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    Sardaukar Origins

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    Sardaukar Origins

    Postby loremaster » 05 Dec 2008 03:26

    Alrighty, First new thread by me in a while.

    Just read chig's "they denied us the hajj" thread, and noticed an interesting phrase in there:

    There had been Fremen on Poritrin, she saw, a people grown soft with an easy planet, fair game for Imperial raiders to harvest and plant human colonies on Bela Tegeuse and Salusa Secundus.


    And it got me to thinking, what are the origins of the Sardaukar? I remember reading that Leto said the people thought the sardaukar were levies from the houses trained really young. But he says
    "the Sardaukar AND their supporting levies, the sardaukar remain the sardaukar"


    And it got me to thinking after that quote, what were the ultimate origins of the sardaukar - same roots as arrakeen fremen? transplanted from Poritrin? (Heh, did the normacle secretly engineer this, knowing what would happen in Dune?). Do they have entire families on Salusa Secundus, or just training stations? It would seem to me half of the fremen ferocity came from the fact the lived, slept and died, man woman and child on Arrakis.

    linguists - what are the roots of the word sardaukar? has frank borrowed from history again? or his own creation?

    As a last note - I thought the depiction of sardaukar in DL's dune was amongst the better. Certainly better than the floppy-hatted miniseries goons which even Sloey could take in a fight.
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    Postby SandChigger » 05 Dec 2008 06:35

    (Since both copies of the thread appear to be identical, I'll reply to this, the earlier one. ;) )

    loremaster wrote:linguists - what are the roots of the word sardaukar? has frank borrowed from history again? or his own creation?

    As you probably know, Sardaukar isn't one of the words listed in Arabic and Islamic themes in Frank Herbert's "Dune".

    I haven't pulled out the Arabic dictionary yet, but just typing the letters of the name into my Dictionary app slowly to see what came up resulted in

    sardar (also sirdar)
    noun chiefly Indian
    1 a leader (often used as a proper name).
    2 a Sikh (often used as a title or form of address).

    ORIGIN from Persian and Urdu sar-dâr.

    Well, if nothing else, this is obviously the origin of "siridar (planetary governor)". ;)

    Of course, a single word at one stage of a language can give rise to more than one with different pronunciations in later stages. Just speculating, but maybe FH was reminded of Sikh military guards and used the sardar version as a base in creating the name Sardaukar? (No explanation for the -ka(r) at the moment, will look around to see if it's some sort of ending in Persian or Urdu, but note that the vowel in the second syllable of the original is â. Long vowels—if that's what it represents—are notorious for transforming into diphthongs. Like au perhaps? ;) )
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    Postby SandRider » 05 Dec 2008 08:39

    what the hell ? confusing the old man this early in the morning ?
    anyway, in the other thead I wrote:

    I think the word is Portuguese, but I don't remember why.

    (that was before or after Chig posted up there or before I read his post. what? nevermind.)

    so I didn't know the Indian/persian/Urdu connection...

    damn. I'm gonna be confused all day now.
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    Postby loremaster » 05 Dec 2008 08:44

    I'm not sure if you realise how much of that went straight over my head on first reading (I had to wiki dipthong, for instance).

    But yeah, i assumed it would be some sort of historical origin, being Frank. Like the whole Fedaykin - Fed- ay - een link (islamic holy warriors i think, Saddam had a few?). wikipedia:
    Fedayeen are a group of people known to be volunteers, not connected to an organized government or military, in the Arab and Muslim world. They are usually deployed for a cause where the government has been viewed as failure or non-existent. They are associated with the role of resistance against occupation or tyranny. The name "fedayeen" is used to refer to armed struggle against any form of enslavement basing their actions on resistance.


    What about the origins from the duniverse POV - I was thinking, purely given contexts rather than quotes, that Sardaukar-ism was a training given, rather than a way of life. BUT after wiki-ing Sardaukar once again, whoever wrote it seems to suggest that they were an all inclusive culture.

