Horus Timeline

  • c. 6000 BCE - c. 3150 BCE

    Rulers of the Predynastic Period of Egypt known as "Followers of Horus".

  • c. 3150 BCE - c. 2613 BCE

    Kings of the Early Dynastic Period associate themselves with Horus.

  • 323 BCE - 30 BCE

    Horus remains a popular deity during the Ptolemaic Dynasty, the last to rule over Egypt before the coming of Rome.

Is Jesus Simply a Retelling of the Horus Mythology?

What if I told you there was once an ancient religion whose God was conceived by a virgin named Meri and had a stepfather named Seb (Joseph)? What if I told you this God was born in a cave and his birth was announced by an angel, heralded by a star and attended by shepherds? He attended a special rite of passage at the age of twelve (although the ancient texts describing this God are silent about His life from the age of 12 to 30). At 30 years of age, this God was baptized in a river (His baptizer was later beheaded). He had 12 disciples, performed miracles, exorcized demons, raised someone from the dead, and even walked on water. They called Him “Iusa”, the “ever-becoming son” and the “Holy Child”. He delivered a “Sermon on the Mount”, and his followers recounted his sayings. He was transfigured on a mount and eventually crucified between two thieves. He was buried for three days in a tomb and rose from the dead. His followers called Him “Way”, “the Truth the Light”, “Messiah”, “God’s Anointed Son”, “Son of Man”, “Good Shepherd”, “Lamb of God”, “Word made flesh”, “Word of Truth”, “the KRST” or “Anointed One”. He was also known as “the Fisher” and was associated with the Fish, Lamb and Lion. According to this ancient religion, this God came to fulfill the Law and was supposed to reign one thousand years. Sounds a lot like Jesus doesn’t it? According to those who deny the existence of Jesus, however, this description is of a mythological precursor to Christianity, the Egyptian God named Horus. Skeptics sometimes use ancient deities like Horus, Mithras or Osiris as examples of dying and rising precursors to Jesus. They claim the mythology of Jesus was simply borrowed from pre-existing examples such as these.

Was Horus really like Jesus in all the ways skeptics often describe him? These similarities are startling. For many Christians (especially young believers who encounter this objection while in college) similarities such as these cast doubt on the historicity of Jesus. It’s important, therefore, to examine the truth of these claims to see what the real mythologies tell us about characters such as Horus. While it’s true there are a number of pre-Christian mythologies with dying saviors, they aren’t much like Jesus once you start to examine them closely. They often merely reflect the expectations and yearnings of ancient people for the God who truly did come to earth. A significant portion of what we just described about Horus is simply false and lacks any Egyptian historical or archeological support whatsoever. Much of what I described about Horus is simply a reflection of the effort of atheists to make Horus look as much like Jesus as possible.

Horus was worshiped principally in two Egyptian cultural centers (Bekhdet in the north and Idfu in the south). Little remains at the northern location, but there is still a large and well preserved Ptolemaic temple at Idfu most of our information about Horus comes from this southern temple. Horus was usually represented as a falcon. He was the great sky God and the Son of Isis and Osiris. Let’s take a look at the claims we’ve already described and separate truth from fiction (for a more in depth examination of Horus and many other alleged Christian precursors, please visit David Anderson’s excellent website. I’m condensing much of his work in this brief blog post). We’ll also look at some of the reasonable expectations and motivations causing these mythologies to resemble Jesus:

Claim: Horus was conceived by a virgin mother named Meri, and had a stepfather named Seb (Joseph)
Truth: Horus was NOT conceived of a virgin. In fact, mural and textual evidence from Egypt indicates Isis (there is no evidence that “Meri” was ever part of her name) hovered over the erect penis (she created) of Osiris to conceive Horus. While she may have been a virgin before the conception, she utilized Osiris’ penis to conceive. She later had another son with Osiris as well. There is no evidence of three wise men as part of the Horus story at all. Seb was actually the “earth god” He was not Horus’ earthly father. Seb is not the equivalent of Joseph and, in most cases, Seb is described as Osiris’ father.

Claim: Horus was born in a cave, his birth announced by an angel, heralded by a star and attended by shepherds.
Truth: There is no reference to a cave or manger in the Egyptian birth story of Horus. In fact, none of these details are present in the ancient Egyptian stories of Horus. Horus was born in a swamp. His birth was not heralded by an angel. There was no star.

Claim: Horus attended a special rite of passage at the age of twelve and there is no data on the child from the age of 12 to 30.
Truth: There is no continuous effort in the Horus mythology to account for all these years, so there are no real gaps in the chronology. Horus never taught in any temple at twelve (as did Jesus).

Claim: Horus was baptized in a river at the age of 30, and his baptizer was later beheaded.
Truth: Horus was never baptized. While conspiracy theorists often point to “Anup the Baptizer” (claiming he was later beheaded), there is no such person in Horus’ story.

Claim: Horus had 12 disciples.
Truth: Horus had only four disciples (called ‘Heru-Shemsu’), but at some point in his story there is reference to sixteen followers and a group of unnumbered followers who join Horus in battle (called ‘mesnui’).

Claim: Horus performed miracles, exorcized demons, raised someone from the dead, and walked on water.
Truth: Horus certainly performed miracles (he was, after all, described as a god). But there was no mention of exorcizing demons, raising people from the dead or walking on water.

Claim: Horus was called “Iusa”, the “ever-becoming son” and the “Holy Child”.
Truth: No one in Egyptian history was ever called “Iusa” (the word does not exist) nor was anyone called “Holy Child”.

Claim: Horus delivered a “Sermon on the Mount”, and his followers recounted his sayings. He was transfigured on the Mount.
Truth: Horus never delivered a “Sermon on the Mount”, nor was he transfigured.

