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Proud Scholar Race

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"Our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance;
our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft."
— Attributed to Pericles

While the Proud Warrior Race believes in warfare and martial honor as the pinnacle of cultural achievement, they have a counterpart in the Proud Scholar Race, who instead focus on matters of the intellect. Personality-wise, they may be aloof and detached, or quite gregarious and friendly (particularly if they're also The Empath). Either way, they have a tendency to be more intellectual, mystical or philosophical than most of the other species in the setting. This species of scholars tends to come in two flavors:

Proud Scholar Races of either stripe tend to be portrayed as more peace-loving than some other species, but they tend to be rather dangerous when provoked, using superior technology, Psychic Powers and hidden superweapons to turn their foes into dust. They won't necessarily be portrayed as nicer people—sometimes, their love of knowledge will make them sympathetic compared to the madmen running around hitting things with swords, but other times, it will make them cold, slimy, and sinister compared to the honest fighters doing their duty for their country. Similarly, any non-scientists in this race (no matter how important to their society) will suffer Klingon Scientists Get No Respect—err, Vulcan Warriors Get No Respect.


This race may be friendly toward humans, or it might shun them because it detests their violent ways, or sees them as so far below them as to be insects. This species might be descended from the Precursors, or at least remember a time when they existed.

If both these and the Warrior Race are played as villainous, they basically become a split about the two terrifying sides of the Nazis—the Warriors are the mighty soldiers and strategists slaughtering and conquering, while the Scientists remain at home torturing people For Science! and for hate. For this reason, when villainous, the Scientist race may be prejudiced and regard other races as fodder for slavery and experimentation.

When heroic, the race is quite likely to resemble an idealised depiction of the academic circles of the Ancient Greeks. Expect Crystal Spires and Togas. They may or may not be a Higher Tech Species.

When the Proud Scholar Race and the Proud Warrior Race are in opposition or rivalry, they tend to form an Elves Versus Dwarves dynamic, with the former taking the role of the Elves. This convergent evolution may be why many scholarly races take on elf-like features like pointed ears and a humanoid appearance. They may still retain nonhuman features such as unusual skin or hair colors, though; pale colors such as light blue are popular. Females of this sort of species tend to overlap with Green-Skinned Space Babe if they're actual aliens.

If they are into both learning and killing, they're a Warrior Poet Race instead. Compare Proud Merchant Race and, of course, Proud Warrior Race.

Compare Space Elves, Space Amish, and Perfect Pacifist People.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Tuffles from Dragon Ball Z were a very science-driven race, and lived on the same planet as (and were ultimately overthrown by) the Saiyans, the very epitome of a Proud Warrior Race.
  • The Silver Tribe in Heroic Age is pretty much a textbook example of this. Space Elves: check. Unmatched Psychic: check. Aloof and Detached: check. Detests humans: check. Crystal Spires: check. Precursors bond: check.

    Comic Books 
  • Krypton worshiped Science, in some versions.
  • The High Ones in ElfQuest shapechanged themselves into elves, but only after becoming planetbound. Their descendants did eventually make it back into space, though, if the Jink storyline is taken as canon.
  • The Coluans from the Legion of Super-Heroes in the DC Universe. Depending on the version, the Coluans themselves are usually well-intentioned enough, but the rebellious computers who conquered their planet (and gave rise to Brainiac) were jerks.
  • By contrast, the Psions from Omega Men are disgustingly amoral, being essentially an entire race of Dr. Mengele expies IN SPACE. They are the unfortunate result of an early experiment in Animal Uplifting by the Guardians of the Universe (of all people). Speaking of whom...
  • The Guardians of the Universe from Green Lantern. Traditionally portrayed as one of the Big Goods of the DC Universe, although they've undergone some Character Derailment into arrogance and stupidity lately.
    • The Controllers are an offshoot of the Guardians, and have always been more prone to arrogant, jerkass behavior than the Guardians themselves.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Prior to being rebooted as a society stuck in the Bronze Age Post-Crisis the Amazons of Paradise Island often came off this way. They had developed a range of impressive tech including having their own space worthy fleet before any other nation on earth had made it into orbit, invisible aircraft and medical advances which combined magic with lasers but generally didn't share any of these advances with their supposed allied nations like the United States. The Phil Jiminez and second Greg Rucka runs restored many of these elements to the Amazons.