    The ranking of Sardaukar is, as far as i know, fictional? (not based on a previous system, eg Feudal titles for Leto, Vladimir etc)

    Also, re: the comparison between atreides elite, sardaukar and fremen/ fremen elite.

    Do you see them all fighting in the same style? I see Sardaukar as muscled brutes, with a cunning, aggressive and vicious fighting style and tactics. Supremely able with weapons.

    In contrast i find it hard to envision atreides matching sardaukar in terms of brute strength/ferocity. I imagine them more to be more cunning, smart fighters who arent afraid to step back and attack from another angle, where the sardaukar might just fight through a trap with sheer hatred. I imagine an atreides soldier to lose in an arm wrestle, but in a 3 on 3 shootout to win through superior tactics.

    Further, i see the fremen as very (appropriately) near suicidal fanatics, vicious, unthinking and almost instinctual fighters, scrawny, but possessed of a toughness (the blood clotting thing) which makes them really difficult to kill/put down. The type of tactics being a sort of mix of cunning strike, suicidal trade off (like during the capture of thufir in dune).

    Plenty more to think about there :-)
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    Postby SandChigger » 05 Dec 2008 10:22

    I had a look at the WP article, too, before posting my comment above. It unfortunately mixes Hiker Hack/Fuzzygit shit in with FH info in the main part. (Yet compartmentalizes the Encyclopedia stuff. Go figure.)

    I really was just speculating above; the only certain bit is the obvious connection with siridar. (Sorry if I got carried away; it's the language stuff I get off on. ;) )

    I'm not much good for the rankings. There's

    CAID: Sardaukar officer rank given to a military official whose duties call mostly for dealings with civilians; a military governorship over a full planetary district; above the rank of Bashar but not equal to a Burseg.

    BASHAR (often Colonel Bashar): an officer of the Sardaukar a fractional point above Colonel in the standardized military classification. Rank created for military ruler of a planetary subdistrict. (Bashar of the Corps is a title reserved strictly for military use.)

    Levenbrech, "aide to a Bashar"

    BURSEG: a commanding general of the Sardaukar.

    Bator (based on passage in Dune, above Levenbrech and below Burseg)

    (The ones all in caps are from the Terminology, the rest from the main texts.)
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    Postby Lisan Al-Gaib » 05 Dec 2008 12:39

    SandRider wrote:I think the word is Portuguese, but I don't remember why.


    Nope. Sardaukar is not a Portuguese word as I know. However whether it has its origin in the ancient portuguese, I don't know.
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    Postby Omphalos » 05 Dec 2008 12:46

    I think the word we traced back to Portuguese was "portyguls." Im not aware of another.
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    Postby Lisan Al-Gaib » 05 Dec 2008 13:33

    PORTYGULS
    برتقال

    Oranges. In Arabic, oranges are known as "bortoqal". The name is derived from the ancient name of the country of Portugal which was Roman for Porto Callis.


    I think that explains everything, :wink:
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    Off-topic...

    Postby SandChigger » 05 Dec 2008 19:43

    (Orange itself is also from Arabic: narânj. The initial 'n' was misanalyzed as the end of the indefinite article in either French or English: a naranj > an aranj ;) )
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    Postby loremaster » 06 Dec 2008 08:12

    SandChigger wrote:I had a look at the WP article, too, before posting my comment above. It unfortunately mixes Hiker Hack/Fuzzygit shit in with FH info in the main part. (Yet compartmentalizes the Encyclopedia stuff. Go figure.)

    I really was just speculating above; the only certain bit is the obvious connection with siridar. (Sorry if I got carried away; it's the language stuff I get off on. ;) )

    I'm not much good for the rankings. There's

    CAID: Sardaukar officer rank given to a military official whose duties call mostly for dealings with civilians; a military governorship over a full planetary district; above the rank of Bashar but not equal to a Burseg.

