- "As lethal as you must be to become a lord, a Darth is the embodiment of death. Don't forget that."
- ―Darth Baras to his back-cheeking apprentice
Many Sith Lords chose to add "Darth" to their name, so much so that the word is considered synonymous with the dark side of the Force in some circles. It was also taken to signify giving up one's old life. Such examples are Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, or Jacen Solo becoming Darth Caedus. But the origins of the word are uncertain. It is often thought that "Darth" is merely a contraction of the title "Dark Lord of the Sith", but there are theories that suggest a deeper interpretation.
Some historians suggest that "Darth" is actually a corruption of the Rakata word Daritha, meaning "emperor". Others note another Rakatan connection: the words for "triumph" or "conquest" in Rakatan is darr, and the word for "death" is tah, leading to the theory that "Darth" is derived from darr tah and therefore means "triumph over death" or "immortal". Given the Sith obsession with discovering the means to achieve immortality, this idea is not entirely without merit, at least on the surface. But others point out that the true meaning of darr tah is "conquest through death," meaning the conquest of one's enemies.
Ultimately, the flaw in such theories involving a Rakatan origin is that, even if they are accurate, they cannot spring specifically from Revan or Malak's re-discovery of the Rakata and the Star Forge. Five years prior to their emergence as Sith Lords (3964 BBY), the title "Darth" was already well known by the Jedi in connection to the Sith, which is why Padawan Zayne Carrick could call Jarael "Darth Sunshine." In addition, Haazen claimed that if he were to take a name like the Sith of old, it would be "Darth Hayze," all but asserting that the title Darth was around prior to Revan and Malak's discovery. There is still the possibility that one of the Rakatan theories could be correct, since the ancient Sith homeworld of Korriban had once been occupied by the Rakata (circa 28,000 BBY), which is one way either the Daritha or darr tah term could have entered the ancient Sith language. Darth Andeddu lived during the time of the old Sith Empire (6900 BBY to 5000 BBY), early enough for his holocron to come into the possession of the fallen Jedi Freedon Nadd. He was known for experiments into eternal life, a possible link to the Rakatan term.
But even if the Rakatan connection proves to have some validity, numerous other cultures make similar claims to the etymology of the title, so for the present, there is no definitive answer as to what the term "Darth" truly means.
Usage of the term
- "Someone here once told me that the Darth title was no longer used because it promoted rivalry among the Sith. It gave the Jedi an easy target. It was easier just to abandon the custom. To have all the Sith Masters use the same title of Dark Lord. But I know the truth, Qordis. I know why none of you claim that name for yourself. Fear. You're cowards. None of the Brotherhood is worthy of the Darth title. Least of all you."
- ―Darth Bane
The earliest use of the title that can be pinned down to a specific year was by Naga Sadow, last of the original Dark Lords of the Sith that ruled the old Sith Empire. The expatriate Lord Vitiate renewed usage of the title in his reformed Empire. There, the "Darth" title was used by high-ranking Sith Lords, including – but not limited to – members of the Dark Council. Later Sith Lords of the Jedi Civil War era also used the title Darth, as did the founding Sith Lord of the Light and Darkness War, Darth Ruin, though there were few later Sith bearing the title until the rise of Darth Rivan and Darth Bane. During the Draggulch Period, Lord Kaan discouraged the usage of the term within the Brotherhood of Darkness, claiming that it promoted rivalry among the Sith. Darth Bane, believing that the reason was merely fear, revived the use of the title in the last days of the Brotherhood. Bane, as the only survivor of the Sith Order after the Seventh Battle of Ruusan, was largely able to reshape the Sith in his own image, instituting such reforms as the Sith of his lineage adopted the Darth title as he did, generally coupling it with a new Sith name (e.g. Sidious, Tyranus, Vader), which appears to have been chosen for the apprentice by the master at the time the apprentice swore allegiance to the Sith. Not all usages of the term "Darth" during this time, however, preceded a Sith name, as Darth Maul's name had the title of "Darth" preceding his birth name.
By the time of the One Sith, the "Darth" title was reserved only for those who proved their power and their unquestioning loyalty to Darth Krayt. Others, such as Vul Isen, were not entitled to the Darth title despite their expertise in the Dark Side of the Force, and weren't regarded as "real" Sith by some of the Darths.
- Darth Revan
- Darth Malak
- Darth Voren
- Darth Bandon
- Darth Glovoc
- Darth Traya
- Darth Nihilus
- Darth Sion
- Unidentified Sith Lord (Post–Sith Civil War)
- Darth Desolous
- Darth Phobos
- Darth Bane
- Darth Zannah
- Darth Cognus
- Darth Millennial
- Darth Vectivus
- Darth Gravid
- Darth Gean
- Darth Ramage
- Darth Tenebrous's Sith Master
- Darth Tenebrous
- Darth Plagueis
- Darth Venamis
- Darth Sidious
- Darth Maul
- Darth Tyranus
- Darth Vader
- Darth Azard
- Darth Havok
- Darth Krayt
- Darth Kruhl
- Darth Luft
- Darth Maladi
- Darth Maleval
- Darth Nihl
- Darth Rauder
- Darth Reave
- Darth Ruyn
- Darth Stryfe
- Darth Talon
- Darth Vua
- Darth Vurik
- Darth Wredd
- Darth Wyyrlok I
- Darth Wyyrlok II
- Darth Wyyrlok III
Behind the scenes
Author and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic lead writer Drew Karpyshyn hinted at a booksigning in Huntington Beach, California, that he likes to think the Darth title was around before the Infinite Empire.
Darth is often thought to be a combination of letters from the title Dark Lord of the Sith, a theory which is alluded to in Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force. Darth may also be a portmanteau of dark and death.
Prior to the release of The Phantom Menace, the only known Sith Lord to bear the title Darth was Darth Vader. When Darth Sidious and Darth Maul were revealed in The Phantom Menace, the title took on its distinct association with the Sith, and it has appeared throughout of all eras of the Star Wars saga. As a result of the popularity of Star Wars, the term "Darth" has entered the popular lexicon as a term for evil. Most references are still associated with the Star Wars universe.
In A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi addresses Darth Vader simply as Darth, which is the only instance in the films where the word is used isolated. It is possible that at this point in the development of the saga "Darth" was intended to be the character's name, not a title; in-universe, possibly Obi-Wan was deliberately emphasizing the title as a way of taunting Vader and driving home what he had become.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- The Old Republic: Deceived
- Star Wars: The Old Republic, Threat of Peace
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- The Old Republic: Annihilation
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Starfighter
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Shadow of Revan
- "End Game"
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi novel
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi junior novel
- Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Prima Official Game Guide
- Vader: The Ultimate Guide
- Star Wars: Legacy #0
- "Heritage of the Sith"—Star Wars Insider 88
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 106
- "Classic Moment"—Star Wars Insider 107
- Fate of the Jedi: Dramatis Personae
- "Secrets of the Force"—Star Wars Insider 123
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Explorer's Guide
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- Star Wars: Beware the Sith
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- ↑ Knights of the Old Republic 34: Vindication, Part 3
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Warfare
- ↑ Red Harvest (novel)
- ↑ The Old Republic: Revan
- ↑ Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization
- ↑ Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- ↑ Darth Plagueis
- ↑ Legacy 33: Fight Another Day, Part 2
- ↑ Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil