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The transhuman Space Marines were created during the First Founding of the late 30th Millennium to serve as the ultimate defenders of humanity.

The First Founding of the Space Marine Legions, also called the Legiones Astartes, occurred in ca. 700.M30 after the end of the Age of Strife and during the Unification Wars that founded the Imperium of Man on Terra.

Twenty Space Marine Legions were created from the gene-seed of the 20 superhuman primarchs engineered by the Emperor of Mankind from His own genetic code in His gene-laboratories beneath the Imperial Palace on Terra in the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains.

In spite of the fact that the primarchs were separated from the Emperor of Mankind through the mysterious actions of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and scattered through the Warp across the galaxy, He managed to keep a complete sample of each primarch's DNA.

The Emperor used these templates to create the first Space Marines by genetically enhancing His own Terran-born soldiers with the gene-seed derived from each primarch's genome.

The Space Marine Legions born of this process were used to complete the Unification Wars on Terra and then to initiate the Great Crusade to reunite all of Mankind's scattered colony worlds across the galaxy.

With each primarch the Emperor re-discovered during the course of the Great Crusade, He gave command of the Space Marine Legion created from their genetic material back to them. Each primarch then set up their Legion's headquarters on his homeworld, from which they also recruited new Space Marines into the Legion.

Two other Legions, the IInd Legion and the XIth Legion and their primarchs, were created by the Emperor, but nothing is known of what became of these Legions and their primarchs and all data pertaining to them was deliberately deleted from Imperial records before the start of the Horus Heresy.

First Founding Space Marine Legions

Legion Number
Primarch Status
I Lion El'Jonson Dark Angels Loyal Mortally wounded by Luther, leader of the Fallen Angels; formerly hidden unconscious beneath The Rock; currently active in the Imperium Nihilus
II Missing and deleted from Imperial records
III Fulgrim Emperor's Children Traitor Despite being possessed by a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh who impersonated him for a time, Fulgrim regained control of his body and eventually became a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh
IV Perturabo Iron Warriors Traitor Alive; Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided
V Jaghatai Khan White Scars (Star Hunters) Loyal Missing
VI Leman Russ Space Wolves Loyal Missing
VII Rogal Dorn Imperial Fists Loyal Dead (Ambiguous)
VIII Konrad Curze (Night Haunter) Night Lords Traitor Dead
IX Sanguinius Blood Angels (Revenant Legion) Loyal Dead
X Ferrus Manus Iron Hands (Storm Walkers) Loyal Dead
XI Missing and deleted from Imperial records
XII Angron World Eaters (War Hounds) Traitor Alive; Daemon Prince of Khorne; Banished to the Warp following the First War for Armageddon
XIII Roboute Guilliman Ultramarines (War-Born) Loyal Mortally wounded; formerly in stasis; resurrected as the Lord Commander of the Imperium in 999.M41
XIV Mortarion Death Guard (Dusk Raiders) Traitor Alive; Daemon Prince of Nurgle
XV Magnus the Red Thousand Sons Traitor Alive; Daemon Prince of Tzeentch
XVI Horus Luna Wolves / Sons of Horus Traitor Dead
XVII Lorgar

Word Bearers (Imperial Heralds)

Traitor Alive; Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided
XVIII Vulkan Salamanders (Dragon Warriors) Loyal Missing
XIX Corax Raven Guard Loyal Missing
XX Alpharius Omegon Alpha Legion Traitor, possibly still Loyal One twin dead, slain by Rogal Dorn at the Battle of Pluto, other twin may have been slain by Roboute Guilliman during Great Scouring. Status unknown.


  • Black Legion - A Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement (7th Edition), pg. 8
  • Codex Adeptus Astartes - Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 6, 10, 17, 19, 23, 83
  • Codex: Black Templars (4th Edition), pg. 20
  • Codex: Blood Angels (7th Edition), pp. 6, 62
  • Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 6, 12-13
  • Codex: Dark Angels (7th Edition), pg. 40
  • Codex Heretic Astartes - Chaos Space Marines (8th Edition), pp. 26, 34, 42, 47
  • Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition), pp. 7, 27
  • Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 6, 9, 16
  • Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 6, 8, 24
  • Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 4, 7-8
  • Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pp. 7, 13
  • Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris (Novel) by Chris Wraight
  • The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 26-32, 79, 85-97, 109, 120-129
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 73, 99, 121
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 90, 118
  • The Horus Heresy - Book Seven: Inferno (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 84, 154
  • The Horus Heresy Book Eight: Malevolence (Forge World Series) by Neil Wylie and Anuj Malhotra, pp. 117, 138
  • Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (2nd Edition), "Chapter Approved: The Origin of the Legiones Astartes", pp. 6-10
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), "The Legiones Astartes," pp. 153-161
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pp. 58-59, 64, 66, 98
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 168, 183, 186-187, 228
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pp. 134-135
  • White Dwarf 166 (US), "Space Marines: Codex Imperialis Extract - Legions of Adeptus Astartes," pp. 8-19
  • The First Heretic (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
  • A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill
  • Fear to Tread (Novel) by James Swallow
  • The Crimson Fist (Novella) by John French
  • Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
  • Vulkan Lives (Novel) by Nick Kyme
  • Deathfire (Novel) by Nick Kyme
  • Praetorian of Dorn (Novel) by Chris Wraight
  • Dark Creed (Novel) by Anthony Reynolds
  • Soul Drinkers (Novel) by Ben Counter
  • Bleeding Chalice (Novel) by Ben Counter
  • Throneworld (Novel) by Guy Haley
  • Warriors of Ultramar (Novel) by Graham McNeill