Back To Basics Ep. 2: Sangheili

Written by Fiskill. Edited by 117Heather

Welcome to Back To Basics Ep. 2. In this episode we’ll be talking about the Sangheili. Click here for episode 1 if you have yet to read it.

The Sangheili also known as Elites, are a saurian (large reptile) species, who are strong, proud, intelligent warriors, as well as skilled combat tacticians. The Sangheili are named after their home world, Sangheilos. Due to their skill in combat, the Sangheili have formed the military backbone of the Covenant. They have a very strong rivalry with the Jiralhanae (Brutes) which boiled over into open hatred during the Great Schism (seen in Halo 2), and the conco=lusion of the Human-Covenant war. I shall be later speaking about thier history, description and culture.



History, Development of Civilization, and the Covenant:

Sangehelios (Sangheili home world) had been at one point vistied and/or contacted by the mysterious Foreunners. The Sangheili revered the Forerunners as gods, and tampering with thier gods objects is a heresy beyond any other. In 938 BCE, the Sangheili encountered the San’Shyuum (also known as Prophets, by Huamns). The San’Shyuum were a race that worshipped the Forerunners as godsm but utilized Foreunner techonology for thier own needs, believing that the tech had been left behind as gifts to their ‘children’. This sparked the San’Shyuum War, between the Sangheili and the San’Shyuum, over how to treat the relocs. The Sangheili had suffered extreme casualties due to the sheer power of the Forerunner Dreadnought and a surviving Keyship. This led to an agreement on both sides that ended with the decommissioning of the Foreunner Dreadnought and the shaky alliance that expanded into the Covenant.

Human-Covenant War

When the San’Shyuum declared war on a previously unknown species called “Humans”, the Sangheili followed their lead without question. However, after a period of time, some seasoned Sangheili veterans began to question the refusal of the San’Shyuum to even consider accepting into the Covenant, even thought the San’Shyuum insisted that the Humans were “unclean beings” that must be eliminated from the galaxy. These Sangheili seemed to believe that Humans, although physically weak, at least compared to themselves, were brave and even honorable. Some even believed that the Humans were equal to them – a considerable step for a Sangheili – or any member of the Covenant – to make. These few Sangheili admired how willing and brave the Humans were when fighting to survive against outright extinction (showing that you can not simply kill us, Humans so easily), they even respected to a certain degree those few soliders who were willing to stay behind and cover thier comrades from a Covenant attack.

The Great Schism

During the final months of the Human-Covenant War, a political shift caused by both the Prophet of Truth and Tartarus, the Chieftain fo the Jiralhanae (which couldn’t be stopped until it was too late), started a slippery slope taht ended in the dissolution of the Covenant between the Sangheili and the San’Shyuum. Before the Great Schism the Jiralhanae were viewed as savagely aggressive and extremely goal-oriented, which the Sangheili viewed as a serious threat should the Brutes ever begin to desire political power. This fear became reality when the Honor Guards of the San;Shyuum was transformed into a duty of the Jiralhanae (mainly caused by the death of the Prophet of Regret, caused by John-177). At the same time that the Jiralahnae found themselves in new positions of power, (during the Battle of Installation 05), the Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam and Rtas ‘ Vadam (both who dropped the ‘ee’ suffix from their name to signift their abandonment of the Covenant) discovered the truth of the Halo Array (or Holy Rings to the San’Shyuum), from the Monitor 343 Guilt Spark (also known as Chakas) and the deciet of the San’Shyuum


Description Anatomy and Physiology:

Sangheili are muscular and stand around 2.2 and 2.6 metres which is roughly 7.4 to 8.6 geet, which is huge compared to Humans. Their jaws are quadriple-hinged, with a upper jaw and a greatly reduced lower jaw which has four mandible-like “lips”. These mandibles generally have six teeth each. Sangheili’s smell with the use of two nostrils, each a little in front and below the eye socket. Due to their predatory nature, a Sangheili’s snese of smell is likely to be very developed. Their hands are tetradactyl, having four digits; two middle fingrs and two oppsing thumbs on the outside for grasping. Their legs are digitigrade, with short upper and lower legsm and elongated tarsals, using the distal and intermediate phalanges to support their weight when walking. Sangheili have at least two hears, which circulate purple/indigo coloured blood through their veins. It is assumed that they breathe oxygen, as they can breathe the same atmosphere as Humans without any trouble. Sangheili skin colour and texture varies from light brown and scaly to black and smooth. Sangheili have laterally-positioned eyes with slit-shaped pupils, large irises, and horizontal eyelids.


Sangheili are intelligent and can demonstrate this in battle. They are normally on the move when fighting, constantly running and ducking, strafing and dodging when firing at an enemy. They employ complex strategies only if it either improves success in battle or it allows them to inflict more casualities on their enemies. They are quite capable of luring their enemies into traps by falling back into cover; as the enemy approaches, a sangheili will spring from its position and land a massive melee hit on the unsuspecting opponent (generally with a Energy Sword). They are competent tacticians, known for thier ferocity and decisive thinking. It should be noted that the Sangheili recieved and possessed ship technologies from the San’Shyuum’s study of Foreunner tech. Examples incluce; powerful shields capable to withstanding up to 3 MAC ompacts, super-accurate laser turrets and Energy projectors. There are reasons to cast doubt on the Sangheili’s actual mastery of thier own technology. For example, Cortana points out that they had known the extent of their own Slipspce tech, they could have simply bypassed Reach’s orbital defenses by appearing in-atomsphere. This is not surprising as most of the technology utilized by the Covenant has been reverse-engineered from Forerunner tech. But the Brute’s grasp on the technology is poor in comparison to the Sangheili’s. Being wounded is considered a dishonor by the Sangheili, and it has been seen that most Sangheili go bersek upon having their blood spilled and charge straight at their enemies for revenge. Retreat is viewed as an even greater dishonor and many Sangheili have doomed themselvees to be killed then retreat. After the fall of the Covenant, the Sangheili’s religion, superstitious and political views have somewhat changed and led to the realization that many of these beliefs are unneccessary and zealous rather than honorable.


The Sangheili considered most other species to be inferior to them, both culturally and in fighting skill. Although they are naturally very intelligent, their culture’s long dependence pn a military-industrial scheme has led to an emphasis on might over science. In some regards, the advent of the Covenant made this position easier, allowing the Sangheili to concentrate even more mono-manically on militart endeavors whislt the San’Shyuum took care of science and technology. Promotion in the Covenant military is by merit; a Covenant solider must succed to advance among the ranks. Success is often measured in scalps. A Zealot, for example, has personally slaughetered thousands of individuals to reach that status. They are raised from childhood to be warriors, other societal roles are ttreated as secondary endeavors or even hobbies, and not honored at all. They are skilled in the usage of most Covenant weapons. One interesting example of this martial focus is that only aristocrats are allowed to wield swords adn that swird-wielders are then no longer eligible for marriage; however they any breed with any female they choose, married or otherwise, to ensure succesful transmission of “swordsman” genes. In many ways, the Sangheili are much like humans. They communicate, are loyal to thier superiors and comrades, become protective of their troops and become angry and vengeful if other Sangheili are killed. They fear very little, taking great pride in an ancient, honor-laden code. Even when mortally wounded, they still charge towards the enemy in a doomed last minute attack.

More to come. Thanks for reading.


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