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The Romulans were a humanoid race from the planet Romulus in the Beta Quadrant in the Star Trek Universe. The Romulans were biological cousins of Vulcans, as they were descended from those who rejected Surak's reforms during the Time of Awakening. The Romulan Star Empire was the Romulan state and one of the major powers known in the galaxy.

Origins Edit

Ancient origins Edit

Commander Spock once theorized that Sargon's people may have colonized Vulcan some six million years ago. Sargon believed that Humans and Vulcans (and therefore also Romulans) might even be descendants of their early travelers. (TOS: "Return to Tomorrow")

With the discovery of ancient humanoid progenitors in the 24th century, most humanoid life forms in the known galaxy were found to have a "seed" genetic code guiding their evolution to the humanoid form. (TNG: "The Chase")

Modern origins Edit

When Surak's reforms of embracing logical principles and rejecting emotions spread rapidly across Vulcan in the 4th century, a minority rejected Surak's ideals. They departed Vulcan in the 4th century; later, some of their descendants established settlements on the planets Calder II, Dessica II, Draken IV, Yadalla Prime and Barradas III. An ancient offshoot civilization, called the Debrune, at one time existed on Barradas III but it had died out by the 24th century. (TNG: "Gambit, Part I")

At some point, another group settled on twin planets that became known as Romulus and Remus. While Romulus was a Class M planet, Remus was a harsh planet notable only for its dilithium deposits. These two worlds were the foundation of an interstellar empire that expanded to many worlds, reaching across some of the Beta Quadrant. Eventually that power came to be known as the Romulan Star Empire. (TNG: "Gambit, Part I", "Gambit, Part II"; Star Trek Nemesis)

In 2387, a star close to Romulus went supernova. Although Ambassador Spock attempted to prevent the supernova from striking the planet, he was ultimately unsuccessful and Romulus was destroyed. (Star Trek)

Mirror universeEdit

In the mirror universe, the Romulans appeared to be uninvolved in the conflict between the Terran Rebellion and the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.

Prime Benjamin Sisko, posing as mirror Benjamin Sisko, indicated to Jennifer Sisko that he was going to visit the Romulans to see if he could get their support. This was, in reality, a ruse to explain his return to Deep Space 9. (DS9: "Through the Looking Glass")

External affairs Edit

First contact Edit

Romulans were aware of Humanity for some time before Earth knew of them. Infiltrating the highest levels of the Vulcan High Command, the Romulans were impressed and confused by Humans. The Enterprise NX-01 inadvertently encountered a Romulan minefield at one point, drawing even more Romulan attention. Even after fighting the Earth-Romulan War, it wasn't until the 23rd century that Humans saw them. (ENT: "Minefield"; TOS: "Balance of Terror")

After the Treaty of Algeron went into effect, the Romulans retreated into political and social isolation from the Federation. In late 2364 an unprovoked attack on a Romulan outpost near the Federation Neutral zone occurred. The Romulans initially suspected the Federation had executed the attack but it was later learned that the Borg were responsible. This event marked the end of Romulan political isolationism with the Federation. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone")

Relationships with other species Edit

In keeping with their xenophobic and arguably racist attitudes, the Romulans tend to conquer species rather than form alliances with them, and individual Romulans tend to treat other species with varying degrees of disdain.

That did not prevent them from employing diplomacy when it suited their purposes. Soon after their emergence from a century of isolation in the mid 2260s, they had established at least two embassies with the Federation. One such embassy was a three-way endeavor on the planet Nimbus III, along with the Klingon Empire, and the other was on Earth itself. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Klingons and Romulans once shared an alliance for a number of years, beginning in the 2260s. Over the years, a number of incidents, including the Khitomer Massacre, led the Klingons to develop a deep seated hatred for the Romulans, and the Romulans were arguably the species that Klingon society in general despises most of all. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident"; TNG: "The Neutral Zone")

A Cardassian embassy existed on Romulus for a time, and Elim Garak was "employed" there as a "gardener," suggesting that the two species maintained an active diplomatic relationship. (DS9: "Broken Link") In 2371 Romulan and Cardassian agents in the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order cooperated in an attempted attack on the Dominion. (DS9: "Improbable Cause", "The Die is Cast") The Romulans had certainly cut ties with the Cardassians by the time they entered in to the Dominion War, but when their relationship ended prior to this was unclear.

