Born as Paulos XIX Atreides, he was last Duke of House Atreides, leader of the Fremen, and first ruler of the Atreides Empire. He was considered the Kwisatz Haderach, the powerful prescient being, long sought by the Bene Gesserit and product of their lengthy breeding program.
The Bene Gesserit brought Paul's parents together with the intention of producing an Atreides daughter; who could then mate with the heir to House Harkonnen, and produce the fabled Kwisatz Hadarach, or super-being. However, the plans of the Bene Gesserit were thrown into turmoil by the Lady Jessica's longing to give her beloved partner a male heir to his House
Paul underwent a constant and demanding program of training from his earliest childhood. He learned weaponry from the swordmasters Idaho and Halleck, he learned the Atreides battle language from his father, he learned the subtleties of Voice and observation from his Bene Gesserit mother. Paul was taught about poisons, transport, military tactics, and wilderness survival. He learned to appreciate Halleck's music, as his people did.
Paul was trained as a mentat by Thufir Hawat and as a healer by Dr. Wellington Yueh. He learned to lead others and to follow orders, with the objective of preparing him to rule the planet. Gaius Helen Mohiam when he was fifteen years of age, personally subjected him to the test of the gom jabbar and declared him, to be Kwisatz Haderach
The Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV named Leto I planetary governor of Arrakis, replacing Vladimir Harkonnen in 10190 AG. The following year Paul and his mother came to live there when Baron Harkonnen (acting with the tacit approval of the Emperor), staged a coup d'état, assassinated the Red Duke, and forced Paul and his now pregnant mother into hitting among the Fremen of Sietch Tabr where he spent two years in the Great Desert.
House Atreides had for all practical purposes ceased to exist with the assassination of its leader. None of its scattered retainers joined the Fremen in their revolt and even fought against them in the initial stages of the revolt since they would have attached themselves to others of the noble class and so gain Imperial pleasure rather than fight alongside insurgent Fremen.
In 10193 AG Paul emerged from the desert as Usul, at once the leader and symbol of the Arrakis Revolt. He commanded the Fremen and (what was left of) the Atreides family forces in the Battle of Arrakeen where he overwhelmingly defeated the combined forces of the Padishah Emperor and the Baron Harkonnen, an incredible feat considering he commanded only desert nomads. He drove Shaddam IV into exile on Salusa Secundus and effectively assumed control of both Landsraad and CHOAM.
He was pronounced Muad'Dib, or Messiah, by the Fremen who in his name carried the Second Jihad (10196 AG-10208 AG) across the worlds as well as the ecological transformation of Arrakis into an oasis. He married Irulan Corrino, daughter of the exiled Emperor, as a politically inspired formality.
Paul did not himself physically lead any contingent of warring parties in the Jihad as he remained on Arrakis and consolidate his power, astutely allowing his followers — firemen and off-worlders alike — to conquer in his name, cultivating his own charisma, building himself a legend, fostering belief that he was prescient and Messianic, and prophesying. He was a figurehead of the campaign but, unlike most figureheads, he did not allow himself to be manipulated by his hordes. Instead, he manipulated them as he consolidated, centralized, and practically immortalized his reign.
The combination of his personal magnetism, capacity for leadership, vision of a green Arrakis, and reputed prescience turned Paul into an object of veneration.
An assassination attempt in 10205 AG was the result of a conspiracy among several increasingly insecure political factions including the Spacing Guild, the House Corrino, and the Bene Gesserit but Paul miraculously survived a stoneburner explosion. He was merely blinded and following the ancient Fremen custom that the blind he abandoned in the desert, Paul disappeared voluntarily from Arrakeen shortly after the births of his twin children.
It is believed by many that he will one day return in triumph from the desert, and that he has from time to time and irregularly over the centuries re-appeared as a portent, a nameless prophet of doom.
For a century or more after Paul's disappearance it was a common phenomenon for sun-crazed blind Fremen, banished from their sietch, to stumble into the city claiming to be the returned Muad'Dib and even attract cult followers. Even after centuries when such occurrences grew increasingly rar, the quickest way for any pitiful desert prophet to gain an appreciative audience even today is to pronounce himself "Paul Atreides resurrected".
Over the following millennia, historians debated about Paul's lineage and historical existence, since no conclusive archaeological evidence has been discovered either on Caladan or on Arrakis about him. His existence was based on reason, folklore, and "historical" documents made available to the historical anthropological.
Reason also suggests that an actual, immensely popular and culture-catalyzing hero was adopted by the story tellers and balladeers of both Fremen and noble folklore. It would be difficult for two unrelated bodies of folk material happened to posit the same fictional, mythological hero at the same time, and consistent with historical events.
Grey points of his lineage or existence that challenge reason are: How come the Atreides retainers did not follow him and his mother but rather were absorbed into the populace? How come Sietch Tabr accepted them and not killed them? How did he manage to learn and be tested in all Fremen rites of passage during only 2 years of absence? Why after his blindness he disappeared like an exiled Fremen instead of having replacement Tleilaxu eyes?
Alternative theories respond that Paul or his mother would have been Fremen born, perhaps a son of Stilgar. The retainers denying to prove fealty to the hated Harkonnens and in the fear of being obliterated by the Sardaukar, their only choice would be to ally with the Fremen. Thus they concentrated under Usul and proclaimed him as Duke; Usul saw the advantage of having a Great House on his side to repel the invaders. After his victory, a fabulous genealogy was constructed for him.
| Preceded by|
Shaddam IV and Irulan III (Regent)
| Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe|
10196 AG-10208 AG
| Succeeded by|
| Preceded by|
Leto I Atreides
| Siridar-Duke of Caladan|
10191 AG - 10218 AG
| Succeeded by|
Leto II Atreides