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In the fictional universe of Warhammer 40,000, the Primarchs were engineered superhumans created by the Emperor to command his future Legions of Space Marines. Originally twenty in number, they were said to have been created using the Emperor's own DNA. Of the twenty (twenty-one if the twins Alpharius and Omegon are counted separately) Primarchs, eighteen are known while two remain mysterious, having been expunged from in-universe records. Their genetic material was also used to form the basis of the Legions they would command.

All were created in genetic laboratories hidden on Terra deep beneath the Himalayan mountain range, and were almost completely matured before their incubation pods were scattered across the galaxy. The cause of this is unknown; the forces of Chaos, the Emperor, and the Primarchs themselves are claimed in varying tales to be responsible for snatching the infant Primarchs' incubation cradles from Earth and dispersing them through the Warp.

According to the novel False Gods, The Emperor might have allowed the forces of Chaos to scatter the Primarchs across the Galaxy for purposes unknown. Also, according to Chaos, the Emperor might have procured the power needed to create the Primarchs from the Chaos gods via unknown means. As the Great Crusade progressed, the Emperor was reunited with each of them as his armies re-established contact with the worlds on which the Primarchs had come to rest. Most had, in the intervening time, risen to positions of power or infamy as a result of their remarkable physiology and abilities. At least three had been subject to noticeable mutation: Sanguinius, who had angelic wings and was reported to be psychic, Magnus, who had bright red skin and was widely known to have formidable psychic talent, and Vulkan, who had pitch black skin and glowing red eyes.

Fictional origins[edit]

The Primarchs were the twenty genetically-engineered "sons" of the Emperor. The Emperor used his own DNA as the template for their creation. They were designed to be far superior to the average human: immensely larger, stronger, hardier, faster, and more intelligent. They were also incredibly charismatic, as their main role was to be generals and leaders of the Imperial military. Each had unique traits and skills that made them specialize in a particular aspect in conquering in the name of the Emperor and ruling the Imperium. In addition, their genetic material was used to create their own "sons," the Adeptus Astartes. But while the Space Marines are known to be better in every aspect compared to baseline humans, they are but pale shadows compared to their demigod-like gene-sires.

During their creation, a warp vortex caused by the Chaos gods collected the infant Primarchs' incubation pods and scattered them across the galaxy. Sensing that the Primarchs still lived, the Emperor of Mankind created twenty Space Marine Legions, each based on the DNA of a single Primarch, to go into the galaxy to find their lost leader. Each Primarch landed on a long-lost planet inhabited by humans and would be strongly affected by the planets' cultures, their interactions with their father upon reuniting with them, their relationships with their legion and siblings, and their exposure to the Warp when they were scattered. After the end of the Horus Heresy, half of the Primarchs and their legions turned Traitor and were forced to flee the Imperium into either going underground or into the Eye of Terror. Meanwhile, surviving traitor Primarchs became "Daemon Princes". The rest of the loyalist Primarchs and their legions were divided up into thousand man chapters to prevent another intergalactic civil war. The loyalist Primarchs each vanished from the scene or were incapacitated shortly afterwards.

