When one considers the amount of time Earth and the United Federation of Planets have spent dealing with the Romulan Star Empire, it is easy to forget that there are only three major periods of interaction (see note 1). The first began in the 2150's, just prior to the formation of the Federation, and resulted in a brutal war. The second followed more than a century of silence, and lasted only forty-six years; barely time for a Romulan to reach adulthood. The third was the result of Romulan and Federation investigation into Borg incursions. All told, sixty-three years worth of contact; sixty-three baffling years. What happened between the Earth/Romulan War and the first Neutral Zone incursion in 2265? Who was behind the Tomed Incident in 2311? What happened in the empire for the 53 years of isolation that followed? What has led to the apparent cultural difference between the 23rd and 24th century Romulans? As with all mysteries, we start at the beginning.
It is impossible to discuss the origin of the Romulans without delving into the history of Vulcan. During the Vulcan's 3000 years in space there have actually been four major periods of exodus. The first three were to escape major war and possible annihilation. The fourth, and most likely the origin of the Romulans, was an escape from peace. Toward the beginning of Vulcan's warp age, more than 3000 years ago, a Vulcan philosopher started a movement toward stoicism. This movement was called Kolinahr. It was an actual purge of all emotions for the adherent. The movement grew, but was generally considered extremist (see note 2). Seeing themselves as unwelcome, some members of the sect sought sanctuary off-planet, founding a number of monasteries on neighboring worlds, not the least of which was P'Jem (involved in a major pre-Federation scandal between Vulcan and Andoria).
Bloody wars continued to rage across Vulcan. Indeed, considering the violent nature of ancient Vulcans, it is probably only the Vulcan preoccupation with civil war that kept them from conquering the Alpha Quadrant. Exploration during this millennium was limited, but amazingly even then the Vulcans were concerned with non-interference. Though other worlds were visited, only scientific curiosity was indulged, and only uninhabited planets were explored (see note three). During this period, two major exodus events occurred as Vulcans went looking for peace (see note four). Those who stayed behind wished them good riddance. It seemed survival was as unlikely for the Vulcans as it seemed unlikely for 20th to 21st Century Humans. Then, at the same time a carpenter was setting the scene for western civilization on Earth, a Vulcan was born who was determined to bring change to his world (see note five).
Surak was born into Kolinahr. As he grew, he saw the importance of mastering emotions, but felt that actually eliminating them was detrimental to individual growth. He split from the sect and began a new movement- one that called for mastery of self and a dedication to logic. Always ready for a challenge, many Vulcan warlords saw the mastery of themselves as the ultimate battle. Once they had their emotions under control, and logic dictated their actions, they stopped being warlords. Surak's reform swept Vulcan within his lifetime, less than two centuries.
This left the warrior caste with no one to fight. As Vulcan turned to peace, the soldiers refused to adhere to a quiet life. For a century, some politically motivated warlords continued to try to goad the people back into war, but Surak's teachings had become the norm. This hundred year series of wars were ineffectual (see note six). Secretly, large numbers of the military began shifting resources to space travel. They looked back on Vulcan's old republic as a golden age that could be replicated elsewhere. One day, Vulcan woke up to find that hundreds of ships were gone, and thousands of soldiers and politicians. It is commonly accepted that the Soldier's Exodus from Vulcan was the genesis of the Romulans (see note seven).
While Constantine was making Christianity legal in Rome, the most brutal series of clan wars were starting on Andoria, and the Tellarite poet-king was writing the Gevar, the Romulans were establishing their home. Research shows that the Romulan Republic was very similar to Earth's old Roman Republic. Once colonies were established on Romulus and Remus (or Rom II), they set to creating a government. A senate was formed, but all senatorial action was tempered against the Praetor class - basically warrior generals. Unlike the Romans, the Romulans did not unify, and soon the twin worlds were awash in blood. Perhaps here the gap between the governmental authorities and the military began. The senators started wars on the congressional floor, while the Praetors' troops were left to do the fighting. It is only the lack of resources on Romulus that kept these factions from destroying one another. These factions might still be at war if it were not for the crash. In 1908 TCE, a Zeta Reticulan saucer ship crashed on Romulus. Though the Reticulans were only trying to add to their vast collection of DNA samples, the Romulans saw this as an invasion. Almost overnight the senate reformed, and a single Praetor was elected to represent the military. The failed Romulan Republic became an Empire. Then, having retro-engineered the Reticulan ship, and revisiting the colony ships that brought them to the twin worlds originally, the Romulans built a starfleet. They had become the Romulan Star Empire. They continued to expand their space, and built a military culture of honor and duty that rivaled the Spartans of Ancient Earth. In 2156 TCE, the Romulan Star Empire found the Spartan's descendants.
