The name the Sith originated from a species of red humanoid beings, who had a genetic predisposition towards left handedness and the dark side of the force. The species of the Sith, or true Sith, died out after the great Hyperspace war, but their name was adopted by those who would follow the path of the dark side after their death. The great Sith masters would build a mighty empire on the planet of Korriban, the home world of the original Sith, but this empire was crushed by the Jedi during the great Sith war and the Sith.
This cycle would repeat, with the Sith being wiped out by the Jedi each time, until Darth Sidious defeated the Jedi with his clone army, but he too would eventually be beaten by Luke Skywalker and his father. Another Sith order would rise after this as well.
There are two main philosophies, dark Jedi follow the rule of one or the rule of two.
Rule of two
Darth Bane and his apprentice Darth Zannah were the first to practice the rule of two. The rule of two means that there is one master with one apprentice, one has the power and one craves it. So either the apprentice kills the master and becomes the master or the master kills the apprentice and the master has to finds a new apprentice. Darth Bane developed this method because he believed that it would keep the Sith pure, smaller and more manageable. He would be able and weed out the weak more easily.
Rule of one
The rule of one was created by Darth Krayt and it means that there is a single Dark Lord of the Sith who led many lesser Sith Lords, along with other minions and acolytes. Darth Krayt believed that his disciples would restrained themselves from infighting and would fanatically obedient the Dark Lord. The practice of one apprentice per master was retained, however there were many masters.
The Code of the Sith
- Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
- Through passion, I gain strength.
- Through strength, I gain power.
- Through power, I gain victory.
- Through victory, my chains are broken.
- The Force shall free me.
"Sith" originally referred to a species of alien native to the planets Korriban and Ziost, who were later enslaved and ruled by exiled Dark Jedi from the Galactic Republic. These Dark Jedi had once been members of the Jedi Order. But these Jedi refused to rely exclusively on the light side, challenged the Jedi by giving into the dark and starting the Hundred-Year Darkness. The Dark Jedi where defeated however and subsequently exiled from known space, which led to their discovery of the Sith species.
Following centuries of interbreeding and mixing of cultures between the aliens and the exiles, the Sith would no longer be identified by their race, but by their dedication to the ancient Sith philosophy. This religious order would survive in many different incarnations throughout Galactic History. The rise of a new leader, or Dark Lord, would often cause drastic reorganizations in the cult, however the Sith would always be characterized by their lust for power and their desire to destroy the Jedi Order. Several incarnations rose and fall over time, but all strived to defeat the jedi order. Some in which were very close or successful.
However before the time of Darth Sidious, and the rule of two, an academy of Sith existed. This was a very loose alliance of Sith who banded together to match the Jedi orders numbers. However the nature of the Sith's greed caused constant deaths in training, due to a violent competitive nature. Although one powerful pupil did emerge in the academy named Darth Bane. They soon rallied behind him but were subsequently betrayed by him. He proceeded to murder all the remaining Sith, and later found an apprentice. This is when the rule of two Sith was instituted.
Sith lived and trained in secret, passing on knowledge of the dark side of the force to a chosen few, waiting for an opportunity to step out of the shadows. Darth Plagueis found a promising student in Palpatine, a young man strong in the force and full of hatred. Plagueis harnessed this young man's abilities far too well, and was betrayed and murdered by Palpatine.
Darth Sidious and the Return of the Sith
Palpatine took the name Darth Sidious, and found an apprentice, a Zabrak child with a tragic past who would become the lethal Darth Maul. Together the two Sith Lords engineered events that would lead to Palpatine becoming the Chancellor of the Republic. Maul would lose his life in the process to Obi-Wan Kenobi, but not before taking the life of Kenobi's master, Qui Gon Jinn.The Jedi are now aware that the Sith have returned.
The Clone Wars
Following the failed assassination of Padame Amidala, Obi-Wan discovered the purchase of a Clone Army supposedly ordered by a long deceased Jedi Master, this army was cloned from the DNA of Bounty Hunter Jango Fett, who fled from Kamino when Obi-Wan asked too many questions. This led Kenobi to the planet Geonosis, where he was captured and the "politician" Count Dooku implied that the Republic was now under the control of the Dark Lord of the Sith (truthfully) though Kenobi assumed this to be a lie.
After Obi-Wan refused to join Dooku he was set to be executed in the Geonosian Battle Arena, and despite the attempt of rescue by Anakin, Padme, and a cadre of Jedi knights, padawans, and masters, all seemed lost before the intervention of Yoda and the Clone Army. The Republic won the battle of Geonosis with ease thanks to their new army and the Clone Wars began.