    BASHAR (often Colonel Bashar): an officer of the Sardaukar a fractional point above Colonel in the standardized military classification. Rank created for military ruler of a planetary subdistrict. (Bashar of the Corps is a title reserved strictly for military use.)

    Levenbrech, "aide to a Bashar"

    BURSEG: a commanding general of the Sardaukar.

    Bator (based on passage in Dune, above Levenbrech and below Burseg)

    (The ones all in caps are from the Terminology, the rest from the main texts.)


    If all of those are from the dune terminology section of the original then i think i found another FRANK inconsistency, since in Children of Dune, during one of the tiger training scenes:

    The Levenbrech stood and stretched. He refrained from looking directly off
    to the high ground on his left where a telltale glitter had revealed the
    location of the transeye, which had relayed his fine performance to his Bashar
    far away in the green lands of the Capitol. The Levenbrech smiled. There would
    be a promotion for this day's work. Already he could feel a Bator's insignia at
    his neck -- and someday, Burseg . . . Even, one day, Bashar. People who served
    well in the corps of Farad'n, grandson of the late Shaddam IV, earned rich
    promotions. One day, when the Prince was seated on his rightful throne, there
    would be even greater promotions. A Bashar's rank might not be the end of it.
    There were Baronies and Earldoms to be had on the many worlds of this realm . .
    . once the twin Atreides were removed.


    Which seems to imply Bashar > Burseg > Bator > Levenbrech

    whereas Dune:Terminology of the imperum lists as you said above.

    Reading again, the CAID entry implies Burseg to be above Bashar.
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    Postby SandChigger » 06 Dec 2008 11:28

    No ideas for untangling it at the moment, but Burseg seems to be purely military whereas both Caid and Bashar are also used for military rulers of planetary areas.

    Looks like a snafu, but then again.... ;)
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    Postby EsperandoAGodot » 08 Dec 2008 12:19

    As Chig pointed out, the titles seem to be used for other things as well. Are we sure it's necessarily a linear ranking system like that? Could "Levenbrech," for example, be a title rather than a rank.
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    Postby EsperandoAGodot » 18 Dec 2008 16:55

    Found this completely by accident and thought it was worth posting. A friend of mine made a Tolkien reference I didn't, so I started looking for stuff on wikipedia, and came across this quote:

    "Melkor (known to the Elves as Morgoth), the evil Vala, corrupted many spirits into his service, both before and after entering Eä. These included Sauron, the main antagonist of The Lord of the Rings, and the Valaraukar, demons of flame and shadow that came to be known as Balrogs."

    The more emphatic emphases (bolding and underlining) are mine. Quick, someone grab a Tolkien nerd and find out where JRR stole whatever language that is from. The Vala (singular Valar) are, as I understand it, minor gods in the Tolkien mythos, and so it would seem "Valaraukar" means "warriors/servants/something else of the Vala." It stands to reason that in whatever language "Sardaukar" and "Valaraukar" are based on, then, "Sardaukar" would mean "warriors/servants/something else of the Sards."

    EDIT: Did a bit more research. Apparently, the word Valaraukar comes from the words in a Tolkien language called Quenya for "power" ("vala") and for "demon" ("rauko"). Quenya was apparently created largely from Finnish, with Latin influences.

    Unfortunately, my research pretty much stalls here except that "rauko," in Swedish, means "rock" (the plural again being "raukar"). I think it's safe then, though, to assume that the "aukar" ending and its conjunction with another word to form a larger word comes from Finnish...
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    Postby SandChigger » 18 Dec 2008 18:50

    The Finnish connection rang a bell:

    Härkönen is a Finnish family name: härkä means bull and rauta means iron. Intentional or unintentional relations of these observations to the names Harkonnen and Feyd-Rautha are unknown.

    (Fn 1 on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Harkonnen)

    I'll poke around and see if I can find anything more as well. ;)
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    Re: Sardaukar Origins

    Postby mrpsbrk » 12 Feb 2009 16:49

    loremaster wrote:And it got me to thinking, what are the origins of the Sardaukar?


