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A Goa'uld symbiote
Ba'al, one of the System Lords
Societal information



Serpentine shape, genetic memory





Form of government

High Council of the System Lords


Asgard (Protected Planets Treaty)



Out of universe information
First appearance


"They're posturing egomaniacs driven by an insatiable lust for power, each one capable of unimaginable evil."
Daniel Jackson

The Goa'uld, also known as the Ettins and the Heelska, are an aggressive, parasitic and intelligent race of symbiotes who use other races as hosts. They were the dominant power in the Milky Way until the collapse of their empire in 2005.




The Goa'uld are a symbiotic species who naturally exist as a serpentine creature. The symbiote is a grey skinned snake-like being with four sharp pincers at their end with four eyes around them. As the symbiote matures it develops small fins near its head, the function of which appear to be vestigial now. Goa'uld have at least 34 precloacal vertebrae as part of their physiology. The symbiote will penetrate the body of a host, making its way to the brain, wrapping itself around the spinal column and puncturing the brain with filaments attached to a primary and lateral nerve conduit, controlling all function of the brain and suppressing the hosts mind. (SG1: "Children of the Gods", "The Enemy Within", "Allegiance", "Dominion")

A Goa'uld queen

Symbiotes are asexual and the only means of reproduction lie with the specific subset in their species, the Goa'uld queen. The queen will fertilize herself and produce dozens of symbiotes. For greater chances of successful blendings, the queen requires some genetic material of the desired host, however this is not required. The queen also has the conscious choice to pass on its genetic memory to the offspring. This genetic memory is present in all symbiotes, they are born with all the knowledge of the Goa'uld who preceded them, this genetic memory also passes on the Goa'uld's inherit egotistical and megalomaniac personality. (SG1: "Hathor", "Cure")

When in direct contact with the brain the symbiote can control every function of its hosts system including motor functions. With direct access to the brain they can increase the hosts immune system, strength, longevity and endurance, most likely through increasing certain organs to secret more substances needed by the body. The symbiotes also release Naquadah into the blood allowing the hosts to be able to use Naquadah-sensitve technology. The hosts memories and personality can affect the symbiote however the overpowering personality of the Goa'uld tends to suppress these in their hosts
The creature can be used as a host
. When the symbiote dies, it releases a toxin, leading to the death of the host. This toxin can be suppressed with a conscious effort on the symbiotes part. (ATL: "Critical Mass", SG1: "In the Line of Duty", "Within the Serpent's Grasp", "Threads")

The Goa'uld can inhabit many different hosts however they prefer Humans, due to their aesthetic appeal. Originally they used Unas as hosts but their limited mental capacities was stagnating their intellectual development. There is also a small alien creature that can be used as a host. It has also been noted that several other beings far older then humans have been used as hosts. Due to the genetic memory passed on to their offspring, two Goa'ulded hosts are forbidden from procreating. This results in the creation of a Harsesis, a human with all of the Goa'uld knowledge. This child would represent a security risk and as such has been forbidden by the System lords. (SG1: "The Enemy Within", "Thor's Hammer", "The Tomb", "Secrets", "Maternal Instinct")


"Their society is feudal. It would take time to build an army."
Daniel Jackson

The society administrated by the Goa'uld was feudal. Despite the advanced technology at their disposal, such technology was not incorporated into luxury items and as such they relied on simple architecture to form the basis of their social centers. This kind of society kept the populations subservient to the Goa'uld, however the Goa'uld society rarely changed over the past 5,000 years. (SG1: "Children of the Gods", "The Enemy Within")

Their culture persisted on religious ideals and practices which laid out morality and social behavior to the Jaffa and Human populations. Believing that the Goa'uld were all knowing forced the populations to stay in line, a belief that some Goa'uld also began to believe. (SG1: "Threshold", "Stronghold")

Social Structure

Among the Goa'uld a social structure existed usually dominated by power and military strength of the individual. The highest rank was that of System Lord, they controlled hundreds of worlds, millions of slaves, had large fleets and ruled over part of the galaxy. These system lords would each be bound by the laws set out by the system lord collective who would only work together when it suited them. (SG1: "Thor's Hammer", "Summit", "Last Stand")

