar. 1st 293 command vs. Carausius passed to Constantius Chlorus - won
former governor Dalmatia; married Maximian's daughter Theodora 289
May 21(?) 293 Maximian declares Maximianus Galerius as Caesar
divorces wife and marries Diocletian's daughter Valeria
2x Augustus; 2x Caesar: tetrarchy
none assume command at Rome
new residences: Milan, Nicomedia, Trier & Sirmium
new palaces: basilica, administration, circus all connected
new ideology: gold crown, jewels, purple limited to emperors
rise of "the Dominate"

Imp. Caesar C. Aurelius Valerius
Augustus [284-305]
Imp. Caesar M. Aurelius Valerius
Augustus [286-305]

Numerian (son Carus) assassinated
[by Aper, brother-in-law Carus]
Nov. 20th 284: troops proclaim Diocles
name change = claim to legitimacy
summoned army & killed Aper himself
Carinus marches east but dies before battle
[betrayed praetorian prefect]

has (successful) army behind him
has senior senator, Lucius Caesonius Bassus
joint consulship
daughter but no son
dynastic weakness
can't rule alone
July 25th 285: promotes Maximinian to Caesar
response to revolt Amandus?
April 1st 289: promoted to Augustus - "dyarchy"
Diocletian not present
"some more equal than others"
Jupiter & Hercules: divine but an assistant...
one government; twin courts
rough division east & west - Balkans vs. N Gaul
[sidelining of Rome...]
through dyarchy, restoration

303-313: the "Great Persecution"
part of wider attempt to stabilise moral fabric empire
& government's [misguided] belief in power to effect Empire-wide change
e.g. Edict on the Manichees
innovative measures in traditional language
one example of the new centralisation
promulgated Feb. 24 303... Palestine by March... N. Africa by June
terms of the (four) edicts:
1. destruction of churches
2. burning of scriptures
3. removal privileges from officials
4. no right of legal response
5. no right of legal prosecution
6. Christian imperial freedmen reduced to slavery
open invitation for empire's inhabitants to join government's action
Christian interference w/ traditional religion?
and military in particular
Galerius' succession interests? vs. Constantius
fire [post-edict]...
on the ground experience...
an inconvenience?
as with Decius - importance local enactment

Diocletian and the Tetrarchic Revolution


Historia Augusta

Aurelius Victor,
Book of the Caesars
Anon. [Ps. Aur. Vict.],
Epitome about the Caesars
Christian sources, e.g. Lactantius, Eusebius etc
Panegyrici Latini
"When it was asked who would be the most just avenger of Numerian and who could be presented as a good leader of the state, with the gods’ approval
everyone proclaimed Diocletian Augustus
, about whom many omens of imperial rule were said to have been made already.
At the time, Diocletian was in charge of the imperial bodyguard, an outstanding man, wise, devoted to the state and his family, and ready for everything circumstances demanded
. His counsel was always profound, though sometimes too bold, but he checked the impulses of his restless inclinations with prudence and great resolution."

SHA, Carus
“What of
his brother Maximian who was known as Herculius? He was not unlike Diocletian: for they could not join together in so loyal a friendship unless they were of one mind, the same inclinations, and identical opinions.
Their only difference was that Diocletian was more greedy but more timid, Maximian less greedy but more determined, not to do good, but evil..”

On the Death of the Persecutors
"So it is that
this great empire is a communal possession for both of you
, without any discord, nor would we endure there to be any dispute between you, but planly you hold the state in equal measure as once those two Heracleidae, the Spartan Kings, had done."
10 {2} 9.4
"Nor did you put your helping hand to the tiller when a favouring breeze impelled the ship of state from the stern, but when only divine help was sufficient for its restoration after its collapse in former times, and not even the help of one god sufficed; you came to the aid of the Roman name, as it faltered, at the side of the leaders,
with that timely assistance as your Hercules once lent to your Jupiter, when he was beset with difficulties in his war with the Earthborn
. Hercules then gained a great part of the victory, and proved that he had not so much received heaven from the gods as restored it to them."