Legion Number Name Alternate Name Homeworld Name of the Legion Allegiance Current Status Description
I Lion El'Jonson[1] The First, Primaris Angelus Mortis, The Lion,The Duelist Caliban Dark Angels Loyal Alive, secretly in stasis within "the Rock" after being defeated by Sar Luther. His fate is known only to the Emperor and the Watchers in the Dark. A loyal, if distant figure. He is described as a mighty warrior and a skillful tactician who was raised by the knights of Caliban after they encountered him in the wilderness. While loyal to the Emperor and a formidable warrior, he was always secretive and distant from his brothers, and was never fully considered trustworthy due to a hunger for power. He later sent his own foster father, Sar Luther, and a portion of his legion to Caliban after an assassination attempt by a newly conquered world; his foster father was tempted to let the assassination on the Lion succeed out of jealousy but changed his mind at the last minute as he couldn't stomach his ward's murder. While officially meant to be an assignment to recruit more members for the I Legion, it was instead perceived by them as a de facto exile. Unfortunately, this created a great sense of betrayal among the exiles and eventually led to a secret civil war within the Dark Angels Legion that continues to the present era with the Dark Angels and their successors hunting the "Fallen". Lion El'Jonson's legion would be among the reinforcements closing in on Terra during the Siege, but did not arrive until hours after Horus' duel with the Emperor.
II Deleted from Imperial records, authorization unknown.
III Fulgrim The Phoenician, The Illuminator, The Prefector of Chemos, The Palatine Phoenix Chemos Emperor's Children Traitor Daemon Prince of Slaanesh on a hidden planet of unending pleasure A skilled and sophisticated warrior. He is described as a warrior who sought to embody perfection itself. On the other hand, he was known to be prideful to the point of vanity while also having a fascination in the arts. In his time away from the Emperor, he helped raise Chemos from being a post-apocalyptic planet into a paradise complete with reclaimed technology. As his legion was devastated with an initial setback due to the loss of most of the gene-seed needed to create more Space Marines before his reunion with them, he was pressured into aiding his legion in making up for their initial lack of numbers by having them seek perfection in warfare itself. During the Great Crusade, he was close to Horus Lupercal and Ferrus Manus. During an extermination campaign against a hostile reptilian species of aliens known as the Laer, he takes up a Laer sword as spoils of war. Unfortunately, the sword was possessed by a Daemon of Slaanesh and ultimately led to his possession by the Daemon, along with the betrayal and murder of his closest brother, Ferrus Manus, upon the eve of the Horus Heresy at the Drop Site Massacre. He eventually fought off his daemonic possession after being thoroughly corrupted and became one of the first Primarchs to ascend to the position of Daemon Prince.
IV Perturabo The Lord of Iron, The Breaker, The Hammer of Olympia Olympia Iron Warriors Traitor Daemon Prince, ruler of Medrengard, a planet of dark fortresses. Renowned as a highly skilled tactician in matters of siege warfare, he is an emotionally distant, aloof, and highly analytical individual. He was also secretly a man of science; crafting trinkets, technological marvels, and blueprints of wondrous cities in his spare time. In his time on Olympia, he served as the enforcer of his adoptive father, Dammekos, one of the 12 Tyrants and Lord of the state of Lochos. As an enforcer, Perturabo reduced rebellious cities and populations to rubble with his siege craft and merciless strategies. While Perturabo started off as an idealistic youth who wished to uplift Olympia after succeeding his foster father and uniting all the states of Olympia, his aloofness and pride prevented him from sharing his aspirations to anyone besides his foster sister, Calliphone. Over time, he became disillusioned with those he deemed "lesser" than him. Upon being reunited with his legion, he reviewed their record and found his "sons" wanting for failing to be the most effective and prominent legion. As punishment he subjected the entire legion to decimation, much to his brothers' outrage. Throughout the Great Crusade, he became embittered with the Emperor over his repetitive use of his legion as a thankless siege army and as a mundane garrison force rife with high attrition rates. To make matters worse, he and his legion gained a reputation of being cold, callous, and merciless to friend and foe alike. Meanwhile, his aloofness meant that he never sought to understand others or be understood in turn. He also began breeding hostility towards Rogal Dorn, who was chosen as the Praetorian to Terra to redesign the Imperial Palace's defenses instead of him. Later, Olympia erupted into rebellion due to his homeworld's inability to tolerate the attrition rate of its male population being conscripted to replace the IV Legion's horrendous losses. To make matters worse, his foster father had fermented currents of unrest before his death while Calliphone sympathized with the Olympian populace. After brutally devastating the rebellious world and murdering his foster sister in a temporary state of rage, he and his legion became horrified at the genocidal carnage they had wrought. Disillusioned, he turned to Horus Lupercal and joined the Traitors during the Horus Heresy after realizing he could no longer be accepted by the Imperium.
V Jaghatai Khan The Great Khan, Khagan, The Warhawk, The Warrior Mundus Planus White Scars Loyal Unknown, disappeared into the Eldar Webway in pursuit of Dark Eldar raiders. An aloof, mystical, but loyal warrior. He was raised by the mounted tribesmen of Mundus Planus (who knew the world as Chogoris). While the tribes were scattered and constantly at war with each other over resources, he managed to unite the tribes and led them to defeat the oppressive city dwellers through the usage of hit-and-run tactics. After reuniting with the Emperor and his "sons" in the White Scars Legion, he joined the Great Crusade in earnest to reunite mankind. During the Great Crusade, he trained his legion in the use of speed and mounted hit-and-run tactics while being close to his brothers Lion El'Johnson, Magnus the Red, and Horus Lupercal. Unfortunately, his legion's exotic and mystical ways were seen as barbaric compared to the secular Imperial Truth the Emperor wished to promote. When the Horus Heresy began, he had led his legion to Prospero to seek answers to the fate of the Thousand Sons. While there, he met Magnus's astral projection and was told he had to pick a side. Ultimately, he banished his brother's shade with reluctance. While he was closer to Horus and Magnus than he was to the Emperor, he believed that the Emperor's Imperium, flawed and unwelcoming of him as it was, was better for humanity than being enslaved by Chaos. After fighting off Mortarion, he returned to his fleet and purged it of all of Horus's corruption before returning to Terra to defend the Imperial Palace; reluctantly ignoring the Space Wolves' call for aid against the Alpha Legion.
