"On the blood of our fathers, on the blood of our sons... we swore to uphold the Covenant!" — Rtas 'VadumeeFall of Reach Concept Art Zealot

Macto cognatus
Fall of Reach Concept Art Zealot
A Sangheili soldier chokes a human opponent
Sapience level Sapient
Lifespan 300 Earth years.
Average height 7'4" (230cm) - 8'6" (260cm)[1]
Average weight 139kg (310lbs) - 178kg (390lbs)[1]
Population status Abundant
Danger rating Extreme threat

More Halo species

The Sangheili, known to humans as Elites, are a humanoid saurian species of highly adept warriors and skilled combat tacticians and strategists. Sangheili are named after their home planet, Sanghelios.

The Sangheili once formed the military backbone of the Covenant for almost the entirety of its existence, and were one of the original founding members of the Covenant. They recently lead a twenty-seven year long crusade against Humanity by order of the Prophets, and are principally responsible for the near extinction of the human race, leaving a little over 200 million humans alive and 23 billion dead, and a single human world, Earth, partially intact out of an original 800. They had a very strong rivalry with the Brutes, which finally became open hatred during the Great Schism, and the conclusion of the Human-Covenant War. They led the Covenant breakaway faction known as the Covenant Separatists, who grudgingly sided with the humans in a temporary cease fire against their former allies after losing most of their forces to an as of yet unknown-about human "NOVA" warhead.

They are a highly evolved species who are vastly superior to humans in every way; they possess far greater strength, reflexes, durability, endurance, speed, sensory abilities, agility and intelligence, in addition to many other qualities. After the fall of the High Prophets, tensions between the two remained high and old grudges lingered and strengthened whilst new ones emerged. As such, there is a good chance that the temporary ceasefire between the Sangheili and humans will break down.

Anatomy and AppearanceEdit

Sangheili are

A Sangheili roars.

very muscular and range in height from 7'4" to 8'6" tall. Their jaws are quadruple-hinged, with an upper jaw and four mandible-like lips. Their mandibles normally hold six teeth each, with as much as ten teeth being present on the upper central jaw. Some Sangheili have also been observed with much larger fangs extruding from the tips of their mandibles[2][3]. The Sangheili as depicted in both Halo: Wars and Halo: Reach appear to have far more teeth than this description however, and these teeth posses a more feral look. Some Sangheili such as Han and Fal 'Chavamee, and Roh, keep their mandibles closed, using only the front two joints of their lower mandibles to speak, giving them a more humanoid appearance[4]. It is a possibility that the Sangheili in general don't usually use all four of their mandibles, except when breathing heavily; an example would be during combat situations. The mandibles appear to be made for gripping small prey, which insinuates that the Sangheili evolved from a quadroped race and that they are much larger than their natural prey. It should be noted that the Sangheili are omnivores however and consume a variety of crops, one example being Irukan rice, in addition to meats.[5]

Elite (1)

A typical Sangheili Minor.

Their hands are tetradactyl, having four digits; two middle fingers, and two opposing thumbs on the outside for grasping. Such an arrangement grants them greater manual dexterity and a more secure grip. Their legs are digitigrade, with short upper and lower legs, and elongated tarsals, using the distal and intermediate phalanges to support their weight when walking. This arrangement allows them to run very quickly and jump large distances compared to humans and other Covenant species. They are capable of leaping over other Sangheili, indicating a vertical jump height of over eight feet. Their superior agility can also be attributed to their home world's higher gravity; the additional strength required to move normally in a high-gravity environment would cause them to be more powerful in lower gravity situations. Sangheili are strange for bipedal species in that their knees do not bend backwards but forwards. This unusual hinging does not impair their mobility on the ground but climbing, especially on standard ladders,[6] is difficult for them.

The Sangheili als

A Sangheili lifting 400kg of weight.

o possess an enormous amount of upper and lower body strength. During an encounter with a black armored Special Operations Sangheili on board the Covenant Supercarrier “Ascendant Justice”, Master Chief John-117 observed that their muscles possess an iron like hardness[7], indicating a far greater muscle density and degree of strength than ordinary Humans. It is noted from this confrontation, and others like it[8][9], that a trained Sangheili is physically superior to Spartan-IIs in Mjolnir Mk-V armour which implies an ability to lift over 1200kg.[Notes 1]. They have also been observed snapping and misshaping human rifles with their bare hands[9][10], denting titanium-A bulkheads with only their fists[11][12] and even knocking down heavy titanium-A blast doors[13].  There are also multiple instances of Sangheili lifting Spartans in Mjolnir armour with a single arm[14][15], which is well over 400kg of mass, and kill Mjolnir clad Spartans with a single massive melee blow; feats that even Spartans haven't demonstrated. Their leg strength is also capable of propelling their high mass eight feet into the air and of sending other 150+kg Sangheili flying over several feet with a single kick[16]. They also appear to have a double set of pectoral muscles, which contribute to their incredible strength. Being able to fight and seriously challenge Spartan-II super-soldiers in close combat also implies an equivalent reaction time and similar reflexes, but they are likely faster. This indicates that their reflexes are faster than 4 milliseconds, or over seventy-five times the Human norm[Notes 2]. Given that they can receive powerful kicks and punches from Spartan-IIs in Mjolnir Mk-V armor and receive multiple bullet wounds, some even penetrating the chest, yet still keep on fighting suggests a much higher level of durability compared to ordinary humans[7]. This is likely attributed to their iron hard musculature, and quite possibly the presence of their own ultra-hardened bones similar to the Spartans. The ability to distort titanuim-A with only their fists implies that their bones are extremely hard. This also implies a much greater level of pain tolerance in order for them to continue fighting with such wounds.

Sangheili senses appear to be far more acute and sensitive than the senses of most other species, which is not surprising given their predatory background. They smell with the use of two nostrils, each a little in front and below the eye socket, and it is highly developed. Sangheili have been known to use their sense of smell to root out humans on board their ships when boarding them[17], and are even able to analyze their surroundings with it in great detail whilst confined to a single small room with only a small viewing port for access to the outside environment[18]. Their eyesight and hearing are also extremely sensitive; Ripa 'Moramee was able to casually observe a cliff face from a great distance away which Sergeant Forge required binoculars to see over[19], indicating a greater visual acuity than human eyes. Zuka 'Zamamee was able to hear John-117 moving and reloading his gun, despite John's best attempts at stealth and the fact that he was also in separate room a decent distance away[20]. Jul 'Mdama was also able to hear all the subtle mechanical noises throughout the Port Stanley that he was being kept prisoner on[11], and was usually able to identify what kind of ship was approaching simply by listening to the sound of its engines.

Sangheili have at least two hearts[21], which circulate indigo-colored blood through their veins; the coloration is most likely caused by bimetallic hemoglobin, possibly cobalt-iron, whereas the crimson-blooded humans possess monometallic iron-based hemoglobin. Though there are many theories on the subject, the chemical formula(e) of Sangheili hemoglobin is still unknown. Their multi-vascular system likely underlies their superhuman levels of endurance and alertness, as their brain and muscles would receive an excellent blood supply. It is assumed that they breathe oxygen, as they can breathe the same atmosphere as humans without any trouble, and their homeworld has a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, similar to Earth's.


A Sangheili without armour.

Sangheili skin tones and textures vary from dark drown and smooth to light grey and scaly, however the majority of Sangheili appear to fall closer towards the former. Most also have either dark blue, black, or brown eyes, although there are a few exceptions such as green and orange. It has been theorized that the reason Sangheili seem to have dark blue eyes is because they wear eye coverings. Sangheili have laterally-positioned eyes with slit-shaped pupils, large irises, and horizontal eyelids.

