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Valerius MAXIMIANUS, another Illyrian peasant by birth, was declared, first Cæsar (A.D. 285), and afterwards Augustus (April 1, 286). Sprung, like Aurelian and Probus, from Sirmium in Pannonia, Maximian expressed even in his dress and manners, the character of the rude unlettered soldier. While his martial courage qualified him to guard the empire against the barbarians, he was no less fitted by his savage nature to exercise over domestic enemies the tyranny which Diocletian reserved to himself the merit of tempering. The characters and functions of the two emperors were symbolized by the divine titles which they assumed, of Jovius and Herculius. “While the motion of the world (such was the language of their venal orators) was maintained by the all-seeing wisdom of Jupiter, the invincible arm of Hercules purged the earth from monsters and tyrants."
In thus creating a second Augustus, and assigning the West as his sphere of government, Diocletian not only began the partition of the empire, but indicated one of the leading motives of that policy, the separation of the supreme ruler from the direct influence of the Senate. Even while affecting to inaugurate a new empire, like Augustus, and to govern in the spirit of Aurelius, Diocletian severed the link which had connected the empire with the old constitution, by handing over that illustrious body to the tender mercies of a Maximian, while he himself filled the throne of an oriental monarch. The Senate, thus deprived of all authority by Diocletian, had to suffer the hatred which his rude colleague felt for the nobility.
The further development of the new system into the full quadruple hierarchy of two Augusti and two Cæsars was promoted by events that occurred in the West. Amidst the annals of imperial changes and wars, we obtain a rare glimpse of the social state of so important a province as Gaul. The Celtic peasantry had long since sunk into the condition of serfs to their own nobles or the Roman settlers—serfs bound to the soil, upon which they often worked in fetters. Aggravated as their oppression was by the troubles of that disastrous age, they took up arms, their masters escaping as they could to the protection of the towns. Under the name of Bagaude (that is, rebels, in Celtic) they were for some time masters of the open country, and two of the insurgents, Ælianus and Amandus, assumed the purple. The rebellion was speedily quelled and cruelly punished by Maximian, who was immediately called to cope with a more formidable revolt in Britain (A.D. 286).
The naval expedition of the Franks in the reign of Probus is but a specimen of the increasing boldness of the maritime enterprises of the people of Lower Germany, among whom the name of the Saxons now begins to be conspicuous. * To protect the shores of Gaul and Britain, a naval station was established at Gessoriacum or Bononia (Boulogne), under an officer who was called the Count of the Saxon Coast (Comes Littoris Saxonici), and the command was entrusted to a German named CARAUSIUS. He conceived the bold scheme of erecting a separate principality in Britain, relying on his fleet, and perhaps on the support of German tribes already settled on the British coasts. Carausius assumed the purple in A.D. 287, and for nearly ten years our island anticipated its future destiny by maintaining its maritime independence against all the power of the Continent. The British emperor retained Boulogne as a tête-de-pont upon the mainland, while his fleet not only commanded the ocean, and carried devastation up the Rhine and Seine, but entered the Mediterranean. After a year spent in preparation, Maximian found it impossible to cope with the powerful navy of Carausius; and the emperors in the East and West deemed it prudent to acknowledge him as their colleague in Britain (A.D. 290). Carausius defended his northern frontier against the Caledonians ; maintained a close alliance with the maritime tribes of Lower Germany; and fostered the civilization of the province. His coins, executed in the best style of Roman art, prove that his designs were not bounded within his island. One, with the ancient effigy of the twins suckled by the wolf, bears the inscription, ROMA RENOVA; while on another, his agreement with Diocletian and Maximian, symbolized by the triple effigies of the emperors, is vaunted as a renewal of the Pax AUGUSTA.
In the year after the peace with Carausius, Diocletian came from the East to hold a conference with Maximian ; and the following year witnessed the completion of his plan for a division of the government between two Augusti and two Cæsars (A.D. 292). The latter dignity was conferred upon Galerius and Constantius. Their appointment is stated to have been made by Diocletian; but it was doubtless the result of an agreement between the emperors, with each of whom one of the Cæsars was regarded as more especially connected both by adoption and by marriage.* Galerius was adopted by Diocletian, and received his daughter Valeria in marriage; while Constantius was adopted by Maximian, and married Theodora his step-daughter. But the name assumed by the former, Galerius Valerius Maximianus Cæsar, seems to indicate a special connection with Maximian, to whom he bore a close resemblance in character. GALERIUS, originally surnamed Armentarius (the herdman), from his father's occupation as a Dacian shepherd, brought to his dignity the character of a rude and ferocious soldier; and to his instigation is ascribed the cruel persecution which disgraced the close of Diocletian's reign. CONSTANTIUS was a man of very different mould, and the pale complexion, which gave him the surname of CHLORTS, was an outward sign of distinction, in race and spirit, from his peasant colleagues. He was the son of Eutropius, a noble Dardanian, † by Claudia, the daughter of Crispus, elder brother of the emperor Claudius Gothicus. † To this quasi-imperial descent Constantius added merits which had already designated him as the popular candidate for the purple; and he already had a son twenty years old, afterwards Constantine the Great, by his wife HELENA, who, though now divorced in favour of Theodora, attained the highest dignity as empress-mother and a Christian saint.s
* Eutropius expressly mentions Saxons, as well as Franks, among the pirates of this age. The events now related have an important bearing on the question of Saxon settlements in Britain before the time of Hengist and Horsa; but this is not the place to enter on that controversy.