The Clone Wars would rage on for years. During the Clone Wars, the Sith would use other warriors besides Dooku in their battle against the Republic. Asajj Ventress was a hidden apprentice of Count Dooku's that wielded dual lightsabers against her opponents. Her knowledge and control of the Force was somewhat limited by her master, but she proved to be an effective leader of the Confederacy. The skilled Dark Jedi would eventually turn away from her master. The Confederacy of Independent Systems also hired bounty hunters. Among them were the cyborg Durge, Cad Bane, and some Mandalorian warriors. Of all the Sith's additional tools, none proved more of an asset than General Grievous; the former Kaleesh warrior turned viscous cyborg. He was made Supreme Commander of the Separatist Droid Army. A tactical genius, he was always armed to the teeth in lightsabers from Jedi he killed in battle.
Eventually, General Grievous succeeded in kidnapping Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who was secretly Darth Sidious, after a full scale surprise attack on Coruscant. He kept him hostage on his flagship, called the Invisible Hand. Soon Anakin Skywalker, now a full fledged Jedi Knight, and Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, boarded the ship to free the Chancellor. They engaged Dooku in battle. Dooku incapacitated Obi-Wan during the battle and Anakin lashed out in anger, cutting his hands off. Anakin took both his and Dooku's lightsaber across the Dark Lord's throat and scissored his head off, freeing the Chancellor, who had actually wanted this to happen. Dooku was just another tool for him to get to the real prize; the allegiance of the Chosen One in the dark side.
Revenge of the Sith
After the escape of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine, the Separatists were severely weakened with the loss of their biggest leader. Palpatine requested that Anakin be made his Jedi Ambassador for the Council. The Council denied this and they also did not grant him the rank of Master. They did, however, request that he keep an eye on Palpatine, who they were rightfully suspicious of.
Soon, Obi-Wan would have to leave. General Grevious still lived and it was up to Master Kenobi to stop him before he launched another full scale attack. This left Anakin vulnerable to the secretive Dark Lord's influence. Anakin's anger was rising. He was furious with the council for not granting him the rank of Master after the battle. What made things worse was Anakin's terrifying dreams about Padame dying. Palpatine, who was told of these issues by Anakin as a trusted friend of his, was sympathetic to this. It was the perfect time for him to begin pulling Anakin into the Dark Side.
Palpatine told Anakin the story of Darth Plagueis the Wise, going on to say that he was so powerful that he could even keep those he loved from dying. This brought Anakin's attention immediately. Skywalker, wishing to save Padame from her impending doom, stated interest. Palpatine had him on a hook.
Soon however, Anakin discovered that Palpatine was the Master Sith Lord; Darth Sidious and confronted him. Sidious tempted Anakin with the power of the Dark Side, saying that Anakin needed him to save Padame. Anakin went back and reported to Mace Windu about Palpatine who brought a squad of notable Jedi such as Kit Fisto to arrest him. The Sith Lord lashed out ferociously and killed Mace's squad in seconds leaving only the master of Vapaad to defeat him. The two dueled until Mace got the upper hand and cornered him, however before he could kill Palpatine, Anakin arrived stating that he needed him alive. Mace brought his lightsaber back for the death blow but Anakin cut the Master's hand off with his lightsaber and Sidious let loose all his lightning, throwing Mace out the window. The Dark Lord of the Sith had won and Anakin gave himself to the Dark Side.
It was then that Darth Sidious gave clone troopers all over the galaxy the mysterious "Order 66", which permitted them to shoot down their Jedi Generals, making Jedi enemies of the state. This was the start of the Jedi Purge. Among the few who survived the purge were Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda. Anakin had fallen so far now as "Darth Vader", he went with his clone batallion, the 51st legion, and killed every Jedi in the Temple, even younglings. As Yoda went to find the newly established Emperor Palpatine in the Senate building, Obi-Wan took on his former padawan in lightsaber combat on Mustafar, where Anakin had gone to kill the remaining Confederate leaders. When the two climatic battles ended, Yoda fled into exile, failing to defeat the Emperor.
Obi-Wan left Anakin to die on Mustafar. But even with his legs cut off, burning to death, somehow the Chosen One still survived long enough for the Emperor to come. Anakin would be surgically grafted to a cold, black, metal suit to keep himself alive. At the same time, Padame, heartbroken by Anakin's turn to evil, dies after giving birth to Anakin's son and daughter, who she names Luke and Leia. These two children were given to surrogate families, living unbeknownst to the Empire as a new hope for the future of the galaxy.
(for more detailed account see Empire)