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The term _TETRARCHY_ (from the Greek : τετραρχία, _tetrarchia_, "leadership of four ") describes any form of government where power is divided among four individuals, but in modern usage usually refers to the system instituted by Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
Diocletian
Diocletian
in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century
Crisis of the Third Century
and the recovery of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
. This tetrarchy lasted until c. 313, when internecine conflict eliminated most of the claimants to power, leaving Constantine in control of the western half of the empire, and Licinius
Licinius
in control of the eastern half.

CONTENTS

* 1 Terminology * 2 Creation * 3 Regions and capitals * 4 Public image * 5 Military successes * 6 Demise

* 7 Timeline

* 7.1 286–293 * 7.2 293–305 * 7.3 305–306 * 7.4 306–307 * 7.5 307–313 * 7.6 313–324 * 7.7 324

* 8 Others

* 8.1 1. Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
until 1 May 305 * 8.2 2. Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
until July 306 * 8.3 3. Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
until 16 May 307 * 8.4 4. Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
from 18 November 308 to the beginning of May 311 * 8.5 5. Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
from May 311 * 8.6 (6.) Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
after 8 October 316 to the end of 316 * 8.7 (7.) Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
from 1 March 317 to 18 September 324

* 9 Legacy * 10 Other examples * 11 See also * 12 Notes * 13 Citations * 14 References * 15 External links

TERMINOLOGY

Although the term "tetrarch" was current in antiquity, it was never used of the imperial college under Diocletian. Instead, the term was used to describe independent portions of a kingdom that were ruled under separate leaders. The tetrarchy of Judaea , established after the death of Herod the Great, is the most famous example of the antique tetrarchy. The term was understood in the Latin
Latin
world as well, where Pliny the Elderglossed it as follows: "each is the equivalent of a kingdom, and also part of one" (_regnorum instar singulae et in regna contribuuntur_).

As used by the ancients, the term describes not only different governments, but also a different system of government from the Diocletianic arrangements. The Judaean tetrarchy was a set of four independent and distinct states, where each tetrarch ruled a quarter of a kingdom as they saw fit; the Diocletianic tetrarchy was a college led by a single supreme leader. When later authors described the period, this is what they emphasized: Ammianus had Constantius II admonish Julian for disobedience by appealing to the example in submission set by Diocletian's lesser colleagues; Julian himself compared the Diocletianic tetrarchs to a chorus surrounding a leader, speaking in unison under his command. Only Lactantius, a contemporary of Diocletian
Diocletian
and a deep ideological opponent of the Diocletianic state, referred to the tetrarchs as a simple multiplicity of rulers.

Much modern scholarship was written without the term. Although Edward Gibbon pioneered the description of the Diocletianic government as a "New Empire", he never used the term "tetrarchy"; neither did Theodor Mommsen . It did not appear in the literature until used in 1887 by schoolmaster Hermann Schiller in a two-volume handbook on the Roman Empire (_Geschichte der Römischen Kaiserzeit_), to wit: "_die diokletianische Tetrarchie_". Even so, the term did not catch on in the literature until Otto Seeckused it in 1897.

CREATION

The first phase, sometimes referred to as the Diarchy
Diarchy
("rule of two"), involved the designation of the general Maximian
Maximian
as co-emperor—firstly as _Caesar _ (junior emperor) in 285, followed by his promotion to _Augustus _ in 286. Diocletian
Diocletian
took care of matters in the eastern regions of the empire while Maximian
Maximian
similarly took charge of the western regions. In 293, Diocletian
Diocletian
thought that more focus was needed on both civic and military problems, so with Maximian's consent, he expanded the imperial college by appointing two _Caesars_ (one responsible to each _Augustus_)— Galerius
Galerius
and Constantius Chlorus.

In 305, the senior emperors jointly abdicated and retired, allowing Constantius and Galerius
Galerius
to be elevated in rank to _Augustus_. They in turn appointed two new Caesars — Severus II in the west under Constantius, and Maximinus in the east under Galerius
Galerius
— thereby creating the second Tetrarchy.

REGIONS AND CAPITALS

Map of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
under the Tetrarchy, showing the dioceses and the four tetrarchs' zones of influence.

The four tetrarchs based themselves not at Rome
Rome
but in other cities closer to the frontiers, mainly intended as headquarters for the defence of the empire against bordering rivals (notably Sassanian Persia
Persia
) and barbarians (mainly Germanic, and an unending sequence of nomadic or displaced tribes from the eastern steppes) at the Rhine and Danube. These centres are known as the tetrarchic capitals. Although Rome
Rome
ceased to be an operational capital, Rome
Rome
continued to be nominal capital of the entire Roman Empire, not reduced to the status of a province but under its own, unique Prefect
Prefect
of the City (praefectus urbis , later copied in Constantinople).

The four tetrarchic capitals were:

* Nicomediain northwestern Asia Minor
Asia Minor
(modern Izmitin Turkey), a base for defence against invasion from the Balkans and Persia's Sassanids was the capital of Diocletian, the eastern (and most senior) Augustus; in the final reorganisation by Constantine the Great, in 318, the equivalent of his domain, facing the most redoubtable foreign enemy, Sassanid Persia, became the pretorian prefecture Oriens, 'the East', the core of later Byzantium. * Sirmium
Sirmium
(modern Sremska Mitrovica
Sremska Mitrovica
in the Vojvodina
Vojvodina
region of modern Serbia
Serbia
, and near Belgrade
Belgrade
, on the Danube
Danube
border) was the capital of Galerius, the eastern Caesar; this was to become the Balkans- Danube
Danube
prefecture Illyricum. * Mediolanum
Mediolanum
(modern Milan
Milan
, near the Alps) was the capital of Maximian, the western Augustus; his domain became "Italia et Africa", with only a short exterior border. * Augusta Treverorum
Augusta Treverorum
(modern Trier
Trier
, in Germany) was the capital of Constantius Chlorus, the western Caesar, near the strategic Rhine border; it had been the capital of Gallic emperor Tetricus I. This quarter became the prefecture Galliae.

Aquileia
Aquileia
, a port on the Adriatic coast, and Eboracum
Eboracum
(modern York
York
, in northern England near the Celtic tribes of modern Scotland and Ireland), were also significant centres for Maximian
Maximian
and Constantius respectively.

In terms of regional jurisdiction there was no precise division between the four tetrarchs, and this period did not see the Roman state actually split up into four distinct sub-empires. Each emperor had his zone of influence within the Roman Empire, but little more, mainly high command in a 'war theater'. Each tetrarch was himself often in the field, while delegating most of the administration to the hierarchic bureaucracy headed by his respective Pretorian Prefect
Prefect
, each supervising several Vicarii, the governors-general in charge of another, lasting new administrative level, the civil diocese . For a listing of the provinces, now known as eparchy , within each quarter (known as a praetorian prefecture), see Roman province
Roman province
.

In the West, the Augustus Maximian
Maximian
controlled the provinces west of the Adriatic Sea and the Syrtis, and within that region his Caesar, Constantius, controlled Gaul
Gaul
and Britain. In the East, the arrangements between the Augustus Diocletian
Diocletian
and his Caesar, Galerius, were much more flexible.

However, it appears that some contemporary and later writers, such as the Christian author Lactantius, and Sextus Aurelius Victor(who wrote about fifty years later and from uncertain sources), misunderstood the tetrarchic system in this respect, believing it to have involved a stricter division of territories between the four emperors.

PUBLIC IMAGE

_ Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs
Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs
_, a porphyry sculpture looted from a Byzantine palace in 1204, now standing at the southwest corner of St Mark\'s Basilica , Venice
Venice

Although power was shared in the tetrarchic system, the public image of the four emperors in the imperial college was carefully managed to give the appearance of a united empire (_patrimonium indivisum_). This was especially important after the numerous civil wars of the 3rd century .

The tetrarchs appeared identical in all official portraits. Coinage dating from the tetrarchic period depicts every emperor with identical features—only the inscriptions on the coins indicate which one of the four emperors is being shown. The Byzantine sculpture _Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs _ shows the tetrarchs again with identical features and wearing the same military costume.

MILITARY SUCCESSES

One of the greatest problems facing emperors in the Third Century Crisis was that they were only ever able to personally command troops on one front at any one time. While Aurelian
Aurelian
and Probus were prepared to accompany their armies thousands of miles between war regions, this was not an ideal solution. Furthermore, it was risky for an emperor to delegate power in his absence to a subordinate general, who might win a victory and then be proclaimed as a rival emperor himself by his troops (which often happened). All members of the imperial college, on the other hand, were of essentially equal rank, despite two being senior emperors and two being junior; their functions and authorities were also equal.

