Northern Africa 298: Diocletian’s Nubian Campaign

Political map of Northern Africa on 24 Sep 298 (Africa, Diocletian, and Constantine: Diocletian’s Nubian Campaign), showing the following events: Maximian’s Moorish campaigns; Roman Dioceses; Domitius Domitianus and Achilleus; Battle of Satala; Diocletian’s Nubian Campaign.

In 297 Diocletian took command in Egypt to suppress a rebellion there. Marching up the Nile the following year, he concluded that the strip of territory south of Elephantine was not worth defending and instead gave the land to the Nobatae to hold as a Roman ally.

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Main Events

296?–298 Maximian’s Moorish campaigns

In the 290s, probably following his successful support of Constantius’ invasion of Britain in 296, Maximian traveled to Spain, where he dealt with Moorish raiders from North Africa. After this, in around the spring of 297, he moved to Africa itself, where he mounted a campaign against the Quinquegentiani. These tribes he drove into the desert by 10 March 298, after which Maximian stayed in Africa for a time, before returning to Italy by the end of the year. It is probably during this period that the Baquates agreed to become Roman clients, safeguarding the land route between Mauretania Caesariensis and wikipedia

297? Roman Dioceses

As a result of Diocletian’s reforms, the Roman Empire came to contain over 100 provinces. To facilitate their management, these provinces were grouped together into twelve larger units known as dioceses, with three dioceses for each of the tetrarchs. Each diocese was placed under the authority of a subordinate of the praetorian prefect, known as a vicarius. Most modern historians believe that the dioceses were created in around 296–297, although it is possible that they were introduced as late as 314, during the reign of Constantine. in wikipedia

297–298 Domitius Domitianus and Achilleus

In 297 Domitius Domitianus proclaimed himself emperor in Egypt, probably with the support of the corrector Achilleus (ancient historians talk only of Achilleus whereas surviving coins are only of Domitianus). The rebellion forced Diocletian to leave the Persian campaign in the hands of Galerius while he himself marched south and quickly defeated Domitianus. Diocletian then besieged Achilleus in Alexandria, which finally fell after an eight-month siege. In retribution, Diocletian had the traitors put to death and ordered a massacre of many of the people in the wikipedia

298 Battle of Satala

After his defeat at Carrhae, Galerius gathered new troops from Illyricum and Moesia and, in the winter of 297/298, marched on Armenia to confront Shah Narseh of Persia again. Here, from the Roman base of Satala and supported by the exiled Armenian king Tiridates III, Galerius launched a surprise attack on the nearby Persian camp and utterly defeated the Persian army. In the rout, the Romans captured Narseh’s wife, harem, children, treasury, and much of his court. Narseh himself narrowly wikipedia

??–Sep 298 Diocletian’s Nubian Campaign

After restoring order and implementing reforms in Alexandria, Diocletian marched south along the Nile to Nubia, where he made peace with the Nobatae and Blemmyes tribes. Realizing that the region south of the city of Elephantine cost far more to defend than it provided in revenue, he granted it to the Nobatae and shifted the border north to nearby Philae, where he constructed a strong fortress and a temple to cater for both nations. Diocletian then further placated the tribes by agreeing to pay them both an annual gold stipend to end their raiding. in wikipedia