One common saying among the Romulans was "Never turn your back on a Breen." While this statement could be taken as partially humorous and not in itself indicative of hostilities between the two species, the Breen Thot's apparent condition that the Breen be given Romulus in exchange for their help in the Dominion War suggested there was some degree of unfriendly history between the two. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light", "Strange Bedfellows")

The species that Romulans seem to dislike most, however, were Vulcans, and this feud goes back many centuries. The two powers once fought in a war that lasted 100 years, that was ignited due to a misunderstanding created by one of Q's self-destructive stunts. (VOY: "Death Wish")

The two species would remain distrustful of one another for an incredibly long time, but some Romulans grew tired of this, and a grassroots movement for reunification of the two species was active for a time on Romulus. It was generally assumed that after the split, Romulans and Vulcans were unaware of their common ancestry until the 23rd century. (ENT: "Kir'Shara"; TOS: "Balance of Terror")


Physiology Edit

Due to their shared ancestry, Vulcans and Romulans possessed very similar physiology. Romulans had pointed ears, eyebrows that were arched and upswept, and copper-based blood that appeared green when oxygenated in the arteries, or copper or rust-colored when deoxygenated in the veins. (Star Trek Generations) Most Romulans had two brow ridges above the bridge of their nose, forming a V-shape on the forehead. However, a minority of Romulans lack these ridges, making them outwardly indistinguishable from Vulcans.


Despite their common ancestry there were also many subtle internal physiological differences between Vulcans and Romulans. This was evidenced in Dr. Beverly Crusher's failed attempt to treat a Romulan, Patahk, who had suffered advanced synaptic breakdown, with the methods used to treat Vulcans. In fact, it was later determined that the genetic similarities between Romulans and Klingons allowed for the two species to have a compatible ribosome match to effect treatment. (TNG: "The Enemy")

The Terothka virus was a disease unique to Romulan physiology. Romulans were also susceptible to Tuvan Syndrome. (VOY: "Message in a Bottle"; DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")

There were numerous instances of Romulans successfully mating with other species, as evidenced in Sela (Romulan/Human), Ba'el (Romulan/Klingon), and the grandfather of Simon Tarses (Romulan/Human).


Romulans lacked the rigorous mental disciplines developed by the followers of Surak. They were a passionate people, easily moved to extreme emotions. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident")

However, like their biological cousins, Romulans possessed greater physical strength than that of a Human. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Society Edit

In Romulan society, military/political rank influences social standing. Because Romulans were members of a militant civilization, who considered defending the Romulan Empire and their own personal honor of foremost importance, military service and its accompanying rank were decisive factors in determining social eminence. (TOS: "Balance of Terror") However, while the military played an important role in Romulan society, it was the Romulan Senate that controls the government. (Star Trek Nemesis)

At one point in history, Romulus was a sovereign nation ruled by an Empress, as indicated by Q. (VOY: "The Q and the Grey") By the 23rd century the highest position of power was held by the Praetor, who presided over the Romulan Senate. (TOS: "Balance of Terror"; Star Trek Nemesis) The Praetor headed the Continuing Committee, which was comprised of the Empire's most elite individuals, which make decisions of the utmost importance. (DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")

By the 24th century, the government of Romulus was dependent upon the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret police, to maintain order and stability among both civilians and the military. The Tal Shiar was known for its brutal tactics, which included routine kidnapping, torture, and assassination. Many Romulans fear even expressing dissenting opinions as not to spark the interest of the Tal Shiar. There was also indications that tension existed between the military and the Tal Shiar. (TNG: "Face of the Enemy")

Romulan society was based upon a highly structured caste system. Unlike most of the highly evolved species in the Alpha and Beta quadrants, Romulans still practiced slavery, specifically the Remans, which they used for slave labor and as shock troops. (Star Trek Nemesis)

Romulans tended to be highly xenophobic, engaging in extended periods of isolationism, and could be perceived as outright racist to other species, believing themselves to be superior. At least some Romulans believe that one day the Romulan Empire will rule the entire galaxy. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "Data's Day", "The Enemy") According to Miles O'Brien, there was no piece of technology in existence that the Romulans didn't claim they invented before everyone else. (DS9: "Explorers")

Romulan society did not appear to have gender biases. Both males and females commanded warships, could obtain high political positions and could be members of the Tal Shiar. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident"; TNG: "Contagion"; TNG: "Face of the Enemy"; DS9: "Image in the Sand")

Culture and tradition Edit

Paranoia is a way of life for you, isn't it?

The Romulans lack the rigorous mental disciplines developed by the followers of Surak. Like the Vulcans, the Romulans have given up unrestrained violence as a way of life. However, in the case of the Romulans this has been replaced with a controlled deviousness: As a species the Romulans were generally thought of as duplicitous, a reputation the actions of their government over the last decade has reinforced. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone")

During the 23rd century, Romulans practiced the execution of state criminals, by means both painful and unpleasant. Prior to the presenting of the charges, the Romulans allow the accused a Right of Statement. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident")

Reluctance to rely on overt hostility generally lead the Romulans to play a waiting game with their opponents, attempting to manipulate an adversary into breaking – or appearing to break – an agreement so as to give them a solid justification for striking. (TNG: "The Defector", "The Pegasus")

They were also well known for fearing disgrace over death. (TAS: "The Practical Joker") With this frame of mind, Romulan parents dispose of any newborn carrying birth defects as the alternative would mean a waste of resources. (TNG: "The Enemy")

