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Romulan Star Empire

Founded: circa 5th century C.E.
Praetor: Shinzon (2379)
Capital: Romulus
Official language: Romulan, (see: universal translator)
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The Romulans, a fictional race in the Star Trek universe, are descended from Vulcans and are characterized as being deceitful, cunning, and treacherous. They are the dominant race of the Romulan Star Empire, one of the larger empires in the Beta Quadrant of the Milky Way galaxy.

They made their first appearance in the 1966 episode "Balance of Terror". The Romulans were created by Paul Schneider. He said "It was a matter of developing a good Romanesque set of admirable antagonists [...] an extension of the Roman civilization to the point of space travel."



As a branch of the Vulcan species, Romulans have pointed ears, upswept eyebrows, and copper based blood. Like Vulcans, their blood is green when oxygenated in the arteries and is copper or rust colored when deoxygenated in the veins. In addition, many have a small V-shaped ridge above the bridge of their nose, uncommon to Vulcans. This may be a vestigial or atavistic characteristic from archaic generations of the Vulcan race. They generally have dark hair as well.

While Vulcans are much stronger than humans and have natural touch telepathic abilities, thousands of years of divergent evolution (or perhaps the lack of Vulcan mental discipline) seems to have stripped Romulans of these traits. From what can be seen in the various Star Trek series, Romulans are not telepathic and no stronger than normal humans.


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The Romulans from "Balance of Terror"


Romulan Ale is a blue alcoholic drink which was considered illegal in the Federation in the late 23rd century (per Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) through the late 24th century (per Star Trek: Nemesis) (though possibly legal for "medicinal purposes"). Despite its illicit nature, Romulan ale remains quietly popular within the Federation -- it was served aboard the Enterprise during an official dinner with Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). Because of the alliance between the Federation and the Romulans because of the Dominion War of 2373-2375, Romulan Ale was legalized.

Other Romulan drinks include Kali-fal, a blue drink with an aroma that should forcibly open one's sinuses before the first sip. Other foods include Ossoul twist, Viinerine and jumbo Romulan mollusk, an expensive delicacy.


Romulan fashion of the late 24th century had distinctive squared shoulders. Hair is generally cut straight across the forehead close to the eyebrows, with longer locks framing the face, cut following the cheekbones; this style resembles a helmet.

In the original Star Trek, Romulan military uniforms had a variety of patterns and colors. It is important to note that only the Romulan Commanders wore red sashes, whereas their inferiors wore blue sashes or no sash at all. Romulan uniforms of future series (and the film Star Trek: Nemesis) are more standardized.


Romulans make generous use of the color green. Romulans often use limestone (or a Star Trek version of it) for construction. The emblem of the Romulan Star Empire depicts a large bird of prey clutching the worlds of Romulus and Remus. The avian motif also appears with their Bird of Prey starships, and may have cultural significance. Those who rejected the teachings of Surak were said to be "beneath the raptor's wing".

Designer Herman Zimmerman has said regarding interior design, "the Romulans have [...] possessed advanced technology a lot longer than the Federation, so the look was a combination of art deco and medievalism meets high-tech. Most of the designs were inspired by Italian designer Carlo Scarpa."

Regarding exterior design of the senate area, designer Syd Dutton said "Stuart Baird wanted us to think about Albert Speer, the architect who did all the conceptual drawings for Hitler. [Speers] took that national socialist idea to a ridiculous extreme where everything was huge and classical.

"The Romulans are a people who live in a marshy area. They had little houses on stilts around [...] mudwork. The mudwork became part of this central core and that was where the old part of the city - the Forum and senate buildings - was located. As the city [...] expanded going away from that, the buildings became bigger and more technological."

Society and government

The Romulan Commander from "The Enterprise Incident"
The Romulan Commander from "The Enterprise Incident"

The Romulan government is very similar to that of the Roman Republic before it became the Roman Empire. The Romulan government consists of several parts: the Romulan Senate, the main governing and legislative body in a large chamber on Romulus. The Senate is headed by the praetor, followed by the proconsul. The Senate does not sit on the third day of the Romulan week. The Romulan Senate also has the Continuing Committee, which is composed of senators and the chairman of the Tal Shiar and confirm the new praetor.

It has been implied that Romulans use a caste system. The Romulan contempt for Vulcans, their treatment of other sentient species, and their need for strict conformity, suggests that Romulan society is racist/specist.

The Romulan Star Empire was once ruled by an Empress: a member of the Q Continuum informed Kathryn Janeway he had considered having a child with a Romulan Empress. ('The Q and the Grey') However, it is unclear when the Romulans possessed this system of government or how it functioned in relation to the Romulan Senate.

