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A quadrumvirate, also called a quattuorvirate, is a group of four individuals who act as a governing body or the figureheads of four coordinating governing bodies which have nominally equal distributions of power and influence over the governed.

One member of a quadrumvirate, in ancient Rome, was a quattuorvir (sometimes given as "quadrumvirus" in post-Classical Latin). This was a board of magistrates occupied by four Roman citizens at a time, elected by the Senate and given a jurisdiction to police and act in judicial capacity, instead of a single praefectus (prefect) or duovir (a pair of magistrates). The term is found most frequently in sections XIX and XX of the Lex Rubria De Gallia Cisalpina, a bronze inscription found in the archaeological excavations of Velleia, dating to before 49 BCE, the year when Julius Caesar granted Roman citizenship to the occupants of Cisalpine Gaul. Based on its usage in this context, the preference of a quattuorvirate over a duovirate or prefect is ostensibly a matter of how many separate ethnicities and languages are represented among the population of a jurisdiction: more distinct languages would require magistrates able to speak them.

On 24 October 1922, Benito Mussolini appointed a set of quadrumvirs to lead his March on Rome, a movement of 60,000 members of his National Fascist Party, while Mussolini traveled to Milan to conduct other work there. His selections were Italo Balbo, Emilio De Bono, Cesare Maria de Vecchi, and Michele Bianchi.

From Latin quattuorvirātus, itself comprised of quattuor “four,” vir “man,” -ātus “like or having.”

From the English quadri- “four”, itself descended from Latin quattuor, with the second part of triumvirate, a similar governing body with three leaders rather than four.

Iron Noder 2020, 6/30

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