Terra is the homeworld of Mankind, the resting place of the Emperor, and the most holy and revered place in the Imperium. Pilgrims throughout the Imperium flock to Terra - even the barren soil that pilgrims tread upon is considered holy. It is effectively a temple the size of a planet[Needs Citation].
As the capital world of the Imperium, Terra is also home to the main headquarters of many important Imperial organisations, including the Adeptus Terra, the Administratum, and the Departmento Munitorum[Needs Citation].
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The Age of Terra is the name given to the period of human history dating from the dawn of mankind to the founding of the Imperium. Cities such as Atlantys and Nova Yoruk are cited as being the most legendary and ancient cities of Old Earth.[8b] Nations known as Jermani, Merica, Britania are said to have prospered and wilted during this time.[Needs Citation]
During the Age of Strife, Terra fell into chaos and mayhem as Techno-barbarians, mutants, warlords, and Psykers rampaged throughout the planet. Becoming a wasteland, it was not until the arrival of the Emperor and his Thunder Warriors that the birthplace of mankind was again unified into a single polity.
- Albia - ruled by warlord clans
- Albyon - Based around the historic British Isles.
- Achaemenid Empire - One of the earlier geopolitical entities to swear allegiance to the Emperor, the Achaemenid Empire had therefore suffered little during the Wars of Unification, avoiding both atomic strike and invasion by Thunder Warriors. A monarchical empire, the population were separated into tribal factions and were apparently a culture of truth and discourse. As a result of the relative peaceful nature of the region and the protection enjoyed by early adoption of Imperial allegiance, the Achaeminians sported few of the genetic defects or abnormalities seen amongst humans during this time and were therefore selected as a recruiting source for the infant Legiones Astartes. The Achaeminians provided the initial Terran intake assigned to Legion XV. The Achaeminians appeared to posses a form of superstitious belief in the mystical power of their ancestors; emblems of Dhul-Qarnayn (their greatest King) were used as charms against harm.
- Boeotia - An area of Terra mentioned in Imperial records as holding out against full Unification for some considerable time; while tacitly recognizing the Emperor's dominance, the ruling monarchy of Boeotia used all manner of diplomacy in order to avoid losing power. In a show of great patience and benevolence, the Emperor allowed the ruling family of Boeotia - the Yeselti - to carry on like this for over 150 years, with the intention that they would integrate themselves into unified Imperial Terra at their own speed and with as much dignity as possible. Instead, the Yeselti clung onto their independence to the point where, firstly, the Imperial Army was forced to invade the province and finally, Legiones Astartes of the Thousand Sons were assigned to quash the trucculent little state. Boeotia was notable both for the presence of industry and at least one buried shrine to gods worshiped by humans in an earlier age.[10a]
- Caucasus Wastes - Located in the Caucuses[Needs Citation]
- Hy Brasil - Located in South America[Needs Citation]
- Panpacific Empire - Located in the Pacific Ocean[Needs Citation]
- Ursh - Located in Central Asia[Needs Citation]
- Ethnarchy - Ruled by eugenicist oligarchs in the Caucasus.
- Yndonesic Bloc[Needs Citation]
Age of the Imperium
Proclaimed the capital of the newly-formed Imperium by the Emperor following the unification of the planet, Terra remained the center of humanity throughout the Great Crusade. During the Horus Heresy, it was the site of the dramatic final battle of the conflict that saw the Emperor crippled and the traitorous Warmaster Horus killed, the Battle of Terra. Since the Heresy, Terra has stood as the untouched center of the Imperium, though it was the site of civil war during The Beheading and the Age of Apostasy.
In the ten thousand years since the Heresy, the populace of Terra has retained a terror of all Space Marines, loyalist and otherwise.[8b] For this reason, there are only a handful of Marines on Terra at any given time, including the Wolfblade, a small unit of Space Wolves assigned as bodyguards to House Belisarius of the Navis Nobilite.[8c]
Although Terra is nominally the homeworld of the Imperial Fists chapter, the chapter itself rarely visits Terra, if at all, and bases its operations from its gargantuan star fortress, the Phalanx.[Needs Citation]
Terra is a hive world; stripped long ago of all forms of resources; its soil is utterly barren and its atmosphere is a fog of pollution. Massive, labyrinthine edifices of state sprawl across the vast majority of the surface. Its oceans have long ago boiled away. Many mountain ranges have been leveled, perhaps all of them except the Himalayas, which seemingly remain all but untouched due to the laboratories said to be underneath and the chambers of the Astronomican that course throughout the whole mountain range.[Needs Citation]Despite being devastated during the Horus Heresy and earlier than that during the long Age of Strife, Terra is probably the most vastly-populated and built-up hive world in the Imperium. Beneath countless layers and millennia of urban accretion, catacombs hold older cultures completely different from the surface ones.[Needs Citation]
Much of the population of Terra exists in the most terrible squalor, their greatest hope that one of their offspring might be accepted into the Adeptus Terra, the Priesthood of Earth, as a Menial, an adept of the lowliest sort.
