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The Romulans are a Vulcanoid species that mostly live in the Beta Quadrant. They founded and rule the Romulan Star Empire. Their name for themselves in their language is the Rihannsu.

History and specifics[]


Being descended from Vulcans, Romulans have pointed ears, eyebrows that are arched and upswept, a heart located where a Human liver is present and copper-based green blood. As such, they possess many similarities with only small differences separating the two species.

One of these noted differences is the presence of only a vestigial inner eyelid, as the Romulans no longer live under a bright sun. As such, the inner eyelid no longer possessed a function and became vestigial, though a small number of newly born Romulans do possess an additional lid. Romulan geneticists, however, believe that within another few centuries, the genes that produce the inner eyelid would be bred out.

A Romulan, like a Vulcan, possesses far greater strength compared to a Human of similar height and weight. This is attributed to the greater muscle and bone density of their bodies. (TNG novel: The Romulan Prize)

Many Romulans have two brow ridges above the bridge of their nose, forming a V-shape on the forehead. Others lack the ridges, making them outwardly indistinguishable from Vulcans. (TOS episode: "Balance of Terror"; TNG episode: "The Neutral Zone"; TOS movie: Star Trek)

Romulans with the two brow ridges were from the northern part of Romulus. Northerners were stereotyped by other Romulans as stubborn. (PIC episode: "The End is the Beginning")

They also have a tiny bone spur located at the base of the palms of their hands. (TNG novel: War Drums)

Being direct descendants of the Vulcans, the Romulans have exhibited the physical strength and telepathic abilities common in Vulcans. Physiologically speaking, the Romulans have a much faster heart rate than humans, at an average rate of 240 beats per minute. (TLE novel: Serpents Among the Ruins)

In addition to this, the Romulans did not undergo the affects of Pon farr, due to not repressing their normal sexual urges unlike their Vulcan cousins. Despite this, certain Romulans are telepathically receptive to this condition. (TOS novel: Killing Time)

Finally, the Romulan lifespan is noted to be still prodigious and it's not uncommon for certain members of the species to pass two centuries of age. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire)

Like many Vulcanoid species, the Romulans require a daily diet of Kelassium in order to avoid intestinal scarring. (TNG novel: Red Sector)

In the novelization of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, David Marcus noted that the Romulan/Vulcan hybrid Saavik had a higher body temperature than humans, something he found rather pleasant as they lay in bed together. For her part, Saavik found Dr. Marcus' cool skin pleasing also. Whether this is a trait of her hybrid physiology or native to both (or either) of her parents' species is unknown.


It was a curiosity to many as to why the Romulans did not possess the same psionic talents as their parent race. Numerous debates on the subject meant that there was no certainty about the reason, with arguments ranging from it being a factor of genetics to a result of societal upbringing. Some even believe that, due to the Romulans' desire to retain their aggression, they never found the inner strength of the mind that the Vulcans possessed, thus denying them any form of potential telepathic powers. (TNG novel: Triangle: Imzadi II)

Terise Haleakala-LoBrutto's historical text The Romulan Way stated that Vulcan psionic abilities died out during the Romulan migration following the Sundering because many adepts died on the journey, and new adepts could not be taught without "laying on of hands" by circles of trained adepts. (TOS - Rihannsu novel: The Romulan Way)

During the Vulcan-Romulan War, the Romulans began placing deep cover sleeper agents on Vulcan. One of the missions these agents had was to convince Vulcans that using their telepathic abilities was dangerous in order to nullify the telepathic advantage their Vulcan cousins had over them. By the early 20th century these agents managed to plant false medical studies stating that mind melds were neurologically harmful. Due to the publication of these studies, use of telepathic abilities declined and only a small minority of Vulcans used their telepathic abilities by the mid 22nd century. After the overthrow of the Romulan-backed Vulcan High Command in 2154, use of telepathic abilities gained much greater acceptance in Vulcan society; however, some Vulcans still felt use of these abilities in public to be reckless and uncouth. (ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: Uncertain Logic)

Extended contact with the Romulans led Starfleet to believe that telepathic Romulans did exist, but to what degree was unknown in the mid-23rd century. In the year 2270, it wasn't considered possible to seriously speculate on the matter. (TOS - The Yesterday Saga novel: Yesterday's Son)

