40k Lore: Roboute Guilliman
Alright Loremasters, this week we’re taking a look at the Master of Ultramar!
Roboute Guilliman (/rɒb’uːt ‘guːlɪmæn/), known as The Avenging Son following the Battle of Calth, is the Primarch of the Ultramarines. An accomplished warlord and diplomat who ruled his own empire before rediscovery by the Emperor, Guilliman was unique among his brother Primarchs in that he saw himself as not only a warrior but also a builder of civilizations. In addition to his leadership of the largest and most successful Space Marine Legion during the Great Crusade, Guilliman became renowned for his efforts to preserve the Imperium in the aftermath of the devastating Horus Heresy, becoming Lord Commander of the Imperium. Among his most noteworthy achievements is the authoring of the Codex Astartes and the creation of the modern Imperial military structure.
Like the other Primarchs, Roboute Guilliman was one of twenty genetically engineered “sons” of the Emperor of Mankind. Like his “brothers,” Roboute was taken as an infant by the powers of Chaos, and removed to a far-flung world in an effort to prevent the coming Age of the Imperium. The infant Guilliman’s capsule fell to earth on Macragge, where it was discovered by a group of noblemen hunting in the forest. Inside the capsule they found a child, surrounded by a glowing aura. He was taken back to Konor, one of the two Consuls who governed Macragge, who adopted the infant as his son and named him Roboute[1a]. Roboute’s arrival on Macragge was a portentous time, and many reported strange sights. Most notably, Konor dreamed of the Emperor, and found himself beside Hera’s Falls in the Valley of Laponis. Upon awakening, Konor assembled his bodyguard and rode to Hera’s Falls, where they found the child. The name Konor gave the child, Roboute, means “Great One”. Guilliman would also be raised by Konor’s Seneschal, Tarasha Euten, a strong-willed and capable woman.
While Roboute was prosecuting his war against the Illyrian rebels, the Emperor of Mankind and his armies had reached the neighboring planet of Espandor. It was there that the Emperor heard stories of the extraordinary son of Consul Konor, and realized that he had found one of the lost Primarchs[1a]. However, due to an unexpected warp storm, his ship was thrown far off course and by the time it reached Macragge, Roboute had been ruling for almost five years. When the Emperor reached Macragge, he found a world that was self sufficient, prosperous, with a strong and well-equipped military, and engaging in trade with nearby systems. Impressed, the Emperor assigned command of the Ultramarines Space Marine Legion to Guilliman, and relocated the Legion’s forward base to Macragge[1b].
With the exception of the Luna Wolves, no Legion conquered as many worlds, or conquered worlds as fast, or left conquered worlds in such good state during the Great Crusade, as the Ultramarines. Whenever Guilliman liberated a world, he would not move on until he had set up a self-sufficient defense system, and left advisors behind to create industry, set up trade routes with the rest of the Imperium, and form a government whose first concern would always be the well-being of the people[1b].
At the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, Guilliman and the Ultramarines were tricked by Horus, who sent them to the Veridian system while Horus carried out his treasonous plot. When the treachery was revealed, the Ultramarines were poorly placed to react to it.
While the Ultramarines mustered their forces at Calth, in Ultramar, they were attacked by the Word Bearers and the Legion took heavy losses. However, the Word Bearers had overlooked two major points: the unbreakable fighting spirit of the Ultramarines, and the brilliance of Guilliman’s command. An attempt by Lorgar to assassinate Guilliman with a Daemon who attacked the bridge of his flagship, forcing Guilliman to be sucked into space and fight several Word Bearers without a helmet. Guilliman was eventually able to reboard his ship, and promised to hunt down and kill Lorgar for the betrayal. At the climax of the battle Guilliman ripped out one of the two hearts of Kor Phaeron, the Word Bearers commander at Calth, after he had tried to tempt Guilliman to join the Forces of Chaos.
Meanwhile Angron of the World Eaters and Lorgar of the Word Bearers had launched the Shadow Crusade on isolated worlds in Ultramar. Their plan was to destroy as much of Ultramar as they could while the Ultramarines were occupied on Calth. After the victory at Calth, Gulliman, presumably under the guidance of his newly reinstated Librarians, traveled to an isolated Warp jump point on the outer fringes of Ultramar. There he encountered Sanguinius of the Blood Angels who has just recently finished his war in the Signus cluster. The Navigators of the Blood Angels had been ordered to find the closest stable Warp zone, which many assumed would be Terra. Instead fate brought them to Ultramar. With the addition of the Blood Angels to his forces, Gulliman pronounced they could finally begin countering the Shadow Crusade. After Calth, Guilliman pursued Lorgar, who had since allied with Angron, to the world of Nuceria. There, the Ultramarines engaged both the World Eaters and Word Bearers while Guilliman himself battled Lorgar, finding the once-weaker Word Bearers Primarch to be surprisingly capable in combat. The situation for Guilliman got worse when Angron arrived, battering Guilliman with a furious assault and eventually defeating the Lord of Macragge. However as Angron was about to land the final blow, Ultramarines were able to arrive and safely retrieve their Primarch.
In the aftermath of the Great Betrayal, the Emperor had been incapacitated, and the Space Marines’ numbers had been decimated by defections to Chaos and battle losses. The Ultramarines were left as the largest loyal legion, and Guilliman assumed the title of Lord Commander of the Imperium. For years thereafter, Guilliman deployed and led the Ultramarines throughout the galaxy, reclaiming worlds lost to Chaos and preventing the loss of still others to rebellion or invasion from outside the Imperium. At the same time, Guilliman reorganized the Space Marine Legions as Chapters and composed the Codex Astartes, the tome that the Ultramarines (and many other chapters) follow strictly.
Later, in a battle against the Emperor’s Children, Guilliman would meet his end. Where Alpharius had not greatly embraced the Chaos powers, and was essentially unchanged from his original Primarch form, Fulgrim had been to the Eye of Terror, reaping the terrible powers therein, and had been elevated by Slaanesh to a mighty and fell Daemon Prince, no longer resembling a man, but his original purity of form corrupted and augmented by the ruinous powers. Fulgrim was now a serpentine creature of immense stature, and multi-limbed. Each limb carried a poisoned sword, and in the clash he stabbed Guilliman in the neck; Guilliman was interred in the Stasis field by the Apothecaries, and remains frozen in the instant of death, while Fulgrim escaped back to the Eye of Terror.
Currently, his mortal body remains in stasis, on the Shrine of Guilliman deep within the Temple of Correction, one of the holiest places in the entire Imperium. Some pilgrims claim that the Primarch’s wounds are slowly recovering, a feat credited to the power of the Emperor. Others deny the phenomenon, and point out the sheer impossibility of change within the stasis field. Yet enough believe the stories to come and witness for themselves the miracle of the Primarch.
For more on Roboute Guilliman visit the Lexicanum!
~Marneus Calgar is gonna be so sad now that dad’s coming back.