Diocletian's realm included in both East and West wide areas of continuing or recent rebellion. The city of Rome for decades had ceased to serve as imperial headquarters. Thus the empire lacked clear boundaries and a clear center. After a reign of twenty years, Diocletian resigned. His grip on things was loosening, his health and nervous strength were undermined. Still stranger was the decision to force Maximian also into retirement. Galerius in the meanwhile had had his hands full with the eastern frontier. The Persians who invaded Syria in 296 had at first proved too much for him, and he required a second year to thrust them out and carry Roman victories into their homeland. Message soon arrived from Constantius, pleading ill health and asking that his son be released to him. Galerius delayed, thinking no kind thoughts of the young hostage. Legends describe the plots against Constantine's life, through convenient boars or barbarians, hunts or wars.