Sanguinius or The Great 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.
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. The infant Sanguinius came to rest upon the radiation-soaked 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. At three weeks, he was a large child capable of walking. Within a year, he was taller than any man. Before even being found by The Blood, Sanguinius slew an infamous predator known as the Baalite Fire Scorpion.
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. Using these skills, Sanguinius led The Blood against the numerically superior Mutant hordes of Baal. While he was known for his loyalty and amicability, in battle Sanguinius was known for his total and unstoppable wrath to those who threatened his people. Thanks to the effort of Sanguinius, The Blood was victorious over the Mutant hordes of Baal and he became worshiped by his people as a god.
Ultimately, the Emperor arrived on Baal and, disguising himself, infiltrated a address by Sanguinius to his followers. There, the Master of Mankind witnessed his lost son give an impassioned speech that displayed both humility and courage. However like Konrad Curze, Sanguinius had already foreseen the arrival of the Emperor and immediately recognized him. When Sanguinius confronted the Emperor, he demanded his father swear an oath to leave the Pure of Baal in peace. Moreover he asked what would happen if he refused the Emperor's offer, being the only Primarch to do so. The Emperor stated that he knew Sanguinius would not refuse, for he yearned to save the people of the galaxy just as he had saved those on Baal. Moreover, the Emperor agreed to Sanguinius' terms regarding the Baalites. Satisfied, Sanguinius pledged himself to the Emperor[25a] The Emperor inducted the best warriors of Sanguinius' tribe into his preexisting Space Marine Legion, which soon became known as the Blood Angels.
The Great Crusade
Sanguinius would not be reunite with his legion immediately, instead spending 3 years with Horus and his Luna Wolves to learn the ways of the Imperium. During this time, he grew close to Abaddon and Tarik Torgaddon. He first met his then-savage Revenant Legion during the Pacification of Teghar Pentarus, but shocked all assembled by first learning the name of each and every one of his warriors. Giving a speech before his assembled sons, Sanguinius stated that he would swear an oath to his Legion instead of the vice-versa. Sanguinius stated he hoped he could live up to leading his sons, and that he would stand with them whatever may come be it glory or damnation. He declared the IXth Legion to be scattered and broken no longer, and that they alone would conduct the coming campaign without the aid of the Luna Wolves. Sanguinius' humility roused the assembled warriors, who immediately pledged themselves to their Primarch.[25a]
During the subsequent war on Teghar Pentarus, his first kill was a ferocious carnodon. The pelt of the beast was fashioned into a ceremonial war cloak for the Primarch.[6a] The noble angel was highly respected by all the legions, and by all his brother Primarchs. Even Horus highly valued his brother's advice. During the Emperor's Crusade, Sanguinius and Horus became close brothers and it was said that they were closer than any of the other Primarchs. He provided counsel that Horus listened to during the incident with the Interex (during the War on Murder),[2a] shortly after Horus became Warmaster and was generally the one with the most sway on Horus, after the Emperor. It was Sanguinius who convinced Horus to accept the name change of the Luna Wolves to the Sons of Horus. Horus even revealed that he believed Sanguinius should have been proclaimed Warmaster instead of him, and pointed to Sanguinius to be the new Warmaster when he thought he was dying on Davin.
Sanguinius was a beloved figure who was revered by all of the Imperium. 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. 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.[6x]
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.[6x]
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.
Ambush at Signus
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 by the 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.