Under the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
a number of important military victories were secured. Both the Dyarchic and the tetrarchic system ensured that an emperor was nearby to every crisis area to personally direct and remain in control of campaigns simultaneously on more than just one front. After suffering a defeat by the Persians in 296, Galerius crushed Narsehin 298—reversing a series of Roman defeats throughout the century—capturing members of the imperial household and a substantial amount of booty and gaining a highly favourable peace treaty, which secured peace between the two powers for a generation. Similarly, Constantius defeated the British usurper Allectus, Maximian
Maximian
pacified the Gauls, and Diocletian
Diocletian
crushed the revolt of Domitianus in Egypt
Egypt
.

DEMISE

_ Constantine at the battle of the Milvian Bridge _, fresco by Raphael
Raphael
, Vatican Rooms. Main article: Civil wars of the Tetrarchy

When in 305 the 20-year term of Diocletian
Diocletian
and Maximian
Maximian
ended, both abdicated. Their Caesares, Galerius
Galerius
and Constantius Chlorus, were both raised to the rank of Augustus, and two new Caesares were appointed: Maximinus (Caesar to Galerius) and Flavius Valerius Severus(Caesar to Constantius). These four formed the second tetrarchy.

However, the system broke down very quickly thereafter. When Constantius died in 306, Galerius
Galerius
promoted Severus to Augustus while Constantine , Constantius' son, was proclaimed Augustus by his father's troops. At the same time, Maxentius
Maxentius
, the son of Maximian, who also resented being left out of the new arrangements, defeated Severus before forcing him to abdicate and then arranging his murder in 307. Maxentius
Maxentius
and Maximian
Maximian
both then declared themselves Augusti. By 308 there were therefore no fewer than four claimants to the rank of Augustus (Galerius, Constantine, Maximian
Maximian
and Maxentius), and only one to that of Caesar (Maximinus).

In 308 Galerius, together with the retired emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
and the supposedly retired Maximian, called an imperial "conference" at Carnuntum
Carnuntum
on the River Danube. The council agreed that Licinius
Licinius
would become Augustus in the West, with Constantine as his Caesar. In the East, Galerius
Galerius
remained Augustus and Maximinus remained his Caesar. Maximian
Maximian
was to retire, and Maxentius
Maxentius
was declared an usurper. This agreement proved disastrous: by 308 Maxentius
Maxentius
had become _de facto_ ruler of Italy and Africa
Africa
even without any imperial rank, and neither Constantine nor Maximinus—who had both been Caesares since 306 and 305 respectively—were prepared to tolerate the promotion of the Augustus Licinius
Licinius
as their superior.

After an abortive attempt to placate both Constantine and Maximinus with the meaningless title _filius Augusti_ ("son of the Augustus", essentially an alternative title for Caesar), they both had to be recognised as Augusti in 309. However, four full Augusti all at odds with each other did not bode well for the tetrarchic system.

Between 309 and 313 most of the claimants to the imperial office died or were killed in various civil wars. Constantine forced Maximian's suicide in 310. Galerius
Galerius
died naturally in 311. Maxentius
Maxentius
was defeated by Constantine at the Battle of the Milvian Bridgein 312 and subsequently killed. Maximinus committed suicide at Tarsus in 313 after being defeated in battle by Licinius.

By 313, therefore, there remained only two emperors: Constantine in the West and Licinius
Licinius
in the East. The tetrarchic system was at an end, although it took until 324 for Constantine to finally defeat Licinius, reunite the two halves of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and declare himself sole Augustus.

TIMELINE

_ This list (which may have dates, numbers, etc.) MAY BE BETTER IN A SORTABLE TABLE FORMAT. Please help improve this list or discuss it on the talk page . (November 2016)_

286–293

_ A chart of the diarchy of 286-293 and subsequent tetrarchy of 293-305. Augusti Oriens _ Diocletian
Diocletian
(286–293) _Occidens _ Maximian
Maximian
(286–293)