VI Leman Russ The Wolf King, The Great Wolf, The Brawler Fenris Space Wolves Loyal Unknown, disappeared into the Eye of Terror with a promise to return to his sons for the End Times. A proud, if unruly, warrior, he was raised by the Fenrisian tribes after being recovered from the wilderness after living his earliest adolescence with a pack of Fenrisian wolves. In time, he united the tribes with tales of his exploits traveling beyond the planet. After being challenged by the Emperor for his loyalty, he was reunited with his Legion and joined the Great Crusade as the Emperor's enforcer. He was sent to keep some of his brothers in check as often as his legion was sent to reclaim worlds for the Imperium. He was also highly distrustful of psykers and their powers, which caused friction between him and Magnus. Right before the Horus Heresy, he was sent to Prospero to apprehend his estranged brother Magnus for the use of forbidden psychic techniques. Unfortunately, Horus Lupercal, who was now corrupted, altered the orders to imply that the Emperor intended for Magnus and his Legion to be eradicated. Reluctantly, Russ and his Legion ultimately burned Prospero to the ground before Horus began his rebellion. While Leman Russ sought to return to Terra, he and the Space Wolves were waylaid by the Alpha Legion and arrived later than they wished. During the Siege of Terra, the bulk of Russ' Space Wolves were within hours of arriving to reinforce the loyalists but arrived too late to prevent the Emperor's mortal injuries from his duel with Horus.
VII Rogal Dorn The Emperor's Champion, The Vigilant, The Unyielding One, The Praetorian of Terra, The Soldier Inwit Imperial Fists Loyal Unknown; allegedly died after boarding a Chaos ship during a Black Crusade. All that was recovered was his large skeletal fist, which is now a revered relic of the Imperial Fists An emotionless but effective tactician, he was noted for his brutal honesty as well as his unquestionable loyalty. He was raised on Inwit by the House of Dorn. While the patriarch of the house, which Dorn regarded as a grandfather, was not his relative, he formed a close bond with Rogal Dorn. After his grandfather's death, Dorn would ultimately become ruler of all of Inwit as well as a small interstellar empire before reuniting with the Emperor and his Legion. Dorn and the Imperial Fists gained renown for their skill in defensive siege battles. As reward for his loyalty, Dorn was ultimately chosen to redesign the Imperial Palace's defenses while the Imperial Fists were chosen to garrison the capital of Terra itself. When the Horus Heresy began, Dorn and the Imperial Fists began reinforcing Terra's defense while calling for all loyal legions to return to Terra. Unfortunately, a warp storm isolated Terra from the rest of the Imperium before the Siege of Terra began, delaying further contact with other loyalists and preventing reinforcements from arriving until late into the siege. Rogal Dorn would be the first to find the mortally wounded Emperor after his duel with Horus and would inter him in the Golden Throne at his father's final orders.
VIII Konrad Curze The Night Haunter, The Lord of the Night, The Killer Nostramo Night Lords Traitor Dead, assassinated by Callidus assassin M'Shen with Konrad letting himself be beheaded as justification for his actions. A terrifying and merciless master of guerrilla warfare. He was also able to wield minor psychic powers. Unlike his brothers, Konrad Curze was truly alone on his adopted homeworld. Plagued by visions of the worst futures possible, he sought to reform the corrupted and violence-plagued world of Nostramo with terror and indiscriminate retribution. After a time period of enacting grisly purges from the shadows and leaving the mangled corpses of law breakers in public to sow fear, he ultimately emerged as the undisputed leader of the planet. Curze showed clear signs of two personalities. One half of him was focused on justice, strategy, and ruthless enforcement of the law while the other was a vigilante who savored retribution, dread, and fear. Upon reuniting with his Legion, the Night Lords, he and his legion achieved infamy by using terror tactics and bloody retribution to bring worlds in line with the Imperium. Unfortunately, he began noticing that Nostramo had returned to anarchy and that the legion had begun being corrupted by the sadistic psychopaths sent from Nostromo to replace the Legion's losses. He ultimately became fatalistic, believes his visions to be inevitable, and began to despise Nostramo as well as his "sons" in the Legion. To make matters worse, he was haunted by visions of his own father ordering his death at the hands of assassins; making his slip into insanity worse over time. Before the Horus Heresy began, he destroyed his homeworld and his Legion went renegade before the Night Lords reemerged, dedicated to the Traitor Legions led by Horus Lupercal.
IX Sanguinius The Angel, The Great Angel, The Brightest One Baal Blood Angels Loyal Dead, slain by Horus. Body kept in stasis crypt called the Golden Sarcophagus on Baal. A noble, cultured, and fierce warrior. Sanguinius is said to embody all aspects of the Emperor while the others embodied one aspect of their father. Some notable characteristics that distinguished him from his brothers was a mutation that granted him huge wings capable of flight, and that he would sometimes receive visions of the future. Sanguinius was found, spared, and raised by the unmutated humans of Baal. Soon, he was able to purge the world of the cannibalistic mutants who plagued the world and united the tribes of Baal. He was said to have bowed immediately upon encountering with the Emperor and shed tears upon reuniting with him. During the Great Crusade, he became extremely close with his brother Horus Lupercal, while his legion achieved fame as close quarter assault troops. Unfortunately, he began noticing a genetic flaw among his "sons" known as the Red Thirst. He secretly euthanized those who were afflicted and desperately sought to seek a cure for their genetic flaw. He also kept the flaw a secret for fear he and his legion would be erased like the two lost legions and their Primarchs. Unfortunately, the Horus Heresy erupted before he could find a cure. He was sent into a trap by Horus where Sanguinius was gravely wounded by Ka'Bandha, a Greater Daemon of Khorne and future nemesis of Sanguinius's sons, and isolated from Terra alongside his legion. Ultimately, Sanguinius managed to return to Terra before the Siege of Terra. After being exhausted due to defending the Imperial Palace's Infinity Gate and defeating the returned Ka'Bandha, he later infiltrated Horus's flagship and was able to create a chink in Horus's armor during his final duel with his brother. Unfortunately, the battle cost Sanguinius his life while ensuring the Emperor's victory over Horus.
