Europe 311: Collapse of the Tetrarchy
In early May 311 Galerius died and was succeeded as senior Augustus by Maximinus Daza. Although Constantine and Licinius would pay lip service to this decision until late 312, Maximinus had little authority over the two Augusti and did not appoint a new tetrarch.
310 End of Domitius Alexander▲
Shortly after the death of his father Maximian, Maxentius sent several cohorts under the command of his praetorian prefect Rufius Volusianus to Africa, where the usurper Domitius Alexander was claiming to be co-emperor with Constantine. Volusianus easily defeated Alexander, who took refuge behind the walls of Cirta, only to be captured and later executed by strangulation. In reprisal for supporting Alexander, Maxentius had the government of Africa purged, the capital Carthage plundered and burned, and Cirta destroyed (three years later it would be rebuilt by Constantine as the city of Constantine).
310?–325 Arab incursions of Shapur II▲
In 309 the courtiers and clergy of Sasanian Persia had crowned the very young Shapur II as shah—according to legend the crown had been placed on the womb of his pregnant mother 40 days before his birth—in the hope of molding him as a puppet. However, this regency proved ineffective and was unable to prevent the Arab tribes of the Gulf region from throwing off Persian rule. By the 320s the emboldened Arabs were raiding southern Mesopotamia and across the Gulf into the traditional Persian heartland of Pars, facing no meaningful military response from the Persian regime.
? ?? 310?–7 Dec 328 Kingdom of All Arabs▲
Some time between 395 and 320 the Lakhmid king Imru al-Qays ibn Amr seems to have achieved leadership over the Arab tribes of the western Persian Gulf and subjugated the polity of Ma‘ad in central Arabia to form the “Kingdom of All Arabs”. From here he waged war against his erstwhile overlords the Sasanian Persians, but was eventually defeated by Shapur II at Al-Hirah, the Lakhmid capital, in 325. After this Imru al-Qays eventually fled to Roman territory, where he died near Namara, Syria, in 328.
Apr 311 Edict of Serdica▲
By 311 the persecution of Christians had long ended in most of Europe and the West, but was progressing vigorously in Maximinus Daza’s territory in the East. In April Galerius, by now seriously ill and close to death, called an end to the persecution for the sake of the “prosperity and welfare” of the empire. Maximinus acknowledged the order when he received it in early May, but soon resumed persecution, continuing on almost until his death in 313.
May 311 Fifth Tetrarchy▲
In early May 311 Galerius died of illness and was interred at his palace at Felix Romuliana (Gamzigrad, Serbia) by Licinius. In accordance with what appear to have been the late emperor’s wishes, Maximinus Daza, longest-serving of the three remaining tetrarchs and father-in-law of Galerius’ son Candidianus, became the senior Augustus and took control of the dioceses of Asiana and Pontica. Stability seems to have been preserved until at least early 312—when Maximinus named Constantine and Licinius as consuls—but no new tetrarch was appointed to bring the total number back to four.
? May 311–29 Oct 312 Reign of Maximinus Daza▲
In May 311 the 40-year-old Maximinus Daza succeeded Galerius as senior Augustus in the Roman Empire. Although Maximinus held real power only in Asia and Egypt, his position was recognized to varying degrees by both Constantine in Gaul and Licinius in the Balkans. He soon resumed the persecution of Christians that had been ended by Galerius, in sharp contrast to the western Augusti, who pursued more tolerant and even pro-Christian policies. What limited authority Maximinus had in the west ended in October 312 when Constantine defeated the usurper Maxentius and was proclaimed senior Augustus by the Senate. Shocked, Maximinus officially recognized this role reversal by accepting Constantine’s consular appointments but secretly readied his armies for the invasion of Europe.