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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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A governor of a quarter of a province the title of several feudal lords of Palestine and neighboring countries who were subject to Roman suzerainty. This title, which evidently implies a rank somewhat lower than that of Ethnarch , was held by the following Jewish princes: Herod the Great before he became king, and his brother Phasael , both of whom received the office from Antony (Josephus, "Ant." 14:13, § 1 idem , "B. J." 1:12, § 5) Pheroras , whom Augustus, at the request of Herod, appointed tetrarch of Perea (20 B.C. ), a post which yielded him an income of 100 talents ("Ant." 15:10, § 3 "B. J." 1:24, § 5) Herod Antipas , who was tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 3:1 ) Philip , who governed Iturea and Trachonitis (ib. ) and Lysanias, who ruled Abilene (ib. ).

The district governed by a tetrarch was called a. tetrarchy ("Ant." 20:7, § 1) and this term was first used by Euripides, who applied it to Thessaly, attributing to it its original connotation of a quarter province, since Thessaly was divided into four districts. "Tetrarch" was employed in a similar sense with reference to Galatia but in other countries, as well as among the Jews, it lost its primary meaning, and came to imply a ruler whose power was less than that of a king. Such tetrarchs were especially numerous in Syria (Pliny, "Historia Naturalis," 5:74), and one Sohemus of Lebanon is mentioned by Josephus ("Vita," § 11). Kings and tetrarchs furnished auxiliary troops to the army of Varus ("Ant." 17:10, § 9). The Herodian tetrarchs, either from error or from mere flattery, were addressed also as kings (comp. Matthew 2:22 , 14:9 ) and it was with but little justification that Agrippa , II. styled himself "king," since, as a matter of fact, he was but a tetrarch.

Bibliography : Winer, B. R. 3d ed., s.v. Schü rer, Gesch. 3d ed., 1:423. E. C. S. Kr.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Tetrarch'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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