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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Space Marine Founding. For other uses of Founding, see Founding (disambiguation).

A Founding is an occasion when several new Space Marine Chapters are created. A Founding does not occur at any set interval, but is ordered when it is deemed necessary. As Chapters are occasionally completely destroyed, Foundings are often meant to ensure that a thousand Chapters exist at a time. This also means that many Chapters are created during unstable times of strife and rebellions that have caused many Chapters to lose the knowledge of their Founding or even the millennia of that Founding.[11d] This is especially common to Chapters created before or during Age of Apostasy as during the Reign of Blood many Imperial records were shamelessly destroyed forever.[11c]

Space Marine Chapters have been created outside of official Foundings, however. Exceptions to Foundings include the creation of the Grey Knights who were created before the Second Founding by order of the Emperor Himself during the Horus Heresy[10], the Sons of Medusa, who were ratified by unprecedented edict in 011.M37,[3c] and the Red Seraphs as well as Angels Numinous which represent splinter factions of the Blood Eagles.[66]


At the beginning of the Great Crusade, the Emperor created the Space Marine Legions after He had lost His twenty sons. Every Legion was made at least 10,000 Marines strong bolstered by the very best equipment and armoury the Imperium could offer and packed up with unflinching loyalty to the God Emperor of Mankind. This event, the creation of the Legions, is known as the First Founding.[11a]

Codex Astartes

Following the Horus Heresy's aftermath the Primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman, wrote a mighty tome of wisdom that included strategies and tactics for the Space Marines. The most lasting and significant decree of the Codex Astartes, as the tome was known, was that those then existing Space Marine Legions were to be divided into Chapters of 1,000 Marines strong. This was to ensure that no such rebellion as the Horus Heresy was to happen again because no one man could command such a terrifying force as 10,000 Space Marines again. It also made Space Marine forces more flexible and tactical on their own as every Chapter was fully independent and self-sufficient fighting force.[11b] After the remaining loyalist Primarchs accepted the Codex Astartes, the Legions were divided into Chapters. One Chapter of each parent Legion maintained the original colours, symbol, and name of the Legion, and they became known as the Chapters of the First Founding. The other Chapters took their own insignia and heraldry and are known as the Chapters of the Second Founding.[11b]

Subsequent foundings

It is believed that approximately one thousand Space Marine Chapters exist at all times though extremely violent warzones, attrition, space phenomena and other factors change the number of Chapters so radically no one can track them accurately. Over half (60%) of all Space Marine Chapters today are descendants of Ultramarines genestocks.[11c][11d]

Creation of new Chapters

The creation of new Chapters can only be ordered by the High Lords of Terra[11c], and it is said ultimately only from the Emperor Himself, although the actual process of creation is performed by the Adeptus Mechanicus.[1b]

The gene-seed used to create new Chapters is stored by the Adeptus Mechanicus, originally tithed from existing Chapters. New progenoids are created using human test-slaves.[1b] Although these test-slaves are conscious and aware of their "existence", they are completely immobile, forever remaining in static experimental capsules and serving as little more than hosts for the zygotes growing and progenoid organs growing.[14] A single slave is used in this way to create two progenoids, which are then implanted into two more slaves, and so on. One thousand sets of organs - the notional number of Marines in a Chapter - are created, after more than half a century of constant reproduction. Some Chapters' geneseed is mutated in a way the zygotes grow at a faster rate and so are able to recover rapidly from heavy losses within their Chapter.[1b]

