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From the prologue of Dune (1984 movie)

The Butlerian Jihad, also known as the Great Revolt, or the First Jihad in relation to Muad'Dib's Jihad, as well as commonly shortened to the Jihad, was a movement against the thinking machines which began in 200 BG and concluded in 108 BG.


The Revolt started out of the Rebel Front for the End of Koman Exploitation (q.v.) against Richese, led by Jehanne Butler, her husband Thet'r Butler and priestess Urania. During one of their operations, the rebels discovered that the chief Richesan programmers and scientists had been mostly willing participants in the actions of the machines in altering the population of Komos. The priestesses of Kubebe were alerted, and with an alteration of the rebel ranks, produced the Revolt.

The Jihad first struck interstellar communications, such as Centrans (which affected space travel for the following decades), and then razed small governments planet-by-planet. In 199 BG, the Jihad then attacked Illerda.

In the first stages of the Jihad, Komos was nearly deserted, but a substantial number of the technicians and mechanics from Richese who survived the wars fled to Komos. Therefore, in 198 BG, with the Jihad about to leave Richese for the far reaches of the galaxy, Jehanne Butler ordered those Richesans who did not choose to join her to be transported to Komos, as well.

In 196 BG the Jihad attacked Thapsus, and then in 191 BG, Parlon. In 182 BG, during an attack against Carthagos, Jehanne died in an explosion of her ship Sarah III.

After Jehanne's death, she became a martyr, but her generals continued exponentially with more zeal. Jehanne knew her weaknesses and fears, but her followers did not. The politics of Urania were favored. Around that time, the goals of the Jihad were the destruction of machine technology operating at the expense of human values; but by this point they would have be replaced by indiscriminate slaughter.

Much of the Jihad forces on each assaulted planet, consisting of mercenaries, hired of the most adventurous and dispossessed on the last conquered planet.

All thinking machines were destroyed by 108 BG excepting legendary Ibrahim Vaughn Holtzman (his brain transplanted into a space assembly) who appeared near Liesco II every 1862 years. Pilgrims had amassed in space around Liesco to witness the elimination of the final symbol of the old order of the machines (so many, that pilgrim ships collided between each other). The Jihad fleet did not try to communicate with Holtzman, but found him after 3 days. Viana Kellis won the lot to sacrifice herself killing him. She suited up and infiltrated his ship obviously triggering his device; and a mass-conversion reaction witnessed by the fleet, obviously destroyed them both.

Holtzman's last discoveries were never made known, and the destruction of the last "thinking machine" marked the end of the war.

It was impossible to assess the billions of deaths due to starvation, diseases, and other causes resulting from the destruction of thinking machines. Government, medicine, business, and trade of the victim-worlds who depended on them were gravely affected in the cohesion and organization of their social fabric. The only planets which escaped the destruction of their structure were few anarchical states without government.

The rise of military and economic entrepreneurs was inevitable; personal ties replaced the structure of a state (military, taxation, legal systems) and feudalism emerged. Kruwl Sheivvun years later noted that the collapse of interstellar commerce left space for the Spacing Guild to assemble, and for House Corrino to ascend to the Golden Lion Throne.

The absence of computer navigators made interstellar travel difficult, which made exiles of Komos look for how human mind can replace them, setting the stage of the Guild. Computers were later replaced by Mentats.


  • IX


Video essays[]

Analytical videos on the subject of the Butlerian Jihad (Machine Crusade) and their impacts on the history of the Dune universe. (Beware potential spoilers.)