The division (which was not yet a partition) of the empire • The events that follow will be better understood by reference to the following table (from Clinton) of the persons who held supreme power from the division of the empire among the two Augusti and two Cæsars, to its reunion under Constantine : IN THE WEST.
IN THE EAST. M. Aurelius Valerius MAXIMIANUS. C. Valerius DIOCLETIANUS. Flav. Val. CONSTANTIUS Chlorus.
GALERIUS Val. Maximianus. Flav. Val. SEVERTS.
Galer. Val. MAXIMINUS Daza.
Val. Licinianus LICINIUS.
+ The Dardani were a very ancient people of Upper Mæsia and Illyricum, on the borders of Macedonia, about the river Margus.
# Whence he derived the name of Flavius is unknown. Gentile names were now so frequently assumed, as to furnish no certain proof either of descent or adoption.
& The full name of Helena was Flavia Julia Helena, to which was added, on Constantine's accession, the title of Augusta. She was of low origin, some say the daughter of an innkeeper. The monkish chroniclers, who make her the daughter of a British prince, forget that her husband did not land in Britain till four years after her divorce. Her conversion to Christianity, probably at the instance of Constantine, and her pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where a revelation is said to have been made to her of the site of the Holy Sepulchre and the wood of the true cross (commemorated by a significant ambiguity, as the Invention of the Cross), made her a favourite theme with the Christian writers, and gained for her, at a later period, the honours of canonization. Some English readers may need to be reminded that her name is not to be pronounced after the vulgar corruption of the island called after her, St. Helena,
among the four princes, corresponded very nearly to the subsequent prætorian prefectures of Constantine.* The two great divisions of the empire, which included the ancient seats of eastern and western civilization, were naturally claimed by the Augusti ; while the outlying provinces conquered from, and now threatened to be regained by, the Celts, Germans, and Sarmatians, were entrusted to the Cæsars.
I. Diocletian, taking under his own government Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, with Thrace as a covering to the East on the side of Europe, fixed his residence at Nicomedia, the old capital of the Bithynian kings, near the shore of the Propontis, at about equal distances between the Danube and the Euphrates. “By the taste of the monarch, and at the expense of the people, Nicomedia acquired, in the space of a few years, a degree of magnificence which might appear to have required the labour of ages, and became inferior only to Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, in extent or populousness” (Gibbon). An oriental capital was suited to Diocletian's settled policy of finally replacing the constitutional forms on which the empire had been founded by Augustus, and which the most despotic of his successors had never professed to abandon, by the state of an Asiatic monarchy. The titles of the republican magistrates were either dropped or retained as unmeaning names, while the epithet of Dominus, so carefully eschewed by Trajan and the Antonines, was associated with that of Imperator, and the style of our Lord the Emperor was adopted even into the laws. Diocletian assumed the diadem, that broad fillet set with pearls, which every true Roman hated as the head-dress of the Oriental kings; the simple purple toga gave place to robes of silk and gold; and the soldier's boot was laid aside for shoes studded with precious stones. Above all, the social usages by which the emperors, surrounded by their noble councillors in the city and their brave comrades in the camp, had retained often more than the mere semblance of the equal chief among the senators or generals, were abandoned for the jealous precautions and the slavish ceremonial of a court like that of Persia. " Thenceforth the palace, the court, the table, all the personal attendance, distinguished the emperor from his subjects, still more than his imperial dignity. The organization which Diocletian gave to his new court attached less honour and distinction to rank than to services performed towards the members of the Imperial family. In proportion as the republican forms dis
• See the map of the Roman Enspire.
appeared one after another, the inclination of the emperors to environ themselves with personal pomp displayed itself more and more. The access to their sacred person was every day rendered more difficult by the institution of new forms and ceremonies. The avenues of the palace were strictly guarded by the various schools, as they began to be called, of domestic officers. The interior apartments were entrusted to the jealous vigilance of the eunuchs, the increase of whose numbers and influence was the most infallible symptom of the progress of despotism. When a subject was at length admitted to the Imperial presence, he was obliged, whatever might be his rank, to fall prostrate on the ground, and to adore, according to the Eastern fashion, the divinity of his lord and master. Diocletian flattered himself that an ostentation of splendour and luxury would subdue the imagination of the multitude ; that the monarch would be less exposed to the rude licence of the people and the soldiers, as his person was secluded from the public view; and that habits of submission would insensibly be productive of sentiments of veneration. Like the modesty affected by Augustus, the state maintained by Diocletian was a theatrical representation; but it must be confessed that, of the two comedies, the former was of a much more liberal and manly character than the latter. It was the aim of the one to disguise, of the other to display, the unbounded power which the emperors possessed over the Roman world.”
II. All this was in keeping with the locality of Diocletian's court, and the provinces under his immediate rule; for, even in Asiatic Hellas, Orientalism had long since stifled the Hellenic spirit. But the deep humiliation of Rome was seen when Maximian adopted the like forms in the court which he established at Mediolanum (Milan), as the ruler of the central regions, the ancient seats of Roman and Carthaginian empire, Italy and Africa. When these regions were assigned to the second of the Augusti, and when he removed his court to a city of Cisalpine Gaul, the final blow was given to that grand conception which had been the cynosure of every Roman patriot, from the famous discovery of the head which gave the CAPITOL its name and omen. That conception—we cannot too earnestly impress upon the readerwas not merely that Rome was the capital of a vast territorial empire; but that Rome was itself the empire, ruling over a conquered territory. The empire was municipal, not territorial, and the dominion over a subject world was centred in the citizens of Romulus and Servius Tullius, the SENATUS POPULUSQUE ROMANTS,