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power upon his friend and comrade Maxim'ian, with the title of Augustus. A few years later, two Cæsars, Gale'rius and Constan'tius, were added to the imperial college, each being associated, as adopted son and successor, with one of the emperors. To the Caesars were assigned the more exposed provinces, which needed an active and vigilant administration, while the Augusti kept to themselves the old and settled portions of the empire. Constantius had Gaul, Spain, Britain, and the whole frontier of the Rhine; Galerius had Noricum, Pannonia, and Moesia, with the defenses of the Danube; while Maximian governed Italy and Africa, and Diocletian retained for himself Thrace, Macedonia, Egypt, and the East. Though allotted thus to its several rulers, the empire was not divided. The four princes governed in consultation, and were equally honored in all parts of the realm.
223. In A. D. 286, a naval chief, Carau'sius, being intrusted with a powerful fleet for the defense of the British and Gallic coasts against the Franks, gained over the troops in Britain, seized the island, and set up an independent government. He built new ships, and soon became master of the Western seas. Diocletian and Maximian, after vain attempts to break his power, were compelled to acknowledge him as their colleague in the empire, A. D. 287. Constantius, upon becoming Cæsar, made war, A. D. 292, upon this new Augustus; captured Boulogne after a long and severe siege, and was preparing to invade Britain, when Carausius was killed by his chief officer, Allec'tus.
Constantius landed, three years later, in Britain, and by a battle near London recovered the island. He afterward drove the Alemanni out of Gaul, and settled his captives in colonies upon the lands depopulated by their ravages. At the same time, Maximian quelled a formidable revolt of the Moors in Africa; and Diocletian, by a siege of eight months, captured Alexandria, where a rival emperor had usurped the throne, and punished the rebellious city by a massacre in which many thousands perished. The Cæsar Galerius made war against the Persians for the recovery of Armenia, which they had taken from Tirida'tes, the vassal of Rome. He was defeated near Carrhæ, on the very scene of the overthrow of Crassus, more than three centuries before; but he retrieved this misfortune by a great victory over King Narses, followed by an advantageous peace.
224. The system of Diocletian was thus effective and prosperous, as far as it concerned the foreign enemies of the state; but the expenses of four imperial courts, with the immense number of soldiers and officials, imposed heavy burdens upon the people. The wretched tax-payers were often tortured to enforce payments which they were unable to make. The civil wars of the preceding centuries had deprived extensive districts of inhabitants; and the productions of the earth and of human industry had ceased.
225. The greatest blot upon the memory of Diocletian is the persecution of Christians in the last year of his reign. Every province and every great city of the empire had now heard the doctrines of Christ, and the church in Rome numbered 50,000 members. In an age of turbulence and corruption, Christians were every-where distinguished as the most orderly, industrious, loyal, and honest members of the community. Their refusal to worship the image of the emperor, which was an essential part of the Roman religion, had brought upon them several local persecutions, but none so widely extended and severe as that of Diocletian. The edict requiring uniformity of worship was issued A. D. 303. Instantly the cruel passions of the pagans were let loose from restraint. Innocent blood flowed in every province. Whoever had either malice or covetousness to indulge, had only to accuse his enemy of being a Christian, and to be rewarded with half the confiscated goods. In the extreme west, Constantius protected those of the " new religion," but elsewhere there was no appeal from the atrocious cruelties sanctioned by courts of law.
226. Of the many acts by which Diocletian abased the authority of the Senate, the most effective was the removal of the center of government from the ancient city on the Tiber. His own official residence was at Nicomedia; that of Maximian, at Milan; while Constantius held a provincial court at York, and Galerius at Sirmium, on the Savus. The Senate thus became the mere council of a provincial town. Imperial edicts took the place of the laws which had formerly received its sanction. The insolent prætorians were, at the same time, replaced by the "Jovian and "Herculean Guards"; and their præfect, who had been a rival of the emperor, became merely an officer of the palace. Diocletian, however, celebrated the twentieth year of his reign, and his numerous victories, by a triumphal entry into Rome; and this was the last "triumph" which the ancient capital ever beheld.
