Though a number of organized groups who wielded the dark side of the Force rose up to oppose the Jedi Order, none was so powerful or infamous as the Sith. The precise origins of the philosophy adopted by the Sith lie shrouded in mystery. However, the legends of the Star Wars universe speak of a race known as the Sith, strong in the dark side, who met and interbred with a group of dark Jedi who had been cast out of the Jedi Order and forced to flee to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. In time, the culture and language of the Sith became as one with the teachings they imparted to any dark Jedi who wished to learn their ways.
Galactic history has no record of a Sith race, but acknowledges that the first Force-wielders known as the Sith appeared during the time known as The Hundred-Year Darkness. They waged a long war on the Jedi Order, conquering worlds, enslaving whole races, and building vast temples devoted to their dark powers. As they did so, the Sith Lords formally codified their teachings, developing a Code of the Sith as a dark mockery of the teachings of The Jedi.
Strangely enough, many aspects of the Sith Code seemed contradictory. Individual Sith Lords had different interpretations of what the individual laws meant. The resulting disagreements over dogma rarely ended peacefully, for peace was not in the Sith’s nature. Indeed, it is likely the Code of the Sith was meant to provoke such conflict.
Here are 20 Crazy Rules Sith Must Follow.
20 The Rule of Two
The Rule of Two is perhaps the most famous law of the Sith. It decrees that there can be only two Sith Lords at any time – a Master and an Apprentice. Yoda noted this in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, after the discovery of Darth Maul – the first Sith seen by any Jedi in a millennium.
Darth Bane established the Rule of Two after the Sith were nearly exterminated during their first war with the Jedi.
Darth Bane realized that the Sith ultimately failed because their membership were incapable of working together, being more focused on individual power than the goals of the Sith Order.
Unfortunately, Darth Bane’s belief in the eventual superiority of the dark side of the Force and quality over quantity left the Sith at a distinct numeric disadvantage in their war with the Jedi.
19 The Rule of One
The Rule of One was developed in direct opposition to Darth Bane’s Rule of Two. Established by Darth Krayt – formerly the fallen Jedi A’Sharad Hett – the Rule of One sought to reestablish the original Sith armies under the leadership of a single strong leader – the one true Dark Lord of the Sith.
Darth Krayt assumed this title for himself and began training a number of apprentices, instilling total loyalty to him and his new order, which came to be known as the One Sith.
Krayt soon ran into the same problems the Sith Lords of old had when it came to controlling their followers. When leading an organization build upon warriors who gain strength from following their individual passions, keeping them focused on the common goals of the group is difficult, to put it mildly.
18 Unquestioning Loyalty
Another common value shared by all Sith was the ideal of unquestioning loyalty. In the case of the One Sith, they were expected to be blindly loyal to the commands of the Dark Lord of the Sith, the One Sith as an organization, and their individual Master - in that order.
Those Sith who followed the Rule of Two had a similar balance, with the Apprentice owing their Master total obedience and the Master owing his student unfettered access to knowledge. Both Master and Apprentice acted as judges of the other's worthiness to be considered a Sith Lord, with the responsibility to eliminate the other if they failed to uphold their end of the contract between them.
This proved problematic given that all Master and Apprentice relationships among the Sith were required to end in violence sooner or later.
17 No Charity
Much as the knights of Earth were expected to offer charity to those in need, so too were the Jedi required to live a monastic life. The Sith, being opposed to all of the Jedi values, did not encourage selflessness. Indeed, they outlawed any form of charity.
The reasons for this went beyond simple contrariness. As the Sith Lord Darth Traya once said, “If you seek to aid everyone that suffers in the galaxy, you will only weaken yourself… and weaken them.”
The teachings of the Sith require the strong prove their strength by taking from the weak.
To do otherwise is to fight the natural order. However, this idea contradicts the Sith Code’s requirement to pass knowledge freely from Master to Apprentice.
16 Suffer To Become Strong
As Yoda once noted, "Fear is the path to The Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
While the Code of The Sith does not deny the truth of this statement, The Sith do not see suffering as something to be avoided. Indeed, the Sith believe that which does not end your life has the potential to make you stronger.
An aspiring Sith Lord is encouraged to see the negative emotions inspired by suffering as a potential source of power.
Encouraging masochistic tendencies rarely works well in the long term, however, and the Sith Master who is overly eager in torturing their Apprentice as a means of furthering their education often finds themselves learning a rather final painful lesson at the hands of their student.
15 Destroy your own master
One of the common precepts between the ideology of those Sith who followed the Rule of Two and those who followed the Rule of One was the belief in survival of the fittest.
The only way for a Sith Apprentice to attain the rank of Master was by ending the life of the Sith Master who trained them.
