By Roger Collins
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Extra info for Early Medieval Europe 300–1000
3 In the same year, with the connivance of the retired emperor Maximian, the army in Rome proclaimed the latter's son Maxentius emperor, in rebellion against the Caesar Severns. Galerius attempted to shore up the disintegrating Tetrarchy by recognising Constantine, but only as a Caesar, whilst nominating the beleaguered Severns as the new Augustus for the West. Maxentius and his father were to be left out on a limb. Galerius's lack of flexibility was soon to prove fatal to the entire system. Severns's new title proved empty in that he lost the support of his army in Italy and was persuaded, after an abortive siege of Rome, to surrender himself into the hands of Maxentius, who soon had him put to death.
The army reforms of Diocletian and Constantine marked a change in imperial strategy in favour of what is known as 'Defence in Depth'. The frontiers became more intensively defeaded by the location of garrisons and the construction of more numerous and more complex fortifications, but once this outer shell had been penetrated the protection of the provinces depended on the capacity of the field armies to concentrate and move to meet the threat. This system had certain disadvantages, and the re-deployment of field armies to participate in the numerous civil wars within the Empire in the fourth century could leave the frontier provinces open to sustained penetration and destruction when the Limitanei failed to prevent hostile incursions.
339/40), make mention of these. In a letter sent by bishop Dionysius of Alexandria to his colleague Fabius in Antioch, which is quoted by Eusebius, active persecution had broken out in his city a year before the promulgation of Decius's edict. This he blamed on 'the nameless prophet and worker of mischief' who incited the populace of Alexandria against the Christian community, several of whom were lynched. 39 In the great cities of the eastern half of the Empire, above all in Antioch and Alexandria, the numerical rise of the Christian communities, whose religious practices prevented them from participating in the public festivals of their pagan neighbours, was bound to be a cause of mounting tension in periods of Problem-solving emperors 15 economic hardship and political crisis.