noun, plural pentarchies.
a government by five persons.
a governing body of five persons.
a federation of five nations, each under its own government or ruler.

1580–90; < Greek pentarchía. See pent(a)-, -archy

pentarch, noun
pentarchical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pentarchy (ˈpɛntɑːkɪ)
n , pl -chies
1.  government by five rulers
2.  a ruling body of five
3.  a union or association of five kingdoms, provinces, etc, each under its own ruler
4.  a country ruled by a body of five

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Encyclopedia Britannica


in early Byzantine Christianity, the proposed government of universal Christendom by five patriarchal sees under the auspices of a single universal empire. Formulated in the legislation of the emperor Justinian I (527-565), especially in his Novella 131, the theory received formal ecclesiastical sanction at the Council in Trullo (692), which ranked the five sees as Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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