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He that may fight, heal him. He that may fight no more, give him peace. He that is dead, take from him the Chapter's due. While his geneseed returns to the Chapter, a Space Marine cannot die. Without death, pain loses its relevance.

Apothecaries are Space Marines with special medical training. Their role in battle is to recover the Chapter's gene-seed from killed Marines and to tend to the wounded. Outside of combat, Apothecaries are responsible for monitoring recruits and neophytes for mutation or flaws in their gene-seed organs and implants.[1]


The Apothecary's role is to serve as a field medic and bio-researcher. Along with being highly trained in medicine, they are among the elite warriors in the chapter.[Needs Citation]

Apothecaries are greatly honoured within the Chapter, as they are responsible for maintaining the purity of its gene-seed. If its gene-seed were to become mutated, it could well bring the Chapter's extinction or its fall to Chaos. The Apothecaries are charged with maintaining the health and genetic purity of the Space Marines. Their skills and equipment, when combined with the added organs and resilience of a Space Marine, allow an Apothecary to perform battle surgery with a good chance of success.[Needs Citation]

Not all wounded Marines can be saved; some are beyond even the Apothecary's skills. In this case, it is the Apothecary's responsibility to administer "the Emperor's Peace" (euthanasia) to those warriors who deserve it. The Apothecary's medi-pack (known as a Narthecium) includes a special humane killer for this task, called a Carnifex — a solid spring-loaded piston of metal. This is applied to the sufferer's temple, its powerful spring hurling the piston through the Marine's brain and killing him instantly.[3]

It is also the Apothecary's duty to harvest from the bodies' of fallen Marines the two implanted Progenoid glands, allowing for the gene-seed material to be cultivated and re-implanted in a Neophyte. Marines rarely go into battle without an Apothecary being available, as every Marine is a valuable resource and to lose any of their gene-seed would be a blow to the Chapter.[Needs Citation]

Each Company in a Chapter has an attached Apothecary that accompanies them into battle. Additional Apothecaries staff the Apothecarion, although they rarely take to the field, instead acting as bio-researchers and occupying themselves in taking part in the training of Neophytes and potential new Apothecaries.[2]

Apothecaries that seek to understand Xenos biology and collect samples from such foes in order to better combat them in the future are known as an Apothecary Biologis[25]


Prime Helix symbol and variants.
[Needs Citation]

The insignia of the Apothecaries is the prime helix, rendered in bright red.[16] The symbol represents the sacred code of the Chapter's gene-seed.[Needs Citation] The helix symbol is often adorned with additional iconography such as wings and skulls.[16]

The Apothecaries of most Chapters wear white power armor, with the left shoulder plate retaining the Chapter colors along with the Chapter symbol. The right shoulder armor displays the prime helix. Some less traditional Chapters use different schemes.[Needs Citation]

It it known that many Apothecaries personalise their colours, like having only the helix on their helmet's brow and their right shoulder plate in white[28], only their Narthecium, helmet, right right shoulder plate and knee in white[30], only their Narthecium, the bracer it's on, helmet, left shoulder plate trim, right right shoulder plate and knee in white[30], only their narthecium, the bracer it's on, right shoulder plate trim in white, with the right shoulder plate in red with a white helix on it[31], their armour bone coloured instead of white[32], both their pauldrons in Chapter's colours,[33a] only their helmet in their Chapter's colours,[33c] and some Apothecaries keep fully to their Chapter's standard colours.[29][33b]

Chapter Variations

  • The Blood Angels Apothecaries bear the honourary title Sanguinary Priest. In addition to their roles as medics and overseeing the induction of new recruits, the Sanguinary Priests share a role with the Angels' Chaplains in watching over their battle-brothers' spiritual well-being, guarding against the influence of the Red Thirst and the Black Rage.[4]
  • The Wolf Priests of the Space Wolves combine the roles of Apothecary and Chaplain within their Great Companies. They also prefer not to use Codex medical equipment but instead use healing potions and balms, the knowledge passed down through the generations.[5]
  • The Emperor's Spears group together their Apothecaries with their Chaplains, Techmarines, and Librarians under the title Druids, who all have black armour.[26] These warrior-priests each stand ready to harvest the gene-seed of fallen brothers, as well as performing their own duties based on their specialist skills and esoteric abilities.[27]
  • Grey Knights Apothecary

Primaris Apothecaries

The new generation of Primaris Space Marines also utilizes Apothecaries. Unlike their firstborn cousins, they are known to wield reductor and absolvor bolt pistols.[17]

Primaris Apothecaries may also become a specialist known as a Helix Adept, which is assigned to Vanguard Space Marine squads.[18]

Initiate Apothecaries

Are Apothecaries in training, who have been selected due to the medical talents they have shown while serving in their squadrons[24b]. The Initiates are apprenticed to an Apothecary for their training and will also assist in their mentor's duties[24a]. However until they are declared Apothecaries themselves, the Initiates must continue to serve in their squads, when they are not undergoing training.[24b]

Primus Medicae

Primus Medicae[21]

Primuses Medicae were high-ranking Apothecaries of the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. These officers held the onerous duty of overseeing the battle-readiness of their Battle-Brothers and above all else protecting the Legion's Gene-Seed.[21]

Notable Apothecaries


See also


Space Marine Infantry
Chapter Command Chapter MasterMaster of SanctityChief LibrarianMaster of the ApothecarionMaster of the ForgeMaster (Master of the WatchMaster of the FleetMaster of the ArsenalMaster of the MarchesMaster of the RitesMaster of RelicsLord ExecutionerMaster of RecruitsMaster of the SignalMaster of Reconnaissance)Chapter Ancient (Primaris Ancient) • Chapter ChampionHonour Guard
Company Command Company Command SquadReclusiam Command SquadCaptain (Primaris Captain) • Lieutenant (Primaris LieutenantVanguard Lieutenant) • Company Ancient (Bladeguard Ancient) • Company Champion
Specialists Librarian (EpistolaryCodicierLexicanumPrimaris LibrarianVanguard Librarian) • Chaplain (ReclusiarchPrimaris ChaplainJudiciar)Apothecary (Primaris ApothecaryHelix Adept) • Techmarine (Primaris Techmarine)
Veteran Squads Sternguard Veteran SquadVanguard Veteran SquadTerminator Squad (Terminator Assault Squad) • Bladeguard VeteranVeteran Intercessor SquadCompany Veterans
Battleline Squads Tactical SquadIntercessor Squad (Heavy Intercessor Squad) • Infiltrator Squad
Close Support Squads Assault SquadAssault Intercessor SquadJump Pack Intercessor SquadInceptor SquadReiver SquadIncursor SquadAssault Centurion Squad
Fire Support Squads Devastator SquadHellblaster SquadAggressor SquadEliminator SquadSuppressor SquadEradicator SquadDesolation SquadInfernus SquadDevastator Centurion Squad
Scouts Scout Squad