Unique though the Palace of Diocletian might be, a few comparisons are in order.
The first is with the Palatine Hill in Rome, the very essence of where to build a real palace, and how swankily to fit it out. Traces of precious marbles remain on site, together with immensely tall walls; lots of sculptures and other treasures have been removed over the centuries. But a true impression can perhaps only be obtained from La Plastica - the great Plan of Rome in the Museo della Civilta Romana, at EUR, Rome (above)
Another useful comparison is with other structures put up by Diocletian himself, such as his great baths in Rome, seen here in the reconstruction by the Frenchman Etienne du Perac, from his Disegni de le ruine di Roma e come anticamente erono of 1581:
- and here in Fischer von Erlach's reconstruction from his Entwuerff einer historischen Architektur of 1721, Tafel IX:
Again, the festive nature of the semi-circular pediment over the palace facade is a commonplace of later Imperial and, indeed, Byzantine architecture. Here is T. Wiegand's 1921 reconstruction (from his Baalbek) of the Propylaea to the Sanctuary of Jupiter at Baalbek:
Another comparison, even if a generic one, might be made with the Emperor Nero's famous Golden House, the Domus Aurea, shown here in Fischer von Erlach's fantastical and baroqued version. Fischer has made it far too large - but then he had an inflated imagination of the very size of Roman buildings, which he saw through the filter of later structures such as Louis XIV's Versailles:
There are also plenty of instances throughout Europe where later populations have taken advantage of structures of absolutely no use for their original purpose, but eminently adaptable. Palaces attracted squatters everywhere; amphitheatres, after the banning of the Games by spoilsport Christian emperors as being distinctly not bon ton, were recognized as admirable terrace housing, and safe housing at that. Here is Arles, in Provence (France), with a community complete with churches snug within its walls:
From here you may move directly to:
The Introductory Page; The Colonnaded Streets; Diocletian as Builder; The Emperor's Apartments; The Great Hall & Peristyle Complex; The Emperor's Mausoleum; Is Split palace or chateau?; The Temple; The Walls & Gates A short description of the Tetrarchy; The Bibliography; My Biography; The technology I've used; A Short Research Paper.