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 Regent" (or Imperator Regis) of his contingency empire Imperium Secundus. Sanguinius was soon plagued by visions of his death at the hands of Horus, and realized this was no omen but a window in the future.[Needs Citation]
Later during the Battle of Sotha while Guilliman and Lion El'Jonson were both away, Sanguinius was confronted by Konrad Curze, who had infiltrated his throne room on Macragge and badly wounded Azkaellon. Curze confided that he had foreseen Sanguinius' death on the Vengeful Spirit and wanted to know why the Angel still followed the Emperor when their mutual visions had proven his teachings to have been lies. He also asked why Sanguinius had rejected Kyriss' officer at Signus Prime and if the Angel felt he was more deserving of the title of Warmaster than Horus, to which Sanguinius responded he was not. Trying to teach Sanguinius that fate could not be changed and that his own death would not be here, Curze let Sanguinius come at him with his sword and goaded him to cut him down. Sanguinius ultimately halted his sword, urging Curze that it was not to late to change and join with his loyalist brothers. Proclaming there was only Chaos in the end, Curze set off an explosive trap and escaped.
As the Lion and Guilliman continued to clash over policy in Imperium Secundus, Sanguinius attempted to mediate the two. He later presided over the trial of the now-captured Konrad Curze. After Lion El'Jonson attempted to kill Curze during the trial while in a rage at the Night Haunter's accusations, Sanguinius dismissed him from Imperium Secundus. Later, Sanguinius became determined to pass the sentence of death down onto Curze himself, but just as he was about to strike down the Primarch Lion El'Jonson reappeared. Demanding to be Curze's jailer and stating that Curze was able to see the future, and he repeated that Curze's claim that his death would be at the hands of an assassin was sent by the Emperor. This, to the Lion, was proof that the Emperor was still alive. Sanguinius recognized that his own visions of death would also be true and he shared his visions of death at the hands of Horus with both of his brothers.
Following the Trial of Curze, Sanguinius, Lion El'Jonson, and Guilliman all agreed to try and breach the Ruinstorm to reach Terra and aid the Emperor who they now knew still lived. Sanguinius was now beginning to suffer from the beginning stages of the Black Rage, which infected Sanguinius' mind due to the prophetic visions of his own death. In a fit of hysteria Sanguinius nearly struck down one of his own sons aboard the Red Tear. He was desperate to prevent all of his sons from falling as he was, and was seeking any answer.
While in the Ruinstorm, the loyalist fleet came across a variety of horrors and word of an entity spreading destruction known as the "Pilgrim". During the Battle of Pyrrhan, Sanguinius received a vision and he realized that he needed to go where this struggle had begun, Davin, the world where Horus had fallen. Reluctantly, Guilliman and The Lion agreed to trust in Sanguinius but both had thought they would simply destroy the world upon arriving. At Davin, the loyalist fleet found the entire world surrounded by a shell made of the bones of trillions dubbed the Necrosphere. A bombardment managed to penetrate the sphere and the fleet was soon in orbit above Davin. While over Davin, Sanguinius shocked The Lion by boarding the Invincible Reason and taking the captive Konrad Curze with him. Sanguinius hoped to use Curze's prophetic abilities to determine what he was meant to do upon Davin. However the Dark Angels guards did not submit before Sanguinius, and he was forced to dispatch several using non-lethal methods. After escaping the Invincible Reason Sanguinius commended a mass landing on the world, and the enraged Lion nearly ordered that Davin be subjected to Exterminatus regardless of Sanguinius' presence on it.
On Davin, a mass Drop Pod assault was conducted but nothing was found and the population was absent. The four Primarchs eventually traveled to the temple where Horus had been subjected to the ritual by Erebus and the Serpent Lodge that had corrupted him. Inside the temple, Sanguinius stood at the altar where Horus had been laid and proclaimed that he would change his destiny. This activated Davin itself, Warp storms roared above and a portal opened up that swallowed up Sanguinius. Inside the portal on Davin, Sanguinius was back on Terra in a beautiful garden at the Imperial Palace. He for the first time was experiencing a vision that was not his death aboard the Vengeful Spirit. He saw Lorgar dead by his hands and the remaining traitor Primarch's brought before him in chains. The Emperor congratulated Sanguinius on his victory and named him the Imperator Regis of the Imperium. With Sanguinius as the Emperor's Regent, he went on to lead a great campaign that purged the Imperium of all corruption and evil and the galaxy was his to rule. Seeing this future and observing the Emperor's mannerisms, he became suspicious as to what was going on. At last, he cut down the image of the Emperor who was revealed to be the Daemon Madail in disguise.
