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The title was also claimed by Carus' other surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus.Diocletian's reign stabilized the empire and marks the end of the Crisis of the Third Century.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.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. Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become Roman cavalry commander to the Emperor Carus.

Although effective while he ruled, Diocletian's tetrarchic system collapsed after his abdication under the competing dynastic claims of Maxentius and Constantine, sons of Maximian and Constantius respectively.

Galerius, aided by Diocletian, campaigned successfully against Sassanid Persia, the empire's traditional enemy. Diocletian led the subsequent negotiations and achieved a lasting and favourable peace.

Diocletian separated and enlarged the empire's civil and military services and reorganized the empire's provincial divisions, establishing the largest and most bureaucratic government in the history of the empire.

– left his sons Numerian and Carinus as the new Augusti.

Carinus quickly made his way to Rome from his post in Gaul as imperial commissioner and arrived there by January 284, becoming legitimate Emperor in the West. The Sassanid king Bahram II could not field an army against them as he was still struggling to establish his authority.

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