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The race who created the stargates. They left this part of the universe (our galaxy, the Asgards's galaxy) long ago, leaving behind their technology, their allies (Asgard, Nox, Furlings), and their knowledge (the Place of Our Legacy, The Fifth Race).

Their name for themselves was the Altera. (Avalon part 2)

nb: The usage seems to be 'the Altera' for the name of the people, but 'Alterans' or 'the Alterans' on a more casual level, somewhat like 'the Azerbaijani people' and 'many Azerbaijanis'.

They didn't originate on Earth - they found it after a journey of possibly thousands of years, and called it Avalon when they settled here and began building stargates (astria porta). (Avalon part 2)

According to a book Daniel found under Glastonbury Tor, written as a fictional story: 'Once upon a time, there was a race of people that went on a great journey through space, across the universe. They were called the Altera. After much time [thousands of years] they found a great belt of stars.' The Alterans named their new home Avalon and built many 'astria porta' - stargates. (Avalon part 2)

Their language has similarities to Latin.

Teachers who willingly shared their knowledge.

The Ancients evolved from a race of humans that lived long ago. They were wiped out by a plague that was sweeping across the galaxy. Many learned to ascend, and the rest died out. (Full Circle)

Many of them have stuck around closer than was thought -- they're the Ascendants. (Full Circle)

Millions of years ago, the Ancients lived in the city of Atlantis on the Antarctic continent, protected by a force shield. (SGA: Rising, pt 1)

Several million years ago (likely at least 3 million), they left Earth, flying away in the city itself, apparently headed for the Pegasus galaxy. (SGA: Rising, pt 1)

They left behind an armed outpost with an Ancient as a guardian of some sort -- probably Ayiana, but there's no definitive proof of that (the actress was the same, but no one said her name). (SGA: Rising, pt 1)

This later proved vital to the defense of Earth against Anubis. Jack used the control chair to launch energy weapons against the attacking force, and defeated them soundly. (Lost City part 2)

Left behind at least one repository of knowledge (the 'Place of Our Legacy'), to be 'downloaded' into the brain of an acceptable candidate (not a Goa'uld or Jaffa). (Fifth Race)

When the information was downloaded into Jack, he wound up thinking and speaking in the Ancients's language (and unable to speak anything else, although he apparently still understood English spoken to him to some degree), and was capable of building complex machinery, doing complicated math in base 8, rewriting computer program source code (specifically, to add more stargates to the computer's known listing), and drawing detailed schematics of a DHD along with giving detailed instructions on how to repair one stuck in a mid-dial lockdown. (Fifth Race)

As of late seventh season, it's clear they they left more than one face-grabbing database behind -- SG-2 discovered a colonnade on P3X-439 that contained another. Jack downloaded that one into his brain as well, this time deliberately. (Lost City, part 1)

Daniel believed that they might be the 'teachers of roads' -- the 'ancient ones' from whom early Romans first learned how to build roads, and who created the 'road' system of stargates. (Fifth Race)

They designed the stargate address system to be pronouncable in their own language -- each symbol has a corresponding sound, so each address can be spoken as words. (Lost City, part 2)

At some point, an unnamed Ancient took a time machine (inside a small ship) to a planet and traveled along its timeline, studying the evolution of life there. He or she created an historical log of major events, recording it on a pillar. After completing it, he or she traveled back in time to roughly 1800 and abandoned the time machine. (It's Good to Be King)

All along, the Ancients/Ascendants had been shielding the Milky Way (and probably Pegasus) from the Ori, so the Ori wouldn't know there were people living there who didn't worship them. (Origin)

Once the Ori became aware, because of Daniel and Vala's mental visit, the shielding was no longer effective. The Ancients/Ascendants wouldn't interfere with anything that occurred on the lower planes of existence, so they wouldn't stop any human followers of the Ori from coming through the stargate and trying to convert people. (Origin)


At one point, on one colony world, there was a catastrophe/cataclysm of some sort, and the Ancients tried to create a time-travel device to circumvent it. They failed: it caused a short-term continuous loop. In the end, they gave up, shut it down, and let the end come. They left behind the equivalent of 400 pages of text on the walls surrounding an altar near the stargate, including a planetary history and description of the device. The translation revealed that P4X-639 was once a colony of the Ancients. (Window of Opportunity)

The plague that wiped most of the race out began in the city of Vis Uban ('Place of Great Power'). It was going to be the crown jewel of the entire Ancient domain, except the plague broke out while it was still under construction, and it had to be abandoned. (Fallen)

The ruins of the city were covered in extensive writings, all in the oldest dialect of the Ancients (not sure why, if this was their newest city). (Fallen)


Original Ancient name unknown.

