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[[Image:Kahless.jpg|thumb|Emperor Kahless the Unforgettable.]]
 
[[Image:Kahless.jpg|thumb|Emperor Kahless the Unforgettable.]]
   
A [[humanoid]] warrior civilization and one of the major powers of the [[Milky Way Galaxy|galaxy]], the '''Klingon''' species originates from the planet [[Qo'noS]] (pronounced ''Kronos''), a [[class M]] [[planet]]. The Klingons are a proud, tradition-bound people who value honor. The aggressive Klingon culture has made them an interstellar military power to be respected and feared. Klingons believe that they have the instinctive ability to look an opponent in the eye and see the intent to kill.
+
A [[humanoid]] warrior civilization and one of the major powers of the [[Milky Way Galaxy|galaxy]], the '''Klingon''' species originates from the planet
  +
[[Qo'noS]] (pronounced ''Kronos''), a [[class M]] [[planet]]. The Klingons are a proud, tradition-bound people who value honor. The aggressive Klingon
  +
culture has made them an interstellar military power to be respected and feared. Klingons believe that they have the instinctive ability to look an opponent
  +
in the eye and see the intent to kill.
   
 
==History and Politics==
 
==History and Politics==
The [[Klingon Empire]] was founded approximately 1,500 years ago by [[Kahless]] the Unforgettable, who performed many heroic feats including the unification of the Klingon people when he killed the tyrant [[Molor]]. Kahless came to be revered in Klingon society to the point of near-deification, and many aspects of Klingon culture came to revolve around emulation of Kahless's life. ([[TNG]]: "[[Rightful Heir]]")
+
Many mysteries surround the history of the Klingon people, at least in part because of their habit of periodically re-writing their past for political
  +
purposes ([[DS9]]: "[[You Are Cordially Invited...]]"). The [[Klingon Empire]] was founded approximately 1,500 years ago by [[Kahless]] the Unforgettable,
  +
who performed many heroic feats including the unification of the Klingon people when he killed the tyrant [[Molor]]. He issued the laws of honour with which
  +
the people would be governed. Kahless came to be revered in Klingon society to the point of near-deification, and many aspects of Klingon culture came to
  +
revolve around emulation of Kahless's life.
  +
([[TNG]]: "[[Rightful Heir]]")
   
The warrior ethos has been an important aspect of Klingon society since the time of Kahless, but the warrior aspects became much more dominant beginning in the early [[22nd century]]. Previously, Klingon society was regarded as fair and balanced, but over time, the warriors gained greater prominence, to the point where the Klingons widely came to be regardes as a "warrior race." ([[ENT]]: "[[Broken Bow]]", "[[Judgment]]")
+
The warrior ethos has been an important aspect of Klingon society since the time of Kahless, but the warrior aspects became much more dominant beginning in
  +
the early [[22nd century]]. Previously, Klingon society was regarded as fair and balanced, but over time, the warriors gained greater prominence, to the
  +
point where the Klingons widely came to be regardes as a "warrior race." ([[ENT]]: "[[Broken Bow]]", "[[Judgment]]")
   
