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"The Sith must be ruled by a single leader, the very embodiment of the strength and power of the dark side. If the leader grows weak, another must rise to seize the mantle."
Darth Revan's Sith Holocron[4]

The title of Dark Lord of the Sith, or Jen'ari in the Sith language, originally referred to the ruler of the Sith Empire, and later was taken by the recognized leader of the Order of the Sith Lords. Before Skere Kaan, there was usually only one Dark Lord of the Sith at a time, who was the head of the Order. The major exception to this trend was the Dark Council of Vitiate's Sith Empire: all twelve Dark Councillors held the title of Dark Lord at the same time. In more recent periods, it was a title shared by multiple individuals simultaneously. The term referred to individuals of both genders, though Lumiya claimed the title of Dark Lady of the Sith.

The title Dark Lord of the Sith is often thought to be synonymous with the title Darth. Contrary to this, however, is the fact that Sith apprentices have been known to carry the title as well. Two examples would be Darth Malak as Darth Revan's apprentice, and Darth Vader as Darth Sidious's. Many Sith Lords have used the Darth title, but there is no evidence as to the synonymic relationship of these two appellations.

History of the title[]

"I now complete your initiation to the power of the dark side...so that you may bring to pass the great destiny foretold...Exar Kun, because of you, the Sith will never die...you have rightly earned the title of...Dark Lord of the Sith!"
―Marka Ragnos bestows upon Exar Kun the title of Dark Lord of the Sith[2]

Naga Sadow receives his mark of Lordship.

Xendor, leader of the first Dark Jedi who fell to the dark side of the Force in the First Great Schism, was seen by Sorzus Syn of the Second Great Schism's Exiles as a predecessor to the Lords of the Sith Empire they had created.[5] Although Xendor was not a Sith Lord in his lifetime, his spirit was rumored to have returned as the Sith Dark Underlord during the New Sith Wars.[6]

The first Dark Lord of the Sith was Ajunta Pall, the leader of the exiled Dark Jedi who, after their defeat in the Hundred-Year Darkness, conquered the Sith species and ruled over them as gods.[5] The title was subsequently passed down from Dark Lord to Dark Lord, Tulak Hord among them,[7] until the time of Marka Ragnos, whose century-long reign brought about the Golden Age of the Sith. Ragnos' death in 5000 BBY created a power struggle between the Sith Lords Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh, who held opposing views on the future of the Empire.[1] Though both claimed the title of Dark Lord,[8] Sadow, plotting to incite a war between the Sith and Galactic Republic, forced Kressh and his supporters to flee into exile.[9]

After the fall of the Sith Empire, Naga Sadow gave the title to his apprentice, Freedon Nadd. Some time later, the spirit of Marka Ragnos declared Nadd's apprentice, Exar Kun, Dark Lord of the Sith. At the same time, though unbeknownst to Sadow, Nadd or Kun, members of the Dark Council of the Sith Emperor Vitiate's Sith Empire also held the title of Dark Lord, a first in Sith history. After discovering the long lost Star Forge, Revan broke free of Vitiate's mental control and declared himself the Dark Lord of the Sith of his new empire. Malak succeeded Darth Revan as the Dark Lord after overthrowing him, until he was defeated by his former Sith Master – and again, all twelve Dark Councillors held the title in secret from the rest of the galaxy.

More than two thousand years later, Lord Kaan also granted the title to all members of the Brotherhood of Darkness, thus making it a title shared by many Sith for the second time. After the institution of the Rule of Two, the title was naturally held by only two members at a time, one being the Sith Master and the other being the Sith apprentice. It remained so until the rise of the Rule of One, which like the original Sith Empire recognized only a single Dark Lord of the Sith, bringing the title full circle.

Behind the scenes[]

While writing The Thrawn Trilogy, author Timothy Zahn originally conceived the Noghri to be the Sith; thus making the man they worshipped, Darth Vader, the "Dark Lord of the Sith". However, this idea came into conflict with Lucasfilm and thus Zahn was forced to change it.[10][11]


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Non-canonical appearances[]


Notes and references[]

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