- "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
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 only one Dark Lord of the Sith at a time, who was the head of the Order, with the exception of the members of the Dark Council of the Sith Emperor Vitiate's Sith Empire who 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 sexes, 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'. 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
Xendor, believed to be the first Dark Jedi, is possibly the predecessor of the Dark Lords of the Sith, though he himself was never a Sith Lord (although he may have returned from the dead to take the position as the Dark Underlord many millennia later).
After the fall of the Sith Empire, Naga Sadow gave the title to his apprentice, Freedon Nadd. The spirit of the dead Dark Lord Marka Ragnos then declared Nadd's apprentice, Exar Kun, Dark Lord of the Sith. At the same time, members of the Dark Council of the Sith Emperor Vitiate's Sith Empire would hold the title of Dark Lord at the same time, 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. 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, where only the leader of the order would claim the title.