Because of their aggressive outlook, the Klingons have generally had poor relations with other races after they began to move out into space. Because the worlds of the Klingon Empire are resource-poor, the Klingons have developed an intense belief in the need for expansion and conquest in order to survive. The Klingons' relationship with [[Human]]s and the [[United Federation of Planets|Federation]] have been rocky at best. Following the disastrous [[First Contact]] between Klingons and Humans in [[2151]], a tense rivalry began that escalated into a full-scale cold war around [[2218]]. ([[ENT]]: "[[Broken Bow]]", [[TOS]]: "[[Day of the Dove]]") Tensions finally erupted into the [[first Federation-Klingon War]] in [[2267]], that was quickly ended by intervention by the [[Organians]] after only four days of fighting. ([[TOS]]: "[[Errand of Mercy]]") Over the next several decades, an uneasy peace developed that was broken by brief but fierce skirmishes and conflicts. (''[[Star Trek III: The Search for Spock]], [[Star Trek V: The Final Frontier]]'') A true and lasting peace finally came in [[2293]] with the signing of the [[Khitomer Accords]], thanks to the efforts of [[Klingon chancellor|Chancellor]] [[Gorkon]] and the Human [[Starfleet]] officer [[James T. Kirk]]. (''[[Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country]]'') Since then, despite several periods of rocky relations (see [[Second Federation-Klingon War]]), the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been steadfast allies, especially in the face of [[Dominion]] aggression in the [[2370s]]. ([[DS9]]: "[[By Inferno's Light]]")
+
Because of their aggressive outlook, the Klingons have generally had poor relations with other races after they began to move out into space. Because the
  +
worlds of the Klingon Empire are resource-poor, the Klingons have developed an intense belief in the need for expansion and conquest in order to survive.
  +
The Klingons' relationship with [[Human]]s and the [[United Federation of Planets|Federation]] have been rocky at best. Following the disastrous
  +
[[First Contact]] between Klingons and Humans in [[2151]], a tense rivalry began that escalated into a full-scale cold war around [[2218]]. ([[ENT]]:
  +
"[[Broken Bow]]", [[TOS]]: "[[Day of the Dove]]") Tensions finally erupted into the [[first Federation-Klingon War]] in [[2267]], that was quickly ended by
  +
intervention by the [[Organians]] after only four days of fighting. ([[TOS]]: "[[Errand of Mercy]]") Over the next several decades, an uneasy peace
  +
developed that was broken by brief but fierce skirmishes and conflicts. (''[[Star Trek III: The Search for Spock]], [[Star Trek V: The Final Frontier]]'')
  +
A true and lasting peace finally came in [[2293]] with the signing of the [[Khitomer Accords]], thanks to the efforts of [[Klingon chancellor|Chancellor]]
  +
[[Gorkon]] and the Human [[Starfleet]] officer [[James T. Kirk]]. (''[[Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country]]'') Since then, despite several periods of
  +
rocky relations (see [[Second Federation-Klingon War]]), the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been steadfast allies, especially in the face of
  +
[[Dominion]] aggression in the [[2370s]]. ([[DS9]]: "[[By Inferno's Light]]")
   
The Klingon relationship with the [[Romulan]] people is also extremely unstable. The [[Romulan Star Empire]] has been typically regarded by the Klingons as a "blood enemy" since at least the [[23rd century]]. Sporadic Romulan attacks against Klingon [[colony|colonies]] (see [[Khitomer Massacre]]) and interference in Klingon affairs (see [[Klingon Civil War]]) have continued to sour relationships between the two people. ([[TNG]]: "[[Sins of the Father]]", "[[Redemption, Part II]]")
+
The Klingon relationship with the [[Romulan]] people is also extremely unstable. The [[Romulan Star Empire]] has been typically regarded by the Klingons as
  +
a "blood enemy" since at least the [[23rd century]]. Sporadic Romulan attacks against Klingon [[colony|colonies]] (see [[Khitomer Massacre]]) and
  +
interference in Klingon affairs (see [[Klingon Civil War]]) have continued to sour relationships between the two people. ([[TNG]]: "[[Sins of the Father]]",
  +
"[[Redemption, Part II]]")
   
 
According to [[Daniels]], the Klingons have joined the Federation by the [[26th century]]. ([[ENT]]: "[[Azati Prime (episode)|Azati Prime]]")
 
According to [[Daniels]], the Klingons have joined the Federation by the [[26th century]]. ([[ENT]]: "[[Azati Prime (episode)|Azati Prime]]")
   
 
==Society==
 
==Society==
Klingon society is extremely complex, considered by some Federation citizens to be primitive in the extreme. It is essentially based on a feudal system organized around traditional [[Great House]]s of noble lineage, to which various parts of the population owe fealty. The Great Houses are traditionally represented in the [[Klingon High Council]], which is led by a [[Klingon chancellor|Chancellor]].
+
Klingon society is extremely complex, considered by some Federation citizens to be primitive in the extreme. It is essentially based on a feudal system
  +
organized around traditional [[Great House]]s of noble lineage, to which various parts of the population owe fealty. The Great Houses are traditionally
  +
represented in the [[Klingon High Council]], which is led by a [[Klingon chancellor|Chancellor]]. In theory the Klingon Government consists of an Imperial
  +
structure with the High Council advising the Emperor. However, for centuries the title of Emperor was left vacant and the Chancellor of the High Council
  +
has ruled the Empire. This situation was modified in [[2369]] when Kahless apparently returned from the dead, although it was later learned that the
  +
returned Kahless was in fact a clone of the original created by Klingon scientists. Despite this, Chancellor [[Gowron]] allowed the cloned Kahless to take the
  +
Imperial throne as a figurehead in order to promote unity among the Klingon people ([[TNG]]: "[[Rightful Heir]]").
   
