Jaffa

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See also: Goa'uld, Stargate SG-1, Teal'c
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The Jaffa are a warrior/priest caste of enslaved humans in the Stargate verse. One Jaffa, Teal'c, is a main character on Stargate SG-1.

In Canon

Jaffa serve the Goa'uld, a race of evil parasitic beings. Jaffa incubate Goa'uld young in an abdominal pouch genetically engineered by the Goa'uld. While incubating a Goa'uld larva, the Jaffa have enhanced immunity and healing powers. The Jaffa are not taken as hosts by the Goa'uld.

A small group of Jaffa, the Sodan, had rebelled against the Goa'uld several centuries prior, but had remained in hiding (only emerging to steal incubatable Goa'uld larvae, necessary for their own survival) until the large-scale rebellion.[1]

Although it reveals a remarkable lack of diversity of skills, the Jaffa are a warrior/priest caste with the women and children playing a role that resembles a middle class.

Season 3 of Stargate SG-1 suggests an outcast caste, who may do the jobs of untouchables or lower class slaves. While sedition seems to be universally present, particularly in those with the closest connections to the Goa'uld, the majority of Jaffa believe absolutely in their respective Gods. Early interaction between the Jaffa culture as a whole and Teal'c was frought with tension as a result.

The tradition of the Jaffa is to serve until death if they are warriors, carry and bear symbiotes to maturity regardless, and to create more Jaffa. Because the Goa'uld System Lords were constantly battling each other, Jaffa in service to the losing side were prepared either to die or be absorbed into the ranks of the victorious Goa'uld. Their status as pawns under the Goa'uld greatly influence their interaction with allies as a free people.

A primary difficulty in attaining freedom for the Jaffa, even as the Goa'uld themselves fall, is the Jaffa dependence on symbiotes as proxy immune systems. At one point, Ishta's people solve the problem by harvesting live symbiotes from fallen enemy Jaffa (Birthright 7.10). The SGC eventually offers a medical solution in the form of the drug tretonin, but the first Jaffa trials show a risk of rejection in a small subset of the population (a risk that is downplayed).

After the fall of the Goa'uld, the Free Jaffa who had organized and mobilized in only small numbers up until that point, opted in self-governance to form a larger High Council with representatives from diverse worlds. Their status as a single race who had served enemies in large bloody battles for centuries made the transition difficult, and while the Jaffa were willing to accept diverse male and female delegates, their relationships to their allies do not fare as well (Allegiance, 6.09, Death Knell 7.16).

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Links and Resources

  • Jaffa entry at Stargate Wiki at Wikia (canon resource)
  • entry at Stargate Wiki (canon resource)
  • Jaffa entry at Stargate Omnipedia at Gateworld (canon resource)

References

  1. Sodan entry at Stargate Wiki at Wikia (Accessed 12 May 2011)