AskDefine | Define tetralogy

Dictionary Definition

tetralogy n : a series of four related works (plays or operas or novels)

User Contributed Dictionary



From τέτρα + λογια (-logy).


  • tĕ-trălʹ-ə-jē, /tɛˈtrælədʒi/, /tE"tr

Extensive Definition

For the congenital heart condition, see Tetralogy of Fallot
A tetralogy is a compound work that is made up of four (numerical prefix tetra-) distinct works.
The name comes from the Attic theater, where tetralogies were meant to be played in one sitting at the Dionysia. In more recent times, Shakespeare wrote two tetralogies, the first consisting of the three Henry VI plays and Richard III, and the second consisting of Richard II, the two Henry IV plays, and Henry V. Richard Wagner's "Der Ring der Nibelungen" - the 'Ring Cycle' - is also referred to as a tetralogy.
The word "tetralogy" is not commonly used in the marketing of collections of works. The term "quadrilogy" has also been used, basing the prefix on Latin Quadri instead of Greek. The musical term "quartet" is also used, as well as "legacy." The Alien and Batman series, each consisting of four films, have been released in collections titled The Alien Legacy and The Batman Legacy. The Alien and Die Hard series have also been released in sets under the title The Alien Quadrilogy and The Die Hard Quadrilogy.

Famous tetralogies

Literary works

In literature, the term Tetralogy has also been applied to novels, plays, and poetry, such as:

Video games

A series of four novels is also called a quartet.
The 20th Century Fox marketing team coined the nonstandard synonym "quadrilogy" for the release of their Alien DVD box set The Alien Quadrilogy and the Die Hard DVD box set The Die Hard Quadrilogy''. This uses the Latin numerical prefix quadri-/quadr-, instead of the usual Greek tetra-, with the Greek -logy.
tetralogy in Bulgarian: Тетралогия
tetralogy in Czech: Tetralogie
tetralogy in Danish: Tetralogi
tetralogy in German: Tetralogie
tetralogy in French: Tétralogie
tetralogy in Italian: Tetralogia
tetralogy in Japanese: 四部作
tetralogy in Dutch: Tetralogie
tetralogy in Norwegian: Tetralogi
tetralogy in Polish: Tetralogia
tetralogy in Russian: Тетралогия
tetralogy in Swedish: Tetralogi
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