Pan. 10
{2} 4.2, trans. Nixon
"Both of you are now most bountiful, both most brave, and because of this very similarity of yours,
you are more and more harmonious, and you are brothers in virtue, which is surer than blood kinship
[---] You do this of your own accord, you whom not any similarity of features, but rather similarity of character has made equal in the highest affairs [---] Through your harmony, unconquered emperors, even fortune reacts to you with equally great success.
For you rule the state with one mind, nor does the great distance which separates you hinder you from governing so to speak with right hands clasped
Panegyrici Latini
10 (2) 9.3 + 9.5 + 11.1
Vatican Library, Rome
Flavius Valerius
Augustus (306-307)
M. Aurelius Valerius
Augustus (206-312)
Imp. Caesar Flavius Valerius
Augustus (307-337)
Imp. Caesar Valerius Licinianus
Augustus (308-324)
C. Galerius Valerius Maximinus [
Maximin ‘Daia’
] Augustus (308/9-313)

305: Maximian & Diocletian retire [die 310 & 312 respectively]
Diocletian more willingly... [Galerius pressure? Lactantius...]
Galerius & Constantius promoted
2x new Caesars: Maximin Daia (west) & Severus (east)
both close to Galerius [& not Constantius or Maximian]
Constantine & Maxentius overlooked [sons Constantius & Maximian]
expect dynastic principle?
neither Augustus nor Caesar in east had a son - both boys western
306: Constantius dies: his troops proclaim son Constantine as Augustus
engineered by Constantius; recognised by Galerius
and Severus elevated to Augustus
Constantinian rewriting makes Galerius the aggressor
Maximian’s son Maxentius revolts
Maximian leaves retirement to join son
Severus' troops refuse to fight; Severus imprisoned
307: Constantine marries Fausta, daughter Maximian
becomes brother-in-law Maxentius
Maxentius has Severus murdered
308: Licinius appointed by Galerius as Augustus
Galerius, Licinius, Maximinus & Constantine
[Maxentius denied legitimacy]
NB. importance of Constantinian rewriting
makes Galerius the villain
also Christian historiography

“Having bought up the buildings for an enterprise of such size and all refinement,
our lords Diocletian and Maximian the unconquered senior Augusti, fathers, emperors and Caesars, and our lords Constantius and Maximian [Galerius] the unconquered Augusti, and Severus and Maximinus the most noble Caesars
, dedicated the completed fortunate Baths of Diocletian to their Roman people, baths which on his return from Africa in the presence of his majesty Maximian Augustus arranged and ordered to be built and consecrated to the name of his brother the Augustus Diocletian”

646 [Rome, AD 305]
Diocletian and Maximian Augusti and Constantius and Maximian Caesars
ordered this stone to be set up to mark the boundary of the village of Mezze and Pamoioi, with most perfect Aelius Statutus supervising."

AÉ 1933,145 (Syria)
"Diocletian, a Dalmatian, freedman of the senator Anulinus, was,
until he assumed power, called in their language Diocles, from his mother and likewise from a city named Dioclea
; when he took control of the Roman world, in the fashion of the Romans,
he converted the Greek name
. He ruled twenty-five years."

[Aur. Vict.],
Epitome about the Caesars
He made Maximian an Augustus; Constantius and Galerius Maximianus, with the cognomen Armentarius [‘Herdsman’], he created Caesars
, giving to Constantius, when his prior wife was divorced, Theodora, the stepdaughter of Herculius Maximian.
At this time, Carausius in Gallia,
Achilleus in Egypt, and Julian in Italy were made imperatores and, by diverse death, perished. Of these, Julianus, when an attack breached his walls, threw himself into a fire."

[Aur. Vict.],
Epitome about the Caesars
Diocletian actually relinquished the imperial fasces of his own accord at Nicomedia and grew old on his private estates
. It was he who, when solicited by Herculius and Galerius for the purpose of resuming control, responded in this way, as though avoiding some kind of plague: “If you could see at Salonae the cabbages raised by our hands, you surely would never judge that a temptation.”
He lived sixty-eight years, out of which he passed almost nine after retirement.
He was consumed, as was sufficiently clear, by voluntary death as a result of fear. Inasmuch as when, called by Constantine and Licinius to the celebrations of a wedding which he was by no means well enough to attend, he had excused himself, after threatening replies were received in which it was being proclaimed that he had favored Maxentius and was favoring Maximian, he, regarding assassination as dishonorable, is said to have drunk poison."

[Aur. Vict.],
Epitome about the Caesars
RIC 1: antoninianus of Carausius (AD 292/3, Camulodunum mint). Obverse: busts of Maximianus, Diocletian and Carausius (CARAVSIVS ET FRATRES SVI, ‘Carausius and his brothers’). Reverse: ‘Peace’ with olive-branch & scepter (PAX AVGGG).
In that criminal banditry, first of all the fleet which had once protected Gaul was taken away by the pirate
as he fled, and in addition, very many ships were built in our style, a Roman legion was seized, several divisions of foreign troops were intercepted, merchants of Gaul were gathered together for a levy, significant forces of barbarians were tempted by the booty from the provinces themselves, and they were all trained for naval service …."

