Mythology of The Ori and The Ancients
The Ori backstory is elaborate and is explained over Season 9 and 10 and the film Stargate: The Ark of Truth. Robert C. Cooper considered the backstory "pretty complicated" but felt the show gave the answers to the audience members who wanted to delve deeper.
Part of this story returns to the Ancients, whose backstory began in the Season 1 episode "The Torment of Tantalus". Early in Season 9, Brad Wright explained that the Ori are the original Ancients, who would disagree with the Alterans (later to relocate and be known as the Ancients of the Milky Way galaxy) that they shouldn't interfere because interference would mean playing god, which these beings hadn't quite achieved.
The Ori and the Alterans were one race millions of years ago and lived in a single society on an evolutionary path to ascension. The Ark of Truth shows flashbacks to human Ancients coexisting with the people who eventually became the Ori. However, a philosophical division emerged. The Ori grew more and more fervent in their religious belief, while the Alterans adopted a more scientific/rational outlook to become a more progressive society. The Ancients were well known for their fierce belief in free will and had a code to be "fairly non-violent". As such, they do not interfere on lower planes of existence at all, not even to save their own kind from being exterminated by the Ori, or to prevent all life in the Milky Way galaxy from being exterminated by Anubis. In contrast, the Ori constantly interfere. For example, Origin states that failure to share the secrets of the universe to those on the lower planes of existence is an evil act and that anyone not following it must be eliminated; by this definition, every ascended Ancient was evil and must be destroyed. They also have no rules against taking direct control of living beings or completely changing them to behave as they desire. With the Ori outnumbering the Alterans, their viewpoints ultimately diverged so much that the two groups split apart and began to actively oppose each other, with the Ori attempting to kill the Alterans.
Their fundamentally different beliefs in regards to science led the Alterans to hide their level of scientific belief so that they would not get into a conflict. Eventually, the Ancients decided to build a space ship and leave rather than to use their technology, like the Ark of Truth, to defeat the Ori. Though they had the ability to stop the Ori, they thought it to be philosophically and morally wrong. The film thus addresses the non-interference policy of the Ancients under the Ori threat, and how they act since SG-1 did them a big favor by killing the Ori.
After much time, believed by Daniel Jackson to be thousands of years, the Alterans discovered the Milky Way, where they eventually built their empire. However, even after the Ori had forced the Alterans to leave their galaxy, the two factions remained bitter enemies. Eventually, the Alterans were afflicted with a terrible plague that wiped out most of their civilization. It would later be discovered that what was known of this plague is very similar to the disease used by Ori Priors against non-believers, which had led Daniel Jackson to speculate that the pre-Ascended Ori might have been responsible for this plague.
After millions of years, both the Alterans and the Ori learned how to ascend and evolved, forming two groups that continued to oppose each other, even at the higher planes of existence. According to the Orici Adria, the Ori-Ancient war on the Ascended plane is due to the Ancients' intolerance for those who do not comply with their rules about non-interference. According to Orlin, a de-ascended Ancient, the conflict arises from the Ori's ultimate wish to destroy the Ancients once and for all as they seek to eliminate all who oppose them.
When the Ori ascended they re-created humanity (the second generation of humans) to worship them in the Ori galaxy, and gave their followers the knowledge and technology to essentially enslave others and to force them to believe as the Ori desired. The Ancients also created a new evolution of humans (i.e. current human culture) in the Milky Way and shielded them, preventing the Ori from finding out about them and enslaving the people to Origin as they had in their own galaxy. They do not view this action as a violation of their non-interference policies as the Ori are at a level equal to themselves. However, as the Ancients will not interfere in the lower planes of existence, the Ori are allowed to send their human followers to the Milky Way in order to convert it, and anyone who wishes to worship the Ori will not be prevented from doing so.
According to Orlin, ascended beings can be empowered by massive numbers of humans worshipping them. The Ori have fabricated an entire religion, named Origin, based on the false promise of ascension to drain power from their followers. The Ancients firmly resent using their powers this way, and therefore refrain from interfering in the lower planes of existence because manipulating and aligning lower life forms could result in exactly this type of abusive corruption. According to the Ancient Myrddin, the Ori had the best intentions when they first began, but as evidenced on numerous occasions throughout history, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Ori were, for all intents and purposes, omnipotent and liked it. Even after they were presumably destroyed, their followers and Priors continued to use their powers and name to oppress and enslave thousands of people.
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