High Lords of Terra
The High Lords of Terra collectively form the Council of the High Lords of Terra, also known as the Senatorum Imperialis. The Senatorum is an Imperial governing body of twelve leaders of the most powerful organisations of the Imperium. This body rules the Imperium in the Emperor's name.
The task of the High Lords is to interpret and enact the will of the Emperor. Accordingly, the position of High Lord is the most powerful in the Imperium.
The High Lords
Determining who will hold the position of High Lord has resulted in millennia of political intrigue between the various bureaucracies seeking to increase their power. However, some organisations are so powerful, so fundamentally important to the Imperium, that their position on the Council is considered sacrosanct. For this reason the following nine offices are almost always represented as High Lords:
- The Master of the Administratum
- The Inquisitorial Representative
- The Ecclesiarch of the Adeptus Ministorum
- The Fabricator-General of the Adeptus Mechanicus
- The Grand Provost Marshal of the Adeptus Arbites
- The Paternoval Envoy of the Navigators
- The Master of the Astronomican
- The Grand Master of the Officio Assassinorum
- The Master of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica
The remaining three positions are most likely to be filled from among the following powerful leaders:
- Lord Commander of the Segmentum Solar Fleet of the Imperial Navy
- Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Guard
- Cardinal(s) of the Holy Synod of Terra
- The Abbess Sanctorum of the Adepta Sororitas
- Captain-General of the Adeptus Custodes
- Chancellor of the Estate Imperium
- The Speaker for the Chartist Captains
- Lord High Admiral of the Imperial Navy
Despite their vital importance to the Imperium, the Adeptus Astartes are not represented among the High Lords. This may have been set up intentionally by Roboute Guilliman himself as the Primarch fervently believed that it was the duty of the Space Marines to protect mankind, not rule it.
The original High Lords were known as the Council of Terra. These consisted of key individuals to the Emperor's rule and was originally staffed by the Fabricator-General of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Paternova of the Navis Nobilite, and Malcador the Sigillite. Military matters were outside of the jurisdiction of this council, instead vested in Warmaster Horus.
Following the Horus Heresy, the High Lords of Terra succeeded the Council of Terra as the main executive body of the Imperium as the beginning of the reformations initiated by Primarch Roboute Guilliman, who joined the Council as Lord Commander of the Imperium, commanding the entirety of the Imperial armed forces. In early M32, the rise of the Imperial Creed and the Cult of the Saviour Emperor in the Imperium meant that the Ecclesiarch of the Adeptus Ministorum was granted a seat, which soon became permanent[Needs Citation].
By 598.M35, the Senatorum Imperialis declared the founding of a new Space Marine Chapter known as the Astral Claws that were charged with the responsibility of guarding the space lanes in the region of the Maelstrom. Their mission included the interdiction of any renegades that sought to flee into the area and escape Imperial justice.[7a]
In M36, Goge Vandire, Master of the Administratum, lead a coup d'état and became the Ecclesiarch of the Adeptus Ministorum, holding a dual role. During his Reign of Blood, the High Lords were powerless to act. When Fabricator-General Gastaph Hediatrix demanded that the High Lords account for themselves and execute Vandire, Goge dissolved the High Lords and declared the Space Marines and Mechanicus as traitors. Before long, Goge was killed, and the High Lords returned to power[Needs Citation].
Notable High Lords
- Roboute Guilliman - Lord Commander of the Imperium
- Goge Vandire - Master of the Administratum & Ecclesiarch (Dual roles)
- Gastaph Hediatrix - Fabricator-General[3b]
- Decius XXIII - Ecclesiarch as of 945.M41
- Sebastian Thor – Ecclesiarch[3c]
- Veneris II – Ecclesiarch[3a]
- Umberto II - Ecclesiarch
- Sarius Gorki - Paternoval Envoy[8a]
- Phaedrus - Master of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica
- Drakan Vangorich - Grand Master of Assassins who in 546.M32 was killed by the Adeptus Astartes after assassinating all the High Lords.
- Sabrina - Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas. Currently missing.
- Black Library's blog facetiously uses the title "High Lords of Terra" to refer to the authors who have contributed to the Horus Heresy series, including Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Graham McNeill, James Swallow, Gav Thorpe, and Chris Wraight.
- 1:Codex Imperialis (1993), p. 14
- 2:Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 3:Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition)
- 4:Codex: Orks (4th Edition), p.92
- 5:Horus Heresy: Visions of War, [Needs Citation]
- 6:Battlefleet Gothic 41st Millenium, p. 86
- 7:Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- 7a: pg. 7
- 8:Wolfblade (Novel) by William King:
- 9:Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition Rulebook, pg. 124
- 10:White Dwarf 140 (UK), p. 50
- 11:White Dwarf 293 (UK), pg. 57
- 12:Codex: Assassins (3rd Edition), p. 24
- 13: Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition), pg. 45
- 14: The High Lords of Terra Convene, February 2, 2012 (last accessed May 11, 2012)
- 15: Questions for the High Lords, May 10, 2012 (last accessed May 11, 2012)
- 16: Legion of the Damned (Novel), Prologue, p. 11
- 17: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook pg.403