It was the site of an Ancient structure that the Goa'uld and Jaffa eventually turned into a temple, where the first prim'ta ceremony was held. (Reckoning part 1)

When Jacob/Selmak translated the writings on the temple walls, the translations were bizarre, to say the least, including:

'At midday the darkness is high in the sky.' (Reckoning part 2)

In reality, this was code -- part of the wall needed to be moved so that this would read 'At midday the sun is high in the sky.' (Reckoning part 2)

'The wind blows on the pillow.' (Reckoning part 2)

'Three days to the chicken.' (Reckoning part 2)

When the appropriate bits of wall had been moved/turned to reveal phrases that made sense, the wall opened up, revealing an innner chamber that housed a control panel much like the one on P4X-639 that Malikai used to activate the Ancient time-looping device. (Reckoning part 2)

The chamber was well enough shielded that Baal's ship's sensors couldn't detect it. (Reckoning part 2)

nb: It's not clear whether those were standard Goa'uld sensors, or if they'd been modified using Anubis's technology.

The panel controlled a device that emitted an energy wave capable of destroying all life in the galaxy -- there's no indication of why the Ancients would have built such a device in the first place, never mind left it behind to be discovered by younger, more primitive races after the Ancients all died or ascended. (Reckoning parts 1 & 2)

Specifically, according to Jacob (who was reading a screen left by the Ancients), 'The weapon uses an energy wave to reduce all matter to its basic molecular elements. It's not strong enough to disintegrate an entire planet, but it will wash away everything on a planet's surface, and anything in the surrounding space.' -- clearly related to the way the disruptor worked. (Reckoning part 2)

According to Anubis (who may well have been lying), it was originally designed to create life, and in fact did create, or recreate, life in the Milky Way a million years or so ago, after the plague. (see the nitpick on that timing.) (Threads)

Praclarush Taonas

Another of their worlds, where they left information leading to the Lost City. By the time SG-1 arrived there by ship to check it out, the sun was a red giant, and the planet was covered with hardened lava flows. There was one anomaly -- a perfect half-sphere of raised lava, as though a forcefield had protected something beneath it when the lava flowed. (Lost City, part 2)

The Ancients knew what had happened to the planet before they Ascended -- the knowledge Jack gained from the second database led him to pack hazmat suits for the trip, and the planet's name itself means 'lost in fire'. (Lost City, part 2)

When SG-1 went in to land on the surface, there were still live lava eruptions and flows all over the place. (Lost City, part 2)

The dome contained a chair on a dais. The chair had gel-like controls in the armrest (at the point where a hand would lie) for atmosphere and a holographic map, leading to the actual Lost City -- Atlantis. It pointed SG-1 to under the ice of Antarctica. (Lost City, part 2)

The dais the chair rested on also contained a working power source, which Jack took. (Lost City, part 2)

See Ascendants for more details.





Originally human, more or less -- the Ancients evolved from an ancient race of humans. (Full Circle)


'Biology' currently isn't really applicable: those Ancients that survived a deadly plague learned to ascend to a higher plane of existence, living as pure energy/spirit, and are now the Ascendants. (Full Circle)




Their language has similarities to Latin.

Words and Phrases

astria porta

stargates   (Avalon part 2)


Atlantis, the Lost City (Lost City, part 2)

aveo amacuse:

goodbye (Lost City, part 2)


wrong ('There is nothing cruvas with me.' -- The Fifth Race)


legs ('You've got to bend your cozars.' -- The Fifth Race)


insane, crazy (Lost City, part 1)

domavatus vestul motabilium

master of the uncertain past (Window of Opportunity)


sleep (Lost City, part 2)

(nb: the spelling could be totally wrong -- closed-captioning oh-so-helpfully said [speaks Ancient] for this, so I guessed. I'll try to remember to check the DVD subtitles when I get it.)


yes or understood. ('Understood?' 'Eetium, Sir.' -- The Fifth Race)


I (The Fifth Race)

