20 November 284 – 1 April 286
SuccessorGalerius (East)
Constantius I Chlorus (West)
Born22 December 242–245, Salona, Dalmatia
Died3 December 311/312, (aged c. 68), Aspalathos, Dalmatia



His Story

Originally called as Diokles, which is Greek name, Diocletian possessed the Latinized version of his name, right before calculating a revolt against Carinus.

However, when Carinus was informed about this proceeding, he gathered a large army for confrontation. Both sides faced each other in a long battle with complete bloodshed, which was a turning point against Diocletian.

Upon seeing much of his flee was lost, he decided to flee with the leftover army. Since, Carinus had seduced one of his bodyguard’s wife, so the bodyguard chose these crucial moments to avenge and murder his master.

The same army then hailed Diocletian, which almost ended up defeating him, and finally, he started moving toward Rome as a victorious leader. After his arrival, he announced a new co-emperor, his friend, Maximian, who was given authority to rule the western half of the empire.

This meant, the subordinates would be selected with collaboration between both of them, and they would together judge which relatives are not on their side in the task. The goal was to secure the succession line, and avoid blood dynasty.

The governmental scheme vision by Diocletian was called a Tetrarchy, and the first cycle was completed when he abdicated in 305. While demanding Maximian to do the same, and let the subordinates to further rule.

The modern historians with the strength of hindsight pointed out that Diocletian’s choice of army reformation, was the main reason for the empire’s downfall 200 years after.   

He thought that rather than having weak army outposts spread around the borders, the better would be to have a large, centralized force that may respond fastly during a particular military crisis.

The theory may look sound in terms of principle in this method, but he ignored the obstacles to successful deployment or  logistics problems. That’s the reason, Romans continued to suffer increasing barbarian attacks.

Before death, Diocletian was an old, heartbroken man during his retirement period, and now his palace is in Croatia.

During his end, he was blamed for destroying the economy, starting political chaos in Rome, and initiating anachronistic practice for the persecution of Christians.

Finally, he himself witnessed his power downfall during his lifetime, when Tetrarchy managed to disintegrate into the Constantinian dynasty.


Add Your Comment