Definition of tetrarch in English:



  • 1(in the Roman Empire) the governor of one of four divisions of a country or province.

    • ‘When Diocletian divided authority between the tetrarchs, each of them established a capital in a different region of the empire and embellished it with appropriate grandeur.’
    • ‘The same harshness of representation is seen in the portraits of the tetrarchs, along with a stronger emphasis on abstraction as uniformity reinforced the solidarity of the empire.’
    • ‘Full of magnificent mosaics with what seem to be portraits of the same sort as those found on the porphyry monuments of the tetrarchs in the 290s and early 300s, it nonetheless remains mysterious.’
    • ‘Claudius made him tetrarch of the provinces of Philippi and Lysanias, with the title of king.’
    • ‘Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, was tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea.’
    1. 1.1 Each of four joint rulers.
      • ‘Recognizing the emperor's vulnerability, he also chose to divide authority among four rulers, known as the tetrarchs.’
      • ‘The sameness of the portraits underlines the tetrarchs' equality, while their embrace stresses unanimity and solidarity.’
      • ‘The provinces were grouped into larger administrative units called a diocese, ruled by a governor general who answered to a praetorian prefect, who in turn answered to one of the tetrarchs.’
    2. 1.2archaic A subordinate ruler.
      • ‘McKinsey also thinks it is wrong for Matthew to call Herod a ‘King ‘rather than a tetrarch.’’


Old English, from late Latin tetrarcha, from Latin tetrarches, from Greek tetrarkhēs, from tetra- ‘four’ + arkhein ‘to rule’.