It’s hard to think that anyone would ever try to overthrow the Imperium once their peace has come to a planet, but, as history shows, it happens again and again.
Loremasters, there are a shocking number of people who continue to think that rebellion against the Imperium is not only feasible, but necessary. Let us gather ’round and discuss these heretics, traitors, and fiends who have all raised up the sword against “tyranny” — all of them rooted out and dealt with summarily. These might be well known rebellions–The Horus Heresy or the Badab War spring to mind here (though to call the Horus Heresy a mere “rebellion” feels like some kind of heresy in and of itself)–or smaller injustices against the Emperor, such as the Carnibales Rebellion which was against a single planet or the Axonar Spirewar which was fought over a single Hive spire.
Of the myriad known Imperial Rebellions five in particular stand out for today’s discussion:
In the wake of a war against an infesting Genestealer Cult, Nova Terra was plunged into anarchy by the renegade Space Marine Constantinus the Liberator, who renamed the world Constantinium. Following Constantinus’ fall to Chaos and the addition of several Chaos Space Marine warbands to his forces, he began a war of conquest in the surrounding Viridis sector which he eventually conquered after a campaign lasting ten years. Ultimately, Imperial forces led by the Iron Knights Chapter were sent to stabilize the area and reconquer the sector. Their campaign lasted 13 years and culminated with the death of Constantinus at the hands of the Officio Assassinorum.
As you can see, this world was a powder keg before the Genestealer Cults infested it–and proving that those who fall to Chaos are destined to be incompetent lackwits incapable of even basic stratagem, it took Constantinus 10 years for the rebels to secure the planet, while the Imperium boldly drew out their campaign of extermination and suffering for 13 years after they decided to take the planet back in a single battle.
The Macharian Heresy was an event in early M41 in Segmentum Pacificus after the death of Lord Solar Macharius, commander of the Macharian Crusade. After the death of Macharius, the rivalry between his seven Army Group Generals erupted into a civil war throughout the newly-conquered territories. Eventually the swath of territory conquered by Macharius splintered into warring miniature empires, each ruled over by one Macharius’ old Generals, who abandoned their oaths of loyalty to the Imperium and opposed not only each other but also the authority of the Adeptus Terra. In addition, Space MarineChapters that took part in the Crusade came to blows over and petty disputes, such as the Doom Warriors and Inceptors.
Lord Solar Macharius led one of the largest and most successful crusades since the Emperor himself. The Macharain Crusade is well documented in our archives, but in its wake. Macharius’ generals proved themselves to be lesser than their leader, quickly betraying and dismantling the legacy of the beloved Lord Solar, leaving swaths of the galaxy in disarray for seventy years, while requiring the intervention of one hundred Space Marine Chapters to finally clean up the mess.
This rebellion is little more than a foot note in the Imperium’s long history. It’s “detailed” in the Hunt of Voldorius, which is to say there’s little solid information on it–but it is included in this list of rebellions to show that even loyal abhumans can rebel, and no one is to be trusted–keep your vigilance constant, spying on your neighbors isn’t just your duty, it’s your responsibility.
Disaster struck the world, when a Alpha-level psyker forced the entire population of Ratling serfs, to rise up against the landowners in an orgy of bloodshed. The White ScarsChapter would later assist in putting down the rebellion.
In the wake of the Nephilim Schism, refugees fleeing the wars afflicting the southern galactic rim came upon a region of space usually wracked with Warp Storms. However now, the region was curiously calm and a joint expedition between Rogue Traders and the Dark Angels 5th Company was dispatched. Upon entering the orbit of Faze V, the fleet was immediately fired upon by orbital energy weapons of an unknown type. The Dark Angels combat dropped to the surface, discovering men altered by cybernetic arts and controlled by some blasphemous machine intelligence. The Dark Angels cut their way through the machine-slave hordes, smashing the the massive logic engines of the central intelligence.
Further proof that no good can come from allowing machines to think, here we have a dire warning. The entirety of Faze V’s population was enslaved by a massive central machine intelligence. It took the Dark Angels 4 brutal months to put down this rebellion. But not before the Dark Angel Techmarines recovered some “undisclosed data” from the “core” before ultimately leaving Faze V to burn.
Fortunately the Dark Angels are nothing, if not completely and unquestionably loyal.
The Moirae Schism was a major event in Adeptus Mechanicus history that took place during the Nova Terra Interregnum in M35. The civil war tore the Adeptus Mechanicus apart, dividing the Cult in ways unseen since the Schism of Mars during the Horus Heresy. The Moirae Tech-creed was based on the prophetic wave of calculations of a triad of tech-mystics enshrined within the rebellious Forge World of Moirae. The creed maintained that the beacon of the Astronomican contained hidden messages within its micro-fluctuations, and that these messages were from the Omnissiah and prophetic in nature. The Moirae Techpriests compiled these apocalyptic messages in their archives, copies of which quickly spread through many of the Cult Mechanicus‘ sub-sects. These radical teachings included references to the future overthrow of Mars and the fusion of the Adeptus Mechanicus and Ecclesiarchy. Such claims were treated as heresy by Mechanicus authorities on Mars, and civil war was quickly sparked between traditionalist and radical elements.
Even the Adeptus Mechanicus is not proof against the corruption of weak-willed flesh. Thankfully, Mars seems to be able to gather their strength and put down these internal rebellions – even if it does take 2000 years, several Titan Legions and Space Marine assistance to do it.
Our last rebellion is another one led by Ratlings, though this time of their own volition, rather than as dictated by Chaos demagogues–we have no doubt that buried in the archives you can find an example of nearly every subsection of the Imperium rising up in rebellion, proof of why we need the Emperor’s protection–even if we do not deserve it.
The Departmento Munitorum calculated that a single Imperial Guardregiment would be sufficient to pacify the agricultural world as the Ratling rebels were poorly equipped and it is well known that the small abhumans lack any discipline. The leaders of the rebellion also realized this and the rebels fled to the hills as soon as the first assault ships began disembarkation of the 122nd Finreht Highlanders.
Colonel Serat, the commander in charge of the invasion, ordered the companies of the vanguard to form a defensive perimeter around the landing points to guarantee that the heavily loaded transports of the regiment could land safely. But upon making landfall, to their great surprise, they did not find any enemy.
They spent one week before the first contact with the enemy, when a patrol of Highlanders fell victim to snipers as they crossed a bridge on the Karline River. After being forced to retire, the Officer in charge called for reinforcements to pin and destroy the rebels who had conducted the ambush. That was the first incident of a war in which the rebels dedicated themselves to defend their world by guerilla warfare and lightning attacks. The Highlanders were forced onto the defensive during the many months before the High Command of the regiment ordered a change of strategy that totally horrified Colonel Serat and his men. The new orders required the Highlanders to devastate all the farms of all the towns that found with the intention of denying the rebels their means of subsistence and to thus attract them towards a battle which they could not win. The colonel accepted the necessity of a change of strategy and put the orders into effect.
While the initial engagements were unconventional, eventually the Highlanders were able to squash the rebellion with overwhelming firepower. But this has served as a warning to the Imperial Commanders on the planet for generations.
There are many more Imperial Rebellions to read about. You can find them in our archives, located centrally at the:
If you find yourself in possession of seditious thought, please remember to report to your Commissar immediately.