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Jaghatai Khan

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Jaghatai Khan - White Scars Primarch.

Jaghatai Khan was the primarch of the White Scars Space Marine Legion. Most of the records about him are from the White Scars, and as such can be subject to variety and unreliability.[1]



It is said that Khan landed on a planet in the Segmentum Pacificus named (by the Imperium), Mundus Planus, or as the native population called it, Chogoris. It is a fertile world with wide, open, green plains and tall white mountains and blue seas. At the time of the Great Crusade, the people had developed to a black powder stage. A census shows that the dominant empire was a well organised aristocracy which had conquered most of the planet with well equipped and highly disciplined armies, maintaining armoured horsemen and tight blocks of infantry. Their leader was the Palatine, and he won all of his battles with his great army.[1]

To the west of the Palatine's empire was the Empty Quarter, a barren grassland with little resources, and as such was never invaded. It was home to wandering tribes of vicious horsemen who fought each other for their ancestral lands. The Palatine would sometimes lead forces in to capture slaves or merely to hunt the tribesmen for fun. Khan's legacy began here. He was found by Ong Khan, leader of a small tribe, who saw the Primarch as a gift from the gods. It is said he had a fire in his eyes, the sign of a great warrior. He was hated by the other tribes because of his ability to see beyond the constant warfare on the steppes.[1]

It is said the most influential moment in his life was the slaying of his father by the rival Kurayed tribe. Khan, even as a young child, was the greatest warrior of the tribe and gathered troops to avenge the death of his father. They moved on the Kurayed tribe and razed it to the ground, killing every man, woman and child in a killing frenzy. Khan took the head of the enemy tribe leader and mounted it on his tent. This is what shaped him into a man of fierce honour, loyalty and ruthlessness. From then on he swore to end the fighting, unite all the people of the steppes and bring an end to brother fighting brother.[1]

He fought hundreds of battles against other tribes and defeated hunting packs sent by Palatine. Each tribe they conquered was absorbed into the Talaskars and he made military service mandatory while splitting tribes up and merging them with others to remove tribal differences. His warriors were fiercely loyal to him and he promoted from the ranks based on merit and ability.[1]

Ten summers later as the tribe moved to their winter settlements, the Primarch was travelling on a mountainside with a group of his followers. A vast avalanche pushed him and his group back down the mountain, killing the normal men. Jaghatai survived, but could not get back up the mountain in time before the tribe moved on. Khan was caught by one of the Palatine's hunting band. All that returned of that band was one mutilated rider with the head of the son of Palatine (who had accompanied the hunting band) and a note saying that the people of the steppes were not his toys any more.[1]

When the snows cleared, an enraged Palatine gathered a massive army and determined to march west to wipe the tribes from the face of the planet. He had however underestimated the power and ability of Khan and brought his usual highly disciplined army of heavily armoured warriors. This proved to be his downfall as they could not catch the lightly armoured tribesmen. The constant rain of arrows from the tribesmen took their toll on the tight ranks of warriors. Eventually the tribesmen defeated the army of Palatine, who escaped back to his capital with a select few bodyguards. The rest of the army was slaughtered, almost to the last man. After the battle, the tribal elders gathered and announced that Jaghatai Khan was now Great Khan of the whole land.[1]

Khan now began the long process of conquering the rest of the planet. He gave cities two choices, surrender or be wiped out. Most surrendered, but many were destroyed, utterly wiped from the face of the planet. Eventually they came to the palace of Palatine, where he demanded the head of Palatine on a spike. His request was obliged and he adorned his tent with his greatest conquest.[1]

In twenty years he had conquered the largest empire in the world's history. He now had the problems of ruling the empire, not something he had originally wanted. His people had no wish to rule these new lands, only to carry on living in the old ways. The people dispersed back to a tribal existence and Khan ruled over them all with his generals by his side.[1]

Six months later, the Emperor arrived and Khan knew at once that this man could fulfill his dream to unite all of the stars above them in one mighty empire. In front of all of his generals, he dropped to one knee and pledged his service to the Emperor. He was given command of the fifth legion of Space Marines, the White Scars.[1]

Horus Heresy

Jaghatai Khan battles Orks

Despite the fact that Horus felt that Khan was the most likely to join him over all remaining loyalist Primarchs, Jaghatai in fact never intended to switch allegiances and stayed true to his father. When Rogal Dorn sent a plea for all remaining loyal Astartes forces to make their way to Terra, Khan followed suit, reluctantly leaving the nearby Space Wolves to fend for themselves against the Alpha Legion.[3]

The forces of Khan were present on Terra during the siege of the Emperor's palace. They recaptured one of the major space ports from Chaos to halve the reinforcements they could land on the planet. It is said that the Khan was leading his warriors from the top of a Razorback, a sight which became a tale that has been told in awe ever since.[Needs Citation]

Post Heresy

After the Heresy, Khan went on a crusade to rescue warriors captured by the Dark Eldar. During one battle, it was reported that Khan was sucked into a Warp portal to fight for all eternity. This may be true, but it is more likely that his ship was lost in the Warp, as that region of space was known to be dangerous.[1]


  • "Even his brother Primarchs understand little of him. His prowess with the blade earns him their respect even as his waywardness causes them concern. Guilliman has never trusted him. Russ is exasperated by him. Lorgar despises him for an untutored savage. Only Horus sees him for what he truly is. They are kindred souls, those two: warrior archetypes, bound by shared codes of martial honour and impatient with the heavy fetters of empire."-Chris Wraight on Jaghatai Khan[2]


Jaghatai Khan's background and history is strongly reminiscent of Genghis Khan and how he united the warring Mongolian tribes and led them to conquer an empire which stretched from the western coast of Asia to eastern Europe. Like Jaghatai Khan, the Mongolians made use of fast, hit and run strikes from horseback to outmanoeuvre heavier armoured soldiers.

Chagatai was also the name of one of Genghis Khan's sons.


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