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Sanguinius holding the head of a Kyriss the Perverse

Sanguinius or The Angel was the Primarch of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter. One of the most beloved figures in the Imperium, Sanguinius was among both the most noble and mightiest Primarchs. His charisma, humility, and loyalty to the Emperor to the point of self-sacrifice has earned him a great deal of reverence, even in the 41st Millennium.[1]

Early Life

When the Emperor began his Great Crusade to reunite the galaxy he created the Primarchs, superhuman warriors to lead his Space Marines across the galaxy. The powers of Chaos stole the Primarchs, but unable to destroy them, set them astray in the Warp [Needs Citation].

The infant Sanguinius came to rest upon the moon of Baal Secundus and was adopted by a tribe of humans known as the 'People of the Pure Blood' or simply 'The Blood', Sanguinius, like all Primarchs, grew quickly and soon surpassed all his teachers and was capable of mighty feats of strength and endurance. Uniquely amongst the Primarchs he sported a pair of angel-like wings from his back, though whether this was by the design of the Emperor or a mutation caused by the high levels of radiation on Baal is unknown. He was also said to have psychic powers, especially the ability to divine the future[Needs Citation].

Sanguinius artwork[Needs Citation]

Sanguinius was able to foresee the Emperor's arrival on Baal and the two met upon the surface. Sanguinius bowed his knee before the Emperor and pledged his service to the Imperium, unlike resistance from some of his brothers like Leman Russ. The Emperor had already created a Legion of ten thousand Space Marines using Sanguinius's gene-seed and thus the Blood Angels were finally united with their Primarch[Needs Citation].

The Great Crusade

Sanguinius' first battle after being found by the Emperor was the Pacification of Teghar Pentarus, with his first kill a ferocious carnodon. The pelt of the beast was fashioned into a ceremonial war cloak for the Primarch.[6a] During the Emperor's Great Crusade, Sanguinius and Horus became close brothers and it was said that they were closer than any of the other Primarchs. Supposedly Horus pointed to Sanguinius to be the new Warmaster when he thought he was dying on Davin. He provided counsel that Horus listened to during the incident with the Interex, shortly after Horus became Warmaster and was generally the one with the most sway on Horus, after the Emperor[Needs Citation].

Sanguinius was a beloved figure who was revered by all of the Imperium. The noble angel was highly respected by all the legions, and by all his brother Primarchs. Even Horus highly valued his brother's advice. It was Sanguinius who convinced Horus to follow the Emperor's suggestion and rename his legion. As Horus lay dying above the planet Davin, he revealed that he believed Sanguinius should have been proclaimed Warmaster in his stead[3]. Roboute Guilliman, the primarch of the Ultramarines, privately referred to Sanguinius as one of "The Dauntless Few," the four of his brothers that Guilliman trusted most.[7] Despite his seemingly peaceful nature Sanguinius was known for his martial prowess, to the extent he was considered a match for Horus and Lion El'Jonson in combat ability.[6]

Sanguinius. It should have been him. He has the vision and strength to carry us to victory, and the wisdom to rule once victory is won. For all his aloof coolness, he alone has the Emperor's soul in his blood. Each of us carries part of our father within us, whether it is his hunger for battle, his psychic talent or his determination to succeed. Sanguinius holds it all. It should have been his...[3]

Ironically, this belief was reflected later, during the Horus Heresy, while Horus was plotting the Blood Angels' downfall at Signus Prime. Horus deviated from the battle plan laid out by Erebus by insisting that Sanguinius must die. Horus claimed this was because he knew his brother would never turn to Chaos, but the daemon Kyriss asked whether Horus was afraid of having a rival: that Sanguinius was the only one of the primarchs, who, if turned, would have a chance of finding greater favour with the Gods of Chaos than Horus himself.[6]

Despite the apparent rivalry between Sanguinius and Horus, the two were quick to become close friends. When Horus discovered the genetic flaw of the Blood Angels while on joint campaign, he kept the secret from the Emperor.[4]

Horus Heresy

The Angel battles Ka'Bandha in the air over Signus Prime.

