The History of the Ultramarines
According to legend the Emperor created the Primarchs from artificially engineered genes, carefully imbuing each of them with unique superhuman powers. It took many hundreds of years to collect and refine the mutant genes needed to produce the Primarchs. When all was ready the genetic matrixes were placed within twenty incubator capsules. Legend goes on to tell how the Dark Gods of Chaos spirited away the Primarchs within their incubator capsules, scattering them widely throughout the warp. More than one of the capsules was breached whilst it drifted through warp space. The forces of the warp leaked in wreaking havoc in the developing genetic material inside the capsule. Undoubtedly damage was done, although the nature of that damage would only become apparent during the Horus Heresy.
The Youth of Rouboute Guilliman
After drifting for decades or in some cases even hundreds of years, the twenty incubation capsules came to rest on human worlds throughout the galaxy - distant planets inhabited by a variety of human cultures. The capsule containing the developing form of one Primarch fell upon the world of Macragge. This was a bleak but not inhospitable world that mankind had inhabited for many centuries. Its industries had survived the Age of Strife and its people had continued to build spacecraft throughout the period of intense warp storms. The people of Macragge had successfully maintained contact with neighboring systems, despite the loss of many ships and crews. The Primarchs capsule was discovered by a group of noblemen out hunting in the forest. They broke the capsule's seal to reveal a striking child surrounded by a glowing nimbus of power. The amazing infant was brought before Konor, one of a pair of co-rulers, or Consuls, who governed the civilized part of Macragge. Konor adopted the child as his son and named him Roboute. The young Primarch grew quickly, and as he did so his unique physical and mental powers became obvious for all to see. By his tenth birthday he had studied and mastered everything the wisest men of Macragge could teach him. His insight into matters of history. philosophy and science astonished his elders, but his greatest talent lay in the art of war. A genius for military organization prompted his father to give him command of an expeditionary force in the far north of Macragge. This mountainous area was called Illyrium. a barbarous land which had harbored bandits and brigands for as long as anyone could remember. Although many wars had been fought against them, no-one had ever pacified the region for long. Roboute fought a brilliant campaign and won not only the submission but also the respect of the fierce Illyrian warriors. Returning home he found the capital in turmoil. During Roboute's absence his father's co-Consul. a man called Gallan, led a conspiracy against Konor. Gallan was one of many amongst the wealthy nobility who were jealous of Konor's power and popularity. These malcontents were used to easy living on their vast estates where they were supported by impoverished slaves. Konor had changed all that, forcing the old aristocracy to provide slaves with reasonable accommodation and food. He had also passed legislation which obliged them to contribute to his ambitious program of improving and enlarging the city. All these reforms were of great benefit to the people of Macragge. but were unpopular with all but a few of the more far-sighted aristocrats. As Roboute and his army approached the gates of Macragge City they saw the smoke of burning and hurried to investigate. Soon they met citizens fleeing from the anarchy. and Roboute learned how troops in the pay of Gallan had attacked the Senate House with Konor and his loyal bodyguard inside. The rebels surrounded the Senate, whilst drunken soldiers roamed the city looting and murdering at will. Roboute hurried to his father's rescue. Leaving his troops to deal with the drunken mob, he fought his way into the Senate House. There he found his father dying of wounds inflicted by a hired assassin. For three whole days the Consul had directed the defense of the building even as surgeons fought for his life. With his dying breath Konor told his son of Gallan's treachery: how he and his fellow conspirators had attempted to murder him as he arrived at the Senate House to declare a public holiday in honour of Roboute's victory. Roboute crushed the rebels and quickly restored order within the city. Thousands of citizens flocked to the Senate House and amidst a wave of popular acclaim Roboute assumed the mantle of sole and all-powerful Consul of Macragge. The new ruler acted swiftly to crush the old order. Those who had acted against his father were executed and their lands and family titles taken from them. New, honest, hard-working settlers were given the old farms and property. With super-human energy and vision the Consul reorganized the social order of Macragge. rewarding the hard-working. placing men of honour in high office, and building the armed forces into a powerful and well equipped force. Macragge flourished as never before.
The Emperor reaches Macragge
While the capsule containing the Primarchs drifted through the warp the Emperor and his armies advanced across the galaxy. This Great Crusade liberated many worlds from alien domination and re-established contact with human planets which had endured isolation and danger for thousands of years. As the young Roboute Guilliman waged war against the Illyrian bandits in the northern mountains of Macragge, the Emperor and a force of Space Marines reached the planet of Espandor in a neighboring system. From the Espandorians the Emperor learned of Macragge and the astounding son of Consul Konor. He immediately realised that he had found one of the long lost Primarchs. The Emperor took ship to Macragge. His ship ran into a sudden and unexpected warp-squall. a brief but intensely strong disturbance of warp space that threw the craft off-course. By the time the Emperor reached Macragge, Roboute Guilliman had ruled for almost five years. In that time the world had undergone a transformation. Its people were well-fed and prosperous. its armies well-equipped and powerful, and its cities had been rebuilt in glittering marble and shining steel. Spacecraft from Macragge ran regular routes between the local systems. bringing raw materials and more people to the flourishing world. The Emperor was astounded to find a world so well ordered and prosperous, and realised at once that Roboute Guilliman was a Primarch of great ability and vision.
