Diocletian and Constantine

  • M. Cary
  • H. H. Scullard


Unlike the previous soldier-emperors from the Danubian area Diocletian had no outstanding gifts as a general, although a competent soldier, but he exhibited capacity, or at any rate energy, such as was rarely found among later Roman emperors. It soon became clear that he had pondered over the problems of the Empire and had plans ready to meet them. A new start must be made; no longer could one emperor sit at Rome and control the whole web of interests. He must be in the field where frontiers were threatened, but his personal presence was demanded on many frontiers, since if he sent generals they might be tempted to continue the dreary process of attempted usurpation. Diocletian therefore decided to move around with his staff and court (comitatus) as needed (in fact throughout his reign he visited Rome only once) and at the same time to supplement his own efforts by appointing helpers of outstanding authority.


Fourth Century Roman Emperor Copper Coinage Roman Empire Great Invasion 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    On Diocletian see W. Seston, Diocletien et la Tetra r-chie, i (1946).Google Scholar
  2. On Constantine see N. H. Baynes, Constantine the Great and the Christian Church2 (1972);Google Scholar
  3. A. H. M. Jones, Constantine and the Conversion of Europe (1948);Google Scholar
  4. R. Macmullen, Constantine (1969);Google Scholar
  5. J. H. Smith, Constantine the Great (1971).Google Scholar
  6. 2.
    On Domitius Domitianus, known from his coins, and Achilleus see W. Seston, Diocletien (1946), 137 ff.Google Scholar
  7. On the Senate see Ch. Lecrivain, Le Sinai romain depuis Dioclétien (1888); A. H. M. Jones, Later Rom. Emp. 523 ff.;Google Scholar
  8. T. W. Arnheim, The Senatorial Aristocracy in the Later Roman Empire (1972);Google Scholar
  9. A. H. M. Jones et al., Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, i. (1971).Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    See S. S. Frere, Britannia (1967), 248 ff., 338 ff. The dating of city-walls is notoriously difficult. It would seem that in Britain earthwork defences were widely constructed in the unsettled period between Marcus Aurelius and Severus and that masonry walls were added to the earth ramparts before (but in some cases, not long before) the time of Carausius. Their style seems to be a little earlier than that of the town-walls of Gaul, most of which are Diocletianic.Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    See O. Brogan, Roman Gaul (1953), 215 ff.Google Scholar
  12. For an archaeological survey of the manner in which Roman methods of fortification were developed in the north-western portion of the Empire from the mid-third century onwards in order to meet the barbarian pressure see H. von Petrikovits, IRS 1971, 175 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The representatives of the estate of the late M. Cary and H. H. Scullard 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cary
    • 1
  • H. H. Scullard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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