The totalitarian nature of Romulan society, in which dissent was often a crime and Romulan security officers masquerade as citizens, had led many Romulans to be extremely paranoid. (TNG: "Unification I")

A common Romulan courtesy was the saying "Jolan Tru", although what exactly this means is unclear, as it is used both in context of greeting and goodbye. (ENT: "United"; TNG: "Unification I", "Unification II")

In the 24th century, a dissident movement began to gain momentum, based on the desire to learn about Vulcan and Vulcan ideals. Their ultimate goal was the reunification of Romulus and Vulcan. Ambassador Spock was deeply involved in this movement. (TNG: "Unification I", "Face of the Enemy")

While many arguably belligerent and militaristic species, such as Nausicaans, Breen, and even Klingons often sell their fighting skills to the highest bidder, Romulans were rarely, if ever, seen involved in such activities. This was possibly due to the apparent superiority complex of most Romulans, many of whom would likely find such work beneath them, and would prefer to serve the Romulan Empire in some capacity. However, Miles O'Brien once played a game of Tongo with a Romulan mercenary. (DS9: "Change of Heart") In cases of anonymity, they were known for commonly using hired assassins, such as the Flaxians, to conduct their off-world "justice." (DS9: "Improbable Cause")


Food and beveragesEdit

Technology Edit


The Romulans were created by writer Paul Schneider and introduced in "Balance of Terror". He modelled them on the Romans, naming their planets after the mythical founders of Rome Romulus and Remus. The Romulans next appeared in "The Deadly Years" via recycled footage of the Romulan Bird-of-Prey, before making a physical reappearance in "The Enterprise Incident".

Saavik was intended to be half-Vulcan, half-Romulan. The Romulans were meant to be the villains in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, but director Leonard Nimoy preferred the more "theatrical" Klingons. The Klingon Bird-of-Prey was meant to be stolen from the Romulans, but this information was left out of the film. The Romulans finally reappeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Neutral Zone", where makeup artist Michael Westmore gave them 'V'-shaped forehead ridges to "compete" with the Klingon redesign introduced in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (The Art of Star Trek)

The Romulans would've had a grander future had the animated series Star Trek: Final Frontier been produced instead of Star Trek: set in the 2460s, a war caused by Omega particle detonations (which was not actually the Romulans' fault) permitted them to conquer Qo'noS, destroy Andoria, and forced the Vulcans to leave the Federation to negotiate reunification. The Earth-Romulan War was also intended to be explored in the fifth season of Star Trek: Enterprise and the film Star Trek: The Beginning, neither of which were produced. Brannon Braga and Manny Coto considered making "Future Guy" a Romulan and revealing T'Pol's father was a Romulan agent.


Diane Duane created her own take on the Romulans in her novels, in which she reveals their true name to be the Rihannsu. Duane also depicted the Romulans as being extinct in the mirror universe novel Dark Mirror, as they chose to commit mass suicide rather than become subjects of the Terran Empire following the Battle of Cheron.

Much of the Romulans' origins are explored in the Vulcan's Soul trilogy. In them, the Romulans' ancestors left Vulcan as a contingency plan approved by Surak, should the wars on Vulcan have completely destroyed their civilization. It is stated the Romulans rejected the telepathy of the Vulcans and slaughtered or enslaved the telepathic ones among them during their exodus to the Romulan system: the telepaths became the Remans. This explains why no Romulan displays telepathic skills in canon. The eagle emblem was inspired by a huge bird native to Romulus that clutched eggs in its talons.

Romulan religious beliefs vary in non-canon sources. The Way of D'era sourcebook states the Romulans believe in the Way of D'era. Tellus, an enemy of Surak, taught that the inhabitants of Vorta Vor – the mythological world mentioned in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – had visited the Vulcans and inspired them to become the supreme rulers of the galaxy. This explains the superiority complex and their hatred for Vulcans, whom they see as traitors. In Duane's My Enemy, My Ally, it is said the Romulans worship the classical elements of fire, air, water, earth and the "Archelement" which oversees the others. In Killing Time, they worship a demon called Bettatan'ru.

The Way of D'era adds that the Romulans lack the physical strength of the Vulcans because they no longer live on a harsh environment. Killing Time shows Romulans slightly adverse to the effects of pon farr.

The comic book Star Trek: Countdown and the video game Star Trek Online depicts the lead up and the aftermath of Romulus' destruction, primarily caused by the Romulan Senate ignoring Spock's warnings about the supernova, and the Vulcan Science Council's refusal to lend them red matter. In spite of this, Federation-Romulan relations had been improving and Romulan citizens had become less xenophobic, as indicated in the ending of Star Trek Nemesis. After the supernova, Federation aid is either welcomed or met with suspicion and even hostility, while the Klingon Empire seizes the opportunity to conquer Romulan territory. Despite continuing in-fighting between the survivors, a new capital called Rihan is established on Rator III.