By Jacob Burckhardt
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Extra resources for Age of Constantine the Great
For If only one of the Emperors or Caesars should fall, if a conspiracy could not succeed in removing and murdenng two or four rulers in a single day, perhaps in Nicomedia, Alexandna, Milan, and Treves, then inexorable avengers would await the indIvidual deed of violence. follow, they need nO longer throw themselves in unthinking terror mto the anns of the soldiers' first cbance choice. Another very great advantage of Diocletian's measure was the diStrlbution of the tasks of govennnent. Now these could be confronted calmly and thoughtfully and in accordance with a deterroined common plan and be carned out bnlliantly.
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. All that came from Dioclehan the most difficult plans of battle, the most questlOnable orders was invariably carried out WIth filial obedIence, there was never a doubt that he was the guiding spirit of the whole.
Although the leading figures are not for the most part Roman in the strict sense, but rather Illyrian, that is to say, from the regIOns between the Adriatic and the Black Seas, nevertheless it was Roman culture and tradition, specifically in matters of war, that enabled them to become the new saviors of the ancient world. To be a Roman ,Emperor was no longer a pleasure but a fateful obligation. Men unworthy of it assumed the purple only under constraint; better men no longer pressed forward to the office but recognized in it duty or destiny.
Age of Constantine the Great by Jacob Burckhardt