X Ferrus Manus The Gorgon Medusa Iron Hands Loyal Dead, slain by Fulgrim and his head offered to Horus. Skull later recovered and given to Iron Hands. A cold craftsman and relentless warrior. Ferrus Manus was a warrior who shaped the tribes of Medusa by eliminating any weakness from their tribes while ensuring the strong endured. He gained his name by wrestling a giant alien wyrm with a fluid metal skin (implied to be a Necron warmachine). By pinning the wyrm in lava, he managed to defeat the beast but the wyrm's metal skin coated his hands and forearms; forming a hard yet malleable layer of alien metal over his arms. Upon reuniting with his father, he pledged his allegiance, seeing him as a man powerful enough for him to follow. He and his Legion gained fame for their iron resolve, disdain for all forms of weakness, and for their love for technology. But while his legion came to see their biological bodies as a weakness, he saw their reliance on mechanical augments as a weakness that he would address after the Great Crusade. He was known to be close with Fulgrim due to a duel to forge the greatest weapon possible, with each acknowledging each other and trading weapons as a sign of friendship. Unfortunately, upon the eve of the Horus Heresy, he was isolated from his legion during the Drop Site Massacre and was beheaded by his brother Fulgrim after a duel to the death which also resulted in Fulgrim's full daemonic possession. His skull was later offered to Horus with the latter talking to it during his moments alone. After the Horus Heresy, his skull was somehow retrieved by Dorn and Guilliman and returned to the Iron Hands in exchange for their compliance and nominal adherence to the Second Founding and the Codex Astartes.
XI Deleted from Imperial records, authorisation unknown.
XII Angron Angron Thal'kr,The Red Angel, The Lord of the Red Sands, The Fighter Nuceria World Eaters Traitor Daemon Prince of Khorne A merciless and enraged berserker. Angron spent his time on Nuceria as a slave-gladiator in the pits. After landing on Nuceria and slaying the Eldar sent to kill him based on their visions of his turn to Chaos, he was mortally wounded. A slaver then captured him and healed him before selling him to the ruling Thal'kr clan of the state of Desh'ea. During his time as a gladiator, he was forcibly implanted with the Butcher's Nails. After achieving infamy in the gladiator pits, he and his gladiator brethren broke free from the pits to stage a rebellion. Unfortunately, after a long and hard-fought campaign, they were eventually isolated on a mountain with no supplies. As the united armies of Nuceria closed in, the Emperor teleported Angron onto his flagship, dooming the gladiators to a vain death while beginning Angron's eternal hatred of the Emperor. After reuniting with his legion, he and his legion achieved infamy as butchers who destroyed all opposition to the Great Crusade with frenzied assault troops under the influence of the Butcher's Nails. He was later one of the first to join Horus' rebellion and was eventually led by Lorgar into becoming the first Primarch to become a Daemon Prince by eradicating Nuceria's population. As Lorgar had hoped, his Daemon Prince-hood enabled him to survive the Butcher's Nails terminal effects on his life while enabling Angron to bask in eternal fury.
XIII Roboute Guilliman The Battle King, The Avenging Son, The Victorious, The Master of Ultramar, The Blade of Unity Macragge Ultramarines Loyal Alive, currently leading the Indomitus Crusade after being resurrected shortly after the fall of Cadia A brilliant strategist and statesman. Roboute Guilliman was raised by Lord Konor Guilliman, one of the two Consuls of Macragge. Having rapidly learned all about the history, culture, and tactics of Maccrage within ten years, he was sent to pacify raiders in the northern lands of Macragge. Unfortunately, Gallan, the second Consul, unleashed a coup de'tat against Konor, who sought to reform many aspects of the planet's society at the expense of the nobility. With Konor dying before his eyes, Guilliman proceeded to rout the rebellion, execute those responsible, and reform Macragge's society into a strong meritocracy in place of an entrenched aristocracy. When the Emperor reunited with Guilliman, he found him at the head of a small interstellar empire. After reuniting with his legion, Guilliman would be the forefront of the Great Crusade in the galactic east, with his number of conquests second only to Horus Lupercal. Meanwhile, his legion gained renown as the largest Astartes Legion and for their flexible use of conventional tactics. At the same time however, he was ordered by the emperor to discipline the Word Bearers for their excessive religious fervor and slow progress at conquering worlds; an act he reluctantly carried out and caused an irreversible rift between the two legions. Unfortunately, at the eve of the Horus Heresy, he and his legion would be betrayed by Lorgar and the Word Bearers at Calth with much of the Legion decimated while Macragge was isolated from Terra by warp storms. Unable to confirm if the Emperor still lived due to the warp storms, Guilliman proceeded to create the Imperium Secundus with the reluctant help of Lion El'Jonson, Sanguinius, and their respective legions. Ultimately, the Ultramarines would be among the reinforcements that were within hours of reaching Terra during the siege. Unfortunately, they were unable to arrive in time to prevent the Emperor from being mortally wounded by Horus. Guilliman would later be responsible for the Codex Astartes and the Second Founding; much to Dorn, Russ, and Vulkan's objections.
XIV Mortarion The Death Lord,The Prince of Decay Barbarus Death Guard Traitor Daemon Prince of Nurgle, ruler of the Plague Planet. An aloof and dreadful warrior that was secretly endowed with psychic powers. Mortarion was raised by one of the tyrants of Barbarus but never returned any affection to his adoptive father. Eventually, he escaped from his adoptive father's custody and encountered the wretched commoners forced to live in the toxic wastes while at the mercies of the tyrants above them. He eventually liberated all of Barbarus save for his adoptive father's keep, which resisted all his previous assaults. Upon preparing for this final assault, he encountered the Emperor but was challenged to take the keep alone and be independent or swear allegiance to the Emperor. Mortarion sought to prove his worth by assaulting the keep alone but collapsed at the keep's gate due to toxins that conquered even his superhuman immune system. Before his adoptive father could kill him, the Emperor slew the tyrant and Mortarion pledged his allegiance. Afterwards, he and his legion became renowned for their durability and their willingness to use biochemical and biological weapons to bring the Imperium's enemies to heel. On the other hand, he was distrusted by most of his brothers for his grotesque appearance in his armor and he was only close with Horus and Konrad Curze. He was also noted to be vehemently opposed to psykers due to his experience with necromancy on Barbarus but began delving into his own psychic powers during the Horus Heresy. Ultimately, he was convinced by a corrupted Horus that the Emperor was merely another tyrant and joined his rebellion. En route to Terra, he and his legion were caught up in warp storm and were exposed to Nurgle's plagues. With even their superhuman immune systems unable to resist, Mortarion was forced to pledge his and his legion's allegiance to the Chaos God. When they emerged to join the other Traitor Legions, the Death Guard had become changed into the Plague Marines.