Many Goa'uld served as underlords to the more powerful Goa'uld, aligning themselves as a means of self preservation, however many were forced to serve when they were defeated by these more powerful Goa'uld. The underlords would follow out the administrations of the System lord they served, gathering hosts, resources and information. Underlords also served their own agendas with some conserving resources or information for themselves and sometimes supplying misinformation to the system lords. (SG1: "Prophecy", "Fallout")

Underneath these were the minor Goa'uld usually serving as scientists, warriors and assassins, these Goa'uld had no control over systems, planets or a slave labor force of their own. They simply served other Goa'uld, developing technology and weapons and serving as elite warriors. Despite their status their instinctual behavior was to gain power and technology for their own egotistical purposes. (SG1: "Allegiance", "Evolution, Part 2", "Beachhead", "Off the Grid")

Some Goa'uld were banished by the system lords for crimes and were forced to live off whatever they came across. There were even some that were severely punished for their actions, their status revoked and more than often they were removed from their hosts. Some Goa'uld were powerful yet refused to follows the rules of the others; the rogue Goa'uld were not bound by the laws set out and did whatever was necessary to achieve their goals. (SG1: "Jolinar's Memories", "The Curse", "Cure")


" As far as we know, nothing you have came from you. So, clearly the evidence is not that you're more intelligent, just…more parasitic."
Daniel Jackson
Main article: Goa'uld technology

The Goa'uld are scavengers, or were originally, finding technology left behind by others, most likely the Ancients, and began to claim the technology as their own. Over time they developed their own versions of the technology they uncovered. Much like the Ancients, they based their technology on Naquadah, due to its unique properties. This technology allowed them to take control of the entire galaxy.

They created varying ships, advanced energy weaponry, powerful defensive shields and many other forms of technology. On top of that they appropriated much technology as their own such as the Stargate and the Ring Transporters, despite these being Ancient technology. They even went so far as to approrpriate aesthetic design from these technologies into their own and have done so for many years. Despite all of their advanced technology, some developments alluded them until recently such as genetic engineering. (SG1: "The Torment of Tantalus", "Lost City, Part 2", "Beachhead")


The primordial home of the Goa'uld

Early history

The Goa'uld rose from the same primordial waters as the Unas on P3X-888 originally existing as aquatic creatures. At some point they developed the ability to enter into an Unas body and take complete control over them, making them the first hosts. These Goa'ulded-Unas learned how to operate the Stargate and left the planet, most likely never knowing how to return to their home. (SG1: "The First Ones")

Very little is known about their time with Unas hosts in the Milky Way but at some point they either found or developed the technology to enter space and travel across the galaxy. Due to the lack of Unas genetic material the Goa'uld were unable to maintain their species and their race began to die. It wasn't until around 8,000 BC that the Goa'uld Ra came across Earth and the primitive Human inhabitants. Realizing that humans offered a chance for him to cheat death, he captured a young boy and took him as host. (Stargate, SG1: "Beast of Burden")

Ra and the other Goa'uld borrowed from the religion and culture of the ancient humans and set themselves up as gods. Ra brought a Stargate to Earth, the other being undiscovered under the ice of Antarctica, and began transplanting humans through the Stargate to other worlds in the galaxy. The Humans formed the slave labor force of the Goa'uld, several humans were taken to Dakara and made into Jaffa to serve the Goa'uld as an army and incubate the infant Goa'uld. The Goa'uld began spreading across the galaxy consuming any and all technology and resources they could find. (SG1: "Reckoning, Part 1")

The Ancient Egyptians rebel against Ra

In 2,995 BC a rebellion broke out on Earth and Ra was forced to abandon the planet, the Stargate was buried by the Ancient Egyptians, ending the Goa'uld reign on the planet. Around 2,000 years ago, the Goa'uld Egeria began to feel that the Goa'uld dominance over other beings and their forced taking of hosts was wrong, so she sired a group of symbiotes, who came to be known as the Tok'ra, who had a philosophical difference to the ways of the Goa'uld and began a series of covert operations designed to destabilize their empire. (SG1: "The Tok'ra, Part 1", "The Tok'ra, Part 2", "Crossroads", "Moebius, Part 1", "Moebius, Part 2")