Space Marine Foundings

Founding Date Notes
1st M29 The creation of the twenty Space Marine Legions.
2nd 021.M31 Many Chapters were created as the Legions splintered into Chapters.[11c]
Unstated M31 Creation of the Angels Porphyr.[4]
Unstated M31 In the glorious times of Age of Rebirth.[5b]
3rd 001.M32 Creation of the Dark Paladins[21]. Unconfirmed Founding of the Executioners[3b], and the Charnel Guard[7].
4th 546.M32 Formed after the War of the Beast. Chapters created during this time were the Sable Swords and Halo Brethren[22].
Unstated M32 Creation of the Marines Malevolent[4].
Unstated M33 Howling Griffons[2e]
Unstated 831.M33 [18b] Alongside the honoured dead during the Year of Ghosts.[5b]
Unstated Early M34 Right before the Howling 401.M34.[5b]
8th Mid-M34 [3a] Unconfirmed Founding of the Mantis Warriors.[3a]
9th [44] Creation of the Angels Resplendent.[44]
10th Mid-M35 [2a] Unconfirmed Founding of the Astral Claws.[2a]
Unstated M35 During the time of the Nova Terra Interregnum.[5b]
13th Late M35 / Early M36[3d] The "Dark Founding," the only one for which the Adeptus Terra does not have a gene-seed sample.[9]
Unstated M36 Founding of the Angels of Fire[4], Celebrants[4] and Relictors[4].
17th [62] Creation of the Sons of Pertinax.[62]
Unstated M36 Soon after the culmination of the Reign of Blood.[5b]
21st 991.M35 [18c] The "Cursed Founding" which created Chapters which fell victim to mutation, heresy, rebellion, or simple bad luck.[2b]
Unstated Early M37 Right before the Great Cull in 020.M37.[5b]
23rd Late M37[2c] / Early M38[3e] The "Sentinel" Founding. Creation of the Marines Errant[2c], Imperial Harbingers[2c], Star Phantoms[3e], Celestial Lions[32a][4] and Steel Cobras.[2c]
Unstated M38 500 years after the defeat of the Apostle of the Blind King.[5b]
Unstated M39 At the time when Age of Waning begins.[5b]
25th Late M40[2d] The "Bastion" Founding.[32b] Creation of the Fire Angels[2d], Emperor's Spears[32b] and Star Scorpions.[32c]
Unstated M40 Creation of the Omega Marines.[4]
26th 738.M41 [1a] Creation of the Mentor Legion.[6][47]
Ultima ~999.M41 The latest founding to date, consisting of Primaris Marines

First Founding

Main article: Space Marine Legion

The twenty Space Marine Legions, also known as the Legiones Astartes, were created by the Emperor to take part in the Great Crusade in what was later known as the First Founding.[11a]

Second Founding

The Second Founding, of Space Marine Chapters occurred seven years after the Horus Heresy.[5a]

The remaining loyal Legions after Horus Heresy (sometimes referred to as the "Progenitor") were divided into smaller Chapters that became known as the Second Founding Chapters. Each Second Founding Chapter initially shared their parent Legion's gene-seed, but subsequently each Chapter's gene-seed was isolated, forming new genetic lines and forging their own histories and traditions distinct from their Progenitors, while still remaining proud of their roots.[5a]

It is unknown how many Successor Chapters were created - exactly how many Chapters were founded and from which Legions is unclear. The Apocrypha of Davio attempted to categorize them all, but was never completed. Some survive to this day, the proud inheritors of their Legion's histories and the traditions of their Primarch. One of the earliest known accounts is found within a version of the Codex Astartes known as the Apocrypha of Skaros claiming that the Ultramarines Legion sired twenty-three Primogenitor Chapters, but omitted to list them all.[11c]

The vast majority of the Second Founding Chapters were created from the ranks of the Ultramarines Legion; other Legions were not large enough to be divided more than once.[11c] The Salamanders, consisting of only 7 Companies at the end of the Heresy, produced no recorded Successors in the Second Founding at all. The division of the Space Wolves Legion produced only one additional Chapter known as the Wolf Brothers.[12]

Below is a list of confirmed 2nd Founding Chapters with the sources.