Female Sangheili are described as being far more similar in appearance to male Sangheili than they are in Halo: Legends. The best canonical instance, Raia 'Mdama, was described as being slightly shorter than the average male and having a paler skin tone. As is expected from their saurian anatomy, Sangheili lay eggs. These eggs are kept in incubators until they hatch.[22] They do not appear to reproduce as fast as humans, a fact that puts the Sangheili at odds with them when faced with Humanity's relatively rapid colonization.

They have a much longer lifespan than humans that is around 3 times as long, or roughly 300 years. Thel and Rtas, who are 68 and 66 years old respectively[23][24], are still be in their prime given that they continue to display incredible feats of agility, fitness and strength that is emblematic of their race. This is also perhaps to be expected from their implied slower reproduction rate. An advantage that this grants them is that the average Sangheili would have a greater degree of experience and knowledge from their longer life time. Their commanders and soldiers would have had more time to train, and would have been in more battles and hence would have accumulated a greater degree of experience than that of their non-Sangheili counterparts.


Although Elites are naturally very intelligent, their culture's long dependence
Half Jaw and His Command Crew by levihoff

A Sangheili commanding during a Naval Engagement.

on a military-industrial schema has led to an emphasis on might over science. In some regards, the advent of the Covenant made this position easier-allowing the Elites to concentrate even more singularly on military endeavors, while Prophets took care of science and technology.

— 343 Guilty Spark in the Bestiarum

Type-1 Sangheili Energy Sword

The Energy sword, an example of Sangheili technological prowess that defies Human understanding.

In addition to their superior physical and martial prowess, the Sangheili are also gifted with a keen intellect, impressive creativity and sharp, decisive minds. Due to their place within the Covenant as of late, their culture's recent sole devotion to warfare as encouraged by the Prophets, and the Prophet's restrictions on altering Covenant technology due to its supposed holy origin[25], the Sangheili have somewhat stagnated technologically. They mostly currently lack the technical expertise to innovate on a large scale[26] and so have had little opportunity to demonstrate their technical skills and creativity in the area of technology. Despite this however their past demonstrates their creativity and adeptness at using and creating technology. Even though they were a martial focused society that treated all paths that were not warriors as hobbies or less, medical and technological advancements flourished, and they were able to achieve technology Tier 2[27] before joining the Covenant without the use of Forerunner technology[28], at approximately 1000BCE[29] - 3300 years before Humanity became space faring. They also developed most if not all of the Covenant's weaponry and vehicles, and likely designed many of its starships as well. Only five years after the fall of the Covenant had they begun to demonstrate technical skills when they improved upon the Plasma Rifle design, replacing it with the Storm Rifle.[30]

Their decisivene
Second Battle of Harvest

Admiral Preston J. Cole reviews the Battle of Harvest, in which a single Sangheili vessel destroyed 13 human ships.

ss and intelligence has however been mostly demonstrated through battle in recent times. They are capable of commanding their troops with brilliant strategy and tactics, outwitting and deceiving the enemy, bolstering their troop’s morale through powerful leadership and can adapt to situations on the fly, coming up with newer strategies and adapting old ones as needed. This is demonstrated through their numerous victories against much larger Brute and human fleets. Whilst they were outnumbered 3:1 over Installation 00, the Sangheili prevailed. They also fought off and repeatedly defeated Human fleets of equal or larger numbers with relatively few casualties, and when suffering a defeat they managed to inflict massive asymmetric casualties on human fleets before being destroyed. During the battle over High Charity at the outbreak of the Great Schism, Voro Nar ‘Mantakree was able to demonstrate extremely quick and decisive thinking in making full and creative use of his ship's technology; his crew were able to quickly reprogram plasma-guidance signals on the fly to combat Jiralhanae counter-guidance signal technologies, and he demonstrated an intuitive grasp of warfare in space by maneuvering his ship, via depressurizing some hanger bays for additional thru
Spec Ops

Special Operations Sangheili successfully outsmart and destroy several Spartan-III Headhunter teams.

st, behind shielded allied ships when his own vessel's shields were down in order to prevent his own ship being gutted by plasma fire, whilst being able to time the trajectory to intercept, charge and fire on the enemy when they emerged from cover.[31] In ground battles, they were typically able to inflict over three times more casualties on the humans than what the humans were typically able to inflict on them[32], assuming that they were not able to outright annihilate human ground forces completely which appears to have seldom happened. On a number of occasions they were able to successfully employ decoys and stealth against human forces to retrieve vital intelligence and artifacts[33] or destroy important infrastructure such as Reach's Orbital Defense Generators[34], by drawing the human forces' attention away. Cunning tactics of this sort were also used to destroy a number of Spartan super-soldiers, most notably the Headhunter teams, by luring them into traps.[35][36]

Overall the Sangheili appear to possess a much greater degree of intelligence and creativity than humans and most other Covenant species without the Prophet's imposed limitations upon their thinking, with an IQ likely approaching 200. They typically regard human tactics as poor[37], and amounting to nothing more than "drowning [them] in their own blood"[38]. Additionally, they made it to Tier 2 technology over 3000 years before humans were even Space-Faring (Tier 3), and have likely been Space-Faring for far longer themselves. Humanity however has still to attain Tier 2 technology even as of 2557. They seem to demonstrate a similar scope of emotions to humans however they appear to either feel them more acutely or express them more succinctly, or both, as Jul ‘Mdama described human anger as lacking any eloquence[18]. Despite being able to feel fear, the Sangheili do not display it in battle at all and are therefore universally regarded as fearless by their foes. This likely stems from a greater ability to keep their emotions under check; their mental fortitude and resolve appears to be stronger, in other words.[15]. They also demonstrate a stronger analytical mind, constantly observing and analyzing their surroundings and remembering important details. One example of this is that Sangheili can easily tell whether a person is agitated, lying or in a multitude of other various emotional states by picking up on small changes in the person’s scent, posture, voice and facial expressions. So far this has only been seen with humans whom they consider to be "a mass of signals". They also generally demonstrate superb problem solving abilities[18] as shown by Jul 'Mdama when being held prisoner on Port Stanley; he thought it perfectly feasible for himself to work out where he was in the galaxy by simply analyzing the stars[39], however he could not given that he had no viewing point in his cell. Additionally, they appear to have an impressive ability to learn as Sangheili such as 'Telcam can speak several Human languages[40], and despite only being their captor for a few weeks Jul 'Mdama was able to learn the tricks of the human's deception from them before quickly turning it around and using it on them, eventually outsmarting them at their own game to find out important information and eventually escape.[41] 'Telcam was also able to see right through one of ONI's gambles to control Sanghelios by setting him up as a puppet.[40]

However the Sangheili's one big weakness, other than their recent dependency on the Prophets for technology, is their code of honor and overconfidence, which can severely get in the way of their pragmatism and intelligence; they are never allowed to retreat, and must kill themselves if wounded. This very frequently leads to unnecessary casualties. Additionally, many times they have underestimated their opponents, proceeding without taking the proper precautions and lost needlessly, such as at the battle of Onyx or the battle of Psi Serpentis, both of which involved recklessly chasing down Human fleets that they thought they could effortlessly destroy.

Society and CultureEdit


Sangheili Honour Guards on duty aboard High Charity.

Sangheili have a strong warrior culture, similar to that of the ancient Japanese; they fight for the glory of combat and to uphold the Covenant Oath. Sangheili names with the suffix "-ee" are used to denote warrior-hood as part of the Covenant. However as of post Halo 3 they appear to have abandoned this naming convention. They are typically promoted based on merit, which is always the number of enemies they have killed and casualties inflicted on the opposing force, meaning that a single Zealot may have slaughtered thousands before attaining that rank.[42]

Elite Councilor

A Sangheili warrior brandishing two Energy Swords.