Claim: Horus was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and was resurrected.
Truth: Horus is not reported to have died at all in the vast majority of Egyptian narratives. There is also no crucifixion story. Instead, Horus is usually described as eventually merging with Re (the Sun god) after which he “dies” and is “reborn” every day as the sun rises. There is a parallel account describing Horus’ death and detailing how he was cast in pieces into the water, later fished out by a crocodile at Isis’ request.

Claim: Horus was called “Way”, “the Truth the Light”, “Messiah”, “God’s Anointed Son”, “Son of Man”, “Good Shepherd”, “Lamb of God”, “Word made flesh”, “Word of Truth”, “the KRST” or “Anointed One”.
Truth: None of these titles are in Egyptian history, but Horus is called by several names you might expect for any god in mythology: “Great God”, “Chief of the Powers”, “Master of Heaven”, and “Avenger of His Father”. Horus was not called “the Krst”. This word in Egyptian means “burial” (it wasn’t a title at all).

Claim: Horus was “the Fisher” and was associated with the Fish, Lamb and Lion.
Truth: Some of conspiracy theorists associate Horus with fish (by virtue of the fact that Horus was a fish in some portion of the ancient narrative), but there is no evidence Horus was ever called a “fisher” or was ever associated with the Lion or the Lamb.

Claim: Horus came to fulfill the Law, and was supposed to reign one thousand years.
Truth: There was no Egyptian “law” for Horus to fulfill, and there is no mention of a thousand year reign in Egyptian mythology.

On closer examination, Horus isn’t much like Jesus after all. It’s not unusual for the characteristics of ancient pre-Christian deities to be exaggerated in an effort to make them sound like Jesus. The first step in refuting such claims is to simply investigate the attributes carefully. Beyond this, we must also recognize the expectations and yearnings people have related to the existence of God. The Bible rightly describes this yearning and the innate knowledge each of us has related to God’s existence (Romans 1:18-20 and 2:12-16). We shouldn’t be surprised ancient people (created in the image of God) would think deeply about the nature of this God. Many alleged similarities between pre-Christian mythologies and Jesus are extremely general in nature and would be expected from anyone considering the existence of a Divine Creator. Primitive cultures interested in God’s nature reasoned He would have the ability to perform miracles, teach humans and form disciples. These universal expectations fail to invalidate the historicity of Jesus. As Paul recognized on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-31), men thought deeply about the nature of God prior to His arrival as Jesus. Sometimes they imagined the details correctly, sometimes they didn’t.

In the end, similarities between Jesus and mythological precursors fail to invalidate the historicity of Jesus. The historical veracity of Jesus is determined from the evidence supporting the reliability of the eyewitness accounts. Jesus is not simply a retelling of the Horus myth. While Horus worship is now a dead religion, Christianity continues to thrive. Why? Because the Christian records are reliable (for more on this, please refer to Cold-Case Christianity). Skeptics sometimes portray Horus as something he isn’t in order to keep us from believing in Jesus as something He is. But the reliable Biblical record establishes the Deity of Jesus in a way no other ancient mythological text could ever hope to achieve.

For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.


The End of the Age of Strife

The Emperor of Mankind during the Great Crusade

During the Age of Strife the Emperor, who had spent all the years of His immortal life since His birth in the 8th Millennium B.C. seeking to guide Mankind to a better destiny, was trapped on the techno-barbarian-ravaged Earth. This was due to the massive Warp Storms prevalent throughout the galaxy in the 5,000 standard years before the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh once more made travel and astropathic communication through the Warp possible.

Not content to simply sit back while humanity suffered through the long years of Old Night, the Emperor of Mankind spent this time performing intensive biological research on the human genome in gene-laboratories hidden deep below the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains, seeking a way that he could ultimately reunite all of humanity so that it could once more pursue its destiny of taking control over the Milky Way Galaxy as other intelligent species like the Eldar had already done.

The Emperor, who did not bear that title at this early date, had always worked to advance His agenda from behind the scenes and a long list of different identities over the millennia, some of them very well-known. But to save Mankind from the disaster of the Age of Strife, it had become apparent that He would have to take a far more open political role than He had previously preferred if the human race was to be saved from ultimate extinction.

The result of His scientific work was the creation of the first prototype supersoldiers who would serve as a template for the later development of the Space Marines. Using these first genetically-engineered supersoldiers called the Thunder Warriors, the Emperor unleashed the Unification Wars upon the techno-barbarian tribes and nation-states of Terra, forcing them to unite under a single government represented by a banner called the Raptor Imperialis with Himself taking the title of the "Emperor of Mankind" after years of savage warfare. This event was later known in Imperial records as the Unification.

After this, the Emperor realised that to reunite all of humanity, He would need generals and proconsuls in addition to Himself whom He could trust absolutely and who possessed capabilities similar to His own. So he ordered the creation of 20 highly advanced, genetically-engineered transhumans known as the Primarchs. These men, created using the Emperor's own genome as the foundations of their genetic code, were intended to lead the reunification of Mankind.

The Ruinous Powers of Chaos, however, fearful of the affect the Emperor's plans would have upon their own power within the Immaterium since they were dependent upon mortals for their very existence, managed to bypass the arcane wards protecting the Emperor's secret gene-laboratory under the Himalazian mountains, and teleport the unborn Primarchs, still in their gestation capsules, away from Terra. They were scattered across the galaxy to different human-settled worlds and several were tainted with the touch of Chaos that would bloom in time.

