The Tetrarchy

WHS connected with "The Tetrarchy" - the system initiated by Diocletian of having 4 rulers for the Roman Empire. The basic organisational structure was to have a separate ruler or "Augustus" for each of the Western and Eastern empires with each "helped" by an heir apparent known as a "Caesar" who would later move up to be Augustus. After 20 years the Augustae were supposed to retire - but only 1 successful rotation took place - in 305. Each ruler had a territory - leading to the creation of "multiple" capitals for Italy, East, Gaul and Illyricum. It lasted in various forms from 293 AD to 324 though it began to break down in 305 and the period after 313 was one of internecine conflict until Constantine emerged victorious in 324 uniting the empire and declaring himself the sole "Augustus" (but now ruling from the East). The "personnel" involved included - Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius, Galerius, Severus, Maximinus, Licinius, Maxentius and Constantine.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Danube Limes Carnuntum (ID No 31): The political conflicts between his successors after his abdication prompted Diocletian to convene a meeting of all disputants in Carnuntum in 308 in order to settle the conflicts peacefully and revive the tetrarchy. In this historically significant meeting, the Augusti Diocletian, Galerius, Licinius and Maximinus Daia succeeded in placing the distribution of power in the Roman Empire on a new stable basis (so-called fourth tetrarchy).
Gamzigrad-Romuliana Felix Romuliana was a Roman palace built commecning 297 by Galerius to commemorate a victory over the Persians at Narses. It was located in the region of his birth place and named after his mother . It was possibly conceived of as his "retirement home" as per the rules of the Tetrarchy! However the death of the western Augustus, Constanius, in 306 led to Galerius becoming the "senior" Augustus and upgrading the grandeur of the structure.
Split Built by Diocletian for his retirement in 305 as per the rules of the Tetrarchy.
Thessalonika Galerius, as Caesar of Illyricum, chose Thessalonika to become the main centre for his court between 293/311. He created a monumental quarter and ordered the building of a Triumphal arch to celebrate his victory over the Persians in 298 (which included the taking of Ctesiphon)- it was dedicated in 302. By 306 he was "Augustus" and ordered the building of the Rotunda probably as a Temple.
Trier As Caesar of Gaul Constantius Chlorus chose Trier to be capital of his province which also encompassed Britain (recently reconquered by him) and Spain. A monumental quarter was built including the Basilica and walls/Porta Negra.
Venice and its Lagoon Statue "The Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs". On the Facade of San Marco.. Plundered from Constantinople in 1204 when it was sacked during the 4th Crusade


Do you know of another WHS we could connect to The Tetrarchy?

Send it to me!

A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source