227. The next year, A. D. 305, Diocletian, worn out with the cares of empire, formally abdicated his power, and compelled Maximian to do the same. The two Cæsars now became Augusti, and two new candidates, Maximin and Severus, were appointed by Galerius to the former title. The legions in Britain were dissatisfied, however, by seeing the choice of a successor taken away from their own imperator; and upon the death of Constantius, A. D. 306, they immediately proclaimed Con'stantine, his son. He was acknowledged as Cæsar by Galerius, who conferred the rank of Augustus on Severus.
But, the next year, Maxen'tius, son of Maximian, was declared emperor by the Senate and people of Rome, and his father resumed the purple, which he had unwillingly laid aside at the command of Diocletian. Severus, attempting to crush this insurrection, was taken captive at Ravenna, and privately put to death. Galerius now conferred the impe
rial dignity on Licinius, and for two years the Roman world was peaceably governed by six masters: Constantine, Maximian, and Maxentius in the West; Galerius, Maximin, and Licinius in the East.
228. The peace was first broken by the dissensions of Maximian and his The elder emperor fled from Rome, and was well received by Constantine, who had married his daughter. Before long, however, Maximian entered again into plots with Maxentius for the ruin of Constantine; which becoming known to their intended victim, he returned promptly from his campaign on the Rhine, besieged his father-in-law in Massilia, and put him to death, A. D. 310. Galerius died the next year at Nicomedia, and the empire was again divided into four parts, of which Constantine ruled the extreme west; Maxentius, Italy and Africa; Licinius, Illyricum and Thrace; Maximin, Egypt and Asia.
The cruel and rapacious character of Maxentius wearied out his subjects, who sent deputies from Rome, beseeching Constantine to come and be their sovereign. This great general had won the love of his followers, not less by his firm and successful dealings with the barbarians, than by his liberal protection of the Christians, whose virtues he esteemed, and whose rights of conscience he respected. On his march toward Italy, it is said that he beheld a vision. A flaming cross appeared in the heavens, bearing in Greek the inscription, "By this, conquer!" Thenceforth, the cross replaced the pagan symbols which had been carried at the head of the legions; and the omen, if such it was, was amply fulfilled.
229. Constantine passed the Alps, A. D. 312, defeated the troops of Maxentius near Turin, captured Verona after an obstinate siege and battle, and encountered his rival in a final combat before the gates of Rome. In the battle of the Mil'vian Bridge, Maxentius was defeated and drowned, The following year, Maximin was defeated by Licinius, in a great battle at Heraclea, on the Propontis, and put an end to his life at Tarsus, in Cilicia. Constantine and Licinius, in a series of battles, divided the world between them. The river Strymon and the Ægean became the boundaries between the Eastern and Western empires. Two sons of Constantine and one of Licinius received the title of Cæsar. Crispus, on the Rhine, gained a victory over the Franks and Alemanni; and Constantine, on the Danube, executed a terrible vengeance upon the Goths, who had invaded the Roman territory.
230. After seven years' peace, war broke out between the emperors, in A. D. 322. Licinius was defeated near Hadriano'ple, besieged in Byzantium, and finally overthrown upon the Heights of Scuta'ri, overlooking the latter city. His death made Constantine the sole ruler of the civilized world. His great dominion received a new constitution suitable to its magnitude. The seat of government was fixed upon the confines of Europe and Asia, in the new and magnificent city bearing the emperor's
name, which he built upon the ruins of the Greek Byzantium. The whole empire was divided into four præfectures, which nearly corresponded to the dominions of the four emperors, A. D. 311. (? 228.) - Each præfecture was divided into dioceses, and each diocese into proconsular governments, or presidencies.
This subdivision of the empire gave rise to three ranks of officials, somewhat resembling the nobility of modern Europe. The republican form of government, so ostentatiously cherished by Augustus, had now disappeared, and in its place was the elaborate ceremony of an Oriental court. Even the 10,000 spies, known as the "King's Eyes," were maintained as of old by Xerxes and Darius. A standing army of 645,000 men was kept upon the frontier; but as Roman citizens were now averse to military service, the legions were largely composed of barbarian mercenaries. The Franks, especially, had great importance, both in the court and camp of Constantine.