Before Horus' treachery was revealed, he sent Sanguinius to a world named Signus Prime to supposedly fight the Xenos known as the Nephilim. However once in the Signus System the Blood Angels were ambushed by hordes of daemons, and they soon became stranded on the damned world. At the peak of the fighting Sanguinius confronted the Greater Daemon of Khorne Ka'Bandha who managed to wound Primarch by breaking his legs. Sanguinius was then rendered comatose by a psychic backlash created Ragefire and amplified by the deaths of his sons at the hands of Ka'Bandha. The Red Thirst subsequently erupted across the Blood Angels, and they slaughtered both friend and foe alike in their rampages. Fortunately the Legion Librarians managed to eventually restore the Primarch, and he was able to defeat Ka'Bandha in a second duel, banishing him back to the Warp. Sanguinius then led his forces into the Chaos Fortress on Signus, the Cathedral of the Mark, where he was confronted by the Keeper of Secrets Kyriss the Perverse. Kyriss gave Sanguinius a choice: sacrifice himself to the Ragefire and have the Red Thirst forever lifted from his sons, or allow his Legion to face eventual destruction due to their genetic flaw. Deciding to sacrifice himself, Sanguinius was about to step into the Ragefire when he was beaten to it by Apothecary Meros, who was transformed into the Red Angel. Mourning Meros, Sanguinius slew Kyriss and swore vengeance on Horus.[4]

Reeling from the catastrophe that had befallen him on Signus but determined to defeat Horus, Sanguinius had the Blood Angels set course for Terra. However as a result of the Ruinstorm created by the treacherous Erebus, navigation and communication across the Imperium was made almost impossible. Following the Pharos' psychic beacon, Sanguinius eventually found his way to Macragge, where Roboute Guilliman, fearing Terra lost, declared a reluctant Sanguinius the New Emperor of his contingency empire Imperium Secundus.[8]

Sanguinius was able to eventually make it back to Terra. In the Battle of Terra, Sanguinius fought valiantly, organising the final defence of the Imperial Palace and held the Eternity Gate alone when no others could withstand the horror of the assault, even breaking the back of the same Greater Daemon Ka'Bandha who wounded him on Signum. When the Emperor teleported aboard Horus's Battle Barge, the Vengeful Spirit, Sanguinius was with him but they became separated and the Primarch was forced to face Horus first. Despite being in the pit of Horus's tainted and mutated Chaos fuelled Battle Barge, Sanguinius tried to revert his brother to the side of the Emperor, using their old friendship as a lever. Horus would not listen to or agree with any of Sanguinius' words and the two argued and tried to sway the other to the side of the heresy they stood upon. Sanguinius was eventually struck down by Horus, the only damage Sanguinius did was create a small dent in Horus' armour. Some say, however, that it was through this chink in Horus's armour that the Emperor was able to deliver the fatal blow. Thus the belief is that Sanguinius did not die in vain; but by dying, allowed Horus to be slain and the Heresy destroyed[Needs Citation].

Sanguinius's body was taken by the Imperial forces as they retreated from the buckling Chaos Barge and his body was borne away to his home planet Baal, where he was laid to rest in the Golden Sarcophagus, deep within a vast tomb whose doors were topped with massive Angel effigies in honour of the fallen Primarch. [5]

Sanguinius lies dead at Horus' feet. [Needs Citation]

Of all the Primarchs, Sanguinius is commonly held in the highest honour. Because he is generally believed to have sacrificed himself to allow Horus, the "Great Betrayer", to be defeated, the Primarch's name is cherished by the common citizens of the Imperium. Temples devoted to Sanguinius rise aside those of the Emperor. Sanguinius is commemorated on a sacred day of celebration called the Sanguinala, when adepts across the galaxy wear on their breast the red badge of Sanguinius[Needs Citation].


See also Quotes Space Marines
  • Three Legions of Marines stand to defend you, sire. All of us will unflinchingly place ourselves between you and the war’s desolation. We are the greatest humans ever born – we are the flame of Humanity where the rest of the galaxy is just the spark. In centuries of warfare, against the vileness of the alien, the lies of the heretic, the foulness of the mutant, I have never known fear – but your silence terrifies me. - during the Battle for Terra[Needs Citation].


Canon Conflicts

In most depictions of Sanguinius, he is portrayed with blonde hair; in Horus Rising, however, he is described as black-haired, though he wears a gold filigree over his head.[Needs Citation]