But the other Maximian [Galerius], whom Diocletian attached to himself as son-in-law, was worse, not only than those other two whom our own times knew, but also worse than all the evil rulers there have ever been. A natural barbarism was inherent in this beast, a savagery alien to Roman blood. Nor was this strange, since his mother, a woman from the other side of the Danube, had fled into new Dacia by crossing the river when the Carpians were infesting the land. His bodily appearance was in keeping with his character: towering in stature and massive in corpulence, he was swollen and spread to a horrible magnitude. With voice and action and appearance, he struck fear and terror into all.
Even his father-in-law had a very great fear of him. This was its cause. Narses, king of the Persians, under the inspiration of the example of his grandfather and ancestors, was eager to seize upon the Orient with great forces. Then Diocletian, as he was fearful and cast down in spirit at every upset and fearing, at the same time, the lot ofValerian1 did not dare to stand in his way, but he sent this man (his son-in-law) to Armenia, himself remaining in the Orient to observe the turn of events. The son-in-law, using the tricks which it is the custom for barbarians to use in conducting war with all their own peoples, attacked the enemy, impeded because of their number and burdened with packs, without difficulty. When King Narses had been put to flight, he returned with booty and huge spoils, adding haughtiness to himself and fear to Diocletian. After this victory, he was exalted to such heights that he was now taking honor from the name of Caesar. When he had learned this from letters brought to him, he shouted in a terrible voice and with a violent expression: "How long will it be
1 The Emperor Valerian (d. 260) was captured and executed by the Persian King Shapur I.
'Caesar' ?" Then he began to rant most insolently that he wished to be seen and spoken of as sprung from Mars and that he preferred to be as another Romulus and to soil the reputation of his mother, Romula, with disgrace, in order that he himself might seem sprung from the gods.
But I am postponing a discussion of his deeds so as not to confuse the time order. For after he had accepted the title of emperor, his father-in-law despoiled and out of the way, then he began to rage wildly at last and to despoil all things.
Diocles—for thus he was called before his reign— although he subverted the state with such plans and such accomplices, and although for his crimes he did not gain anything like what he merited, reigned, however, a long time and with great felicity, for as long as he did not defile his hands with the blood of the just.
Now I will reveal the cause which finally led him to instigate a persecution.
Was this article helpful?
Tap into your inner power today. Discover The Untold Secrets Used By Experts To Tap Into The Power Of Your Inner Personality Help You Unleash Your Full Potential. Finally You Can Fully Equip Yourself With These “Must Have” Personality Finding Tools For Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle.