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Dune (series of novels, television mini-series, and movie)

Last modified: 2016-03-19 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: dune | atreides | corrino | harkonnen | sardaukar | fremen | jihad | butlerian jihad | vermius | choam | martyrists | cult of serena |
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Introduction

Dune is a series of books by Frank Herbert, with a "Prelude" series of prequels written by Frank Herbert's son.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 November 2004, and Marc Pasquin, 15 January 2002

It's a space opera where a feudal "house", the House of Atreides, is exiled to a dry, sandy planet called "Arrakis", or "Dune", formerly a (very profitable due to a certain "spice") fief of a rival "house", the House of Harkonnen.
Jorge Candeias, 15 January 2002

Dune is also a movie, and additionally there are two television mini-series, Dune and Children of Dune.
Manuel Giorgini, 14 January 2002, Mike Oettle, 21 July 2002, and Eugene Ipavec, 30 August 2008

Plus, there's also a supplement called the Dune Encyclopedia Enc. It's a reference work compiled by Willis E. McNelly, and approved by Frank Herbert. In it, flags (and other symbols, somewhat like badges) are mentioned.
Dirk Schönberger, 15 January 2002, and João Madureira, 28 April 2004

Pennants

The Dune Encyclopedia Enc mentions the following about pennants:

The pennant served chiefly as a battle flag; flown on a long staff, it marked a rallying point for troops in combat. For easy recognition, it usually bore only the principal color or colors of the arms. … House AtreidesHouse CorrinoSardaukar … Houses did not hesitate to adopt special battle flags for situations in which ambiguity might threaten command control."

João Madureira, 28 April 2004


House Atreides

House Atreides flags

Hawk flag

The "Prelude" serie describe the Atreides flag as Green and black with a red hawk. I think it was the second book of Paul II as the god emperor.
Marc Pasquin, 15 January & 1 August 2002

According to The Battle of Corrin BCn: As of 88 B.G., Vorian Atreides has changed his ways as a warrior and having used to rely on tricks and deception, now his tactic is full-fledged millitary strike: Impatient and vengeful, he called himself a hawk (page 611). "Yes, I have become a hawk. From now on the hawk will be my symbol. It will always remind me of my duty." (page 567), I am a hawk. That is my symbol (page 614).

This accounts for the origin of the symbol; it remains unclear how usual was for Jihad or Army of Humanity high ranking officers to have self-apointed personal symbols, even those which would remind them of their duty.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 March 2006

In Dune Dune, the Hawk crest of the House Atreides is mentioned, but apparently as a second Atreides symbol unrelated to the flag.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 April 2004

Black and green flag

[Black over green, 2:3]
image by Jorge Candeias, 15 January 2002

The Banner of the House Atreides, described only as black and green, is referred throughout Dune Dune. It is used on location in the planets Arrakis and Caladan (current and previous fiefs of the House), and appears also in Paul's recurrent visions of a potential future Arrakeen jihad made in his name.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 April 2004

Dune frequently mentions the "Atreides green and black banner". I can't help but to think this banner is a simple bicolour. And, since Herbert was American, undoubtedly making it horizontal was natural for him. So, this is what I pictured in my mind as this banner of Atreides.
Jorge Candeias, 15 January 2002

Funny how images can differ between people reading the same text. I was picturing something longer, and two-tailed. Say, 3:9 with a 4 unit split. It must be because it is always flying over something, never from.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 26 & 28 August 2002

[Black over green, 1:3]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 August 2008

In the movie the Atreides flag is shown clearly at least twice: over their castle on Caladan, and during the ceremonial arrival of the ducal family on Arrakis and subsequent military procession into the government mansion in Arrakeen. Both times it is exactly as we show, green over black (albeit much longer, ~1:3 or maybe 4.
Eugene Ipavec, 30 August 2008

Light and green flag

[Light green over green, 2:3]
image by Manuel Giorgini, 14 January 2002

In the movie, there is a flag shown about the Atreides Dynasty.
Manuel Giorgini, 14 January 2002

Is the flag described in Frank Herbert's book, or was it only a set designer's creation?
Ivan Sache, 14 January 2002

If I recollect correctly, the flag or House Atreides is indeed described in the book, but it is certainly not a pale-green/green bicolour.
Željko Heimer, 15 January 2002

In the second volume of the series, Dune Messiah DMh, after Paul Atreides is made Emperor, the banner is now described as green and white — perhaps the flag shown on the movie is this one?
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 April 2004

Frank Herbert is quite aware of the passage of time in his stories, and details will change in the course of the books. So, it's possible that the Atreides banner changed because of the developments on Dune.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 1 March 2013