293–305

Augusti _Oriens _ Diocletian
Diocletian
(286–305) _Italia et Africa
Africa
_ Maximian
Maximian
(286–305) Caesars _Illyricum _ Galerius
Galerius
(293–305) _Gallia et Hispaniae _ Constantius Chlorus(293–305) Usurpers _Leaders of the Bagaudaein Gaul
Gaul
_ Amandus and Aelianus (285–286) _Africa Zeugitana _ Sabinus Julianus(c. 285–293) _Britannia_ Carausius (286–293) _Britannia_ Allectus(293–296) _ Aegyptus_ Domitius Domitianus (296–297) _ Aegyptus_ Aurelius Achilleus(297–298) _ Syria Coele_ Eugenius(303/304)

305–306

_ A chart of the tetrarchy from 305 to 306, after the retirement of Diocletian
Diocletian
and his colleague Maximian
Maximian
, and the accession of Constantius and Galerius
Galerius
. Augusti Illyricum_ Galerius (305–306) _Gallia, Hispaniae et Britannia_ Constantius Chlorus (305–306) Caesars _Oriens_ Maximinus Daia(305–306) _Italia et Africa_ Flavius Valerius Severus(305–306)

306–307

_ A chart of the tetrarchy from 306 to 307. After the usurper Maxentius
Maxentius
declared himself Caesar, Augustus Severus marched on Rome but was defeated when his troops deferred to Maxentius
Maxentius
. Severus was later executed in the same year, 307. Maxentius, and his father and former Augustus, Maximianus ( Maximian
Maximian
), declared themselves Augusti later that year. Augusti Illyricum_ Galerius
Galerius
(306–307) _Italia et Africa_ Flavius Valerius Severus(306–307) Caesars _Oriens_ Maximinus Daia(306–307) _Gallia, Hispaniae et Britannia_ Constantine I
Constantine I
(306–307) _Roma_ Maxentius
Maxentius
(307)

307–313

_ Maximianus joined the secessionist regime of his son, Maxentius , in Italy. Constantine joined the secessionist alliance by marrying Maximianus' daughter, Fausta
Fausta
, and by supporting Maxentius
Maxentius
in Italy. However, Constantine remained neutral with Galerius
Galerius
, but he still took the title of Augustus in the secessionist regime. Augusti Illyricum_ Galerius
Galerius
(307–311) _Gallia, Hispaniae et Britannia_ Constantine I
Constantine I
(307–…) _Thracia et Pontus to Taurus_ Licinius (308–…) _Italia_ Maxentius
Maxentius
(307–312) _Oriens from Taurus to Aegyptus_ Maximinus Daia(310–313) _Italia_ Maximian
Maximian
(307–310) Caesars _Oriens from Taurus to Aegyptus_ Maximinus Daia(307–310) Usurpers _ Africa
Africa
_ Domitius Alexander(308–311)

313–324

Augusti _Oriens_ Licinius
Licinius
(313–324) _Occidens_ Constantine I (313–324) _Oriens_ Sextus Martinianus(324) Caesars _Italia_ Bassianus (313–314) _Illyricum_ Valerius Valens(314–316) _Oriens_ Licinius
Licinius
the Younger (317–324) _Occidens_ Crispus
Crispus
(317–326)

324

Augustus Constantine I
Constantine I

OTHERS

1. TETRARCHY UNTIL 1 MAY 305

WEST EAST

Augusti Maximian
Maximian
Diocletian
Diocletian

Caesares Constantius Chlorus Galerius
Galerius

2. TETRARCHY UNTIL JULY 306

After the retirement of the two _Augusti_ succeed the both previous _Caesares_ and appoint two new _Caesares_. Maximinus Daiais the nephew of Galerius
Galerius
Galerius.

WEST EAST

Augusti Constantius Chlorus Galerius
Galerius

Caesares Severus Maximinus Daia

3. TETRARCHY UNTIL 16 MAY 307

After the death of Constantius his legions proclamate his son Constantin to be the new _Augustus_, but Galerius
Galerius
elevates Severus to be the new _junior Augustus_ and compensates Constantin with the grade of _Caesar_.

WEST EASTEN

Augusti Severus Galerius
Galerius

Caesares Constantine Maximinus Daia

4. TETRARCHY FROM 18 NOVEMBER 308 TO THE BEGINNING OF MAY 311

After the death of Severus it isn't Constantine who moves up in the higher title. In the emperor's conference of Carnutum Diocletian decides that Licinius
Licinius
will be the new _Augustus_ of the West.

WEST EAST

Augusti Licinius
Licinius
Galerius
Galerius

Caesares Constantine Maximinus Daia

5. TETRARCHY FROM MAY 311

After the death of Galerius
Galerius
he was succeeded by Maximinus Daiain the rank of an _Augustus_ of the East, but is crowded by Licinius, who wants to have the status of the _senior Augustus_. Maximinus appoints firstly no new _Caesar_, although it was assumed, that this position should later on be filled out with the son of Severus, Flavius Severianus , or at least he was scheduled for this position.

WEST EAST

Augusti Licinius
Licinius
Maximinus Daia

Caesares Constantine vacant

(6.) TETRARCHY AFTER 8 OCTOBER 316 TO THE END OF 316

Shortly before the turn of the year 316/317 for a short-term exists the situation, that both _Augusti_ Constantin and Licinius
Licinius
appoint again a _Caesar_. If both want to give the appearance of a continuity of the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
is also unclear as the date stamping which could also be the turn of the year 314/315.

WEST EAST

Augusti Constantine Licinius
Licinius

Caesares Bassianus Valerius Valens

(7.) TETRARCHY FROM 1 MARCH 317 TO 18 SEPTEMBER 324

The tetrarchic system is at its end, the dynastic system has won. Both _Augusti_ appoint their own sons to co-emperors, Constantin even two of his sons. Short before of his end Licinius
Licinius
appoints the General Martinianuson 3. July 324 to his co-emperor.

WEST EAST

Augusti Constantine I
Constantine I
Licinius
Licinius

Caesares Crispus
Crispus
and Constantine II Licinius
Licinius
II

LEGACY

Although the tetrarchic system as such only lasted until 313 CE, many aspects of it survived. The fourfold regional division of the empire continued in the form of Praetorian prefectures , each of which was overseen by a praetorian prefect and subdivided into administrative dioceses , and often reappeared in the title of the military supra-provincial command assigned to a magister militum .

The pre-existing notion of _consortium imperii _, the sharing of imperial power, and the notion that an associate to the throne was the designated successor (possibly conflicting with the notion of hereditary claim by birth or adoption), was to reappear repeatedly.

The idea of the two halves, the east and the west, re-emerged and eventually resulted in the permanent de facto division into two separate Roman empires after the death of Theodosius I
Theodosius I
, though it is important to remember that the empire was never formally divided, the emperors of the eastern and western halves legally ruling as one imperial college until the fall of Rome's western empire left Byzantium, the "second Rome", sole direct heir.

OTHER EXAMPLES

Part of a series of articles on

MONARCHY

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Crowned republic
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Conservatism
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Thomas Hobbes
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Philosopher king
* Primogeniture * Royalism * Regicide * Regnal number * Royal family
Royal family
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* v * t * e

* Tetrarchies in the ancient world existed in both Thessaly
Thessaly
(in northern Greece) and Galatia(in central Asia Minor
Asia Minor
; including Lycaonia) as well as among the British Cantiaci. * The constellation of Jewish principalities in the Herodian kingdom of Judea
Judea
was known as a tetrarchy; see Tetrarchy (Judea). * In the novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
_, the Pevensie siblings rule Narnia as a tetrarchy of two kings and two queens.

SEE ALSO

* Notitia dignitatum
Notitia dignitatum
, a later document from the imperial chancery

NOTES

* ^ Historian David Potter translates the term as "gang of four ". See idem., _Constantine the Emperor_ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 1.

CITATIONS

* ^ Qtd. and tr. Leadbetter, _Galerius_, 3. * ^ Leadbetter, _Galerius_, 3. * ^ Leadbetter, _Galerius_, 3–4. * ^ The chronology has been thoroughly established by Kolb, _Diocletian_, and Kuhoff, _Diokletian_.

REFERENCES

* Barnes, Timothy D. (1984). _Constantine and Eusebius_. Harvard University Press . ISBN 0-674-16531-4 . * Bowman, Alan (2005). _The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 12, The Crisis of Empire, AD 193–337_. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-30199-8 . * Corcoran, Simon (2000). _The Empire of the Tetrarchs, Imperial Pronouncements and Government AD 284–324_. Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
. ISBN 0-19-815304-X . * Kolb, Frank (1987). _ Diocletian
Diocletian
und die Erste Tetrarchie. Improvisation oder Experiment in der Organisation monarchischer Herrschaft?_, B