Ancients

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The Ancients: Builders of the Stargates

Summary

The Ancients are a race of humans who have existed for millions of years and were the builders of the Stargates.

Stargate References

The Ancient Ones

"Meaning of Life Stuff" on P3X-972
Jack takes Ancient download on P3R-272
The Asgard tell Jack of the Ancients

On the planet P3X-972 (also known as Ernest's Planet and later redesignated PB2-908), Daniel was shown a library room which had the writings of four alien races on its walls. In the center of the room was a device which projected a universal language written with pictoral depictions of the basic elements (of the periodic table). Daniel was so excited by the discovery of this language and database, calling it the "meaning of life stuff," that he was willing to risk being stranded on the planet for an indefinite period of time just to study its contents. He was pursuaded to leave, but the database and all it contained were lost when the building they were in collapsed, sending the Stargate into the ocean. (1.11 "The Torment Of Tantalus")

Daniel recognized the writings of one of the four races from P3X-972 as that which belonged to the Asgard, based on his experiences on Cimmeria with Thor's Hammer (1.10 "Thor's Hammer"). When a probe returned results from the planet P3R-272 which had images of writings which matched those of one of the four races, Daniel suggested that if the race were an ally to the Asgard, then it was possible they'd be helpful in Earth's war against the Goa'uld. Based on this proposal, SG-1 went to the planet and there, Jack inadvertently took a download from a Repository of Knowledge. Jack began to read the inscription in a form of Latin similar to Medieval Latin. He also input several new Stargate addresses into the SGC's dialing computer database (those not on the Abydos Cartouche discovered by Daniel in the episodes, 1.01 "Children Of The Gods Part 1", 1.02 "Children Of The Gods Part 2"). Jack helped Daniel translate more of the inscription which revealed the identity of the race: "We are the Ancients." Based on these clues, Daniel studied the Roman histories and made the assumption that it was the "ancient ones" who actually built the Stargate network: "See, the Romans were the first real road builders. They spoke Latin and they learned to build roads from the gods, known as the Ancient Ones. Roads. Stargates. The Gate builders. What if these Ancients were the alien race who invented the Stargate?" (2.16 "The Fifth Race")

Jack used the Ancient knowledge to build a power supply which would enable the SGC to connect to a Stargate in another galaxy. Using this device, he introduced the SGC to an eight-symbol Stargate address, the "extra" symbol adding a distance calculation to the standard seven-symbol address (six points in space and a point of origin). He dialed the homeworld of the Asgard, Othala in the Ida Galaxy, and the Asgard removed the knowledge of the Ancients from Jack's mind. This meeting with the Asgard, as well as the one with Thor on Cimmeria (2.06 "Thor's Chariot"), helped to solidify Earth's alliance with this highly advanced race. This alliance proved to be extremely beneficial in the saving of many lives in several galaxies. (2.16 "The Fifth Race")

Daniel's theory about the "ancient ones" being the builders of the Stargates, those spoken of in Roman histories who spoke a form of Latin, was proved by the Asgard when Jack met them on Othala. The Asgard said that the Ancients moved from "our region of space long ago." The alliance of four great races was created "millennia ago" and included the Ancients, the Asgard, the Furlings, and the Nox. (2.16 "The Fifth Race")

Ancients in Three Galaxies

Ayiana represents those Ancients who died of the plague in the Milky Way Galaxy
The Others include the ascended Ancients
Janus represents those Ancients of the Pegasus Galaxy who returned to Earth 10,000 years ago

Several million years ago, the race of humans known as the Altera left their home galaxy because another group of humans of their society, called the Ori, were attempting to kill them. The Altera and Ori were on the evolutionary path toward ascension, the shedding of the physical body to live as a form of energy on a higher plane of existence, and a great philosophical rift concerning ascension developed between them. The Altera took a scientific approach toward ascension while the Ori attached a religious aspect to it, calling it the Path to Enlightenment, because ascension gave one greater knowledge and understanding of the universe. Eventually, the Ori grew so extreme in their beliefs that they sought to wipe out the Altera. Instead of engaging in a war, the Altera fled. They traveled thousands of years before they found a new home in the Milky Way Galaxy. They called their new home "Avalon" and built the Stargate network (they called them "Astria Porta"). The exact time that the Altera, known as the Ancients in this galaxy, left their home galaxy is not yet known, but they could have had a presence in this galaxy as long ago as 50 millions years. This was Carter's estimation of the lifespan of the power crystal technology used in the Dial Home Device (DHD) found with the second Stargate in the Antarctic. This DHD's power ran out not long after it was discovered. Her estimates, however, cannot be used to conclusively state that the Stargate and DHD found in Antarctica were original to that location—they could have been moved there at some later date. (1.18 "Solitudes", 6.04 "Frozen", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

During their search for the Lost City of the Ancients and after Jack took a second download from the Repository of Knowledge on P3X-439, Jack led SG-1 to a planet called Praclarush Taonas. This planet had been buried in molten lava for at least a million years, according to Carter's estimates. Still, however, the Outpost remained, having been protected by a domed-shaped force field. Jack took the team to the Taonas Outpost to retrieve a Zero Point Module (ZPM), an advanced power source which would be used to activate powerful weapons in the Antarctic Outpost to destroy Anubis' attacking fleet. While sitting in the command chair at the Taonas Outpost, Jack displayed a map which showed the Ancients' domain in the Milky Way Galaxy, and then zoomed in on Earth to indicate the location of Terra Atlantis, the Lost City of the Ancients. The map which Jack projected, however, did not account for 30 million years of continental drift. It was not clear if this age was indicative of how long ago the database at the Taonas Outpost was abandoned or how old the Repository of Knowledge information was which Jack was using. It does hint, however, that Terra Atlantis, the city-ship Atlantis on the planet Terra, might have been located on Earth as long ago as 30 million years. (7.21 "Lost City Part 1", 7.22 "Lost City Part 2")

Also discovered in Antarctica was a frozen woman, Ayiana. She miraculously revived herself after being thawed out by the scientists assigned to study the location where the Antarctic Stargate was found. Based on their preliminary ice core sample readings, the scientists estimated that Ayiana had been frozen in the ice for at least three million years. Ayiana's discovery led them to conclude that she was an Ancient. They were surprised that she was nearly human, but she did possess abilities which humans currently do not have, one being the ability to heal through touch. Whenever Ayiana used this ability, she drained herself until, ultimately, she could not heal herself of the plague which she carried and spread to the SGC personnel at the research facility. Ayiana died at the SGC base. When Jack took the download from the Repository of Knowledge the second time, he carried it longer than he did from his first experience. He demonstrated the ability to heal by touch in the same manner as Ayiana. (6.04 "Frozen", 7.21 "Lost City Part 1", 7.22 "Lost City Part 2")

The plague which killed off many of the Ancients had been speculated about over the course of SG-1's first years of exploration, but wasn't a definite event until Daniel discovered a tablet on Abydos written in one of the oldest dialects of the Ancients' language. This tablet provided some additional information about the Ancients who lived in the Milky Way Galaxy: the Ancients were a race of humans who lived long before us; some of them learned to ascend to a higher plane of existence; those who did not ascend died of the plague. From this tablet, Daniel concluded that the collective of Ascended Beings known as The Others, were the ascended Ancients. (6.22 "Full Circle")

The tablet discovered on Abydos did not tell the story of a third group of Ancients who lived in the Milky Way Galaxy, those who lived in the city-ship known as Atlantis, but it did refer to their Lost City which had powerful weapons. When Daniel did research at the Antarctic Outpost, he estimated that these Ancients left Earth five to ten million years ago. Viewers are given the additional information that Ayiana was present when Atlantis left, watching her people leave from her station at the Antarctic Outpost. Since Ayiana was a carrier of the plague which killed off many of the Ancients, it can be assumed that the plague swept through the galaxy sometime between five and ten millions years ago as well. (Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1")

Daniel did not know the exact reasons why the Ancients left for the Pegasus Galaxy, but he suggested the following: to escape the plague, to start over, or to seek out new life in a new galaxy. Once the Atlantis Expedition Team entered Atlantis, they started to explore the great city-ship. They discovered a holographic recording made by a female Ancient who explained why they had come to the Pegasus Galaxy: to seed the galaxy with "new life where there appeared to be none." This seeding resulted in the creation of the Wraith, an insect-human hybrid which evolved from a life-sucking bug and the human DNA which the Ancients introduced into the galaxy. (Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1", 1.02 "Rising Part 2")

The Ancients who lived in the city-ship Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy returned to Earth 10,000 years ago. These Ancients were the last survivors of the city-dwellers and left because they were under siege by the Wraith who had grown into a powerful, technologically advanced race. They sank the city-ship in the ocean on the planet Lantia which they used as their homeworld in the Pegasus Galaxy and escaped through the Stargate back to Earth, never to return to Atlantis. (Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1", 1.15 "Before I Sleep")

Ancients' Legacy on Earth

Ancients reseed Milky Way Galaxy after plague
Ancients spread story of the Lost City of Atlantis
Use of the Stargates left by the Ancients continue to impact Earth's development

The Ancients influenced the development of Earth both directly and indirectly through the use of their left-over technology.