XV Magnus the Red The Crimson King, The Sorcerer-King, Cyclopean Magnus, The Red Cyclops, Master of Prospero Prospero Thousand Sons Traitor Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, ruler of Sortiarius, the Planet of Sorcerers. The second most powerful psyker in the universe and a scholarly warrior. Magnus was raised on Prospero, a planet of slightly mutated humans and psykers who descended from exiled outcasts and scholars. After mastering all the knowledge they offered, Magnus soon led a purge against the predatory psychic insects known as the Psychneuein and rebuilt Prospero while heralding a Golden Age. Upon reuniting with the Emperor and his Legion, Magnus sought to end his Legion's vulnerability to the flesh change and unknowingly made a deal with Tzeetnch to halt the mutations in exchange for his right eye. During his time in the Imperium, he befriended Perturabo and Lorgar over their respect for knowledge (technological and spiritual) as well as Jaghatai Khan (who was dismissed by most as a barbarian for his mystical ways). Throughout the Great Crusade, he and his legion became known for their use of psychic powers and their thirst for knowledge, especially the arcane and forbidden. This eventually came to a head and, after an intense debate between the Primarchs at a congregation known as the Council of Nikaea, the Emperor decreed that the use of psychic powers was to be greatly restricted. However, a prideful Magnus and his legion secretly ignored the Emperor's orders and continued to study forbidden powers on Prospero. Upon the eve of the Horus Heresy, Magnus discovered Horus and Lorgar's corruption and sought to warn the Emperor of it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, his use of forbidden warp powers led to a breach in the Emperor's Webway Project, unknowingly flooding it with Daemons and forcing his father to seal it off forever. In addition, the Emperor refused to believe that Horus, his most loyal and favorite son, could betray him. Unfortunately, the arriving Space Wolves' orders had been secretly altered by a corrupted Horus from apprehending the Thousand Sons for trial to eradicating them. With his legion on the verge of annihilation, Magnus was forced to pledge allegiance to Tzeetnch and had the entire legion teleported to the Planet of Sorcerers. However, the Planet of Sorcerers' location in the Eye of Terror, along with Tzeetnch's patronage, led to the flesh change reemerging tenfold. Magnus, still emotionally distraught at over how his actions destroyed the Emperor's hope of freeing humanity from the Warp, refused to take action. This inaction forced his second in command, Ahzek Ahriman, to steal Magnus' lore and create a powerful spell called the Rubric of Ahriman. While the Rubric enhanced the powers of the psykers in the legion and made all immune to mutation, the none-psychic legionnaires were disintegrated while their souls were sealed in their armor, making them semi-distant automatons known as Rubric Marines. For this, Magnus furiously banished Ahriman and after the Heresy, seeks vengeance against the Space Wolves and the Imperium that betrayed him.
XVI Horus Lupercal The Warmaster, The First Primarch Cthonia Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus Traitor Dead, slain by the Emperor with his soul obliterated to prevent his return as a Daemon Prince. A charismatic leader, brilliant tactician, and skilled warrior. Horus Lupercal was the first Primarch recovered by the Emperor and was his favorite son. His legion, the Luna Wolves, were extremely versatile warriors while Horus was an extremely capable leader. He was skilled enough to maneuver through the intense personal politics and rivalries between every Primarch to mesh each legion into a cohesive and productive factor in every campaign. His loyalty to the Emperor was considered second to none and he was ultimately nominated as Warmaster by the Emperor himself. In further recognition of his loyalty, the Luna Wolves were renamed the Sons of Horus shortly after the Ullanor Crusade against the Orks. Unfortunately, the Emperor's unexplained return to Terra for his secretive Webway Project, his creation of a civilian council to oversee the Imperium instead of having the Primarchs in charge, and the Emperor's secrecy regarding the Chaos Gods and the Daemons of the Warp, led to a crack in Horus's loyalty. Consequently, once Horus was secretly poisoned on Davin by the Chaos aligned Word Bearers with a daemonic dagger known as an anathame, he was reduced to a coma while the Chaos Gods successfully convinced Horus in his dreams that the Emperor sought to dispose of him and his brothers after the Great Crusade. As a result, he pledged himself to Chaos out of rage, eventually growing insane while instigating the Horus Heresy against the Emperor. Late into the Siege of Terra, massive loyalists reinforcements were closing in and the traitors failed to break into the Imperial Palace. Sensing probably defeat, Horus lowered his flagship's force fields (either out of momentary regret or as a taunt); enabling the Emperor, Rogal Dorn, and Sanguinius to teleport on board. With the infiltrators scattered, Horus first confronted his brother Sanguinius and killed him after failing to convince him to change sides. He soon confronted the Emperor and after grievously wounding his father, the Emperor reluctantly obliterated his soul once he realized his son was beyond saving from the Chaos Gods' clutches. Before his soul fully disintegrated, Horus regained sanity and upon being horrified by his actions, he thanks his father for freeing him.
XVII Lorgar Aurelian The Urizen, The Golden One, Bearer of the Word Colchis Word Bearers Traitor Daemon Prince, ruler of Sicarus, a world of countless cathedrals dedicated to Chaos. A pious warrior with deep conviction. Lorgar Aurelian was raised by the pious people of Colchis, who were highly devoted to the worship of their pantheon of gods. Raised by Kor Phaeron, Lorgar came to be the most renowned preacher on Colchis. However, the other clergy of Colchis grew jealous and secretly sought to silence their new rival by force. Lorgar soon preached of one god rather than a pantheon, having received feverish visions of the coming of the Emperor, and the other clerics declared war. Lorgar proceeded to defeat his rivals and unify Colchis under his vision. After his meeting with the Emperor, he was convinced he had found his god, who was also his father. The Word Bearers soon gained renown for bringing human worlds to heel while thoroughly converting the populace to the worship of the Emperor under the Lectitio Divinitatus. Unfortunately, while the worlds conquered by the Word Bearers were thoroughly loyal, their progress in the Crusade was extremely slow. Consequently, the infuriated Emperor, who wanted faster progress while promoting the secular Imperial Truth over the nascent Imperial Cult, order the Word Bearers to be disciplined by the Ultramarines. To add insult to injury, the most pious city on the latest world converted by the Word Bearers was turned to ash as an example. Disillusioned by the Emperor's rejection of his worship, Lorgar became vulnerable to the whispers of his chaplains Kor Phaeron and Erebus, who had discovered the Chaos Gods as their new deities. After Lorgar began a pilgrimage to find enlightenment, he arrived on then unconquered world of Cadia. While there, he entered the Warp through the Eye of Terror. In the Warp, he became convinced that the Chaos Gods were the true deities of the universe and were necessary for the survival of humanity. With this, Lorgar became the first Primarch to be seduced into embracing Chaos. Ironically, Lorgar now seeks to bring down the Imperium and the now ascendant Imperial Cult that he once promoted (Which has been the Imperium's state religion under the Ecclesiarchy for 10,000 years).
