By the middle of the third century A.D., the Roman Empire was in a state of near chaos. It was ineffectively ruled by a succession of emperors, who, having been placed on the throne by victorious warring factions, went on to enjoy brief, blood-stained reigns. Diocletian, a successful general, came to the throne in the same manner. However, realizing that the empire could not go on as it was, he reorganized its government, army, and defenses. Diocletian’s reorganization and his 21-year reign (A.D. 284 to 305) brought stability and strength that extended the Roman Empire’s life by generations.