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world the first example of a ..o.o. has not been very frequently imitated by succeeding monarchs. The parallel of Charles the Fifth, however, will naturally offer itself to our mind, not only since the eloquence of a modern historian has rendered that name so familiar to an English reader, but from the very striking resemblance between the characters of the two emperors, whose political abilities were superior to their military genius, and whose specious virtues were much less the effect of nature than of art. The abdication of Charles appears to have been hastened by the vicissitudes of fortune; and the disappointment of his favourite schemes ". him to relinquish a power which he found inadequate to his ambition. But the reign of Dioclesian had flowed with a tide of uninterrupted success; nor was it till after he had vanquished all his enemies, and accomplished all his designs, that he seems to have entertained any serious thoughts of resigning the empire... Neither Charles nor Dioclesian were arrived at a very advanced period of life; since the one was only fifty-five, and the other was no more than fifty-nine years of age; but the active life of those princes, their wars and journeys, the cares of royalty, and their application to business, had already impaired their constitution, and brought on the infirmities of a premature old age.(107
[A. D. : Notwithstanding the severity of a very cold and rainy winter, Dioclesian left Italy soon after the ceremony of his triumph, and began his progress toward the East round the circuit of the Illyrian provinces. From the inclemency of the weather, and the fatigue of the journey, he soon contracted a slow illness: and though he made easy marches, and was generally carried in a close litter, his disorder, before he arrived at Nicomedia, about the end of the summer, was become very serious and alarming. During the whole winter he was confined to his palace; his danger inspired a general and unaffected concern; but the people could only † othe various alterations of his health, from the joy or consternation which they discovered in the countenances and behaviour of his attendants. The rumour of his death was for some time universally believed, and it was supposed to be concealed, with a view to F." the troubles that might have happened during the absence of the
esar Galerius. At length, however, on the first of March, Dioclesian once more appeared in public, but so pale and emaciated, that he could scarcel have been recognised by those to whom his person was the most familiar. . It was time to put an end to the painful struggle, which he had sustained during more than a year, between the care of his health and that of his dignity. ...The former required indulgence and relaxation, the latter compelled him to direct, from the bed of sickness, the administration, of a great empire. He resolved to pass the remainder of his days in honourable repose, to place his glory beyond the reach of fortune, and to relinquish the theatre of i. world to his younger and more active associates.”(108)
The ceremony of his abdication was performed in a spacious plain, about three miles from Nicomedia. . The emperor ascended a lofty throne, and in a speech, full of reason and dignity, declared his intention, both to the people and to the soldiers who were assembled on this extraordinary occasion. [A. }} 305.] As soon as he had divested himself of the purple, he withdrew from the gazing multitude; and traversing the city in a covered chariot, proceeded, without delay, to the favourite retirement which he had chosen in his native country of Dalmatia. On the same day, which was the first of May, 109) Maximian, as it had been previously concerted, made his resignation of the imperial dignity
(106) Solus omnium, post conditum Romanum Imperium, qui extanto fastigio sponte ad private vitae statum civilitatemque remerat. Eutrop. ix. 28.
(107). The particulars of the journey and illness are taken from Lactantius, (c. 17,) who may sometimes be admitted as an evidence of public faces, though very seldom of private anecdotes.
(108) Aurelius Victor ascribes the abdication, which had been so variously accounted for, to two causes 1st, Dioclesian's contempt of ambition; and,2dly, His apprehension of impending troubles. One of the foo" (vi. 9,) mentions the age and inimities of Dioclesian as a very natural reason for his retiremen
(109) The difficulties as well as mistakes attending the dates both of the year and of the day of Dioclesian's abdication, are perfectly cleared up by Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 535. Note 19, and by Pagi ad annum.