XVIII Vulkan The Lord of Drakes Nocturne Salamanders Loyal Unknown, disappeared, last seen in mortal combat with the Ork warlord known as "The Beast". A resolute warrior and skilled blacksmith, Vulkan was physically the strongest as well as one of the more compassionate Primarchs. Unlike most of his brothers, he believe in humanity's potential rather than dismissing them as weak mortals. Raised on Nocturne by a metalworker named N'bel, Vulkan soon became unmatched as a blacksmith. After driving off the Dark Eldar from Nocturne with only a pair of forge hammers, the people of the planet flocked to his side and swore never to cower before the sadistic alien slavers again. As a feast was prepared in honor of his victory, the Emperor arrived in disguise to test his son. After tying in all the feast's trials of strength, both were tasked with hunting the largest Fire Drake in the volcanic regions of Nocturne. While Vulkan captured one first and was trapped on the face of a cliff, the Emperor captured a larger one but sacrificed it as a bridge over the lava to rescue his son. Moved by this act, Vulkan pledge his loyalty. Soon after reuniting with his Legion, the Salamanders gained fame as patient warriors who were unstoppable once driven to anger. Unfortunately, during the Horus Heresy, Konrad Curze captured Vulkan after the Drop Site Massacre and sought to torture and kill him. Surprisingly, Vulkan possessed regenerative powers and immortality like the Emperor. While this prevented Curze from killing him, it also let the torture drive him insane. After escaping and defeating Curze on Macragge, Vulkan was fatally wounded by a fossilized piece of psychic lightning and his corpse was sent back to Nocturne. Thanks to the faith and self-sacrifice of Artellus Numeon, captain of the Salamander's Pyre Guard, Vulkan was brought back from the dead with his sanity restored.
XIX Corvus Corax The Liberator, The Deliverer, The Raven-Lord, Chooser of the Slain, The Shadowed Lord Deliverance Raven Guard Loyal Unknown, disappeared, last seen heading for the Eye of Terror. A master of stealth and guerrilla warfare. Corvus Corax was raised among the miner-slaves on the Lycaeus (later renamed as Deliverance), the moon of the Forge World known as Kiavahr. Learning of the injustice that they faced for defying Kaivahr's brutal overseers, Corax swore to bring justice to them. On the other hand, he also learned the value of patience from them. Using his ability to remain unseen by willing it, he observed the guards and took advantage of the knowledge gleamed from his observations. After a period of planning and preparation, Corax led a successful revolt that secured the moon from the overseers' control. He soon met the Emperor, who left him words of wisdom to ponder before finishing his rebellion. With the overseers of Kiavahr running out of resources and waging civil war, Corax reluctantly launched nuclear weapons to finish off his adversaries as quickly as possible. While thousands died, millions more were freed and Kiavahr's rulers were forced to step down. After the Adeptus Mechanicus was called in to bring the Forge World back into optimal state, Corax was reunited with his Legion. During the Great Crusade, Corax and his legion excelled at sabotage, guerilla warfare, and infiltration tactics. Unfortunately, he and Horus never saw eye to eye. Corax was one of the three loyalist primarchs who was present at the Drop Site Massacre on the eve of the Horus Heresy and was the only one who escaped. He and the survivors of his legion then fled back to Deliverance to replenish their numbers. Unfortunately, the gene-seed he had secured from the Emperor had been sabotaged by Alpha Legion infiltrators, resulting in the new recruits suffering numerous mutations. With little resources available, Corax was forced to use them for the rest of the Horus Heresy, and euthanized them at the end of the conflict with great sorrow to end their suffering.
XX Alpharius Omegon Lord of Serpents, Aleph Null, The Hydra, The Threefold Serpent, The Final Configuration, The Last Primarch Unknown Alpha Legion Traitor (may secretly be Loyal) One of them may be dead, slain by Roboute Guilliman. The reliability of this information is disputed, so it is possible that both Alpharius and Omegon are still alive. Additionally, another was possible dead much earlier, having apparently been slain by Rogal Dorn before the Siege of Terra. A brilliant tactician and a mysterious persona. Alpharius Omegon was the last Primarch to be rediscovered by the Imperium. He was found by Horus while leading a pirate faction into boarding Horus' flagship. Upon both recognizing each other as brothers, they embraced each other instead of continuing the fight. Alpharius Omegon spent some time in Horus' company before reuniting with the Emperor. During the Great Crusade, Alpharius sought to use espionage, deception, sabotage, and unconventional tactics to achieve glory as he and his Legion were late in their appearance in the Great Crusade and needed some way to stand out. He was close with Horus Lupercal while his tactics and personality were completely opposite of what Roboute Guilliman stood for, causing many arguments between them. While some believe Alpharius naturally followed Horus due to his loyalty, he actually rebelled upon being given two visions by an alien faction known as the Cabal. One vision was of the Imperium suffering decay with the loyalists' victory until the entire galaxy succumbed to Chaos. The other was of Horus's victory and the Warmaster's regret leading to a civil war that will eradicate humanity, thus starving the Chaos Gods into oblivion. Believing the Emperor would choose sacrifice over Chaos's triumph, they chose to aid Horus in his rebellion. The actions of the Alpha Legion during this time were often contradictory with the vast majority of their actions aiding the traitors but with a remarkable few secretly aiding the loyalists. Personality-wise, Alpharius Omegon deliberately invoked a persona of intrigue and secrecy. Most of the time, he disguised himself as one of the Alpha Legion's regular Astartes (which was possible given the Alpha Legion's above average height and Alpharius Omegon's short height for a Primarch). But the most intriguing secret of all is that Alpharius Omegon is actually two twin Primarchs named Alpharius and Omegon respectively. Known only between the two and their "sons" in the Alpha Legion, it is unknown if this was a deliberate design by the Emperor or an unexpected development while the Primarchs were still in incubation. Regardless, it is said within the Legion that the two Primarchs are a single soul with two bodies-a statement that may have some truth given how Omegon was able to sense Alpharius' death from far away.

