By Jacob Burckhardt
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Extra resources for Age of Constantine the Great
In the sequel Priscus repaid him with treason. Decius (249-251) was primanly an Idealist, WIth the idealist's illusions. To employ his very great military capacity in the service of a refined senatorial regime, to restore ancient Roman virtue and religion and hence the power of the Roman name, and to establish it forever - these were doubtless his designs. It was in keeping with this design that he persecuted the Christians; sixty years later he might have employed simi- THE GENERALS CHOOSE 31 lar zeal to guide the Christian spIrit of self-sacnfice to the salvation of the Emprre.
If we examine the individual cases and their demonstrable or probable motives more closely, we may find the nght path, though gaps in our tradition must leave many questions unanswered. As early as 285, in VIew of the peasant war in Gaul, Diocle· ban raIsed his companion-in-anus ~faxlmian to be Caesar, and in the year following to Angustus. The adoptive relationship was expressed III Maximian's cognomen Herculius, borrowed from the son of Zeus. After both had waged six years of un· ceasing war against barbarians, rebellious provinces, and usurpers in all parts of the Empire, WIthout fonnally dividmg the Empire among themselves, they raised (292) to the position of Caesars the Generals Galerins and Constantius Chlorus.
32 THE IMPERIAL POWER IN THE THIRD CENTURY Henceforward imperial electIons generally assume a new form. In the barbarian wars which had persisted since the hme of Alexander S~verus there must have developed an excellent corps of generals, among whom competence was properly assessed and esteemed. Valerian, at least as Emperor, seems to be the very soul of this corps. His mIlitary correspondence, part of which was dehberately preserved m the Historia Augusta, demonstrates precise knowledge of men and therr capacities and gives us a high opimon of the man who could recognize and promote Posthumus, Claudius Gothicus, Aurelian, and Probus.