One spring morning in 1231 AG during some leisure-time reading on the Butlerian Jihad, it occurred to Albans that the legendary computers had been built by humans, and it seemed unlikely to him that they had possessed capacities beyond those of the trained human mind. Over the next few years, he devised a plan of study for the production of human computers, which he named Mentats, and recruited students for the program.
Albans saw little connection between skill as a leader and excellence as a Mentat. Therefore, in naming the six ranks of Mentats, Albans avoided titles that suggested action (such as "president, director, manager" and the like) in favor of titles that emphasized processes and relationships. The early Order, located on Septimus, consisted of three ranks of adepts: Memorizers, Processors, and Hypothesists. Although often in financial difficulties for his infant Order, Albans refused to allow his Mentats to serve until they had passed through all three ranks. But he did allow those still in training to publicize Mentat abilities, and that practice led to the relocation of the Order House.
Albans used to take his young trainees to various cities from time to time, exhibiting their skills to seek support for his program. On one such occasion, they would meet by the city's sport stadium, however a group of five Processors became separated from the main party. The group asked a passerby how to find the stadium. He said, "Just follow them — they're on the way to the stadium," and pointed to a band of gladiators. The Processors fell in step behind the gladiators, followed them into the arena, and were killed in the melee of the day's program.
There are similar stories of Processors being kidnapped (no difficult task) for carnival sideshow curiosities. Albans saw that at worst the Order risked destruction and at best faced public ridicule. He therefore contracted with the Spacing Guild to relocate to Tleilax. For a percentage of profits, the Tleilaxu agreed to supply the Order with military protection, beginning an association that was to have regrettable consequences centuries later.
Once Albans was able to train a sufficient number of Hypothesists in seclusion oh Tleilax, he undertook an effective campaign to persuade CHOAM directors and managers of the extraordinary value of Mentats. So economically successful was his program, and so secret were his training methods, that for centuries the Order grew rich. Its Tleilaxu protectors also prospered from their share, and some speculate that the wealth from these early years gave the Tleilaxu the investment capital for their programs in biogenetic engineering. Others suggest that the success and secrecy of the Order of Mentats led the greedy Tleilaxu to attempt the production of Mentats by other means.
Grodon Orpar Playt III persuaded Albans to expand the program to meet the needs of government leaders Playt proposed the three senior ranks of Generalist, Simulationist and Advisor, and extended the training program to accommodate thee new ranks in a thorough revision of Albans' Mentat Handbook. His revision remained almost unchanged for millennia thereafter
Albans himself, had warned against combining Mentat training with any form of specialization, but with the passage of millennia his admonitions were ignored,
The Mentat's Order spreaded into uncounted "seed schools", was suppressed by Leto II because they formed a nucleus of independent opposition and was spreaded into The Scattering after the Famine Times.
Behind the Scenes
Gilbertus Albans made his first appearance in The Dune Encyclopedia, and some time after he was quoted by Duncan Idaho in Chapterhouse: Dune. This fact placed Gilbertus Albans as the founder of the Mentats at canon-status, and his history, told us by the Encyclopedia, as truth. However, it isn't known whether Albans was created by Frank Herbert and added later to his novel, or was he originally developed by Frank, who gave the information about Albans to be inserted in The Dune Encyclopedia several years earlier.
- Chapterhouse: Dune (Mentioned only)