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Diocletian and Constantine Paper

Essay Topic:

Around the year AD300, the Roman Empire was huge; it stretched from Northumberland to the Red Sea. However, the population was not evenly spread. There was a sign of decrease. There are many reasons for this: natural disasters (e. g. plague, famine). Civil wars broke out, barbarians were attacking, there was a constant need for money for imperial uses and the emperors were frequently changing. During these years, the two most important and successful emperors that attempted to solve these problems were Diocletian and Constantine.

What was unusual about Diocletian was that he remained securely in power for 21 years. Diocletian’ s first move was to exalt the person of the emperor (himself), hoping that the throne would be safer. He wanted himself to be worshiped and praised like a god. He recruited barbarians into the army; this solved some of the problems caused by them. Diocletian was a very clever man, whenever he thought that there might be danger, not only from the barbarians but also from the discontented soldiers, he would move to another place where he thought it might be safe.

Diocletian also decided that the empire was too big to be governed by one man. Therefore, he divided it into two. He appointed a fellow soldier to govern the western half while he took charge of the eastern. He then subdivided the parts for two assistants. During his throne, he also stabilised and fixed wages and kept prices steady. He called in worthless money and issued a new gold coin called an aureus. Although he was successful during his reign, but when he retired, the empire fell apart again because a civil war broke out.

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The civil war raged for 18 years, until one of the claimants, having destroyed his rivals and reunited the divided empire and ruled alone. He was Constantine. In AD 306, Constantine became the emperor of the Roman Empire. He had been aware if the problems caused by the Christians, and he knew that torturing and killing them won’ t solve the problem and would tare the emperor apart. So, one of the greatest things he did to stop the civil wars was to change Christianity from being a forbidden religion into an honoured and protected faith.

He had also built walls and war gallery patrols to improve the defence. In AD 330, he found the new capital of the Roman emperor, Constantinople. It took around 5 years to build. What was really strange about Constantine is that he only got baptized when he was lying in bed dying in AD 337, he believed that it would wash off the sins and the bad things he had done. Although Constantine was more successful than Diocletian, but the peace only lasted for 50 years after he died. But they were both very successful in their lifetime.

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