Diocletian's system does not long survive his abdication. His four succesors squabble among themselves, and at one point there are six mutually recognised rulers of different bits of the Roman Empire. But one of them, Constantine, defeats all the others, through superior statesmanship and military skill. "The successive steps of the elevation of Constantine, from his first assuming the purple at York, to the resignation of Licinius at Nicomedia, have been related with some minuteness and precision, not only as the events are in themselves both interesting and important, but still more as they contributed to the decline of the empire by the expense of blood and treasure, and by the perpetual increase, as well of the taxes as of the military establishment." The whole chapter is an impressive marshalling of historical facts, complex narrative and geography running from Britain to Asia Minor over a period of almost two decades.