When the Earth Stargate was reopened, a team was sent through to Abydos and encountered Ra. They were captured but managed to escape and eventually overpower his guard and ring a nuclear weapon aboard his ship and kill him, ending his reign over Abydos and freeing the Abydonians. (Stargate)


Following Ra's death, the System Lord Apophis rose to dominant power, he journeyed to some of Ra's world including Earth and Abydos to collect hosts for his queen and his children. Kidnapping a female soldier from Earth caused him to be tracked down by the Tau'ri and they became enemies. SG-1 and SG-2 went to Chulak, were captured by due to the action of Teal'c, Apophis' First Prime, they managed to escape and return to Earth. (SG1: "Children of the Gods")

Several months later, the Tau'ri had their first encounter with a Goa'uld queen, Hathor who used a variation of Nish'ta to take over Stargate Command but was eventaully stopped by the female members of the base who were unaffected by Hathor's 'charms'. Hathor managed to spawn a new breed of Goa'uld but they were all killed and she escaped through the Stargate to Chulak. (SG1: "Hathor")

Apophis' fleet

Apophis meanwhile had been amassing an army to take to Earth and attack. SG-1 managed to use the Stargate to gate onto a ship, headed for Earth, across the galaxy before it left. They discovered that the ship was being commanded by Klorel, Apophis' son and the Goa'uld who took Skaara as host. They set explosive to destroy the ship but soon discovered that there was another ship nearby commanded by Apophis himself. SG-1 maneouvered Klorels ship closer to Apophis' ship and then got aboard his ship and destroyed its shield capabilities, and it was destroyed along with Klorel's ship. (SG1: "Within the Serpent's Grasp", "The Serpent's Lair")

Following this defeat Apophis began to lose status among the Goa'uld and his rival Heru'ur began to take a more active approach to conquering the galaxy. His forces went to Cimmeria and attempted to conquer it, due to SG-1 previously damaging the Hammer of Thor, a protective device on the planet. He was eventually stopped by the Asgard but Heru'ur managed to escape. Heru'ur then went to take Apophis' child from Abydos but the child was protected by Daniel Jackson and Teal'c. (SG1: "Thor's Chariot", "Secrets")

SG-1 found Apophis on another planet, injured and asking for sanctuary. They took him back to Earth but soon the rogue system lord Sokar contacted them and demanded that he be returned or Earth would be destroyed. Hathor soon made another play at power by taking Jaffa from outlying posts of other Goa'uld and build a force to overthrow the rest of the system lords. She was however killed by Jack O'Neill before her plan could come to fruition. (SG1: "Serpent's Song", "Out of Mind", "Into the Fire")

Hearing about SG-1's defeat of Hathor, the system lords turned their attention to Earth and the Asgard managed to get them to include Earth in the Protected Planets Treaty. SG-1 then discovered that Amaunet, the Goa'uld who took Sha're as a host, had aligned with Heru'ur and kidnapped some Abydonians, including her child. Apophis had been taken to Netu, a moon orbiting Delmak, Sokar's homeworld and revived. SG-1's actions at rescuing Jacob Carter, led Apophis to taking over Sokar's domain and becoming more of a threat then he ever was before. (SG1: "Fair Game", "Forever in a Day", "Jolinar's Memories", "The Devil You Know")

Apophis lands forces on Kheb

Apophis soon sent forces to Kheb to locate his child, who was taken from Abybos by Amonet. His forces however were killed by Oma Desala who took the child to care for him. Apophis then tried to build a new powerful ship to take on the other system lords, but this was destroyed by SG-1. During this time the Goa'uld Tanith infiltrated the Tok'ra and began to feed information to Apophis, luckily the Tok'ra were aware of his actions and fed him false information. (SG1: "Maternal Instinct", "Upgrades", "Crossroads")

