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The Imprimatur of Decadence: Robert Adam and the Imperial Palatine Tradition

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Chapter Summary

Robert Adam's Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia as a pattern book promoting the extravagance of ancient palatine traditions, it should be stressed that this was the first systematic survey of a generally well-preserved example of ancient domestic architecture associated with the establishment of the Tetrarchy marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century. This political system, established by Diocletian in 293 ce, divided the Roman empire into four major regions and placed these under the rule of two Augusti and two Caesari: the former included Diocletian in the east, and Maximian in the west; and the latter, Constantius Chlorus in Gaul and the Iberian peninsula, and Galerius. According to historians of Adam's generation such as Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, the partitioning put an end "to the disorders of empire" and thereby established Diocletian as "founder of a new empire".

Keywords: Alexander Fraser Tytler; ancient palatine traditions; Emperor Diocletian; Robert Adam; Roman empire



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