    Fan Works 

  • In Gordon Dickson's The Childe Cycle we have the Exotics who are mystics and philosophers with a knack for making these scholarly endeavors profitable. Their relationship with the Warrior Race of Dorsai is quite amiable and the latter often act as their bodyguards and enforcers.
  • In The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, every member of the Insequent race is apparently a wizard who acquired his/her powers through millennia of specialized study. From the same series, the ur-viles are a rare evil version, though they end up switching sides.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • The Encyclopedists: The Encyclopedia Foundation is obsessed with their Encyclopedia Galactica, a comprehensive book about everything that the Galactic Empire had learned about science and technology. So obsessed that they missed out on the fact that most of the population on Terminus don't actually have anything to do with the Encyclopedia. They're devastated when Hari Seldon appears on their fiftieth anniversary to say that the Encyclopedia was a fraud all along and he didn't care if it was ever published.
    • Foundation's Edge: The Second Foundation, having been established as hiding themselves on Trantor by becoming librarians, are known as "scowlers" amoung the planetary population. It is a corruption of the word "scholar". They are proud of their knowledge, especially of the way their focus on the social sciences has helped them develop the ability to calculate the future and Psychic Powers. One of the Hamish women, Novi, tries to convince Stor Gendibal to let her become a "scowler", too (she thinks it means reading books and doing housework for him).
    • "The Originist": Part of Deet Forska's role is to help make the librarians of the Imperial Library feel like they are part of a community. She tries experiments that will result in the employees of the library feeling like the library is something special that they are proud to belong to. She shares some stories about her successes with Leyel Forska, such as the way a librarian expresses pride at belonging to this intellectual sub-culture of Trantor when interacting with visitors.
  • The Noldorin elves from The Silmarillion started off as this, before being partially corrupted by their desire for revenge against Morgoth and becoming a Proud Warrior Race. Later, in The Lord of the Rings, Faramir laments that his people, the Gondorians, are a Proud Scholar Race who are becoming a Proud Warrior Race.
  • The Anophelii in China Miéville's The Scar. At least, the men. The women, on the other hand...
  • The Zacathans in Andre Norton's works, who are experts in knowledge in general and history/archeology in particular.
  • The Terrismen from Mistborn.
  • The Sartan from The Death Gate Cycle.
  • The Alethi from The Stormlight Archive manage to be both a Proud Scholar Race and a Proud Warrior Race, due to their society's incredibly strict gender roles- Alethi men are Proud Warrior Race Guys, and Alethi women are Proud Scholar Race Girls (the divisions are so sharp that it's considered sinful for women to fight, or for men to even learn to read).
  • Thyreia in Emerald Prince. They are also a Perfect Pacifist People. They are shown positively and have a range of personality traits, since the story takes place there.
  • The Beetle-kinden of Collegium in Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series. They have a culturally symbiotic relationship with the Beetle-kinden of Helleron.
  • The Ogier from The Wheel of Time. Very big on history, arts, craftmanship, public speaking, and gardening. However, while they don't much like fighting, they're very good at it if sufficiently motivated.
  • Adventure Hunters has gargoyles who are famous for being grade A historians. Living for an extraordinarily long time is helpful in this regard.
  • The Andalites from Animorphs mostly fall under the Proud Warrior Race Guy, but surprisingly fit this trope too—while males are supposed to be warriors, females are generally either scientists or artists, and the Andalites seem to be the dominant species in Earth's section of the galaxy as a result. It's actually shown that the conflict with the Yeerks is what drove them to put their warrior culture on a pedestal. Before that, they were far more interested in art and science overall, and even after the war started they believe that a warrior should be intelligent and educated as well.
  • The Centaurs of the Xanth series. Culturally, they are academics and scholars, though many of the adult males portrayed are Genius Bruisers who enjoy a good scrap. The Winged Centaur subspecies shows signs of this but are too busy trying to establish a stable population to embrace that particular hat at the moment.