While this was perfectly in keeping with the teachings of Darth Bane, who established the Rule of Two, it did little to help the Sith in their goals of eventually destroying the Jedi Order. It was even more nonsensical in the case of the One Sith, given that Darth Krayt had established the Rule of One to swell the ranks of Sith so they might fight the Jedi Order on more equal footing!
14 No Treachery Between Sith
One of the most surprising ideals imposed by the Code of the Sith is a ban on treachery between Sith. For instance, the rules regarding an Apprentice challenging their Master for supremacy required a fair duel, so there would be no doubt as to the Apprentice's strength.
In most cases, however, practicality won out over scripture. The Code of the Sith had more to say on the subject of living without morality than it did regarding loyalty to one's fellow Sith Lords.
While it is easy to see how Sith Masters would wish to keep their Apprentices subservient to them for as long as they could, it would be all but impossible to forever slow the ambitions of a Dark Side adept who had chosen the quick and easy path to power offered by the Sith.
13 No Limits
The ultimate goal of the Sith teachings was for a Sith Lord to evolve beyond any form of limitation. This included the morality imposed by society as well as whatever limits nature and nurture might have imposed upon the individual Sith Lord.
By shattering the limits imposed upon them and proving themselves stronger than those limits, a Sith Lord could reach new heights of power.
As the final lines of The Code of The Sith said, "Through Victory my chains are Broken. The Force shall free me."
Naturally, the logic of this statement does not stand up to scrutiny when one considers how strictly mandated the behavior of The Sith was by their own codes, which were not meant to be broken under any circumstance.
12 Sacrifice a loved one
The requirements to begin training as a true Lord of the Sith were far stricter in the days before Darth Bane established the Rule of Two. During the time of the first war between the Jedi and the Sith, acolytes of the Sith philosophy were required to take the life of a loved one before they could begin training as a proper Sith Lord. This sacrifice was meant to forever tie their fate to the dark side of the Force and confirm their resolve to follow the Code of the Sith.
The problem with this edict was that only a dispassionate person could follow through the act of destroying a loved one.
This served to slowly harden the heart of the aspiring Sith Lord, which was something of a problem given the Sith philosophy was based around passion.
11 No Love
The Code of the Sith was designed to be a mockery of the Jedi Code. Sith were meant to be guided by their emotions, as Jedi were meant to live a life free of emotional influences. Ironically, one of the few precepts both sects agreed on was that love was to be avoided.
The Sith had different reasons for this ban than the Jedi, who feared attachments would hinder their ability to find balance. The Sith felt that love encouraged weakness and might inspire a Sith Lord to harness their power towards ends beyond promoting the agenda of the One Sith or acquiring power for the sake of power.
However, given that passion and love often reinforce one another, one would think the Sith would encourage love as a possible path to increasing one's power and influence.
10 Control Your Emotions
The philosophy of the Sith was built around emotions. Their core belief was that emotions were as much a part of the natural world as the Force and that the Jedi Code's requirement that Jedi close themselves self off from emotion was unnatural.
To that end, the Sith taught their acolytes how to harness their emotions to increase their command of the Force. At the same time, the precepts of The Code of the Sith demanded that a Sith Lord also exercise control of themselves and their emotions.
These contradictory rules further fueled the Sith's difficulty in matching the Jedi.
Given the dark side's dependence on strong emotions, the teachings of the Sith failed to adequately prepare most of their adepts to draw upon their emotions while still fostering an attitude of self-control.
9 The Force Is Venom
"The Force is venom."
When codifying his Rule of Two, Darth Bane explained the difference between how the Jedi and the Sith viewed the Force with this metaphor. The Jedi, Bane pontificated, saw the Force as a fire that could be spread among many, lighting a series of torches to warm and enlighten all.
By contrast, The Sith saw the Force as a venom - "If it is poured into too many cups, it loses its potency and becomes diluted. Yet pour those cups back into a single vessel, and you’ll have power."
Artful a phrase as this is, it doesn't quite work as a metaphor within the reality of how the Force operated. It also doesn't work given that the Sith also passed their knowledge down from Master to Apprentice in the same way as the Jedi.
8 Sith Must Operate In The Shadows
One of the few points that Darth Bane and Darth Krayt agreed upon was that the Sith should avoid making their presence known whenever possible. In Darth Bane's case, this was a necessity as he had seen the Sith Order all but destroyed after years of open battle with the Jedi. He knew any chance of an eventual victory lay within the use of stealth. While Darth Krayt and the One Sith were in a much stronger position, he too agreed that the power of the dark side was best wielded from the shadows.
There is some small irony then that the Sith found their greatest success when they abandoned this precept.
While Darth Sidious kept his nature as a Sith Lord a secret after forming the Galactic Empire, his apprentice Darth Vader openly flaunted his command of the Force.