The Romulan term for their mythological place of creation is "Vortavor".

It is generally accepted canon that Romulan females are equal to males, at least in terms of their ability to rise through the ranks of the military. Notable females include Sela (Tasha Yar's daughter) and Donatra (Star Trek X).



  • Neral
  • Hiren
  • Shinzon (Reman/Human clone)


  • Kimara Cretak
  • Letant
  • Pardek
  • Tal'Aura
  • Valdore
  • Vrax
  • Vreenak (dead) killed by Garak


  • Merrok
  • Vice Proconsul M'ret
  • Neral


Romulans are noted for their use of disruptor weapons, and cloaking technology, as well as having ships that are powered by singularities. In the 22nd Century, they displayed advanced holotechnology as well as telepresence technology.



The Romulan subspecies is a splinter group of Vulcans who refused to accept the Vulcan philosopher Surak's teachings of complete suppression of emotions. Around 400 CE, the dissident group split off from Vulcan society and began the long journey to the planet Romulus.

21st Century

The Romulans and Vulcans fought a hundred-year war, which was over at some point prior to 2044. It is unclear whether the two groups knew they were fighting their kinsmen. The war was apparently started by a member of the Q Continuum, although (given this Q's bumbling nature) this may have been accidental.

22nd Century

The goal of the Romulan Star Empire was conquest. When Senator Valdore questioned this policy, he was dismissed from the senate (although he later joined the military, and rose quickly through the ranks, becoming Admiral by the year 2154).

In 2152, Humans made first contact with the Romulans when the Enterprise NX-01 encountered a Romulan-laid minefield. Communication was via audio only. The Romulans saw that Humans fostered a spirit of cooperation among the long-belligerent Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites. Realizing that this would bring solidarity to the region and an obstacle to conquest, the Senate took steps to turn these species against each other.

In 2154, Romulans conspired with V'Las, head of the Vulcan High Command, to invade Andoria. V'Las' Romulan contact had the stated agenda of reunification with the Vulcans.

A few months later, the Empire sent prototype holoships that were remote controlled from Romulus to disrupt a peace conference between Andorians and Tellarites. The Romulans piloted the ships using an abducted Aenar, however their scheme was thwarted by the combined efforts of the Humans, Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites, led by the Enterprise. This enraged the Romulans, who vowed revenge upon humanity.

In about 2156, the Earth-Romulan War began. Starfleet did not have many ships in their fleet. For reasons not explained, Starfleet and the Romulan fleet both used atomic/nuclear weapons during the hostilities. These weapons were still in the Romulan inventory a century later. The Romulan ships during the war were seen with birds of prey painted on them. It has also been noted that no visual communication took place between the Humans and Romulans at that time. The war only ended after both sides had fought to the point of exhaustion and realized that continuing the conflict would only result in the mutual destruction of both sides. It has been implied that the Earth-Romulan War reached Earth, heavily damaging it: two centuries later, it was remarked that Earth had not been subjected to the horrors of total war since the date of the Romulan Wars. Though the war ended in a stalemate, it closed with the Battle of Cheron which proved to be a decisive Earth victory.

In 2160 the Romulans and the humans signed a treaty establishing a neutral zone one light-year wide between their territories. In 2161 humans, along with Vulcans and several other species, founded the United Federation of Planets, which continued this wary peace.

23rd Century

Using a cloaked ship, the Romulans broke the treaty of 2161 by attacking several Federation outposts circa stardate 1709.21 in 2266. In response, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 tracked down the cloaked Romulan ship and destroyed it. This was also the first time humans saw what the Romulans looked like physically.

In 2267, it is thought that the Romulans entered a treaty with the Klingon Empire: in exchange for cloaking technology, the Romulans received several D7 battlecruisers, which were upgraded into extremely deadly war machines. (The script of the episode "The Enterprise Incident" called for a Romulan ship to appear, but the original Romulan ship model was not available; rather than go to the expense of building a new one, the Klingon D7 model was substituted. The explanation for this has yet to be revealed onscreen.) It was at this time that the Federation discovered the Romulans were kin to the Vulcans. The events of 2145 suggest the Vulcans withheld prior knowledge of this fact from humans.

In the original script for ST: VI, in 2293, the Romulan ambassador to the Federation, Nanclus, took part in a conspiracy to sabotage peace talks between the Klingons and the Federation. The attempt was unsuccessful, and Nanclus was arrested on Khitomer along with several other conspirators.

