There's a problem with Shaddam Corrino IV's age upon his death. He's too young, so I have to assume he died unnaturally. Fandom.com has him at only 68, which must be wrong because one of Irulan's epithets in the first novel reveals he was eighty-something when he was dethroned. We learn in Children of Dune that he died sometime before the events of that novel, which is about 25 years later, so that would put him at 110-ish. The mention is frustratingly without details.

The problem is that is still too young for a user of the geriatric spice by more than 100 years.

So if Shaddam was dead by 110, what killed him?

  • 68 refers to years as Emperor does it not? Fandom is BS most of the time, some one here will know! May 5, 2019 at 20:22
  • @Seamusthedog That's too bad. It looks like a solid resource.
    – frеdsbend
    May 6, 2019 at 2:01
  • I'd trust Valorum more than Fandom. That's said Dune canon seems to be complicated and a bit 'was/not now' etc May 6, 2019 at 8:47
  • There are multiple canon inconsistencies in Irulan's age and that of her father; dune.fandom.com/wiki/Irulan_Corrino#Age_inconsistency
    – Valorum
    Aug 28, 2021 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


The Dune Encyclopedia talks about Shaddam's depression and declining health.

This companionship ended with Shaddam's death in 10202; the former emperor's health had declined steadily following his exile, and his early demise surprised no one, least of all the Count [Fenring].


Bitter and defeated, Shaddam IV went into involuntary exile on Salusa Secundus in 10196, accompanied by his three remaining daughters, Count and Lady Fenring, and the majority of his courtiers from Kaitain. Until his death in 10202, he exhibited such an aversion for the name of Paul Atreides that even his letters from Princess Irulan were screened on arrival by Count Fenring and all references to the new Emperor carefully deleted.

The specific cause of his death isn't confirmed, but I think we can assume that his failure to take care of himself included not taking his regular dose of Spice.

  • Interesting. This says he believed his defeat complete.
    – frеdsbend
    May 6, 2019 at 1:59
  • As a plot device, I guess Herbert needed a reason for Wensicia and Farad'n to be the main antagonists. He could have easily had Shaddam fill Winsicia's place, mirroring Vladimir and Feyd Rautha Harkonnen, but perhaps he wanted to mirror Paul and Jessica Atreides. Indeed, Farad'n the character compares himself with Paul, and even has Jessica replace his mother.
    – frеdsbend
    May 6, 2019 at 2:10

It's very probable that Shaddam can simply no longer afford the insanely enormous amount of spice drug that is keeping him looking younger than he is. Not only is Shaddam no longer Emperor, he is no longer obscenely wealthy. He lost almost everything when he was deposed. And it's worth remembering that he also spent a mega fortune on that plan to send that enormous legion of Sardaukar to Arrakis to aid the Harkonnens in destroying their mutual enemy. That was an enormous investment that was expected to have a giant payoff.

During the Jihad, Paul's warriors likely confiscated Shaddam's secret stash of hoarded spice, just like they did with the Harkonnens when taking over Geidi Prime. Shaddam and his family were probably not allowed so much as to return to Kaitain and pack up their things before going to their new home on Salusa Secundis.

Most likely, Shaddam, along with maintaining a comfortable lifestyle for his family on S. Secundis, has to use his remaining wealth (which is probably now down there with the pre-ascension Atreides) to recruit/bribe supporters in an attempt to make a move to take back the throne. He just has had to budget himself in the years after his depose. Likely, he has to make less spice go a long way but when using the spice to extend life and keep oneself younger looking than they are, it becomes spice addiction and the dosage increases incredibly. It is reasonably that Shaddam, in having to make do with less, eventually succumbed to the addiction withdrawal.

Emperor Paul has no reason to just give spice to Shaddam even though it would be barely a drop in the bucket for him. And Shaddam knew to expect no charity. Shaddam was no tired old man who just wanted to live out his remaining years in comfort. He was still potentially dangerous and would have probably influenced Wensicia behind the scenes had he lived.

  • 1
    This feels like fan-fiction. Can you back up any of these bold statements with evidence?
    – Valorum
    Aug 28, 2021 at 18:02
  • No bold statements. Simply speculation and educated guesses. No more. No less. Since Frank Herbert didn't tell us, what else can you do? Aug 28, 2021 at 18:07
  • 1
    Please add further details to expand on your answer, such as working code or documentation citations.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 28, 2021 at 18:46

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