Photos of Diocletian's Palace, Split, Croatia
Diocletian's palace was founded by Emperor Diocletian between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries AD.Diocletian became emperor after long periods of civil war in the Roman Empire. He started a reform program that would eventually lead to a split in the Roman Empire. Diolcetian was a great organiser and brought in new tax legislation and reforms that were well over due but he is best known for 2 acts. Realising that the Roman Empire had become too big to rule by one Emperor, he divided the Empire in two creating an Eastern and Western Empire to be ruled by 2 co-emperors or Augusti. Diolcetian ruledthe Eastern Empire, he appointed the general Maximian as the emperor of the west. The Empire had been devastated by accession wars on the death of an Emperor so Diocletian decided in 285 to appoint successors to follow himself and Maximian and these were titled Caesars ( junior emperors). In 305 Diocletian abdicated and forcing Maximian to do the same, allowing Constantius and Galerius to be elevated in rank to Augusti and in turn appointed Caesars to follow them. Diocletian retired to his Palace in Split to famously "grew cabbages" and enjoyed his retirement. His master plan failed though and the new Augusti and Caesars were soon at war with each other and Diocletian was called out of retirement to sort the mess out. Diocletian did not live to see the eventual outcome of the dispute which ended in Constantine taking sole charge of the Empire and moving the capital of the Empire to Constantinople.
Diocletian is also remembered for his purges against the Christians. Diocletian was a conservative who looked back to the Pagan heyday of Rome believing that the Ancient Gods who would bring ill to those that did not sacrifice to them. It seems that Diocletian believed that the chaos that reigned in the Roman Empire was a sign of the displeasure of the Gods due to the Christians worship of just one God. Diocletian ruled that if Christians did not sacrifice to the Pagan Gods then they should die by "exposure to Animals". The numbers of Christian who did die during these purges has been over dramatised as most of the Empire could see no sense in killing Christians who were no sport in the arena as they knelt and accepted death gratefully as a gift of martyrdom and a passage straight to heaven. Diocletian and his Caesar Galerius did apply the rules harshly in the Eastern Empire until Diocletian's death. Diocletian was buried in a mausoleum in his Palace which still stands today as an octagonal building. When Constantine became Emperor he made Christianity a legal religion of the Empire and pagan temples, including Diocletian's Mausoleum were turned into churches. In Christians revenge for Diocletian's cruelty towards them removed distorted his remains.
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