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The Collapse Of The Second Century Empire

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When Diocletian came to power in 284 his aim was to return the empire back to stability and prosperity after the crisis that had plagued the third century. External pressures, such as the threat of barbarian invasion, worsened internal tensions such as economic depressions, civil war and an unstable administrative structure due to the growing influence and power of the army. Diocletian evidently saw the external threats of invasion and civil wars as the biggest threat to the stability of the empire and therefore militarized the state through a series of reforms. Constantine, recognized as sole emperor in 324, can be seen to continue Diocletian’s emphasis on militarized reform however there are certainly some differences in their approaches. When considering the extent to which Diocletian and Constantine solved the problems that had faced the third-century empire, one could look to the eventual collapse of Rome in the late fifth century as an indicator of their failure to successfully implement reform. However, it is evident that the reforms were effective in some way and laid the foundation for future reforms. However, by placing emphasis on defense of the empire, both Diocletian and Constantine largely failed to solve the economic crisis of the third century. It can therefore be argued that although reforms were successfully implemented in terms of defending the empire, they increased the burden on the economy, thus suggesting Diocletian and Constantine failed to solve the
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