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Shaddam Corrino IV (10119 AG[1][2][3]) was the 81st and final Padishah Emperor of the Corrino Empire. After pressuring Duke Leto Atreides and his Great House to relocate to Arrakis and take over its profitable spice production, Shaddam enlisted the House Harkonnen military and disguised legions of his own Sardaukar army to ambush his popular rival, crushing both him and his powerful military with the help of a treacherous insider.

Years later, the Emperor was drawn to Arrakis to intervene in its ongoing Desert War in light of Siridar-Governor Rabban's failure to quell Fremen sabotage of spice production. In poetic irony, this led to his ambush when Duke Paul-Muad'Dib Atreides - now commander and messiah of a unified Fremen army - nuked the surrounding Shield Wall and overwhelmed his Sardaukar forces with the support of mounted sandworms during a violent sandstorm.

Following his defeat and detainment, Shaddam was forced to abdicate his throne after Paul's blackmail of the powerful but spice-dependent Spacing Guild, surrendering the Atreides heir his eldest daughter's hand in marriage.

With House Atreides now sitting on the Golden Lion Throne, Muad'Dib ruled as Emperor of the Known Universe for twelve turbulent years, with Shaddam and his Great House being exiled to Salusa Secundus for his illegal involvement in Duke Leto's downfall.


Early years[]

Shaddam was born in the year 10119 in the Imperial Palace on Kaitain to Elrood IX, the 80th Padishah Emperor. The Almanak en-Ashraf mistakenly listed his birthdate as 10134.

During his childhood as the Imperial Crown Prince and the heir apparent to the Imperial Golden Lion Throne, Shaddam became close friends with his maternal cousin, Count Hasimir Fenring who became his closest friend.

Ascent to the throne[]

In year 10156 AG, Shaddam succeeded his father as the 81st Padishah Emperor and head of Imperial House Corrino, after Elrood IX succumbed to chaumurky. Count Fenring was responsible for poisoning Elrood in collusion with Shaddam.

The ranks of Bursegs were doubled in the first 16 years of his reign and appropriations for Sardaukar training went down steadily in the final 30 years.

Shaddam married Anirul, a Bene Gesserit of Hidden Rank. Their marriage resulted in the birth of five daughters:

  • Irulan Corrino — The eldest daughter of Shaddam and Anirul, and the Imperial Crown Princess and the heiress apparent to the Imperial Golden Lion Throne of the Galactic Padishah Empire.
  • Chalice Corrino — The second daughter of Shaddam and Anirul, who died unexpectedly on Kaitain or Salusa Secundus.
  • Wensicia Corrino — The third daughter of Shaddam and Anirul, and the former Sovereign Co-regent of the Imperial House Corrino.
  • Josifa Corrino - The fourth daughter of Shaddam and Anirul, and the Bene Gesserit Truthsayer of the Landsraad.
  • Rugi Corrino - The fifth and youngest daughter of Shaddam and Anirul, and the last Princess of the Imperial House Corrino.

Shaddam's lack of legitimate sons ensured that he was the last ruler of House Corrino.

His wife Anirul died in 10176 AG.

House Atreides & fall of the Corrino Empire[]

Shaddam alia

Alia the Abomination addresses Emperor Shaddam IV.

The events leading up Shaddam's fall from power were triggered by the Emperor himself. He reportedly felt threatened by his adoptive cousin, Leto Atreides I, the Duke of House Atreides. This was because Leto was a charismatic and honourable man, and had become very popular in the Landsraad. Moreover, Leto had managed to train a small army under Thufir Hawat, Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho well enough to rival the Sardaukar. Consequently, the Emperor conspired with House Harkonnen, long time rivals of House Atreides.

In secret, however, Shaddam admired his cousin Leto, and had once mentioned to Irulan that he had wished the political climate that necessitated animosity toward the Atreides did not exist. Moreover, Shaddam had secretly wished that Irulan had been old enough to marry Leto, both because he knew Leto to be an honourable and just man who possessed the love of his people, but also because he would have been an ideal choice for succeeding him, especially since Shaddam had no direct male heirs.