at Milan. Even in the splendour of the Roman triumph, Dioclesian had meditated his design of abdicating the government. As he wished to secure the obedience of Maximian, he exacted from him, either a general assurance that he would submit his actions to the authority of his benefactor, or a particular promise that he would descend from the throne, whenever he should receive the advice and the example. This engagement, though it was confirmed b the solemnity of an oath before the altar of the Capitoline Jupiter,(110) would have ved a feeble restraint on the fierce temper of Maximian, whose passion was the love of power, and who neither desired present tranquillity nor future reputation. But he yielded, however reluctantly, to the ascendant which his wiser colleague had acquired over him, and retired, immediately after his abdication, to a villa in Lucania, where it was almost impossible, that such an impatient spirit could find any lasting tranquillity. ioclesian, who, from a servile origin, had raised himself to the throne, passed the nine last years of his life in a private condition. Reason had dictated, and content seems to have accompanied, his retreat, in which he enjoyed for a long time the respect of those princes to whom he had resigned the pos. session of the ..o.) It is seldom that minds, long exercised in business, have formed any habits of conversing with themselves, and in the loss of power they principally regret the want of occupation. The amusements of letters ..# devotion, .#. afford so many resources in solitude, were incapable of fixing the attention of Dioclesian; but he had preserved, or at least he soon recovered, a taste for the most innocent as well as natural pleasures, and his leisure hours were sufficiently employed in building, planting, and gardening. His answer to Maximian is deservedly celebrated. He was solicited by that restless old man to re-assume the reins of government and the imperial purple. He rejected the temptation with a smile of pity, calmly observing, that if he could show Maximian the cabbages which he had planted with his own hands at Salona, he should no longer be urged to relinquish the enjoyment of happiness for the pursuit of power.(112) ln his conversations with his friends, he frequently acknowledged, that of all arts, the most difficult was the art of reigning; and he expressed himself on that favourite topic with a degree of warmth which could be the result only of experience. “How often,” was he accustomed to say, “is it the interest of four or five ministers to combine together to deceive their sovereign!, Secluded from mankind by his exalted dignity, the truth is concealed from his knowledge; he can see only with their eyes, he hears nothing but their misrepresentations. He confers the most important offices upon vice and weakness, and disgraces the most virtuous and deserving among his subjects. By such infamous arts,” added Dioclesian, “the best and wisest princes are sold to the venal corruption of their courtiers.”(113) A just estimate of greatness, and the assurance of immortal fame, improve our relish for the pleasures of retirement; but the Roman emperor had filled too important a character in the world, to enjoy without alloy the comforts and security of a private condition. It was impossible, that he could remain ignorant of the troubles which afflicted the empire after his abdication. It was impossible that he could be indifferent to their consequences. Fear, sorrow, and discontent, sometimes pursued him into the solitude of Salona. His tenderness, or at least his pride, was deeply wounded by the misfortunes of his wife and daughter; and the last moments of Dioclesian were imbittered by some affronts which Licinius and Constantine might have spared the father of so many emperors, and the first author of their own fortune. A report, though of a very
(110) See Panegyr. Veter. vi. 9. The oration was pronounced after Maximian had reassumed the purple. (111) Eumenius pays him a very fine compliment; “At enim divinum illum virun, qui primus imperium et participavit et posuit, consilii et facti sui non poemitet; nec amisisse se putat quod sponte transcripsit. Felix beatusque vere quem vestra, tantorum principum colunt obscquia privatum.” Panegyr. wet. vii. 15. (112) We are obliged to the younger Victor for this celebrated bon mêt. Eutropius mentions the thing in a more general manner. (113) Hist. August. p. 223,224. Vopiscus had loanned this conversation from his father.
doubtful nature, has reached our times, that he prudently withdrew himself from their power by a voluntary death.(114) Before we dismiss the consideration of the life and character of Dioclesian, we may, for a moment, direct our view to the place of his retirement. Salona, a principal city of his native province of Dalmatia, was near two hundred Roman ml.es (according to the measurement of the public highways) from Aquileia and the confines of Italy; and about two hundred and seventy from Sirmium, the usual residence of the emperors whenever they visited the Illyrian frontier,(115). A miserable village still preserves the name of Salona; but so late as the sixteenth century, the remains of a theatre, and a confused prospect of broken arches and marble columns, continue to attest its ancient splendour.(116). About six or seven miles from the city, Dioclesian constructed a magnificent palace, and we may infer, from the greatness of the work, how long he had meditated his design of abdicating the empire. The choice of a spot which united all that could contribute either to health or to luxury, did not ... the . of a native. “The soil was dry and fertile, the air is pure and wholesome, and though extremely hot during the summer months, this country seldom feels those sultry and noxious winds, to which the coasts of Istria and some parts of ltaly are exposed. The views from the palace are no less beautiful o the soil and climate were inviting. Toward the west lies the fertile shore that stretches along the Hadriatic, in which a number of small islands are scattered in such a manner, as to give this part of the sea the appearance of a reat lake., Qn the north side lies the bay, which led to the ancient city of Salona; and the country beyond it, appearing in sight, forms a proper contrast to that more extensive prospect of water, which the Hadriatic presents both to the south and to the east. Toward the north, the view is terminated by high and irregular mountains, situated at a proper distance, and in many places, covered with villages, woods, and vineyards.”(117) Though Constantine, from a very obvious prejudice, affects to mention the palace ; Dioclesian with contempt.(118) yet one of their successors, who could only see it in a neglected and mutilated state, celebrates its magnificence in terms of the highest admiration.(119) It covered an extent of ground consist: ing of between nine and ten English acres. The form was quadrangular, flanked with sixteen towers. Two of the sides were near six hundred, and the other two near seven hundred feet in length. The whole was constructed of a beautiful freestone, extracted from the neighbouring quarries of Trau or Tragutium, and very little inferior to marble itself. Four streets, intersecting each other at right angles, divided the several parts of this great edifice, and . approach to the principal apartment was from a very stately entrance, which is still denominated the Golden Gate. The o was terminated by a peristylium of granite columns, on one side of which we discover the square temple of AEsculapius, on the other the octagon temple of Jupiter. The latter of those deities Dioclesian revered as the patron of his fortunes, the former as the protector of his health. . By comparing the present remains with the precepts of Vitruvius, the several parts of the building, the baths, bed-chamber, the atrium, the basilica, and the Cyzicene, Corinthian, and Egyptian halls, have been
(114) The younger Victor slightly mentions the report. But as Dioclesian had disobliged a powerful and successful party, his memory has been loaded with every crime and misfortune. It has been affirmed that he died raving mad, that he was condemned as a criminal by the Roman senate, &c.
