A Brief Introduction to the Klingon
A proud, tradition-bound people who value honour, the aggressive
Klingon culture has made them a military power to be respected
and feared throughout the quadrants.
The Klingon Homeworld is referred to by many names: Klinzhai,
Kling, Klingon, or Qo'noS (Kronos). This M-class planet is the
second in the Klingon Star System. It is about 1.5 times the
size of Earth. On Qo'noS, there is only few water, except for
some saline lakes, which is why the climate is hot and the vegetation
meager. The biggest city on the planet is The First City
(veng wa'DIch), the center of the Klingon Empire
Klingons are classified as "humanoid", since they
roughly follow the designs and symmetry of the humanoid body
form shared by most of the races in the Alpha Quadrant. However,
there are some differences. The most striking characteristic
of a Klingon's appearance is the sagittarean crest on their forehead.
Every Klingon forehead has its own unique pattern, much like
a fingerprint, however certain similarities can be found within
The Klingons have a body structure that is partly exoskeleton,
meaning their resistance to physical force is far greater than
mere flesh, and they have a higher muscle mass ratio than most
humans. This system is especially suited to protecting the interior
organs from damage caused by fighting. Heavy chest plates, a
heavily-armored back (including spinal cord), and a pronounced
brow ridge (to protect the brain) are common features. Klingons
are capable of comparably greater physical strength and endurance
than Terran humans. The Klingon body incorporates multiple redundancies
for nearly all vital bodily functions. This characteristic, known
as brak'lul, gives Klingons enormous resiliency in battle.
Despite the considerable sophistication of Klingon technology,
significant gaps exist in Klingon medical science, in part due
to cultural biases that injured warriors should be left to die
or to carry out the Hegh'bat, a ritual suicide. Klingons
have no tear ducts. The blood of Imperial race Klingons is a
lavender-colored fluid, while the various genetic fusions exhibit
other colour characteristics.
The olfactory sense of a typical Klingon is typically very
keen. It is theorized that since the initial stages of the mating
ritual involves much "sniffing" of the potential mate,
it is possible that this is an alternative way of identifying
a Klingon's emotions or intent through their pheremones.
Klingon society functions through a system of family reputation
and honor. Tradition is an integral part of their lives and breaking
from observances is considered a grievious insult to society
that is not forgotten easily: bringing shame to the offender's
name for several generations.
Klingon society is hierarchically organized. Status is generally
a matter of descent and relations, although it can occasionally
be earned or improved through notable battles or victories. Higher
classes consist of the Major Houses or family lines, most
of whom are quite wealthy and own vast lands guarded by armed
forces that are loyal to their house. Others have less influence
and often enter into an alliance with the more powerful houses
to be able to survive; they are often referred to a Minor
Bloodlines and relations are also taken very seriously by
any true Klingon. Lines comprise of more than mere family members.
It is more like a network of mutual obligations and defense agreements.
Deeds done beyond living memory can indebt one family to another
for generations, such is their emphasis on repaying debts. In
this way, there comes a time when the line is too massive to
maintain, and some line-founders must split off to form a new
name. For a Klingon to join a family, it must be done according
to the rite of R'uustal, after approval by the matriarch or patriarch
of the family house.
Each House is usually led by the eldest male descendant of
the first head of the house, however there is a growing acceptance
of the oldest daughter becoming head of House under certain circumstances.
Although lower-class Klingons do not necessarily consider themselves
members of a House, they have normally pledged allegiance to
a particular House. They usually work as servants or belong to
the House's armed forces. If a Klingon behaves dishonorably,
his shame reflects on the whole House.
(For more information, visit our sections on: Klingon
Klingon Rituals and Beliefs
An integral part of tradition is the various rituals that
mark milestones in a Klingon's life or the history of the Empire.
Most notable of the rites is the Rite of Succession, which
a future leader of the Empire must complete with a valid Arbiter
of Succession (Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the case of Gowron)
overseeing the proceedings. Before the Rite can begin, there's
another elaborate ceremony needed to confirm the death of the
previous leader. This is known as the Sonchi Ceremony.
For individual Klingon warriors, they are expected to go through
the Rite of Ascension to be recognized as a full adult.
The most famed and prestigious warriors receive the honour
of induction into The Order of The Bat'leth. This elite
group has a long tradition, and the Chancellor himself will oversee
the inaugaration ceremony which normally takes place in the Hall
of Warriors at Ty'Gokor. This structure houses the bones
of Klingon heroes and legends, honouring them with statues and
stone tablets detailing their illustrious deeds.
In Klingon society, the death of a warrior is not mourned,
especially a warrior who has died honourably, as in battle or
the line of duty. In such cases, the survivors celebrate the
freeing of the spirit. Although Klingons believe in an afterlife
(traditionally Sto-Vo-Kor, or an alternative version called
"The Black Fleet"), but there is no burial ceremony.
They dispose the body in the most efficient means possible.
There is no equivelant to the devil in Klingon mythology,
although a beast known as Fek'lhr is believed to guard
the underworld of Gre'thor. According to myth, ancient
Klingon warriors slew their gods a millenium ago. They were apparently
more trouble than they were worth.
Klingon tradition holds that "A Klingon is a man the
day he can first hold a blade". Another Klingon ritual
is the R'uustai, or bonding ceremony, in which two individuals
join families, becoming brothers and sisters.
Klingons believe that they have the instinctive ability to
look an opponent in the eye and see the intent to kill. Klingon
tradition holds that a Klingon who dies by their own hand will
not travel across the River of Blood to enter Sto-Vo-Kor.
If a Klingon warrior strikes another with the back of his hand,
it is interpreted as a challenge to the death. Klingon
warriors speak proudly to each other - they do not whisper or
keep their distance. Standing far away and whispering are
considered insults in Klingon society.
(For more information, visit our sections on: Klingon
Rituals & Ceremonies)
The Klingon Empire is governed by the Klingon High Council
which consists of about two dozen members from the most honorable
Major Houses, meeting in the Great Hall in their capital veng
wa'DIch ("The First City"). The Leader of the Council
is referred to as the Chancellor, who is, at the same
time, head of government. At the moment, this office is held
by Martok, the successor of Gowron. Since 2369, there is also
an Emperor, an office that has not been filled for centuries:
the clone of Kahless the Unforgettable . He has practically
no political power, however, he serves as an important religious
and ceremonial leader in Klingon society.
The Klingon military is called tlhIngan hubbeq or Klingon
Defense Force. It consists of the fleet and the ground troops,
both of which are commanded by the Klingon Supreme Command.
In the fleet, there are nine different ranks: Admiral, General,
Fleet Admiral, Brigadier General, Captain, Commander, Lieutenant,
Ensign and Yeoman.