As such, Romulans do not demonstrate the telepathic traits that their Vulcan cousins possess, though it has been hypothesized and speculated that the dormant gene allowing these abilities does surface among Romulans on rare occasions. (TOS novel: Captain's Blood) In fact, once they became aware of this fact, a movement sprung during the 23rd century where they attempted to develop these talents. (TNG novel: Triangle: Imzadi II)

Psionic development was noted as being limited amongst the Romulan race and lacked the intensive training of their Vulcan cousins. Despite this being the case, it was known that the potential existed should the race choose to exploit it. Some reports indicated that the Romulans used their limited psionic potential to enhance the expression of emotion between individuals in close contact which was done so only amongst family members. (FASA RPG module: The Romulans)

Though their experiments to develop psionic capabilities was not an overwhelming success, there was some notable achievements such as finding empaths amongst their population. Such individuals were often tested as a young age for definitive psi potential, whereupon the offspring were taken from their parents and raised by the Tal Shiar. (TNG novel: Triangle: Imzadi II)

The TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exiles states that the followers of Surak, who possessed the telepathic abilities among their kind, were banished to Remus (Romii), while the others were killed on the journey across space. This could primarily explain why the telepathic traits of the Vulcan travelers did not get inherited by the Romulans. But Remans, such as Viceroy Vkruk, do have limited telepathy, as shown in Star Trek Nemesis.

The Romulan miner Nero rediscovered his species' dormant abilities during his time on Rura Penthe and honed them through the usage of mind-altering drugs. He used these abilities to communicate with his Borg-enhanced ship the Narada and V'Ger to determine the time and place of Spock's arrival, along with his crew during his 25-year vow of silence. (TOS comic: "Star Trek: Nero")

By 2409, more Romulans manifested a weak form of telepathy, for the most part limited to being able to sense the presence of others. (ST video game: Star Trek Online)

Medical conditions[]

Splinter species[]


Main page: Romulan history

The Romulans originate from the planet Vulcan where they were one of many warring factions on the violent world. After the Vulcan race adopted the beliefs and doctrines of Surak the Romulans departed to find a world of their own in deference of the Vulcan culture, an event referred to as the Sundering.

They found the world Romulus and founded the Romulan Star Empire. (TOS - Rihannsu novel: The Romulan Way)

The Romulan species was devastated by a series of cataclysms in the latter half of the 24th century, beginning with a coup d'état against the Romulan Senate under Praetor Hiren in 2379. Executed primarily by a group of dissatisfied Romulan Imperial Fleet officers, the coup was led by Shinzon, a human clone of Federation Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard who had taken over the dilithium mines on Remus with the indigenous Remans' support. Though Shinzon's co-conspirators turned on him and helped Picard kill him after realizing how unstable he was, disagreements between Commander Donatra and now-Praetor Tal'Aura led to a civil war between forces loyal to each, with Donatra and her loyalists briefly seceding as the Imperial Romulan State. (TNG movie & novelization: Star Trek Nemesis; TTN novel: The Red King; STO website: The Path to 2409)

The dates and exact outcome of this stage of the civil war vary by continuity. The Pocket Books novels state that the Imperial Romulan State briefly joined the Khitomer Accords before being reabsorbed, and that Donatra committed suicide in prison, while in The Path to 2409 the two sides reconciled and Tal'Aura was murdered by an unknown assassin in 2384.

The central government remained weak into 2387, when a Romulan mining crew led by Nero discovered that the star Hobus was building up to supernova. Unbeknownst to Nero, the supernova was not a natural occurrence: it had in fact been triggered by a sunkiller bomb of Elachi origin, deployed by rogue Tal Shiar officer Hakeev at the behest of the Iconians. Nero attempted to warn Praetor Chulan and the Senate of the danger, but was unable to convince them to act. He instead worked with Ambassador Spock to attempt to save Romulus without them, using a red matter-induced black hole to eliminate the star; however Spock failed to reach Hobus in time.

The shockwave from the supernova breached subspace and crossed the distance from the Hobus system to the Romulan system in a mere 27 hours, obliterating the entire system and killing billions of Romulans and Remans. Spock deployed his red matter weapon in the Hobus system to prevent any further damage, but he and several Federation and Klingon ships including USS Enterprise came under attack by Nero. Spock's and Nero's vessels both became trapped by the black hole's gravity and were presumed destroyed, though in reality they had both been transported back in time to the 23rd century, creating the Kelvin timeline. (ST movie & novelization: Star Trek; ST comics: "Nero", "Countdown"; STO website: The Path to 2409)

