The Banner of Macragge is the ancient Battle Standard of the Ultramarines Chapter and it is considered to be one of its most revered Chapter relics. It was touched by the Emperor of Mankind's own hand when He presented it to the XIII Space Marine Legion's Primarch Roboute Guilliman at the beginning of the Great Crusade in ca. 798.M30. The Ultramarines have preserved it for ten millennia through fire and war and decimation, each generation passing it on to the next as a burning torch of their love for the immortal Emperor who created them. It has languished in dull stasis chambers and flown beneath the suns of a thousand alien worlds. It has flown on Macragge itself, whenever the whole Chapter is gathered together, and it has been carried forth whenever the Ultramarines have fought as one against the direst of foes. It is said to be made of a strange material known only to the ancients; light as silk but strong as steel; flame cannot burn it and where it is rent asunder it re-spins itself as perfect as the day it was first made. It is marked with the names of all seventy Chapter Masters of the Ultramarines, beginning with Roboute Guilliman and ending with young Marneus Calgar. The Banner carries an honorific for each Victorix Maxima (High Gothic for "great victory") of the Chapter which has been declared at the Imperial Palace on sacred Terra. The Standard Bearer given the honour of carrying the Banner of Macragge always bears the title of "Ancient."
Tall and intricate in detail, the banner displays a gold Ultramarines icon overlaid on a field of blue. It is made of an unknown material that is fireproof and able to seal any rents and tears made in the fabric in such a manner that the damage cannot be detected. The staff of the banner is made from adamantium, and at last sighting it appeared scored and pitted as if it had been splashed with acid. It is inscribed with the names of all 77 Chapter Masters of the Ultramarines, from Roboute Guilliman to Marneus Calgar, as well as devices noting every major victory the Ultramarines have won in their long history.
The Banner of Macragge has endured long periods of safekeeping, rather than display, for various reasons. The most recent of these was the 200 standard years that it spent secured and unused after the Battle of Macragge; Marneus Calgar declared that it would not be flown again until the Ultramarines Chapter had returned to full strength and had recovered from the casualties and damage inflicted by the Tyranids in that campaign.
Notable Standard Bearers of the Banner of Macragge
- Ancient Galatan - Ancient Galatan was the Bearer of the Banner of Macragge in times past, taking part in the Corinth Crusade from 698-705.M41. During a fierce battle against the Orks of WAAAGH! Skargor, he briefly dropped the sacred standard when his arm was chopped off by the Ork Warboss Skargor. While distracted with trying to break the banner with his Power Claw, Ancient Galatan impaled his Power Sword through the back of Skargor's head, killing him instantly and breaking the spirit of the Greenskins. Though he later died from the wounds incurred in the encounter, the Banner of Macragge remained upright for the remainder of the battle, rallying the Ultramarines to finally defeat the Orks.
- Ancient Helveticus - Ancient Helveticus was another the Bearer of the Banner of Macragge. He bore the Chapter's Banner during the Battle of Macragge, and was present aboard Marneus Calgar's Battle Barge when it was boarded by Tyranids. He led the fierce counterattack against the encroaching xenos, and was subsequently killed in battle, both fatally poisoned and burned by the assault of the horrific xenos. His grip upon the shaft of the banner was said to be so tight, that initially it could not be pried from his hands even after his death.
- Ancient Tortalus - After the Battle of Macragge, the young Chapter Master Marneus Calgar declared that the Banner of Macragge would not be carried forth again until the Ultramarines had rebuilt their strength, when they were once again a whole Chapter. It has taken them two standard centuries to bring the 1st Company back to full strength after their sacrifice at Macragge. Only then did the Chapter Master believe that the Ultramarines were fit to carry the Banner of Macragge into battle once more. Ancient Helveticus was succeeded in this duty by Ancient Tortalus.
If the Banner of Macragge supposedly dates from the time of the Great Crusade, it shouldn't depict a Tyranid organism being slain by Primarch Roboute Guilliam, as this xenos race didn't make contact with the Imperium until the current millennium, with some sources stating that the Imperium possible made first contact with them no earlier than the 35th Millennium. The explanation for this depiction has not been adequately explained by Games Workshop, nor has it yet to be retconned in any Black Library publications. The only possible explanation is that the Tyranid organism might have been added later, following the disastrous events of the Battle of Macragge while fighting Hive Fleet Behemoth in 745.M41. This most likely would have been done to honour the great sacrifice made by the Ultramarines, and most especially their veteran 1st Company, who were slain to a man.
- Chapter Approved: Second Book of the Astronomican (2001), "Ultramarines Special Characters - Ancient Helveticus, Bearer of the Battle Standard of Macragge," by Andy Chambers, pp. 120-121
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 22
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 73
- White Dwarf 263 (US), "Index Astartes - First Founding: Warriors of Ultramar - The Ultramarines Space Marine Chapter", pp. 18-25
- White Dwarf 256 (UK), ""Ultramarines Special Characters - Ancient Helveticus, Bearer of the Battle Standard of Macragge," by Andy Chambers, pp. 88-89
- Nightbringer in The Ultramarines Omnibus by Graham McNeill, pp. 29, 204