Chieftain of the Jiralhanae

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This article is about the leader of the Jiralhanae species in the Covenant. For the lesser and standard Chieftain rank, see Jiralhanae Chieftain.
Chieftain of the Jiralhanae
Political information


Head of the Jiralhanae



Member of:

Covenant military


Political and military leader

Historical information


Several years before 2552[1]

Notable individuals:



The Chieftain of the Jiralhanae was the central political and military leader within the Jiralhanae contingent of the Covenant,[2] responsible for representing their interests in the Covenant. Following the Great Schism, this position ultimately became the supreme military leadership of the Covenant, replacing powerful Sangheili ranks such as Imperial Admiral.


During the First Battle of Harvest in February of 2525, Captain Tartarus killed his uncle Maccabeus in combat and proclaimed himself the chieftain of his clan.[3] Following the engagement, Tartarus began to gain authority throughout the entire Rh'tol skein. Tartarus' quick ascension in power and influence caught the eye of the High Prophet of Truth. The two worked together throughout the Human-Covenant War to replace the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae in the Covenant military; Truth believed the Jiralhanae were easier to control than the Sangheili, while Tartarus despised the species. Late in the war, the Prophet of Truth elevated Tartarus to a position of power over the Jiralhanae and established the title "Chieftain of the Jiralhanae".[1][4]

On November 2, 2552, after the High Prophet of Regret's death, the remaining Hierarchs recommissioned the Covenant Honor Guard and replaced the Sangheili Honor Guardsmen with Jiralhanae.[5] The next day, Truth put Tartarus in control of the entire Covenant military as its military chief.[1] The Chieftain of the Jiralhanae had some members of his species under his command that were prepared to help him in his coup against the Sangheili.[6] Upon receiving the orders of Truth, Tartarus initiated the Great Schism by betraying Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee. The civil war led to the fragmentation of the Covenant.[7] After receiving the blessing of Truth, Tartarus attempted to activate Installation 05 with its activation index, but he was ultimately killed by the Arbiter at the installation's Control Room.[8] After learning of Tartarus' death, a power vacuum was created that many Jiralhanae commanders sought to fill. Chieftain Cethegus, who had accompanied Truth to Installation 00, believed that if he could kill Spartan-II Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 at the installation, Truth would elevate him to the title of Chieftain of the Jiralhanae. However, he was ultimately killed by the Spartan in combat.[9][10]

Powers and duties[edit]

While a Jiralhanae Chieftain controlled a relatively small pack or clan, the Chieftain of the Jiralhanae had authority over every member of the race, and essentially functioned as the commander-in-chief of the Jiralhanae. While holding the title, Tartarus served as the right hand of the High Prophet of Truth and was in command of the Hierarch's personal guard.[11] The Chieftain of the Jiralhanae was able to attend sessions of the High Council, where he stood near the Hierarchs.[2] After Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee was convicted for his failure to protect Installation 04, Tartarus was charged with caring out his torture.[12] The Chieftain was also occasionally issued with missions of high importance, such as aiding Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee assassinate Sesa 'Refumee[13] or retrieving the activation index of Installation 05.[5]

When the Chieftain of the Jiralhanae was present, Truth often dismissed his Sangheili Honor Guardsmen,[14] who remained unaware of the Chieftain's and the Hierarch's intentions.[15] After the Changing of the Guard, the Chieftain of the Jiralhanae was elevated into a position that had command over the entirety of the Covenant military.[6]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint: Jiralhanae
  2. ^ a b c Halo 2, campaign level, The Heretic
  3. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 347
  4. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, page 221; page 196 (Google Play edition)
  5. ^ a b Halo 2, campaign level Sacred Icon
  6. ^ a b Halo: Broken Circle, page 209 (Google Play edition)
  7. ^ Halo 2, campaign level Quarantine Zone
  8. ^ Halo 2, campaign level The Great Journey
  9. ^ Halo 3, campaign level, The Ark
  10. ^ Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Brute Force
  11. ^ Halo Encyclopedia, page 143 (2011 edition)
  12. ^ Halo 2, campaign level Cairo Station
  13. ^ Halo 2, campaign level The Oracle
  14. ^ Halo: First Strike, pages 406-408
  15. ^ Halo: Broken Circle, pages 198-202 (Google Play edition)