Facing this setback, the Emperor decided to change His tactics if not His ultimate goal of reunification. He gathered the remaining genetic material that had been used to create the Primarchs and from it cultured thousands of sets of gene-seed. These could be gestated into individual sets of 19 separate organs that when implanted within the body of an adolescent human male would transform him into one of the transhuman warriors known as the Astartes in High Gothic, the first true Space Marines.

The Emperor raised 20 Legions of Astartes, each making use of gene-seed organs cultured from the DNA of one of the Primarchs, from among the population of a newly unified Terra. After five millennia and the birth of Slaanesh following the events that led to the Fall of the Eldar, the massive Warp Storms finally dissipated across the galaxy. With their absence allowing interstellar travel once again, the Emperor quickly moved forward with his plans to begin the conquest of the galaxy.

Mars and the Adeptus Mechanicus

The Emperor of Mankind leads the Space Marine Legions personally during the Great Crusade

The Emperor's first obstacle to the reunification of Mankind was the existence of the Mechanicum empire of the Tech-priests of the Cult Mechanicus on Mars, who had historically been fiercely independent of Earth. Instead of an outright war, the Emperor used the threat of an assault by his Space Marines on Mars and the offer of new technologies to form an alliance in the 30th Millennium with the Tech-priests of what would later be called the Adeptus Mechanicus. This alliance formed the heart of the newborn Imperium of Man and was symbolised by the adoption of the two headed-eagle or Aquila that is still the primary icon of the Imperium.

Despite his disdain for their reliance on religion and cybernetic augmentation of their bodies, the Emperor knew that He would need Mars' great manufactoria (factories), mechanical output and ancient technological knowledge to build the military force required to reunify humanity across the galaxy, and He incorporated them into the Imperium.

The Tech-priests of Mars, likewise, saw the Emperor's extraordinary scientific knowledge and technological skill as proof that He was the Omnissiah, the living avatar of their Machine God in the material realm, who the creed of the Cult Mechanicus had promised would return one day to the Red Planet and offer the true way forward for humanity.

The Conquest of the Void

The extent of the Imperium of Man, ca. 892.005.M31, the last year of the Great Crusade

The Great Crusade was the largest and most ambitious military endeavour ever undertaken by Mankind. As mighty and valiant as the hosts of the Emperor were, this epic undertaking would have been entirely impossible without the countless thousands of Warp-capable vessels that transported hundreds of thousands of the superhuman warriors of the Space Marine Legions and many millions of Imperial Army soldiers from one star's light to the next.

The Great Crusade saw a staggering array of vessels constructed, reclaimed or pressed into service. Some were used for a matter of solar months before being declared obsolete or wearing out and degrading to destruction, quite apart from losses incurred in battle, while others gained a permanent place in the canon of war, with successful designs endlessly copied and modified as the decades progressed.

The first vessels to enter the service of the Imperium were constructed in the orbital foundries of Terra, and later Mars' Ring of Iron and the orbital shipyards of Saturn, under the scrutiny of the Emperor and the Forge-wrights of the Mechanicum, and indeed it was only that in alliance with Mars that the trans-solar expansion was possible in any meaningful way. This was further aided when at last the Saturnyne Dominion, with its accomplished ship-masters, joined the Imperium after their alien overlords were overthrown, and as the Imperium expanded, many more great orbital shipyards were added at Voss, Grulgarod, Lorin and Cypra Mundi. All these grew to near rival Mars itself in voidship production.

Driven by the will of the Emperor, the first Expeditionary Fleets pushed outwards into the galaxy. Preceding each great Expeditionary Fleet of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of vessels often ranged smaller contingents of independent flotillas led by a class of martial leader that would become known as the Rogue Traders Militant. Many of these individuals were former rulers of the numerous realms the Emperor had cast down first during the Unification Wars and later as the Great Crusade spread, formerly independent human worlds.

They were offered a stark choice--bend the knee before the Emperor and swear service to the Great Crusade, or die by His hand. Though many set pride before what they regarded as slavery, others chose service and took up the Emperor's Warrant of Trade. There was a price, however. The Rogue Traders Militant were expected to scout ahead of the leading edge of the Great Crusade, accompanied by their own armies as well as whatever assets had been ceded them by the Emperor.

Operating so far ahead of the Emperor's crusading armies, the Rogue Traders Militant could expect little or no aid should they encounter foes too powerful for them to overcome. After several solar decades penetrating the inky black of the void, Rogue Trader Militant fleets often appeared as ramshackle vagabonds, many of their starships taken from defeated enemies, sometimes including xenos vessels of entirely novel or esoteric form.

They were forbidden to return to Terra, for in His wisdom the Emperor sought not to just rid Himself of powerful rivals, but to ensure that even in their deaths they might serve Mankind. Many vanished alone and unheralded slain, consumed or enslaved by nameless xenos abominations far from the light of Terra.

As the Imperium expanded, so too did its fleets. Countless long-lost wonders of technology were recovered, some wrested from the dead hands of unwilling custodians, and others surrendered willingly as fitting tribute to the Master of Mankind. Some vessels were unique, constructed by methods even the most accomplished Adepts of Mars could not hope to replicate: the Terminus Est, the Nicor, the Mirabilis and the Phalanx foremost among them. Other patterns and classes proved possible to reproduce and replicate, and before long the various arms of the Imperium's military acquired their own distinctive panoply of warships.

Those of the Legiones Astartes were often blunt of prow and slab-armoured, built to endure the withering storm of fire that accompanies a planetary invasion, their plasma furnace-hearts powering some of the most destructive weapons known to Mankind. But beyond these practical needs, each fleet favoured the nature of its Legion, from the sable black marauders of the Raven Guard to the baroque crimson and gold battlecruisers of the Blood Angels to the brute functionality and unadorned steel of the Iron Warriors' siege-barques.

