Diocletian: the persecutor of Christians and cabbage lover

Kill the boar

The future Roman emperor Diocletian was born about 245 years and was named Diocles. He was the grandson of a slave, but rather quickly managed to make a military career for himself. In addition, hiking from one end of the Roman Empire to the other will allow the future ruler to get to know the country. He was promoted to commander of the army under Emperor Kare. While still in Gaul, he was predicted by the fate of one druid: she said that Diokles would become emperor when she killed a boar (Latin aper). He believed the priestess and since then killed many boars, only the power did not go to his hands. And so Kar suddenly died, and his son Numerian was treacherously murdered by the prefect of the Praetorians Arriem Aprom. Then the soldiers chained Apra to shackles and proclaimed Emperor Diokles. In the eyes of the troops, Diokles personally slaughtered Apra with his sword and, according to legend, exclaimed: "I killed the boar." November 20, 284, he became the Roman emperor and took the name Diocletian.


Divide and rule

With his coming to power, a new era in the empire began. Now all power was concentrated in the hands of the emperor not only de facto, but de jure was not limited to anything. Absolute monarchical power. Neither the Senate, nor any other inhabitant of the empire, regardless of its title, could restrict the emperor. He was himself a source of power, which stood above all laws. Diocletian restored the unity of the empire and took his friend Maximian as his assistant, bestowing upon him the title of Caesar. Together they defended the empire and suppressed rebellions. In 291, the Emperor came to the conclusion that such a patient effectively manage the country together is impossible. It was decided to elect two other Caesars - the choice fell on Constantius Chlorus and Galerius Maximian. They decided to strengthen their union by kinship: Constantius divorced his wife and entered into a marriage with Maximian's stepdaughter, Galerius, also after divorce, married the daughter of Diocletian. They divided the empire between them, but all the same in the governance chapter stood still Diocletian. The system of government of four leaders, which introduced the Roman emperor, was called tetrarchy.

Sculpture "Tetrarch"

Persecution of christians

The reign of Diocletian was remembered by the cruel persecution of Christians. Until now there are disputes, whose initiative it was. Some tend to think that Galerius. He was an ardent pagan, his mother was a priestess and hated Christians. In addition, Galerius wanted to use this situation for his own strengthening and exaltation. Others still believe that the idea belonged to Diocletian himself. Caesar wanted to bring his decaying empire together, using the help of the Roman gods. In Rome, religion was not only a way to communicate with the gods, but also a contractual relationship. Their religion was based on the fact that the gods execute their part of the deal if you give them what they want (sacrifice). Therefore, it was very important to observe all the rites and perform the sacrifice. In addition, religion has become a way of expressing state loyalty. Diocletian was a conservative and supporter of the traditional Roman cult, he even took the name of Jupiter, and Maximian - Hercules. The connection between the gods and the emperor legitimized his right to supreme power. In addition, the emperor sought to breathe new life into religion, while the number of Christians and their followers in the state grew steadily. The emperor saw them as a threat to unity, so in 303 the Great Persecution began.

The Last Prayer of the Christian Martyrs

Diocletian issued an edict, according to which Christians were practically deprived of their rights and became “non-citizens”: temples were destroyed, books were selected, Christians were allowed to torture, they were deprived of posts, while they were forbidden to go to court for protection. However, unlike in previous persecutions, and now society is not seen in Christians the threat that earlier. Due to the fact that the empire was divided into parts, in its various areas of persecution took place in different ways. Not everywhere reigned the cruelty that was characteristic of the lands of Diocletian. In many regions, the requirements for Christians to give their literature or may sacrifice were formal. For example, they could easily give away pagan or any other books, and the sacrifice was limited only to the need to pick up a piece of meat intended for the ceremony. However, many Christians consciously or not refuse to show cunning and died in agony. Over time, the intensity of persecution subsided, and the punitive laws began to be abolished. I put an end to all the edict of Constantine the Great, published in the year 313 after Diocletian's death. He gave the right to anyone who wanted to freely convert to Christianity.

Diocletian's Palace

In the year 305, Diocletian, after the ill, voluntarily gave up power. Maximian walked away from power after a friend. Since steel rule galleries and Constancy that appointed Caesars North and Maximinius. Diocletian spent rest of his life at home in Illyria, on the estate in the Salon. There he lived alone for 8 years. When one day his co-rulers came to convince Diocletian to return to power, the former emperor answered them: “You better look at the kind of cabbage I grew.” The last years of Diocletian's life were marred by the rude attitude of the then rulers, especially Constantine, the son of Constance Chlor. But this is not surprising when we remember how the former emperor's treatment of his mother. Diocletian died in 313 under mysterious circumstances. Some witnesses say that he was poisoned, others - that he was withered from starvation and cruelty; still others believe that Diocletian died after a long illness.

Watch the video: Roman Empire. Wikipedia audio article (January 2020).