Apothecaries are Space Marines with special medical training. Their role in battle is to recover the Chapter's gene-seed from killed Marines and to tend to the wounded. Outside of combat, Apothecaries are responsible for monitoring recruits and neophytes for mutation or flaws in their gene-seed organs and implants.
The Apothecary's role is to serve as a field medic and bio-researcher. Along with being highly trained in medicine, they are among the elite warriors in the chapter.[Needs Citation]
Apothecaries are greatly honoured within the Chapter, as they are responsible for maintaining the purity of its gene-seed. If its gene-seed were to become mutated, it could well bring the Chapter's extinction or its fall to Chaos. The Apothecaries are charged with maintaining the health and genetic purity of the Space Marines. Their skills and equipment, when combined with the added organs and resilience of a Space Marine, allow an Apothecary to perform battle surgery with a good chance of success.[Needs Citation]
Not all wounded Marines can be saved; some are beyond even the Apothecary's skills. In this case, it is the Apothecary's responsibility to administer "the Emperor's Peace" (euthanasia) to those warriors who deserve it. The Apothecary's medi-pack (known as a Narthecium) includes a special humane killer for this task, called a Carnifex - a solid spring-loaded piston of metal. This is applied to the sufferer's temple, its powerful spring hurling the piston through the Marine's brain and killing him instantly.
It is also the Apothecary's duty to harvest from the bodies' of fallen Marines the two implanted Progenoid glands, allowing for the gene-seed material to be cultivated and re-implanted in a Neophyte. Marines rarely go into battle without an Apothecary being available, as every Marine is a valuable resource and to lose any of their gene-seed would be a blow to the Chapter.[Needs Citation]
Each Company in a Chapter has an attached Apothecary that accompanies them into battle. Additional Apothecaries staff the Apothecarion, although they rarely take to the field, instead acting as bio-researchers and occupying themselves in taking part in the training of Neophytes and potential new Apothecaries.
The insignia of the Apothecaries is the prime helix, rendered in bright red. The symbol represents the sacred code of the Chapter's gene-seed.[Needs Citation] The helix symbol is often adorned with additional iconography such as wings and skulls.
The Apothecaries of most Chapters wear white power armor, with the left shoulder plate retaining the Chapter colors along with the Chapter symbol. The right shoulder armor displays the prime helix. Some less traditional Chapters use different schemes.[Needs Citation]
- The Blood Angels Apothecaries bear the honourary title Sanguinary Priest. In addition to their roles as medics and overseeing the induction of new recruits, the Sanguinary Priests share a role with the Angels' Chaplains in watching over their battle-brothers' spiritual well-being, guarding against the influence of the Red Thirst and the Black Rage.
- The Wolf Priests of the Space Wolves combine the roles of Apothecary and Chaplain within their Great Companies. They also prefer not to use Codex medical equipment but instead use healing potions and balms, the knowledge passed down through the generations.
A Heresy-era Primus Medicae in Terminator Armour
- 1: Games Workshop Apothecary Figurine (accessed 2007.06.11)
- 2: Insignium Astartes, [Needs Citation]
- 3: White Dwarf 102 (UK), [Needs Citation]
- 4: Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pgs. 11, 48
- 5: White Dwarf 266 (UK), [Needs Citation]
- 6: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade
- 7: Brothers of the Snake (Novel) by Dan Abnett, [Needs Citation]
- 8: Ultramarines - A Warhammer 40,000 Movie, written by Dan Abnett
- 9: Nightbringer (Novel) by Graham McNeill, [Needs Citation]
- 10: The Chapter's Due (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- 11: Salamander (Novel) by Nick Kyme, Chapter One, Part I, pg. 16
- 12: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising
- 13: Deathwatch: The Jericho Reach, pgs. 140-141
- 14: Index Astartes: Apothecaries, Space Marine Apothecaries
- 15: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition: War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 13
- 16: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 18
- 17: Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition) pg.155