There are several passages from the Dune series that hint that either Earth was forgotten and likely destroyed.

The God-Emperor of Dune, Leto II, uses his genetic memory to recall ancient knowledge of Earth on two occasions.

This passage from Children of Dune could be interpreted to imply either it was no longer in human memory, (i.e. - forgotten) or that Earth ceased to exist.

It gave him a sense of timeless buoyancy to know that few in his universe would recall Chaucer or know any London except the village on Gansireed. St. Thomas was preserved in the Orange Catholic Bible and Azhar Book, but Canterbury was gone from the memories of men, as was the planet which had known it.

In this passage from God-Emperor of Dune, Leto II, remembers back to the time of distant human ancestor long ago, presumably on Earth.

This morning I was born in a yurt on the edge of horse-plain in a land of a planet which no longer exists.

And in Chapterhouse Dune, a Bene Gesserit reverend mother Odrade refers to an ancestral planet that no longer exists. She says this shortly after speaking of Old Earth and mentions that multiple planets no longer exist.

"Each planet has its own character where we draw patterns of Old Earth. ... Mark this place well, Miles. Our ancestral worlds are gone, but here we have recaptured part of our origins."

So what happened to Old Earth?

Side note: This makes me wonder if there are any world-busting weapons in the Dune series. I don't remember any such weapons.

Please answer with quotes from canon sources or extraneous writings by the authors of the Dune series. I prefer answers from Frank Herbert (true Dune canon) over all other writers (lesser canon).

  • 4
    Nuked into oblivion by the thinking machines, if memory serves
    – Valorum
    Apr 4, 2018 at 6:52
  • 1
    Do you want answers from only the original Dune works? Or from the expanded works written after Frank Herbert's death?
    – HorusKol
    Apr 4, 2018 at 6:57
  • @HorusKol If the answer is in the original series by Frank Herbert, that would be fine. Otherwise, I would accept answers from the expanded series.
    – RichS
    Apr 4, 2018 at 7:03
  • 2
    @RichS But you do know that what you call "the expanded series" contradicts the original works even worse than the Dune Encyclopedia did, right?
    – Mr Lister
    Apr 4, 2018 at 7:09
  • @MrLister Does the expanded series contradict the original works on this specific question?
    – RichS
    Apr 4, 2018 at 7:40

1 Answer 1


In the original works by Frank Herbert, Earth is simply referred to as "gone" - but there is no indication of what really happened to Earth.

Amongst the expanded Dune works of Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson, Earth was the location of Omnius Prime (the great artificially intelligent overmind). During the Butlerian Jihad, the rebelling humans launched a vast atomic strike against Earth to destroy Omnius Prime. The fact that it was the homeworld of the machines and also highly radioactive would have meant that humans would continue to give the place a wide berth until it was likely forgotten.

On the other hand, the Dune encyclopaedia makes mention of a planetoid (or asteroid) striking the Earth around 2800 AD, causing devastation and the movement of the Imperial seat to Ceres. However, the world was still populated at least until 19,000 AD (about 3,000 years after the Butlerian Jihad, and 7,000 years before Paul and Leto II). However, the encyclopaedia is considered an unreliable source within the Dune works themselves.

  • 8
    Dude, it’s Optimus Prime. Apr 4, 2018 at 7:27
  • 4
    @PaulD. Waite, what?
    – Mr Lister
    Apr 4, 2018 at 7:59
  • 5
    @PaulD.Waite Stop posting spoilers for Transformers: Dune
    – Machavity
    Apr 4, 2018 at 17:13
  • 2
    It's Dune: Transformed. Apr 4, 2018 at 19:27
  • 3
    Could be metaphor - an unlivable world is just as good as destroyed - and if people haven't been to that world in thousands of years, it's just as good as "gone" (refer to Asimov's work where Earth was "gone", but it turns out it was just abandoned after the Spacers turned it radioactive and everybody forgot about it).
    – HorusKol
    Apr 9, 2018 at 2:18

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