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House Harkonnen was a Great House during the time of the Padishah Emperors. Their capital was Giedi Prime, a heavily industrialised planet with a low photosynthetic potential. House Harkonnen was most famous for its underhanded and sinister political tactics, gaining power by diplomatic intrigue, and frequently by assassination. They were equally bloody as the Atreides, with whom they maintained an ancient feud, and gloried in the use of power. In addition, House Harkonnen had a reputation for ambition, malevolence, hatred and brutality, .
It was typically ruled by a Siridar Baron.
The Harkonnens were a successive line of Colonel Bashars of the Sardaukar, Dukes of Eluzai, Emperors of the known universe, Counts of Hirtius, Lords Tupelo, Dukes Chamizai, Barons Saugus, Stride-Counts of Touro, Barons Plynimon, and Siridar-Barons of Arrakis; distaff titles include Lords Rabban, Counts of Lankiveil, Barons Rautha, Lords Feyd, and Lords Montilla.
The Harkonnens claim descent from Count Palaigo Corrino, grandfather of Sheuset I (founder and first ruler of the empire): according to their traditions, Sheuset's father, Count Costin, was a demibrother of Harkonnen Obeshev but this has not been proved.
Abulurd, Obeshev's son, disgraced the House's name because of his treachery in the Battle of Corrin, but his demibrother Ivan Harkonnen's line became Dukes of Eluzai. This line had members such as Saudir III and Saudir IV, usurpers of the throne until orphaned with the later's death.
For centuries thereafter, the Harkonnens, while not officially disgraced, they filled the role of businessman and planetary squire, and stayed out of Imperial politics. Count Abulurd III Harkonnen was stripped of his title twice and the Harkonnens were demoted to their lesser title of Lords Tupelo, and were required to pay a large fine into the Imperial treasury.
About the time Vladimir II Harkonnen became Duke of Chamizai the Harkonnens were first proposed for membership among the Great Houses; the Harkonnen family had always been enterprising, specializing in the trading of goods for profit, the renting of mercenaries, and the pursuit of exotic luxuries for the wealth. To translate these assets into power required political acceptance of their family as one of the elite. Vladimir Harkonnen persuaded Count Ernst von Wikkheiser to sponsor a resolution in the Landsraad proposing the Harkonnens as a voting house; the motion failed by a small number of votes when the Atreides spoke against it.
At the death of Emperor Henoor III in 1604 AG without immediate heirs, and at the verge of civil was, Abulurd VI Harkonnen planned to attack the Landsraad meeting site. Then the Atreides challenged him to kanly. Abulurd accepted the challenge, with the Imperium at stake, but was defeated. As a result, the Harkonnens were stripped of their titles and possessions, and exiled once again. Eventually they were restored by Corrin IV, who was enthroned by the machinations of Iraklii Harkonnen, after a period of tumult created by himself.
The House begun a conflict with House Pardee which was the first recorded instance of a war of assassins (3367 AG-3375 AG) after which House Pardee was virtually obliterated. Various stories attribute this victory to the defection of the steward of their rural estate, a jealous functionary who was easily bribed. Undermining the loyalty of the retainers of another house was a specialty at which House Harkonnen seems to have excelled, according to the reputation of the house among others.
House Harkonnen fought alongside Houses Atreides and Kaastaar at the revolt at Mask Prime, but because of a flawed plan mst of their forces were annihilated during the planetary assault. The Atreides forces were among the only survivors of the carnage.
Around that time, the Harkonnens made raids against House Tipnear and house Chusak. Since the Tipnear were close allies to the Atreides, they formed an unmarked "black" fleet, and without a declaration of war or admission, their combined forces raided Giedi Prime/DE. The Harkonnen slave fleet suffered immense damage, Baathaas was lost and 20000 slaves were liberated.
An earlier Harkonnen had seemingly destroyed the family by an act of cowardice. Despite the constant power struggles, Baron Vladimir, a diplomatic genius, managed a remarkable feat of rapidly restoring his family's power by manipulating a number of business ventures.
House Harkonnen of that era of deadly political maneuvering and ruthless exercise of power, was noted for its overweening cynicism and cruelty, its hunger for power and profit, and its total subordination of means to ends. It was best viewed as displaying the excesses of a political morality which did, after all, originate to a large degree on Salusa Secundus.
The Counts Harkonnen-Rabban, generally known only as Counts Rabban, continued to survive as a House Minor for several hundred years into Leto II Atreides's reign, but gradually lost its noble status, along with the other Houses Minor. No mention of the Rabban name appears in local records after the year 10884 AG.
- CORRINO, SHADDAM IV
- HARKONNEN, HOUSE OF
- HARKONNEN, VLADIMIR
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