After the plague swept throughout the Milky Way Galaxy, Jim/Anubis said that the Ancients used the weapon on Dakara to reseed life in the galaxy "some million odd years" ago. He did not elaborate further concerning which group of Ancients used this weapon, if at all (consider that the source of the information was an evil, deceptive, half-ascended Goa'uld). If this weapon was indeed used to reseed the galaxy with new life, then it can be reasonably concluded that the Stargate on Earth was used during that reseeding, since the weapon's energy wave was more effective when used through the Stargate and the human form has been considered to have evolved solely from Earth in this galaxy. (1.03 "The Enemy Within", 8.16 "Reckoning Part 1", 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2", 8.18 "Threads")

The Ancients also did research on ascension which Anubis discovered and used to trick Oma Desala into helping him to ascend when he found her on the planet Kheb (8.18 "Threads"). Oma Desala, whose name means Mother Nature, might have influenced Earth religions and philosophies through her ability to control nature and her teachings concerning the worthiness of the soul of those who sought enlightenment through ascension (akin to Zen Buddhism) (3.20 "Maternal Instinct").

The Ancients who returned to Earth 10,000 years ago from the Pegasus Galaxy probably spread the legend of the Lost City of Atlantis to the Greeks and influenced the Romans with their language and knowledge. Some of these Ancients lived for thousands of years and built the underground caverns of "Avalon" in the Glastonbury Tor in the present-day United Kingdom. One of those Ancients, named Myrddin, influenced the King Arthur legends as the wizard Merlin. It was from a book stored with the treasures of Avalon that Daniel Jackson discovered the story of the Altera and of their finding a new home in the Milky Way Galaxy. These Altera were the progenators of the Ancients. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1")

Also, those who returned to Earth from the Pegasus Galaxy might be the reason that there are some humans of Earth today who have the Ancient gene which performs as a key to unlock most of the Ancients' technology. They never returned to Atlantis, but some of them most likely left Earth through the Stargate to other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. (2.16 "The Fifth Race", 8.13 "It's Good To Be King"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.15 "Before I Sleep")

In the thousands of years of Anubis' life (at least 10,000 years, if Ra's lifetime is taken under consideration), there existed an Ancient device discovered by the Goa'uld Telchak which had great healing abilities. Anubis went into battle with Telchak and defeated him, but he never discovered the location of this device which Telchak used to fashion the first sarcophagus. Telchak is thought to have been on Earth during the Mayan civilization (circa 900 B.C.-1000 A.D.) and impersonated Chac, the Mayan god of rain. It is believed that his use of the Telchak Device and the writings describing where the device was hidden (near a waterfall) were what spawned the Fountain of Youth myth. (7.11 "Evolution Part 1", 7.12 "Evolution Part 2")

The Goa'uld's use of Ancient technology, namely the Stargate network, enabled them to enslave humans from Earth all over the galaxy. These Goa'uld, in turn, influenced Earth's development when many of them took on the identities of the ancient gods from Egyptian, Canaanite, Celtic, Chinese, Hindu, Greek, Mayan, and Japanese cultures, among many others.

After discovering an Ancient intergalactic communications device in the treasures of Avalon, Daniel Jackson formed a psychic link with a villager of Ver Ager on the planet thought to be the original home of the Ancients (when they were known as the Altera). What he discovered was that the Alterans who had ascended to become The Others had kept the existence of humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy a secret from the Ori who had also ascended. The Ori have created a religion which dictates that they be worshipped as humanity's creators and gods and promise ascension to the faithful, although they never intend to help their devotees to ascend. If anyone rejects the Ori, the Ori will destroy them. Daniel thought that since the Ori manifest themselves in a wall of fire and fire is the icon of the religion, called Origin, that the Ancients might have influenced Earth's religions to associate fire with demonic aspects as a way to warn humanity of the Ori's evil intent. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3")