Daniel Jackson discovered that two Goa'uld had been in stasis on Earth, Osiris and Isis, however Isis had died long ago and Osiris escaped. Apophis and Heru'ur had agreed to meet but Apophis had brought a cloaked fleet with him and destroyed Heru'ur, absorbing his armies into his own. With Apophis a very large threat, Samantha Carter and the Tok'ra devised a plan to lure Apophis and his fleet to Vorash, the Tok'ra world, and cause the systems star to go supernova. This action accidently flung SG-1, aboard a stolen ship, and Apophis' ship to another galaxy where they encountered the Replicators. Apophis was aboard his ship when it was sabotaged and flung into the atmosphere of Delmak, killing him. (SG1: "The Curse", "The Serpent's Venom", "Exodus", "Enemies")

The Return of Anubis

SG-1 soon discovered a conspiracy on Tollana, the new Tollan homeworld, that they were building new advanced weapons for the Goa'uld and planning to send one through the Stargate to Earth. This was because a new Goa'uld had come to Tollana and managed to resist their Ion cannon weapons fire and threatened with destruction were forced to create these weapons, however the weapons were destroyed before the plan could be implemented. It was later discovered that the Goa'uld Anubis had returned after 5,000 years and was gaining power quickly and planned to destroy Earth and return to the System Lords. (SG1: "Between Two Fires", "Summit", "Last Stand")

Anubis is back

Anubis had a Naquadah enriched asteroid sent on a collision course with Earth knowing that they would destroy it with Nuclear weapons and incinerate the planet, The meteor was taken into hyperspace by a Tel'tak and bypassed the planet. More system lords began to fall including Imhotep who took on the guise of his First Prime in order to infiltrate the Free Jaffa and use them to gain power. Other system lords began to fall to other worlds to gain technology such as Svarog. (SG1: "Fail Safe", "The Warrior", "The Sentinel")

Anubis' new technology allowed his ships to overpower an Asgard ship and take Thor hostage, to use a mind probe on him and gain access to Asgard knowledge. Anubis made another attempt at destroying Earth by using an Ancient device to overload the Earth Stargate and destroy the planet, however this device was destroyed along with the Earth Stargate, luckily the Earth was spared. (SG1: "Revelations", "Redemption, Part 1", "Redemption, Part 2")

Ba'al took Jack O'Neill hostage at one of his remote outposts he kept hidden from the other system lords and attempted to extract knowledge about Earth and the Tok'ra from him, when the other system lords found out about this they attacked the base. One of Anubis' lieutenants, an undercover Tok'ra, Khonsu was found out by his Jaffa and killed, who then aligned with Anubis. Anubis used the knowledge he had extracted from captured Tok'ra to find out the location of one of their bases and attacked it. (SG1: "Abyss", "The Other Guys", "Allegiance")

Other system lords tried to gain more power, Nirrti attempted to create a Hok'tar host to gain power but her experiments were stopped by SG-1 and she was killed by her followers. The system lords soon discovered the location of a Jaffa meeting and attack, killing all the Jaffa and removing their symbiotes. Other system lords began to take chances at betraying their masters for power due to Anubis' interventions, such as Mot who was stockpiling Naquadah to be used in an attack against his master Ba'al. (SG1: "Metamorphosis", "The Changeling", "Prophecy")

System Lords in chaos

Anubis soon began to search for an ancient power source, the Eyes of the Goa'uld to power his new ship and use its weapons to take down the system lords. He had recovered five of them and then went to Abydos to find the final one, the Eye of Ra. His forces attacked Abydos, however the eye had already been found by SG-1 and Anubis was forced to allow them to leave in exchange for the eye so they would be able to locate Ancient weapons capable of destroying him. The new weapon was used on Abydos and killed all the inhabitants. Some time later Stargate Command managed to damage the new ship and destroy its power core, forcing Anubis to find a new power source, Naquadria, on Jonas Quinn's homeworld. The other system lords were informed that Anubis was vulnerable while he tried to get the new power core active so they attacked and managed to destroy the ship. (SG1: "Full Circle", "Fallen", "Homecoming")

Anubis' fleet at Earth

Ba'al began to gain power while Anubis was attempting to regain his lost power, Ba'al started construction on more ships and even used a Tau'ri program, the Avenger virus to take down the Stargate Network and attack his enemies. Anubis however regained his power by creating the Kull warriors to replace the rapidly decreasing numbers of loyal Jaffa and used these soldiers to kill minor system lords like Ramius and Tilgath as well as attacking the Tau'ri Alpha Site that was developing a weapon against these soldiers. (SG1: "Orpheus", "Avenger 2.0", "Evolution, Part 1", "Evolution, Part 2", "Chimera")