Egoo deserdi asordo. Comdo asorda.

no direct translation (Jack requesting help from the Asgard -- The Fifth Race)

Egoo indeeo navo lochus

'I need a new location.' (The Fifth Race)


good (The Fifth Race)


ability ('Apparently I have lost the fallatus to speak properly.' -- The Fifth Race)


finished, done ('No, not yet! I'm not farit!" -- The Fifth Race)


mind, brain ('I'm just looking at it and the words pop right into my fron.' -- The Fifth Race)

'head' is possibly the more general translation (Jack said he had 'a little fron-ache' -- Lost City, part 2)


ice, the ice (Lost City, part 2)

hic qua videeum

The Place of our Legacy (The Fifth Race)


need (The Fifth Race)


location (The Fifth Race)


new (The Fifth Race)

Noo ani anqueetus

'We are the Ancients' (The Fifth Race)

Onno matta netario

'This is really unnecessary.' (Avalon part 1)

Praclarush Taonas

'lost in fire' -- the name of a planet Daniel believed to hold the Lost City, although in reality it simply held clues to it. (Lost City, part 2)


under (Lost City, part 2)

subo glaciuse

'under the ice' (Lost City, part 2)


Terra, Earth (Lost City, part 2)

Tua puta ego

'I believe you.' (Avalon part 1)

Vis Uban

'Place of Great Power' (Fallen)

top | Language


'There is only one real truth -- the universe is infinite.' (Avalon part 2)

top | Language



'Bug zapper'

A device that permits one to see into other dimensions existing within and around ours. Touching the device causes a shift in a person's electrical field, allowing them to see into a parallel dimension. The charge can be passed from person to person by touch. Activated, the device attracts beings (in this case, bugs and such) from the parallel dimension to itself, presumably to make them easier to study. To turn off the ability to see these creatures, the crystals powering the device have to be re-arranged into a specific pattern. (Sight Unseen)

top | Technology

Healing device

On Earth, this became known in legend as the Fountain of Youth. So powerful that its direct effects on humans (even those being used as hosts by Goa'uld symbiotes) were devastating -- it could only be used from a distance, and with limited exposure. The Goa'uld sarcophagus was eventually developed from it, after Telchak found it and began experimenting with it to make it more accessible. The original device was hidden in one of Telchak's temples on Earth (in southern Honduras, where the Mayans knew him as Chac, the rain god), near a waterfall. The legend surrounding the 'Fountain of Youth' said that all water flows towards it. Daniel and Dr. Lee eventually recovered it. (Evolution, part 1)

top | Technology

Long-range communication device

Small, black, paired 'stones' that create a psychic connection between people who each have part of the set. Proximity to the stone is necessary for communication through it. (Citizen Joe)

The base device was fairly large - for use on a table, not in one's hand. It had its own power source, and the communicating per se was done with the small palm-sized stones that create a psychic bond between the holders, allowing them to see through each other's eyes. (Avalon part 2)

It draws power directly from subspace. (Origin)

It also uses subspace to communicate across galaxies. (Origin)

The stones themselves need someone with the Ancient gene to initialize them, but once that's done, they can be reset to be used by anyone. (They get 'programmed' to work only with the people actively using them unless they're 'reset' to start clean again.) (Avalon part 2)

When a stone is placed in the base unit, it creates a connection with someone else near a stone, much stronger than simply seeing through their eyes: they actually exchange consciousnesses into each other's bodies. If only one base unit is in use, the person (or people) using the base unit are conscious after the transfer, living inside the other person's body. The person (or people) without the base unit are unconscious after transferring their borrowed bodies. With two base units in play (each holding a stone/stones), everyone is conscious after the transfer. (Avalon part 2, Origin)


See Stargates

top | Technology

Time-looping device

Apparently meant as a way of going back in time to stave off a catastrophe, but the technology never worked properly, instead trapping people in an ever-repeating time loop. (Window of Opportunity)

top | Technology

Time-travel device

At least one working time-travel device, used from within a small ship (so the entire ship and its contents could travel through time). (It's Good to Be King)

top | Technology


Drones | Weapon of destruction

Drones (energy squids)

'Drones' is the name that the scientists went with (SGA: Rising), but energy squids is what they look like when activated: a stream made up of thousands of small, gold energy squids, directed by a person sitting in a chair to attack specific targets while leaving others alone. Highly effective -- they targeted kull warriors, al-kesh, death gliders, and hataks, destroying them all, under Jack's guidance. (Lost City, part 2)

At rest, they're obviously mechanical, and look like small missiles. (SGA: Rising)

Weapon of destruction

nb: That's the name given in the newspaper article Daniel was reading in Ascended Limbo (Threads). It's no worse than the ones I was coming up with, so that's what I'm going with for now.