The ships of the Emperor's wider naval armadas, the Armada Imperialis, were more diverse affairs, built for void supremacy. They ranged from stately Battleships, multi-kilometre long engines of doom, their armour concentrated to the fore and their flanks repleted with rank upon rank of broadside batteries, to lithe and deadly Destroyers and stripped-bare Warp Runners, to watchful piquet Frigates and lumbering star fortresses. Beyond these were innumerable classes of transports, arks, conveyers and supply ships, the forge vessels of the Mechanicum and their own strange space-going engines of war.

Rediscovery of the Primarchs

Even with access to the vast fleets of starships and military materiel that the forges of Mars could churn out, the expansion outwards into the galaxy from Terra was slow, primarily due to a lack of the necessary manpower and skilled leadership. Without access to the Primarchs' unique genomes, the time required to create a Space Marine was far longer than ideal. The Emperor was also adamant that all the genetic material for new Astartes gene-seed must come directly from Him, to keep the gene-seed organs pure and 100% effective, as mutation had a habit of setting in even at this early date in the Astartes' existence.

Only a short time after he had launched the great expedition to reunite Mankind that he called the "Great Crusade," the Emperor was reunited with one of His Primarchs after His Great Crusade Expeditionary Fleet, the Pricipia Imperialis, reached the nearby Mining World of Cthonia during one of its first journeys through the Warp this was Horus, the future Warmaster of the Imperial armies. Being the first Primarch rediscovered by the Emperor, the first of His beloved sons who had returned to Him, Horus and the Emperor soon formed a truly unique bond of friendship and paternal love, saving one anothers' lives on many occasions.

Horus was given command of the XVI Legion of Space Marines, the Luna Wolves, and he soon set the precedent for raising all future Astartes for his Legion from among the men of his former homeworld, in this case Cthonia. With the increased Space Marine production made possible by direct access to a Primarch's genome, the Great Crusade began picking up steam, with the Emperor's "Imperium of Man" bringing many new worlds into "Imperial Compliance" either through negotiation and diplomacy or outright conquest when all other methods failed.

Each world was also introduced to the Imperial Truth, the Emperor's chosen philosophy and the foundation for Imperial culture, which was stridently atheistic and rejected all forms of human religion or spirituality as mere superstition to be replaced by the cold rationalism of scientific progress. Though the Emperor loathed war, He understood that if Mankind was to survive the rigours of a hostile universe it must stand united, and that unity must be brought quickly, even if it had to be forced in certain instances.

After 30 Terran years of successful crusading, the Emperor discovered another of the Primarchs, the Wolf-King, Leman Russ on the frozen world of Fenris. Although Horus was pleased at the discovery of one of his brothers, he secretly hoped to always remain the Emperor's favourite son, no matter how many of his brothers were rediscovered.

Over time, all of the Primarchs were rediscovered by the various Expeditionary Fleets of the Great Crusade and given command of the Space Marine Legion for which their genetic code had been used as the foundation of that Legion's gene-seed. The order in which the Primarchs were discovered is not entirely clear in Imperial records. Horus was clearly the first to be rediscovered, and Alpharius of the Alpha Legion was the last.

Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists was the seventh of the Primarchs to be found, while Lion El'Jonson was discovered on the Death World of Caliban after Leman Russ of the Space Wolves had already been recovered by the Emperor on Fenris.

Magnus the Red of the Thousand Sons was found on Prospero before his brother Lorgar of the Word Bearers welcomed the Emperor to Colchis. Angron of the World Eaters was rescued against his will from his homeworld of Nuceria after the Great Crusade recovered Perturabo of the Iron Warriors from his homeworld of Olympia.

The Crusade also grew larger as the solar decades of conquest passed. With each new world brought into Imperial Compliance and made accepting of the Imperial Truth, its resources could be harnessed for the construction of ever more starships and the massive amounts of materiel needed to keep the entire enterprise moving forward. With the rediscovery of all of the Primarchs, the time required for Space Marine production was dramatically decreased a new Astartes ready for combat could be created in as little as a standard year at the height of the Great Crusade.

This rapid creation process, however, would prove disastrous: mental defects and unique eccentricities began to creep into the ranks of the Astartes as the manpower needs of the Great Crusade called for larger and larger armies. Yet, by the early 31st Millennium, some 200 standard years after it had begun, the Great Crusade had reunited vast swathes of the galaxy under the leadership of the Emperor of Mankind, seemingly initiating a new Golden Age of progress and reason for the human race.

Blood and Illumination: The Pax Imperialis

"There is no salvation from the darkness in men's hearts."

— Ancient Terran Proverb

The Great Crusade brought peace to Mankind, ending wars between peoples and nations, binding all together in unity. It broke the chains of superstition and freed billions from the whims of tyrants and murderous xenos. Where before there had been strife and the cloud of ignorance, now there would be peace and truth. These were high ideals indeed, but ideals that came at a price. Mankind had to be dragged to illumination, and many tried to pull it back into the shadows, into the old ways of ignorance and discord.

The Emperor had unified Terra not only through words and alliances, but also through force of arms. Illumination and peace had to be won by blood. This was the basic truth of the Pax Imperialis, and when the Great Crusade took to the stars, this truth went with it. But it was not only in open war that the blood price for universal peace had to be paid. The enemies of the Imperium were manifold, and even before Horus turned from the Emperor, there were those who nurtured treachery in their hearts, who mouthed words of loyalty whilst seeding discord. While the ideals of the Great Crusade saw warriors marching in open war, the truth was that there were other methods and other less noble battles fought to keep the peace.