Fremen Jihad flag

In the prologue to the television mini-series "Children of Dune," the flag of the Atreides/Muad'dib/Fremen Jihad against the rest of the galaxy is shown: black vertical flag with a arabesque-like stylized hawk in flight made of white intertwining lines. The same emblem is later visible embroidered on the backs of the cloaks given as gifts to Paul's children by the Corrino.
image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 August 2008

Green flag

According to Children of Dune ChD:

The green flag of the Atreides flew openly there. (page 31) The referred location is a partially open qanat near Sietch Tabr, during the early phases of eco-transformation in Arrakis. Isolated, "green" and "flag" might be taken as purely metaphoric (The new symbols of Arrakis: water and green. page 31), but the context of other flag mentions shows this sentence alegoric instead: flags are in actual use.

When infant Leto II is taken to Jacurutu, he sees, in a pre-faint hallucination a darkness where a green flag waved. It was the green banner of the Atreides with its day and night symbols, its Dune staff which concealed a water tube. (page 253). Inconclusive as it is, this is probably the best flag description of the whole Dune series.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 December 2004

God Emperor of Dune GED has: In "museum Freemen"-inhabited Tuono village, on Arrakis, a tattered green banner fluttered from a metal pole atop the largest structure (page 394).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 4 January 2006


Atreides pennants

[Atreides pennant]
image by Eugene Ipavec, 30 August 2008

In the movie, during the ceremonial arrival of the ducal family on Arrakis and subsequent military procession into the government mansion in Arrakeen, the flagbearer is followed up the steps into the palace by two rows of soldiers bearing pennants of the same design, but with a vertical black band at the hoist.
Eugene Ipavec, 30 August 2008

According to the Dune Encyclopedia Enc, the House Atreide pennant was black and red.
João Madureira, 28 April 2004


Atreides colours

In Dune Messiah DMh, black seems to be subsidiary, green being *the* Atreides color: It's mentioned in Paul's sister Alia's body guard detail of four guard amazons in green watchrobes, and in her own ceremonial robes: a yellow robe trimmed in Atreides green — yellow for sunlight, green for the death which produced life. This last sentence gives an possible "meaning", weird it may be, for the main color of the House Atreides banner.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 November 2004

According to the Dune Encyclopedia Enc article "great houses, arms, pennants, and insignia" (page 275), the arms of House Atreides are sable a falcon's head couped gules encicled by laurel branches vert.
João Madureira, 28 April 2004


Other Houses

House Corrino

In the books, I think the banner of House Corrino — the Emperor's house — contains a golden lion.
Marc Pasquin, 31 July 2002

Corrino pennant

According to the Dune Encyclopedia Enc, House Corrino's pennant was white with a gold stripe, but as the pennant of the House, rather than the throne, it was never used as a battle flag.
João Madureira, 28 April 2004

Corrino military flags

According to the Dune Encyclopedia Enc, the Imperial Battle Flag was that of the Sardaukar, plain black.
João Madureira, 28 April 2004

Bloody and tattered captured battle flags are the only decoration in the Imperial audience chamber (Dune Dune page 525). Also referred in that source are Sardaukar (Emperor's personal guard) battle standards (page 519).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 April 2004

In Corrino Palace, windowless foyer with light wood walls decorated by lance pennants. (Children of Dune ChD page 227)
António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 December 2004


House Harkonnen

The Banner of House Harkonnen is orange (Dune Dune page 233); an "H" mongram is used to emblazon furniture (at least).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 April 2004

In the mini-series version of Dune, there is a flag of House Harkonnen which combines a cross paty with the Nazi colours of red, white and black. — I think it is quarterly and counterchanged in black and white, with a red border.
Mike Oettle, 21 July 2002

If I am not mistaken, the Harkonnen flag is also described in the book, as including red and black.
Željko Heimer, 15 January 2002

In the books, the Harkonnen banner is defaced with a gryphon.
Marc Pasquin, 31 July 2002

The banner of House Harkonnen, I picture more square (compared to that of House Atreides), and with only a shallow split. Apparently it's much less lively, in my mind; like the house it represents.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 28 August 2002

According to the Dune Encyclopedia Enc article "great houses, arms, pennants, and insignia" (page 275), the arms of House Harkonnen are white a ram's head caboshed guardant azure.
João Madureira, 28 April 2004


House Vermius

In the books, the House Vermius banner is purple with a copper helix.
Marc Pasquin, 31 July 2002


Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles

In Dune Dune, the CHOAM company banner is yellow with a black and red circle in the center. This flag is hoisted from the imperial cruiser in Arrakis, showing the Emperor's stand in the dispute — this may be one of the more significative SF events involving flags.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 April 2004


Butlerian Jihad

After the 1st battle of Corrin, as of 108 B.G., more than four million people waved colorful Jihad banners (The Battle of Corrin BCn page 283) at the triumphal reception of the troops, back in Zimia (on Salusa Secundus). (This is the only mention of such banners; all considered, I suggest that this is an editorial mistake and that the authors meant here Martyrists' banners instead.)
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 March 2006


Martyrists' banners

As of 108 B.G., Martyrist banner hanging on the wall of a cliff side suspensor restaurant on Caladan, with pictures of the Three Martyrs: Serena Butler, her innocent child Manion, and Grand Patriarch Ginjo (The Battle of Corrin BCn page 11).