Earth was very surprised by the brutality and the secrecy of the Romulans. Though they must have been using the warp drive during the War, no Earth vessel ever saw a Romulan ship warp. It is assumed they had visual communication ability, yet it was never used (see note eight). They were a secretive group of warriors, who would destroy their own ships before capture and did not take prisoners. Indeed, the Earth designation of "Romulan" comes from a human ship captain dubbing the twin worlds "Romulus" and "Remus." It is believed the Romulans intercepted these transmissions and adopted the names in their relations with Earth to protect their own identity. To this day, we do not know how the Romulans refer to themselves, despite several espionage and diplomatic missions to Romulus ("Rihannsu" is generally accepted however).
The threat of more hostility led to the formation of the United Federation of Planets. Romulan paranoia, and not a small amount of human paranoia, established the Neutral Zone. That zone was inviolate for one hundred and five years.
The war was very frustrating to the Romulan Empire. Politicians used it as a way to ensure their own power, while plotting revenge on Earth. The Military saw the Neutral Zone as an honorable solution to the costly war, and an excuse to keep a tight control on planets that fell within negotiated space. The Treaty of Cheron had actually expanded Romulan holdings. They took advantage of it. New technologies were discovered, including the ability to harness plasma as a weapon, the artificial singularity as a power source, and advanced means to confuse ship's sensors. The Navy saw this technology as a defense against intruders. The Senate saw it as a means of invasion. The Neutral Zone beckoned.
Vulcan scientists were as surprised as Humans were when the Romulans' appearance was discovered in 2265. Suddenly the Neutral Zone was awash in activity again. Logs from the incident now known as "The Balance of Terror" (see note nine) showed a dutiful warrior at odds with a new government bent on conquest. Yes, the Empire had subverted worlds before, but the creation of the cloaking device as a means to restart a century old war did not sit well with many old warriors. This was the beginning of a major social shift in Romulan culture.
Ironically, the "Enterprise Incident" (see note ten) opened diplomatic relations with the Romulans. During this incident, we again see honor bound Romulan officers, actually disgusted by the subterfuge of Starfleet officers. This is in stark contrast to what we see only a few decades later in 2293 when the Romulan ambassador, Nanclus, enters into a secret pact with renegade Starfleet Officers and a Klingon general to promote a war between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire.
2311 saw the Romulans attempt to take control of the Tomed sector in Federation space. Intelligence showed that most Romulan ship commanders were not aware of the goal of their maneuvers, and their reluctance to attack Federation ships contributed to the Romulan defeat. The Senate saw that the navy had become a stumbling block. The Empire had to be purged. The Treaty of Algeron (see note eleven) was signed, and all relations were cut off with the Federation and the Klingon Empire. The "old soldiers" of the Romulan Empire were stripped of their positions and when possible, executed. The Praetor was removed, and an Emperor put in power. That Emperor established a secret police force, the Tal Shiar. The Senate now approved military officers. The government spent thirty years establishing their new rule for a new Romulan Empire. In 2344, it was decided a test was necessary to measure the loyalty of the new officers.