  • In Tara Duncan, the vampire are portrayed as very scholar guys, mostly working on science and philosophy. However, Tara mostly sees them at the "cold" side of this trope, noting their diplomats are polite but not nice, and their elected president, not as easygoing as most kings. Elves in this verse, on the other hand, are hot-blooded.
  • In The Saga of the Bordenlands, by the argentine Liliana Bodoc, the Zitzahay are an example, or at least their leaders are, the Supreme Astronomers, magicians and scholars. They have an army, but they have not participated in wars for many generations.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Time Lords as originally portrayed on Doctor Who. A Retcon subsequently made them wear the "decadent and self-involved" rather than "scholarly" hat. Subsequently, it varied from story to story. Fanfic tends to emphasize the more alien, aloof, scholastic side of Gallifreyan culture. Regardless, the names of the Doctor and the Master deliberately evoked higher learning. but only those two characters are really active outside Gallifrey. Then the Time War happened...
  • Star Trek:
    • Vulcans are almost the Ur-Example of the stoic, detached scholar race, including mild Psychic Powers in the form of the mind meld. Vulcans are an example of both subsets of this trope. While they are usually presented as the scientific side sometimes they show a mystical aspect too. Occasionally as well they show some remainders of rather dark primeval traditions in their culture as in the episode "Amok Time" when Spock's betrothed bride manipulates Kirk and Spock into fighting a Duel to the Death for her favor. That episode is probably a remainder of the time when Vulcans were a Proud Warrior Race.
    • Vulcans were once a Proud Warrior Race that had a Heel–Race Turn and became a Proud Scholar Race. The Romulans were Vulcans who became disgusted at what they considered to be their kin's dishonorable rejection of their badass heritage. Thus Romulans are a Proud Warrior Race that are cousins to a Proud Scholar Race. However, they're also not entirely un-Vulcan. The ones we've seen who were not enemies are more emotional than Vulcans but more restrained and in control all the time than most other races.
    • The Angosians from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Hunted" considers themselves scholars, to the point where they had to create Super Soldiers to fight their wars for them. It worked until they lost control of their soldiers.
    • The Vidiians of Star Trek: Voyager used to be this until they were struck by the Phage, driving them to do increasingly terrible things to other species (mostly involving organ harvesting) in order to survive.
  • The Ancients may have been this at various points in their history in Stargate SG-1. In the various Stargate series, we end up seeing things the Ancients did at vastly separated parts of their history, so their characterization changed accordingly.
    • Both the Asgard and the Nox, in the same Verse. The Asgard are an odd example as they are named after (or, in-universe, inspired the legends of) Norse Mythology, generally much less scholarly than most.
  • The Minbari of Babylon 5 fit this trope very well, especially the religious caste. At least as much psi potential as any other race, one of the "elder" races, on relatively good terms with the Precursors, Crystal Spires and Togas, Ape Shall Never Kill Ape (very common in Space Elves if they're not straight-up Perfect Pacifist People), and loads of Cultural Posturing and Can't Argue with Elves.
  • Wonder Woman TV Series: In this incarnation, Paradise Island’s amazons are Perfect Pacifist People. In contrast with the Proud Warrior Race Guy from the comics, the amazons were overpowered by the Nazis in “The Feminum Mystique”. However, the Amazons easily overpower the Nazis once Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl came back to liberate the Isle.
  • Surprisingly, the Xelayans in The Orville, despite their Heavy Worlder race being famous for their Super Strength. Alara is constantly berated by her parents for choosing to become an officer in the Planetary Union rather than get a "proper" higher education. When Alara points out that other cultures, like humans, see the military as an honorable profession, they express their view of humans as the "hillbillies of the galaxy".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40K:
    • The Eldar, being Space Elves, naturally believe themselves to be this and in fact the only hope the galaxy has against Chaos. Note that this only applies to Craftworld Eldar who survived the birth of Slaanesh, the Dark Eldar (descendants of the Eldar who caused said birth) are a Proud Sadist Race, and the Exodite Eldar are those who pulled a Screw This, I'm Out of Here! before the inevitable happened.
    • The Ethereal caste of the Tau project this image (the Fire Caste and Water Caste being Proud Warrior Race and Proud Merchant/Diplomat Caste), though it's a little more sinister than the usual trope (it's implied they exercise some form of mind control over other Tau and some of the species of the Tau'va).
  • The Darrians in Traveller.
  • Dungeons & Dragons tends to have a few scholarly peoples in its racial lineup; the elven subraces tend to lean toward the mystical end of the spectrum. The 4th edition Eladrin, in particular, embody the scholarly side of the elven archetype. Gnomes also tend to be portrayed in this fashion, whether they're illusionists and wizards, or tinkers and inventors. (The word "gnome", by the way, comes from the Greek word for "to know", and their stereotypical pointed hats may share the symbolic origin of the Wizard Hat—that is, the knowledgeable few at the top, above the uneducated masses on the bottom.)
    • Exaggerated and deconstructed in the Eberron campaign setting. The gnomes of the nation of Zilargo are known for their intellects. In their land is the largest library (which doubles as the most respected university in the world), as well as the most respected newspaper which is distributed across the continent. Their prowess in elemental binding has made gnomes a match of the various Mega Corporations that deal in Magitek. But the Gnomes' value and thirst of knowledge is so great it has taken a dark side - spying on one's neighbors and family for secrets and blackmail is not only common, but expected. Their entire society is held together by blackmail, and because of their affinity for knowledge, Zilargo is a police state run an intelligence organization that rivals the two Mega Corporations that specialize in spying. Criminals in Zilargo are not tried or arrested, they have "accidents" or simply vanish. Similarly, it is a common saying that the gnomes do not go to war in the traditional sense - they wage their battles through information warfare and intelligence warfare.
    • Gnomes were portrayed this way in the setting-generic, late-3rd Edition sourcebook Races of Stone. Using their racial affinity for illusion magic as a springboard, the writers portrayed gnomes as having a culture based around the concept of truth and the philosophical pursuit of uncovering or obscuring it.
    • If the Garundi humans from Pathfinder have a hat, it's this. Their various nations are typically ruled, or at least heavily influenced, by mages, scholars, and alchemists.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, most blue aligned races, as well as blue-aligned humans civilisations, fall under one of these tropes. The Vedalken are probably the most blatant example, because they don't exist outside of the Magic storyline and have no other role to fullfill.
    • Same with some of the White aligned races, which tend towards the mystic scholar archetype, like Alara Aven.
  • The Hylar from Twilight Imperium board game are ruled by a government that is called the Universities of Jol-Nar. They also fulfill the "stuffed-up jerks" part of this trope, an attitude which bit them in the ass big time at least once, when it didn't occur to them they need the other races as much as these needed their science.
  • The Tremere from Vampire: The Masquerade carry around "proud" by the wheelbarrow-full, having set themselves up as the Camarilla's greatest (and often sole) authority on the mystical arts. Mind you, being vampires, their manner is less "detached, reserved, and philosophical" and more "we're the only ones with the potential to know this, and if you try to know this, we will end you."
    • Clan Brujah was known during the dark ages as the Learned Clan, and were proficient in the scholary arts primarily as well as physical prowess, creating a clan of passionate Warrior Poets. Sadly, this degenerated over the centuries, and in the final nights they are more of a Proud Warrior Race with only the older members dedicating themselves to the more intellectual side of things.
    • The Nosferatu are legendary for their abilities to gather information. While many take on a Knowledge Broker role, dealing information in exchange for favors and coin, the clan has a number of pure scholars and researchers among them.
  • The Tzaetzi and Mnemonics in The Splinter are primarily interested in discovering and studying the history and technology of The Realm, respectively.