The Assassin Temples, the networks of informers and the Silent Agents of Malcador the Sigilite, the Annihilation Protocols, and the ancient and all but forbidden weapons wielded by a chosen few in the Legions, all these were the tools and warriors by which the Imperium enforced its ideals and, for a time, brought peace to the galaxy. For the Emperor, the end justified the means in the pursuit of His great dream, for He knew better than most, that His time was limited. Mankind must be united and ready to face the future before the Chaos Gods could unite to stop Him.

Fractures in Loyalty

As the Imperium grew and the Great Crusade fractured into hundreds of different Expeditionary Fleets that could be separate from one another for solar decades of relative time, the Primarchs and their Emperor began to grow distant from each other. The Night Lords and World Eaters Legions grew infamous for their ever-greater atrocities during the conquest of new worlds, the Thousand Sons' pursuit of knowledge transformed into the use of sorcery through the temptations secretly offered by Tzeentch, and the Word Bearers' fanatical religious beliefs in the Emperor's divinity led to a rift between them and the Emperor when He dramatically rejected their attempts at worship in light of the atheistic nature of the Imperial Truth he sought to impress on all the worlds of the Imperium.

The Imperial Army, composed almost entirely of normal human soldiers (some regiments such as the Geno Two-Five Chilliad were the products of selective breeding and genetic-engineering dating back to the Unification Wars to produce more capable soldiers or officers), provided much-needed manpower for garrison and support duties for the planets brought into Imperial Compliance by the Crusade.

Freed from garrison duties, the Space Marines who comprised the core of each Expeditionary Fleet could conquer yet more worlds in a shorter space of time. Many Astartes and Imperial Army soldiers began speaking only of their loyalty to the Primarch that they served, and not to their Emperor. Owing to the isolation between the Legions and the Emperor after the Ullanor Crusade when the Emperor returned to Terra and left the Great Crusade in the hands of His favoured son Horus as the new Imperial Warmaster, this growing breach between the military and the people of the Imperium as represented by the Emperor essentially went unnoticed back on Terra.

Twilight of the Great Crusade

After Horus' successful campaign to destroy the largest Ork WAAAGH! known in the history of the Imperium to that point at the world of Ullanor during what became known to later Imperial historians as the semi-legendary Ullanor Crusade, the Emperor declared it the greatest victory of the Imperium to date. Horus' reward was the title and position of Imperial Warmaster and with it the supreme command of all of the Imperium's armed forces, Space Marines and Imperial Army starships and troops alike.

After doing so, the Emperor made it known that He was needed back on Terra, where he would undertake a secret project intended to open the next phase in human cultural evolution. What the Emperor intended was to make use of the ancient artefact known as the Golden Throne, an instrument of technology created before the Age of Strife that had been unearthed on Terra that acted as a powerful psionic augmentation device, to open the Aeldari Webway to the use of humanity. This would allow all the worlds of the Imperium to be instantaneously interconnected through the Webway in a way that would make travel by starship obsolescent, and also end humanity's need to rely on psykers for interstellar navigation and communication with all the risks this entailed. The creation of a human Webway was intended to be the Emperor's greatest gift to Mankind and usher in millennia of progress and peace once the Great Crusade was complete.

Horus was not informed of the Emperor's plans on Terra, and felt deeply troubled by his father's sudden unwillingness to confide in him, once his closest confidante, and by his decision to retreat to Terra with the Great Crusade yet unfinished. To make matters worse, while some of his fellow Primarchs accepted his promotion, others, chiefly Angron, Konrad Curze and Perturabo, openly begrudged Horus his new authority.

There was also the widespread erroneous belief among the Astartes that the Emperor would disband or reduce the Space Marine Legions to the level of peacekeeping forces once the Great Crusade was completed. Horus resented his brothers' feelings and thought that while he was winning new worlds for the Imperium the Emperor was handing the Imperium he, his brothers and the Astartes had won to corrupt mortal bureaucrats and Terran nobles who knew nothing of honour or sacrifice. These existing seeds of bitterness, jealousy and pain were all the Ruinous Powers of Chaos needed to sow the seeds of dissension in the Warmaster's mind.

Events came to a head following Horus' wounding at the end of the Great Crusade during a battle on the moon of Davin against Nurgleite undead by the Chaos-tainted weapon known as the Kinebrach Anathame that had been wielded by the Nurgle-corrupted former Planetary Governor of Davin, Eugen Temba. Even Horus' superhuman immune system could not defeat the terrible Nurgle-created toxin that had laced the blade of the Anathame, and in their desperation to save his life, the Captains of the Luna Wolves gave in to the machinations of the Word Bearers Legion's First Chaplain Erebus and gave Horus into the keeping of the Chaos Sorcerers of the Temple of the Serpent Lodge on Davin.

As part of their "healing" ritual, the sorcerers sent Horus' mind into the Warp, where Erebus, the First Chaplain of the Word Bearers Legion who had long served Chaos, acting as the agent of the Dark Gods, sought to corrupt him. Erebus used a deceptive vision of the future of the Imperium where the Emperor was worshiped as a god to convince Horus, who was filled with jealousy at the sight of thousands of pilgrims worshiping in a grand cathedral dedicated to the Emperor, to replace his father as the master of the galaxy.

When Horus awakened fully healed, he awoke already corrupted, ready in his terrible ambition to turn on his father and attempt to wrest control of the Imperium from the Emperor no matter the cost, unleashing the terrible interstellar civil war known as the Horus Heresy. In return for his allegiance to their cause, the Chaos Gods offered Horus the power of the Warp, cementing the corruption of his soul.

