Diocletian replaced the old administrative system with a new one that he believed to be better. He added more provinces to raise the total number to almost 100. While he decreased the size of the districts, he increased the amount of officials. He created 12 dioceses that were each led by a vicar. He then divided the whole empire into East and West, each containing 2 prefectures. To rule each prefecture, he used an "Augustus" and a "Caesar". This new administrative system was called a tetrarchy. The tetrarchy also has the nickname of "rule by four" (Spielvogel 180). Diocletian did not think that one man would be able to handle an empire of the magnitude of the Roman Empire at that time. In order to not have all of the power centralized, each of the four tetrarchs lived in a different part of the empire in their own capital of administration. Diocletian lived in Nicomedia which was in Bithynia. Although there were four men ruling, Diocletian had the ultimate power because of his position in the Roman military. In 305 however, Diocletian retired. Following Diocletian was Constantine who took control of the West in 312, sharing it with Licinius. However, in 324, Constanine took control of the whole West, defeating Licinius and his men. Once Constantine focused on the administrative system, he began to expand the work of Diocletian. Constantine eventually created more authority than ever before. The emperor now wore expensive clothing and was seen as "a divinely sanctioned monarch whose will was law" (Spielvogel 180). Now even the officials of the government payed tribute to the emperor and the senate lost what power it had before. Because of these reforms, there was a separation between the civil and military bureaucracies of the empire. Each of these entities had a ruler, and the emperor was the bridge between them. Now the nobility of both bureaucracies took on new names like illustres and illustrissimi.
II. Military Reforms
These two men also expanded the army to 400,000 men and included Germans among the ranks. After all of the reforms of Constantine were over, the military took on a different personality. There were two parts to the military: garrison troops and mobile units.
III. Economic and Social Trends
Because of the reforms of Diocletian and Constantine, the army and civil service used most of the money from public funding. Even though the budget was expanded, the income was not. The population saw no increase and therefore the tax base remained constant. In order to handle this crisis, in 301 Diocletian put a cap on maximum wages and prices that affected the entire Roman Empire. There were severe penalties for disobedience of the edict, but that did not stop people from breaking the new rule. Diocletian had to take up taxes and pay government expenses in produce because the number of circulating coins decreased. Despite the decrease of coins in circulation, Diocletian created the solidus, a new gold coin, as well as new silver coins. The curiales had to now make up the difference in the taxes they collected from the expected income of taxes, causing many wealthy people to shy away from this job. In order to fight this, both Diocletian and Constantine forced them to stay in their job as curiale and that meant that the next generation would inherit the job. Many of the curiales were fearful of their decreasing wealth and some even ran away, only to be dragged back into their job. Not only curiales were forced into coercion, other jobs were the same way as well such as bakers and shippers. The colonibegan to go downhill as well. Because of this, many of them were bought out by landlords with approval from the government and put to work on the large estates. The lower class citizens also had to pay much more money in taxes because many of the wealthy people found a way out of it. Because of this harsh demand of taxes from the lower class, they were often elated to be invaded by Germanic tribes because even the tribes were less harsh on them than the Roman government itself. The reforms of Diocletian and Constantine lasted for a little while, but they ultimately failed, contributing to the decline of the Roman Empire.
IV. Constantine's Building Program
Even though massive construction projects just burdened the budget more, Constantine refused to get rid of them. Because Rome was only a symbolic capital, many of Constantine's projects were in the provinces. From 324 to 330, Constantine built a capital city for the East part of the Empire. He built a city name Constantinople, constructed on the old Greek city of Byzantium, by the Bosporus river. Constantine made the city just as grand as Rome with all of the perks and features he wanted. It also was in the perfect location for defense. He dedicated the city on May 11, 330, saying that it was built "by the commandment of God". He also built many things in Rome like public baths and the triumphal Arch of Constantine. Because Constantine was a Christian, he also built churches including St. Peter's basilica. He also allowed church leaders to hold more power than was previously allotted to them. Constantine continued to put a financial strain on the empire even though he thought that his building projects were improving the magnificence and glory of Rome.