24th Century


In 2311, the Romulans attacked the Federation, in an event that would later be termed the Tomed Incident. Little is known about the incident, in which thousands of lives were lost. Following some brief skirmishes the Romulans and the Federation signed a new treaty, the Treaty of Algeron, which reaffirmed the neutral zone and prohibited the Federation from developing cloaking technology. For the next fifty years, the Neutral Zone was quiet. There was no direct contact between the Federation and the Empire, nor were there any further Romulan incursions.

In 2344, four of the new D'deridex class warbirds attacked the Klingon outpost at Narendra III. The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-C) responded to the outpost's distress call and engaged the Romulan ships, but was defeated and taken with its survivors (among them Lieutenant Tasha Yar) back to Romulan territory. Rumors circulated in the Federation that the Enterprise's broken hull was displayed on Romulus, to boost the morale of Romulan fleet academy students. The Klingons considered this action dishonorable, which strengthened relations between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, and also initiated a Romulan-Klingon war around the 2350s.

Circa stardate 41986.0 in 2364, the Romulan Star Empire ended its five decades of isolation when the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) intercepted a Romulan warbird. Several Romulan outposts had been destroyed by a then unknown force (later revealed to be the Borg). The Romulans opened communications to see if they could glean the information from the Federation, who had suffered similar losses. The Romulan Commander Tebok then said that the Romulans had decided to concentrate on their own internal affairs for the past fifty years. He then said, "We are back," indicating that Romulans would again be active in galactic affairs.

Attempted Conquests

In 2366 the Romulans attempted to trick the Enterprise-D into crossing the neutral zone, where two Romulan Warbirds were waiting to destroy the Enterprise. Captain Picard, however, was assisted by three K'vort class Klingon Birds of Prey; the Romulans, evenly matched, decided that the price of the Enterprise's destruction was too high and retreated. ("The Defector")

In 2367, the Romulans brainwashed Commander Geordi La Forge of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) in an attempt to incite a Federation-Klingon war, but the plan was exposed and failed. ("The Mind's Eye")

Later in 2367, during the Klingon Civil War, the Romulans secretly backed the House of Duras. Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard, discovering this, convinced pro-Federation leader Gowron to attack Duras's forces in order to draw Romulan reinforcements out of hiding; when the Romulans attempted to enter the fray, they were revealed by a Federation tachyon blockade, and the Duras family, exposed as traitors, lost all support. ("Redemption, Part I")

Circa stardate 44995.3 in late 2367, the Vulcan Ambassador Spock was discovered on Romulus, working with an underground movement for the reunification of the divided races. The Romulans saw this as a chance to conquer the Vulcans and sent a fleet of ships toward Vulcan, but their intent was discovered and the fleet destroyed. Spock elected to remain underground on Romulus to teach the Vulcan heritage to those who might listen. ("Reunification")

Sometime in 2374, a 27 member Tal Shiar team commanded by Commander Rekar hijacked the USS Prometheus (NX-74913), an advanced prototype starship to be analyzed by the Tal Shiar. Two Emergency Medical Holograms, one being from the USS Voyager, overthrew the Tal Shiar crew and the ship returned to Federation hands.

Dominion War

A brief period before the outbreak of the Dominion War, the Federation obtained a Romulan cloaking device (2371), under the condition that it be used exclusively in the Gamma Quadrant against the emerging threat of the Jem'Hadar and the Dominion. ("The Search")

Several months later the Romulan Tal Shiar intelligence agency and their Cardassian counterparts, the Obsidian Order, launched a preemptive strike against the Dominion; their entire fleet of 20 Warbirds and 20 Keldon class Cardassian vessels, however, was destroyed, and it was revealed that the Tal Shiar officer leading the attack was actually a Dominion agent. ("The Die Is Cast")

The Romulan Empire signed a non-aggression treaty with the Dominion, which had gained a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant in Cardassian space shortly before the Dominion War broke loose.

Circa stardate 51721.3 in late 2374, Starfleet Captain Benjamin Sisko and Elim Garak tried to trick the Romulans into joining the war against the Dominion by creating fake recordings of a Dominion strategy meeting in which the Dominion revealed their intention to conquer the Romulans along with the Klingons and Federation, and showing them to a high-ranking Romulan senator, Vreenak. In the past, Vreenak negotiated the Romulan non-aggression treaty with the Dominion and was vice-chairman of the Tal Shiar, secretary of the War Plans Council, and one of Proconsul Neral's most trusted advisors. Vreenak discovered the deception and attempted to leave to inform his government, but Garak sabotaged his shuttle and he was killed. When the Romulans examined the wreckage, they discovered the recordings; assuming the incriminating defects to have been caused by the explosion, the Romulan Star Empire entered the war against the Dominion, joining the Klingon-Federation alliance. ("In the Pale Moonlight")

In 2375, after Proconsul Neral became praetor, the Romulans established a presence on Deep Space Nine and secretly began stockpiling weapons on a Bajoran moon. However, Bajoran officer Colonel Kira Nerys, with the assistance of Starfleet Admiral William Ross, forced the Romulans to back down and remove their weapons. ("Shadows and Symbols")

The rogue Federation agency, Section 31, had an agent in the Tal Shiar to safeguard Federation interests. It felt that, following the Dominion War, the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire would be the only two powers left in the region and would go to war.