The Energy Sword, an ancestral weapon, continues to be a favorite weapon for high-ranking warriors and aristocrats, and is limited to their use only. Aristocrats who become sword wielders are no longer permitted to marry, but may breed with any female of their choosing, married or otherwise, in order to ensure the transmission of so called "Swordsman genes" to the next generation.[27] Energy Sword fighting styles and duels have been developed, including styles based around wielding two separate blades. Energy Sword wielding Sangheili are extremely dangerous foes. Many UNSC Marines have met a grisly end at the hands of a Sword wielding Sangheili. Their natural speed and agility means that any distance can be closed quickly and hitting them is extremely difficult, and once in close their reaction time and reflexes, strength, endurance and agility combined with their skill with close combat weapons and their tactical intelligence in utilizing the terrain, analyzing their foe’s positions and planning their attacks effectively spell almost certain doom for any squad with one in their midst. During a conflict on Asmara, a single Sword wielding Sangheili was able to slaughter no less than 11 ODST’s one immediately after the other, and was only stopped by another ODST firing a Jackhammer missile at it at almost point black range.[43] All Sangheili no matter what sex, and from the mightiest Zealot to the humblest peasant, has undergone compulsory military training since the first moment they could walk and is very skilled in the use of most weapons and fighting techniques.[27].The only legitimate path to glory and honor in their society is by being a warrior; most other activities and roles receive little to no praise at all. Males however typically fight off world in campaigns whilst the females remain at home and run the States and worlds of their Empire.[44]

Respectful but authoritative commanders, Sangheili rarely fail to elicit a strong bond of loyalty with their troops: it was noted that two separate Arbiters suppressed the Grunt Rebellion and tamed the Hunters, and these two races remain faithful to the Elites when they cast out of the Covenant. Sangheili believe that only the powerful are worthy of naming things, and find it an affront for a lesser species such as humans to do so.[25] Sangheili generally regard humans as nameless creatures as apparently a name implies legitimacy which the Sangheili do not recognize humans to have,[45] and despise them greatly for daring to name their race, with words such as "Elite", "squid face", "split-chin" and "Hinge-Head".[45] They also despise humans due to a combination of over-colonization,[46][25] untrustworthiness and dishonorable conduct throughout the war.[47] What these actions may refer to is not known. Although Sangheili society has a past rife with warfare between rival clans and states,[48] their more recent history under the Covenant appears to have been devoid of such civil unrests of at least large scale as when confronted by the notion of humans fighting and killing each other, Avu Med 'Telcam criticizes humans as leading such "tangled lives".[49]

Sangheili government appears to be a feudal[50] meritocracy,[51] and is partially democratic, as elders of different clans rule different areas. The ruler of these areas, a Kaidon, is elected by a group of council elders that reside in that area. If a council elder believes that his vote was "ill advised" or "had second thoughts", it was considered a tradition for council elders to initiate some form of attack, such as sending assassins, against the Kaidon in order " test the true merit of [the] ruler's martial abilities".[51] The belief was that "a Kaidon who could not defend himself was not a true leader".[52] Should the attack fail, the responsible elder will be executed immediately and his family will be killed. However, punishment for this form of treason was usually flexible. As such, if the elder did something honorable, such as attack the Kaidon himself or attempt to make a final stand against the Kaidon, then he would probably have managed to save his family from certain death, although they might still be banished.

The Sangheili seem to run a rather primitive and cruel form of eugenics similar to Ancient Sparta. When an infant hatches, it is inspected to see if it is large, strong and healthy enough according to whatever standards exist. If the infant is not, then they are left at the mercy of childhood diseases. Not all infants deemed unworthy die though, some are lucky to survive into adolescence. However upon reaching this age, a Sangheili must endure the "War Games" - combat simulations in which Sangheili warrior trainees are pitted against each other in lethal combat. Few Sangheili who do not meet the criteria manage to survive, unless they have an older sibling willing to look out for them, as was the case with Reff' Talamee being protected by his older brother Thon 'Talamee.[53] Their training regimes are also extremely dangerous and taxing, and are in many ways designed to kill them. One example is practising the use of a close combat weapon whilst standing on a small paddling boat over a cold lake. Sangheili who cannot maintain their balance inevitably fall in and are attacked and killed by predators in the waters.[54]

Young Sangheili training over predator infested waters.

This cruel system ensures that only the strongest and most intelligent Sangheili survive in their culture. Those who do endure these trials can proceed to various colleges that presumably teach the fledgling Sangheili warriors the more technical aspects of warfare in the context of their advanced civilization. One example of such an institution is the Iruiru war college on the Yermo continent, which is apparently a top war college in that region from which graduated Rtas 'Vadumee.[55] Despite a warrior being perhaps the only exalted career path in their society, not all Sangheili remain on that course after all this. Females primarily take charge of other more domestic roles such as running keep finances and logistics, as well as governing in the males stead whilst he is away at war. Other males can also take other career paths, in most cases in addition to being warriors, such as being advisers to the Prophets, political leaders (E.g. High Councillors, Kaidons, etc), technicians, engineers and doctors.

Honour and RespectEdit


Thel 'Lodamee gives Master Chief an Energy sword to have a fair duel.

It is not entirely uncommon for the Sangheili to feel respect and sometimes even admiration for their adversaries. Sangheili respect and revere veterans and often follow their lead. Their history is full of examples where victorious combatants welcomed the remaining forces of their defeated enemies' into their own armies, provided of course that they fought with honor. An example of where this is applicable was during the Unggoy Rebellion, where the most tenacious of the Unggoy who survived the conflict were admitted for the first time into previously all-Sangheili forces, much to the Prophets' discontent.[56] It is quite likely that survivors of this group of Unggoy were among the Unggoy supporting the Sangheili during the Great Schism out of respect for them, and out of dislike of the Covenant. It is not always the case though where the Sangheili respect an adversary. Even though Humanity had fought for the longest and hardest against the Sangheili than any other race, the Sangheili do not seem willing to extend the same courtesy to their human enemies, believing them to have fought dishonorably on too many occasions to achieve victory. It is also believed that Humans are inherently untrustworthy, parasitical and will seek to undermine the Sangheili in future if they can.[57] This has driven a renewed wave of hatred against Humanity after Halo 3 in place of previously religiously justified hatred, which started an uprising on Sanghelios that almost had the Arbiter overthrown were not for the timely intervention of the UNSC Infinity.[58]

The Sangheili code of honor appears quite similar to Japanese Bushido,
Energy Blade

A Sangheili defeating another in battle.

sharing concepts such as skill in combat (with an emphasis on swordsmanship), loyalty to master and family/clan, and views on death. Both systems promote death in battle as being the most honorable and proper way to die. If a warrior is critically injured, incapacitated, or captured, the only acceptable recourse is to commit ritualistic suicide, ensuring one's honor is kept intact.[48] This was of such importance to Sangheili warriors that even if they were incapable of killing themselves, they requested the assistance of their fellow Sangheili in doing so.[50]



Thon 'Talamee is enraged after being wounded by a Sentinel.

The Sangheili have a number of aversions and beliefs in their culture. One example is how they view the shedding of blood. In spite of their martial nature, the Sangheili, or at least some, have reservations to the spilling of one's own blood. This appears to be an extension of the belief that the blood of a warrior is his essence (honor); thus, to spill one's blood is to lose one's honor. As a result, in some areas of Sangheili culture, or perhaps all of it, doctors are seen by many as the lowest members of society because they "...make [their] living slicing and causing another Sangheili to bleed without honor".[51] This meant that the only 'honorable' way for a Sangheili to be injured or bleed out is from combat with the enemy. This belief also makes visiting a doctor very shameful for some Sangheili. Given how medical technologies flourished in their society over 3000 years ago, this aspect of their culture likely developed during their time in the Covenant.