  • Ko-Matoran in BIONICLE universe are not very social, preferring silent studies — they are the ice tribe after all, and powered or not, Bionicle tribes have Personality Powers. Doesn't mean ice Matoran are not nice: it's very hard to anger them.

    Video Games 
  • Civilization has a few civs well-suited for a Science Victory:
    • Babylon in Civ V gets a free Great Scientist upon researching Writing, and develops subsequent Great Scientists more quickly, allowing them to build lots of science-producing terrain improvements or just rush individual techs.
    • Korea produces more science from city specialists and gets a research boost every time a science-themed Wonder is finished in its capital in Civ V, while in Civ VI it enjoys a flat boost to science output and can build the seowon, an improved campus district that makes any adjacent mines produce science points as well. Queen Seondeok will respect fellow advanced rulers while looking down upon backward rivals.
    • The Maya are a scientific/religious hybrid civ thanks to their stepped Pyramid buildings, which unlike normal Temples produce both science and faith. They can also get an early boost to research with a free Great Scientist if they so choose, since their Long Count calendar mechanic means that they're guaranteed a Great Person once every bak'tun.
    • Assyria is both a scientific and militaristic civ due to their Treasures of Ninevah ability, which lets them outright steal a technology each time they conquer a rival's city. They're also encouraged to build research infrastructure, since their Royal Library grants bonus experience to any units trained in the same city, so long as said library contains a Great Work of writing.
  • The Elder Scrolls
  • The Sophon of Endless Space are a race of incredibly curious tinkerers and scientists with a generally peaceful demeanor, considering war to be a wasteful undertaking pushed on them by warlike aliens; they have a massive science boost and great engines and sensors, but build slowly and can't fight worth a damn. The Pilgrims, a breakaway nation of human scientists and mystics dedicated to studying the Endless have no innate science boosts, but are adept at gaining knowledge from salvaging enemy ships after battle. There's also the Automatons, a race of clockwork robots that dislike combat and prefer to silently tinker away on planetary ecosystems; like the Pilgrims, they receive no innate science bonus, but their vast industrial capacity allows them to pump out science from their extremely well developed solar systems.
  • The Vasudans of FreeSpace consider themselves as such and play up this perception of their culture to the Terrans. In reality, though, they're really not much more advanced than the Terrans in any respect.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has Sharlayan, an island nation that is home to the best and brightest minds in all of Hydaelyn, and the homeland of some of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, including Y'shtola, Urianger, Alphinaud, and Alisaie. In spite of the nation's academic prowess, it also holds fast to a tradition of political neutrality and non-interference in international matters, up to and including a potential world-ending apocalypse — a policy that has resulted in no small amount of friction between the Scions and Sharlayan's leaders.
  • In Gems of War, Adana is distinguished from its neighbours by its dedication to scholarship and technology. (Not necessarily peaceful technology, though — it includes muskets.)
  • The Asura from Guild Wars 2, their intro cinematic sums up things nicely and quickly: "I am Asura. I personify genius." Ironically, the only other race that matches them for technology are the Charr, the Proud Warrior Race guys.
  • The asari from the Mass Effect games fit the "mystic" description to a T, having superior talents at biotics.
    • The salarians have a reputation as good scientists, albeit one overshadowed by their other reputation as spies. These are often the same people.
    • The asari are the most advanced of the Citadel races. In the third game, we find out that they are hogging a Prothean beacon that they used to achieve their technological superiority, although Javik claims this was intentional.
  • The Psilons in Master of Orion (scientists) and the Elerians from the second and third games (mystics, not found in MOO 1)
  • The Chozo from Metroid. They're not humanoid, but they have great powers, are possibly magical, are wise and knowedgeable, Closer to Earth (or, more accurately, Tallon IV), and are generally mystical. They also fit the Scientific side of the trope: the thing is that they grew so scientifically advanced that they hit a dead end. Since science offered no more answers, they turned to mysticism to complement it. In fact, one game shows that they tried to advise the Bryyonians to strike a balance of science and magic in their society. The Bryyonians failed, which lead to a world-ending Magic vs Technology War. For added fun, the backstory also establishes that the Chozo were once a Proud Warrior Race before giving it up in favor of becoming this — hence Samus' power suit and the numerous upgrades for it scattered around the galaxy.