Horus would never realise that the dark future of the Imperium that the Chaos Gods had shown him, where Mankind was oppressed by superstition, ignorance and constant war, would be caused by his actions and his betrayal of his father. The Heresy would end with the death of Horus, the exile of his 9 Traitor Legions into the Eye of Terror, and the quasi-death of the Emperor of Man following His internment within the Golden Throne. This was ironically the very instrument through which He had hoped to open the Webway and create vast new vistas of progress for Mankind.

Chronology of the Final Years of the Great Crusade

Note: The following information was compiled by agents of Malcador the Sigillite following the outbreak of the Horus Heresy. As more information is uncovered, it will be added to the more in-depth chronology.

Date Event Participating Space Marine Legion(s)
964.M30 The Razing of Monarchia Word Bearers, Ultramarines
965.M30 <ALL DATA REDACTED> Space Wolves
966.M30 Cadia is entered into the Carta Imperialis during the Pilgrimage of Lorgar Word Bearers
969.M30 <ALL DATA REDACTED> Space Wolves
972.M30 The Farinatus Extermination Night Lords, Raven Guard
981.M30 Alpharius assumes command of the XX Legion Alpha Legion
984.M30 The Destruction of Nostramo Night Lords
994.M30 Istvaan System first brought to Imperial Compliance Raven Guard
999.M30 The Pacification of Ark Reach Secundus Word Bearers, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons
000.M31 Triumph of Ullanor Alpha Legion, Blood Angels, Death Guard, Emperor's Children, Imperial Fists, Luna Wolves, Thousand Sons, Ultramarines, White Scars, Word Bearers, World Eaters
000.M31 The Fall of Saran Luxor Unknown
001.M31 The Council of Nikaea Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Death Guard, Emperor's Children, Imperial Fists, Thousand Sons, Salamanders, Space Wolves, Thousand Sons, Ultramarines
001-005.M31 The Chondax Campaign White Scars
002-003.M31 The Kayvas Belt Expedition Alpha Legion, Blood Angels
003.M31 Contact lost with Istvaan System
003.M31 The Vespae Incident Unknown
003.M31 The Luna Wolves are renamed the Sons of Horus Sons of Horus
004.M31 Horus falls mortally wounded by Eugen Temba on Davin's Plague Moon Sons of Horus
004.M31 The Destruction of Olympia Iron Warriors
004-005.M31 The Burning of Prospero Space Wolves, Thousand Sons
005.M31 The Blood Angels disappear en route to Signus Blood Angels
005.M31 The Ultramarines and elements of the Word Bearers muster at Calth Ultramarines, Word Bearers
005.M31 The Battle of Calth Ultramarines, Word Bearers
005.M31 The Istvaan III Atrocity - Horus Heresy formally begins Death Guard, Emperor's Children, Sons of Horus, World Eaters
005-006.M31 The Schism of Mars begins Mechanicum, Imperial Fists
566.006.M31 The Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V Alpha Legion, Death Guard, Emperor's Children, Night Lords, Sons of Horus, Word Bearers, World Eaters, Iron Hands, Raven Guard, Salamanders

Tomb [ edit ]

The burial place of Horus Sa is unknown. Nabil Swelim associated Horus Sa with the unfinished enclosure of Gisr el-Mudir in west Saqqara. ⎘] This hypothesis has not gained wide acceptance and the Gisr el-Mudir has been attributed to various second dynasty kings, in particular Khasekhemwy. ⎙] Alternatively, the Egyptologist Joris van Wetering proposed that the gallery tomb used by the high priest of Aten, Meryra-Meryneith, in north Saqqara was originally that of Horus Sa, since an inscription Ḥwt-k3 Ḥrw-z3 was found in the close vicinity of the tomb. Α] Β]


Early Life

Primarch Horus Lupercal of the Luna Wolves Legion during the Great Crusade before his fall to Chaos.

Created as a genetically-engineered organism by the Emperor in the Imperial gene-laboratories under the Himalazian (Himalayan) Mountains on Terra in the late 30th Millennium, Horus, along with his brother primarchs, were scattered across the Milky Way Galaxy through the Warp by the machinations of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos.

This is said to be when the Dark Gods first planted the seeds of heresy into the infant primarch, whispering darkly into his soul and tempting him to their cause. The capsule carrying the still-gestating Horus came to rest on the Mining World of Cthonia, the primary planet of a star system within a reasonable slower-than-light distance of Terra.

Whereas the early history of many primarchs is extensively if unevenly documented, the same cannot be said of Horus. Contradiction and omission tarnishes all accounts of Horus' formative years. It is clear that the Emperor did find Horus and also that he took command of the XVI th Legion early in the Great Crusade. Beyond these manifest facts, agreement between the early Imperial sources is decidedly lacking, some even placing Horus on Cthonia as a foundling.

Like many of his superhuman brethren, these sources say that the young primarch thrived in Cthonia's harsh environment, learning his first lessons in war and killing from Cthonia's tech-barbarian kill-gangs. The world of Cthonia had been settled in the very earliest days of Humanity's exploration of the stars, its rich natural resources ruthlessly exploited until they were all but played out.

Thus, Horus grew to maturity amongst the anarchic gangers that populated the post-industrial nightmare of a world honeycombed with long-extinct mines and dominated by decaying hive cities. Though Horus had not been raised during his formative years on Cthonia -- uncommonly, for a primarch, he had not matured on the cradle-world of his Legion -- he spoke the harsh language known as Cthonic fluently. In fact, he spoke it with the particular hard palatal edge and rough vowels of a Western Hemispheric ganger, the commonest and roughest of Cthonia's feral castes.

Later on, it always amused some of the battle-brothers within the XVI th Legion to hear this accent. They assumed that Horus spoke in this manner because that was how the Warmaster had learned the language, from just such a speaker, but many would come to doubt this hypothesis later on.

Horus Lupercal of the Luna Wolves early in the Great Crusade.

