His palace eventually became the core of the modern-day city of Split in Croatia.Diocles' parents were of low status, and writers critical of him claimed that his father was a scribe or a freedman of the senator Anullinus, or even that Diocles was a freedman himself.

Diocletian secured the empire's borders and purged it of all threats to his power.

He defeated the Sarmatians and Carpi during several campaigns between 285 and 299, the Alamanni in 288, and usurpers in Egypt between 297 and 298.

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By March 284, Numerian had only reached Emesa (Homs) in Syria; by November, only Asia Minor.

On 20 November 284, the army of the east gathered on a hill 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) outside Nicomedia.He asserted that Aper had killed Numerian and concealed it.Julianus minted coins from the mint at Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) declaring himself as emperor and promising freedom.Weakened by illness, Diocletian left the imperial office on 1 May 305, and became the first Roman emperor to abdicate the position voluntarily.He lived out his retirement in his palace on the Dalmatian coast, tending to his vegetable gardens.He established new administrative centres in Nicomedia, Mediolanum, Sirmium, and Trier, closer to the empire's frontiers than the traditional capital at Rome.