(115) See the Itiner. p.269.272, Edit. Wessel.
(116) The Abate Fortis, in his Viaggio in Dalmazia, p. 43, (printed at Venice in the year 1774, in two small volumes in quarto) quotes a MS. account of the antiquities of Salona, composed by Giambattista Giustiniani about the middle of the sixteenth century.
o Adam's Antiquities of Dioclesian's palace at Spalatro, p. 6. We may add a circumstance or two from the Abate Fortis: the little stream of the Hyader, mentioned by Lucan, produces most excellent trout, which a sagacious writer, perhaps a monk, supposes to have been one of the principal reasons that determined Dioclesian in the choice of his retirement. Fortis, p.45. The same author (p. 38, observes, that a taste for agriculture is reviving at Spalatro; and that an experimental farm has lately been esta. blished near the city, by a society of gentlemen.
(118) Constantin. Orat. nd Coetum Sanct. c. 25. In this sermon, the emperor, or the bishop who corn posed it for him, affects to relate the miserable end of all the persecutors of the church.
(119) Constantin. Porphyr. de Statu Imper. p. 86.
(120) D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, #f 162. :121, Messieurs Adam and Clerisseau, atten by two draughtsmen, visited latro in the month of J . # The magnificent work which their journey produced, was published in London seven years afterward. (122) I shall quote the words of the Abate Fortis. “E'bastevolmente nota agli amatori dell'Architettura, e dell’Antichita, l'opera del Signor Adams, che a donato molto a que' superbi vestigi coll’ abituale eleganza del suo toccalapise del bulino. In generale larozzeza del scalpello, el cativo gusto del secolo vigareggiano colla magnificenza del fabricato." See Viaggio in Dalmazia, 8. 40. (123). The orator Eumenius was secretary to the emperors Maximian and Constantius, and Professor of Rhetoric in the college of Autum. His salary was six hundred thousand sesterces, which according to the lowest computation of that age, must have exceeded three thousand pounds a year. He enerously requested the permission of employing it in rebuilding the college. See his Oration de oia.it scholis; which, though not exempt from vanity, may atone for his panegyrics.
Troubles after the abdication of Dioclesian—Death of Constantius–Elevation
of Constantine and Marentius—Sir emperors at the same time—Death of
aximian and Galerius—Victories of Constantine over Marentius and Licinius—Reunion of the Empire under the authority of Constantine.
A. D. *. THE balance of power established by Dioclesian subsisted no longer than while it was jo by the firm and dexterous hand of the founder. It required such a fortunate mixture of different tempers and abilities, as could scarcely be found or even expected a second time; two emperors without †. two Cesars without ambition, and the same general interest invariably pursued by four independent princes. The abdication of Dioclesian and Maximian was succeeded by eighteen years of discord and confusion. The empire was afflicted by five civil wars; and the remainder of the time was not so much a state of . as a suspension of arms between several hostile monarchs, who, viewing each other with an eye of fear and hatred, strove to increase their respective forces at the expense of their subjects. As soon as Dioclesian and Maximian had resigned the purple, their station, according to the rules of the new constitution, was filled by the two Cesars, Constantius and Galerius, who immediately assumed the title of Augustus.(1) The honours of seniority and precedence were allowed to the former of those #. and he continued, under a new appellation, to administer his ancient epartment of Gaul, Spain, and Britain. #. government of those ample provınces was sufficient to exercise his talents, and to satisfy his ambition. 8.
(124) Porp died about the time of Dioclesian's abdication. The life of his master Plotinus, which he composed, will give usthe most complete idea of the genius of the sect and manners of its professors. This very curious piece is inserted in Fabricius, Bibliotheca Graeca, tom. iv. p. 88–148. =4
(1) M. de . (Considerations sur la Grandeur et la Decad des R ins, c. 17,) supp on the authority of Orosius and Eusebius, that, on this occasion, the empire, for the first time, was really givided into two parts. It is difficult, however, to discover in what respect the plan of Galerius differed from that of Dioclesian.