The Fish Speakers were an army created during the rule of God Emperor Leto II. The Fish Speaker army was entirely composed of women, with men having no roles in the Fish Speakers' lives other than that of husband. Men were totally shut out of the Fish Speaker combat forces, with the exception of the Duncan Idaho gholas. They were trained to be fanatical, disciplined, and extremely effective soldiers and police. The Fish Speakers were also used in Leto's breeding program, taking advantage of their speed and strength.
Leto II founded the Fish Speakers to enforce his rule over the known universe. He found the existing Fremen and Sardaukar forces unsuitable to his needs. Leto believed that male dominated military forces were essentially predatory and would turn against the civilian population in the absence of an external enemy. He also needed a reliable religious organization to enforce what came to be known as Leto's Peace to ensure the unfolding of the Golden Path. He believed that predominantly male military forces were inherently destructive and would turn on the populace if not presented with an enemy, whereas a female one would tame and calm.
With the exception of the nomadic Amazons who legend described as once ruling part of the Asian steppes of the Old Earth, the Fish Speakers were just about the only effective all-female army known throughout the history of the Dune universe. They were also, in terms of worlds ruled and historical longevity, the most effective military force ever known.
Post God-Emperor Rule
After Leto II's death, control of the Fish Speakers passed to the ghola of Duncan Idaho and Siona Atreides. Their influence had sigificantly waned in comparison to the Tleilaxu, Ixians and the Bene Gesserit. A Fish Speaker council controlled some areas of space that used to fall under Leto's rule. By this time however, the Fish Speakers had also incorporated men into their ranks, and held little in common with the force maintained by Leto II, in terms of philosophy and practices.
Also by this time, many of the leaders of the Fish Speakers had been replaced with Tleilaxu Face Dancers, essentially making the Fish Speakers, and the realms under their domain, puppets of the Tleilaxu.
The Honored Matres
As humankind began to spread out across the galaxies due to the Famine Times, then the Scattering, many Fish Speakers, in formal and informal alliances with the sisters of the Bene Gesserit, came across captive female Tleilaxu. The Speakers and the Gesserit freed the females from their roles as simple Axlotl Tanks, and the three merged groups, founded the Honored Matres organization, deep in human-Scattering space.
It was Leto's ancient ritual of Siaynoq, that the Speakers had perfected so well; and then twisted by the Matres, that enabled the female Matres to sexually enslave males so easily.
Cult of Sheeana
Some of the Fish Speaker groups that had stayed in the Old Empire and had not gone out into the Scattering, remained loyal in the religion to the Atreides family. Cults grew up in human space dedicated to mystic beliefs about Leto II, and his father Paul. One such secret cult was on Caladan in a temple in the remote jungle, and it was guarded by Fish Speakers and their leader, Ardeth; who had also incorporated aspects of the Cult of Sheeana into their cell's beliefs.
This Fish Speaker cult group surrounded guarding the ancient Emperor's Blade, and Paul's nullentropy protected blood stored on it. During the advent of Kralizec the Enhanced Face Dancer leader, Khrone, found out about the temple and Blade, and had the temple destroyed. Khrone killed Ardeth personally, took the Blade and cellular material back to Bandalong, where Uxtal, his assistant created a clone of Paul, named Paolo.