Sunday, 17 June 2018

The Tetrarchy of Diocletian

The last two months of 284 CE marked a crisis point for the Roman Empire. With the death (probable murder) of the emperor Numerian, Diocletian was chosen by the Roman Army as his successor. Diocletian elevated the commander Maximian to the rank of Caesar. Maximian essentially functioned as co-ruler with Diocletian until he was officially granted the title of Augustus in the spring of 286. After several years of joint rule, both emperors recognized the need for further assistance. Diocletian was attempting radical reform of Roman society while Maximian was preoccupied with putting down rebellions.
Bronze coin of Maximian In 293, Diocletian chose Galerius as his Caesar while Maximian did the same with Constantius I. Now, the Empire was basically ruled by a committee of four; the “tetrarchy” of Diocletian had been established.
Silver coin of Constantius I
Diocletian’s ambitious reforms were doomed to failure. From a collecting standpoint, the time period c.284-c.324 offers a wide array of coinage of almost 20 emperors, or would-be emperors.