Panegyrici Latini
8 (4) 12.1 (anonymous, Trier, spring 297)
Porphyry statue group at southwest corner of St Mark’s Basilica, Venice
"Imperator Caesar Gaius Aurelius Valerius
, pious, fortunate, unconquered, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Germanicus Maximus for the 6th time, Sarmaticus Maximus for the 4th time, Persicus Maximus for the 2nd time, Brittanicus Maximus, Carpicus Maximus, Armenicus Maximus, Medicus Maximus, Adiabenicus Maximus, in the 18th year of his tribunician power and his 7th consulship, in the 18th year of his imperial power, Father of his Country, proconsul; and Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Valerius
, pious, fortunate, unconquered, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Germanicus Maximus for the 5th time, Sarmaticus Maximus for the 4th time, Persicus Maximus for the 2nd time, Brittanicus Maximus, Carpicus Maximus, Armenicus Maximus, Medicus Maximus, Adiabenicus Maximus, in the 17th year of his tribunician power and his 6th consulship, in the 17th year of his imperial power, Father of his Country, proconsul; and Flavius Valerius
, Germanicus Maximus for the 2nd time, Sarmaticus Maximus for the 2nd time, Persicus Maximus for the 2nd time, Brittanicus Maximus, Carpicus Maximus, Armenicus Maximus, Medicus Maximus, Adiabenicus Maximus, in the 9th year of his tribunician power, in his 3rd consulship, most noble Caesar; and
Valerius Maximianus, Germanicus Maximus for the 2nd time, Sarmaticus Maximus for the 2nd time, Persicus Maximus for the 2nd time, Brittanicus Maximus, Carpicus Maximus, Armenicus Maximus, Medicus Maximus, Adiabenicus Maximus, in the 9th year of his tribunician power, in his 3rd consulship, most noble Caesar, declare: --- --- ---”

Edict of Maximal Prices (301): opening paragraph
"But when you passed through the gate and rode together through the middle of the city, the very buildings, I hear, almost moved themselves when every man, woman, little child and aged person either ran out through the doors into the open or hung out of the upper thresholds of the houses. All cried out for joy, then openly, without fear of you, they pointed with their hands:
“Do you see Diocletian? Do you see Maximian? Both are here! They are together! How closely they sit! How amicably they converse!
How quickly they pass by!””

11 (3).3-4 (Maximian’s birthday, 291)
"When good fortune had deserted him, Diocletian proceeded at once to Rome in order to celebrate there his vicennalia [--- ---]. When this had been celebrated,
he could not bear the independence of the Roman people
, and just before 1 January when his 9th consulship was due to be conferred on him,
he rushed from the city
, impatient and weak in mind."
On the Death of the Persecutors
"...the invincible emperors,
restorers of the whole world
"Whereas you gave me orders in accordance with what was written by Aurelius Athanasius,
procurator privatae
, in virtue of a command of the most illustrious
magister privatae
, Neratius Apollonides,
concerning the surrender of all the goods in the said former church
and whereas I reported that the same church had neither gold nor silver nor money nor clothes nor beasts nor slaves nor lands nor property either from grants or bequests, excepting only the unworked bronze which was found and delivered to the
to be carried down to the most glorious Alexandria in accordance with what was written by our most illustrious prefect Clodius Culcianus, I also swear by the genius of our lords the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, the Augusti, and Constantius and Galerius, the most noble Caesars, that these things are so and that I have falsified nothing, or may I be liable to the divine oath."

P.Oxy. 2673, trans. Rea
“Next day
an edict was published, depriving the Christians of all honours and dignities; ordaining also that, without any distinction of rank or degree, they should be subjected to tortures, and that every suit at law should be received against them;
while, on the other hand, they were debarred from being plaintiffs in questions of wrong, adultery, or theft; and, finally, that they should neither be capable of freedom, nor have right of suffrage. A certain person tore down this edict, and cut it in pieces, improperly indeed, but with high spirit, saying in scorn, “These are the triumphs of Goths and Sarmatians.” Having been instantly seized and brought to judgment, he was not only tortured, but burnt alive, in the forms of law; and having displayed admirable patience under sufferings, he was consumed to ashes.”