Anubis amassed a fleet and army to attack Earth which forced SG-1 to seek out the Ancient weapons needed to destroy him. They managed to discover an outpost under the ice of Antarctica and destroy Anubis' fleet. With Anubis gone a power vacuum caused by his temporary defeat caused the other system lords to fight over his domain, with Ba'al taking the majority of it and refusing to share with the others. Later Anubis was discovered to be in orbit of Earth and found his way to the SGC and attempted to get through the gate but was instead sent to an ice planet. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 1", "Lost City, Part 2", "New Order, Part 1", "Lockdown")

The Goa'uld battle the Replicators

Replicator war

The Replicators soon started to invade the Milky Way and attack the System Lords. This war led to many Jaffa returning to the Goa'uld and then Goa'uld started to lose vast territory to the Replicators. This cumulated in a massive attack at Dakara, where the Replicators and the Goa'uld went into battle. Luckily the Replicators were destroyed by the device on Dakara. Ba'al attempted to retake the ships but was stopped by the free Jaffa who tried to execute him before his Jaffa but beamed out beforehand. This action led to the majority of the Jaffa leaving the service of the Goa'uld. (SG1: "Reckoning, Part 1", "Reckoning, Part 2")


Following the collapse of the Goa'uld empire, the only known surviving System Lord, Ba'al took refuge on Earth knowing it was one of the safest places to hide in the galaxy and took over the infiltrations of The Trust. Ba'al had set up a contingency plan to keep himself safe, he laced the structure of a building with Naquadah to be used as a bomb if needed, when he was discovered, Ba'al activated the bomb but luckily the building was beamed out into space. A Goa'uld symbiote was planted in Colonel Steven Caldwell and removed some safety features from the power systems of Atlantis but was stopped before the city was destroyed. (SG1: "Ex Deus Machina", "Critical Mass")

Ba'al had cloned himself several times over and started a series of brainwashing techniques on members of the Jaffa High Council in order to slowly take control of them. When the threat of the Ori became prevalent, Ba'al decided to take dozens of Stargates from across the galaxy and set up an off the grid gate network to keep himself safe from the Ori, however the gates were retrieved by the Odyssey
Ba'al is killed
and returned to their planets. Ba'al sent a clone to Earth to trick the SGC into tracking down other clones so they could download the dialingcomputer and use it to find the location of the Sangraal. He worked with Athena in capturing Vala Mal Doran to find out the location of the Clava Thessara Infinitas. (SG1: "Stronghold", "Off the Grid", "Insiders", "Memento Mori")

A Ba'al clone was found offworld looking for the Sangraal and attempted to provide help in locating the device but ended up being killed by Adria's soldiers. Ba'al later managed to capture Adria and implant her with a clone of himself, which was later removed by the Tok'ra. When the final Ba'al clone was captured, the real Ba'al put a plan in motion to travel back in time to stop the Stargate from reaching America however when he arrived he was shot in the head by an alternate Cameron Mitchell who had already traveled back in time. With his death the last of the Goa'uld system lords was removed from his host on the Tok'ra homeworld. (SG1: "The Quest, Part 1", "The Quest, Part 2", "Dominion", Stargate: Continuum)

Known Goa'uld

Alternate realities

An alternate reality

Alternate timelines.gifAlternate Timelines

Ba'al with his lieutenants
  • In an alternate timeline, the Goa'uld had been defeated by the Aschen, most likely through one of their bio-weapons. This had left the number of symbiote to be used for implantation low, which would most likely lead to an end of the Jaffa as well. (SG1: "2010")
  • In an alternate timeline created by Ba'al, the Goa'uld had been conquered by Ba'al who was the supreme ruler over all of the Goa'uld domain with five lieutenants - Camulus, Cronus, Nirrti, Ra and Yu and his queen Qetesh. He took his fleet to Earth to conquer it but was killed by his queen. (Stargate: Continuum)

See Also.gifSee Also