Males traditionally dominate public life in the Empire, assuming the leading roles in politics and the military with only rare exceptions. ([[TNG]]: "[[Redemption, Part I]]") Women, in turn, traditionally dominate the household and the management of the family's affairs. ([[DS9]]: "[[You Are Cordially Invited...]]") Klingon women are treated as equals except in politics and matters of inheritance. They are prohibited by law from serving in the High Council and cannot take control of their Houses unless they have the money and no male successors of the lineage. Otherwise, it is expected of Klingon women to exhibit the same physical prowess and lust for blood and honor as the men.
+
Males traditionally dominate public life in the Empire, assuming the leading roles in politics and the military with only rare exceptions.
  +
([[TNG]]: "[[Redemption, Part I]]") Women, in turn, traditionally dominate the household and the management of the family's affairs.
  +
([[DS9]]: "[[You Are Cordially Invited...]]") Klingon women are treated as equals except in politics and matters of inheritance. They are prohibited by
  +
law from serving in the High Council and cannot take control of their Houses unless they have the money and no male successors of the lineage. Otherwise,
  +
it is expected of Klingon women to exhibit the same physical prowess and lust for blood and honor as the men.
   
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. Bloodlines and relations are also taken very seriously by any true Klingon. Lines comprise of more than mere family members. ([[TNG]]: "[[New Ground]]")
+
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. Bloodlines and
  +
relations are also taken very seriously by any true Klingon. Lines comprise of more than mere family members. ([[TNG]]: "[[New Ground]]")
   
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]]. ([[TNG]]: "[[Reunion]]") For individual Klingon warriors, they are expected to go through the [[Rite of Ascension]] to be recognized as a full adult. ([[TNG]]: "[[The Icarus Factor]]")
+
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]]. ([[TNG]]: "[[Reunion]]") For individual Klingon warriors, they are expected to go through the
  +
[[Rite of Ascension]] to be recognized as a full adult. ([[TNG]]: "[[The Icarus Factor]]")
   
 
Klingons are extremly territorial. There is no such thing as an "insignifigant corner of Klingon space". ([[ENT]]: [[Bounty]]).
 
Klingons are extremly territorial. There is no such thing as an "insignifigant corner of Klingon space". ([[ENT]]: [[Bounty]]).
Line 27: Line 27:
 
==Physiology==
 
==Physiology==
 
[[Image:Klingon.jpg|thumb|A typical Klingon male.]]
 
[[Image:Klingon.jpg|thumb|A typical Klingon male.]]
On average Klingons are larger and physically stronger than [[Humans]]. They are noted for having no tear ducts, and while most have red blood there are some whose blood is distinctly pink. Klingons suffer from certain allergies, most notably a strong reaction to small furry animals such as [[Tribbles]]. ([[TOS]]: "[[The Trouble with Tribbles]]")
+
On average Klingons are larger and physically stronger than [[Humans]]. They are noted for having no tear ducts, and while most have red blood there are
  +
some whose blood is distinctly pink. Klingons suffer from certain allergies, most notably a strong reaction to small furry animals such as [[Tribbles]].
  +
([[TOS]]: "[[The Trouble with Tribbles]]")
   
Internally, Klingon physiology is markedly different from that of [[Humans]]. There is a great deal more multiple redundancy in their organs, a principle they call ''[[brak'lul]]''. This allows Klingons to survive severe injuries in battle. They have twenty three ribs, two livers, an eight chambered heart, and even redundant neural function and multiple stomachs. Surprisingly, Klingons have relatively little knowledge of their own biology and their medicine is very poorly developed. This is largely due to their warrior traditions - a Klingon who is wounded is expected to be left to survive or die through his own strength, or to undergo the [[Hegh'bat]], a form of ritual suicide. ([[TNG]]: "[[Ethics (episode)|Ethics]]")
+
Internally, Klingon physiology is markedly different from that of [[Humans]]. There is a great deal more multiple redundancy in their organs, a principle
  +
they call ''[[brak'lul]]''. This allows Klingons to survive severe injuries in battle. They have twenty three ribs, two livers, an eight chambered heart,
  +
and even redundant neural function and multiple stomachs. Surprisingly, Klingons have relatively little knowledge of their own biology and their medicine is
  +
very poorly developed. This is largely due to their warrior traditions - a Klingon who is wounded is expected to be left to survive or die through his own
  +
strength, or to undergo the [[Hegh'bat]], a form of ritual suicide. ([[TNG]]: "[[Ethics (episode)|Ethics]]")
   
 
==Religion and Tradition==
 
==Religion and Tradition==
Ritual is a very important element in Klingon society. The Klingons are not a religious people as such - they do believe that deities existed at one time, but the Klingons slew their gods about a thousand years ago as they were considered to be more trouble than they were worth. They believe that once a Klingon has died the spirit exits the body, leaving behind a worthless shell to be disposed of. ([[VGR]]: "[[Emanations]]") It is traditional for those on hand to howl into the sky as a warning to the afterlife that a Klingon warrior is about to arrive. ([[TNG]]: "[[Heart of Glory]]") In some cases a funeral dirge is sung in memory to the deceased, or friends will sit with the body to protect it from predators, a practice known as [[Ak'voh]]. ([[DS9]]: "[[The Ship]]")
+
Ritual is a very important element in Klingon society. The Klingons are not a religious people as such - they do believe that deities existed at one time.
  +
According to legend, the first Klingon was a male named [[Kortar]]. His heart Klingon was created by the gods out of fire and steel - the gods declared it
  +
the strongest heart in the heavens, so loud did it beat. When Kortar's heart weakened out of loneliness, the gods created a female for companionship. Her
  +
heart was even stronger, and he became jealous of her power. Fortunately the female heart also posessed wisdom, and she suggested that the two could join
  +
together to become an unstoppable force. The gods attempted to flee this powerful combination, but the joined hearts destroyed them
  +
([[DS9]]: "[[You Are Cordially Invited...]]").
   
Furthermore, a Klingon, who is unable to fight, hence is unable to live as a warrior anymore, has the traditional obligation of committing the [[Hegh'bat]], which is the Klingon ritual suicide. Tradition dictates that a close friend, or eldest son must assist. That person's role is to hand the dying Klingon a [[Klingon blade weapons|knife]] so that he can plunge it into his heart, remove it and then wipe the blood on the sleeve of the person assisting. ([[TNG]] : "[[Ethics (episode)|Ethics]]")
+
Klingons believe that once a Klingon has died the spirit exits the body, leaving behind a worthless shell to be disposed of. ([[VGR]]: "[[Emanations]]") It is traditional for those on
  +
hand to howl into the sky as a warning to the afterlife that a Klingon warrior is about to arrive. ([[TNG]]: "[[Heart of Glory]]") In some cases a funeral
  +
dirge is sung in memory to the deceased, or friends will sit with the body to protect it from predators, a practice known as [[Ak'voh]].
  +
([[DS9]]: "[[The Ship]]")
   
The Klingon afterlife is divided into two branches; the dishonoured are taken to [[Gre'thor]] aboard the [[Barge of the Dead]], a vessel captained by [[Kortar]], the first Klingon. Kortar was the one who originally killed the gods who created him, and was condemned to ferry the dishonoured to Gre'thor as a punishment. Once in Gre'thor, the dishonoured are watched over by [[Fek'lhr]], a vaguely Klingon-esque figure. It is tempting to view Fek'lhr as the Klingon equivalent of the Human [[devil]], but in fact the Klingons have no devil. ([[TNG]]: "[[Devil's Due]]", [[VGR]]: "[[Barge of the Dead (episode)|Barge of the Dead]]")
+
Furthermore, a Klingon, who is unable to fight, hence is unable to live as a warrior anymore, has the traditional obligation of committing the [[Hegh'bat]],
  +
which is the Klingon ritual suicide. Tradition dictates that a close friend, or eldest son must assist. That person's role is to hand the dying Klingon a
  +
[[Klingon blade weapons|knife]] so that he can plunge it into his heart, remove it and then wipe the blood on the sleeve of the person assisting.
  +
([[TNG]] : "[[Ethics (episode)|Ethics]]")
   