It appears to be a belief among some Sangheili that a weapon is only to be drawn if it is to be used, because a drawn weapon "demands blood".[59] Some Sangheili appear to follow this belief to tragic ends, such as when Thel 'Vadamee was forced to kill one of his friends as he had already drawn his blade.[60]


As previously mentioned, the Sangheili place great value in their names, and it is considered both a privilege and an honor for only those proven worthy to both possess a name and have the right to name other things. The Sangheili generally consider humans to be nameless (There are a few notable exceptions, such as the Spartans encountered in the battlefield whom they exclusively refer to as "Demons". Humans in general are sometimes referred to as "Nishum", which in their language translates as "worm" or "Intestinal parasite"),[61] and detest the fact that the humans have assigned the label "Elite" to them (although they have been given many other names far more derogatory, such as squid-head, split lip, hinge-head, Dino, etc.). The word "Elite" is often transposed as an English translation of their own name in-game and in other media.

Sangheili names are constructed from a series of parts, each of them with a specific or special meaning. The first name is a given name that is attained at birth, which persists until adulthood. As they come of age, they earn the right to carry a badge name. This name is made up of three parts: an adjectival descriptor, such as "fast" or "deadly," a crèche or family name, and the "-ee" suffix, an honorific indicating that the Sangheili is a military participant. Since the Great Schism, most Sangheili in the rebellious faction have removed their name of the '-ee' suffix. Most Sangheili have names with this kind of construction. It appears that additional titles may be given to those of very high rank, such as Xytan 'Jar Wattinree. Since "Jar" is not a part of the standard Sangheili name, it may be assumed that it denotes Xytan's status as Imperial Admiral, although this has yet to be confirmed. There is only one other known instance of this naming structure: Voro 'Mantakree, who was given the additional title "Nar" to denote his status as a Fleet Master. Apart from the "-ee" suffix, the suffix "-ai" denotes swordsmanship, as with Bero 'Kusovai and Toha ‘Sumai.[62]


Family history and lineage are greatly valued in Sangheili culture, with each family having their own unique "Battle Poem" detailing the deeds and actions of its members during times of war.[63] These "epics" may have influenced the recitation of war poetry among the Mgalekgolo, due to their deep respect for Sangheili. Sangheili males are sent into service as warriors and soldiers, whereas the females are kept home to tend to their respective houses, however they too are also trained to fight from a very young age.[64] This training allows the Sangheili to have a potent home guard should an attack on their homeworld ever make it past the males fighting on the front lines.

Sangheili warriors form very close-knitted relationships, referring to their comrades as "brothers" and remaining intensely loyal to them. This loyalty is shown in the custom of grieving after the death of a fallen comrade, a ritual which includes prayer for the dead warrior.

In some clans, Sangheili children are raised in "common rooms" to ensure that all start on an equal footing and progress in rank by merit of their abilities.[63] Members of some Sangheili clans rarely know their true fathers, and are usually raised by a maternal uncle instead.[65] This may be a method of preventing status from being inherited in order to force children to make their own way in the world so they actively work for and earn advancement. However, as some children's fathers were swordsmen who were granted the right to reproduce with any number of female Sangheili they desire, the use of a maternal uncle as a father-like figure may have also been used to allow children to be raised equally. Sangheili believe that copulation without regard for the bloodline is uncultured, something which puts them at odds with the Brutes.[66] A popular pastime for Sangheili children is to hunt small rat-like creatures that live on their homeworld.[67]

Demographic InformationEdit


Sanghelios, with moons Suban and Qikost.

The Sangheili are a Tier 2 civilization, aka an interstellar species, and have been for more than 3000 years, hence they very likely control a vast Empire with populations spread across likely thousands of worlds. It is known that the Covenant Empire extends over the majority of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Their home world, Sanghelios, has a population of 8.125 billion. A few other named colonies have been mentioned such as Joyous Exultation, Decided Heart and Hesduros. Sanghelios itself is highly defended, and was regarded as being practically impenetrable.[68]


An example of a Sangheili settlement.


A more modern looking example of Sangheili setlements.

Sanghelios is similar in almost every way to Earth, however it is larger with a higher surface gravity and its land masses are more scattered than Earth’s. Sangheili live in a variety of permanent settlements such as ancient stone walled keeps built into tall mountain ranges, such as Vadam Keep; sprawling coastal metropolis’ such as the City of Ontom; and rural and agricultural settlements such as Mdama Keep. The general structure of Sangheili settlements seems to be a variety of smaller keeps and towns throughout the state, with the Kaidon living in a large Keep within what is likely the “State Capitol”. For instance Vadam keep, an elaborate and ancient stone walled keep built into the Kolar mountain range, overlooks a large settlement extending many miles to the coast of Vadam State.

The rate of Sangheili population growth seems to be slower than that of human’s, and therefore they do not seem to colonize as fast as Humanity does; an unfortunate fact that puts the two species at odds with each other after the fall of the High Prophets.

Technological CapabilitiesEdit

The Sang
Combined Fleet

In addition to vastly superior technology, the Sangheili also far outnumbered and outproduced humanity in terms of ships.

heili are a Tier 2 species, or in other words are classified as an Interstellar level civilization. The requirements for a species to fall into this category are accurate slipspace navigation, near-instantaneous interstellar communication and man-portable application of energy manipulation. The Sangheili meet each of these requirements by a significant margin rather than making a borderline pass. Whereas Humanity around the time of 2557 may now be classified as having Tier 2 technological capability, it is in the strictest sense as such technologies are still cutting edge, expensive and have minimal application. On the other hand the Sangheili have been using these technologies for millennia, and have fully integrated such technologies into their military and navy and even civilian sectors, and see extensive application in all areas. They were also capable of mass producing this technology at a faster rate than Humanity, however due to the recent collapse of the Covenant they have been unable to maintain this rate of production due to a shortage of relevantly skilled labor and facilities. It remains to be seen whether they will rebuild their logistics and military-industrial power before Humanity reaches their level of applied Tier 2 technology.

Their slipspace transportation technology is capable of astoundin

Regret's Carrier, The Solemn Penance, performs an in-atmosphere slipspace transition.

g temporal and spatial accuracy. Their ships are capable of plotting a course and arriving at its destination with an error no more than the diameter of an atom, in comparison to human slipspace travel which have errors of several million kilometers. Additionally, travel through slipspace is subject to arcane temporal effects; human fleets have often entered slipspace at the same time and information only to arrive at their destination out of synchronization and scattered. Sangheili ships however manage to avoid this remarkably well. The average speed of Sangheili vessels through slipspace is approximately 900 light years per day, compared with the best human speed of roughly 2.8 light years per day. Their sensor technologies are so sensitive that they can measure the quantum filaments of space-time, allowing them to enlarge and slip through them to plot a slipspace course with amazing accuracy using minimal energy. This is contrasted with the human method which, in the absence of such sensors, simply involves tearing a hole in space-time with massive amounts of energy, which has proven to be highly inaccurate and energy inefficient. Additionally, their slipspace technology can also plot a course through gravitation fields, although they have not explored this avenue due to the Prophet’s injunctions against altering Covenant technology. Additionally, the Sangheili possess near-instantaneous communication capabilities, giving them yet another massive tactical advantage over the UNSC whose signals in general take many weeks to arrive at their destination.