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Angels Encarmine Blood Angels [11c][16c][17][18a]
Angels Sanguine Blood Angels Anzyra [11c][16c][17][18a]
Angels Vermillion Blood Angels Corinal [11c][16c][17][18a]
Blood Drinkers Blood Angels San Guisaga [11c][16c][17][18a]
Flesh Tearers Blood Angels Cretacia [11c][16c][17]
Angels of Absolution Dark Angels Allhallow [11c][16a][17][18a]
Angels of Redemption Dark Angels [11c][16a][17][18a]
Angels of Vengeance Dark Angels [11c][16a][17][18a]
Lions Sable Dark Angels Unknown (recruited from Nachtwald) Lost during the Forgotten Wars. [20]
Black Templars Imperial Fists Fleet Based [11c][16a][17][18a]
Crimson Fists Imperial Fists Rynn's World [11c][16a][17][18a]
Excoriators Imperial Fists Eschara [33]
Fists Exemplar Imperial Fists Eidolica [48]
Silver Guard Imperial Fists (speculated) [65]
Soul Drinkers Imperial Fists Fleet Based [18]
Brazen Claws Iron Hands Talus IV [11c][16d][17][18a]
Red Talons Iron Hands Raikan [11c][16d][17][18a]
Black Guard Raven Guard [11c][17][18a]
Raptors Raven Guard [11c][16d][17][18a][Conflicting sources]
Revilers Raven Guard [11c][16d][17][18a]
Wolf Brothers Space Wolves Disbanded due to genetic instability. [11c][12][17][18a]
Aurora Chapter Ultramarines Firestorm [16e][17][18a]
Black Consuls Ultramarines Cyclopia [11c][16e][17][18a]
Doom Eagles Ultramarines Gathis II [16e][18a]
Eagle Warriors Ultramarines Fleet Based [16e][17][18a]
Genesis Chapter Ultramarines Newfound [11c][16e][17][18a]
Inceptors Ultramarines [11c][17][18a]
Iron Snakes Ultramarines Ithaka [34]
Libators Ultramarines [11c][17]
Mortifactors Ultramarines Posul (destroyed) [18a]
Nemesis Ultramarines [17]
Novamarines Ultramarines Honourum [11c][16e][17][18a]
Obsidian Glaives Ultramarines Obstiria Destroyed by Orks of the Red Waaagh!. [31]
Patriarchs of Ulixis Ultramarines [11c][17][18a]
Praetors of Orpheus Ultramarines Orpheus [11c][16e][17][18a]
Silver Eagles Ultramarines [17][18a]
Silver Skulls Ultramarines Varsavia [16e][17][18a][Conflicting sources]
White Consuls Ultramarines Sabatine [11c][16e][17][18a]
Destroyers White Scars [11c][17][18a]
Marauders White Scars [11c][16b][17][18a]
Rampagers White Scars Fleet Based [11c][16b][17][18a]
Storm Lords White Scars [11c][16b][17][18a]

Third Founding

The Third Founding was initiated at the suggestion of Rogal Dorn. After more than forty years of preparation, the High Lords of Terra had approved over a hundred writs of succession to both First and Second Founding Chapters. The Ultramarines were granted nine writs of succession.[23]

Below is a list of confirmed 3rd Founding Chapters with the sources.

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Angels Erythrean Blood Angels Fleet Based [56]
Charnel Guard Blood Angels Fleet Based [7]
Dark Paladins Fleet Based Destroyed by Necrons in M41. [21]
Death Wardens Blood Angels and several Successor Chapters [40]
Executioners Imperial Fists Stygia-Aquilon According to Chapter chronicles. [3b]
Scythes of the Emperor Ultramarines Sotha Almost destroyed in the Second Tyrannic War. [23]

Fourth Founding

The Fourth Founding took place shortly after 546.M32 after the costly Imperial victory in the War of the Beast. It was overseen by the Grand Master of Assassins and de facto dictator of the Imperium at the time, Drakan Vangorich, as well as the Lord Commander of the Imperium and Imperial Fists Chapter Master Maximus Thane.[22]

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Halo Brethren [22]
Sable Swords Obsidia [11][22][Conflicting sources]
Tome Keepers Ultramarines Istrouma [43]

Eighth Founding

The Eighth Founding occurred at an unknown time.[44]

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Angels Revenant Ultramarines Libethra Nearly destroyed by the Necrons of the Maynarkh Dynasty. [58]

Ninth Founding

The Ninth Founding occurred at an unknown time.[44]

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Angels Resplendent Blood Angels Malpertuis Later renamed as the Angels Penitent. [44]

Thirteenth Founding

The Thirteenth Founding or Dark Founding was one of the instances where new Space Marine Chapters were created. The details of the Thirteenth Founding are almost completely unknown; it is unknown to the Imperium how many, and which Chapters were created, and if they still exist. This Founding is the only in which the Adeptus Terra does not possess the original gene-seed of the founded Chapters.[9][11d]

Below is a list of confirmed 13th Founding Chapters with the sources.

