A tetralogy is a compound work that is made up of four (numerical prefix "") 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 prefix quadri- instead of the Greek prefix. 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:
* A. S. Byatt's "Frederica" "Quartet" (The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman)
* Claude Royet-Journoud's "Le Renversement", "La Notion d'Obstacle", "Les Objects contiennent l'infini", and "Les Natures indivisibles" (poetry published between 1972 and 1997)
* Christopher Paolini's "Inheritance Cycle"
* E. E. Smith's "Skylark" series
* Ford Madox Ford's "Parade's End"
* Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun" and "Book of the Long Sun"
* Harry Turtledove's "Settling Accounts"
* Henry de Montherlant's "Les Jeunes Filles"
* John Updike's "Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit is Rich, Rabbit at Rest)
* Jonathan Bayliss's "Gloucesterman"
* L. Frank Baum's "Ozma of Oz", "Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz", "The Road to Oz", and "The Emerald City of Oz".
* Lawrence Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet"
* Maggie Furey's "Artefacts of Power"
* Paul Scott's "Raj Quartet"
* Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight series"
* Tamora Pierce's "The Song of the Lioness"
* Terry Brooks's The Heritage of Shannara quartet
* T. H. White's "The Once and Future King"
* Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter quartet
* Thomas Mann's "Joseph and His Brothers"
* Yaşar Kemal's "İnce Memed"
* William Shakespeare's sequence of history plays: "Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, Henry V" (major tetralogy) and "Henry VI, Part 1", "Henry VI, Part 2", "Henry VI, Part 3", "Richard III" (minor tetralogy)
* Sergei Lukyanenko's "Watch" series
* S. M. Stirling's "Emberverse" series (Dies the Fire, The Protector's War, A Meeting at Corvallis)
* Yukio Mishima's "The Sea of Fertility"


* "Alien Quadrilogy"
* "Batman"
* "Die Hard"
* "Indiana Jones franchise"
* "Jaws"
* "Lethal Weapon"
* "Rambo"
* "Rebuild of Evangelion"
* "Saw"
* "Scary Movie"
* "The Karate Kid"
* "Tremors"


* Coheed and Cambria's "The Amory Wars" concept albums.
* Richard Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen", a series of four epic music dramas.
* Thrice's "The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II" and "The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV"

Video games (as of 2008)

* Call of Duty (series)
* Devil May Cry (series)
* Grand Theft Auto (although, in theory, the series has more than four games, albeit only four 'numbered' games)
* .hack//Games
* Metal Gear Solid (series)
* Metroid (series) The original Metroid series, not the Prime Sub Trilogy or the spinoffs
* Monkey Island

Historical works

* "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples" by Winston Churchill.

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.

ee also

* Duology
* Heptalogy
* Sequel
* Trilogy

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tetralogy — Te*tral o*gy, n. [Gr. ?; te tra (see {Tetra }) + ? a speech, discourse: cf. F. t[ e]tralogie.] (Gr. Drama) A group or series of four dramatic pieces, three tragedies and one satyric, or comic, piece (or sometimes four tragedies), represented… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tetralogy — 1650s, from Gk. tetralogia, from tetra (see TETRA (Cf. tetra )) + logia (see LOGY (Cf. logy)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • tetralogy — ► NOUN (pl. tetralogies) ▪ a group of four related literary or operatic works …   English terms dictionary

  • tetralogy — [te tral′ə jē] n. pl. tetralogies [Gr tetralogia: see TETRA & LOGY] 1. a series of four dramas, three tragic and one satirical, performed together at the ancient Athenian festival of Dionysus 2. any series of four related plays, novels, etc …   English World dictionary

  • tetralogy — noun (plural gies) Etymology: Greek tetralogia, from tetra + logia logy Date: 1656 1. a group of four dramatic pieces presented consecutively on the Attic stage at the Dionysiac festival 2. a series of four connected works (as operas or novels) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tetralogy — /te tral euh jee, trah leuh /, n., pl. tetralogies. 1. a series of four related dramas, operas, novels, etc. 2. a group of four dramas, three tragedies and one satyr play, performed consecutively at the festival of Dionysus in ancient Athens.… …   Universalium

  • tetralogy — noun /tɛˈtrælədʒi/ a) A series of four related works of fiction. b) A combination of four symptoms. Syn: quadrilogy See Also: dilogy, trilogy, pentalogy …   Wiktionary

  • tetralogy — SYN: tetrad (1). [G. tetralogia] Eisenmenger t. SYN: Eisenmenger complex. t. of Fallot a set of congenital cardiac defects including ventricular septal defect, pulmonic valve …   Medical dictionary

  • tetralogy — n. combination of four factors or four elements, four common symptoms or defects (Medicine); quadrivalent element (in Chemistry); series of four artistic works (such as of literature or music) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • tetralogy — [tɪ tralədʒi] noun (plural tetralogies) 1》 a group of four related literary or operatic works.     ↘a series of four ancient Greek dramas, three tragic and one satyric, originally presented together. 2》 Medicine a set of four related symptoms… …   English new terms dictionary