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There are separate pages for this subject as it appears in the other canons such as House in Expanded Dune and House in the Dune Encyclopedia

Great Houses in Dune II

A House, or a Great House, in the time of the Imperium, was a dynastic seat of power, sometimes limited to a world and sometimes spanning several worlds. Numerous Houses existed within the imperial hierarchy, and collectively they formed the Landsraad, which was governed by the High Council. Houses could be differentiated into Houses Major and Houses Minor.

Balance of Power[]

Each House usually maintained a base of operations on a specific planet - typically their ancestral homeworld. Banished Houses were exiled to the set of planets collectively known as Tupile. Banishment was usually decreed by the Emperor, or by a ruling of the Landsraad. This would usually occur because the House in violated the Great Convention by employing atomics against human beings or because the offending House committed a terrible crime, such as high treason.

Not surprisingly, some Houses possessed more power and influence than others. Some even possessed enough power to rule entire planetary systems. These were known as Great Houses, Major Houses, or Great Families. It was from one of these Houses that control of the Imperium, the official realm of the Known Universe, was maintained. For more than 10,000 standard years, the Imperium was ruled by imperial House Corrino.

As a consequence of this governmental structure, there was a near-constant state of plotting conducted between the various noble Houses, though on occasion two or more Houses would form an alliance with one another to thwart or destroy a rival House.

This House system represented the nobility of the Imperium, and formed part of the Faufreluches class system: "A place for every man, and every man has a place."

Houses Major[]

Typically, a Major House was a familial dynasty that ruled a planet or a planetary system. During the time of the Padishah Emperors, this usually took the form of a fiefdom handed down by the Emperor himself.

A Major (or Great) House that ruled a planet was ruler of that world, and charged by the Emperor to uphold the laws of the Imperium, and the galactic order of the Faufreluches. A Great House would usually have its own standing army, flag, symbol, coat-of-arms, and representative colors. It was said that only the combined military power of all the Great Houses in the Imperium would have been enough to defeat the Sardaukar armies of the Corrino Emperors. Thus, a delicate balance was struck between the Great Houses and the Imperial House, since all the Great Houses were never expected to ally themselves together against the Emperor, or anyone else. Indeed, during the time of the Corrinos, the majority of Great Houses seemed to be preoccupied with petty squabbles.

Each Great House maintained trade and business interests, and some Minor Houses could, over time, be granted Great House status through amassed wealth from enterpreneurial endeavors.

Great Houses and the Bene Gesserit[]

Some of the richer Great Houses paid the Bene Gesserit to train the females of the household. The Bene Gesserit also incorporated members of Great Houses into their Breeding Program over the course of the millennia. Bene Gesserit sisters also became part of Great Houses by either being taken as wives or as concubines by male members of Great Houses.

Known Houses[]

Known Houses Major[]

  • House Abefor
  • House Alman
  • House Amminadab
  • House Andersson
  • House Atreides
  • House at-Tam
  • House Bagrationi
  • House Balanescu
  • House Barlevin
  • House Bendau
  • House Beskid
  • House Bromeli
  • House Burgerich
  • House Cephalus
  • House Chelly
  • House Chinognia
  • House Chlemnik
  • House Chulian
  • House Clanriearde
  • House Corrino
  • House Costino
  • House Daryai
  • House Delambre
  • House Demavend
  • House Destrym
  • House Dupleix
  • House Ecaz
  • House Edomdred
  • House Elioz
  • House Emar
  • House Est
  • House Estilon
  • House Ezharian
  • House Fidbolgs
  • House Forbino
  • House Genissai
  • House Ginaz
  • House Guilford
  • House Hajns
  • House Halleck
  • House Harkonnen
  • House Hemming
  • House Hirado
  • House Hybla
  • House Iasi
  • House Ichihara
  • House Igal
  • House Isfahan
  • House Isonzo
  • House Ispartha
  • House Istaivan
  • House Jerodme
  • House Jungius
  • House Kemic
  • House Khumali
  • House Kyzyl
  • House Lassoki
  • House Latzko
  • House Lexander
  • House Lidoping
  • House Lompok
  • House Lonsle
  • House Ludvonsa
  • House Lynwyck
  • House Malmusetz
  • House Masjed
  • House McNaught
  • House Medvedev
  • House Melui
  • House Metulli
  • House Menemtahe
  • House Meyerwal
  • House Molay
  • House Moritani
  • House Morotai
  • House Mustami
  • House Mwami
  • House Ngara
  • House Nicolpri
  • House Niembach
  • House Noabar
  • House Opheiion
  • House Orzaba
  • House Ordos
  • House Ossian
  • House Paligo
  • House Parakrama-hu
  • House Pastran
  • House Penchi
  • House Phyfe
  • House Pibeseth
  • House Pinang
  • House Plana
  • House Polotsvi
  • House Qaii
  • House Raicnur
  • House Reginaud
  • House Rejani
  • House Rhibera
  • House Rhylme
  • House Samarama
  • House Shahrukh
  • House Shi-Lang
  • House Sikcunri
  • House Spokan
  • House Sulaimani
  • House Surakarta
  • House Tantor (fallen House, descendents formed House Moritani)
  • House Thorgod
  • House Thorvald
  • House Tiiopa'it
  • House Tleilax
  • House Togramah
  • House Tombe
  • House Ttoenne
  • House Vernius
  • House Vico
  • House Villish
  • House Wallach
  • House Wikkheiset
  • House Xingus
  • House Yasu
  • House Yuzovka
  • House Zalmunna

