This Month in History



The Creation of the First Tetrarchy

1st March 293

Since 285 AD the emperors Diocletian and Maximian had co-ruled the Roman Empire, with Diocletian governing of the East and Maximian the West, bringing to an end 50 years of instability and civil war. However, following a military setback in the West two junior emperors (Caesars), Constantius Chlorus in the West and Gallerius in the East, were promoted to the imperial college, creating the Tetrarchy.

Existing from 293-305 AD, this first Tetrarchy successfully met the military challenges that the Empire faced, while a series of administrative and bureaucratic reforms remodelled the Roman government, establishing the period now recognised as Late Antiquity.


In 305 Diocletian and Maximian retired from their role as emperor, and the two Caesars took the reins of government, promoting their own junior colleagues. Though a civil war commenced in 306, which would eventually lead to Constantine (son of Constantius Chlorus) unifying the Empire, the reforms of the Tetrarchy marked a new phase of Roman history, and the beginnings of Late Antiquity

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