First developed after the Butlerian Jihad, the Mentat profession became a crucially needed position by the great houses and their rulers.
The Mentats of Dune
A Mentat is a profession developed after the Butlerian Jihad. Mentats are humans who have the capabilities of a computer. With mental capacities reaching that of supercomputers, Mentats can strategically plan and plot. From ‘Dune’ to ‘Dune Messiah,’ ‘Children of Dune,’ and more, the role of Mentats was crucial. Because of the vastness of Mentats’ description, many characters like Paul and Leto II are Mentats.
The Role Played by Mentats in Dune
Mentats in Frank Herbert’s Dune
The first mention of a Mentat is in ‘Dune.’ Because of their advanced reasoning and logical prowess, Mentats like Thufir Hawat and Piter De Vries become political advisors to the Great Houses.
Thufir Hawat, a Mentat for the House of Atreides, follows his master, Leto, to planet Arrakis. Realizing that the Harkonnens will plan an attack on the House of Atreides, Hawat decides to investigate who might betray Leto. However, his suspicion of Lady Jessica proves to be wrong as Dr. Wellington backstabs Leto, causing his death. After Leto’s death, Hawat gets captured as a prisoner by Baron Harkonnen and becomes his Mentat. Hawat works against the Baron by planting seeds of doubt in the na-Baron, Fyeud-Rautha’s mind. After Paul defeats the Baron and the emperor, Hawat commits suicide.
In ‘God Emperor of Dune,’ Leto II rules the universe for 3500 years; this creates problems for everyone, including the Mentats. With him becoming an immortal ruler, Leto II outlaws the order of the Mentat, banning and destroying all renegade schools.
Mentats in Post Frank Herbert’s Dune
In ‘Mentats of Dune,’ by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, the history of the Mentats gets shown. With the rise of the anti-technology forces, Prince Roderick Corrino begins to fear a threat to his brother from the Butlerian Jihad forces. Gilbertus Albans’s newly founded Mentat school becomes a potential target for the great houses and the Butlerian forces. Though a target, Gilbertus hides a copy of Erasmus, second in command to machine leader Omnius.
Gilbertus’s school gets invaded, and after it gets discovered that he is a machine sympathizer, he gets executed. Though Gilbertus dies, Anna Corrino escapes with the copy of Erasmus, and a riot gets incited by Torondo. The riot leads to the death of Roderick’s daughter, which drives emperor Salvador to seize the mining operations on Arrakis.
The History of the Mentats
The first recorded Mentat is Gilbertus Albans. In 1231AG, Gilbertus conceives how to make humans have thinking capabilities higher than the Thinking Machines. With him theorizing that humans could be more mentally advanced than the Thinking Machines, Gilbertus begins studying how the Thinking machines worked during the Butlerian Jihad. Over the years, he drafts a process for forming human computers, whom he called Mentats.
Gilbertus divided the Mentat order into three ranks: Processors, Hypothesis, and Memorizers, and due to financial struggles, he allowed the Mentats to travel to advertise their skills; this created the awareness that the idea of humans with a mental capability at the same level as the thinking Machines existed.
Glossary Terms Associated With Mentats
Here is a list of words associated with Mentat:
- Twisted Mentat: A twisted Mentat is a variation of a Mentat made by the Tleilaxu. Because they are obligated to follow ethical principles, Mentats always had a limit. However, with genetic engineering from the Tleilaxu, twisted Mentats, who had no moral or ethical principles, were made.
- Hypothesists: The Hypothesists are the third-ranked members of the Mentat order. They create different interpretations of out of information to foresee possible outcomes.
- Processors: Processors are the second-ranked members of the Mentat order. They can inspect and sort information with 99.99985% accuracy per 10,000 items.
- Memorizers: The memorizers are the highest rank in the Mentat order. They are capable of imbibing and reproducing massive amounts of information with almost 100% accuracy.
What do Mentats in Dune do?
Mentats get trained to utilize their memory in powerful ways; this makes it possible for a Mentat to perform advanced calculations, create strategies to achieve the desired output, and assess people and situations in real-time. Due to their mental capabilities, Mentats get employed by the Great Houses as political or military advisors.
Why are Mentats lips red?
Mentats lips are red due to an intake of the Juice of Sapho. The Juice of Sapho is a drink that increases mental ability by two or more. However, Sapho is addictive, and its taker continually drinks it; this is why Mentats lips are red.
Are Mentats Humans?
Yes, Mentat are humans who get trained from little to have control over their mental strength. With training and dedication, Mentats become human computers capable of advanced calculations. Mentats get ranked into three categories, Memorizers, Hypothesists, and Processors.
Are Mentats assassins?
Mentats are human computers capable of advanced strategy planning; this gives them a heightened advantage for stealth and execution of plans. With the specifics of their skills, some Mentats turn into Mentat-Assassins capable of executing orders with pinpoint accuracy. An example of a Mentat who was also a killer was Piter De Vries, the twisted Mentat of Baron Harkonnen. Piter was a Mentat Ghola created by the Tleilaxu; this made him execute death orders without regard for ethical or moral principles