Despite his personal feelings for Leto, Shaddam pressured Leto to surrender the fief of his native planet Caladan to Count Hasimir Fenring, and to take over the administration and spice mining operations of Arrakis. House Atreides took control of Arrakis in 10,191.

However, shortly after Leto took control of Arrakis, he and most of his army were soon slain as a result of a combined invasion by Sardaukar and Harkonnen forces. The attack was a success, and Shaddam considered the threat posed by House Atreides to have ended. However, the Lady Jessica, and more importantly her son Paul Atreides survived. They were given sanctuary by the Fremen and as a result of their skills, they eventually rose to their leadership.

By the year 10193 AG, the young Duke had managed to lead the Fremen in a battle that defeated the Harkonnen and Sardaukar forces on Arrakis. As a result, they were able to halt the melange trade. Shaddam IV was forced to step down from the throne, and thus end his reign of forty years, and the Imperial reign of House Corrino that had lasted ten thousand years.

In 10196 AG, Shaddam was exiled to his ancestral planet of Salusa Secundus along with his four younger daughters and Count Hasimir Fenring. Princess Irulan Corrino was named Sovereign Co-regent, but Paul Atreides effectively ruled as Emperor as her husband. The Almanak en-Ashraf mistakenly listed that Shaddam Corrino IV died in year 10202 AG at the age of 68. However, he was still alive in the year 10208 AG, and was putting his Sardaukar through landing maneuvers on Salusa Secundus.

Physical Appearance[]

Shaddam Corrino IV was a slim and elegant man, with red hair, a thin face and cold eyes. His visage reminded Baron Harkonnen of Duke Leto Atreides with "that same look of the predatory bird."

While he was 72 years old when House Atreides first left Caladan for Arrakis, his body appeared to be mid-thirties thanks to his rich spice diet.


Emperor: "Bring in that floating fat man. The Baron... - Why have you brought me here?"
Baron: "Your Highness... There must be some mistake. I never requested your presence."
Emperor: "Ah... But your lack of action demanded it. Your dreadful mismanagement, your bad judgement, and assigning to Rabban...the governorship. You've forced me to come here and set things straight. Personally!"
1984 film[src]

"Do you know why...I killed him? Because, he was a man who believed in the rules of the heart. But the heart is not meant to rule. In other words, your father...was a weak man." - Dune: Part Two

Image Gallery[]

Screen Adaptations[]

In all three adaptations, Shaddam appears much older than described in the book, though a line of dialogue in the 1984 film suggests he is still older than he looks as the spice was said to have allowed him to live for over 200 years.

He is played by José Ferrer in the 1984 film and by Giancarlo Giannini in the 2000 miniseries.

Shaddam is not shown in the 2021 film but is mentioned by other characters. He appears later in Dune: Part Two, played by Christopher Walken.

He is shown to have died during the events of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune miniseries - specifically the segment adapting Dune Messiah.



Background featurettes[]

Filmbook-style background featurettes from the film series, providing additional insights into various aspects and details of the Dune universe.

Video essays[]

Analytical videos on the subject of Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and his role in the Dune universe. (Beware potential spoilers.)


  1. Dune, page 1. Paul was born in Shaddam's 57th year. 10176 - 57 = 10119.
  2. Dune, "My father was 71 at the time [...] and I was but 14" Irulan was born 10176. 10176 + 14 - 71 = 10119.
  3. Dune "My father, the Padishah Emperor, was 72 [...] the year he encompassed the death of Duke Leto" 10191 - 72 = 10119
Preceded by
Elrood Corrino IX
Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe
10156 AG - 10196 AG
Succeeded by
Paul Atreides
Preceded by
Elrood Corrino IX
Padishah Emperor of the Corrino Empire
10156 AG - 10196 AG
Succeeded by
Irulan Corrino (regent)
v  d  e
House Corrino