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Dune (series of books)

Last modified: 2005-06-17 by marc pasquin
Keywords: book | film | dune | atreides |
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For those who never read the book, it's a space opera where a feudal "house", the House of Atreides, is exiled to a dry, sandy planet called "Arrakis", or "Dune", formerly a (very profitable due to a certain "spice") fief of a rival "house", the House of Harkonnen.
Jorge Candeias, 29 july 2002


On p.275 of the Dune Encyclopedia, in the article "great houses, arms, pennants, and insignia", is mentioned the following:

"The pennant served chiefly as a battle flag; flown on a long staff, it marked a rallying point for troops in combat. for easy recognition, it usually bore only the principal color or colors of the arms. [...] Houses did not hesitate to adopt special battle flags for situations in which ambiguity might threaten command control."

João Madureira, 28 april 2004

Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles (CHOAM)

The CHOAM company banner is «yellow with a black and red circle in the center». This flag is hoisted from the imperial cruiser in Arrakis, showing the Emperor's stand in the dispute. This may be on the more significative SF events envolving flags.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 april 2004

House Atreides

[Atreides's banner]
by Jorge Candeias

The "Prelude" serie (prequels written by Frank Herbert's son) describe the Atreides banner (if memory serves me right) as Green and black with a red hawk.
Marc Pasquin, 16 january 2002

The book doesn't say the House's symbol is on their banner. In a way it says the opposite: Paul envisions armies with the Atreides banner, where those who served house Atreides on Caladan are recognisable by the red hawk on their uniform. I'd say that would hardly be a feature to recognize them by if that same symbol was on every banner of the army.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 26 august 2002

Whenever I see someone talking about a "green and black banner", I cant help but to think this banner is a simple bicolour. And, since Herbert was american, the natural thing for him was undoubtedly making it horizontal.
Jorge Candeias, 29 july 2002

In Dune, the Banner is described only as «black and green», when refered to throughout the book. It is used on location in the planets Arrakis and Caladan (current and previous fiefs of the House), and appears also in Paul's recurrent visions of a potential future arrakeen jihad made in his name.

A second Atreides symbol is also mentioned, apparently unrelated to the flag: the «Hawk crest of the House Atraides», used extensively as an ornamental identification in building, vehicle and space ship liveries.

In the second volume of the series, Dune Messiah, after Paul Atraides is made Emperor, the banner is now described as green and white, perhaps the is the flag shown in the movie is this one?).

I could not found this reference on a second read. Any ideas? This putative reference must be somewhere in the first 8 chapters.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 april 2004

On p.275 of the Dune Encyclopedia, in the article "great houses, arms, pennants, and insignia", is mentioned the following:

" The House Atreide pennant [...] was black and red;"

João Madureira, 28 april 2004

I've just read a recent edition of the 2nd volume of this saga, Dune Messiah After Paul becomes emperor and head of a multi-stellar empire-wide jihad made by fremen fanatics, House Atreides doesn't lose any nominal importance, accompagning Paul's new role, and with it its banner.

Black seems to be subsidiary, green being *the* Atreides color: Mentioned (vol.2 ch.XI §25) in Paul’s sister Alia’s body guard detail of

"four guard amazons in green watchrobes"
and (vol.2 ch.XVI §40) in her own ceremonial robes:
"a yellow robe trimmed in Atreides green — yellow for sunlight, green for the death which produced life."
. This last sentence gives an possible "meaning", weird it may be, for the main color of the House Atreides banner.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 November 2004

From Children of Dune (chap.VI, §16 / p.31):

"The green flag of the Atreides flew openly there."
The refered location is a partially open qanat near Sietch Tabr, during the early phases of eco-transformation in Arrakis. Isolated, "green" and "flag" might be taken as purely metaphoric (chap.VI, §18 / p.31):
"The new symbols of Arrakis: water and green."
but the context of other flag mentions shows this sentence literaly instead: flags are in actual use.

When infant Leto II is taken to Jacurutu, he sees, in a pre-faint hallucination (chap. XXXV, §last / p.253):
"A darkness where a green flag waved. It was the green banner of the Atreides with its day and night symbols, its Dune staff which concealed a water tube."
Inconclusive as it is, this is probably the best flag description of the whole _Dune series.

There is also a flag metaphor: Idaho (the 1st ghola) says to Jessica (chap. XXXIV, §29 / p.242):
"Remember when your Duke planted the Hawk flag on Arrakis, remember what he said: "Here I am; here I remain."
This refers also the the origin of the Atreides motto, and illustrates well the recurrent (and hardly imaginative) synedoque that equates a liege and its fiefdom with its banner.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 December 2004

House Corrino

On p.275 of the Dune Encyclopedia, in the article "great houses, arms, pennants, and insignia", is mentioned the following:

"House Corrino's was white with a gold stripe, but as the pennant of the House (rather than the throne) was never used as a battle flag."

João Madureira, 28 april 2004

House Harkonnen

The Banner of House Harkonnen is orange according to p.233 of Dune Messiah; an "H" mongram is used to emblazon furniture (at least).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 april 2004


Two new symbols (unknown in vol.1) are mentioned in "Dune Messiah", these named not Imperial or Atreides, but Muad’dib’s (this being Paul’s Fremen war(?) name): Moon-symbol of Muad’dib (vol.2 ch.XI §25):

"Alia’s temple dominated the foreground; green and black hangings along its two-thousand-meter sides displayed the moon symbol of Muad’dib"
Fist-symbol of Muad’dib (vol.2 ch.XXI §2):
"A heliograph of ’thopter wings flashed in the bright afternoon sun above the temple, part of the Royal Guard with Muad’dib’s fist-symbol on its fuselage."

António Martins-Tuválkin, 14 November 2004

Sardaukar / Imperial battle flag

On p.275 of the Dune Encyclopedia, in the article "great houses, arms, pennants, and insignia", is mentioned the following:

"The Imperial Battle Flag was that of the Sardaukar, plain black."

João Madureira, 28 april 2004

Sources Used