Why are the Jedi referred to as 'knights', while the Sith are 'lords'? Was there any significance to the terms from their relationship in the past?

I used to imagine that it might be revealed that they both used to be part of the ruling class of the early galaxy, but had split apart during a civil war or rebellion. The lords taking one side, the knights backing ..the winners. But I had never heard of anything that supports that concept.

  • Considering that later on there were Imperial Knights who were Imperials... :) Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 18:47
  • You are mostly right. The Sith was a race which was lead by a group of exiled, dark Jedi. Sith came to identify more with their philosophy then their race, which is why the name stayed after the race was gone.
    – Trisped
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 0:16

4 Answers 4


Jedi Knights have been using that title since before the creation of the Old Republic 25,000 years BBY. The title presumably reflects their role in the galaxy as protectors & guardians.

To understand where the "Lord" title comes in, we have to look back at the history of what we call the Sith, and how that title became part of their structure:

At least 7000 years before the original trilogy of films, a group of Dark Jedi - Jedi Knights & Masters who studied the Dark Side - were exiled from the Jedi Order. A large contingent of these Dark Jedi found themselves on Korriban, where the native beings - red-skinned aliens called the Sith, who showed a natural affinity for the Dark Side of the Force - worshipped them as demigods. Because they ruled the Sith, these individuals called themselves the "Dark Lords of the Sith". The later title "Sith Lord" is an evolution of this term.


Because of their self-perception and intended roles.

Sith were concerned with having power, so "Lord" is a clear fit, implying being the powerful ruler.

Jedi were concerned with being chivalrous, and defenders of other estates - which was the (historically inaccurate, of course) - image of the knights.

  • The Jedi were also very Knights Templer-y.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 20:06
  • 13
    Historical accuracy aside: Knights serve. Lords rule. Being evil is easier if you don't have a boss. Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 6:50
  • @CandiedOrange - while that's pity, it's not necessarily scientifically accurate. Psychological experiments show that people on average (e.g. non-psychopaths) do "evil" things more readily if an authority orders them than on their own. Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 18:54

It's all in their mentality

Historically "Knights" in feudal England were sopposed to be the law enforcement and elite fighters they had a strict code of chivalry to protect the innocent and weak and never to be cowardly.

The Jedi see themselves as guardians and as such it would make sense that Goerge Lucas gave them the title of "Knights"

Whereas the historical term "Lord" refers to someone who is in charge someone who is in the ruling class if someone is your lord then he is in charge of you

The Sith's ultimate goal was to rule the Force and by default the Galaxy Which is why they bestowed upon themselves the term of "Lord" they want to be in charge of everything.

And this is the fundamental difference between Jedi and Sith they are much the same in many ways but what sets them apart is their intentions.

The Jedi want to protect The Sith want to rule.


"Knights" are servants of public order. Sith have no moral ambiguity or integrity to serve public institutions; thus the title of Knight for a sith is irrelevant. Their goal is dominion; not servitude.

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