Jaffa (Stargate)

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The Jaffa are Human derived warrior race that feature in Stargate SG-1.



It was said in the legends of the Jaffa that the planet Dakara was the site where their enslavement at the hands of the Goa'uld began. The world was said to be the location where the first Prim'ta ritual was conducted thus linking the two races together. The Jaffa were offered strength and Symbiotes from that time with Dakara being considered a holy ground with the Goa'uld ensuring their loyalty by propagating the belief that they were gods. (Episode: Reckoning, Part 1) Thousands of years ago, the Goa'uld conditioned the Jaffa to serve them faithfully as soldiers and servants with them believing that their masters were gods. All members of this race were raised as warriors that believed in physical development and discipline. (Episode: Maternal Instinct) Despite the stranglehold the Goa'uld had over them, not all Jaffa believed in the divinity of their 'gods'. Several thousand years ago, a group Jaffa learnt that the Goa'uld were not gods as they claimed and were forced to go into hiding. This group later became known as the Sodan who removed any markings of allegiance to the Goa'uld and became proud of their independence. Despite their freedom, they were not free from the need for Symbiotes and conducted many hidden raids in order to procure the larvae needed to maintain their lives. (Episode: Babylon) The Goa'uld world of Chulak became one of the few worlds that had an abundance of Symbiote larvae with many hundreds present and ready for implantation into young Jaffa. (Episode: Bloodlines)

The Jaffa Resistance (occasionally referred to as the Fifth Column) had been formed; an organized rebellion against the Goa'uld of which Teal'c was a prominent leader.

Teal'c achieves his goal and finally helps liberate most of the Jaffa from the Goa'uld; the Goa'uld having long weakened one another by continuous civil war amongst the System Lords, and were then crippled by the Replicators invasion of the galaxy. Soon after, forces of the Tau'ri are able to defeat the Replicators. The Jaffa see the Goa'uld's inability to save themselves from the Replicators as proof that they are false Gods, especially when System Lord Ba'al makes a cowardly escape from the Jaffa Resistance, after which the Jaffa turn against the Goa'uld en masse.


The main difference between a Jaffa and a normal human was an abdominal pouch accessible from the outside by a X-shaped slit.[1] The pouch serves as an incubator for a larval Goa'uld, known as a prim'tah, which improves their ability to successfully take a host upon maturation from 50% to nearly 100%. The Goa'uld have a device capable of quickly transforming humans into Jaffa.[2] The larval symbiote grants the Jaffa enhanced strength, health, healing, and longevity (in excess of 150 years). However, the presence of the symbiote also replaces the Jaffa's immune system, and if removed the Jaffa will die a long and painful death that can only be avoided by lifelong regular injections of the drug tretonin which replaces the prim'tah's functions in the jaffa body.[3] The Jaffa equivalent of puberty is the Age of Prata, at which time a prim'tah must be implanted.[4] Jaffa do not require sleep, but must engage in a form of meditation called kelnorim in order to synchronize with their symbiote.[5] It is possible for a Jaffa to communicate with his/her symbiote through a dangerously deep state of kelnorim

Jaffa from Chulak believed that romantic disputes between men and women that could not be resolved required them to break their pledges to one another. For validity, one of the disputed parties needed to request for the pledge break that needed to be granted. Should the dispute not be settled than a weapon was required. (Episode: Affinity)

Jaffa who were in service of a Goa'uld bear a black tattoo of their master's insignia on their foreheads. The highest-ranking Jaffa in service of a Goa'uld is known as the First Prime and bears a raised gold insignia, made by baring the bone with a special knife and filling the wound with molten gold; Teal'c describes it as a very painful process. Other high-ranking Jaffa may bear similar silver marks. The elite guard of powerful Goa'uld sometimes wear helmets shaped like that Goa'uld's symbolic animal; the helmets are made from articulated metal plates that can fold to reveal the face, and are intended to intimidate the Goa'uld's enslaved human populations. Helmeted Jaffa seen or mentioned in the series include the Horus Guards (falcon-headed, serving Ra and Heru-ur),[7][8] Serpent Guards (cobra-headed, serving Apophis),[1] and the Setesh Guards (Set animal-headed, serving Seth).[9] A jackal-headed (Anubis) guard also appears in service of Ra in the Stargate movie

In this role, they were given larval versions of the Goa'uld with the Jaffa carrying one. The infant Symbiote remained within the Jaffa until maturity where they offered perfect health and long lives to their living incubators. (Episode: Children of the Gods) This allowed a Jaffa to live for centuries and have a long lifespan. (Episode: Bloodlines) A result of this exchange was the larva acting as the immune system of the Jaffa. (Episode: Thor's Hammer) Thus, the removal of the larvae led to the eventual death of the Jaffa. (Episode: Children of the Gods) Removal of the larvae saw the major organs beginning to shut down and the Jaffa running a high fever as they lacked an immune system without the Goa'uld. (Episode: Bloodlines)

A ritual within the Jaffa that involved their children was when they reached a certain age whereupon they were called to enter the religious life created by the Goa'uld. At this time, the underwent a ceremony of implantation called the Prim'ta whereby the child received their first Goa'uld Symbiote and became a true Jaffa. These larva were kept at the sepulcher of the local temple with their theft being considered sacrilege. (Episode: Bloodlines)

The Jaffa operated as a warrior class in Goa'uld society and were the foundation of their power. They served as both incubators for the Goa'uld young and as their army that was made almost invulnerable due to the restorative powers of the larva they carried. (Episode: Bloodlines)

There were several factions of Jaffa that included:

  • Hak'tyl : were a group of female Jaffa warriors first introduced in "Birthright". They were founded by Ishta, High Priestess of the Goa'uld Moloc. When Moloc ordered that all female children born to his Jaffa be sacrificed, Ishta began secretly saving them by sending them to a planet she names Hak'tyl, meaning "liberation". The Hak'tyl resistance grow into a formidable force, mounting raids on Moloc's Jaffa to obtain symbiotes. They eventually seek an alliance with the Tau'ri, who offer them the drug tretonin as a way to free themselves from their dependence on the Goa'uld. Although the test trials are not without complications, the Hak'tyl eventually become the first group of Jaffa to adopt tretonin. Allied with the other rebel Jaffa, Ishta's group soon becomes too large to easily conceal. Under attack by Moloc's Imperial Guard and forced to evacuate their original homeworld, the Hak'tyl briefly shelter at the SGC while agitating for a full-scale uprising against Moloc. Teal'c warns that should they succeed Moloc would only be replaced by a more powerful Goa'uld. Nevertheless, the insurrection takes place, and the SGC assassinates Moloc with a pair of laser-guided missiles. Teal'c's prediction comes true and Moloc's domain is absorbed by Ba'al; the Hak'tyl leave for their new homeworld to plan another war.[10] The Hak'tyl are a significant power in the Free Jaffa Nation, and are represented by Ka'lel on the High Council.[11] One of their main concerns is the inequal treatment of females in many Jaffa societies.[12]
  • Sodan : a legendary group of Jaffa who, over 5,000 years ago, realized that the Goa'uld were not gods and rebelled against their Goa'uld master Ishkur. They set out for the sacred planet Kheb, but settled instead on a world with an Ancient teleportation device that allowed them to build their village safely on the other side of the planet. The Sodan worship the Ancients and seek Ascension as their ultimate goal. The Sodan are proud warriors with considerable martial prowess; they use personal cloaking devices to become invisible and steal larval Goa'uld in raids, killing them when they mature. As a result, the while the Sodan still use larval Goa'uld symbiotes, they do not have tattoos on their foreheads specifying allegiance to any System Lord. In the season 9 episode "Babylon", SG-1 seeks out the Sodan. In their first encounter, Cameron Mitchell is forced to go through a form of ritual combat called Kel Shak Lo after being forced to kill a Sodan warrior, in the process earning their respect. The Sodan are eventually approached by a Prior of the Ori. At first they are interested in Origin, but reject it after being ordered to destroy a group of simple farmers for defying the Ori. They help SG-1 to capture the Prior and obtain a blood sample with which to fight a plague on Earth.[13] In revenge, the Priors infect the Sodan Vol'nek with a disease that kills him and resurrects him as a bloodthirsty monster who massacres the Sodan.[14] Afterwards, the SGC collect the Sodan personal cloaks for experimentation, but find them unsuitable for use by humans.[15]
  • Illac Renin : Meaning "Kingdom of the Path", the Illac Renin are a faction of Jaffa who follow Origin, believing that the Ori will Ascend them upon death. Their leader is Arkad, who publicly endorses peace but in fact sponsors several attacks against the Free Jaffa and is reported to be stockpiling weapons-grade naqahdah for an attack on Earth. The attack never takes place after Arkad is killed by Teal'c.[16]

During the reign of the Goa'uld, a class among the Jaffa were the Kreshta (Outcasts) that lived in camps outside their cities. These consisted of families that were disgraced but were not shol'va. (Episode: Bloodlines)


  • Bra'tac :
  • Teal'c :
  • Shan'auc : a female priestess from the Red Hills on Chulak who was once romantically involved with Teal'c until he denounced the Goa'uld but changed her mind after she communed with her own symbiote and came to question their divinity but was ultimately killed when the larvae inside her called Tanith killed her after taking his host. (Episode: Crossroads)
  • Ishta :
  • Drey'auc : first wife of Teal'c and mother to his son Rya'c. (Episode: Bloodlines)
  • Rya'c : son of Teal'c and Drey'auc. (Episode: Bloodlines)


  • Stargate SG-1:

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