The Ultramarines Legion of Space Marines was assigned to the control of Roboute Guilliman and its forward base relocated to Macragge. The Primarch quickly assimilated the many wonders of the Imperium and set about his new role with skill and enthusiasm. His chief talents, as ever, lay in war, and he soon led the Ultramarines to fresh conquests in the galactic south. He succeeded in liberating more worlds during the Great Crusade than any other Primarch, and the worlds he brought within the Imperium were to benefit from his organizational skills and passion for efficient government. Whenever Roboute Guilliman freed a world from the tyranny of Orks. Chaos or other aliens, his first priority was to set up a self-supporting defense system. Once a world was safe he could move on. leaving behind enough advisers to ensure that industry would be created, trading routes set up with the Imperium, and government directed towards the prosperity of the people. In this way the Ultramarines could conquer worlds faster than any other Space Marine Legion. Meanwhile, the fortress of the Ultramarines grew on Macragge. Some Ultramarines remained behind to supervise the work. which progressed rapidly thanks to the ready trading network and advanced industries of the planet. Within a year a training base was established, and recruiting began on the planet Macragge and surrounding worlds. It was not long before the Ultramarines Legion received its first influx of warriors born and bred on Macragge. Thanks to their usual thoroughness of organization. the Ultramarines were able to receive constant recruits throughout the Great Crusade. Because of its strong recruitment base and Roboute Guilliman's tactical expertise the Ultramarines soon became the largest Space Marine Legion, having more recruits than any other Legion and suffering fewer casualties.
After the Heresy
Horus Heresy plunged the Imperium into savagery and civil war, the
Ultramarines were engaged on the southern edge of the galaxy. Their very
success had carried them far from Earth and isolated them from the
conquering armies of Horus in the north-east. News of Horus's treachery did
not even reach the Ultramarines until the attack on Earth was underway.
Thanks to the speed of Horus's attack there was little that Roboute
Guilliman could do. None of the worlds already liberated by the Ultramarines
was in serious danger from the forces of Chaos. Consequently, the
Ultramarines were poorly placed to contribute much during the early stages
of the Horus Heresy. Their main success was the destruction of a large force
of Chaos Space Marines which was heading to reinforce Horus' s position.
Afterwards the Ultramarines took part in several important battles to
recover human worlds from the dominion of Chaos. As fate would have it. the
Ultramarines were therefore largely untouched by the fighting of the Horns
Heresy. Other loyal Space Marine Legions had lost thousands of troops during
the fighting, and half of the original Legions had sided with Horus. As a
result the number of Space Marines left was very few, and never were they
more needed. The confusion and disorder following the Horns Heresy had left
the Imperium weak and vulnerable. Everywhere the enemies of mankind prepared
to attack. Many worlds remained in the grip of Chaos. Into this breach
stepped Roboute Guilliman and the Ultramarines. Always the largest Legion,
the Ultramarines found themselves divided and dispatched all over the
Imperium in a desperate effort to stem the tide of invasion and unrest.
The Second Founding
Founding of the Space Marines was decreed seven years after the death of
Horus. The existing Space Marine Legions were dissolved one by one and
refounded as smaller, more flexible formations. Where the old Legions were
unlimited in size the new formations were fixed at a nominal one thousand
fighting warriors. This corresponded to the existing unit called the
Chapter. and in future the Chapter was recognised as the standard autonomous
Space Marine formation.
