Galerius was the instigator of the Diocletian persecutions in the fourth century. After more than 40 years of peace and prosperity the most severe of all the persecutions was commenced. Christianity was now a popularly recognized religion, there were many large churches among public buildings, Christians were found at high places in court and the emperor Diocletian was favorably disposed to them. Although the persecution bears his name, and as senior Augustus, ultimately responsible, the real author was Galerius. Lactantius called him a "wild beast."

The hatred of Galerius, the adopted son of Diocletian, who, being stimulated by his mother, a bigoted pagan, never ceased persuading the emperor to enter upon the persecution, until he had accomplished his purpose. An ardent pagan, he is said to be ambitious to succeed Diocletian, and for this needed the support of the army, which was still predominately non-Christian.

But if the Decian persecution with all the resources of the state to support it had failed a half a century before, the idea of destroying Christianity now that it had grown much stronger was preposterous. All this bloodshed was so much waste as far as the aims of the persecutors was concerned. In the agonies of his deathbed, its author Galerius issued an edict in 311 putting a stop to it and even commanded the Christians to pray for him.
[14, 18, 23]

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