Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


Wikipedia has an article on:


From Latin tetrarchia, from Ancient Greek τετραρχία (tetrarkhía), from the combining form of τέτταρες (téttares), τέσσαρες (téssares, four) + -αρχία (-arkhía).



  • IPA: /'tɛtɹɑːkɪ/
  • enPR: tĕträrkē


tetrarchy (plural tetrarchies)

  1. (politics, historical) Co-rule by four rulers (tetrarchs); specifically, the system of such rule of the Roman Empire from 293-313 CE instituted by Diocletian to end the Crisis of the Third Century.
    • 1996, Sam Lieu, 2: Constantine's "Pagan" Vision: The anonymous panegyric on Constantine (310), Pan. Lat. VII(6), Samuel N. C. Lieu, Dominic Montserrat (editors), From Constantine to Julian: Pagan and Byzantine Views: A Source History, 2003, page 66,
      Constantius was not born to the purple and Maximianus was the only original member of the First Tetrarchy from whom Constantine could satisfactorily derive his rule.
    • 2010, Roger Collins, Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000, 3rd Edition, page 16,
      The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian in 305, whether long-planned or just the product of the senior emperor's recent ill health, created a second Tetrarchy, in which the dominant figure should have been Galerius.
    • 2015, David M. Gwynn, Christianity in the Later Roman Empire: A Sourcebook, page 15,
      His imperial reorganization saw authority divided between four rulers, the Tetrarchy, to oversee the recovery.
  2. (politics, historical) Any of the portions of a previously intact realm divided into four parts, each separately ruled by a tetrarch; the division of a realm in such manner.
    • 1830, Edward Greswell, Dissertations Upon the Principles and Arrangement of a Harmony of the Gospels, Volume 1, page 228,
      According to Josephus, Herod Agrippa, who succeeded Antipas in his Tetrarchy, died in the seventh year of his reign; [] .
    • 1863, James Hewitt, Scripture Geography, page 66,
      This district was included with Galilee in the tetrarchy of Herod Antipas.
    • 1990, Seth Schwartz, Josephus and Judaean Politics, page 110,
      After an adventurous career, Aristobulus' son Agrippa was appointed by Gaius, in 38 C.E., king of the former tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias and was granted the praetorian ornamenta. Soon after, he was awarded the tetrarchy of his uncle and brother-in-law Herod Antipas [] .

Usage notes[edit]

Two tetrarchies are of particular historical note: the Herodian Tetrarchy, through which the Herodian kingdom of Judaea was split into separate states after the death of Herod the Great, and the Tetrarchy of Diocletian, through which rule of the Roman Empire was shared while the empire itself remained intact.


Related terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]

Number Noun
1 monarchy
2 biarchy / binarchy / diarchy / duumvirate
3 triarchy / triumvirate
4 tetrarchy / tetradarchy / quadrumvirate
5 pentarchy / quinumvirate
6 hexarchy
7 heptarchy
8 octarchy / octovirate
10 decarchy / decemvirate
12 dodecarchy
20 vigintivirate
26 vigintisexviri
100 hecatontarchy