Sanguinius and Madail engaged in a vicious duel. Madail had unleashed a Daemonic horde through the portal to prevent Guilliman and The Lion breaking through. The host included a massive Soul Grinder, which was destroyed in a combined effort by The Lion and Guilliman. On the other side of the portal, The Angel was eventually pinned by Madail's host of Daemonic troops, and the Preacher of Chaos Undivided announced that Sanguinius would serve or die. Madail dubbed Horus an imperfect vessel, and urged Sanguinius to strike Lupercal down and take up the mantle as Warmaster of Chaos. If he did so, Madail declared, his sons would be spared of the Black Rage. However despite the temptation Sanguinius denied the Daemon and broke free of his captors. Sanguinius and Madail again engaged in a duel, but this time the Daemon was impaled by both the Blade Encarmine and Spear of Telesto. The two wounded warriors wrestled with one another until they were both in the portal, torn between the Materium and Immaterium. On Davin, Guilliman and The Lion saw Sanguinius' upper half sticking through the portal and rushed to his aid, but were blocked by Daemons. The stalemate endured, until Sanguinius' Herald stepped forth and declared that he would take The Angel's place in the portal. Realizing that this was his herald's destiny and that he needed to confront Horus at Terra for the Imperium to endure, Sanguinius solemnly agreed. The Sanguinor charged into Madail, and as he tackled the Daemon back through the portal was transformed into a golden angelic form. The Primarch's and their escorts managed to escape the Temple just as it collapsed.
In the place of where Davin once was, a breach in the Ruinstorm was visible. The path led to Terra, but upon further study it became apparent that somehow Horus had foreseen this route and a large blockade was erected to block them. Guilliman and The Lion agreed to distract the blockade while Sanguinius and the Blood Angels made directly for Terra, for that was their destiny. Sanguinius took Curze with him, stating he would face their fathers justice. However once aboard the Red Tear Sanguinius revealed that he would allow Curze to follow his destiny as well, death at the hands of an Imperial Assassin. Sanguinius stated that while it may take millennia for him to be found, Curze's fate would catch up with him eventually. With that, he sealed Curze in a stasis coffin and jettisoned the frozen Primarch into space as the Night Haunter roared in rage.
The delaying action of Guilliman and The Lion allowed Sanguinius and the Blood Angels to reach Terra. He met with Rogal Dorn, Leman Russ, Jaghatai Khan, and Malcador the Sigillite to discuss their upcoming strategy. Sanguinius urged Russ to remain on Terra for the battle instead of leaving to face Horus directly, though not as much as Dorn. Sanguinius' arrival was publicized greatly by loyalist media, his angelic figure being used as propaganda to boost the morale of the failing Imperial war effort.[2x]
Sanguinius along with Jaghatai Khan later appeared at the Battle of Beta-Garmon, though over a month late due to difficult Warp travel. Sanguinius immediately took over the confused loyalist war effort and launched a major offensive towards Beta-Garmon II. During the battle, which saw over a thousand Titans battle one another, Sanguinius and his Sanguinary Guard boarded the traitor Imperator Titan Axis Mundi, destroying it from the inside.[13a] However the entire battle on Beta-Garmon II was an elaborate ploy from Horus, whose real target was Beta-Garmon III. The loyalist forces on Beta-Garmon II were largely destroyed in a shower of orbital debris caused by the detonation of the Starfort The Anvil, and in the aftermath of the disaster Sanguinius and the Khan agreed that Dorn's gambit at Beta-Garmon had reached its limit and it was time to return to Terra.[13b] During the final phase of the Solar War Sanguinius appeared in Dorn's Bhab Bastion alongside Jaghatai Khan and Malcador. He expressed belief that Dorn's defensive efforts in the Sol System were ultimately futile, as the war would be decided at Terra and he was destined to face Horus.
