The Time of Rebirth, also known in certain sources as the Age of Rebirth, was the first era of the Age of the Imperium and lasted roughly from the end of the Horus Heresy in ca. 014.M31 until the middle of the 32nd Millennium.
During the Time of Rebirth, the Imperium of Man slowly recovered from the Horus Heresy, economically, politically and even technologically. The myriad wars of the Great Scouring were fought in the years immediately after the end of the Heresy and the death of the traitorous Warmaster Horus Lupercal.
In a lengthy campaign, the Imperium's forces hunted down and banished the remaining Traitor Legions from their strongholds in Human-settled space. Eventually the Chaos Space Marines and the Ruinous Powers' other followers among the forces of Chaos found refuge in the massive Warp rift known as the Eye of Terror as the Emperor had planned.
For a time the Imperium knew peace from the corrupted followers of the Chaos Gods. At the same time, many alien species that had been fought and defeated during the Great Crusade reappeared in Human space to take advantage of the disruptions caused by the Horus Heresy and plagued the vulnerable worlds of Mankind.
The Great Scouring (ca. 014.M31 - Unknown Date.M31)
The Great Scouring, or simply "The Scouring," was the Imperium of Man's great counteroffensive against the Traitor Legions. It began immediately after the end of the Horus Heresy following the death of Horus and the failure of his assault on the Imperial Palace during the Siege of Terra in 014.M31.
The Scouring succeeded in driving the forces of Chaos from Imperial space into finding a refuge in the permanent Warp Storm known as the Eye of Terror. Before actually being confined for all time within the life support mechanisms of the Golden Throne, the Emperor had pronounced judgment on the Traitors: He declared them Excommunicate Traitoris, and determined that they were to be driven into the hellish region of the Warp rift called the Eye of Terror, which would hold them for all eternity.
All records and memory of the Traitor Legions were to be expunged from the Imperial archives. Worlds such as Istvaan V and Davin would be scoured clean of all life because of their corruption by Chaos.
The Traitor Legions' associated troops from the Dark Mechanicum, the Titan Legions or the Traitor regiments and starships of the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy that had turned to Chaos were to be destroyed or driven into the Eye alongside their leaders. It would be as if the Traitor Legions had never existed to sully the Imperium with their betrayal.
After the death of Horus, those Traitors who had not been slain outright during the Siege of Terra fled before the vengeful wrath of the Loyalist forces. Many made good their escape into unexplored space or disappeared into the Eye of Terror or other, lesser-known Warp rifts such as the Maelstrom.
Fighting continued for solar decades after the Heresy had ended before the Traitor forces were wholly destroyed or exiled into the Eye of Terror. Many Chaos-corrupted star systems were cleansed and placed under the watch of the newborn Inquisition.
The Emperor's dream of a new age of enlightenment, a time when Mankind was freed from superstition and ignorance, would turn into something far different. The Great Scouring would be followed by the true start of the ten-millennia-long era known as the Age of the Imperium.
The Second Founding (ca. 021.M31)
In the midst of the Scouring campaign, the Second Founding occurred. In order to prevent a single person from controlling as much military power as Horus had amassed and eliminate the risk of another large-scale civil war, numerous reforms were enacted at the hands of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines to reshape the Imperium of Man's political and military structure.
In this way the men and women of the Imperium could face the new post-Heresy realities of an interstellar government where the Emperor was no longer capable of carrying on the day-to-day tasks of ruling the galaxy.
The remaining 9 Loyalist Space Marine Legions were divided to form the far smaller 1,000-warrior organisations known as Chapters, each along with their own supporting spacecraft and planetary fiefdoms in accordance with the established dictates of Guilliman's magnum opus on military strategy and organisation, the Codex Astartes.
In the wake of the Horus Heresy and the Emperor's "ascension," Guilliman had become the ruling Lord Commander of the Imperium, the first among equals among the Senatorum Imperialis that now ruled the Imperium in the silent Emperor's name.
A portion of the Space Marines, now collectively known as the Adeptus Astartes, maintained their parent Legions' original names, badges and colours whilst the remaining Chapters took on new names and heraldry. The majority of these Second Founding Chapters still serve the Imperium today.
Resistance from several Space Marine Legions to Guilliman's order to break up their Legions, particularly among the Imperial Fists, nearly brought the Imperium to another crisis, until the scions of Rogal Dorn suffered through the battle of the Iron Cage and Dorn relented after the V Legion was only saved by the intervention of Guilliman's Ultramarines.
The Imperium suffered a great blow when Guilliman was mortally wounded at the Battle of Thessala in 121.M31 by the Daemon Primarch Fulgrim and was placed in stasis in the Temple of Correction in the fortress-monastery of the Ultramarines, the Fortress of Hera, on Macragge. It became a major pilgrimage destination for believers of the Imperial Cult over the next 10,000 years.
1st Black Crusade (781.M31)
In 781.M31, Abaddon the Despoiler, the Chaos Lord of the Black Legion, made his first attempt to launch a new offensive against the Imperium of Man following the Horus Heresy. He initiated the campaign known as the 1st Black Crusade, which opened with the conflict remembered as the First Battle of Cadia.
Abaddon had made many blood pacts with the Dark Gods in the wake of Horus' defeat during the Horus Heresy. Following this deadly incursion, the Ruinous Powers granted Abaddon the means to further increase his already formidable power.
After the First Battle of Cadia was won, the forces of Chaos under Abaddon's command plunged the worlds of the Segmentum Obscurus into a terrible conflict that ravaged hundreds of worlds for several solar decades.
At the end of that time, on the world of Uralan in the Eye of Terror, Abaddon recovered the Daemonsword Drach'nyen after battling his way through a haunted labyrinth to the great inner chamber where the blade had languished in stasis for millennia.