The overall order of the rediscovery of each Primarch by the Emperor is as follows...[2]

  • Horus
  • Leman Russ
  • DELETED FROM IMPERIAL RECORDS (canonical reason for absence)
  • Ferrus Manus
  • Fulgrim
  • Vulkan
  • Rogal Dorn
  • Roboute Guilliman
  • Magnus the Red
  • Sanguinius
  • Lion El'Jonson
  • Perturabo
  • Mortarion
  • Lorgar
  • Jaghatai Khan
  • Konrad Curze
  • Angron
  • DELETED FROM IMPERIAL RECORDS (canonical reason for absence)
  • Corax
  • Alpharius Omegon

Fate of the Primarchs[edit]


  • Horus Lupercal was killed by the Emperor of Mankind during their battle on Terra with his soul obliterated to prevent him from returning as a Daemon Prince. His body was misplaced several times before being destroyed by his second, Abaddon, to prevent it from being used by his enemies.
  • Magnus rose to the rank of Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, and returned in M41.997 to ransack the Fenris system. His slaughter of the Fenrisian people allowed him to wrench the Planet of the Sorcerers into real-space, next to the husk of Prospero. The Space Wolves feel that it was this unnatural act that resulted in the creation of the Cicatrix Maledictum. He fought Roboute Guilliman in single combat on Luna and almost won, before being beaten into retreat by a combined force of Grey Knights and Adeptus Custodes.
  • Angron rose to the rank of Daemon prince of Khorne, with the aid of Lorgar, before the Siege of Terra. Attacked Armageddon in the First War of Armageddon, and was eventually banished back into the Warp with the combined efforts of the Grey Knights, Salamanders, and Black Templars. The ritual that would have facilitated his return to real-space towards the end of the Third War for Armageddon was foiled by the Salamanders.
  • Mortarion rose the rank of Daemon Prince of Nurgle, and returned to attack Ultramar in M42. He and Guilliman fought each other to a standstill on the garden planet of Iax before his home system, the Scourge Stars, was attacked by daemons from the other three Chaos gods. He therefore was forced to retreat from Ultramar in order to protect his holdings in real space.
  • Fulgrim rose to the rank of Daemon Prince of Slaanesh. After almost killing Roboute Guilliman, he proceeded to retreat into the Eye of Terror, where he has remained ever since.
  • Lorgar rose to the rank of Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. Fled to the Eye of Terror after the Siege of Terra, and has not left since.
  • Perturabo rose to the rank of Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided. Also fled to the Eye of Terror, and has not left since.
  • Konrad Curze was assassinated by the Callidus assassin M'shen. He allowed his assassin's infiltration, apparently wanting to die to justify himself and his convictions. His head was taken by M'shen as proof of her kill, though she was later torn to pieces by Curze's vengeful sons.
  • Alpharius was supposedly killed by Roboute Guilliman after the Horus Heresy. The source which reported his death may have been manipulated. It is not known if Alpharius or Omegon is the Primarch killed in the report. Due to the report's unreliability, neither may have been killed. To make matters more perplexing, Rogal Dorn apparently slew Alpharius on Pluto before the Siege of Terra but kept his death a secret to deny him any recognition to him or his ideology. Meanwhile, Omegon took his brother's place in public when Alpharius was summoned to meet Horus before the Siege of Terra.


