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Shaddam IV, as portrayed by Giancarlo Giannini in the Dune mini-series

Shaddam Corrino IV (10119 AG - 10202 AG) was the 81st and last Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe at the time of the ascent of House Atreides.

History[edit | edit source]

Early Years[edit | edit source]

Shaddam was born in the Imperial Opal Palace on Kaitain to Elrood IX, the 80th Padishah Emperor. He was delivered by Elrood's wife, Habla, however impregnated with the egg cells of Elrood's former wife, Barbara Mutelli.

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. The two managed to get rid of Crown Prince Fafnir Corrino, his brother, but the throne didn't look much closer to him. But after another 15 years Shaddam had lost his drive and ambitions, enjoying his life as a Crown Prince to Hasimir's dismay, who had ambitions for his friend, and himself.

By his mid-thirties, Shaddam was a strong-featured man with a firm chin and aquiline nose; his reddish hair was cut short and oiled and styled into a perfect helmet, similar to the century-old busts of his father sculpted during the early decades of his reign.

Assassination of Crown Prince Fafnir & Death of Emperor Elrood IX[edit | edit source]

But Fenring had grandiose plans for his best friend, and in the 10,150s began to put these plans into action. First off, Fenring initiated contact with the Bene Tleilax, and convinced Shaddam to convince his father Elrood to help the gnome-like men invade and conquer Ix. The goal as the Tleilax wrested Ix from House Vernius, was to develop synthetic spice, which the Tleilax eventually called Project Amal. After the Tleilax sealed their grip on Ix; with Shaddam's go-ahead, Fenring administered an N'kee catalyst into the cranial glands of Elrood while he slept. Over the course of the next two years, as Elrood drank spice beer, the catalyst converted the substance into the poison chaumurky, and eventually Elrood died, although all thought of natural causes.

In the interim between Elrood's death, and Shaddam's coronation; the Crown Prince had to endure a scathing rebuke by his cousin, Duke Leto Atreides I. The newly ascended nobleman from Caladan spoke in front of the Landsraad, and castigated Shaddam and House Corrino for its' lack of action in not supporting House Vernius during the Tleilaxu take-over. Matters were further complicated when Leto demanded a Trial by Forfeiture when the teenage Duke was falsely accused for destroying a Tleilaxu freighter, and Leto's penalty would have been capital punishment.

As the Bene Gesserit had a vested interest in Leto producing a female offspring for their secret Kwisatz Haderach Project, the Sisterhood sent Shaddam a message that Leto knew about Project Amal. In the secret message, they inferred that Leto would go public about the Project in a lengthy Landsraad Trial, and would cause Shaddam to have to renounce the Throne. To prevent this, Shaddam personally appeared at the opening of Leto's Trial, and demanded that the galactic tribunal exonerate his cousin. He even gave Leto a prized Corrino heirloom, the Emperor's Blade, as a sign of fealty.

Marriage to Anirul Sadow Tonkin & Coronation[edit | edit source]

Emperor Shaddam (background) & Anirul on Kaitain

The Sisterhood decided that harm had come too close to Leto, and that they also needed to keep a close eye on the future Emperor. Margot Rashino-Zea, a beautiful Sister, who specialized in flash-memorization, encouraged Hasimir to convince Shaddam to marry Anirul Sadow Tonkin, a Sister of Hidden Rank. Hasimir prodded Shaddam to marry the beautiful Reverend Mother, as he knew the Bene Gesserit would strengthen Shaddam's grip on the Throne. Shaddam married Anirul, and was coronated on the very same day. Shaddam did not know that Anirul was secretly the Kwisatz Mother, and would intentionally only produce daughters for the Corrino Emperor in the years to come.

Therefore, 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.

Sending Fenring to Arrakis[edit | edit source]

The year 10,156 AG was one of great tumult and stress for Shaddam. The death of his father, the rebuke by Leto in the Landsraad, and Shaddam's forced show of fealty at Leto's Trial, caused the rise of paranoia in Shaddam. He began to believe that Hasimir looked down upon him, and that Hasimir was too involved in the day to day runnings of the Empire. In a moment of short-sightedness, Shaddam appointed Hasimir Spice Minister of Arrakis, and forced he and Margot to move to the Dune-world.

Great Spice War & Death of Anirul[edit | edit source]

Concurrently, with the Project Amal, synthetic melange almost completed, Shaddam declared war on all Houses who had illegal spice hordes. His real intentions were to prevent any Houses from resisting Amal once complete. After thoroughly destroying some scapegoats, he brought a massive Sardaukar fleet to Arrakis and almost ordered them to destroy the planet. He was stopped when the Guild withdrew all heighliner services temporarily for House Corrino, effectively stranding the Emperor of the Known Universe and the bulk of his forces.

Quickly Shaddam surrendered to the Guild, and in the aftermath, the Great Spice War severely weakened his position. He was forced to take on several CHOAM, Spacing Guild, and Landsaraad advisors, and his own Sardaukar lost faith in him.

