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Carinus quickly made his way to Rome from his post in Gaul as imperial commissioner and arrived there by January 284, becoming legitimate Emperor in the West. The Sassanid king Bahram II could not field an army against them as he was still struggling to establish his authority.By March 284, Numerian had only reached Emesa (Homs) in Syria; by November, only Asia Minor.On 20 November 284, the army of the east gathered on a hill 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) outside Nicomedia.

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He asserted that Aper had killed Numerian and concealed it.

Under this 'tetrarchy', or "rule of four", each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the empire.

Diocletian secured the empire's borders and purged it of all threats to his power.

Although effective while he ruled, Diocletian's tetrarchic system collapsed after his abdication under the competing dynastic claims of Maxentius and Constantine, sons of Maximian and Constantius respectively.

The Diocletianic Persecution (303–11), the empire's last, largest, and bloodiest official persecution of Christianity, failed to eliminate Christianity in the empire; indeed, after 324, Christianity became the empire's preferred religion under its first Christian emperor, Constantine.

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