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The persecution of Christians by Diocletian began in 303 C.E. at a time when the Roman Empire was under extreme economic pressure. The economy of currency had been ruined and the tax system had to be based on payments in kind, just as the military were also paid in kind. Certain occupations that were considered to be essential for the maintenance of the Empire became known as ‘compulsory services’ and those engaged in them were prohibited from changing them. To try and unify the Empire at this politically difficult time, Diocletian used the state religion.

Diocletian had divided the Empire into four princeps to be run by four emperors. In 293 C.E. he appointed Galerius to the eastern empire of the Balkans. Galerius married Diocletian’s daughter Valerian who, along with her mother, was a Christian. It is considered by Eusibius that it was Galerian, at the behest of his mother…

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