Those who die honorably go to [[Sto-vo-kor]], where [[Kahless]] was said to await them. ([[TNG]]: "[[Heart of Glory]]", "[[Rightful Heir]]", [[VGR]]: "[[Barge of the Dead]]")
+
The Klingon afterlife is divided into two branches; the dishonoured are taken to [[Gre'thor]] aboard the [[Barge of the Dead]], a vessel captained by
  +
[[Kortar]], the first Klingon who as punishment for his actions against the gods was condemned to ferry the souls of the dishonoured to Gre'thor. Once in
  +
Gre'thor, the dishonoured are watched over by [[Fek'lhr]], a vaguely Klingon-esque figure. It is tempting to view Fek'lhr as the Klingon equivalent of the
  +
Human [[devil]], but in fact the Klingons have no devil. ([[TNG]]: "[[Devil's Due]]", [[VGR]]: "[[Barge of the Dead (episode)|Barge of the Dead]]")
   
Klingon rituals include the [[R'uustai]], a bonding ceremony which joins two people together in a relationship similar to brotherhood. ([[TNG]]: "[[The Bonding]]") Klingon tradition holds that "the son of a Klingon is a man the day he can first hold a blade." ([[TNG]]: "[[New Ground]]")
+
Those who die honorably go to [[Sto-vo-kor]], where [[Kahless]] was said to await them. ([[TNG]]: "[[Heart of Glory]]", "[[Rightful Heir]]", [[VGR]]:
  +
"[[Barge of the Dead]]")
  +
  +
Klingon rituals include the [[R'uustai]], a bonding ceremony which joins two people together in a relationship similar to brotherhood. ([[TNG]]:
  +
"[[The Bonding]]") Klingon tradition holds that "the son of a Klingon is a man the day he can first hold a blade." ([[TNG]]: "[[New Ground]]")
  +
  +
If a Klingon warrior strikes another Klingon 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 or whispering are considered insults in Klingon society.
  +
([[DS9]]: "[[Apocalypse Rising]]")
  +
  +
It is common practice for Klingons to sharpen their teeth before battle ([[ENT]]: "[[Broken Bow]]").
   
If a Klingon warrior strikes another Klingon 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 or whispering are considered insults in Klingon society. ([[DS9]]: "[[Apocalypse Rising]]")
 
   
 
'''See also:''' [[Klingon mythology]], [[Klingon Philosophy]]
 
'''See also:''' [[Klingon mythology]], [[Klingon Philosophy]]
Line 83: Line 82:
   
 
==Background information==
 
==Background information==
Klingons were first seen in Errand of Mercy [TOS], and throughout the original Star Trek series. At the time, they appeared as fairly ordinary humans with heavy makeup and mustaches. Beginning with [[Star Trek: The Motion Picture]], improved makeup techniques, and bigger budgets, led to their present elaborate forehead designs. The differences between the two types of Klingons have never been definitively explained on the show, although [[Worf]], in [[Trials and Tribble-ations]] ([[DS9]]), made it very clear that this is not something the Klingons discuss with outsiders. The issue was further complicated when three Klingons, [[Kor]], [[Koloth]], and [[Kang]], who had appeared in the Original Series with the original makeup design, appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine wearing the motion picture style Klingon foreheads. According to [[David Alexander]], in [[Star Trek Creator]], a biography of [[Gene Roddenberry]], Roc Books, 1994, the Klingons were named for Lieutenant Wilbur Clingan, a friend of Roddenberry who served with him in the Los Angeles Police Department.
+
Klingons were first seen in [[TOS]]: "[[Errand of Mercy]]", and throughout the original Star Trek series. At the time, they appeared as fairly ordinary humans with
  +
heavy makeup and mustaches. Beginning with [[Star Trek: The Motion Picture]], improved makeup techniques, and bigger budgets, led to their present elaborate
  +
forehead designs. The differences between the two types of Klingons have never been definitively explained on the show, although [[Worf]], in
  +
[[Trials and Tribble-ations]] ([[DS9]]), made it very clear that this is not something the Klingons discuss with outsiders. The issue was further complicated
  +
when three Klingons, [[Kor]], [[Koloth]], and [[Kang]], who had appeared in the Original Series with the original makeup design, appeared on Star Trek: Deep
  +
Space Nine wearing the motion picture style Klingon foreheads. According to [[David Alexander]], in [[Star Trek Creator]], a biography of
  +
[[Gene Roddenberry]], Roc Books, 1994, the Klingons were named for Lieutenant Wilbur Clingan, a friend of Roddenberry who served with him in the Los Angeles
  +
Police Department.

Revision as of 16:27, August 28, 2004

Kahless

Emperor Kahless the Unforgettable.

