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Nudune This article's subject is from Expanded Dune and is known as Butlerians in other canons.

There are separate pages for this subject as it appears in the other canons, the reasons for this are explained here

"Will they give up their power grid? Will they sacrifice heating and plumbing? Will they turn off the lights, leaving people to spend their evenings huddled around the glow of candlelight? Will they outlaw fire because it’s too dangerous? Will they eat their meat raw? We’ll see how enthusiastic the Half-Manford’s followers are once they actually get what they want. Let them live like true primitives for a while, unable to communicate with other worlds, and watch how quickly they change their minds and fall apart."
Josef Venport’s scorn of the Butlerians[src]

The Butlerian movement, originally known as the Cult of Serena, was a religious anti-technology movement founded by Rayna Butler towards the end of the Butlerian Jihad which violently destroyed computers, thinking machines and conscious robots.


Martyrists of the Butlerian Jihad[]

Main article: Martyrists


One of the violent Martyrists, who merged into the movement

During the re-ignition of the Butlerian Jihad after her murder, Serena Butler was made a saint and one of the Three Martyrs. Religious individuals prayed to them and hoped they would send their angels to protect them. This led to the phenomenon of the Martyrists - fanatics devoted to the Three Martyrs, that wanted simply to destroy thinking machines at every cost - but at this point, this destruction entailed only the hostile thinking machines being fought in the Jihad. They proved valuable manning the ships for the Great Purge, since the spacefolding technology used posed serious dangers and was in a percentage suicidal.

Cult of Serena[]

Having seen her parents succumb to the Omnius Scourge on Parmentier and barely surviving herself, young Rayna Butler began her personal crusade against the machines in 108 BG at the end of the Butlerian Jihad. Claiming to have had a vision of Serena (possibly a hallucination caused by her illness), Rayna began destroying both electronic and mechanical machines, including innocuous devices and desperately needed medical equipment. The subsequent antitechnology mobs hampered the work and threatened the lives of Mohandas Suk and Raquella Berto-Anirul, doctors who had established the Hospital for Incurable Diseases. Suk and Berto-Anirul barely escaped the planet. She head been joined by the Martyrists, who instantly took Rayna’s mission.

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Rayna Butler, who created the original Cult of Serena

Led by Rayna who was relocated on Salusa Secundus by her brother, the Cult of Serena caused more mayhem for humans than the thinking machines. After the Butlerian Jihad, machine destruction spread to the inhabited planets in renewed waves, wiping out most machine-based technology and also the majority of historical documents. Culture based on the production of highly developed machines survived only on Ix and Richese. The Cultists traveled to many devastated League Worlds to perform their crusade until they returned to Zimia in 88 BG. Interim Viceroy Faykan Butler, Rayna's uncle, asked her to control her masses and march in an "orderly fashion", not to devastating the city in their emotional fervor Rayna incited. Faykan promised to introduce appropriate legislation that would forbid the development of any devices or circuits that even remotely resembled the gelcircuitry computers of thinking machines, even punishing those who would refuse.

Some of the Cultist had infiltrated the ranks of the Zimia Guard while zealots had discovered infiltrators placed among them (perhaps by Faykan) and killed them quietly. Upon learning of it, Rayna ordered that such activities must stop, and her lieutenants grudgingly agreed (or they simply no longer intended to tell her about their secret murders). Despite inherent double standards (such as the destruction of some technology, but the continuous use of spaceships) within the group, the Cult’s legacy endured. One of the primary commandments in the Orange Catholic Bible, “Thou shall not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind,” is attributed directly to Rayna Butler. Furthermore, the group is responsible for the strict rules banning all thinking machines under pain of death (and sometimes torture). The Cult heavily assisted in the victory of the Battle of Corrin, Rayna herself destroying machines in the final assault.

Evolution of the movement[]

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Under Manford Torondo, the Butlerians became a galactic power

After the Battle, Rayna continued to preach against the evils of machine technology until she was assassinated in a bombing in 22 BG at age 97. The same blast derived Manford Torondo of both legs, and she died in his arms. He began leading the Cult, adapting it into the true Butlerian movement. He led Swordmaster Anari Idaho and millions of people across the Imperium to cleanse humanity of its reliance on convenient technologies, often exploiting religious paranoia to advance his agendas. This was the beginning of the galactic civil war, albiet as yet undeclared.

Despite the core of the movement remaining, there were subtle distinctions between the old Cult of Serena and this new movement. Despite the clear fanatacism and strict rules of the old Cult, it had ultimately presented itself as a temporary and necessary movement to rid humanity of dangerous thinking machines and complex devices which served as a crutch for humanity. Torondo attempted to make it seem relevant and lead it to a permanent group of the new Empire, with the power to destroy any technology which he deemed at all dangerous by any means possible - which often meant the most destructive methods such as the use of atomics.

