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25. Tetrarchs & Administration

Where present, maps are downloadable.

DiocletianYoung MaximianHerculiusCoin CarausiusCoin

Valerius Diocles, better known to history as Diocletianus, or simply Diocletian, brought a new determination to governance of the recovering empire.


The coin (right, both faces) of Maximian bears the image of the fighting god Hercules on

   the reverse to attest to the

      co-Augustus’s adopted title

       of Herculius, god of the

        earth. His partner

         Diocletian, as senior,

         had the title Jovius, 

         father of the gods.

CarausiusTrioCoin AllectusCoin DomitiusDomitianusCoin

The usurper Carausius (left) first made Britain

his base, then

extended his power

along the Gallic coast. Having forced Diocletian and Maximian to accept his power, Carausius struck this coin on the right, showing him with his “co-Augusti.”

Former chief minister, then murderer, of Carausius, Allectus declared himself Augustus in Britain. He held on to the title for three years before  Constantius Caesar defeated him.

The Tetrarchs, Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius Chlorus, and Galerius, show their unity of purpose in this sculpture to be found in Venice (a place that did not  exist before the fifth century).

Domitius Domitianus’s short-lived usurpation of the purple in Alexandria in 296 led Diocletian to institute wide-ranging reforms within the provinces to strenghten central government, as shown in the map below.

MAPDioceses MAPStrataDiocletiana


Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean    © 2010–2016 Reckless Books, England