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He appointed fellow officer Maximian as Augustus, co-emperor, in 286.

Diocletian delegated further on 1 March 293, appointing Galerius and Constantius as Caesars, junior co-emperors.

but some modern historians state that Diocletian avoided the city, and that he did so on principle, as the city and its Senate were no longer politically relevant to the affairs of the empire and needed to be taught as much.

Building on third-century trends towards absolutism, he styled himself an autocrat, elevating himself above the empire's masses with imposing forms of court ceremonies and architecture.

Bureaucratic and military growth, constant campaigning, and construction projects increased the state's expenditures and necessitated a comprehensive tax reform.

Augustus, the first Emperor, had nominally shared power with his colleagues, and more formal offices of Co-Emperor had existed from Marcus Aurelius on.

Most recently, Emperor Carus and his sons had ruled together, albeit unsuccessfully.

Carinus quickly made his way to Rome from his post in Gaul as imperial commissioner and arrived there by January 284, becoming legitimate Emperor in the West. The Sassanid king Bahram II could not field an army against them as he was still struggling to establish his authority.

By March 284, Numerian had only reached Emesa (Homs) in Syria; by November, only Asia Minor.He defeated the Sarmatians and Carpi during several campaigns between 285 and 299, the Alamanni in 288, and usurpers in Egypt between 297 and 298.Galerius, aided by Diocletian, campaigned successfully against Sassanid Persia, the empire's traditional enemy. Diocletian led the subsequent negotiations and achieved a lasting and favorable peace.Under this 'tetrarchy', or "rule of four", each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the empire.Diocletian secured the empire's borders and purged it of all threats to his power.Diocles' parents were of low status, and writers critical of him claimed that his father was a scribe or a freedman of the senator Anullinus, or even that Diocles was a freedman himself.

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