Terra is the heart of the Imperium, and the home of many of its most important organisations. Most importantly, it is the homeworld and resting place of the Emperor of Mankind. The most important places and organisations based on Terra include:
- The Imperial Palace is one of the largest structures on Terra, more like a sprawling hive-city than a single edifice. It covers the better part of the northern hemisphere and is guarded by the Adeptus Custodes, who rarely leave the Palace. It is the heart of the Administratum as well as the home of the Sanctum Imperialis, the great throne room of the Emperor. The Palace is divided into the Inner and Outer Palaces. It is described as "an endless, black hive of forbidden technology and subterranean passages delving deep within the bowels of the planet.".
- The Eternity Gate is the largest entry to the Inner Imperial Palace's Sanctum Imperialis. A mile long passage leads to the Eternity Gate, lined with the banners of thousands of the greatest and long-dead Imperial heroes, including Macharius. It constitutes the end of the galactic pilgrimage trail, and is itself the most important pilgrimage site[Needs Citation].
- The Sanctum Imperialis is the heart of the Imperial Palace, the massive chamber housing the Golden Throne and the Emperor's body. It is guarded by a select group of three hundred Custodes[Needs Citation].
- The Adeptus Terra, known commonly as the Priesthood of Earth, is the government of the Imperium, consisting of many organisations and departments. Besides the vast, destitute population of non-adepts, much of Terra's population are members of the Adeptus Terra[Needs Citation].
- The Administratum - The Administratum is the administrative and bureaucratic division of the Adeptus Terra, consisting of untold billions of clerks, scribes and administrative staff constantly working to manage the Imperium at every level, from assembling war fleets to levying taxes. It is the largest of the departments comprising the Adeptus Terra, and ten billion Administratum adepts work in the Imperial Palace alone[Needs Citation].
- The Forbidden Fortress - Built throughout the mountain range of the Himalayas. A single peak is carved to form the Chamber of the Astronomican, where ten thousand psykers continuously power the Astronomican beacon with their own life energies. The "psychic light" of the beacon reaches thousands of light years across the Warp. The Astronomican is utilised by the mutant psykers known as Navigators to guide interstellar ships through otherwise trackless chaos of the Warp. Without it, long-distance Warp travel would be impossible and the Imperium would disintegrate[Needs Citation].
- Office of the Inquisition - The Inquisition's headquarters on Terra is a sprawling complex built beneath the south polar ice caps.
- Navigator's Quarter - The ghetto of the Navis Nobilite (the Navigators). It is said to be on a massive island[Needs Citation].
- Officio Assassinorum - Although its agents operate throughout the Imperium, the organisation is based on Terra. Its School of Assassins and most of the temples that comprise the Officio are said to be located on Terra, although their actual locations are closely guarded secrets[Needs Citation].
- Adeptus Astra Telepathica - The Adeptus Astra Telepathica is the organisation responsible for recruiting and training psykers for service to the Imperium. The infamous Black Ships travel throughout the Imperium, gathering psykers and returning with them to Earth. The psykers are analysed and sorted according to their psychic power and strength of character. The first levels are trained at the Scholastia Psykana for five years before being sent for further training elsewhere. Some of these become Astropaths, specialist psykers who are trained to send and receive messages over interstellar distances (no other form of fast interstellar communication exists). Others are requisitioned by the Adeptus Astronomica for service in the Astronomican choir. The most powerful, those who demonstrate a strong enough character to resist daemonic possession on their own, often enter the Inquisition for training as Inquisitors. The psykers deemed too weak or dangerous to live become sacrifices to the Emperor; their souls are "fed" into the arcane technology of the Golden Throne so that the Emperor may continue to live. Only psykers that have been trained at the Scholastia Psykana are sanctioned by the Imperium[Needs Citation].
- Ecclesiarchal Palace - The headquarters of the Ecclesiarchy, the Ecclesiarchal palace sprawls over almost the entirety of Terra's southern continent. It is also home to one of the two major convent-fortresses (the Sanctorum) of the Adepta Sororitas (The Sisterhood).
- The Senate of the High Lords of Terra - The council of the twelve highest ranking officials in the Imperium, who rule in the Emperor's name[Needs Citation].
- Hive Karelia - Home to a library containing knowledge of the Dark Age of Technology. The library was bombed by Pro-Panpacifists and had been scheduled for demolition until Hawser succeeded in recovering over 7,000 texts from a data archive deemed worthless[10b].
- 1: Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, pg. 133
- 2: Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition Rulebook, [Needs Citation]
- 3: Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition Rulebook
- 4: Codex Imperialis, [Needs Citation]
- 5: Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition), pg. 13
- 6: Draco (Novel) by Ian Watson, [Needs Citation]
- 7: Harlequin (Novel) by Ian Watson, [Needs Citation]
- 8: Wolfblade (Novel) by William King - Space Wolf: The Second Omnibus
- 9: A Thousand Sons (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Chapter Twenty-Two, pgs. 381-383
- 10: Prospero Burns (Novel) by Dan Abnett
- 11: Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter [Needs Citation]
- 12: Horus Heresy (Artbook Series) pg.352
- 13: The Outcast Dead (Novel) by Graham McNeill, [Needs Citation]
- 14: The Horus Heresy Book Two - Massacre pg.132