It is a well known fact that the system of the official communication of the Roman Empire had undergone a striking change after Diocletian’s accession (284): Latin came into prominence and was used exclusively in the Eastern imperial administration where Greek had played an important role before Diocletian. So far this prominence of Latin has commonly been interpreted as an effect of a radical change in the language policy of the Roman state, claiming that Diocletian and Constantine I had introduced a new intolerant and aggressive language policy in the framework of the rehabilitation of the Roman Empire. In my paper I try to demonstrate that this alleged aggressive language policy never existed and that the prominence of Latin in the Eastern part of the Empire spontaneously resulted from the bureaucratic and governmental transformation of the Roman Empire that significantly increased the prestige of the Latin language.
The two Augusti and two Caesars of Diocletian's tetrarchy have been commilitones, originating from the Balkanic provinces. They were chosen by Diocletian an the basis of friendship that was corroborated by family connections. Although these connections were changed partly because of invidia, Diocletian achieved a remarkable success through his system which was tightly connected with the possible oracle of a celtic sibyl. She said that Diocletian would became emperor if he slayed the wild boar. As Diocletian killed Flavius Aper (= boar), the oracle came true. The only representation of the boar slaying that relates to Diocletian is an inscribed tegula with such a representaion found in Intercisa.
The aim of this study is to examine and describe the official language use of the Roman Empire under Justinian I, focusing on the choice between Greek and Latin, the two traditional official languages of the empire. Comparing the practice under Justinian with that of the ages before resp. after Diocletian's accession (284), the conclusion can be drawn that Justinian reformed the official language use on purpose, following the practice of the principate.
. Barkóczi : The population of Pannonia from Marcus Aurelius to Diocletian. ActaArchHung 16 (1964) 257–356.
The population of Pannonia from Marcus Aurelius to Diocletian
is as follows. A man called Sisynnios lived in Antiochia in the times of the Emperor Diocletian. He leaved his native city and upon returning later realized that his sister gave birth to a girl, killed the baby and sucked its blood. After that she
Diocletian . Archiv für Papyrusforschung 7 ( 1924 ) 30 – 51 .
Strobel 1993 K. Strobel : Das Imperium Romanum im “3. Jahrhundert“: Modell einer historischen Krise? Zur Frage mentaler Strukturen breiterer Bevölkerungsschichten in der Zeit von Marc
): Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250 . Cambridge (Cambridge Medieval Textbooks).
Demandt, A. (2007): Die Spätantike. Römische Geschichte von Diocletian bis Justinian, 284–565 n. Chr . München (Handbuch der