With the Second Founding the size of the Ultramarines' force was much reduced. Most of the Space Marines left Macragge to establish new Chapters elsewhere. The Ultramarines fortress was built to accommodate more than ten times as many Space Marines as now' remained on the homeworld. As a result its arsenals and weapon shops were partially dismantled, and taken by the Primogenitor Chapters to found their own bases throughout the galaxy. The genetic banks of the Ultramarines. and the huge recruitment organization. was similarly reduced in size. One aspect of the old Ultramarines Legion that survived was the close relationship between the Space Marines and the people of the surrounding planets. During the Great Crusade the worlds around Macragge provided young recruits for the Ultramarines. They also supplied raw materials, armaments and spacecraft. Although the need to recruit from these worlds vanished with the reorganization, the tradition continued. To this day, the Ultramarines recruit not from a single world, but from the whole of local space. This area around Macragge is called Ultramar, the empire of the Ultramarines. Ultramar is unique amongst the Space Marines. Where other Chapters rule over a single planet, asteroid or, in some cases, a mobile space fleet or orbital fortress, the Ultramarines have a larger domain. They control no fewer than eight local systems. each with its own worlds and governments loyal to the Chapter. All the worlds of Ultramar share a common cultural heritage with Macragge, so it is not surprising that their styles of architecture, government, and traditions are similar. After the Horus Heresy all eight worlds benefited from the improving reforms of Roboute Guilliman. There are many today who regard Ultramar as the ideal model for human society. The worlds of Ultramar are inhabited by a disciplined, productive and loyal people. Although primarily industrial worlds, they have none of the nightmarish toxic wastelands that are common phenomena throughout the galaxy. The population live in sprawling cities, but these cities are surrounded by extensive farmlands and seas that teem with fish. Every world is self-sufficient in raw materials and food. Trade between the worlds is active and each planet has its specialties and delicacies. Each world is balanced as a society and also as an ecosystem - a rare achievement in the Imperium. Not all the worlds of Ultramar are identical by any means. Macragge itself is mostly bleak and rocky, over 75% of its land mass being formed of bleak mountainous upland which is almost entirely devoid of life. The people of Macragge do not live in this inhospitable region, but the fortress of the Ultramarines is built here upon a craggy peak surrounded by impenetrable mountains. Within this mighty fortress, inside a vast temple, is the shrine of the Primarch himself. This is where his body sits upon a huge throne of ornately carved marble. He is preserved in death by a stasis field impervious to the decaying effects of time. This is one of the holiest places in the Imperium. and thousands come from all over the galaxy to look upon the face of the ancient Primarch. Other worlds are quite different from Macragge. Talassar is a planet of storm-tossed seas and rocky islands whose single continent is known as Glaudor, which was the site of a major battle between the Ultramarines and invading Orks immediately after the Horns Heresy. In contrast to the oceanic world of Talassar are the arid Three Planets of Quintarn, Tarentus and Masali. These small planets form a triple world combination orbiting around a common centre of gravity much like the Earth and its moon. Gigantic horticultural cities cover hundreds of square miles, capturing precious water in wind traps and storing it in massive underground tanks. The cities of the Three Planets are enclosed by gigantic domes under which flourish forests and gardens as lush as any in Ultramar. One of the most productive planets of Ultramar is Calth, an airless world whose inhabitants live in underground cities where the deadly light of Calth's blue sun cannot reach them. The caverns of Calth are constructed on such a huge scale, and with such grandeur, that they are as light and airy as any city of Macragge. Of all the local worlds Calth is the most specialised, for although its people grow vast quantities of food in nutrient vats they prefer to import most of what they eat from the neighboring system of Iax. Calth is famous for its shipyards, which provide the craft used by the Ultramarines as well as civil and military craft for wider use in the Imperium. lax is sometimes described as the Garden of Ultramar. Its climate and fertility have made it one of the most naturally productive worlds in the Imperium. The inhabitants have harnessed the planet's inherent productivity. covering its surface with well-ordered farms and cultivated woodlands. There are no large cities on Iax, but many small towns dotted over the landscape, connected together by an efficient system of fast hydroways. The oldest and most densely urbanized area of Iax is the ancient fortress city of First Landing, whose tall citadel has withstood the barrages of invaders over the centuries. Most distant from Macragge is the world of Espandor, a planet of extensive forests whose major cities are confined to the westernmost of its two continents. Espandor is a secondary settlement whose people are the descendants of explorers from Macragge. Tradition has it that Espandor was settled during the Age of Strife by traders blown off-course and subsequently stranded by warp storms. It is the least densely populated of all the worlds of Ultramar. Prandium was once a world teeming with life. Settlers from Macragge established a colony on the planet after the Horns Heresy. Thanks to a mild climate and fertile virgin environment the people of Prandium prospered. The planet soon become the most beautiful jewel of Ultramar, a planet of remarkable prosperity and an incredibly rich native fauna. Prandium was destroyed by Hive Fleet Behemoth in the First Tyrannic War. The wasted world is now dead and lifeless, reduced to bedrock, its atmosphere blown into space by the ferocity of the Tyranid attack.
The military of Ultramar
Ultramar is the realm of the Ultramarines within the greater realm of humanity that is the Imperium. Its worlds do not pay the Imperium's tithes. Instead they contribute directly towards the upkeep of the Ultramarines Chapter. The rulers of the individual worlds of Ultramar are feudal lords of the Master of the Ultramarines. This is why the Ultramarines' leader is also known as the Lord of Ultramar. Just like other worlds in the Imperium, each world of Ultramar raises regiments for its own defence. Most worlds in the Imperium are obliged to provide regiments for the Imperial Guard when required, but Space Marine homeworlds are an exception. In the case of Ultramar however, the Ultramarines rule so efficiently and are so prosperous that they maintain several hundred regiments ready to join the Imperial Guard when needed. As a result regiments have fought all over the galaxy, often in campaigns alongside the Ultramarines themselves. Each world of Ultramar also provides Space Marine recruits for the Ultramarines Chapter itself. Throughout Ultramar proud citizens point to public statues of famous Ultramarines who were born to local families. Amongst the older aristocratic dynasties it is a matter of considerable esteem to provide recruits for the Space Marines. For a family to have provided a renowned hero, or an actual Master of the Chapter is a great honour bringing considerable fame for generations.