During the subsequent interregnum civil wars and an opportunistic Klingon invasion led by Councillor J'mpok continued to plague the Romulans. Eventually a successor government on Rator III won out, selecting Admiral Taris as praetor in 2391. Her reign was marked by power struggles between herself, the Senate, and the military, and she was eventually unseated in 2403 in a military coup led by General Velal, who installed the exiled Sela as praetor. In 2408 Sela proclaimed herself Empress of the Romulan Star Empire, decreeing that the Senate would now serve at her pleasure. (STO website: The Path to 2409)

The Romulan Republic[]

Main page: Romulan Republic

Amid the power struggles of the late 24th century the Tal Shiar quickly amassed power, effectively becoming a state unto itself. Alarmed at this trend, a cadre of Romulan dissidents and military officers, led by Unificationist leader D'Tan and Admiral Kererek, formed a faction to combat them that became known as the Romulan Republic. By the time of the Elachi sack of Virinat in 2409, the Republic was openly engaging Tal Shiar warships. At a conference on Khitomer later that year, the Federation and Klingon Empire recognized the Republic as a sovereign state over objections from the self-proclaimed Empress Sela and outright attempted sabotage by the Tal Shiar under Hakeev. D'Tan was named Proconsul of the Romulan Republic and a government was formed on Dewa III, renamed New Romulus. (STO episodes: "Tutorial", "From the Ashes")

Military arms and combat[]

In addition to native martial arts training, members of the Romulan Navy commonly used the following weapons.

Mêlée weapons[]

Ranged weapons[]

Food and drink[]



Romulan myths stated that their race was forged in Vorta Vor. (TOS movie: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) Known as the Wellspring of Creation where the ancient Vhorani created their race.

Romulans believe in the Way of D'era which dictates that they are destined to rule the galaxy and is perhaps the source of their arrogant views as well as their belief in their own superiority. It comes from the teachings of Tellus who stated that their people were the children of the Vhorani who made the Vulcan race to become their inheritors to a great destiny of controlling the galaxy. Therefore, under these teachings, all other races were inferior to the Romulan people. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire) Some reports even indicated that Romulan writings that their ancestors were told by a race of great beings called the Great Brothers who were possibly the Preservers gave them a responsibility to build a Road to the Stars in order to join their gods at the end of their task. Furthermore, these stories state that that they were given enough just to start the "Road" and that it was their duty to build upon it further which makes Romulan expansionism a religiously motivated behavior. Their relationship with the Great Brothers was not entirely clear but a shrine of them existed in each family temple. (FASA RPG module: The Romulans)

The dictates of D'era became the source of the Romulan concept of honor which differs greatly compared to the Klingons for it was not a warrior-like concept but a reflection of the accomplishments made by the individual on a family, personal and imperial level. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire)

Another concept that was viewed religiously by certain Romulans was a belief in the Elements which they believe embody the universe itself. (TOS novel: My Enemy, My Ally)

Interestingly, the Romulan had their own concept of a mythical creature that would die in fire and be reborn such as the Phoenix of Earth myths. It was known as Alth'Indor in the Romulan language. (DS9 - Millennium novel: The War of the Prophets) In addition to this, certain demons existed within Romulan beliefs. One such creature was a demon lord called Bettatan'ru who certain Romulans prayed to in order to achieve their goals. (TOS novel: Killing Time)


Vulcans and Romulans are genetically compatible for breeding purposes, although for many years the Romulan government denied this was a possibility, to avoid the consequences of being forced to pay reparations for any such offspring should they occur. According to Saavik, a practice of the 23rd century Romulans was to sire children with Vulcan females by rape, forcing the women to remain alive only long enough to give birth to the child. This could also be forced on a Vulcan man coerced to impregnate a Romulan woman, and in both cases the situation was seen as a great coup of social status for the Romulan. Romulans would also establish dominance among prisoners by taking wives from other species and fathering children with them, although the marriages were rarely harmonious. Sela was the result of such a marriage. (TOS novelization: The Wrath of Khan; TNG episode: "Redemption II")

Romulan children are branded at birth with a mark unique to their family. Saavik stated that her brand afforded her proof of her lineage and with it, certain rights—such as the right to a blood duel with her Romulan father, should she find him. (TOS novelization: The Search for Spock) Amongst their society, the cry for vengeance was passed from father to son until it was meted out. (DS9 comic: "Blood and Honor")

Details from the Eridam Papers state that the Romulan Way allows for no room for individuals who are not physically able to serve their obligations to the Star Empire. As such, children born with physical deformities or attributes that impede their ability to serve their society are not allowed to live which means that the Romulans practice euthanasia. The development of the child is monitored closely until the age of 5. If the child is fit then they enter a rigorous training program of schooling, cultural indoctrination and physical training for 15 years. During this time, the child is regularly tested as the Romulans are reluctant to spend resources on a child that is unable to compete; such children are forever left behind.

