The accession on November 20, 284, of Diocletian
, the lower-class, Greek-speaking Dalmatian
commander of Carus's and Numerian's household cavalry, marked a major departure from traditional Roman constitutional theory regarding the Emperor, who was nominally first among equals during the Principate. Whereas before Emperors had worn only a purple toga and were greeted with deference, Diocletian wore jewelled robes and shoes, and required those who greeted him to kneel and kiss the hem of his robe. In many ways, Diocletian was the first monarchical Emperor, and this is symbolised by the fact that the word dominus
("Lord") rapidly replaced princeps
as the favoured word for referring to the Emperor. In short, the Dominate represents a time when the emperors unabashedly showcased their status and authority compared to the earlier Principate.
The Dominate also featured a shift in the Empire's "center of gravity" from the west to the east, particularly after the establishment of Constantinople
; neither Diocletian nor his co-Emperor Maximian spent much time in Rome after 286, establishing their Imperial capitals at Nicomedia
(modern Milan), respectively.
was a system established by Diocletian to facilitate effective government of the Empire.
After acceding to power in 284, Diocletian decide to share the load of government with his friend Maximian
, whom he appointed co-regent in 286. Maximian was to use the title Caesar
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