Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 04 December 2022



  • Henry Dickinson Westlake
  •  and Antony Spawforth


Tetrarchy was first used to denote one of the four political divisions of *Thessaly (‘tetrad’ being a purely geographical term). The term found its way to the Hellenistic east and was applied to the four divisions into which each of the three Celtic tribes of *Galatia was subdivided (Strabo 12. 5. 1, 567 C). In Roman times many Hellenized *client kings in Syria and Palestine were styled ‘tetrarch’, but the number of tetrarchies in any political organization ceased to be necessarily four, denoting merely the realm of a subordinate dynast. Modern scholars conventionally describe as a ‘tetrarchy’ the system of collegiate government (two senior Augusti, two junior Caesars) instituted by *Diocletian (ce 293); the usage has no ancient authority.


  • Greek History and Historiography
  • Greek Law

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription