Between 1200 - 1100 BC
Enforcement of the vampire law
The equivalent of royalty in the vampire world, the Volturi consists of 5 core members: Aro, Caius, Marcus, Aro's wife Sulpicia, and Caius's wife Athenodora. Marcus's wife (and Aro's sister) Didyme was also a member before she was killed by her brother. Aside from these head members, it also consists of a collection of powerfully imposing vampires, known as the "Volturi guard", the most powerful being Chelsea, Jane and Alec.
The Volturi act as the unofficial royalty in the world of vampires, and are an incredibly influential coven. They are also considered 'nighttime patrons of the arts' as, because of their inability to sleep, they study the arts at night. The Volturi act as guardians, keeping the secret society of vampires hidden from the human world as needed. They often send their agents to travel from Volterra to destroy overzealous covens from exposing vampires through mass eradication of every vampire (and any humans) present. The coven has existed for over 3000 years, and is the largest coven in existence, followed by the Olympic, the Denali, and the Mexican covens.
Throughout the centuries, the Volturi have established and enforced a number of laws that all vampires are expected to obey or get sentenced to death penalty if they don't. There aren't many of them, and they mainly concern the secrecy surrounding the existence of vampires.
The laws are not written down; to write them would in itself be an infraction. Instead, the laws are passed by word of mouth from vampire to vampire.
- Hunts must be inconspicuous, with victims unlikely to be missed; their remains must be disposed of and territory must be changed often.
- Incapable of self-control, and therefore a threat of exposure, immortal children are not to be created. Such creation is the ultimate taboo and punishable by death to both child, the creator, those who defend the child and those who know of its existence.
- Dealing with Children of the Moon, except for the purpose of extermination, is prohibited.
- False witness, regardless of intent, is punishable by death.
- Hunting is forbidden in Volterra, the town of residence of the Volturi; their food is brought from outside, sometimes from quite far away.
- Attention should not be drawn and vampires should not be noticed in open sunlight.
- Creator is responsible for his newborn's behavior and teaching of the laws before they can be released on their own. By letting a newborn hunt conscpicuously, the penalty will be death both to the newborn and its creator. Even if the newborn is ignorant of the law, his rash acts are still punishable by death.
- Vampires' interaction with humans must not draw wide attention. If a human becomes aware of them, the vampire at fault would be responsible for silencing that human. This mostly leads to two options: either make the human join the immortals or silence that human permanently.
Throughout the centuries, many vampires are born after the laws were established, and every vampire was taught of these laws by their creator. Though they think of the laws as an accepted fact, they do not know that it is really the Volturi's scheme to maintain control of the vampire world. To this day, many vampires continue to obey the laws. Like the Cullens are obeying, which leads them to move approximately every 6 to 7 years to avoid suspicion in the human world.
The Volturi were founded by Aro, Caius and Marcus, along with Aro's wife Sulpicia, Caius's wife Athenodora and Marcus's wife Didyme, who was also Aro's sister. The coven originated in Greece and proceeded to gather vampires with useful talents to build up their power, and eventually relocated to Volterra, Italy. When the coven became strong enough, the Volturi usurped control of the vampire world from the Romanian coven, the original ruling coven, and presented the laws of prohibiting vampires from being noticed by humans. After the Romanians were defeated in the century-long war, their next target was the Egyptians, with only two survivors from the demise, Amun and Kebi. Their power increased incredibly after recruiting Jane and Alec; two vampire twins with extremely powerful gifts, and subsequently made the coven untouchable. They presented the twins for the first time when the Romanian coven tried to regain control and defeated the army easily with their powers.
At one time, Marcus and his wife Didyme grew tired of the coven's warring lifestyle and planned on leaving. Aro was upset by this, but pretended to give them his support; however, Aro later secretly killed Didyme to prevent Marcus from leaving, because he found his brother-in-law's power much more useful than his sister's. Marcus spent a majority of time trying to find the murderer (he never realized it was Aro who did it), when he failed, he became suicidal. At this point, Aro met Chelsea and realized that she had the power to manipulate relationships and used her to keep Marcus loyal to the Volturi. The death of Didyme, however, prompted Caius and Aro to ensure tight security surveillance to their mates. As Chelsea's power is the key to their civilization, Aro always gives her what she wants (for example, her mate Afton, who is far less skilled than her), but he also uses Corin's gift to keep her from leaving. With Chelsea on their side, they were able to easily recruit other vampires who did not wish to join them (for example, Demetri, Renata and Heidi).
The Volturi have ruled the vampire world for 25 centuries by the start of the series. During that time, the coven did a number of things to ensure stability in the world, including outlawing the creation of immortal children, cleaning up after the southern wars in the southern parts of America and creating their own vampires to spread their laws across the world. At some point, Caius was almost killed in a fight with a werewolf. Becoming terrified of his people's mortal enemies, he pushed the Volturi to hunt them to near extinction in Europe and Asia.
Carlisle Cullen, at one time, came to stay with the coven. The leaders enjoyed his company greatly, but were unable to persuade him to hunt humans instead of animals. Carlisle also tried to teach them values of human life, but to no avail either. The four were painted by Italian painter Francesco Solimena, who found their god-like appearances inspiring. Carlisle eventually left the coven after two decades and established his own coven in America. Eleazar also was once part of the Volturi guard, given the task to detect any individual (human or vampire) with a particular gift that might make him useful to the coven, but he eventually left with his mate Carmen. The two later found the Denali coven and joined them.
- Main article: Twilight
- Main article: New Moon
The Volturi first appear in New Moon. Near the beginning of New Moon, Edward tells Bella about the Volturi's history, place and occupation in the world of vampires, and that irritating the Volturi was the perfect way to get yourself slaughtered.
When Edward thought Bella had killed herself, he goes to Volterra to ask the Volturi to kill him; they refuse. Aro in particular, wants Edward to join them, and Edward decides to force their hand by exposing himself to the humans of the city during the St. Marcus Day Festival when the sunlight reflects on his diamond-like skin, which will ultimately lead to his destruction as punishment for the exposure.
Bella and Alice, however, are able to arrive in the city and find him before he could reveal himself. Three guards (Jane, Felix, and Demetri) bring Edward, Alice, and Bella back to Aro, Marcus, and Caius. Aro is intrigued when he sees Bella's immunity to Jane's, Edward's and his powers. After Edward, Alice, and Bella refused to join the Volturi, Caius tells them that Bella must die because she knows their secrets, which Edward refuses to allow happen (in the movie, a fight ensues between Edward and Felix until Felix overpowers him, and Aro orders him to stop before he rips Edward's head off, at Bella's plea). But Alice is able to convince them to let them Bella go when she "shows" Aro a vision of Bella becoming a vampire in the future. They are then allowed to leave the city after midnight.
- Main article: Eclipse
- "Either we let them do what they were created for... or we end them. Decisions, decisions."
- ―Jane on the Seattle newborn army[src]
The Volturi appear at the end of Eclipse, though they are mentioned many times. At first, the Cullens suspect that the Volturi may be creating an army in Seattle. However, they know that even if it isn't them, they will soon have to come to sort it out. This causes worry that they will stop in to see if Bella is still human. But by the time they arrive, they find that the Cullens (with the aid of a werewolf pack) have already eradicated the army. The guard merely interrogate and kill Bree Tanner, the only newborn who had surrendered. They also promise to come back and check Bella's mortality soon before leaving.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
- Main article: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
- "I could tell that they were as wary of these dark-cloaks as Riley and my creator had been. There was something more to them than I could see, but I could definitely feel it. These were the punishers, and they didn't lose."
- ―Bree Tanner[src]
In The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, after hearing about the army of newborns is created by a vengeful Victoria, the Volturi send a portion of their guard to "deal" with the army: Jane, Demetri, Felix and two other vampires; Alec replaces the other two in the Eclipse movie.
The guards find and visit Victoria and Riley in a small house. As it turns out, they have been aware of the army's actions for awhile and suspect that its creation was to be used for the destruction of the Olympic coven. Jane makes an offer to Victoria: a five-day limit to serve their purpose or they will end them. When Victoria asks what would happen after they have served their purpose, Jane simply replies, "That depends on how successful you are." However, they are unaware that their conversation was overheard by two newborns, Bree Tanner and Diego.
- Main article: Breaking Dawn
Caius is planning to send a hunting party to Forks to see if Bella has become a vampire or not. To stop this, Alice sends the Volturi an announcement for Bella and Edward's wedding. The announcement delays the Volturi's plans because they aren't sure if it means that they had actually gotten married or if Bella had been turned. In the end, Aro decides to send Bella a wedding gift -- a thick, gold-chained necklace with a diamond the size of a golf ball accompanied by a note saying, "I so look forward to meeting the new Mrs. Cullen in person," which worries Bella.
She decides to go to Italy alone to let the Volturi know that she has been turned and hide the fact that she has mothered a half-human/half-vampire daughter named Renesmee. Before she can, however, the vampire Irina mistakes her daughter to be an immortal child, vampire children that are forbidden to exist, and informs the Volturi of this "case". They gather the entire guard together with their wives, and set out to destroy the Cullens. It takes them one month to do so, as they take the time to gather witnesses. Though they take up the pretense of justification, Aro really has another reason for gathering the entire guard: he is determined to bring Alice, as well as Edward and Bella, into the Volturi.
When the Volturi arrive, they find that the Cullens have gathered what appears to be an army to oppose them, made up of 27 vampires, including their old rivals - the Romanians, and a large number of "werewolves". In reality, the Cullens' 'army' is really a group of witnesses that could testify that Renesmee, the so-called immortal child, is really the hybrid daughter of Edward and Bella. Aro is convinced of this after seeing Edward's memories, and Irina admits her false accusation.
Caius, in an attempt to start a fight, kills Irina, and also tries to use the werewolves as an excuse to attack, but Edward says that they were not real werewolves, and Aro agrees, referring to them as "shape-shifters". Though they agree that Renesmee was not an immortal child, they are not convinced that she would not become a threat. While pretending to counsel, the guard attempt to use their powers to immobilize the Cullens and their allies, only to be blocked by Bella's power. This almost leads to a fight, but the timely arrival of Alice and Jasper changes that: they have found another human-vampire hybrid named Nahuel, who is able to convince Aro that the few hybrid vampires in the world pose no threat, and the Volturi leave the Cullens in peace, but have also been disgraced by the incident.
In the movie, Aro is shown the vision an epic battle ensuing between the Volturi and the Cullens when he kills Carlisle. Benjamin opens a hole in the ground to bury the Volturi's agents; Renesmee and Jacob are chased by Santiago whilst escaping the battle, but Jacob manages to kill him; Demetri is beheaded by Edward; Alec is beheaded by Emmett before he has the chance to use his power; Jane is defeated by Alice (with assistance from Bella) and then killed by Sam Uley. Marcus is killed by the Romanians, then Caius by the Denalis. Aro, angered by his loss, charges at Bella and Edward, who manage to overpower him and sever his head. The vision ends with Aro's eyes witnessing Bella's approach with a torch, closing in to end him.
After the confrontation, Edward reveals that Aro was actually scared of a fight breaking out: after realizing the extension of Bella's power (which rendered all of the Volturi's powers useless), Aro realized there was a good chance the Cullens and their allies could've destroyed them. In the movie, he is horrified by the vision of his own death.
The Cullens and their allies, however, suspect that the Volturi will someday attempt to avenge the humiliation they suffered. They intend to gather again if it happens to end the Volturi once and for all.
- "There were thirty-two of them. Even if you did not count the two drifting, waifish black-cloaked figures in the very back, who I took to be wives - their protected position suggesting that they would not be involved in the attack - we were still out numbered."
- ―Bella Swan[src]
Aro, Caius and Marcus are the leaders of the Volturi. They command the Volturi guard and act as representatives when dealing with other covens. They rarely leave the city, but will do so occasionally when the situation demands it.
- Aro: The official leader. His power of tactile telepathy allows him to access every thought a person has ever had by making physical contact with them. He is the most greedy, careful, yet ambitious and manipulative of the leaders, always looking for ways to collect the gifts that he desires, and would kill those he cares about if it meant maintaining his power of authority.
- Caius: Aro's partner and co-leader of the Volturi. He does not possess any special talents, but his ambitions and hatred toward the Romanian Coven impressed Aro so much that he decided to recruit him when they formed the coven. He is often in disagreement with Aro, but Chelsea's power has kept Caius loyal to him.
- Marcus: A co-leader with the power of relationship identification. With it, he can read the emotional bonds of others and see the weaknesses. Aro uses his gift to find the weakest spots of their enemies' emotional bonds and then use it against them. Marcus has been completely apathetic and uninterested in everything since the death of his mate, Didyme.
Mates of the Volturi leaders. The wives are also powerful figures of authority and core members of the coven, but they only go on trials with their husbands on behalf of extremely important matters, not leaving their tower in Volterra but once every few centuries. Since then, the wives became virtual prisoners in their tower. To keep them happy and content, Aro sent Corin to keep them company, using her power of being able to provide people with an addictive contentment. The wives are well protected in their tower. Aro's sister and Marcus's wife, Didyme, was one of the core members before she was killed. If the wives are taken to witness the coven's actions, they are usually very heavily guarded as well.
- Athenodora: Caius's mate. She has been part of the coven since before they rose to power.
- Sulpicia: Aro's mate. Aro created her, because he wanted to make a mate instead of finding one in order to avoid complications. She is completely loyal to him.
- "... Don't bother. I think you know who we are, so you must know that there is no point in trying to surprise us. Or hide from us. Or fight us. Or run."
The guard, also known as the Volturi guard, is a group of vampires with powerful capabilities and subordinates of the coven. Each member is given assignments fitting to their useful qualities: while most guards are assigned with protecting the prominent members and acting as executioners, some are assigned with other useful tasks.
The Volturi have been shown to invite mostly vampires with incredibly powerful gifts that the leaders see as useful to ensuring that their authority amongst other covens goes unchallenged. Aro only allows the ones with the best of skills to join the guard. When a vampire is invited into the Volturi, he or she is forced to feel content about joining due to Chelsea's gift to manipulate emotional bonds, usually guaranteeing a swift initiation into the group. When the Volturi find a vampire more gifted than one of their guards, they would try to recruit him or her to replace the member, or at least to join the organization. If a guard member is dismissed, he is either released on his own or be sentenced to death, depending on how useful he might be of to other covens.
The Volturi guard currently stands at nine permanent members and a number of more transitory guard members. Each guard wears a cloak, whose color is an indication of their status/ranking; the darker its shade is, the more valuable that vampire is considered. The transitory guard members wear the gray cloaks while the nine permanent members wear the darker cloaks. Jane and Alec have the second darkest cloaks, while Chelsea's is almost the pure black of the leaders.
Their most powerful members are the twin vampires: Alec, who can cut off all senses of a person; and Jane, who can implant an illusion of pain into a target's mind. Though their talents are merely mental, they have made the Volturi untouchable.
Though the Volturi guard mostly consists of gifted vampires, there have been exceptions. If a physically imposing vampire impresses the leaders, he will be invited to join them as a guard.
- Afton: One of the lowest ranked members within the guard. Though he has the gift of mental invisibility, he owes his state to his mate, Chelsea, who is the prominent member of the Volturi. His power is only enough to protect himself from pursuers by making himself mentally invisible to his enemies, but it can be easily seen through by someone with a sharp focus.
- Alec: One of the two most powerful weapons of the Volturi; the other being his older twin sister, Jane. Alec has the power of sense deprivation, which allows him to block all senses of those he directs at, making them simple targets during slaughter and incapacitation. His power manifests a hazy mist that blocks senses as soon as it touches someone; he can also control whom he wishes to affect, allowing others to easily slaughter his targets. For this reason and his ability to affect several people at the same time, he is the single most powerful weapon in battle.
- Chelsea: She is the linchpin of the Volturi due to her power of relationship manipulation, which allows her to break the emotional bindings of the Volturi's enemies as well as make a wanted vampire willingly join them. Whenever Aro invites a certain vampire into the coven, she uses her power to create the loyalty that wasn't there before and make that vampire willingly join the coven. She is also the center of the coven's organization, as she made the members more connected with one another. Because of this power, she shares a special relationship with Aro and often receives what she wants, in one occasion having her mate, Afton, be allowed to stay with the Volturi. Although her gift is powerful, it is not powerful enough to loosen the ties of true love.
- Corin: A guard with the power of addictive contentment, therefore she is assigned with keeping Sulpicia and Athenodora company in their tower. Though her power is useful in making others feel content and happy with their situations, it has a side-effect: anyone exposed to her power for too long will feel physically uncomfortable if they are not exposed to it for a period of time. Her power is the main reason that Chelsea is unable to leave the Volturi.
- Demetri: An extremely powerful tracker. His power allows him to pick up the essence of someone's mind and then follow it over any distance across the world to hunt them down. Because of this, he is the main threat to those who wish to escape the Volturi's slaughter. He can track a target after meeting him for the first time or by coming in contact with someone who had met him in the past, and then pick up the essence.
- Felix: The physically strongest warrior the Volturi has ever had. Though he wears a gray cloak that represents the replaceable guards, he actually has a permanent position within the coven. His superior strength and knowledge in combat skills makes him an intimidating opponent to those who try to fight him. It would be suicide to challenge him physically. Therefore, Felix is often present during executions.
- Heidi: The "fisher", also the "bait", of the coven. Her power of physical attraction allows her to attract people, vampire or human, which is why she is mainly responsible for luring "food" to the Volturi's castle by feigning well-paid jobs and/or vacations to countries other than Italy.
- Jane: One of the two most powerful weapons of the Volturi; the other being her younger twin brother, Alec. Her power of illusionary pain works by implanting a thought into a single target to make them think they are being burned alive, which effectively turns them into a simple target. This makes her frightening to other vampires. Her power is effective in maintaining a peaceful confrontation and inspiring fear. She also uses her power to incapacitate her opponents when the leaders are "counseling".
- Renata: Aro's personal bodyguard. She has a powerful shield that allows her to repel an attacker and make them go another way. Her main responsibility in the guard is to protect Aro, but when Caius and Marcus are in need, she is assigned to protect them as well.
- Santiago: A physically imposing guard in the coven, though his strength and skills aren't as impressive as Felix's.
There are 17 more unnamed members in the Volturi guard, some of them described as brawny as Felix, making the entire Volturi coven based on approximately 32 vampires in Breaking Dawn, including the leaders and their wives.
These guard members are mostly assigned to ensure the safety of the leaders, their wives, and Jane and Alec during battle. However, some of them are likely to have useful supernatural gifts that have ensured their positions within the guard.
- Didyme: Marcus's deceased wife and Aro's younger sister. She had a gift to induce happiness in those around her. She and Marcus fell in love, and as they grew tired of the Volturi's lifestyle, they decided to leave the coven to find a more peaceful lifestyle. But before they could, Aro killed his own sister in order to keep Marcus within the Volturi, because he found his brother-in-law's power far more useful than hers. Till this day, Marcus doesn't know who her killer is.
- Eleazar: A former member of the Volturi. He was invited into the coven because Aro thought his ability to sense the gifts in others was useful for when the Volturi scouted for new members. He resigned after meeting his spouse, Carmen, and joined the Denali coven sometime later. Aro only permitted his resignation to preserve his gift for later use. Eleazar is the only known guard member to leave the Volturi completely on his own will.
- Unnamed tracker: According to The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, the Volturi once had another tracker before Demetri, but when they heard of Demetri's skill proving more efficient than his, they had him replaced. Whether he still lives today remains a mystery.
- Recruited humans: During the Volturi's early reign, they recruited humans who sought the power and immortality of vampire lore and introduced them into the world with a set of preconceived ideas about vampire society - ideas that those new vampires eventually introduced to their own "offspring" and other covens they came in contact with. The Volturi continued to recruit humans after their position became well accepted in the world of vampires, though on a smaller scale: they utilized humans hopeful of becoming vampires as servants in order to create a human facade for their ancestral home. The majority of these humans were killed for their blood, and only those with potential supernatural talents were transformed.
- Bianca: She was the Volturi's human secretary after Valentina's disposal, and only appeared at the end of the first Breaking Dawn movie. Because of her bad spelling and grammar, Aro had her disposed of.
- Gianna: She was the Volturi's human secretary who appeared only in New Moon. She had hoped to become a vampire, but in the end the Volturi found her nothing more valuable than her blood.
- Valentina: She was the Volturi's human secretary after Gianna's disposal, only appearing in a deleted scene of the first Breaking Dawn movie. Dissatisfied of her interrupting the Volturi's meal, Aro told Demetri to dispose of her.
- "They have something I want."
- ―Aro on his desire for the Olympic coven's gifted members.[src]
There have been a number of individuals who refused invitations to join the Volturi: some of their superior emotional bonds were strong enough to resist Chelsea's gift. The only vampire who is immune to most of their powers is Bella Swan, who has the ability to block invasive psychic powers and can shield others from them.
- Alice Cullen: A member of the Olympic coven. She has been invited into the coven several times by Aro due to his impression of her ability to see the future; but she declined every time. Edward has said that Aro has never wanted anything more than Alice's power.
- Bella Swan: A member of the Olympic coven. Aro was so impressed with Bella's ability to block mental powers when she was human that he invited her to join the Volturi, and again when she became a vampire; she declined both times. Since her gift is powerful enough to block the Volturi's strongest members' powers and shield others from them, she is an immense threat to the coven.
- Benjamin: A member of the Egyptian coven with the unique ability to control the elements of nature, something no one has ever possessed in vampiric history. He was offered a place with the Volturi at the confrontation in Breaking Dawn; with the help of Bella's shield, however, he was able to decline the offer.
- The Black and Uley packs: During Renesmee's "trial", Aro saw memories of the Cullens' interactions with the La Push wolves. Thinking the Cullens had somehow tamed the wolves to be their pets, he was intrigued by the idea of the wolves working for him as guard dogs. The wolves snarled in response, effectively putting an end to that line of thinking. With Bella's psychic shield protecting them, the wolves were able to resist the Volturi's members' powers.
- Edward Cullen: A member of the Olympic coven. Despite Aro had the talent to read every thought a mind has ever had, Edward's ability to read minds from a distance still intrigued him enough to make him frequently invite the vampire into the coven; he declined every time.
- Kate: A member of the Denali coven with the ability to shock others with a psychic electric shock projected on her skin. She was offered a position with the Volturi at the confrontation that took place in Breaking Dawn; she, like the rest who were offered and protected by Bella, declined the invitation.
- Renesmee Cullen: The resident half-human half-vampire hybrid member of the Olympic coven with the abilities to communicate with others mentally through touch and break through their mental defenses. Since Renesmee is one of few half-vampires in existence, the Cullens assumed that Aro would want her in his "collection," but, while Aro was intrigued by her, an offer for her was never made.
- Zafrina: A member of the Amazon coven with the ability to project illusions into the minds of others. She was offered a place with the Volturi at the confrontation in Breaking Dawn; with Bella's shield to protect her free will, she declined.
Behind the scenes
|Leaders||Aro • Caius • Marcus|
|Wives||Athenodora • Didyme • Sulpicia|
|Guard||Afton • Alec • Chelsea • Corin • Demetri • Felix • Heidi • Jane • Renata • Santiago|
|Other||Bianca • Eleazar • Gianna • Valentina|
| Olympic • Volturi • Denali|
Amazon • Arkansas • Benito's • Egyptian • French • Hilda's • Irish • James's • Mexican • Monterrey • Northern Texas • Romanian • Sancar's • Seattle