    One word: Dosadi.

    Not really, but if Frank had cared to write about "Sardaukar origins", that's how it would be, and this is enough for me.
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 12 Feb 2009 18:46

    Probably about right. (Minus the frog people of course :wink: )
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    Re: Sardaukar Origins

    Postby Onasander » 08 May 2010 02:48

    It's has a Sanskrit structure to it- I am thinking and satur- and -dekar some mix along those line- he yanks a lot of bad ass sounding names. I am reminded of the Gurkha when I hear Sardaukar as well- they preformed pretty much the same role for the British as they do for the imperial throne in Dune.

    And no- I don't think they fought the same- the Sardaukar aren't sandworm riding tribalist- they are hierarchical, steamlined and efficient heavy infantry ready for immediate deployment to fuck shit up- no matter the foe or the cost..... Fremen would rather flee to see another day if possible- the group was more important..... not ones to give into attrition prone doctrine, or total war (minus the Paul hiccup).

    Furthermore- the Sardaukar have several thousand years of being treated like kings once they survive their youth and upbringing- they are feed by the hand of the imperial throne, and for all their discomforts and hardships, can hardly be thought to live in poverty..... luxury has this odd way of finding itself immersed in the most restrictive, harsh, and poverty prone conditions.... it's like the leather couch and big screen TV in the crack house- hard to comprehend it, and yet, it's there, and fits rather well in the overall scheme. My old FOB in Iraq was like this- hot, everyone sucked material wise- and yet pockets of luxury here and there. It's a good way to keep the troops loyal- such little trinkets- doesn't do much to soften the hands, or keep the training or brutality away.... all men in such harsh and deprived conditions want is more.... to feel human at first, and then to feel better, and better, and better. Little crap like this- and it can make all the difference culturally. Pretty certain a NCO in a Sardakar unit had some pretty sweet stuff- especially after a campaign or two. It's the same with US Army Rangers- the presidential unit- they get their own, nice ass apartments in their own compound.

    Doubt the Zen Sunni faith in any appreciable form would long survive in this climate.... and they don't seem like the lot who would have chaplains to carry on traditions. A odd word or phrase- similar genetics (no one has a monopoly on those genes).
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    Re: Sardaukar Origins

    Postby MrFlibble » 09 May 2010 09:44

    Onasander wrote:It's has a Sanskrit structure to it- I am thinking and satur- and -dekar some mix along those line- he yanks a lot of bad ass sounding names. I am reminded of the Gurkha when I hear Sardaukar as well- they preformed pretty much the same role for the British as they do for the imperial throne in Dune.

    I remember reading somewhere that "Sardaukar" is derived from a Farsi word meaning 'warrior'.
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    Re: Sardaukar Origins

    Postby SandChigger » 09 May 2010 10:23

    Yeah, check the Russian version of the Terminology on Ksander's site; it gives etymological info, added by the Russian translator, I think he said; I think I saw something about Farsi under "Sardaukar". ;)

    (He messaged me on Twitter yesterday about DuneNovel's "sietch" Twattage.)

    It's has a Sanskrit structure to it- I am thinking and satur- and -dekar...

    This is just total nonsense. And who could pay any serious attention to the opinion of someone who writes shit like "it's has"?

    He's has no business spouting off about Sanskrit when he can't even write his own native language. (I assume, although I'm starting to have doubts.)
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    Re: Sardaukar Origins

    Postby MrFlibble » 09 May 2010 11:22

    SandChigger wrote:Yeah, check the Russian version of the Terminology on Ksander's site; it gives etymological info, added by the Russian translator, I think he said; I think I saw something about Farsi under "Sardaukar". ;)

    That's right. Pavel Vyaznikov added information on etymology for some words in the "Terminology of the Imperium" Appendix, as well as some more entries for words he felt Russian readers would require more explanation of. Vyaznikov consulted people with knowledge of various Middle East languages when establishing possible origins for the words.
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