Until the age of 20, the child is judged on whether they are physically and mentally fit by Romulan standards. If they are not then they must prove that they have the right to live by fighting a youth of the same approximate age. This trial by combat is to the death with the winner proving their worthiness while the loser being shown to be unsuitable to become a Romulan citizen. Once this is complete, it is compulsory for all Romulans to spend at least 5 years in the military with both sexes serving equally which provides the bulk of the Empire's military forces. After completion of this tour of duty, the Romulan is accepted as a citizen and may marry. (FASA RPG module: The Romulans)

The Star Trek: Rihannsu novels differ here, indicating that the Romulans do not, in fact, practice universal conscription (or did not in the 2270s when the novels are set), and that female military personnel outnumber males.

Within Romulan society, there exists the family structure known as the House who are an extended family of nobles who sit in the Imperial Romulan Senate. The leader of the House tend to maneuver its members to positions of power and authority in order to enhance the Houses power, prestige and wealth. Houses can be divided and merged which can lead to new Houses forming or old Houses being destroyed. (ST video game: Starfleet Command)

Family was important to a Romulan, most notably among the upper echelons, the pseudo-aristocracy that rules Romulan life. Family is a source of pride. It is a way to amass great wealth and power within the empire. Notable Romulan families control entire fleets and worlds, and most often send a family member to sit on the Senate. They are patricians in the classic sense, believing they have the right to rule, but caring for their subjects as though they were beloved children. (Decipher RPG module: Aliens)

It was Romulan tradition that upon the death of a loved one that the grieving loved ones painted ancient symbols of love and loss onto their skin. This represented their grief according to their traditions and by the time the paint faded, the mourning period was over whereupon life went on. (TOS comic: "Countdown, Number Three")


"They forget what a Romulan can do and never forget that a Romulan never forgets." -- a traditional Romulan saying.[1]

Romulans were known to fear disgrace over death. (TAS episode: "The Practical Joker") This was one of the reasons why Romulan parents were known to kill offspring who possessed any form of birth defect as they would be a waste of resources as well as a burden on the family. (TNG episode: "The Enemy")

Part of Romulan behavior was influenced by the belief in D'era, which stated that they were the caretakers of the universe.

Part of their races belief that they are a superior form of life and destined to rule the galaxy stems from the fact that the early Romulans, once they settled on their new home world, encountered very few alien races and tended to believe that they were the only advanced race in existence. (ST video game: Starfleet Command)

Paranoia was etched deeply within the Romulan psyche and character background which was made evident when the Romulan Senate's floor held a picture of the Romulan Neutral Zone, a symbol of everything that inhibits and threatens the Empire. (TTN novel: Taking Wing)

Among the Romulan people, the race developed the concept of "Final Honor" which was something that requires a Romulan to sacrifice their life to prevent them from being captured, or for their honor being taken from them. (TOS episode: "Balance of Terror"; TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Epiphany)

Romulans tend to consider themselves, as well as their distant Vulcan brethren, as superior to other races. (ST video game: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War) However, this being said, the Romulans also consider the Vulcans to have strayed away from the warrior teachings of D'Era and have abandoned their destiny that was given to them by the Vhorani. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of D'era: The Romulan Star Empire)

The Romulans possess a caste system-based society with a high caste; given more respect, due to the nature of their birth. (TNG novel: The Romulan Prize) The Reman species, being an offshoot of the Romulans, are considered an undesirable caste within Romulan society. (TNG movie: Star Trek Nemesis) Romulans are also known to make use of slaves. (TNG novel: The Romulan Prize)

By tradition, a Rihannsu who was incapable of mating and continuing the clan line was not permitted a political career. This meant that castration was considered an act similar to execution in some instances and was employed against conquered political enemies as well as upon Court servants in order to eliminate their aspirations for power. (TOS novel: Dwellers in the Crucible)

Romulans had three names: one for outsiders, one for family, and a true name for the one they gave their hearts to. (PIC episode: "The Impossible Box")




For a list of Romulan individuals, see the category: Romulans.


Appearances and references[]



External link[]