Known Houses Minor[]

The Landsraad[]

Titles for the heads of Great Houses were usually Duke, Archduke, Viscount, Count, or Baron. Collectively, the Great Houses decided matters among themselves through the High Council, which was overseen by the Emperor. Great Houses also maintained a stake in CHOAM through the Landsraad.

Houses Minor[]

Houses Minor, or the Richece, were aristocratic dynasties that were largely planet-bound. They did not rule planets but were regarded as nobility nonetheless, either through bloodlines or through the accumulation of wealth. They also enjoyed a small vote on the Landsraad. Houses Minor were frequently guests in the dining halls and entertainment events of Great Houses.

Presumably, Houses Minor would be found in large numbers on planets with strong trade or planets where the Great Houses ruling them maintained large extended families. Some Houses Minor were more famous than others, depending on the items they were known to trade.

Houses Under Paul Atreides[]

During the imperial reign of Paul Atreides, very little was revealed about the fate of the Great Houses. It was believed that the majority of them managed to maintain their status, provided that they recognised Atreides ascension to the Golden Lion Throne. Some, however, appeared to fall under the Fremen Jihad that swept the universe after Paul's ascension.

Houses Under Leto II[]

Shortly into his reign, Emperor Leto II dissolved the Landsraad. During the 3500 years that Leto ruled the Empire, many of the Great Houses had disappeared, since Leto's control over space travel and monopoly on melange meant that trade and political maneuvering was virtually impossible. Particularly in the last 1000 years of Leto's reign, the Great Houses experienced a significant downturn. Though he permitted them to exist, Leto regarded the remaining Great Houses as "degenerate".

In one Bene Gesserit reporting period just prior to Leto's death, 31 Great Houses experienced complete economic collapse. Of these 31, six managed to maintain House Minor status through heavy investment in the Star Jewel Project and diversified investment portfolios.

It was also during this time that the fees charged by the Bene Gesserit for the schooling of Great House females were doubled.[1]

The Scattering and beyond[]

In the 1500 years after Leto's death, it appeared that some Great Houses continued to exist, and some of them managed to re-emerge and reaccumulate power and wealth to some degree. This was possibly because the lack of a central power figure and rigid structure in the Old Imperium had left a power vacuum.

Behind the Scenes[]

While Frank Herbert named a few Houses, the fact that others exist (more than 31) is mentioned in God Emperor of Dune. Some of these Houses were later named through other sources, such as The Dune Encyclopedia, and the novels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

Frank Herbert mentions in Heretics of Dune that Great Houses were beginning to re-emerge some 1500 years after the death of Leto II. However, it is not known whether these re-emerging Great Houses were the same as those that existed during the days of the Imperium, or whether they were new ones.

The list of known Great Houses has been embellished from The Dune Encyclopedia. These are officially non-canon, despite the book being "authorised" by both the publishers and Frank Herbert at the time.

Some or all of this article was copied from the following external source:
The Dune Encyclopedia

  1. God Emperor of Dune, page 72