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High Lords of Terra

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Emblem of the Senatorum Imperialis

The High Lords of Terra (officially the Lords Temporal, Martial and Ecclesiarchical of the Most Divine and Righteous Imperium of Mankind[20]) 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 Senatorum itself is composed of tens of thousands of Imperial dignitaries, nobleman, lords, and other officials, but these rarely meet and instead the "High Twelve" conduct the vast majority of affairs.[18]

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.[1]

The High Lords

A High Lord of Terra[1]

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:[1]

The remaining three positions are most likely to be filled from among the following powerful leaders:[1]

The position of Lord Commander of the Imperium, first held by Roboute Guilliman, continued after his wounding at the hands of Fulgrim. There were still holders of the title, often simply referred to as "Lord Guilliman" in the Primarch's honor, until at least mid-M32. The Lord Commander served as the Chairman of the Senatorum.[18]

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.[17] This tradition was broken for a brief period in M32, during the War of the Beast and The Beheading, when the successive Chapter Masters of the Imperial Fists - Koorland and Maximus Thane - reigned as Lord Commander of the Imperium (see "History", below).

History

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, the Master of the Astra Telepathica, and Regent Malcador the Sigillite. Military matters were outside of the jurisdiction of this council, instead vested in Warmaster Horus.[17]

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.[2] 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] During the War of the Beast in 544.M32, the Senatorum paralyzed by inaction as the Orks devastated humanity and multiple High Lords were removed, arrested, and even killed. During the conflict, the Imperial Fist Koorland rose to become Lord Commander of the Imperium and removed the Ecclesiarchy from the High Twelve.[19] In the aftermath of the conflict in 546.M32, the High Lords were killed to a man in the mad Grand Master of Assassins Drakan Vangorich's coup and he ruled for the next hundred years at the head of a puppet cabinet. After his death at the hands of Maximus Thane, anarchy reigned for a period before the Space Marines were able to restore peace.[9]

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]

The High Lords are known to have issued an edict to ratify the creation of the Sons of Medusa in 011.M37[22] and often issue orders directly to the Minotaurs. In 0266999.M41 they issued the Orphean Decree, dissolving the Orpheus Sector and charging the Minotaurs with the Exterminatus of its worlds.[20]

In the closing days of the 41st Millennium, the reborn Primarch Roboute Guilliman returned to Terra and again declared himself Lord Commander of the Imperium. He pledged to appropriately deal with the High Lords and promised to reorganize and rearm the Imperium to face the coming threats.[24]

Notable High Lords


798.M30-014.M31: The Great Crusade and Horus Heresy

Though known as the Council of Terra during the Horus Heresy, the body seemed to serve the same basic function. However, military functions were managed by the War Council. Known members during this time period included:

Following the reforms of Roboute Guilliman after the Heresy, the Council of Terra was formally reorganized into the Senatorum Imperialis.

544-546.M32: The War of the Beast

The first known complete composition of the High Lords was that during the War of the Beast in 544.M32, shortly before the Beheading, they included:[18]

The Grand Master of Assassins at the time, Drakan Vangorich, had recently lost his seat to the Ecclesiarch. However, despite not officially being one of the "High Twelve" he still frequently took part in their meetings.[18]

546.M32: The Beheading

After the Beheading, Vangorich unveiled a new composition Senatorum. Due to his distrust of psykers, the Adeptus Astra Telepathica and Adeptus Astronomica were not represented.[21]

M36: Age of Apostasy

M41: End Times

Trivia

See Also

Sources