The first time Diocletian's whereabouts are accurately established, in 282, he was made by the newly Emperor Carus commander of the Protectores domestici, the élite cavalry force directly attached to the Imperial household – a post that earned him the honor of a consulship in 283.
– left his sons Numerian and Carinus as the new Augusti.
Under this 'tetrarchy', or "rule of four", each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the empire.
Diocletian secured the empire's borders and purged it of all threats to his power.
The title was also claimed by Carus' other surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus.
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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.
The first forty years of his life are mostly obscure.
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.
After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor.