The two Emperors were good soldiers, and kept the enemies back, so that Diocletian celebrated a triumph at Nicomedia; but he had an illness just after, and, as he was fifty-nine years old, he decided that it would be better to resign the empire while he was still in his full strength, and he persuaded Maximian to do the same, in 305, making Constantius and Galerius Emperors in their stead. Constantius stopped the persecution in the West, but it raged as much as ever in the East under Galerius and the Caesar he had appointed, whose name was Daza, but who called himself Maximin. Constantius fought bravely, both in Britain and Gaul, with the enemies who tried to break into the empire. The Franks, one of the Teuton nations, were constantly breaking in on the eastern frontier of Gaul, and the Caledonians on the northern border of the settlement of Britain. He opposed them gallantly, and was much loved, but he died at York, 305, and Galerius passed over his son Constantine, and appointed a favorite of his own named Licinius. Constantine was so much beloved by the army and people of Gaul that they proclaimed him Emperor, and he held the province of Britain and Gaul securely against all enemies.
Old Maximian, who had only retired on the command of Diocletian, now came out from his retreat, and called on his colleague to do the same; but Diocletian was far too happy on his little farm at Salona to leave it, and answered the messenger who urged him again to take upon him the purple with—“Come and look at the cabbages I have planted.” However, Maximian was accepted as the true Emperor by the Senate, and made his son Maxentius, Caesar, while he allied himself with Constantine, to whom he gave his daughter Fausta in marriage. Maxentius turned out a rebel, and drove the old man away to Marseilles, where Constantine gave him a home on condition of his not interfering with government; but he could not rest, and raised the troops in the south against his son-in-law. Constantine’s army marched eagerly against him and made him prisoner, but even then he was pardoned; yet he still plotted, and tried to persuade his daughter Fausta to murder her husband. Upon this Constantine was obliged to have him put to death.
[Illustration: CONSTANTINE THE GREAT.]
Galerius died soon after of a horrible disease, during which he was filled with remorse for his cruelties to the Christians, sent to entreat their prayers, and stopped the persecution. On his death, Licinius seized part of his dominions, and there were four men calling themselves Emperors—Licinius in Asia, Daza Maximin in Egypt, Maxentius at Rome, and Constantine in Gaul.