The defeat of the machine empire left the movement searching for enemies and it had no trouble finding them. Initially the movement focused on attacking defunct machine technology whereever it could find them. The movement quickly turned its attention to attacking those who excused the existence of any technology for the conveniences that it provided. It also heavily confronted those who sought to repurpose the remnants of the machine empire like Josef Venport.

Galactic civil war[]

Main article: Galactic civil war

Manford relied heavily on his own interpretations of Erasmus' journals from his time on Corrin toward the end of the Jihad - particularly an entry regarding the tendancy of humans to eventually repeat historical error. Manford believed that the Butlerian movement needed to rule (or at least indirectly control) the newly formed empire in order to prevent the human species from forgetting the consequences of machine intelligence. Under Manford’s leadership the Butlerian's zealotry peaked. The Butlerians came to view the reliance on any technology what-so-ever as enabling humans to move toward developing machine intelligence. Using a computer, even a mathematical one without artificial intelligence, was cause for execution. Manford led his movment by funding projects that proved the superiority of the human mind. The prime example of this was the Mentat School on Lampadas, where Headmaster Gilbertus Albans was teaching pupils how to think like a machine in a similar manner to how the independent robot Erasmus had taught him. The movement also sought to hamper and use other schools in the Empire depending on its impressions of those schools. Manford demanded that the emperor at the time, Salvador Corrino, destroy the primary Suk school of medicine on Corrin. Manford also regularly sent students to the sisterhood on Rossak to both infiltrate the order and learn how to improve the human species through genetic manipulation.

As the Butlerians became more and more destructive and strict, the ruling Corrino family began to view them as a danger to their rule, and were worried that they would plunge humanity into a new dark age. When Salvador Corrino was murdered by Josef Venport, his brother, the new Emperor Roderick Corrino, strongly wished to get rid of the Butlerians.

After breaking VenHold's siege of Salusa Secundus, with the help of the timely arrival of the Butlerian fleet, and Admiral Umberto Harte's battlegroup's successful escape from Josef Venport's clutches, Emperor Roderick sent Harte's ships to Lampadas using conventional FTL drives, where Harte was to lie in wait at the outskirts of the system and ambush whatever Butlerian ships survive the attack on Kolhar, the headquarters of VenHold. Unbeknownst to Roderick, Manford Torondo had obtained a cache of forbidden atomics from a planetary ruler loyal to the Butlerian cause. With their help, the Butlerians turned what would have been a massacre of their forces into a decisive victory against their hated enemy, devastating the planet with nuclear fire.

Josef Venport managed to survive thanks to a prescient warning by his great-grandmother Norma Cenva. He summoned Emperor Roderick to Arrakis to discuss a rapprochement. Roderick agreed on the condition that Venport would destroy the Butlerians. Venport agreed eagerly and personally commanded a fleet of spacefolders in a strike against Lampadas, where Leader Manford Torondo lived.

VenHold forces arrived in orbit of Lampadas and engage in a battle against the old Ballista-class battleships used by the Butlerians. At the same time, 100 VenHold cymeks with brains of failed Navigators were dropped in pods onto the capital city of Lampadas with orders to cleanse the planet of all life. They were led by a scientist named Ptolemy, who had a personal score to settle with Torondo for destroying his lab and killing his friend and research partner.

Admiral Harte observed the battle in orbit of Lampadas using stealth probes, awaiting a moment to strike at both enemies. In orbit, the outnumbered and outgunned Butlerians resorted to suicidal tactics, such as ramming and firing lasguns at shielded VenHold ships, resulting in mutual annihilation. Venport ordered his ships to lower their shields, exposing them to fire but preventing them from being instantly destroyed by the laser-shield interaction.

On the surface of Lampadas, the cymeks were killing thousands of people, most of whom were devout Butlerians. The fanatics rushed the giant walker forms, dying by tens of thousands, but the survivors managed to overwhelm the cymeks and smash their brain canisters. Manford Torondo lef his followers into battle atop his Swordmaster Anari Idaho, but Ptolemy picked him up and tore him to pieces before the Butlerians overwhelmed and killed him as well. By the end of the ground battle, tens, if not hundreds of thousand of people were dead, but so were all the cymeks. The capital city was leveled by the cymeks' destructive weapons, and the Butlerians had lost their leader. In space, VenHold ships managed to destroy or heavily damage most of the Butlerian ships, but at great cost to the VenHold fleet.

Admiral Harte's forces took control of Lampadas and sent a message to Emperor Roderick, who arrived in force to put an end to the movement. While the movement itself survived under the leadership of Anari Idaho, the devastating casualties and the loss of all spacecraft had set it back so far it became of little significance, and died out within the next ten thousand years.