Horus never did anything by accident, and there were those who believed that the Warmaster's rough Cthonic accent was a deliberate affectation so that he would seem, to the Astartes of the XVI th Legion, as honest and low-born as any of them. It was from the hyper-violent gang-scum of Cthonia that many of the earliest inductees into the Space Marine Legions were recruited, and it was there that the Emperor had found the first of His lost sons.

Another source claims that Horus returned to Terra itself. It is said that Horus grew at the Emperor's side, learning from his father even as they took back the Sol System and forged the alliances between the techno-barbarian nations of Terra and the Mechanicum of Mars that created the early Imperium of Man.

Other highly creditable claims state that the Emperor found Horus, the first of His lost sons, but neither source specifies where, or the location of this finding. Surrounded in millennia of myths and allegory, the truth of Horus' origins will more than likely never be known. As a result, Horus was for many standard years the Emperor's only son, and there was a great affinity between them.

The Emperor spent much time with His protege, teaching and encouraging him. Horus was soon placed in command of the XVI Legion, which had already come to be known as the Luna Wolves -- thousands of Astartes created from his own genetic code.

With these transhuman warriors to lead, Horus accompanied the Emperor and His Principia Imperialis fleet for the first thirty standard years of the Great Crusade that had begun in ca. 798.M30, and together they forged the initial interstellar expansion of the young Imperium of Man.

Great Crusade

Horus accompanied by First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon of the Luna Wolves' elite 1st Company Justaerin Terminators during the Great Crusade.

Cthonia, relatively close to Terra in the void, and with whom some minor intermittent contact had been maintained even through the Age of Strife, had its murderous and strife-torn population marked by one of the first expeditionary fleets of the Great Crusade to leave the Sol System.

With its resources stripped it had little strategic worth and its people were judged largely beyond illumination, but the fledgling Imperium needed teeth as well as ideals and that necessity saved Cthonia. Its youth was harvested in their tens of thousands, first as impressed troopers for the Crusade armies and then the finest specimens were taken for the Legion.

On Luna these chosen sons of Cthonia were reborn as warriors of the XVI th Legion. With these new recruits came a further accolade. The Emperor in honour of their new birthplace, the ruthless propensities of the Cthonians and the victories of the past won by the Legion's original Terran Astartes such as the First Pacification of Luna, gave the XVI th Legion a name to strike fear into his enemies. As they scattered to spill blood amongst unclaimed stars their enemies would know them as the Luna Wolves.

For thirty standard years, the Emperor and Horus fought the opening campaigns of the Great Crusade side by side, the primarch learning at the foot of his sire. When at length the Emperor detected another of the primarchs and departed to locate him, Horus was left at the head of his master's hosts, the Principia Imperialis, entrusted with the command of the conquering armies. Horus was well suited to the task, and the lessons he had learned in the previous three solar decades served him well.

As one by one the other primarchs were united with their gene-father and their brothers, Horus came increasingly to be regarded as the greatest of their number, the first amongst equals. When the second primarch was found, Horus, while happy that he would soon meet one of his brothers, swore to himself that he would always remain the Emperor's favoured child.

The Luna Wolves waged war for two hundred years, pushing back the darkness with fire and blood. Their victories were manifold and Horus' generalship was legend, and so it was that the respect of their brother Legions rose to almost unrivalled heights.

While many of his brothers and the Space Marine Legions created in their genetic image were gifted in specific fields of military science, Horus was a natural leader, his greatest genius his ability to meld seemingly divergent allies into a coherent whole. This skill was not only of use on the battlefield, for it carried over into contacts with the peoples the Great Crusade met.

It was Horus' way to treat with the populations of newly-contacted worlds according to the cultural traditions of each, and this highly successful doctrine was repeated in each of the Imperial expeditionary fleets.

Horus believed that to do so would lessen the hostile reaction of opponents who wished to parley. Tragically, this tendency might also have been one of the causes of the primarch's fall, and with him fully half of the Space Marine Legions.

As the Great Crusade pushed outward, and more primarchs were discovered, the Emperor's time became divided, pulled in more and more directions. Horus was often placed in overall strategic command of the Great Crusade, a position in which he proved his skill as a leader time and time again. He quickly won the approval and support of the other Space Marine Legions, along with their leaders.

One of the skills that made Horus such a great leader was that he possessed an innate understanding of human psychology he was able to read people in such a way that he could choose to promote their strengths or exploit their weaknesses.

This allowed him to find a non-military solution in several campaigns as he used his sheer inhuman charisma and diplomatic negotiation skills combined with the ever-present threat of the Space Marine Legions' unstoppable force to bring other human-settled worlds into Imperial Compliance without bloodshed.

His understanding of the human mind allowed Horus to bring out the best within his fellow primarchs, which allowed him to deploy the various Astartes Legions into the battlefield roles to which they were best suited. He quickly learned of the skill displayed by the White Scars and Night Lords in deploying for rapid strikes, while the Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors were always placed at the forefront of planetary sieges.

Horus was said to wield the Space Marine Legions, and later the merely human soldiers of the Imperial Army, as a lesser general would position individual squads to perform to their advantages.

He was also responsible for promoting competitive rivalries between certain Space Marine Legions in the desire to spur these Astartes on to greater heights, but these rivalries would eventually transform into outright hatred when the Great Crusade took a turn for the worse.

Triumph of Ullanor

"You are like a son and together we have all but conquered the galaxy. Now the time has come for me to retire to Terra. My work as a soldier is done and now passes to you for I have great tasks to perform in my earthly sanctum. I name you Warmaster and from this day forth all of my armies and generals shall take orders from you as if the words came from mine own mouth. But worlds of caution I have for you for your brother Primarchs are strong of will, of thought and of action. Do not seek to change them, but use their particular strengths well. You have much work to do for there are still many words to liberate, many peoples to rescue. My trust is with you. Hail Horus! Hail the Warmaster!"

