Let’s continue the history of the Mandalorians as we look at the Basilisks and their importance to the Mandalorians’ culture along with the humiliating end of this Star Wars species.
According to legends, the ancient Mandalorian Crusaders were notorious for exterminating entire species. Among those who met their end in these Mandalorian crusades were: the Fenelar—an industrialized species that were known for their armor and Dreadnaughts, the Nevoota—a sentient, insectoid species, and the Iskalloni— whom they slaughtered and freed their slaves.
But one species that evaded extermination were the Basiliskans, a bi-pedal, dragon-like species from the planet Basilisk. The most well-known accomplishment of this sentient species was the creation of the Basilisk war droids. Around 4017 BBY (i.e., prior to the original Star Wars film) they chemically poisoned their entire planet in a desperate maneuver to defeat their Mandalorian conquerors.
Unfortunately, their victory came at a great cost. That’s because the chemicals they used to poison their planet left an undesirable side-effect — it devolved them into mindless beasts. This once-proud species became known as the Lagartoz war dragons and were used by the Mandalorian Crusaders as mounts for both aerial and ground combat, most notably during the New Sith Wars.
The Basiliskans legacy lived on through the Bes’uliik, or “Iron beasts” that the Mandalorians valued as both war mounts and companions, similar to the bond between the bantha and the Tusken Raiders. These semi-intelligent war droids, which stood between the size of a bantha and a rancor, carried enough firepower to rival the most well-armed armada. Despite massive losses by the conclusion of the Mandalorian Wars, some Bes’uliik were thought to have survived into the Age of the Republic.
The Mandalorians did eventually receive some comeuppance for their millennia of annihilation as the Taung were themselves driven to near-extinction by the Mass Shadow Generator, a superweapon that was unleashed upon Malachor V by Darth Revan.
Furthermore, much of the Mandalorian Crusaders’ accomplishments were reduced to legends along with the progenitors who had begun the warrior culture. They were eventually replaced by humans, an irony given that eons ago they were their sworn enemies on ancient Coruscant.
Even though the Basiliskans had suffered a great humiliation, the Force found a way of balancing their loss. As a matter of fact, some might say that this balancing of scales led to the Mandalorians’ own eons of hardship. However one sees it, there is no doubt that the Mandos left a destructive mark upon the galaxy — as the tragic histories of such species as the Basiliskans would attest.
This look into the Mandalorians’ history and culture continues forth as we further explore their beliefs, factions, language etc. Until then, K’oyacyi! [Koy-AH-shee.] (“Cheers and stay alive!”)
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