Age of Constantine the Great by Jacob Burckhardt

By Jacob Burckhardt

In the current paintings it's been the author's layout to explain the extraordinary part century from the accession of Diocletian to the loss of life of Constantine in its caliber as a interval of transition. What was once meant was once no longer a background of the lifestyles and reign of Constantine, nor but an encyclopedia of all worth-while details referring to this era. quite have been the numerous and crucial features of the modern global to be defined and formed right into a perspicuous comic strip of the whole.

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The senators sacrificed whIte VICtims, went about in white togas, and m therr palace halls opened WIde the cabmets whIch held the imagines of their forebears Tacitus, however, regarded himself as a doomed man, bestowed his enonnous wealth on the state, and went to join the army. Out of a purely legalistic vagary the Senate inconsiderately refused Tacitus permissIOn to name his brother Florian consul. This mark of renewed constitutional awareness is said to have pleased the Emperor, comment is idle.

Constantius ruled Gaul and Britain, Galerius the Danube country and Greece; Maxi· 46 DIOCLETlAN , ADOPTIONS AND REIGN mian Italy, Spain, and Mrica, and for Diocletian himself, the source of all their authority, Thrace, ASIa, and Egypt were reserved. For over twelve years there obtained among men so diverse and ill part so crude a most remarkable harmony, a harmony which becomes completely mexphcable when we observe one of the rulers sharing in the government of another's province and commanding anmes there, or when we see how httle Diocletian's tongue spared the passlDnate Galerius in the presence of whole aImies.

Furthermore, only the stipulation of a twenty-year term could guarantee the exclusion of the Emperors' sons, which would not have been the case if the term were for life. It may be asked whether it was wise to proVide hostile and subversive elements in the state with a fixed term upon which insurrection might be successful; but means of resistance could also be made ready. During the illness which preceded Diocletian's abdication, for a month and a half, the people were uncertain whether he was still alive, nevertheless not a hand was raised in the well-ordered state.

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