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Diocletian separated and enlarged the empire's civil and military services and reorganized the empire's provincial divisions, establishing the largest and most bureaucratic government in the history of the empire.
He established new administrative centres in Nicomedia, Mediolanum, Sirmium, and Trier, closer to the empire's frontiers than the traditional capital at Rome.
Building on third-century trends towards absolutism, he styled himself an autocrat, elevating himself above the empire's masses with imposing forms of court ceremonies and architecture.
Most recently, Emperor Carus and his sons had ruled together, albeit unsuccessfully.
Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become Roman cavalry commander to the Emperor Carus.
After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor.
From at least 297 on, imperial taxation was standardized, made more equitable, and levied at generally higher rates.
Not all of Diocletian's plans were successful: the Edict on Maximum Prices (301), his attempt to curb inflation via price controls, was counterproductive and quickly ignored.