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Exorcists Imperial Fists Banish [35]
Death Spectres Raven Guard Occludus Genetic drift results in initiates becoming albino upon realization of the Marine creation process. [28][29]

The Crimson Sabres are believed by some to be of the Thirteenth Founding but it's unknown if that's true.[71]

Seventeenth Founding

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Sons of Pertinax Imperial Fists (Speculated) The last word of the Chapter's name is traditionally changed to match its current Chapter Master. In this case, it is named after Pertinax. [62]

Twenty-First Founding

The Twenty-First Founding was the largest Founding of Space Marine Chapters since the Second Founding. It took place shortly before the Age of Apostasy, in 991.M35.[11d][18c] It's believed that the Magos Biologis charged with overseeing the Founding manipulated the gene-seed used to create the Chapters of this Founding,[2f][70a] and that at least some of it was done under the sponsorship of Thorian Inquisitors involved with 'Project Homo Sapiens Novus'.[70b]

The Twenty-First Founding is also known as the Cursed Founding, because of the appalling bad luck that seems to dog the Chapters created in it. Worse still, some of these Chapters have developed genetic idiosyncrasies, mutations that strain the tolerance of the Inquisition and threaten the Chapters' survival.[11d]

Many of the Chapters of the Twenty-First Founding are known to be lost; some mysteriously disappeared while travelling through the Warp or while in action, while others were found tainted and destroyed.[53a]

Below is a list of confirmed 21st Founding chapters.

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Mutations Notes Sources
Lamenters Blood Angels None Temporary weakening of The Flaw, possibly a tendency towards depression. Revolted in Badab War, defeated, and sent on crusade of penitence. Almost annihilated and absorbed by Hive Fleet Kraken. Possessed a seemingly cursed fortune. [2f][15b]
Fire Hawks Ultramarines (most likely) Zhoros (destroyed)/ Cousteau XI (destroyed) None known. Noted to have extremely disastrously bad luck. [2f]
Black Dragons Salamanders Fleet Based Ossmodula zygote, bone crests on head and blades on forearms and elbows. [15a]
Blood Gorgons None known. Turned Traitor within a generation. Known to have developed a bizarre "bonding" procedure. [13]
Flame Falcons Lethe Noted to have had spontaneous and extreme physical corruption that led the Flame Falcons to the point they were neither sane nor human. Declared Excommunicate Traitoris due to extreme physical corruption. They were also covered in flames that did not burn themselves; after the emergence of these flames, they were destroyed by Grey Knights on their homeworld. [11d][15b][17]
Minotaurs Fleet Based None Berserkers [2f][15a]
Sons of Antaeus Ultramarines[69] Strong, almost metallic bone structure. [15b]

The Tiger Claws are believed by some to be of the Twenty-First Founding but it's unknown if that's true.[2g]

Twenty-Third Founding

Sometimes referred as "The Sentinel Founding". This Founding of early M38 was established to aid Imperium's defences in many vulnerable fronts. Origins of many Chapters of this Founding are shrouded as they were even during the Founding itself.[3e]

Below is a list of 23rd Founding Chapters with the sources.

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Imperial Harbingers [2c]
Star Phantoms Haakoneth (destroyed), now Jahga Are known to have clashed numerous times with other Imperial authorities and Space Marine Chapters. [3e]

Twenty-Fourth Founding

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Hospitallers Imperial Fists [8]

Twenty-Fifth Founding

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Star Scorpions Khamun-Sen Initially thought lost in the Warp and subsequently replaced by the Mentor Legion. In actuality, became corrupted into a Chaos Warband called the Pure. [61]

Twenty-Sixth Founding

The Twenty-Sixth Founding was a recent founding of Space Marine Chapters, taking place in 738.M41.[1a]

Below is a list of known 26th Founding Chapters with the relevant sources.