Lactantius, On the Deaths of the Persecutors 13

"There he was stretched by the tormentor with both his feet in the stocks for a night and a day; and the next day he was brought before the judge. As they endeavored to force him to surrender, he exhibited all constancy under suffering and terrible tortures.
His sides were torn, not once, or twice, but many times, to the bones and the very bowels; and he received so many blows on his face and neck that those who for a long time had been well acquainted with him could not recognize his swollen face
But as he would not yield under this treatment,
the torturers, as commanded, covered his feet with linen cloths soaked in oil and set them on fire. No word can describe the agonies which the blessed one endured from this. For the fire consumed his flesh and penetrated to his bones, so that the humors of his body were melted and oozed out and dropped down like wax
The Martyrs of Palestine
"Copres to Sarapias, his sister, very many greetings. Before all things I pray before the Lord God that you are well.
I want you to know that we arrived on the 11th and
it was made known to us that those who appear in court are compelled to sacrifice and I made a power of attorney to my “brother”
and until know we have achieved nothing but we have instructed an advocate on the 1?th, so that the matter about the arourai might be brought into court on the 14?th.
But if we achieve anything, I write you.
But I have sent you nothing since I found that Theodorus himself is going out. But I am sending you this (letter) through someone else quickly…”

31.2601 (after 303AD)"
Image from
"“And there are those who have not nakedly written down a denial but rather, when in great distress, like boys who are sensible and deliberate among their foolish fellows, have mocked the schemes of their enemies:
they have either passed by the altars, or have made a written declaration, or have sent pagans in their place
. Certain ones of those who confessed the faith, as I have heard, have forgiven them since, above all, with great piety they have avoided lighting the sacrificial fire with their own hands and have avoided the smoke rising from the unclean demons, and since indeed they were unaware, because of their thoughtlessness, of what they were doing. Nevertheless, six months of penance will be given to them.”

Peter of Alexandria,
"There was a high point about three miles distant from the city,
on top of which he himself had assumed the purple
, and there a column had been erected with an image of Jupiter. There was a procession to that place.
An assembly of the soldiers was convened, in which the old man spoke, with tears in his eyes, to the soldiers
. He said that he was weak, that he sought a respite from his labours, that he would hand power over to others, that he would appoint new Caesars....
In plain view of everyone, Galerius, extending his hand behind him, brought Maximinus forward
, and placed him, having removed his civilian garb, between himself and Diocletian.... Diocletian put his own purple cloak, which he had taken from his shoulders, on Maximinus, and was made again Diocles. Then he descended. The old king was carried through the city on a cart, and sent back to his homeland."

AÉ 1933,145 (Syria)
"After having been asked repeatedly, and being no longer able to deny the request, he gave him (Constantine) his seal as the day was ending, and ordered him to set out the next morning after he had received his orders,
for he wished either to delay him on some pretext, or to send letters ahead so that he would be arrested by Severus
. When Constantine realised what was happening, and when the emperor was sleeping after dinner, he hastened to leave, and he flew away, taking all the public horses from many post stations. The next day the emperor, having slept as he had intended, until around noon, ordered Constantine to be brought before him. He was told that he had set out after dinner. He began to rage and fume. He asked for the horses of the public post so that he could bring him back. He was told that the public post had been stripped. He could scarcely restrain his tears. But Constantine came, with incredible, speed, to his father, who was already upon his deathbed, and who, having commended him to the soldiers, passed on the imperial authority with his own hand.”

On the Deaths of the Persecutors
"Then Galerius sent him back to his father. He evaded Severus as he was passing through Italy, crossing the Alps with great speed and killing all the post horses as he passed, and
came to his father, Constantius, at Boulogne
, which the Gauls once called Gesoriacum.
Constantius then died at York
after victories over the Picts, and Constantine was made Caesar through the consensus of the troops.”

Rise of the Emperor Constantine
"Taking as assistant in his enterprise Marcellianus and Marcellus, two tribunes, Lucianus, who was in charge of the pork that the government distributed to the people, and the soldiers of the court, who are called praetorians, was
placed upon the imperial throne by these men, announcing that he would reward those who gave this to him with great gifts
; the first thing they did was kill Abellius, who was vicarius of the urban prefecture and who was opposed to their undertaking.”
Zosimus 2.9.3
"[Constantine's maturity] so great that although your father left you imperial power, nevertheless
you were content with the title of Caesar and preferred to wait for the same man to declare you Augustus who so declared him [i.e. Maximian!]
. Thus indeed you judged that this imperial power would be finer not if you had acquired it as an inheritance by right of succession, but if you earned it from the supreme emperor as due reward for your merits."
. 7 {6} 5.3, trans. Nixon
'Kaiserthermen', Trier
Porta Nigra, Trier
Full transcript