Prior (Stargate)

Jaffa (Stargate)

In the fictional universe of the science fiction TV series Stargate SG-1, the Jaffa are modified humans genetically engineered by the Goa'uld in antiquity to serve as soldiers and as incubators for their young. They first appear in the Stargate movie, although the concept and backstory of the Jaffa is not introduced until , the first episode of Stargate SG-1.

Background

The main difference between a Jaffa and a normal human is an abdominal pouch accessible from the outside by a X-shaped slit. The pouch serves as an incubator for a larval Goa'uld, known as a prim'tah, which improves their ability to successfully take a host upon maturation from 50% to nearly 100%. The Goa'uld have a device capable of quickly transforming humans into Jaffa. The larval symbiote grants the Jaffa enhanced strength, health, healing, and longevity (in excess of 150 years). However, the presence of the symbiote also replaces the Jaffa's immune system, and if removed the Jaffa will die a long and painful death. The Jaffa equivalent of puberty is the Age of Prata, at which time a prim'tah must be implanted. Jaffa do not require sleep, but must engage in a form of meditation called kelnorim in order to synchronize with their symbiote. It is possible for a Jaffa to communicate with his/her symbiote through a dangerously deep state of kelnorim.

Jaffa who are in service of a Goa'uld bear a black tattoo of their master's insignia on their foreheads. The highest-ranking Jaffa in service of a Goa'uld is known as the First Prime and bears a raised gold insignia, made by baring the bone with a special knife and filling the wound with molten gold; Teal'c describes it as a very painful process. Other high-ranking Jaffa may bear similar silver marks. The elite guard of powerful Goa'uld sometimes wear helmets shaped like that Goa'uld's symbolic animal; the helmets are made from articulated metal plates that can fold to reveal the face, and are intended to intimidate the Goa'uld's enslaved human populations. Helmeted Jaffa seen or mentioned in the series include the Horus Guards (falcon-headed, serving Ra and Heru-ur), Serpent Guards (cobra-headed, serving Apophis), and the Setesh Guards (Set animal-headed, serving Seth). A jackal-headed (Anubis) guard also appears in service of Ra in the Stargate movie

Events in the series

Teal'c (portrayed by Christopher Judge) is a Jaffa who chose to join SG-1 and fight for the freedom of all Jaffa, started out as a lone traitor, but gradually and with the aid of his former Jaffa mentor, Bra'tac, is able to rally an increasing number of Jaffa to his cause.

Jaffa Resistance

By season six, the Jaffa Resistance (Occasionally referred to as the Fifth Column) has been formed; an organized rebellion against the Goa'uld of which Teal'c is a prominent leader. At the end of season eight, Teal'c achieves his goal and finally helps liberate most of the Jaffa from the Goa'uld; the Goa'uld have long weakened one another by continuous civil war amongst the System Lords, and were then crippled by the Replicator invasion of the galaxy.

Soon after, forces of the Tau'ri are able to defeat the Replicators. The Jaffa see the Goa'uld's inability to save themselves from the Replicators as proof that they are false Gods, especially when System Lord Ba'al makes a cowardly escape from the Jaffa Resistance, after which the Jaffa turn against the Goa'uld en masse.

Free Jaffa Nation

In season nine, the Jaffa Resistance and the destruction of the System Lords gave birth to the Free Jaffa Nation, with the planet Dakara as its new capital. The new nation immediately became a major power, inheriting part of the fleets of the System Lords, partially filling the power vacuum left by their defeat. In an elaborate ceremony marking the official founding of the Jaffa Nation, Teal'c and Bra'tac were knighted Bloodkin to all Jaffa, the highest honour that can be bestowed on any Jaffa.

The nation was initially ruled by the Jaffa High Council, on which votes were appropriated based on unconfirmed military assets, the nation is divided between at least two major political factions: the opposition progressives who support Teal'c and Master Bra'tac's vision of a representative democracy and the ruling traditionalists who support the military oligarchy with Gerak at the head of the High Council.

With the arrival of the Ori, things began to become difficult for the Jaffa Nation. The nation was initially committed to resisting the spread of Origin and its attendant Priors; most Jaffa were horrified at the idea of worshipping false gods once more, as the resistance of the Jaffa of Kallana showed ("Beachhead"). However, Gerak was converted to Origin and as a result the Ori gained a powerful ally in the form of the Jaffa loyal to them. However, Gerak's choice threatened to split the Jaffa with civil war as the progressives and even some of Gerak's fellow traditionalists were opposed to this idea; even Gerak's aide Yat'Yir had doubts. In the end, however, Gerak chose to rebel against the Ori.

A resolution passed by the High Council mandated a referendum to determine whether the nation would adopt a constitution based on Earth representative democracies. It passed in "Stronghold", with elections to be held two months later. The Jaffa suffered greatly against the followers of the Ori with their ships being almost completely ineffective at stopping the recently arrived Ori battlecruisers. One of the first Jaffa worlds to fall to the Ori was Teal'c's home planet of Chulak.

The Jaffa leader Se'tak took matters into his own hands to deal with the Ori via the Dakara Superweapon. This weapon was used to target Ori worlds to wipe out the followers of Origin. A Jaffa strike force faced competition in the form of SG-1 and Adria, who killed the Jaffa who challenged her. Learning of the location of Dakara, Adria targeted the Dakara device and destroyed it, along with Se'tak and his loyal followers. Master Bra'tac survived the devastation of Dakara. Many other Jaffa worlds bowed down to the Ori afterwards, whether through fear or having actually been converted is unknown.