A humanoid warrior civilization and one of the major powers of the galaxy, the Klingon species originates from the planet Qo'noS (pronounced Kronos), a class M planet. The Klingons are a proud, tradition-bound people who value honor. The aggressive Klingon culture has made them an interstellar military power to be respected and feared. Klingons believe that they have the instinctive ability to look an opponent in the eye and see the intent to kill.

History and Politics

Many mysteries surround the history of the Klingon people, at least in part because of their habit of periodically re-writing their past for political purposes (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited..."). The Klingon Empire was founded approximately 1,500 years ago by Kahless the Unforgettable, who performed many heroic feats including the unification of the Klingon people when he killed the tyrant Molor. He issued the laws of honour with which the people would be governed. Kahless came to be revered in Klingon society to the point of near-deification, and many aspects of Klingon culture came to revolve around emulation of Kahless's life. (TNG: "Rightful Heir")

The warrior ethos has been an important aspect of Klingon society since the time of Kahless, but the warrior aspects became much more dominant beginning in the early 22nd century. Previously, Klingon society was regarded as fair and balanced, but over time, the warriors gained greater prominence, to the point where the Klingons widely came to be regardes as a "warrior race." (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Judgment")

Because of their aggressive outlook, the Klingons have generally had poor relations with other races after they began to move out into space. Because the worlds of the Klingon Empire are resource-poor, the Klingons have developed an intense belief in the need for expansion and conquest in order to survive. The Klingons' relationship with Humans and the Federation have been rocky at best. Following the disastrous First Contact between Klingons and Humans in 2151, a tense rivalry began that escalated into a full-scale cold war around 2218. (ENT: "Broken Bow", TOS: "Day of the Dove") Tensions finally erupted into the first Federation-Klingon War in 2267, that was quickly ended by intervention by the Organians after only four days of fighting. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy") Over the next several decades, an uneasy peace developed that was broken by brief but fierce skirmishes and conflicts. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) A true and lasting peace finally came in 2293 with the signing of the Khitomer Accords, thanks to the efforts of Chancellor Gorkon and the Human Starfleet officer James T. Kirk. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) Since then, despite several periods of rocky relations (see Second Federation-Klingon War), the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been steadfast allies, especially in the face of Dominion aggression in the 2370s. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")

The Klingon relationship with the Romulan people is also extremely unstable. The Romulan Star Empire has been typically regarded by the Klingons as a "blood enemy" since at least the 23rd century. Sporadic Romulan attacks against Klingon colonies (see Khitomer Massacre) and interference in Klingon affairs (see Klingon Civil War) have continued to sour relationships between the two people. (TNG: "Sins of the Father", "Redemption, Part II")

According to Daniels, the Klingons have joined the Federation by the 26th century. (ENT: "Azati Prime")

Society

Klingon society is extremely complex, considered by some Federation citizens to be primitive in the extreme. It is essentially based on a feudal system organized around traditional Great Houses of noble lineage, to which various parts of the population owe fealty. The Great Houses are traditionally represented in the Klingon High Council, which is led by a Chancellor. In theory the Klingon Government consists of an Imperial structure with the High Council advising the Emperor. However, for centuries the title of Emperor was left vacant and the Chancellor of the High Council has ruled the Empire. This situation was modified in 2369 when Kahless apparently returned from the dead, although it was later learned that the returned Kahless was in fact a clone of the original created by Klingon scientists. Despite this, Chancellor Gowron allowed the cloned Kahless to take the Imperial throne as a figurehead in order to promote unity among the Klingon people (TNG: "Rightful Heir").

Males traditionally dominate public life in the Empire, assuming the leading roles in politics and the military with only rare exceptions. (TNG: "Redemption, Part I") Women, in turn, traditionally dominate the household and the management of the family's affairs. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited...") Klingon women are treated as equals except in politics and matters of inheritance. They are prohibited by law from serving in the High Council and cannot take control of their Houses unless they have the money and no male successors of the lineage. Otherwise, it is expected of Klingon women to exhibit the same physical prowess and lust for blood and honor as the men.

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. Bloodlines and relations are also taken very seriously by any true Klingon. Lines comprise of more than mere family members. (TNG: "New Ground")

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. (TNG: "Reunion") For individual Klingon warriors, they are expected to go through the Rite of Ascension to be recognized as a full adult. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor")

Klingons are extremly territorial. There is no such thing as an "insignifigant corner of Klingon space". (ENT: Bounty).