  • The D'ni race in the Myst series lived in a large cavern Beneath the Earth and spent most of their time developing mining and stoneworking technologies. But moreover, they had the ability to write Portal Books to any world they could imagine, and while many of these were used for resource gathering, they were used mostly for exploration and study of various scientific principles. The cornerstone of their society was the guild system and its corresponding set of advanced schools, but they were also deeply religious, being the descendants of a simplistic sect that rejected the unscrupulous practices of an older society which was happy to exploit its worlds, and the people within, to the point of ruin. Unfortunately, the D'ni still had a major superiority complex, which led to xenophobia, slavery, and a series of interracial conflicts that undermined and eventually led to the destruction of their civilization.
  • No Man's Sky: The Korvax are a near-immortal sentient machine species that appear to value science and exploration. Korvax worship and venerate the Atlas machines, making their priests a considerable boon for players searching for Atlas-related phenomena, from Atlas technology, to Atlas Stations, to even black holes that will eventually bring one closer to the center of the galaxy. Korvax commonly share their memories and discoveries with one another by uploading them onto special platinum cubes that are slotted into each other's brains to copy their contents.
  • The University of Planet in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri are a collection of scientists whose primary goal is the expansion of human knowledge. Admittedly, that process involves a loose interpretaion of ethics and human rights, but....
  • The Syreen from the Star Control series of games.
  • In StarCraft the two Khalai caste Protoss, in contrast to the Templar and Judicators who make up most of the Protoss cast in the wargames, are proud and enthusiastic scientists for sure.
  • The Krityans from Tales of Vesperia would like to believe that they're this. The problem, however, is that most of them are A-Grade Cloudcuckoolanders who like to prattle on about magic vegetables that probably don't even exist when they're not designing new pieces of technology. The fact that their token "rebellious" representative who ends up in your party is a constantly-sedated Blood Knight who may or may not also be Ax-Crazy and is considered similar to the main race speaks volumes. All in all, they're not exactly the best safeguards of the knowledge that a giant space octopus made from global warming is going to utterly rape the planet.
  • The Lunarians from Touhou. They see themselves as more spiritually pure than absolutely anyone else who are not Lunarians... scratch that, they believe that they are simply better, period. It's strongly hinted that Lunarians were humans who attained great spiritual height. They have expendable servitors, the Moon Rabbits. And just in case anyone is up to challenge their claim: in the past, they thwarted a Youkai invasion from Gensokyo led by Yukari Yakumo. Yukari Yakumo is a Reality Warper. Though it's speculated that Yukari intended to lose just to teach the Youkai a lesson.
  • The Warcraft universe has blood elves for the magic sort and gnomes (the descendants of ancient machines) and arguably goblins for tech. The draenei are somewhere in between, as they've always been magically-oriented and are implied to have picked up some degree of magitek knowledge as well. And the tauren are both a Proud Scholar Race (of the mystic variety) and a Proud Warrior Race.
  • The Shama'Li in War Wind live in harmony with Yavaun's ecosystem, have natural magic abilities, and genuinely strive for peace and harmony among all races on the planet (including humans in the second installment). All this doesn't mean they cannot be a dangerous foe in combat, especially when it goes about the weak and oppressed.
  • Stellaris:
    • Scientific Race: the "Erudite Explorer" AI personality, the Lokken Mechanists and the Voor Technocracy preset empires, and the Keepers of Knowledge fallen empires. Also, any player-race that embraces the materialist ethic. (Especially the Science Directorate government in which the only leaders eligible for presidency are scientists.)
    • Mystic Race: the "Spiritual Seeker" AI personality, the Scyldari Confederacy preset empire, and the Holy Guardians fallen empires. Player races that embrace spiritualist ethic - especially those that actually choose the spiritualist ascension path - are also this trope.
  • The nomai of Outer Wilds fit this trope to a t. Their philosophy centers around identifying and explaining the natural world, and their scientific endeavors range from gravitational manipulation to teleportation to time travel. At the same time, their technology tends towards Crystal Spires and Togas, and their cities prominently feature shrines and temples. Other nomai clans are implied to stick more towards the scientific side of this trope, but still play it fairly straight.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Proud Scholar Race Girl, Proud Scholar Race Guy