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Not to be confused with Teratology.
For the congenital heart condition, see Tetralogy of Fallot.

A tetralogy (from Greek τετρα- tetra-, "four" and -λογία -logia, "discourse") is a compound work that is made up of four distinct works. The name comes from the Attic theater, in which a tetralogy was a group of three tragedies followed by a satyr play, all by one author, to be played in one sitting at the Dionysia as part of a competition.[1]

Known Tetralogies[edit]

  • "Tintitives" by Antiphon of Rhamnus - The author was an orator who taught his students with ', each one consisting of four speeches: the prosecutor's opening speech, the first speech for the defense, the prosecutor's reply, and the defendant's conclusion. Three of his tetralogies are known to have survived.[2]
  • "Der Ring des Nibelungen" by Richard Wagner [3]
  • "Inheritance Cycle" by Christopher Paolini
  • "Magic Zero"[4] (previously titled "Outcast") by Christopher Golden and Thomas Sniegoski
  • "Menagerie" by Christopher Golden and Thomas Sniegoski
  • "The Sea of Fertility" (豊饒の海 Hōjō no Umi?) by Yukio Mishima

Other information[edit]

In the classical period of literature, Shakespeare is known to have drafted a pair of 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.[5]

As an alternative to "tetralogy", "quartet" is sometimes used, particularly for series of four books. The term "quadrilogy", basing the prefix on Latin prefix quadri- instead of the Greek prefix, and first recorded in 1865,[6] has also been used for marketing series of movies, such as the Alien series.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rush Rehm. Greek Tragic Theater. Routledge, 1994, p. 16.
  2. ^ C. M. Bowra. Landmarks in Greek Literature. Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1966, pp. 236–7.
  3. ^ Hans von Wolzogen. Guide to the music of Richard Wagner's tetralogy: The ring of the Nibelung. A thematic key. Translated by Nathan Haskell Dole. G. Schirmer, New York, 1895.
  4. ^ http://www.christophergolden.com/outcast.html
  5. ^ Victor L. Cahn. Shakespeare the playwright: a companion to the complete tragedies, histories, comedies, and romances. Greenwood, 1991.
  6. ^ Simpson, J.A., and Weiner, E.S.C. (eds.) The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. Oxford. Clarendon Press. "quadri-"