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Senatorum Imperialis

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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Imperial ruling body; for the Animated series, see High Lords (Animated Series).
Senatorum Imperialis (High Lords of Terra)
Headquarters Great Chamber of the Senatorum Imperialis, Terra
Leader Imperial Regent Roboute Guilliman
Chancellor of the Imperial Council (chief administrator/secretary)
Membership 12 High Lords (9 Permanent, 3 Rotating)
Many Lesser Lords[26][27]
Established Unification Wars-era (as the Magisters Temporal)

The Senatorum Imperialis (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. The Senatorum is an Imperial governing body led by 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 was the most powerful in the Imperium[1] until the reemergence of Roboute Guilliman, who declared himself Imperial Regent, or the Emperor's Living Voice.[25]

The High Lords

A High Lord of Terra[1]

High Twelve

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] Following the rebirth of Guilliman in the closing days of M41, he has assumed the title of Lord Commander alongside Imperial Regent.[25]

Lesser Lords

The actual institution of the Senatorum itself is overseen by a Chancellor of the Imperial Council. While not among the High Twelve, it is nonetheless a powerful and influential position.[26] There are also lesser lords who, while not part of the High Twelve, are still full members of the Senatorum Imperialis.

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 FistsKoorland and Maximus Thane — reigned as Lord Commander of the Imperium (see "History", below).


The original High Lords were bureacrats of the Emperor who followed in his armies wake during the Unification Wars to build the foundations of his new empire. These earliest bueracrats were known as the Magisters Temporal, and as the Emperor's realm expanded were reorganized into the Lords Civilian. The four greatest Lords Civilian became known as the High Lords Civilian. The four original High Lords were the Master of the Administratum, Chancellor of the Estate Imperium, Grand Provost Marshal, and the Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Armies.[33]

Following the Unification Wars and the commencement of the Great Crusade, the High Lords served on 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.[7]

In M36, Goge Vandire, Master of the Administratum, led 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. Soon after taking power five[25] of the High Lords were removed and replaced by Guilliman.[24] Guilliman oversaw a general purge of Imperial bureaucracy known as the Primarch's Scourge.[29]

Notable High Lords

M30: Unification Wars

The earliest incarnation of the High Lords were the Magisters Temporal who formed during the Unification Wars. These were replaced by the Lords Civilian, who in turn were overseen by the four High Lords Civilian. In these early days, the four High Lords were the:[3]

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

Though known as the Council of Terra during the Great Crusade and 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 modern 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

999.M41: 13th Black Crusade

M42: Indomitus Crusade

Following the reorganization of the Imperium upon the resurrection of Roboute Guilliman, the High Lords were dissolved.[26a] Guilliman declared himself Lord Commander of the Imperium, Imperial Regent, and Lord Militant of the Senatorium Imperialis. However sometime later during the Indomitus Crusade, the High Twelve had been restored with Guilliman serving as their head. By this point, he had replaced five previous members of the High Twelve as well as hundreds of lesser Lords.[25a] Guilliman's general purge of the Imperial bureaucracy became known as the Primarch's Scourge.[29]

Many of the High Lords continued to oppose Guilliman, longing for a return to the Imperium Eterna. This culminated in a coup by the Hexarchy led by the ex-Master of the Administratum Irthu Haemotalion which in the end was foiled by Grand Master of Assassins Fadix.[34a]


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Adeptus Terra Adeptus Administratum (Adeptus AstartesDepartmento MunitorumAstra MilitarumOrdo TempestusImperial FleetImperial NavyMerchant FleetPraeses MercaturaNavis NobiliteOfficio AssassinorumEstate ImperiumTemplars PsykologisOfficio SabatorumOfficio MedicaeOfficio AgricultaeOfficio LogisticarumDepartmento ExactaAstra CartographicaLogis StrategosDepartmento ColoniaDepartmento ProcessiumDepartmento of Final ConsiderationDepartmento ContagioDepartmento GradioQuestio LogisticusRogue TradersImperial Commanders) • Adeptus Astra Telepathica (Sisters of SilenceLeague of Black ShipsScholastica Psykana) • Adeptus AstronomicaAdeptus ArbitesAdeptus CustodesQuestor Imperialis (House Guard) • Adeptus FidiciusSynopticon
Adeptus Mechanicus Cult MechanicusCollegia TitanicaLegiones SkitariiQuestor Mechanicus (House Guard) • Centurio OrdinatusOrdo ReductorLegio CyberneticaAuxilia MyrmidonPrefecture MagisteriumBasilikon AstraDivisio LinguisticaExploratorSect Missionarius MechanicusCollegiate ExtremisAstynomia
Adeptus Ministorum Holy SynodAdepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle) • Schola ProgeniumMissionarius GalaxiaCreed TemporalFrateris Militia
Inquisition Ordo MalleusOrdo HereticusOrdo XenosOrdo Minoris

Members of the High Lords of Terra
Permanent Members Master of the AdministratumEcclesiarchInquisitorial RepresentativeFabricator-GeneralGrand Provost MarshalPaternoval EnvoyMaster of the AstronomicanMaster of the Adeptus Astra TelepathicaGrand Master of AssassinsLord Commander of the Imperium
Rotating Members Lord Commander of Segmentum SolarLord Commander MilitantCardinals of the Holy SynodAbessChancellor of the Estate ImperiumSpeaker for the Chartist CaptainsLord High AdmiralCaptain-General
Lesser Members Chirurgeon-GeneralChancellor of the Imperial CouncilCommandant of the Schola ProgeniumLord Constable of the SynopticonMistress Plenary of the Catacombs
Former Members High Lord of the Imperial Chancellery