The howling sword contained the bound essence of an ancient and dangerous Warp entity who had once been defeated by the Emperor Himself during the Horus heresy and had the power to rend reality apart wherever the weapon strikes.
After the recovery of the malefic sword, Abaddon's power swelled to inhuman proportions much like his predecessor Horus, and he was recognised by the Chaos Gods as Horus Lupercal's true successor amongst the Traitor Legions, the new Warmaster of Chaos Undivided.
Rise of the Adeptus Ministorum
The Emperor, always an object of veneration, only increased His following after being joined to the Golden Throne, an act remembered by his followers as His "ascension." Many Imperial cults arose over the following centuries, the majority of which were united into a larger body known as the Ecclesiarchy led by the largest cult, the Temple of the Saviour Emperor.
This powerful church gained momentum and a following across the galaxy until, in the 32nd Millennium, it was granted the status of official state religion of the Imperium and the title of Adeptus Ministorum within the Adeptus Terra.
It is only a few centuries later that Ecclesiarch Veneris II received a seat amongst the High Lords of Terra, and after 300 Terran years, the seat reserved for the Ecclesiarch, the church's high priest, was made permanent. The political power of the Ecclesiarchy only continues to grow as the centuries pass and the people of the Imperium's faith in the God-Emperor becomes ever more intense.
War of the Beast (544-546.M32)
The Orks rampaged across the Imperium on a massive scale in 544.M32 during what became known as the War of the Beast. The number of greenskin attacks grew until it became the greatest Ork invasion that the galaxy had ever known to that time, eclipsing even the Ork WAAAGH! defeated by the Emperor and Horus during the Ullanor Crusade, which had earned Horus the title of Warmaster.
Nothing was safe from the Orks' primal desire to conquer the galaxy and their widespread advances, including several assaults on Terra itself, were only halted when the Imperium resorted to the use of the most extreme measures, at great cost to the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.
The Orks had developed six massive Warlords known as "The Beasts" by the Imperials, who each created six "Legions" of Orks similar to the ancient Space Marine Legions that had originally defeated them on Ullanor. These Orks were of a different sub-species than other Orks, were much more intelligent and could converse with humans fluently in their own language.
They also developed gravitic and teleportation technologies more advanced than anything the Mechanicum had on hand, including the ability to teleport planets through what the Imperials named "subspace."
The Orks built so-called "Attack Moons" by using gravitic technology to pull a planet's crust and mantle into space and then reshape it into a sphere. These Attack Moons were armed with "Gravity Whips" that could destroy entire fleets of battleships with crippling gravity waves.
Three great battles were fought on Ullanor, the site of the ancient Ullanor Crusade and the capital of the new, advanced Ork civilisation and their greatest temple to the Ork gods Gork and Mork, to ultimately kill the Beasts using the aid of captured Ork psykers or "Weirdboyz" and the psychic null powers of the Sisters of Silence.
After the final conquest of the Beasts on Ullanor, the Mechanicus took over the world to strip away the Ork technologies in an attempt to learn how to teleport planets like Mars through the Warp and gain access to the Orks gravitic weapons.
To keep the High Lords of Terra from knowing that they were violating Imperial doctrine to eschew any research into forbidden xenos technologies, the Tech-priests eventually teleported Ullanor into the Segmentum Solar, where it was wiped clean of Ork remains and reopened for human colonisation with a new name -- Armageddon.
It is for this reason in the 41st Millennium that the Orks continually returned to claim the planet, never realising it is actually the home of their greatest empires of old.
The War of the Beast brought many structural changes to the Imperium. The Inquisition was first divided into the Ordo Xenos and the Ordo Malleus at this time, and the Deathwatch, the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos, was founded to face the Orks during the conflict.
The position of Lord Commander of the Imperium, first among equals among the High Lords of Terra, was finally abolished and the Captain-General of the Adeptus Custodes was granted a seat on the High Lords' Senatorum Imperialis.
In the wake of their near-destruction during the war, the Imperial Fists Chapter, long the sentinels of the Imperial Throneworld, left Terra behind, instead committing themselves to a never-ending Imperial Crusade against the foes of Mankind using their mobile fortress-monastery, Phalanx.
The Beheading (546.M32)
The byzantine politics of the Imperium took a calamitous turn in 546.M32 in the wake of the War of the Beast in an event remembered as The Beheading.
The High Lords of Terra, the successors of the Council of Terra that had been established to administer the day-to-days affairs of the Imperium and now ruled in the Emperor's name, were slain to a man on the orders of Drakan Vangorich, the Grand Master of Assassins and veteran political manipulator.
A Space Marine retribution force drawn from the Halo Brethren, Imperial Fists and Sable Swords Chapters tracked the Grand Master to an Officio Assassinorum temple. The commander of the Astartes strike force was assassinated as soon as he made planetfall, but the remaining battle-brothers carried out the attack without him.
Inside the temple they were attacked by 100 Eversor Assassins. Only a single Space Marine survived to reach Grand Master Vangorich and end his life with a bolter. The Imperium descended into anarchy for several standard years as new High Lords rose to power under the aegis of the Adeptus Astartes.
- Black Legion - A Codex: Chaos Space Marines Supplement (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 26-28, 65
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pp. 40-47, 50-53, 123, 134, 152, 164-166
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 168-177
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pp. 122-129
|Warhammer 40,000 Timeline|
|Pre-Imperial Eras||War in Heaven • Age of Terra • Age of Technology • Age of Strife • Fall of the Aeldari|
|Founding of the Imperium||Unification Wars • Great Crusade • Horus Heresy • Great Scouring|
|Age of the Imperium||Time of Rebirth • The Forging • Nova Terra Interregnum • Age of Apostasy • Age of Redemption • The Waning • Time of Ending • Era Indomitus|