Man-portable app
Elite Shield

Energy sheilding is standard issue to almost every Sangheili warrior.

lication of energy manipulation refers to technology which manipulates high energies that are easily used by people, such as plasma weaponry, energy generation and energy shielding. The Sangheili have adapted this to their entire military. Every Sangheili is equipped with advanced energy shielding; a feat that the UNSC has only recently been able to give a very select few, i.e. the Spartans. Energy shielding has also been adapted to some domestic uses, such as hydroelectric power stations with dams that are enormous energy shields rather than some physical material. Their entire arsenal is almost entirely comprised of plasma based weaponry. Their warrior’s energy shields in addition to their natural toughness, speed and agility make them very durable, and an assortment of devastating plasma weaponry further increases the extreme effectiveness of their ground troops. Their plasma weapons can melt through UNSC Marine armour and garments with frightening ease an

The Plasma Rifle is as ubiquitous as it is deadly. Often a single shot is instantly fatal.

d rapidity, often a single shot being enough to blow off entire limbs and gouge gruesomely large holes in the body. Even the Spartans Mjolnir armour succumbs in only a few hits. Heavier hand held weapons also exist that are easily capable of gutting heavy UNSC vehicles such as tanks in a single shot. Their deadly marksmanship also compliments the destructive power of these weapons to great effect. Their vehicles also sport much larger versions of these weapons with vastly increased destructive capabilities.


Plasma torpedoes tear through the UNSC Savanah.

Ship based versions of these technologies also exist. Their ship based shields are highly durable and capable of resisting multiple hits from the UNSC’s most powerful ship based weapons, the MAC guns. Nuclear weaponry seems to have a greater effect, though not by much unless detonated within the ships shield bubble, which contains and intensifies the blast. Their ships also possess plasma torpedoes. These torpedoes are powerful enough to gut a UNSC ship in a single hit, and are also capable of t

The final result of Glassing.

racking their targets over immense distance to an incredible degree of accuracy. Heavier ship types are also armed with ventral mounted excavation beams, which are primarily used to glass planets or uncover Forerunner artifacts. A fleet of 30 Sangheili ships can output enough energy through these ventral beams to glass an entire planet’s surface within a few days, boiling off the oceans and surface water, blowing away the atmosphere and reducing the surface crust to a dehydrated, lifeless husk with a distinctly glassy texture. Typically, a single Sangheili ship is worth up to three UNSC ships of equivalent tonnage in terms of technology alone, with more often being required to win out against the Sangheili’s tactics.

Artificial gravity and anti-gravity are also commonly found technologies with the Sangheili. Most of their vehicles rely upon anti-gravity propulsion to lift off of the ground and move, as do their ships. Their ships and vehicles are noted to be able to pull of maneuvers that UNSC ships and vehicles cannot, and demonstrate feats of superior agility, speed and acceleration to that of their UNSC counterparts. Their ships also use this technology to create gravity on their ships, which was a technology present on only a few human ships prior to the war with most instead using centripetal forces in spinning sections to recreate gravity. There are also many other applications of this technology, such as gravity lifts, both emplaced and man-portable, thruster packs and inertial dampening. This technology overall offers the Sangheili a greater degree of maneuverability than the UNSC, whether it be in space engagements between opposing ships and fleets, or infantry and/or vehicular/aerial planet side engagements.

Superior metallurgy and materials science is also another aspect of the Sangheili’s technology. Their ship’s hulls and constructions are highly durable and capable of withstanding a barrage of Archer missiles and even of taking a MAC shot, and still keep on fighting. This remarkable degree of durability is due to the high degree of redundancy built into their ships, a principle called Modular Dispersal Technology. The suits of armour that they equip every Sangheili warrior with is also very durable, further increasing a Sangheili warrior’s toughness. Motion sensing technology is also built in to every suit of Sangheili armour, increasing their battlefield alertness even more over their already impressive senses.

Relations with other SpeciesEdit

The Sangheili regard the other species of the Covenant and humans to be beneath them in all ways. This attitude has made them very arrogant and dismissive of the other races, and often treat them very callously and with little regard for their well-being.

Jackals are generally regarded as untrustworthy thieves and pirates with no loyalty, and Grunts are viewed as being cowardly and lacking resolve. Both races are regarded as equally weak and useless in battle, with Grunts being used solely as canon fodder. Jackals have one property which grants them another role above this, which is their highly acute senses. They can often receive roles as snipers and spotters.

Despite their aggressiveness and physical prowess, the Brutes are regarded as base beasts by the Sangheili - as being uncultured with a dangerous degree of ambition. This ambition resulted in the Sangheili and Brutes becoming intense rivals vying for the Prophet's favour, which eventually resulted in open war during the Great Schism.

On the surface, the Sangheili display the utmost respect and reverence for the Prophets, but often inside display a certain contempt for them, sometimes reminding Sangheili of a certain creature they hunt on their home world. The Sangheili prefer to settle matters on the battlefield and have little patience for politics, and believe that conquest is what the Gods demand rather than praise. This difference has resulted in a strained and uneasy relationship behind the closed doors of the High Council chamber.

Humans are regarded as nameless creatures, and inferior in all ways to the Sangheili. Prior to the Schism, the Sangheili viewed humans as a heretical stain upon the galaxy to be purged, however after their disillusionment with the Covenant this hatred did not disappear. In truth their religious beliefs only formed part of their dislike of humankind. They also regard humanity as a parasitical race that breeds too fast, akin to the Flood, that are overcolonizing and over consuming those world's resources. They believe that in time this will cause territorial issues between themselves and the humans. Additionally, they distrust humans greatly and view many of their actions throughout the war as dishonourable and demonstrative of their capricious nature. They believe that despite promises of peace, Humanity will try to strike the Sangheili while they turn their back to recover, or at least attempt to subvert the Sangheili over time and steal their lands and resources. Another aspect revealed about their views on humans is their dislike of the opportunism humans have demonstrated with reverse-engineering Forerunner and Covenant technology, believing them to be no better than lazy thieves benefiting from other people's effort.


The Sangheili are a very old race with a long and proud history stretching back to times before the dawn of the first Human civilizations.

Early History and the Development of CivilizationEdit

The Sangheili home world, Sanghelios, had at one point been visited by the Forerunners, as evidence by the large number of Forerunner artifacts and structures left behind on the planet since times long forgotten. The Sangheili came to revere the objects that these "gods" had left, and considered tampering with them a heresy beyond any other.[69] Some time, likely long before 2000 B.C.E., the Sangheili developed slipspace travel and became a space-faring race, continuously progressing at a surprising rate until they reached Tier 2. In 938 B.C.E.[70] they encountered the San 'Shyuum (who would later be known as "Prophets" by Humans), a race that also worshiped the Forerunners as Gods, but had utilized Forerunner technology for their own needs, believing that the technology had been left behind by the Gods as gifts for their children. This sparked what the Sangheili-San 'Shyuum War, where the two races fought each other over how to treat these relics. Even though the Sangheili were much more physically imposing and numerous, and possessed more advanced ships in general, they suffered extreme casualties under the sheer power of the Prophets' Forerunner Dreadnought, a surviving Keys
High Charity

The Forerunner Dreadnought at the heart of High Charity after decommissioning.

hip, and by 876 B.C.E. even the most devout Sangheili had to admit that their survival depended on the reconstitution of their own Forerunner technology. So the Sangheili went to work in trying to reverse engineer Forerunner technology to defend themselves, ultimately producing technology that could stalemate the Prophet’s Dreadnought. However this lead to a stalemate, and soon both sides realized that the attrition may eventually destroy both races. A ceasefire was called for, which eventually led both sides to an agreement that ended with the decommissioning of the Forerunner Dreadnought and a shaky alliance that eventually expanded into the Covenant.