Shortly after the birth of Rugi, Anirul secretly died at the hands of the House Harkonnen mentat Piter de Vries, in order to save the infant Paul Atreides in 10177 AG. Anirul was not mourned by her husband, Shaddam, who saw her death as a way to get rid of a secretive woman who could bear no male heirs. Shaddam gave an extravagant funeral for his wife, but the exact circumstances of her death were not known by the Imperium, as Mohiam shared her near-eyewitness account with no one.

War of Assassins of 10,187 AG[edit | edit source]

Weddings[edit | edit source]

Twelve years later, Shaddam was able to gain some of the respect of the Landsraad back by wedding his next wife, Firenza Thorvald, of House Thorvald, brother of Earl Memnon Thorvald, Ipyr. The Landsraad generally approved of Shaddam's marriage, as both the group and the Corrino Emperor, wished for a male heir to the Throne.

At the same time, the age-old feud between House Ecaz and House Moritani began to fester into open warfare. After Viscount Hundro Moritani tried to assassinate most of the nobles in attendance at the wedding of Duke Leto I and Ilesa Ecaz, and was successful in murdering Ilesa. The leader of House Ecaz, Armand and his allies, House Atreides, planned full fledged war.

Peacemaker on Grumman[edit | edit source]

As the final battle erupted on Grumman, and the Ecaz-Atreides allies drove to Moritani's ancient capital city of Ritka in victory; Shaddam showed up as an intergalactic peacemaker to enforce the will of the Landsraad. Landing in the dusty plains outside of the fortress city, Shaddam summoned all of the major participants in the battle to a parley for peace, including the disgraced Moritani. Once Moritani was brought forth to the middle of the battle plain, Hundro lept up and declared to Shaddam that House Moritani was descended from House Tantor, the House that bombed Salusa Secundus thousands of years earlier.

Flabbegasted, Shaddam asked Moritani of what creedance that was, to the issues of the War of Assassins. Moritani replied that the plains of Ritka were lined with atomic weapons, and he intended to destroy the leaders of House Corrino, Atreides, and Ecaz. However, the detonator charges that Moritani had ordered his Swordmaster Hiih Resser to install on the nuclear devices had never been placed, with Risser having decided that a wholesale destruction of some of the leaders of the Landsraad, would not help the Imperium.

Shaddam ordered Moritani arrested to stand trial on Kaitain, to give a full account of all of his activities to the Landsraad, including any clandestine help he had received from secretive Houses. One such House was Harkonnen, whose leader, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen had secretly lent a great deal of assistance. The Baron had sent assassins to try to kill House Atreides' heir, Paul on Caladan; and had sent Glossu Rabban, his heir, with two thousand clandestine troops to the plains of Ritka for the pitched battle.

To cover up these activities, the Baron secretly had Moritani killed en route to Kaitain, when his spaceship cabin de-pressurized inside of the Guild heighliner.

Shaddam IV, as portrayed by José Ferrer in the 1984 Dune movie

The Atreides and the Fall of the Corrino Empire[edit | edit source]

Plans within Plans[edit | edit source]

The later part of Shaddam's rule was known primarily for the fall of House Corrino, from the Imperial seat after the Arrakis Revolt. Between the years 10156 AG - 10172 AG, the ranks of bursegs doubled in number. Provisions for Sardaukar training between the years 10163 AG and 10193 AG steadily declined.

The events leading up to Shaddam and House Corrino's fall from power were triggered by the Emperor himself. He felt threatened by his adoptive cousin, Leto I. As Leto had proved in the Great Spice War, by lending aid to besieged planets; and his gallant support of House Ecaz in the War of Assassins, most nobles in the Landsraad concluded that Leto was a charismatic and honourable man.

Moreover, Leto had managed to train a small army under Thufir Hawat, Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho well enough to rival the Sardaukar, as they had proved during liberation of Ix, and on the plains of Grumman. Consequently, the Emperor conspired with the Baron Vladimir, of House Harkonnen, to eliminate House Atreides, once and for all.

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.

Fenring, Shaddam, & Mohiam, in the Imperial Palace on Kaitain

Downfall of House Corrino[edit | edit source]

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 secret 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, had clandestinely 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.

On Salusa Secundus[edit | edit source]

Later that year, Shaddam was effectively exiled to his ancestral planet of Salusa Secundus, along with his youngest four daughters and Count Hasimir Fenring. Princess Irulan Corrino was named Sovereign Co-regent, but her husband Paul Atreides effectively ruled as Emperor. Shaddam Corrino IV died in year 10202 AG, at the age of 83. Irulan and her sisters suspected that Paul ordered their father be poisoned either through chaumas or chaumurky.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
Elrood IX
Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe
10156 AG - 10196 AG
Succeeded by
Irulan III (regent) with husband Paul Atreides
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