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The Jedi Order was a centuries old organization that has served as the watchmen and guardians of the Galactic Republic. The Order itself was founded on the planet Tython by philosophers, priests, scientists, and artists who gathered to study and explore a hidden power that would come to be known as the Force. For thousands of years the Order has defended Republic from numerous threats both domestic and external and in doing so have become the arch enemy of a group known as the Sith. The Jedi choose to use the Force for knowledge and defense are noted for the use of their signature weapon, the lightsaber.
In the Clone Wars, Jedi were the key factor for victory in battle for the Republic. Their knowledge, skills, and positions as guardians of peace, stood in the way of total domination over the Republic from Droid Army forces. In this time of war most Jedi were chosen to be Generals and Commanding Officers over regiments in the Grand Army of the Republic, though only if they had attained a certain rank as a Jedi.
The first step in the Jedi's walk with the Force. Younglings or Initiates are taken from all across the Republic space and brought to the Order for training often as infants. The children will grow and mature in the teachings of the Order and study in larger groups. Once a youngling has demonstrated the appropriate skill level they are selected by Knight or Jedi Master to become that Master's padawan learner. However not all initiates will reach this level as there are always a number who deemed unworthy of moving forward in their training. These individuals will be phased into a support program which serves to help meet the logistical needs of the Order.
A Jedi Padawan is the next stage from an Initiate. Padawans were Initiates that proved their ability in understanding in the way of the Jedi, and are chosen to be assigned to a single Jedi Knight or Master to learn the ways of the Force. The rank is considered to be the first and thus lowest rank within the order. Traditionally, to signify their status, Padawans would have a long braid of hair behind their right ear, such as Anakin Skywalker's braid before becoming a Knight. The padawan will often remain with the master for many years until that master believes they are ready to face the trials of knighthood and become a full member of the order.
KnightJedi Knight status is given to a Padawan that shows a high level of discipline and completes the "Trials" of the Jedi. Once a Knight, these Jedi no longer need to follow their instructor and are sent on missions of intergalactic peace-keeping. A Jedi Knight is considered to be a full-fledged Jedi in the Order and can eventually begin training their own Padawan, if they choose to do so.
Jedi Masters are appointed by showing a great knowledge of the force, training a Padawan to Knight status, or performing extraordinary deeds. Masters are in fewer numbers than any of the other previous ranks, and even fewer are the Masters that are chosen to serve on the Council.Jedi Masters that are on the Jedi Council are individuals that have shown great experience, knowledge, and that are wise in the Order. Only twelve Jedi can be on the Council at a time, and in the absence of a Council member, another highly experienced Master or Knight will take their place for a short while. Council members act as the governing body for the Order, discussing issues affecting the Order, or in times of war, strategies and tactics.
The Jedi Grand Master is the absolute highest rank and the unquestioned leader in the Jedi Order. Grand Masters were noted as being the strongest, wisest, and the most masterful of all the Jedi.
Additional Ranks in the Clone Wars
During the Clone Wars, Jedi were given command roles in the Grand Army, some more limited than others.
The rank of Commander was given to Padawans serving in actual roles in field operations. As affiliates with the Order these Padawans out rank all troopers and Republic officers save for those at the highest levels of the Republic military command structure like the Admirals.
A General is the title given only to Jedi of Knight status. These Jedi are in control of entire battalions and had full command of their forces as opposed to Jedi Commanders who reported to a master. During the Clone Wars there were roughly 400 Jedi Generals in command of corps and legions.
A senior General applied to a Jedi Master that was not serving as a Council member. These Generals commanded sector armies and were only outranked by the High Council members.
The title of High General was only applicable to a Jedi Master that was also serving as a Council member. Their roles as High General gave them control of their own army, allowed them to instruct the other previous ranks, and were the main decision makers in the war. Of these ten some of the most notable High Generals in the Clone Wars were Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Mace Windu, and Shaak Ti.