  • Ferrus Manus was killed at the Drop Site Massacre at the start of the Horus Heresy by Fulgrim. His skull was offered to Horus but was ultimately returned to the Iron Hands after the Horus Heresy.
  • Sanguinius was slain by Horus after refusing to join him during the Battle of Terra at the end of the Horus Heresy. His body was placed in a stasis crypt called the Golden Sarcophagus on Baal afterwards.
  • Lion El'Jonson disappeared after being critically wounded in a defeat in battle against his corrupted foster father, Sars Luthor, before placed in regenerative stasis by the Watchers in the Dark deep within "the Rock" , the biggest remaining piece of Caliban and current home base of the Dark Angels where he has slept for millennia. Only the Emperor of Mankind and the Watchers know of this secret with even his "sons" amongst the Dark Angels unaware of his fate.[3]
  • Jaghatai Khan disappeared while pursuing the Dark Eldar into a Webway portal after they had managed to raid Mundus Planus. There are rumours that he fights there still, lost in the twisting paths of the Webway. After nine thousand years it seems highly unlikely, but not impossible given the Webway's relatively slow passage of time as a Warp construct.
  • Leman Russ disappeared in the Eye of Terror with his personal retinue. It is rumoured he either set out to kill Magnus for good or to find a cure for his father's grievous wounds. His final words before his disappearance is that he would return for the 'Wolftime' (the final battle).
  • Rogal Dorn boarded a Chaos cruiser during the First Black Crusade alongside a company of his legion and allegedly died fighting. A skeletal fist is allegedly all that the Imperial Fists were able to retrieve.[4]
  • Roboute Guilliman was slashed across the throat with an envenomed blade by his former brother Fulgrim after the Horus Heresy. His dying body was perfectly preserved in a stasis field at the heart of the Temple of Correction for ten thousand years. It was also rumored that wound is slowly healing but denied by others. Recent media has him healed and brought back from the brink of death by Mechanicus and Eldar intervention. He is the only known loyalist primarch that is confirmed to be active. Secretly disillusioned and horrified at how far the Imperium had fallen from his gene-father's vision, he is now preparing the Imperium's defenses from Terra after reclaiming his seat at the head of the High Lords of Terra. As acting Lord Commander of the Imperium, he leads the Imperium in hopes of freeing Humanity from Chaos' grip. And as Imperial Regent, the living voice of the Emperor, he has all the power he needs to ensure the Imperium responds to his dictates to defend itself.
  • Vulkan disappeared without a trace. He was last seen locked in mortal combat with a massive ork known as the Beast during the War of the Beast (the greatest ork threat to the Imperium in recorded history in the 32nd Millennium) before their battleground was engulfed by explosion of a giant reactor. The Beast survived to be killed later on but Vulkan disappeared. The Salamanders believe that their gene-sire will return once they have found all of his nine artifacts that he hid away with five of them having been found. Given his regenerative abilities, immortality, and self-made prophecy that he would return in another era before his battle with the Beast, his survival is a high possibility.
  • Corax was racked by guilt and shame. In order to rebuild quickly the strength of his legion from the Drop Site Massacre on Isstvan V, Corax accelerated the growth of the gene-seed organs with the use of fresh genetic material from the original Primarch Project, producing more Space Marines with greater strength, speed, and pace in augmentation, but this process also destabilized the gene-seed (with covert sabotage from the Alpha Legion), causing many to become hulking mutants. Riddled with guilt over what he had done, Corax administered euthanasia to all of them after the Horus Heresy and then locked himself away within his sanctum, the Raven's Tower. Exactly one year later he left his tower, haggard and gaunt, and took a small shuttle craft with the words Never more. It was last monitored setting a course for the Eye of Terror. Unbeknownst to the Imperium at large, he began tracking down his traitor brethren in the Eye of Terror to kill them. All while letting the Warp amplify his wraith-slip powers.

Two unknown Primarchs[edit]

Almost nothing is known about the two unknown primarchs. Referred to enigmatically as "the forgotten and the purged," all that is known is that they were intentionally erased from Imperial records before the Horus Heresy some time before Corax and Alpharius were recovered due to some transgressions, treason, severe mutation, or catastrophes while their legions were rumored to have been eradicated, absorbed into the Ultramarines, or a combination of both. Character commentary also implies that all besides the Emperor and his chief advisor, Malcador, with direct knowledge of the II and XI (including their own brothers and sons) had their memories erased or suppressed with knowledge of the Losts' fates deemed even more dangerous to the Imperium than the Horus Heresy itself. Outside of the game universe, the Games Workshop explains that their absence is a reference to the lost legions of Rome, and is an opportunity for tabletop gamers to create their own custom Space Marine Legions. Before Games Worshop explicitly stated that the two universes were separate, many people said that Sigmar from Warhammer Fantasy is one of the lost primarchs and still continue to do so.


  1. Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition)
  2. The First Expedition Forums, provided by Black Library Publishing editor Laurie Goulding.
  3. Codex: Angels of Death (2nd Edition)
  4. Space Marine (Novel) by Ian Watson

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