In the subsequent Battle of Terra, Sanguinius was a key symbol of morale for the besieged loyalist forces. He was forbidden from flying in the open or leaving the Palace Walls by Rogal Dorn, something that he would sometimes violate. During the early stages of the siege he led a sortie out of the Walls to rescue Jaghatai Khan from swarms of Death Guard as well as inspire the beleaguered Conscripts manning the outer defenses around the Palace.[16a] Later during the first Traitor Astartes assault upon the Walls of the Palace Sanguinius led a Blood Angels, Imperial Fists, and Legio Solaria counterattack out of the Helios Gate to buy time for the Imperial Army troops outside to retreat within. During this battle he was confronted by Angron, who roared a challenge at The Angel. Sanguinius refused, instead saluting his brother and proclaiming that while they would one day battle today was not that day.[16b] Later Sanguinius was put in charge of the defenses of Gorgon Bar, fighting alongside Imperial Fists Captain Fafnir Rann and large amounts of Imperial Army. During the battle, Sanguinius discovered that his visions had grown to include real-time visions of what some of his brother Primarchs were currently seeing. Sanguinius saw the siege through Angron's own eyes. During the battle for Gorgon Bar, Sanguinius was able to fell a Legio Vulpa Warlord Titan by assaulting its head, an act so impressive that its three accompanying Warhound Titans fled at the sight of The Angel.[17c] Such was the inspiration provided by Sanguinius that Gorgon Bar held under a large Iron Warriors assault.[17a] After the battle Sanguinius informed Dorn that he had a vision of Angron sensing the destruction of Nuceria by the Dark Angels, indicating that The Lion was still alive.[17b]
During the final stages of the Siege of Terra, Sanguinius led the defense of the Eternity Gate, entrance to the Sanctum Imperialis itself. Before the hopeless battle Sanguinius stated any of the defenders who wished to could leave, though apparently none did. He then took to the skies and beheaded the traitor Reaver Titan Daughter of Torment, which had previously delivered Horus' terms to the defenders after unveiling the tortured form of Blood Angels Captain Idamas. In the subsequent battle Sanguinius heroically led the defense, slaying traitors wherever they appeared before being assailed by the Bloodthirster Ka'Bandha, the same creature he had fought at Signus. Sanguinius was able to break the creature's back with the hilt of his sword, sending the Daemon back to the earth to be consumed by lesser of his kind.[25b]
Though weakened from his fight with Ka'Bandha, Sanguinius nonetheless next faced his Daemonic brother Angron. After a climatic airborne battle, Angron impaled Sanguinius upon his Black Blade. However Sanguinius used the opportunity to rip out Angron's Butchers Nails, causing the Daemon Primarch's head to explode. With Angron banished into the Warp, the World Eaters lost whatever sanity they had and began to cut down their own allies. This broke the traitor advance just short of the Eternity Gate, which managed to finally seal shut as the surviving loyalists fled inside.[25c]
Just hours after sealing the Eternity Gate, a still-bleeding Sanguinius was summoned by the Emperor Himself to the Golden Throne, learning that Horus had lowered the Void Shields of the Vengeful Spirit and his Father intended to launch a teleportation assault aboard the vessel. Much to Sanguinius' dismay, the Emperor informed him that he would not join in the assault but rather stay behind to command the remaining loyalist forces on Terra. Sanguinius later confronted The Emperor as He was fitting on His armor for battle, stating that he was refusing to stay behind. The Emperor was unmoved, until Sanguinius finally revealed his prophetic visions of his death at Horus' hand. To the Emperor's surprise, Sanguinius stated he did not seek death at Horus' hands but rather sought to change his fate by challenging it head-on. This persuaded the Emperor to change His mind and allow Sanguinius to take part in the assault, for the Master of Mankind had spent many lifetimes attempting to defy fate the same way.[27a]
Upon teleporting aboard the Vengeful Spirit alongside the Sanguinary Guard and veterans under Raldoron, Sanguinius was scattered throuighout the vessel along with the other Imperials. However, he and his Blood Angels were the only boarding party to initially reach their intended target of Disembarkation Deck Two, fighting through swathes of Sons of Horus, Daemons, and Word Bearers.[27b] Inside the corrupted Vessel Sanguinius was guided by the wraith of Ferrus Manus, whose soul had been returned to the mortal realm on a whim by Horus as a form of psychological torture.[29a]
Still preparing to face his father, Horus deliberately let Sanguinius reach him within the heavily mutated Lupercal's Court.[29b] Planning to turn Sanguinius to Chaos so that they may confront their father together, Horus was genuinely disappointed when Sanguinius refused his offer to join him in ascendency.[29b]
Instead, the already heavily injured Sanguinius attacked Horus with all his might, displaying ferocious combat ability. Horus was still held back his true power, engaging in a purely martial battle with Sanguinius in hopes of breaking him down so he may accept the powers of the Warp. However Sanguinius fought so stubbornly and viciously that Horus grew frustrated and even took several wounds.[29c] In the end, Horus was forced to change his plans when he detected that the Emperor was incoming towards his location. Horus finally decided to kill Sanguinius and unleashed his full power, reaching into the 8th dimension to grab Sanguinius and slam him to the ground mid-flight. Horus proceeded to batter his brother with Worldbreaker and impaled him several times with his Talon before the skull of Ferrus Manus. Horus let out a disappointed sigh as his brother died and his body was strung up by Daemons.[29d]
Others state that 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. 
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.
An apparent avatar of Sanguinius appeared before Mephiston in the Warp, revealing the truth of the Gold Angel and Black Angel. This being cryptically stated that he is not Sanguinius as Sanguinius is dead, yet Mephiston and Dante both suspect a psychic echo of the Primarch may still endure within the Immaterium.
- See also Space Marine Quotes
- 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]
Sanguis is Latin for blood.
- 1: Index Astartes II, [Needs Citation]
- 2: Horus Rising (Novel):
- 3: False Gods (Novel), Chapter 10, pg. 202
- 4: Codex Imperialis (Background Book), [Needs Citation]
- 5: Red Fury (Novel), [Needs Citation]
- 6: Fear to Tread (Novel):
- 7: Know No Fear (Novel), Ushkul//Thu, Chapter Two, pg. 350
- 8: The Unremembered Empire (Novel), [Needs Citation]
- 9: Pharos (Novel), Chapter 24
- 10: Angels of Caliban (Novel), Chapters 30–35
- 11: Ruinstorm (Novel), [Needs Citation]
- 12: Wolfsbane (Novel), Chapter 4
- 13: Titandeath (Novel):
- 14: The Solar War (Novel), Chapter 13
- 15: Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 64
- 16: The Lost and the Damned (Novel):
- 17: Saturnine (Novel)
- 18: Collected Visions: cover
- 18a: pg.171
- 19: Darkness in the Blood (Novel) Chapters 22-25
- 20: Warhammer Community: Discover What Reads Await in 2022 with Black Library’s Warhammer Preview Online (posted 11/12/2021) (last accessed 11/12/2021)
- 21: Warhammer Community: The Angel Rises (posted 11/3/2019) (last accessed 10/8/2022)]
- 22: Collected Visions, pg. 118
- 23: Warhammer Community: Sanguinius the model revealed (posted 28/1/2019) (last accessed 10/8/2022)
- 24: Sanguinius: The Great Angel (Novel) - Cover
- 25: Echoes of Eternity (Novel)
- 26: Echoes of Eternity (Novel) - Limited Edition
- 27: The End and the Death (Novel)
- 28: Warhammer Community: The End and the Death Volume III – The Final Cover Reveal (posted 9/8/2023) (last accessed 9/8/2023)
- 29: The End and the Death: Volume II (Novel)