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    Diocletian ( / ˌdaɪ.əˈkliːʃən /, DYE-ə-KLEE-shən; Latin: Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, Ancient Greek: Διοκλητιανός, romanized : Diokletianós; 242/245 – 311/312), nicknamed Jovius, was Roman emperor from 284 until his abdication in 305. He was born Diocles to a family of low status in the Roman province of Dalmatia.

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    • Overview
    • Life
    • Rise to power

    As Roman emperor for more than 20 years (284–305 CE), Diocletian brought stability, security, and efficient government to the Roman state after nearly half a century of chaos. He instituted lasting administrative, military, and financial reforms and introduced a short-lived system of power sharing between four rulers, two augusti and two caesars (the tetrarchy).

    What was Diocletian’s religion?

    Diocletian was an adherent of the traditional Roman religion involving worship of the pantheon of deities including Jove (Jupiter), Mars, Apollo, and others. Like his predecessors, Diocletian promoted the cult of the emperor but also explicitly associated himself and his co-augustus, Maximian, with Jove and Hercules, respectively.

    What did Diocletian do to Christians?

    At the urging of the caesar Galerius, in 303 Diocletian began the last major persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, resulting in the destruction of churches and the torture and execution of Christians who refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods. Galerius, who succeeded Diocletian as augustus in 305, continued the persecution until 311.

    Diocletian (born 245 ce, Salonae?, Dalmatia [now Solin, Croatia]—died 316, Salonae) Roman emperor (284–305 ce) who restored efficient government to the empire after the near anarchy of the 3rd century. His reorganization of the fiscal, administrative, and military machinery of the empire laid the foundation for the Byzantine Empire in the East and temporarily shored up the decaying empire in the West. The last major persecution of Christians occurred during his reign.

    Diocletian’s biography has been obscured by legends, rhetoric, the dubiousness of documents, and the hostility of his adversaries. Little is known of his origins. His father was a scribe or the emancipated slave of a senator called Anullinus. Diocletian’s complete name, found in official inscriptions, is given as Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianu...

    Up to the time of his accession, Diocletian had lived most of his life in military camps. These may have been either in Gaul, as reported in the Historia Augusta, or in Moesia. Or he may have been a member of the Roman emperor Carinus’s bodyguard. The only definite fact known about Diocletian during this period is that he was among those army chiefs whom Carinus gathered, together with the Illyrians, to fight against the Persians. In 284, during that campaign, Numerian, Carinus’s brother and coemperor, was found dead in his litter, and his adoptive father, the praetorian prefect Aper, was accused of having killed him in order to seize power. When Diocletian, acclaimed as emperor by his soldiers, appeared for the first time in public dressed in the imperial purple, he declared himself innocent of Numerian’s murder. He designated Aper as the criminal and killed him personally. Here again, rhetoric has obscured the real events. Aper’s guilt was accepted by contemporaries, but it was also true that a prediction had been made to Diocletian previously, telling him that he would become emperor on the day he killed a boar (Latin: aper). And it was true, too, that he did not wish to wait much longer for the boar to come. In reality, Numerian had died either a natural death or from a stroke of lightning. With the death of Aper, however, Diocletian was relieved of an eventual competitor and, retroactively, his act had been granted sacred meaning.

    Acclaimed emperor on November 17, 284, Diocletian possessed real power only in those countries that were dominated by his army (i.e., in Asia Minor and possibly Syria). The rest of the empire was obedient to Numerian’s brother Carinus. After having put down a revolt by Julianus, a troop commander in Pannonia, whom he attacked and killed near Verona, Carinus proceeded to attack Diocletian. An indecisive battle near the confluence of the Margus (modern Morava) and Danube rivers, not far from present-day Belgrade, would have been a defeat for Diocletian had Carinus not been assassinated by a group of soldiers. Thus, in midsummer of 285, Diocletian became master of the empire.

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  2. Feb 2, 2014 · Diocletian was Roman emperor from 284 to 305 CE. After the defeat and death of the Roman emperor Philip the Arab in 249 CE, the empire endured over three decades of ineffective rulers. The glory days of Augustus, Vespasian, and Trajan were long gone, and the once-powerful Roman Empire suffered both financially and militarily.

    • Donald L. Wasson
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  4. Oct 17, 2023 · Introduction to the Roman Emperor Diocletian Brief Overview. Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, known as Diocletian, was a Roman emperor who ruled from AD 284 to 305. Born in the region of Dalmatia (modern-day Croatia) during the late 3rd century, his humble origins stood in stark contrast to the traditional Roman aristocracy.

  5. Ancient Rome - Diocletian, Empire, Reforms: Diocletian may be considered the real founder of the late empire, though the form of government he established—the tetrarchy, or four persons sharing power simultaneously—was transitory. His reforms, however, lasted longer. Military exigencies, not the desire to apply a preconceived system, explain the successive nomination of Maximian as Caesar ...

  6. Nov 13, 2020 · A gold aureus minted by Diocletian, 294 A.D.; with Head of a statue of Diocletian, 295-300 A.D. Diocletian was a formidable emperor who ended a period of turmoil for the Roman world. Known as a great reformer with a harsh personality, he garnered respect where others failed miserably. Born in 244, in the Balkans, Diocletian grew up in turbulent ...

  7. Diocletian, detail of a bust in the Capitoline Museum, Rome. Diocletian , Latin Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus orig. Diocles, (born ad 245, Salonae?, Dalmatia—died 316, Salonae), Roman emperor (284–305). He was serving under the emperor Carinus (r. 283–285) when the co-emperor, Carinus’s brother Numerian, was killed.

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