- This article is about the ancient pre-Jihad "Old Empire" described in the Legends of Dune prequels. You may be looking for information about the Corrino Imperium.
The Old Empire refers to an era of human civilization preceding the Time of Titans. Specific details of the Old Empire are scarce.
What is known is that humankind, having evolved on Earth, eventually gained the technology to travel faster than light (albeit at a much slower rate than later spacefold-capable craft). Humanity then expanded out to inhabit many other worlds and explored an even greater number.
During the long period of exploration and expansion humanity was governed by an imperial government under which the inhabited planets affiliated together; this Empire lasted for millennia but grew increasingly spiritually stagnant and dependent on technology.
Near the end of its existence, it had grown corrupt and inert, its people enslaved by apathy and ennui. Proclaiming the need for change, a revolutionary and political philosopher named Tlaloc emerged but failed to shake up the bored populace. One world that was briefly explored was Arrakis, which was discovered in the last years of the Old Empire.
Seeing that, a few individuals became avid followers of his reactionary ideologies, and began a plot to overthrow the Old Empire and install themselves as new rulers. During this time the group adopted the names of legendary individuals from human history. One of his followers, Barbarossa, reprogrammed computers to impart them with human aggression and a hunger for power.
With the aid of the thinking machines, they defeated the undermanned but still highly competent human military and conquered a lot of the Old Empire in 1287 BG, dethroning its Emperor, though he was saved via the old empire military. However, 10,000 systems in the Empire resisted and founded the League of Nobles, with its capital on Salusa Secundus.
Not much is known about the rules, administration and structure of the Old Empire. Some known military ranks dated from the Old Empire or even beyond were Levenbrech, Bator, Burseg, Bashar, Supreme Bashar and others.