A triumvirate (Latin: triumvirātus) or a triarchy is a political institution ruled or dominated by three individuals, known as triumvirs (Latin: triumviri). The arrangement can be formal or informal. Though the three leaders in a triumvirate are notionally equal, the actual distribution of power may vary. The term can also be used to describe a state with three different military leaders who all claim to be the sole leader.
In the Bible triumvirates occurred at some notable events in both the Old Testament and New Testament. In the Book of Exodus Moses, his brother Aaron and, according to some views their nephew or brother-in-law, Hur acted this way during the Battle of Rephidim against the Amalekites. Later, when Moses was away on the Mount Sinai Aaron and Hur were left in charge of all the Israelites.
In the Gospels as a leading trio among the Twelve Apostles at three particular occasions during public ministry of Jesus acted Peter, James, son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were the only apostles present at the Raising of Jairus' daughter, Transfiguration of Jesus and Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Later, at the time of the Early Christian Church this triumvirate of the leading apostles changed slightly after the former James's death, as it became composed of Peter, John and James, brother of Jesus, known collectively also as the three Pillars of the Church.
During the Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE), statesmen Huo Guang (d. 68 BCE), Jin Midi (d. 86 BCE), and Shangguan Jie 上官桀 (d. 80 BCE) formed a triumvirate following the death of Emperor Wu of Han (r. 141–87 BCE) and the installation of the child emperor Zhao.
Despite the Three Excellencies—including the Chancellor, Imperial Secretary, and irregularly the Grand Commandant—representing the most senior ministerial positions of state, this triumvirate was supported by the economic technocrat and Imperial Secretary Sang Hongyang (d. 80 BCE), their political lackey. The acting Chancellor Tian Qianqiu was also easily swayed by the decisions of the triumvirate.
The Three Excellencies existed in Western Han (202 BCE – 9 CE) as the Chancellor, Imperial Secretary, and Grand Commandant, but the Chancellor was viewed as senior to the Imperial Secretary while the post of Grand Commandant was vacant for most of the dynasty. After Emperor Guangwu established the Eastern Han (25–220 CE), the Grand Commandant was made a permanent official while the Minister over the Masses replaced the Chancellor and the Minister of Works replaced the Imperial Secretary. Unlike the three high officials in Western Han when the Chancellor was senior to all, these new three senior officials had equal censorial and advisory powers. When a young or weak-minded emperor ascended to the throne, these Three Excellencies could dominate the affairs of state. There were also other types of triumvirates during the Eastern Han; for example, at the onset of the reign of Emperor Ling of Han (r. 168–189), the General-in-Chief Dou Wu (d. 168), the Grand Tutor Chen Fan (d. 168), and another prominent statesman Hu Guang (91–172) formed a triumvirate nominally in charge of the Privy Secretariat, when in fact it was a regent triumvirate that was overseeing the affairs of state and Emperor Ling.
In Hinduism, the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva form the triumvirate Trimurti, where they each represent the balancing forces of creation, preservation, and destruction, respectively. Their female counterparts and consorts, the goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati, make up the parallel Tridevi.
Triumvirates during the Pagaruyuang era in the Minangkabau Highlands were known as Rajo Tigo Selo, or "the three reigning kings." The Rajo Tigo Selo was descended from the same line in the same dynasty and ruled at the same reigning time. It consisted of three kings, the Rajo Alam who ruled the government and diplomatic affairs, the Rajo Adaik who ruled the customs and the Rajo Ibadaik who acted as a Grand Mufti.
Main article: Triumvirate (ancient Rome)
During the Roman Republic, triumviri (or tresviri) were special commissions of three men appointed for specific administrative tasks apart from the regular duties of Roman magistrates.
The term triumvirate is most commonly used by historians of ancient Rome to refer to two political alliances during the crisis of the Roman Republic:
Tamil Triumvirate refers to the triumvirate of Chola, Chera, and Pandya who dominated the politics of the ancient Tamil country. Sivaperuman, Murugan and Agatiyar are considered triumvirate of Tamil Language and Sangam Literature.
In 1246, Rum Seljuk sultan Kaykaus II was invited to Güyük Khan's coronation. Instead he sent Kilij Arslan IV, who went to Karakorum with a delegation. Two years later, he was accompanied by a Mongolian military unit of 2000, returned to Anatolia with a jarlig given by Guyuk declaring him sultan. He was recognized as sultan in Sivas, Erzincan, Diyarbakır, Malatya, Harput. Later, a meeting was held, resulting in an accord where the three brothers (Kaykaus, Kilij and Kayqubad) would share the throne. A khutbah was read on their behalf, and coins were struck in their names. However, influenced by some emirs, Kilij Arslan did not accept this and went into conflict with Kaykaus, but suffered an unexpected defeat. On 14 June 1249, he was caught and brought to his brother. However, he was well received and returned together to Konya. Both were enthroned alongside Kayqubad II. Thus a period of joint rule began from 1249 until 1254. Kaykaus, controlled the capital, Konya, and everything further west, and the coast at Antalya, up to Ankara. Kilij Arslan was allocated everything to the east of Konya up to Erzurum. Kayqubad was granted minor estates on a scale sufficient for his personal expenses.[page needed]
The title was revived a few times for (short-lived) three-headed political 'magistratures' in post-feudal times.
The Three Pashas also known as Ottoman Triumvirate effectively ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I: Mehmed Talaat Pasha (1874–1921), the Grand Vizier (prime minister) and Minister of the Interior; Ismail Enver Pasha (1881–1922), the Minister of War; and Ahmed Djemal Pasha (1872–1922), the Minister of the Navy.
Post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina is ruled by a three-member Presidency.
While French Huguenots had derisively bestowed the name Triumvirate on the alliance formed in 1561 between Catholic Francis, Duke of Guise, Anne de Montmorency, and Jacques d'Albon during the French Wars of Religion, in later years the term would be used to describe other arrangements within France.
At the end of the 1700s, when the French revolutionaries turned to several Roman magistrature names for their newly created institutions, the three-headed collective head of state was named the Consulat (1799-1804), a term in use for two-headed magistratures since Antiquity; furthermore it included an office of First Consul who was not an equal, but the de facto solo head of state and government – a position Napoleon Bonaparte chose to convert openly into the First French Empire in 1804.
Prior to Napoleon and during the Terror from 1793 to 1794 Maximilien Robespierre, Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, and Georges Couthon, as members of the governing Committee of Public Safety, were accused by their political opponents of forming an unofficial triumvirate, pointing out the first triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus which led to the end of the Roman Republic. Although officially all members of the committee shared equal power the three men's friendship and close ideological base led their detractors to declaim them as triumvirs which was used against them in the coup of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794).
In the early days of the national struggle and before Gandhi, the Indian National Congress was known to be under Lal-Bal-Pal i.e. Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, often dubbed Lokmanya Tilak.
The Czechoslovak National Council, an organization founded in Paris in 1916 by Czech and Slovak émigrés during World War I to liberate their homeland from Austria-Hungary, consisted of the triumvirate of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as a chairman, Edvard Beneš, who joined Masaryk in exile in 1915, as the organization’s general secretary, and Milan Rastislav Štefánik, a Slovak who was an aviator in the French Army, designating to represent Slovak interests in the national council. During the closing weeks of the war, the Czechoslovak National Council was formally upgraded to a provisional government and its members were designated to hold top offices in the First Czechoslovak Republic.
According to the Article 8 paragraph (3) from the Constitution of Indonesia, there are three head of government institutions that can act as a "temporary" triumvirate only if there are vacancies in the position of president and vice president at the same time (e.g. both president and vice president were assassinated, sick, not doing their duties, passed away, or resigned). They are Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs, and Minister of Defense. Those three ministers can act for president and vice president together for maximum 30 days.
After that, during the term of the triumvirate, the House of Representatives through the political parties or the coalition of political parties will elect a new President and Vice President and propose it to the People's Consultative Assembly. The newly elected President and Vice President which holds first and second of the most votes in the parliament will continue the remaining office position of former President and Vice President that were elected from previous general election, not five years.
Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Liu Shaoqi are regarded as the three most influential members of the first generation of the Chinese communist leaders. Mao and Zhou managed to remain at the highest levels of power until their deaths in 1976. Unlike them Liu, who served as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (1954-1959) and later as the President of the People's Republic of China, nominal de jure head of state (1959-1968), was purged during the cultural revolution in 1968. He died in prison in 1969.
Instead of Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De is sometimes regarded as a member of the triumvirate of the leading Chinese politicians alongside Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. The three had the biggest contribution to the victory in the Chinese Civil War and the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and are now collectively venerated as the three founding heroes. Mao, Zhou and Zhu were the only three original members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party who remained in the Politburo from 1945 until their deaths in 1976 (though Zhu temporarily lost his membership between 1969-1973) and died while holding the highest party and state offices Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (Mao), Premier of the State Council (Zhou) and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the nominal head of state (Zhu).
Main article: Presidential Council (Benin)
In the context of the Soviet Union, the term troika (Russian: for "group of three") is used for "triumvirate".
In the Roman Republic (1849), the title of two sets of three joint chiefs of state in the year 1849:
Almost immediately following the Roman Republic, the Red Triumvirate governed the restored Papal States from 1849 to 1850:
The word has been used as a term of convenience, though not an official title, for other groups of three in a similar position:
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