Some see in this phrase a reference to the intrigues of Octavian (later Augustus) and Antony, both of them aspirants to universal control. Others see a reference to the struggle for power during the closing years of the reign of Diocletian (284-305) and during the years between the death of Diocletian and the time that Constantine the Great (306-337) succeeded in reuniting the empire (323 or 324).
Evil men and their machinations can last only as long as God suffers them to continue. The true philosophy of history is demonstrated throughout the book of Daniel. God “doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand” (ch. 4:35).