- Oct 2018
Did Diocletian retire to grow cabbages? Did many of the others "retire"?
It is also possible (and this is not mutually exclusive from the above possibility) that Diocletian wished to be alive for the succession of his heirs so that he could supervise the changing of hands and ensure its smooth operation. After all, the succession in 305 was a controversial affair. No biological sons were co-opted as Caesars. Among these sons were the adults Constantine (of Constantius) and Maxentius (of Maximian), as well as the younger sons of Constantius and Galerius' 9-year old son Candidianus. Moreover, Constantius was the senior-ranking Caesar, and would accordingly become the first-ranking Augustus with the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, and yet the two new Caesars would be Galerius' friend Severus and Galerius' nephew Maximinus. The result would be de-facto dominance for Galerius despite the nominal seniority of Constantius. Such a controversial changing of hands would have benefited from Diocletian's supervision.
Those are the explanations put forward in scholarship that are the most convincing.