Several Jaffa worlds had willingly fallen into the hand of the Ori crusaders though small resistance movements still existed that gained intelligence on these enemies. Some groups, such as the Illac Renin, became devoted to the path the Ori showed them though many resisted it. In order to help stabilise the leadership of the Jaffa, a peaceful summit was called on the Jaffa world of Dar Eshkalon but a deceptive strike killed many of it attendees. It was revealed that this was done by radical Jaffa who followed the Ori and were led by a former First Prime known as Arkad who wished to steer the Jaffa's destiny into the hands of the Ori. Furthermore, to gain the favour of his new masters, he attempted to stockpile weapons grade naquadah to use against the Tau'ri but he was killed by Teal'c before he could accomplish this. Currently, the fate of the Jaffa Nation is unknown beyond the elimination of this single threat. (Talion)

Jaffa High Council

The Jaffa High Council was the ruling body of the Free Jaffa Nation for one season. Votes were appropriated on the Council based on unconfirmed military assets of the various coalitions represented. Many of the councillors are the former leaders of the Jaffa Resistance. The Jaffa High Council was divided between Traditionalists, favoring old-style government based on military strength, and Progressives, favoring some form of republic. The Traditionalist faction was led by Gerak and Yat'Yir, both former servants of Montu. In "Ex Deus Machina", it is revealed that the former followers of Yu tend to be traditionalists.

Some known councillors include:

  • Gerak (Deceased) - Former Head of the Council and of the ruling Traditionalist faction.
  • Yat'Yir - Gerak's aide and successor as head of the Traditionalists.
  • Teal'c - Former leader of the Progressive opposition.
  • Master Bra'tac - Leader of the Progressive opposition.
  • Ka'lel - a Hak'tyl who appears to be moderately Progressive.
  • The former First Prime of Moloc was a member of the anti-Origin party after Gerak's conversion.
  • Maz'rai {Deceased} - a former Apophis servant, native of Chulak, and a progressive who committed suicide by symbiote removal to undo Ba'al's brainwashing.
  • Se'tak {Deceased} - a Jaffa leader who came into power after Geraks death, he advocated a more harsh policy of dealing with the Ori through the use of the Dakara device. He was hostile towards Earth believing that the Jaffa should remain independent and free from alien influence. He was killed when Adria's battlecruiser targeted the Dakaran superweapon and destroyed it.

Factions

Hak'tyl

The Hak'tyl are a group of female Jaffa warriors first introduced in . They were founded by Ishta, High Priestess of the Goa'uld Moloc. When Moloc ordered that all female children born to his Jaffa be sacrificed, Ishta began secretly saving them by sending them to a planet she names Hak'tyl, meaning "liberation". The Hak'tyl resistance grow into a formidable force, mounting raids on Moloc's Jaffa to obtain symbiotes. They eventually seek an alliance with the Tau'ri, who offer them the drug tretonin as a way to free themselves from their dependence on the Goa'uld. Although the test trials are not without complications, the Hak'tyl eventually become the first group of Jaffa to adopt tretonin.

Allied with the other rebel Jaffa, Ishta's group soon becomes too large to easily conceal. Under attack by Moloc's Imperial Guard and forced to evacuate their original homeworld, the Hak'tyl briefly shelter at the SGC while agitating for a full-scale uprising against Moloc. Teal'c warns that should they succeed Moloc would only be replaced by a more powerful Goa'uld. Nevertheless, the insurrection takes place, and the SGC assassinates Moloc with a pair of laser-guided missiles. Teal'c's prediction comes true and Moloc's domain is absorbed by Ba'al; the Hak'tyl leave for their new homeworld to plan another war. The Hak'tyl are a significant power in the Free Jaffa Nation, and are represented by Ka'lel on the High Council. One of their main concerns is the inequal treatment of females in many Jaffa societies.

Sodan

The Sodan are a legendary group of Jaffa who, over 5,000 years ago, realized that the Goa'uld were not gods and rebelled against their Goa'uld master Ishkur. They set out for the sacred planet Kheb, but settled instead on a world with an Ancient teleportation device that allowed them to build their village safely on the other side of the planet. The Sodan worship the Ancients and seek Ascension as their ultimate goal. The Sodan are proud warriors with considerable martial prowess; they use personal cloaking devices to become invisible and steal larval Goa'uld in raids, killing them when they mature.

In the season 9 episode , SG-1 seeks out the Sodan. In their first encounter, Cameron Mitchell is forced to go through a form of ritual combat called Kel Shak Lo after being forced to kill a Sodan warrior, in the process earning their respect. The Sodan are eventually approached by a Prior of the Ori. At first they are interested in Origin, but reject it after being ordered to destroy a group of simple farmers for defying the Ori. They help SG-1 to capture the Prior and obtain a blood sample with which to fight a plague on Earth. In revenge, the Priors infect the Sodan Vol'nek with a disease that kills him and resurrects him as a bloodthirsty monster who massacres the Sodan. Afterwards, the SGC collect the Sodan personal cloaks for experimentation, but find them unsuitable for use by humans.

Illac Renin

Meaning "Kingdom of the Path", the Illac Renin are a faction of Jaffa who follow Origin, believing that the Ori will Ascend them upon death. Their leader is Arkad, who publicly endorses peace but in fact sponsors several attacks against the Free Jaffa and is reported to be stockpiling weapons-grade naqahdah for an attack on Earth. The attack never take place after Arkad is killed by Teal'c.

See also

References

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