As of 108 B.G., when Honru is liberated, locals carried hastily created banners, thrown together from rags, paint and whatever (page 22).

As of 108 B.G., in Niubbe, on Scourge-striken Parmentier, Martyrists staged long processions through the reeling city, carrying banners, offering prayers (page 83). In Niubbe Hospital, Vorian Atreides is attacked by a sick Martyrist: The wretch clutched a scrap of a banner that depicted Sarena's baby Manion and he howled prayers, begging the Three Martyrs to save him, to save them all (page 102).

On recaptured Honru, as of 108 B.G., long banners depicting Serena, Manion the Innocent, and Grand Patriarch Iblis Ginjo unfurled from tall buildings (page 119); while still chasing the remaining Robots, some of the just liberated Human slaves carried banners of the Three Martyrs.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 March 2006

Cult of Serena

As of 108 B.G., in Niubbe, on Scourge-striken Parmentier, Rayna Butler starts her anti-technology crusade and is unexpectedly joined by the surviving Martyrists (The Battle of Corrin BCn page 179). Those were waving pennants and and holding staffs high, until finally Rayna turned to them in confusion. Climbing atop an abandoned ground car, she called out, "Why do you waste your time and energy carrying those banners? Who are you performing for? I don't want to see flags and colors. This is a crusade, not a pageant." She jumped down and tore away a large fabric banner and handed a bare staff back to a man. "There. Now use this to smash machines." (page 179). Several Martyrists lowered their banners and tore them away from the poles, which they could now use as clubs and crowbars (page 179).

For a long time Rayna had discounted the icons and stylized images but, as of 88 B.G., she'd come to understand that her followers required their comforting paraphernalia. She finally accepted standard bearers (page 390).

As of 88 B.G., twenty years after the Cult started in Niubbe, cultists demonstrated in Zimia lifting banners and pennants that were embroidered or stained with images of Serena Butler and Manion the Innocent (page 390). Later the same year, in Zimia, banners of Serena, Manion the Innocent, and Iblis Ginjo hung on every tall building. (page 436), cultists surged along the boulevards carrying banners and placards, chanting, brandishing weapons (page 489), waving banners of Saint Serena and her child Manion (page 555).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 March 2006

Simplified design

A simplified design is suggested later on: When addressing the Hall of Parliament in Zimia, in 88 B.G., Rayna Butler wore a new green-and-white robe emblazoned with a bloodred profile of Serena. (The Battle of Corrin BCn page 572). Finally, at the departure of the Army of Humanity fleet before the Battle of Corrin, as of 88 B.G., sincere well-wisher and wide-eyed fanatics carried white banners emblazoned with the bloodred silhuette of Serena Butler (page 580).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 March 2006

Other tokens

There are also other tokens: The Manifesto of Rayna Butler was first presented during a demonstration in Zimia later the same year, during which cultists carried cloth signs on mobile frames, ornately bordered and lettered (page 569)

During the celebrations after the final battle of Corrin, in Zimia (and across League of Humanity worlds), the Cult of Serena was out in the vast audience in force, holding banners and their symbolic clubs (page 657).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 March 2006


Sources Used

Dune
Dune, by Frank Herbert, first published 1965. (English edition — ISBN:0-450-01184-4)
BCn
The Battle of Corrin, by Brian Herbert and Levin J. Anderson, 2004 (page numbers from ISBN:0-765-34079-8 / EAN:978-0765-34079-5: Tom Dougherty Ass., New York)
ChD
Children of Dune, by Frank Herbert, first published in 1976, Nel edition (ISBN:0-450-03427-5)
DMh
Dune Messiah, by Frank Herbert, first published 1969 (ISBN:0-450-02285-4)
Enc
Dune Encyclopedia, compiled by Willis E. McNelly (ISBN:0-425-06813-7)
GED
God Emperor of Dune, by Frank Herbert, 1981 (page numbers from ISBN:0-450-05262-1: NEL series, Hodder & Stoughton, London)

 
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