A beam-weapon located in the midst of an almost Sphinx-like structure on a world that eventually became known as Dakara. (Reckoning part 1)

It was capable of destroying all life in the galaxy. There's no indication of why the Ancients would build such a weapon, much less leave it behind when they ascended en masse. (Reckoning part 1)

According to Anubis (who may well have been lying), it was originally designed to create life, and in fact did create, or recreate, life in the Milky Way a million years or so ago, after the plague. (see the nitpick on that timing.) (Threads)

top | Technology


Zero Point Module. A power source that draws its energy from subspace. (Zero Hour)

Gets/generates its power from vacuum energy, derived from a self-containing region of space/time. (SGA: Rising pt 1)

It's the only thing powerful enough to activate the Ancient defense weapons on Earth. (Zero Hour)

top | Technology


Known Ancients


One of the Ancients who left Atlantis during the Wraith siege and returned to Earth some 10,000 years ago. (Avalon part 1)

At some point after reaching Earth, he carved a tablet that gave information about the location of some Ancient 'treasure'. Daniel believed that 'Myrddin' was the Merlin of Arthurian legend. (Avalon part 1)

Daniel believed that he wasn't an ascended Ancient, just someone on the evolutionary path to ascension, and that the legend of him taking Arthur to Avalon (and Arthur not really dying) meant that he'd helped Arthur to ascend. (Avalon part 1)

In a hidden chamber (set of chambers, really) beneath Glastonbury Tor, Mitchell, Daniel, Teal'c, and Vala triggered the arrival of a sword stuck through a stone, then a hologram of Myrddin. 'Myrddin' greeted them with this:

'Welcome, ye knights of the Round Table. Men of honor, followers of the path of righteousness. Only those with wealth of knowledge and truth of spirit shall be given access to the underworld, the storehouse of riches of Ambrosius Aurelianus. Prove ye worthy, and all shall be revealed.' (Avalon part 1)

There were at least two tests set up, each in a round chamber at the end of a corridor with firepots around the perimeter that sprang to life when someone entered the room, and a table with the test on it in the middle of the room. (Avalon part 1)

The first test had two covered bowls on the table, one silver, one gold. The silver bowl was labeled 'The treasure is in this pot' and the gold was labeled 'the universe is infinite'. Opening the silver bowl was the wrong move - it triggered a slow descent of the ceiling. It was possible to replace the cover(s) and redo the test, though, choosing the gold bowl because of the Ancient proverb 'there is only one real truth - the universe is infinite'. (Avalon part 1, Avalon part 2)

The second test had a row of flat oblong stones on the table, each with a symbol on it (an Arabic numeral from 1 to 8 and its mirror image), and with 'Reflect on the eightfold path' written below. The stones had to be rearranged into the correct pattern -- lined up numerically. Picking the wrong pattern triggered a slow descent of the ceiling. As the ceiling came down, the table began retracting into the floor, so that eventually the ceiling would be flush with the floor and the occupants would be crushed. Again, though, it was possible to keep trying, and if the correct sequence was discovered before the occupants were crushed, the ceiling would retract again. (Avalon part 1, Avalon part 2)

Once the test was passed, the seeker would pull the sword from the stone and face battle with a hologrammatic knight in full armor -- it inflicted no actual physical damage, but its blows hurt, and it could be struck in turn. Once the knight was defeated and the sword was returned to the stone (and assuming nothing had been taken out of the chambers), the promised riches were revealed: piles of gold, gems, small statues, a book, and a bit of Ancient technology that Daniel believed functioned as a long-distance communicator. (Avalon part 2)

The book was written as a fictional story: 'Once upon a time, there was a race of people that went on a great journey through space, across the universe. They were called the Altera. After much time [thousands of years] they found a great belt of stars.' The Alterans named their new home Avalon and built many 'astria porta' - stargates. (Avalon part 2)

| Known Ancients

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