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Mentor Legion Replaced lost Star Scorpions Chapter and is said to have entirely new generation of genetic material from the genebanks of Terra. [6][47]

Ultima Founding

The Ultima Founding is the most recent Space Marine Founding, created at the direct order of Roboute Guilliman following his resurrection shortly after the Thirteenth Black Crusade. This Founding is one of the largest and most significant, as it consists mainly of the new Primaris Space Marines. Moreover, the Primaris Marines from the Ultima Founding will be used to refresh and reinforce depleted Chapters in addition to creating new ones. The Ultima Founding is at the forefront of Guilliman's Indomitus Crusade.[24]

According to the Logos Historica Verita, roughly 4 years into the Indomitus Crusade there were around 105 Chapters within the Ultima Founding.[63]

Known Chapters created from the Ultima Founding include:

Name Parent Chapter Homeworld Notes Sources
Blood Scythes Blood Angels [45]
Dragons Ardent Blood Angels Nautilos Refounded after the original Chapter was destroyed [64]
Knights of the Chalice Blood Angels [24]
Angels of Defiance Dark Angels [46]
Blades of Vengeance Dark Angels [24]
Knights of Redemption Dark Angels [67]
Knights of the Shrouded Skull Dark Angels [68]
Prime Absolvers Dark Angels [57]
The Unnamed Dark Angels Fleet Based [57]
Sons of the Phoenix Imperial Fists [30]
Soul Drinkers Imperial Fists Refounded after the original Chapter was destroyed [42]
Knights of Byzantium Iron Hands Byzantium [39]
Iron Ravens Raven Guard [36]
Necropolis Hawks Raven Guard [30]
Rift Stalkers Raven Guard Fleet Based [24]
Void Sabres Raven Guard [63]
Black Vipers Salamanders [41b]
Covenant of Fire Salamanders [41b]
Dark Krakens Salamanders Naktis [41b]
Dragonspears Salamanders Fleet Based [41b]
Hammers of Nocturne Salamanders [72]
Iron Drakes Salamanders Bears the same name as the Iron Drakes chapter that become the Grey Death Chaos Space Marine warband. [59]
Icefangs Space Wolves [50]
Mooneaters Space Wolves [55]
Wolfspear Space Wolves 108/Beta-Kalapus-9.2 [25a]
Avenging Sons Ultramarines Callimachus Bears the same name as the Avenging Sons from the 19th Founding, also of Ultramarines lineage. [25b]
Castellans of the Rift Ultramarines [30]
Fulminators Ultramarines [24]
Knights Cerulean Ultramarines [25b]
Praetors of Ultramar Ultramarines Howsbridge [25b]
Silver Templars Ultramarines Novaris [49]
Void Tridents Ultramarines Talassar [30]
Astral Bears White Scars [38]
Storm Reapers White Scars Jagun [27]
Black Vultures [37]
Brazen Skulls Refounded after the original Chapter was destroyed. [41c]
Knights of Thunder [50]
Nemesors [51]
Rift Cobras [41a]
Silver Drakes [52]
Umbral Knights [53b]
Valiant Blades [54]


Conflicting sources

As Games Workshop has made innumerable amounts of Chapters, names and colour schemes, not to mention many other details, it is no surprise there are some conflicting sources from time to time. The lore explains that many events and setbacks in the Imperium of Man have resulted in the destruction of the relevant articles and tomes. It is therefore said that some Chapters do not know from which Founding they originate or that the Founding they believe they hail from is different from the one they actually do.[11c]

Here are conflicts between sources that came up while creating this article:

  • Raptors (Chapter) — some sources[11c][16d] claim the Raptors as the 2nd Founding Chapter of the Raven Guard. However, Chapter Approved 2001[17] clearly states that the Raven Guard has only two Successor Chapters and that the Raptors Chapter is from a later Founding though it does not state which. It could be possible that there are two Raptors Chapters as this is not unheard of in the history of the Imperium.[19]
  • Sable Swords — Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)[11] indicates the Sable Swords were founded in M41, but it is stated in The Beheading (Novel)[22] that they were formed in the Fourth Founding. It is possible that there have been two Chapters of the same name.
  • Silver Skulls — this Chapter is listed as from later Foundings (not 1st or 2nd) in Chapter Approved 2001[17], however, in a later source, How to Paint Space Marines [16e] it is stated, with a picture, that Silver Skulls are indeed a Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines.