- Emperor (q.v.) from 284-305 whose reign is associated with certain important administrative and other reforms. Provincial governors were stripped of their military authority and provinces (q.v.) became smaller by increasing their number from 57 to almost a hundred. Provinces were grouped into 12 dioceses (q.v.), each governed by a vicar (q.v.), who, like the provincial governors he supervised, were responsible for justice and taxation, but had no military authority. At the highest level of administration was the tetrarchy (q.v.). The net result was to decentralize authority in such a way as to enhance imperial authority. For example, now provincial governors were responsible only for civil administration, while military authority was separated into the hands of a doux (q.v.). Diocletian's financial reforms included an attempt to reform the coinage, an Edict on Prices (q.v.), and a new method to assess the annona (q.v.) called the capitatio-jugatio (q.v.). This necessitated an increase in the number of tax officials in the provinces. Other reforms included the new collections of imperial edicts, the Codex Gregorianus and Codex Hermogenianus (qq.v.). Some of Diocletian's work failed. The tetrarchy collapsed soon after Diocletian's retirement in 305. The Edict on Prices proved ineffectual, and the Great Persecution (q.v.) of 303-311 failed. However, his administrative reforms, augmented by those of Constantine I (q.v.), lasted until the seventh century.
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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