231. The great event of this reign was the admission of Christianity as, in a certain sense, the religion of the state. The Edict of Milan, A. D. 313, guaranteed to the hitherto persecuted people perfect security and respect; that of A. D. 324 exhorted all subjects of the empire to follow the example of their sovereign, and become Christians. Heathenism was not yet proscribed. Constantine was pontifex maximus, and must, on certain occasions, have offered sacrifices to the fabulous gods of Rome. It was only in his last days that he received Christian baptism; but he presided in the first General Council of the Church at Nice, in Bithynia, A. D. 325, to which he had convened bishops from all parts of the empire, to decide certain disputed matters of faith. Though he treated the assembled fathers with every mark of reverence, he refused to persecute Arius and his followers, the Alexandrian heretics, whom the Council condemned.
232. Crispus, the eldest son of Constantine, who had been named Cæsar at the age of seventeen, was the idol of the people, but an object of jealousy to his father, who suspected him of treasonable designs. Whether the charges against him were true, we have no means of knowing. He was seized during the festivities in Rome, in honor of the twentieth year of his father's reign, tried secretly, and put to death. The last years of Constantine were disturbed by fresh movements of the barbarians north of the Danube. The Sarmatians, being attacked by the Goths, implored the aid of the Romans. Constantine was defeated in one battle with the invaders, but in the next he was victorious, and 100,000 Goths, driven into the mountains, perished with cold and hunger. In the division of spoils, the Sarmatians were dissatisfied, and revenged themselves by making inroads upon the Roman dominions. In succeeding wars they were defeated and scattered; 300,000 were received as vassals of the empire, and settled in military colonies in Pannonia, Thrace, Macedonia, and Italy.
233. Hoping to secure peace to the empire after his death, Constantine assigned its different parts to his three sons and two nephews, whom he had carefully educated for their great responsibilities. But his care was unavailing. Immediately upon his decease, A. D. 337, Constantius, his second son, being nearest, seized the capital, and ordered a massacre of all whose birth or power could give them any hopes of obtaining the sovereignty. Of his own relatives, only two cousins, Gallus and Julian, escaped. The three sons of Constantine then divided the empire between them. Constantine II., the eldest, received the capital, together with Gaul, Spain, and Britain; Constantius had Thrace and the East; Constans, Italy, Africa, and western Illyricum.
The reign of Constantius was occupied by a disastrous war with Persia. The pagan Armenians revolted upon the death of their king, Tiridates a "friend of the Romans," who had established Christian worship in his dominions — and opened their gates to the Persians. The son of Tiridates sought the aid of Constantius, who succeeded in restoring the prince Chos'roes to his dominions. The fortress of Nisibis, which was esteemed the bulwark of the East, withstood three memorable sieges by the Persians; but the Roman armies were defeated in nine pitched battles, and the raids of the Persian cavalry extended even to the Mediterranean, where they captured and plundered Antioch.
234. In the meanwhile, discord had broken out between the emperors in the West, and Constantine II., invading the dominions of his brother Constans, was defeated and slain near Aquileia. Constans seized his provinces, and reigned ten years (A. D. 340–350) over two-thirds of his father's empire. Magnentius, an officer in Gaul, then assumed the purple, and Constans was slain. Constantius, recalled from his Persian wars, defeated Magnentius in a toilsome campaign on the Danube; received the submission of Rome and the Italian cities; and finally, by a great battle among the Cottian Alps, ended the rebellion with the life of the usurper, A. D. 353. Sixteen years after the death of the great Constantine, the empire was thus reunited under one sovereign. Gallus, the cousin of Constantius, had been taken from prison to receive the title of Cæsar and the government of the East. But he proved wholly unfit to rule; he treated with insult the embassador of his cousin, and even caused him to be murdered by the mob of Antioch. Gallus was thereupon recalled, and put to death at Pola, in Is'tria.
Diocletian (A. D. 281-305) associates Maximian as "Augustus," and Galerius and Constantius as "Cæsars," with himself in the management of the empire. Constantius overthrows the sovereignty of Carausius in Britain and northern Gaul. Galerius gains victories in Asia; Diocletian, in Egypt; and Maximian, in Africa. The new system is efficient abroad, but oppressive at home. Christians