Physiology

File:Klingon.jpg

On average Klingons are larger and physically stronger than Humans. They are noted for having no tear ducts, and while most have red blood there are some whose blood is distinctly pink. Klingons suffer from certain allergies, most notably a strong reaction to small furry animals such as Tribbles. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles")

Internally, Klingon physiology is markedly different from that of Humans. There is a great deal more multiple redundancy in their organs, a principle they call brak'lul. This allows Klingons to survive severe injuries in battle. They have twenty three ribs, two livers, an eight chambered heart, and even redundant neural function and multiple stomachs. Surprisingly, Klingons have relatively little knowledge of their own biology and their medicine is very poorly developed. This is largely due to their warrior traditions - a Klingon who is wounded is expected to be left to survive or die through his own strength, or to undergo the Hegh'bat, a form of ritual suicide. (TNG: "Ethics")

Religion and Tradition

Ritual is a very important element in Klingon society. The Klingons are not a religious people as such - they do believe that deities existed at one time. According to legend, the first Klingon was a male named Kortar. His heart Klingon was created by the gods out of fire and steel - the gods declared it the strongest heart in the heavens, so loud did it beat. When Kortar's heart weakened out of loneliness, the gods created a female for companionship. Her heart was even stronger, and he became jealous of her power. Fortunately the female heart also posessed wisdom, and she suggested that the two could join together to become an unstoppable force. The gods attempted to flee this powerful combination, but the joined hearts destroyed them (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited...").

Klingons believe that once a Klingon has died the spirit exits the body, leaving behind a worthless shell to be disposed of. (VGR: "Emanations") It is traditional for those on hand to howl into the sky as a warning to the afterlife that a Klingon warrior is about to arrive. (TNG: "Heart of Glory") In some cases a funeral dirge is sung in memory to the deceased, or friends will sit with the body to protect it from predators, a practice known as Ak'voh. (DS9: "The Ship")

Furthermore, a Klingon, who is unable to fight, hence is unable to live as a warrior anymore, has the traditional obligation of committing the Hegh'bat, which is the Klingon ritual suicide. Tradition dictates that a close friend, or eldest son must assist. That person's role is to hand the dying Klingon a knife so that he can plunge it into his heart, remove it and then wipe the blood on the sleeve of the person assisting. (TNG : "Ethics")

The Klingon afterlife is divided into two branches; the dishonoured are taken to Gre'thor aboard the Barge of the Dead, a vessel captained by Kortar, the first Klingon who as punishment for his actions against the gods was condemned to ferry the souls of the dishonoured to Gre'thor. Once in Gre'thor, the dishonoured are watched over by Fek'lhr, a vaguely Klingon-esque figure. It is tempting to view Fek'lhr as the Klingon equivalent of the Human devil, but in fact the Klingons have no devil. (TNG: "Devil's Due", VGR: "Barge of the Dead")

Those who die honorably go to Sto-vo-kor, where Kahless was said to await them. (TNG: "Heart of Glory", "Rightful Heir", VGR: "Barge of the Dead")

Klingon rituals include the R'uustai, a bonding ceremony which joins two people together in a relationship similar to brotherhood. (TNG: "The Bonding") Klingon tradition holds that "the son of a Klingon is a man the day he can first hold a blade." (TNG: "New Ground")

If a Klingon warrior strikes another Klingon 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 or whispering are considered insults in Klingon society. (DS9: "Apocalypse Rising")

It is common practice for Klingons to sharpen their teeth before battle (ENT: "Broken Bow").


See also: Klingon mythology, Klingon Philosophy

Science and Technology

People

See also: List of Klingon characters

Background information

Klingons were first seen in TOS: "Errand of Mercy", and throughout the original Star Trek series. At the time, they appeared as fairly ordinary humans with heavy makeup and mustaches. Beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, improved makeup techniques, and bigger budgets, led to their present elaborate forehead designs. The differences between the two types of Klingons have never been definitively explained on the show, although Worf, in Trials and Tribble-ations (DS9), made it very clear that this is not something the Klingons discuss with outsiders. The issue was further complicated when three Klingons, Kor, Koloth, and Kang, who had appeared in the Original Series with the original makeup design, appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine wearing the motion picture style Klingon foreheads. According to David Alexander, in Star Trek Creator, a biography of Gene Roddenberry, Roc Books, 1994, the Klingons were named for Lieutenant Wilbur Clingan, a friend of Roddenberry who served with him in the Los Angeles Police Department.

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