The Prophets helped to assuage the Sangheili by informing them of the Great Journey: By seeking out the Holy Rings scattered throughout the galaxy and utilizing them, a Great Journey would begin. This Great Journey would transform believers into godlike beings, while providing salvation for their doomed existence of fighting with the Flood. The Sangheili then became the bodyguards of the physically less imposing Prophets, who would search the galaxy for the Halos.[71] The Writ of Union was drawn up in 852 B.C.E. in order to codify the Covenant. Its first canto clearly outlines the nature of the Covenant from the perspective of the Prophets. The Sangheili would retrieve Forerunner artifacts and conquer in the Prophets’ name, whilst the Prophets themselves would convert these artifacts into tools of conquest for the Sangheili to use.

Being one of the few races in the Covenant to achieve space-faring status without outside intervention, the Sangheili interaction with the San 'Shyuum was initially strained due to memories of the recent war, which had caused the deaths of hundreds of millions of Sangheili. However, the two sides later formed a prosperous relationship and eventually layed the foundation for the modern Covenant hegemony.

During their membership in the Covenant, the Sangheili were the technological and societal equals of the San 'Shyuum. However, for a significant period, they found themselves as the dominant military muscle for the entire Covenant structure - hardly surprising given the warlike, feudal nature of their homeworld, Sanghelios. What was surprising was the cyclical stability this feudal society was able to offer. Technological and medical advancement prospered, and the intelligent, aggressive Sangheili were peerless until they encountered the San 'Shyuum. With exchange of goods and ideas, the Sangheili adapted to and eventually embraced the Covenant religion, grafting its tenets into their own belief system.

Human-Covenant warEdit

In the February of 2525, a small Jackal reliquary vessel stumbled upon an unmanned human freighter transporting an assortment of fruits and vegetables. This initiated an ONI investigation into the disappearance, which eventually culminated in the first contact between the Covenant and Humanity. The meeting was initially peaceful and was lead by a Brute cruiser Rapid Conversion. However the meeting soon turned sour when a panicked Grunt savaged a CMA Militiaman, causing hostilities to break out. When word of the human's presence got back to High Charity, a Forerunner AI named Mendicant Bias declared humanity the heirs of the Forerunners, to the shock and horror of the soon-to-be Prophets of Truth and Regret who were currently in attendance. Fearing that this news may shatter the Covenant, they decided to cover up humanity’s birthright by exterminating them.

Thus, when

CMA Vostok and CMA Arabia both destroyed within 14 seconds by a single Sangheili ship over Harvest.

the Prophets declared war on this previously unknown species called "Humans", the Sangheili followed their lead without question. The Sangheili would make use of a special Forerunner technology called the Luminaries, which normally help to identify and locate other Forerunner artifacts. However as humans were related to the Forerunners, they were detected by the Luminaries. Hence the Sangheili were able to methodically search for and destroy human colony worlds one by one. Humanity attempted to mount a defense, but found themselves grossly outmatched in nearly every way by their attackers. In space, superior Sangheili ship technology and tactics triumphed over human fleets in almost every engagement. The Sangheili rarely needed to commit to ground assaults, instead merely glassing the worlds from orbit once all in-system human naval assets were crushed. Occasionally however they would launch ground invasions to secure sources of important information or Forerunner artifacts. It was during ground battles that human forces fared slightly better, but not by much. The Sangheili’s weapon’s technology was vastly superior, as was their vehicular and aerial assets, and each Sangheili solder was far better
Halo Fistful Of Arrows By Levihoff

Individual Sangheili were worth several human soldiers, making human victories a rare occurance.

equipped with energy shields, motion trackers and highly resistant armour. Additionally, they were often supported by thousands of Unggoy acting as cannon fodder. The Sangheili themselves were worth several human soldiers due to their physical, martial and intellectual superiority, with Major Sangheili being capable of combating an entire squad of UNSC Marines. In ground battles, human forces generally suffered three times more casualties than the Sangheili’s forces if not suffering total defeat outright, and their victories here, whilst slightly more numerous than in Naval engagements in space, were still scattered and few. Thus the war fell into a very predictable pattern, where human forces that were lucky enough to hold their own in ground engagements were merely glassed from space, and by 2535 the Sangheili had wiped out the outer colonies of Humanity’s empire.

By the 2540’

Arcadia, an Inner colony world, falls to Covenant forces.

s, the Inner colonies of Human space had begun to come under attack. It was during this decade that the Sangheili began to increasingly encounter the Spartan supersoldiers. The Spartans were the only human forces capable of coming close to fighting on equal terms with the Sangheili in ground engagements, however all they could do was stalemate the Sangheili at best and buy the rest of humanity additional time that was ever running out. However they too were slowly reduced in number over the course of the war due to being outclassed in most respects by the Sangheili until finally being near-annihilated at the Battle of Reach. By 2552, most of the Inner colonies had been eradicated, and ONI concluded that Humanity may only have a few months left before the last few remaining human worlds, including Earth, also fell.

During August 2552, an enormous Sangheili fleet of 314 ships entered the Epsilon Eridani system, the home system of Humanity’s military base world, Reach. The battle of Reach was the fiercest battle of the war thus far, inflicting massive casualties on both sides. Reach was defended by 20 “Super Magnetic Accelerator Cannons”; coil guns capable of destroying Sangheili ships in a single hit. This was the principle reason fo
Fall of Reach Concept Art

The Sangheili destroy most of the Spartan-IIs.

r the high number of Sangheili causalities during the battle. In order to deal with this threat, the Sangheili sent down a wave of dropships to take the orbital gun’s power sources offline, where they were confronted by the Spartan-IIs. During the battle, the Sangheili appeared to overwhelm the Spartans and make considerable progress inside the generator complex, having taken several generators offline by the time the orbital guns were finally destroyed. After gaining naval superiority, they began glassing Reach like so many human worlds beforehand.

Escaping from the battle was a singe human warship named The Pillar of Autumn, with what was believed to be the sole surviving Spartan, Master Chief John-117. The ship eventually stumbled upon one of the Forerunner’s Halo Rings, known to the Covenant as the Sacred Rings. The Sangheili ships, being faster than their human counterparts, had already arrived before the humans however and immediately began boarding actions, not wishing to fire upon the vessel for fear of damaging the Sacred Ring. After crash landing on the Ring’s surface, the Master Chief battled the Sangheili for control of the Ring’s control room. Shortly afterwards, after finding out the Ring’s true purpose and about the Flood threat now awakening within, he detonated The Pillar of Autumns fusion reactors, destroying the Ring and ending both its own and the Flood’s threat to humanity.

Outraged at the Ring’s destruction, the Covenant redoubled their crusade against Humanity, launching an attack upon Earth, the last remaining human world. [72] The battle for Earth would drag on for about a month, incurring a heavy human death toll and causing massive amounts of damage to the planet through orbital bombardments and devastating most settlements on the planet, and ultimately pushing Humanity to the brink of extinction. Merely 200 million humans were left by the end of the war [73], with a death toll of more than 23 billion.[74]

The Great SchismEdit

During the final weeks of the Human-Covenant war, the political shift caused by both the Prophet of Truth and Tartarus, the Chieftain of the Brutes, started a slippery slope that ended in the dissolution of the Covenant between the Sangheili and the San 'Shyuum. Originally, the Brutes were viewed as savagely aggressive and extremely goal-oriented, which the Sangheili viewed as a serious threat should the Brutes ever begin to desire political power. This fear became reality when the Honor Guards of the Prophets, originally an all-Sangheili class, was transformed into a duty of the Brutes. This was directly caused by the death of the Prophet of Regret at the hands of John-117, the Human "Demon" known as the Master Chief, despite Regret's protection from his personal squad of Sangheili Honor Guardsman. Soon the Brutes found themselves in new positions of power, such as Field Masters, Ship Masters, and veritable replacements for the Sangheili. At the same time, during the Battle of Installation 05, Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee, the disgraced former Supreme Commander of the fleet charged with the protection of the first Halo destroyed by Master Chief, and Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadumee (both of which soon dropped the 'ee' suffix from their name to signify their abandonment of the Covenant) discovered the truth of the Halo rings from the Monitor 343 Guilty Spark and the deceit of the San 'Shyuum.