A Romulan Naval task force was dispatched to attack a Klingon civilian outpost at Narendra III. Though the outpost was destroyed, the Romulans almost got more than they bargained for when a Federation Starship came to the colony's aid. Though this ship was destroyed, the Federation decided not to pursue hostilities with the Star Empire, but instead grew closer to the Klingon Empire (see note twelve). This did not deter the Romulans in the end however, and in 2346 another Klingon base was attacked, Khitomer. This time the Federation ships arrived too late, but it was a sign to all that the Romulans were definitely a threat again. Always patient, the Romulans kept from engaging the Federation for twenty more years, while conducting open battles against the Klingon Empire. During this time, it became common for Romulan ship commanders to be promoted to command rank very young, particularly if they were the children of a loyal officer. One example of this is the now infamous Commander Sela, who held that rank at the age of 23, merely a child to Vulcanoids.
In 2364, the Enterprise NCC-1701-D made contact with a Romulan Warbird while both were investigating what was later determined to be Borg activity within the Neutral Zone. The Star Empire took this opportunity to make it very clear that they were ready to step back onto the Alpha Quadrant's political stage (see note 13). This led to a series of hostile actions, usually hidden behind some act of subterfuge or cunning. The subtlety that had always been present in Romulan relations had now become more important than the honor or duty the Federation had previously encountered. This was a different Romulan Empire, forcing the Federation to determine new methods to deal with it.
The Romulan people seem somewhat dissatisfied with the New Empire. Indeed, a movement toward Romulan/Vulcan reunification has sprung up throughout the Empire. This author is eternally grateful to Romulan expatriates who have escaped the Empire through Ambassador Spock's Underground Railroad. Now that an uneasy alliance exists between the Empire and Federation due to the Dominion War, this is a prime opportunity to appeal to those Romulans within the Empire that can bring about change, and return these people to their core values. I personally have met with a Romulan Commander who is a credit to his Empire, and the Galaxy in general (see note 14). The Federation has made friends of the Klingons, the Gorn, and even it would seem The Dominion. Surely the Romulans cannot be far behind.
Note one: This report uses Terran standard years and the Terran Common Era for all dates. To convert to your planet's calendar please activate the Stardate Interface program.
Note two: Ironic that the violent Vulcan warlords would consider anything "extreme."
Note three: There is, however, some evidence that the stoic movement on Earth may be a result of Vulcan contamination. One might also ask if it is a coincidence that the Vulcan salute is the same gesture as an ancient Hebrew blessing meaning "Shaddai," the Almighty.
Note four: Quite likely these groups are responsible for the Debrune culture and its influence throughout the Quadrant. Why would a Romulan offshoot have a weapon that promoted peace?
Note five: The similarities between Surak and Jesus Christ have been noted before. Some Vulcan tradition holds that a nova was visible in Vulcan's sky during the time period of his birth. Surak came from a more strict discipline, Kolinahr, much as Christ was a product of Pharisaical Judaism. This author won't bother to delve into the similarities in desert climate of their homelands...
Note six: Logs from the USS Voyager back from the Delta Quadrant would suggest these wars were influenced by a member of the Q Continuum. Seems far-fetched to this author.
Note seven: Note the similarities of secrecy as well as the military system. The Vulcan space fleet used the same rank structure as the Romulan until the early 23rd Century.
Note eight: Whether this was intentional or due to technical incompatibility is unknown.
Note nine: One of many colorful titles given to 23rd Century historical logs by Federation historians. This author's favorite label is "For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky."
Note ten: In this case the Federation discovered a trade agreement between the Romulans and Klingon Empire. As was discussed in my previous report, this agreement led to a major coup in Klingon politics and culture.
Note eleven: This is the treaty where the Federation agrees not to use the cloaking device it went to so much trouble to steal in the first place. Many Starfleet officers still curse the loss of such a powerful tactical advantage. However, the officer who recovered the device, James Tiberius Kirk, was once quoted as saying, "We're better than that. I shouldn't have let the brass talk me into that mission in the first place."
Note twelve: One can only imagine how history would be different if the Enterprise NCC-1701-C had not responded to the Klingon distress call.
Note 13: And I quote, "We are back."
Note 14: Greetings Commander Levok should this be declassified enough for you to see it.
|Last modified: 10 Apr 2012