Because of the well-built Roman
roads, the success of the legionnaires,
and the leadership of Rome's more able emperors and generals, the
Roman Empire grew to enormous proportions. It was huge! It covered
most of Europe, most of North Africa, and some of Asia. That created
It was getting
difficult to manage the empire effectively.
Word went out from Rome, but the provinces did not always do what they
were told. Rome seemed very far away to the people in the provinces.
The provinces were
putting a great financial strain on Rome.
Taxes and trade goods from the provinces were pouring into Rome, but
supplies to support the provinces were also pouring out. Money was
needed to build new roads, to support the legionnaires, and to enable
more growth. Rome needed more growth because they needed new
regions to tax, to refill Rome's treasury.
When the old emperor died, the army
selected General Diocletian to be the new emperor of Rome. One
of the first things Emperor Diocletian did was to put price controls
in place to help stop inflation. He created a law that stated if you
charged more than the price limit, you could be killed. The punishment
for breaking any of his laws was quite severe.
After some thought, Emperor Diocletian decided the only thing to do
with Rome was to split the empire in half. That way, it would be
easier to manage. This created two Roman empires - the Western Roman
Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. Each side had a ruler in charge
of it. But the ruler who was in charge of Rome was the senior
The Western Roman Empire (Europe/North
Africa) included the city of Rome.
The Eastern Roman Empire (Turkey/parts
of Asia) included the city of Byzantium.
Rather than rule Rome, Diocletian chose
to rule the Eastern Roman Empire. He placed a good friend in charge of
Rome. Before he left town, Emperor Diocletian moved a great deal
of Rome's money over to the Eastern Roman Empire. He left Rome