Later that year, the allied fleet broke through Dominion lines and headed for the Dominion high command on Cardassia Prime. The fight went badly, however, until a Cardassian uprising headed by the former leader Damar turned the Cardassian fleet against the Dominion. After this, the Dominion was defeated and the devastating Dominion War was ended. ("What You Leave Behind")

Reman Coup

Circa stardate 56844.9 in 2379, the Romulan Senate was briefly overthrown in a Reman uprising led by Shinzon. After Praetor Hiren and the senior Romulan leadership were assassinated in the Romulan Senate, Shinzon became Praetor and the Remans took over the Senate; he was, however, dispatched by Captain Picard shortly after his rise to power.

Relations between the Romulan Star Empire and the United Federation of Planets improved somewhat as a result of Picard's assistance. (Star Trek: Nemesis) Some fans speculate that a Federation-Romulan peace treaty and the fall of the Neutral Zone will follow.

Romulan Star Empire

Planets known to be under Romulan jurisdiction include Romulus, Remus and Regulus. The empire's exact size has never being declared. However, Star Trek writer/producer Ronald D. Moore has indicated that the Romulan Empire is smaller than both the Klingon Empire and the Federation.


The author Diane Duane has written a series of novels about the genesis and culture of the Romulan people. Duane introduced the name Rihannsu, which her Romulans use for themselves. The Rihannsu series of Star Trek novels include: My Enemy, My Ally, The Romulan Way, Swordhunt, Honor Blade, and The Empty Chair. Duane developed a Romulan language in these novels, but it is not considered canon and has not been used in any of the Star Trek episodes or films.

Romulans in the Star Fleet Universe

In the alternate Star Fleet Universe, the Romulans had a long-standing rivalry with the Gorn Confederation, with the old series Romulan ships no match against the advanced Gorn warships. (Indeed, the Romulans would have been subject to a full-scale invasion - and likely conquest - by the Klingon Empire - who had launched devastating raids against Romulan frontier bases and squadrons, leaving no survivors - had the Tholians not arrived in the region of Klingon space where the invasion was being prepared. The Klingons chose to keep these events a secret from the Romulans for quite some time afterards...) The post-Smarba KR(old Klingon vessels sold to the Romulans and converted to Romulan technology) and new series fleets, along with the extensively refitted older vessels, were of a far more dangerous order of magnitude and soon found ample opportunity for combat when the Romulans joined the Coalition on the Day of the Eagle, 4 January Y173 by invading the already-besieged Federation, after the Klingon Ambassador Thad Vak Kaleen persuaded the Romulans to enter the General War, and sweetened the deal with a C9-series Klingon dreadnought. They were eventually driven back to their own borders despite significant advances into Federation space, and suffered a devastating nuclear winter on the world of Remus.

After the General War, the Romulan empire erupted in Civil War, had their border stations destroyed in the course of the ISC War of Pacification and subsequently aided in resisting the Andromedan invasion of the galaxy from Y188 to Y205.

Star Fleet Universe Romulans of the early 23rd century were reliant on older series vessels converted to carry primitive warp engines until the Treaty of Smarba with the Klingon Empire in Y159 supplied the Romulans with advanced warp engines and a number of mothballed Klingon vessels, which were refitted with Romulan weaponry and cloaking devices. This technology allowed the Romulans to develop a new series of vessels which proved to cause significant headaches to the enemies of the Star Empire in the General War.

Connection to Roman Mythology

Many of the terms used in relation to the Romulans are derived from Roman mythology and government. Romulus and Remus are the two brothers who created the city of Rome. Vulcan is the name of a Roman god. The proconsul and praetor were government officials during the time of the Roman Republic. The Roman Senate was the governing body of the Roman Republic.

In the original series episode, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" it is revealed that the classical Greek and Roman gods were actually a race of advanced beings who had visited Earth thousands of years ago. The theory has recently been postulated that these same beings had visited other worlds as well—such as Vulcan, and/or Romulus. While not a canon theory, it did at one time appear on the "Star Trek" web site, and would certainly explain the connection between the Romulans and Roman mythology.




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