These events led the entire Sangheili species to secede from the Covenant, forming the Covenant Separatists, led by several Sangheili commanders such as Rtas 'Vadumee, Xytan Jar ‘Wattinree and Thel 'Vadamee. They were aided by a few of the member-races within the Covenant, such as many Unggoy and most Hunters, even though many apparently ended up siding with the Covenant Loyalists despite the Sangheili's efforts. The secession included a movement to destroy the treacherous Brutes and Prophets, and the destruction of the Flood at all costs. Initially this also included the destruction of Humanity, as Xytan Jar ‘Wattinree vowed to prevent humanity from securing the planet Onyx for its Forerunner technology and instead take it for Sangheili use. However these plans were halted when a human NOVA warhead looted from the battle of Reach detonated in the midst of his fleet, wiping out a decent chunk of the Sangheili’s fighting forces.

When a Flood infested ship escaped from the now infected High Charity and came crashing to Earth, the Sangheili Separatists followed with a fleet lead by Rtas ‘Vadumee. They initially planned to glass the entire planet to contain the infection, which would also have wiped out the last trace of Humanity left in existence; however the Arbiter convinced Rtas to only glass the continent of Africa and spare the remainder of Humanity. This eventually resulted in the Sangheili's alliance with the humans. It is known that this civil war stretched from the human homeworld, Earth, all the way back to Sanghelios as the Sangheili attempted to wrest their share of the hegemony away from their new-found enemies. The Brutes stepped in to fill the military void in ever increasing numbers, sensing the vacuum and opportunity left by the departure of the Sangheili.

Fall of the Covenant EmpireEdit

Finally, after the Battle of Earth, the Sangheili and humans managed to stop and kill the Prophet of Truth, effectively dissolving the Covenant. However, the Sangheili and humans were forced to deal with a more massive threat: the Flood. At the end of the battle the Arbiter and Master Chief activate the newly constructed replacement Halo ring, supposedly ending the Flood threat forever.

After the Human-Covenant war ended, there has been speculation of competition between the UNSC and the Sangheili when it came to examining Forerunner ruins and relics,[75] a fact that is now becoming more apparent as time goes on post Halo 3. Many Sangheili dislike how humanity is interfering with Forerunner technology, and still regard humans as filth unworthy of such artifacts.[76] All the Sangheili who fought in the Battle of Installation 00 agreed to depart Earth and return to their home planet, Sanghelios, to ensure its safety.

As the Great Schism went on, the Sangheili continued their fight against the Brutes. This was proving largely unsuccessful and the Sangheili were accepting serious losses. Without the Covenant to provide them with ships, technology, and repairs, they slowly lost warships and technologies they couldn't repair or replace. After the Prophets went into hiding, the Sangheili began to prevail against the Brutes, who in turn began to fight amongst themselves. Despite their hatred for Brutes, the Sangheili employed Brutes who stayed at the Sangheili's side. Having abandoned the Covenant, the Sangheili were now in a state of mass confusion in regards to their religion, because even though the Prophets lied to them, they had still given them purpose for their actions. Some Sangheili were still religiously devoted to the Forerunners and were attempting to uncover their meaning.

Ranking StructureEdit

Rank Image Description
High Council
Councilor Councilor The Councilors share power with the minor Prophets on the High Council, and is one of the highest ranks a Sangheili can achieve. During the events of Halo 2, they were taken to Installation 05, where most were murdered by the Brutes, though a few were saved by other Sangheili and two were saved by Thel 'Vadamee during the beginning of the Covenant Civil War. Only one Councilor is known by name: Soha 'Rolamee. Based on this, Councilors must be required to submit to a certain degree of military participation given 'Rolamee's '-ee' suffix. Their shield strength is of considerable power, as Councilor Sangheili were able to withstand a direct hit from Tartarus' Fist of Rukt - a Gravity Hammer powerful enough to normally kill the Arbiter in a single blow. They can be identified by their silver armor and large helmet, which has a bronze and steel inner color design.
High Commander
Imperial Admiral Revealed in Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, the Imperial Admiral's role is to command the whole fleet of the Covenant. Only one such Sangheili, Xytan 'Jar Wattinree, is known, and it is likely that there is only one at a time. The Imperial Admiral's armour was said to be silver in color and decorated with Golden Forerunner glyphs.[77]
Supreme Commander Supremecommander The Supreme Commander is the Covenant commander of a rather large and powerful fleet. In the Halo Graphic Novel, a Supreme Commander is depicted as clad in bright violet armor, with a long cloak that wraps around his shoulders. This particular Supreme Commander, Thel 'Vadamee, was a friend and superior to Special Operations Leader Rtas 'Vadumee and would later become the Arbiter of the Covenant. Another Supreme Commander is Luro 'Taralumee of the third Fleet of Glorious Consequence.
Field Marshal Field Marshall 4 The Field Marshal rank falls under the Sangheili Zealot-class, but appears to outrank regular Zealots. Besides leading large-scale ground operations, Field Marshal's are known to lead small strike teams composed of Zealot officers. The only appearances of a Field Marshal were during the Fall of Reach. They can be identified by their maroon/purple Shade armor and are distinguished from regular Zealots by two horn like protrusions atop their helmets.