Notable Characters

  • Ayiana - She was left behind when the city-ship Atlantis left Earth from the Antarctic five to ten million years ago. She stayed at the Antarctic Outpost, but somehow ended up near the Stargate and froze there. She was recovered and revived by research scientists, but she died soon thereafter. (6.04 "Frozen")
  • Janus - He was one of the Ancients who left Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy 10,000 years ago and returned to Earth. He built a timeship which was used by one version of the Atlantis Expedition Team to save the city and the Team when they first set foot on Atlantis. That timeship was destroyed 10,000 years ago in the Pegasus Galaxy, but it is possible that Janus built another timeship and used it in the Milky Way Galaxy since the timeship found on Harry Maybourne's planet looked identical in its design. (8.13 "It's Good To Be King", Stargate Atlantis: 1.15 "Before I Sleep")
  • Merlin - He was one of the Ancients who returned to Earth 10,000 years ago from the Pegasus Galaxy and built the underground caverns of Avalon in the Glastonbury Tor to store Ancient writings and technology. The writings, in the form of a storybook, revealed the name of the Ancients as the Altera when they left their home galaxy millions of years ago. The technology was used by Daniel Jackson to discover the existence of the Ancient's ascended rivals, the Ori. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3")
  • Oma Desala - Her name means Mother Nature and she chose to help humans ascend through her teachings of worthiness. She helped Daniel Jackson ascend and gave him a second chance at ascension about two years after his return to human form. Oma helped the Goa'uld Anubis ascend and The Others punished her by forcing her to watch Anubis wreak havoc and destruction throughout the Milky Way Galaxy. The Others wished for her to take responsibility for helping to ascend an evil being such as Anubis, but she chose to try to make up for it by continuing to help "those beneath" whom she felt were worthy to ascend. Finally, Oma realized what she had to do and engaged herself in an eternal struggle against Anubis to occupy him and prevent him from destroying all life in the Milky Way Galaxy as part of his "grand design." (3.20 "Maternal Instinct", 5.21 "Meridian", 8.18 "Threads")
  • Orlin - As one of the Ascended Ancients, he shared his knowledge with the people of Velona and they built a powerful weapon which they used to destroy the Goa'uld who was attacking their world. After that, the Velonans decided to use the weapon on other planets. At that point, The Others destroyed Velona and the weapon was rendered inoperable. Orlin was banished to the planet as punishment for his interference. He stayed alone there for about 400 years until he returned to Earth with SG-1. He made amends with The Others by sacrificing his newly-taken human form to prevent the SGC from powering up the weapon and he was accepted back into the collective by being permitted to ascend once more. Orlin retook human form for a second time in order to help humanity stop the Ori from gaining more power in the ascended planes, something which could result in cosmic chaos. (5.03 "Ascension", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

Alliances

  • Asgard, Furlings, Nox - At one point, the Ancients were joined in an alliance comprised of these four great races. This alliance was formed a very long time ago, but now it no longer exists. (1.11 "The Torment Of Tantalus", 2.16 "The Fifth Race")
  • The Others - Those Ancients who learned how to ascend joined a collective of other Ascended Beings to establish rules of how they interact with the corporeal plane. It was recently revealed that The Others are not all ascended Ancients. (5.03 "Ascension", 6.06 "Abyss", 6.22 "Full Circle", 7.20 "Inauguration", 8.03 "Lockdown", 8.16 "Threads")

Enemies

  • Within the Milky Way Galaxy itself, there are no known enemies of the Ancients, but they did build powerful weapons long ago which must have been needed to defend against some other great military power.
  • Ori - The Ascended Beings known as the Ori are philosophical rivals of The Others who are the ascended Ancients (aka the Altera). The Alterans kept the existence of humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy a secret from the Ori, who live in the Alteran's home galaxy, as a form of protection because the Ori will destroy all those who reject them as their creators and gods. The Ori gain more power in the ascended planes through the surrender of man's free will. Unfortunately, humanity's existence in the Milky Way Galaxy has been revealed, ironically through the use of the very technology left behind by the Alterans, and the inevitable war avoided all of those millions of years ago has now been ignited in the corporeal plane. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")
  • Wraith - In the Pegasus Galaxy, the Ancients were overrun by the Wraith, a race that accidently evolved when they seeded that galaxy with life. (Stargate Atlantis)

Articles on the Ancients

Library of the Four Races Repository of Knowledge Ancient Time Machine
Stargate Destroyer Ayiana of the Ancients Tablet Found on Abydos
Ancient Weapon on Dakara Ancient Timeship Merlin of the Atlantian Ancients

This series of articles covers the history, language, writings, knowledge, and technology of the Ancients.

Episodes

Related Articles

Characters

Keywords

Other


--DeeKayP 15:51, 16 Apr 2005 (PDT)