7 Sith Lightsabers Must Use Artificial Crystals
The Sith are well-known for their unique red lightsabers. What is less well-known, however, is that The Code of the Sith requires that all Sith lightsabers make use of artificial kyber crystals, which must be personally forged by the Sith Lord while constructing their weapon.
The reason for this was a belief that a Sith Lord's command of the Force should fuel their weapon and that artificial kyber crystals created a stronger blade.
The problem is that while a Sith Lord could potentially develop a stronger weapon utilizing this method, linking the power of their blade to the Force also ran the risk of their weapon failing them if their emotions should betray them. As such, a precept meant to spur the Sith to new heights of power resulted in countless untested Sith apprentices falling to the better-armed Jedi.
6 No Formal Fighting Systems
Strangely enough, given the emphasis that the Sith placed upon formal duels and drawing strength from any form of conflict, the Sith abhorred the various lightsaber fighting forms that were developed and codified by the Jedi.
The Sith philosophy saw the study of any form of lightsaber training that did not involve channeling one's passion as a waste of time, with Sith lightsaber combat being based upon two simple principals - hit them hard or hit them fast.
Given the Sith emphasis on strength, "hit them hard" was the most dominant technique.
Darth Bane realized the folly of this approach, and sought to learn and adapt the Jedi fighting forms into something the Sith could use. Unsurprisingly, the most popular style among Sith was Juyo, or the Ferocity Form, which was the most vicious of the seven styles.
5 Sith Masters Must Sacrifice Themselves To The Code
While the Code of the Sith was nominally built around Passion, it was equally devoted to the concept of obedience. The Sith Apprentice was expected to be obedient to their Master and to follow their orders without question. Likewise, the Sith Master was expected to be obedient to the precepts of the Code of the Sith and seek out a worthy apprentice, whom they must train to become their better.
Under The Rule of One, each Sith Master was expected to give up their lives without complaint when the Dark Lord of the Sith judged that the apprentice was now worthy of joining the ranks of the Sith Masters.
This made little sense given that the entire reason for the Rule of One's creation was to increase the ranks of The Sith beyond a single Master and Apprentice pair!
4 No Morality
Another way in which the Code of the Sith sought to directly oppose the Jedi Code was by forbidding adherence to any system of morality. As the teachings of the Jedi established a core foundation of positive values that must be adhered to by all Jedi Knights, so too did the Sith Code declare all forms of morality to be obstacles to be overcome on the path to power rather than standards to be upheld.
The problem with this precept is immediately obvious.
While it would be difficult to declare any aspect of The Code of The Sith to be moral, the fact of the matter is that The Sith Code did specify certain behaviors that were forbidden under any circumstance - much like a system of morality!
3 Order Through Strength
One of the chief debates between Sith Lords involved the ultimate ends of attaining power. For some, the acclimation of power was purpose enough. For others, the ultimate goal was using one's power to establish order, controlling the weak through the sheer strength of one's will.
This later school of thought fueled the actions of Darth Sidious and his apprentice Darth Vader, who used their power to bring order to the galaxy by establishing a new Galactic Empire built upon the Sith ideals of might making right. The grand irony that their actions fueled larger conflicts which continually disrupted the order they sought to impose upon the galaxy was completely lost upon them.
That's the paradox: the Sith were meant to establish order while growing stronger by thriving on conflict.
2 Sith Vs. Jedi
While the precise origins of the Sith lie lost in the mists of legend, it is known that they were established in order to oppose the Jedi. The Code of the Sith was written specifically to be a dark mirror of the Code of the Jedi, promoting an opposing set of ideals, with passion in place of harmony and strength in place of knowledge.
Unfortunately, as Darth Bane would note when he later established the Rule of Two, the original Sith philosophy did not lend itself well to the cooperative effort needed to overcome the Jedi establishment and their position of power within The Republic. Individual Sith Lords were more concerned with their own personal glory and the acquisition of power than the overall goal of defeating The Jedi Order once and for all.
1 Order Vs. Peace
The philosophy of the Jedi was built around peace as the ideal state of the universe and Jedi were encouraged to rid themselves of emotional influence. By contrast, the Code of the Sith required Sith Lords harness their passions to increase their strength and establish Order.
The grand irony of both the Jedi Code and the Sith Code is that both organizations ultimately sought the same end through different means. While the Sith would argue that the Order they wished to enforce was not the stagnant peace that the Jedi worked to maintain, the ultimate end product of the Sith's ideals of survival of the fittest would be a Sith Lord so powerful that any attempt to subvert the Order they brought about would fail automatically.
The end result? The same unchanging state the Jedi wanted!
Is there some crazy rule of the Sith in Star Wars we forget? Sound off in the comments!