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'''Diocletian''' was Emperor of Rome from 240 - 311November 20 284 to March 1, 305, when he abdicated due to illness. As Emperor he was known as Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus but was born with the name Diocles, near Spalatum (modern Split) in Dalmatia. His father was the scribe for a wealthy senator and may have been a freed slavefreedman.
Diocletian rose through the ranks of the Roman military, eventually becoming Emperor along with a junior co-ruler Maximian. His importance as a figure in Church history is as the instigator of a particularly harsh persecution the Great Persecution of Christians which produced many [[martyr]]s. His wife, knwon historical as Prisca but in Christian tradition [[Alexandra the Empress|Alexandra]], was among these martyrs. He increased the cult of the Emperor, calling himself the son of Jove, and tried to revive the worship of the Roman gods.
In about 297 an edict was made that all soldiers and Imperial officials must sacrifice to the gods - failure to do so resulted in dismissal.
In Diocletian issued four edicts against Christian. The first, issued on February 24 303 Diocletian ordered , forbid Christian assemblies, order the destruction of all Church buildings and [[churchHoly Scriptures]]es to be burned. Christians in the Roman government were reduced to slavery and [[pagan]] sacrifice required to be done at court. Any Christians who resisted were to subjected to torture and the burning of all Christian Scripturesimprisonment. Further edicts The second edict was issued in the same summer of that year ordered that ordering all Christian [[clergy]] be imprisoned and tortured until they agreed to sacrifice to on pain of torture and imprisonment. The third edict was issued on the Roman gods20th November ([[Diocletian]]'s ''Vicennalia'').  In 304 Diocletian made his promised amnesty to any Christian who performed a pagan sacrifice. The fourth and final order for edict was issued early the persecution of Christiansfollowing year (304 A.D. All Christians, both lay ) and clergy, who refused to sacrifice to demanded that all inhabitants of the Roman gods Empire were to be executedoffer sacrifice or else suffer torture and death.

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