- Fleet Master
- Field Master
- Ship Master
Zealot 2 Employed by the Ministry of Fervent Intercession,[78] Sangheili Zealots serve as the admirals and generals of the Covenant military; Commanders of Battalions, Ships and Fleets. Field Masters lead armies; Ship Masters command ships; Fleet Masters command armadas. "Zealot" seems to be a general term, applying to all high ranking Sangheili below Imperial Admiral and Councilor. It is also possible that each rank has sub-ranks as well, since the rank of Field Marshal exists, though this is most likely superior to a "standard" Zealot. They are extremely skilled and intelligent foes more than a match for a Mjolnir clad Spartan-II super-soldier, and worth several normal Human soldiers. Thel 'Vadamee and just four other zealots were able to overwhelm and completely annihilate a group of 20 UNSC Marines with relative ease despite the Marines having the element of surprise and controlling the only exit to the room that the Zealots were in.[66] They can be identified by their golden armour or maroon/purple armor.
Honor Guard of the Covenant
Honor Guard Ultra Honor guard Ultra Also known as the Lights of Sanghelios,[79] Honor Guard Ultras are one of the most elite combat units of the Sangheili, named for the cluster of stars near the Sangheili home system, but they, like the regular Honor Guards, were later replaced by the Brutes. They are seen clad in white armor with glowing Honor Guard plates, and wield Energy Staves. They are not to be confused with Honor Guard Councilors, which are the creations of a glitch. They wear silver armour with glowing orange armour pieces.
Sangheili Honor Guardsman Honou Gaurd The Sangheili Honor Guardsmen are one of the personal guards of the High Council, in particular the Prophet Hierarchs, but they were later replaced by the Brutes. They wear ornate, ceremonial red armour with glowing orange elaborately flanged armor attachments.
Covenant Special Operations
Special Operations Commander of the Covenant Specopscom The Special Operations Commander of the Covenant appears to be an even higher title than Ship Master (perhaps around the same level as a Field Master or Fleet Master), controlling all Special Operations within the Covenant and taking missions personally from the Prophets. The only Sangheili known to hold this rank thus far is Rtas 'Vadumee, who commands a CAS-Class Assault Carrier, a ship usually used by Prophets, showing his high rank. They are identified by their white armour, however should not be confused with Ultras.
Special Operations Officer Spec opsofficer Wearing pitch black armor, the Special Operations Officers, also known as commandos, lead Standard Special Operations Sangheili and even Special Operations Unggoy. They possess all of the skills and equipment of their underlings.
Special Operations Sangheili Specopsassass Special Operations Sangheili are extremely skilled fighters, sent in by the Covenant to accomplish the most dangerous and difficult of missions. They have superior accuracy, fire in longer bursts and have slightly stronger shielding than regular Sangheili. Most notably, Special Operations Sangheili operate in squads, are extremely skilled and are accurate grenade throwers. They are equipped with an active camouflage system but rarely use it, except to get into position without being noticed. Although they have also been known to sometimes operate similarly to Stealth Sanghelli using active camouflage during battle. They can sometimes be seen leading Special Operations Grunts into battle. They can be identified via either purplish armor or dark red armor.
Regular Special Warfare Group
Stealth Sangheili StealthMajor The Stealth Sangheili are the Covenant's assassins and spies, and they use active camouflage technology as their main ability, as the Special Operations Sangheili do. They're often used on ambushes, which, with the help of their active camouflage technology, allow them to take down many enemies. Members of this rank wear unshielded light blue armor or shielded brown armor.
Sangheili Ranger Ranger Sangheili The Rangers are a voluntary group of Sangheili that work in the least forgiving environment of all: vacuum. Their helmets completely encase their heads, protecting them from the vacuum of space. They wear a variant of Sangheili armor optimized for zero-gravity, non-atmosphere combat, similar in appearance to Halo 3's Flight armor permutation. Their armor is cobalt in color, brighter than that of the Sangheili Minor. They can pose a substantial threat, due to their unique movement options. There are also variants that use their equipment to give them a tactical advantage planet side, flying above and shooting from the air, confusing and demoralizing the enemy, similar to a Drone, but with more firepower and fewer numbers. They are often the security of a Carrier in space. They wear either Cyan armor or Light Grey armor and usually always have the Covenant's equivalent of a Jet Pack.
Regular Infantry
Sangheili General Sangheili General The highest-ranking military personnel employed by the Covenant among their groundside forces,[80] this rank has only been observed during the Fall of Reach. They have a heavy amount of shields and an incredible amount of health. They wear golden and orange armor.
Sangheili Ultra Ultra2 These are the Covenant's Colonels and Captains, and they command individual operations and are identified with predominantly white armor.
Sangheili Major Sangheili Major 01 This veteran Sangheili warrior holds the ranking equivalent of a UNSC Lieutenant. Overall they are more agile, more accurate and more aggressive than Minor Sangheili and rarely make tactical mistakes in combat. A single Major Sangheili can slaughter an entire squad of UNSC Marines. They can be seen leading Grunts and Minor Sangheili into battle.
Sangheili Minor Elite minor The most common and least experienced Sangheili, Minor Sangheili are still extremely skilled warriors superior to any human. They possess shields that are weaker than Sangheili Major's, but are slightly stronger then MJOLNIR Mark V. They are superior to Spartan-IIs outiftted with Mjolnir Mark V armour in terms of strength, speed and intelligence, with higher ranks often being even stronger, faster snd smarter. They are the possible Covenant equivalent of a Sergeant in ranking. Along with Major Sangheili, they often lead squads of Grunts into battle.

Other Ranks and PositionsEdit

Rank/Position Image Description
Arbiter Arbiter1(2) In times of extraordinary crisis, the High Council bestows the position of the Arbiter on a single Sangheili.[81] The most notable Arbiters to wear the armour of the Arbiter under this ideal were involved in the events of the Grunt Rebellion and The Taming of the Hunters, as well as Ripa 'Moramee and, perhaps most notable of all, Thel 'Vadamee; the Arbiter who stopped the Covenant Heretics on the Threshold Gas Mine before aiding the UNSC and Covenant Separatists in the Great Schism. The armor of the Arbiter is an ancient version of the current Sangheili Combat Harness, which has less advanced active camouflage that only last for a variably short period of time as opposed to the permanence of later iterations found in more modern Sangheili Combat Harnesses. The Prophets have also used the position of Arbiter to send those due to be executed unceremoniously on so-called "suicide missions" so that they can regain some of their lost honor and die a glorious death in battle, such as in the case of Thel 'Vadamee.

The ideal of the Arbiter was not always as it is now however. Sometime after the incorporation of the Grunts into the Covenant, the Arbiter was an exalted position and akin to some sort of General of the Sangheili armies. However after the last Arbiter to hold the position under this ideal, Fal 'Chavamee, openly rebelled against the Prophets, it was twisted by them into a position of shame.[82]

Ascetics Ascetic Elite by nakedcrook The Ascetics are a special group of Sangheili made to ensure stability and ideological purity. They also specialise in philology, exegetics and applied hermeneutics.[83] The Ascetic armor has been made to inflict a psychological fear by the use of special elements in the armor, such as the two "tusks" protruding from the helmet and bright, glowing orange eyes. They do not appear in the games apart from an armor permutation in Halo 3. They remained a dormant group for much of the Covenant's history until the Great Schism, where they once again emerged to fight the Prophets.
Commando Commando 1 Commando is a Sangheili rank that was first observed during the Battle of Installation 04. It is a branch of the Special Warfare Group based upon pre-contact ground forces. Commando Sangheili possess hardened communication gear and up-link capable equipment that an ordinary Sangheili wouldn't have access to. Their armor is streamlined for better maneuverability in close encounters. The armor is lightweight and advanced internal equipment increase the overall effectiveness of an individual Sangheili making them more deadly.
Kaidon Kaidon 2 Kaidons are leaders of particular States on Sanghelios, and the heads of their Lineages. They are advised by a council of Elders, and are selected by this council. They may also serve in the Covenant military, though Kaidon does not appear to be a military rank in itself.
Ossoona Ossoona is a special rank of Sangheili that are meant to be spies and are not properly equipped for heavy combat, instead meant for information gathering on human weapons and military data. They are also referred to as the "Eyes of the Prophets," because "at times the Sangheili had an unfortunate tendency to destroy everything in their path, leaving very little for their analysts to analyse".[84] One of the major items of information the Ossoonas were tasked with discovering was the location of Earth.[84] It is a temporary rank only granted to those who have attained at least the rank of Major Domo, the reason being that a Minor's lack of experience could cause them to be compromised (i.e. detected). It is not given to Sangheili of higher rank because they are considered too valuable and would rather engage in combat. One example of an Ossoona was an Sangheili named Isna 'Nosolee from the book Halo: The Flood.[84]
Oracle Master Oracle Masters are apparently advisers to the High Council and to the High Prophets, specializing in intelligence gathering and religious advice to high ranking Prophets and the Sangheilian Councilors. They seem to be few in number, as only one has ever been mentioned. Their name can be considered linked to the Monitor's of Installations, known to the Covenant as Oracles, perhaps metaphorically suggesting their level of intellect on par with that of an Oracle. Little beyond this limited information and speculation is known of the rank.
Aristocrat The Aristocrats are important members of Sangheili society, allowed to wield Energy Swords. They are unable to marry, but allowed to mate with any female, married or unmarried, to "pass on the genes of sword fighting and the nobility."


  1. An unarmored Spartan-II is capable of lifting three times its own body weight, which is also stated to be two times more than the average Human body weight. This strength is then doubled by the Mjolnir armour.
  2. Post augmentations, Spartan-II reflexes were measured to be 20 milliseconds. Mjolnir armour reduces this by a factor of 5. This, along with their strength, was stated to likely improve as they grew more accustomed to both the augments and the armour.


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