—The Emperor of Mankind, the Triumph of Ullanor

The Primarchs Horus and Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children during the great Imperial Triumph after the successful conclusion of the Ullanor Crusade.

Though the Luna Wolves had won many victories in their years of ceaseless conflict, one would eclipse all others and see them reborn once again. The greatest of the nascent Imperium's victories during the high point of the Great Crusade came in the form of the defeat of the largest Ork empire ever encountered.

The Ullanor Crusade was a vast Imperial assault on the Ork empire of the Overlord Urrlak Urruk. The capital world of this Greenskin stellar empire, and the site of the final assault by the Space Marine Legions, lay in the central Ullanor System of the galaxy's Ullanor Sector. The Crusade included the deployment of 100,000 Space Marines, 8,000,000 Imperial Army troops, and thousands of Imperial starships and their support personnel. The Ullanor Crusade marked the high point of the Great Crusade's vast effort to reunite the scattered colony worlds of humanity.

The Orks of Ullanor represented the largest concentration of Greenskins ever defeated by the military forces of the Imperium of Man before the Third War for Armageddon began during the late 41st Millennium. Following the defeat of the Orks of Ullanor, the Emperor of Mankind returned to Terra to begin work on His vast project to open up the Eldar Webway for Mankind's use. In His place to command the vast forces of the Great Crusade He left Horus. In the aftermath of this Ullanor Crusade, Horus was granted the newly-created title of "Warmaster," the commander-in-chief of all the Emperor’s armies who possessed command authority over all of the other Primarchs and every Expeditionary Fleet of the Great Crusade. Before returning to Terra to oversee the next phase of the creation of His stellar empire, the Emperor suggested to Horus that he rename the XVI th Legion the "Sons of Horus," in honour of their Primarch and to show his preeminent place amongst the other Primarchs.

Horus initially declined this honour, not wishing to be set above his brothers, and so his Legion continued as the Luna Wolves for a little while longer. But Horus and the other Primarchs never came to terms with the Emperor's absence. Their hurt feelings over His seeming abandonment of the Great Crusade to pursue a secret project whose purpose He chose not to reveal to His sons laid the seeds of jealousy and resentment that would ultimately blossom into the corruption that begat the Horus Heresy.

Following his promotion to Warmaster, Horus had solicited the opinions and advice of all his brother Primarchs on the subject since the honour had been bestowed upon him. Being named Warmaster set him abruptly apart from them, and raised him up above his brothers, and there had been some stifled objections and discontent, especially from those Primarchs who felt the title should have been theirs.

The Primarchs were as prone to sibling rivalry and petty competition as any group of brothers. Guided by the shrewd political hand of his Equerry Maloghurst, Horus had courted his brothers, stilling fears, calming doubts, reaffirming pacts and generally securing their cooperation. He wanted none to feel slighted, or overlooked. He wanted none to think they were no longer listened to. Some, like Sanguinius, Lorgar and Fulgrim, had acclaimed Horus's election from the outset. Others, like Angron and Perturabo, had raged biliously at the new order, and it had taken masterful diplomacy on the Warmaster's part to placate their choler and jealousy. A few, like Leman Russ and Lion El'Jonson, had been cynically resolved, unsurprised by the turn of events.

But others, like Roboute Guilliman, Jaghatai Khan and Rogal Dorn had simply taken it in their stride, accepting the Emperor's decree as the right and obvious choice. Horus had ever been the brightest, the first and the favourite. They did not doubt his fitness for the role, for none of the Primarchs had ever matched Horus’ achievements, nor the intimacy of his bond with the Emperor.

It was to these solid, resolved brothers that Horus turned in particular for counsel. Dorn and Guilliman both embodied the staunchest and most dedicated Imperial qualities, commanding their Legions' expeditions with peerless devotion and military genius. Horus desired their approval as a young man might seek the quiescence of older, more accomplished brothers.

Corruption by Chaos

Shortly after the Luna Wolves Legion and their allies declared victory in the great Ullanor Crusade against the mightiest Ork empire faced by the Imperium until the 41st Millennium, the Emperor offered Horus the honour of renaming his Legion the Sons of Horus in honour of himself and to show his preeminent place among the other Primarchs.

Horus refused this honour, characteristically not wishing to be set above his brothers, but was promoted to the newly-created rank of Imperial Warmaster, serving as the new Supreme Commander of the Imperium's millions-strong armies. The Emperor then left the Crusade in Horus' capable hands and returned to Terra to pursue the secret Imperial Webway Project that he hoped would draw the newborn Imperium together in unbreakable bonds.

Despite the majestic rank and unparalleled authority bestowed on him, it was said that Horus was not content. The wording of the Emperor's declaration, claiming the glory of Horus' victories as entirely his own, chafed. Although this was the usual rhetoric for such Imperial announcements, Horus saw that while the Emperor remained behind in the Imperial Palace on Terra for reasons that he would not share even with his sons, Horus would be out in the field of battle, winning the Emperor's Imperium for him. It seemed that a deep-rooted resentment and jealousy had begun to simmer in the corners of the Warmaster's mind.

As the Imperial Warmaster, Horus took over command of the Great Crusade, and accepted his new duties with earnest dedication. However, there was much dissension in the ranks of the Primarchs and other parties in the Imperium over the Emperor's decision to withdraw from the campaign and return to Terra as well as to reorganise the political administration of the Imperium under the control of a Council of Terra headed by his regent, Malcador the Sigillite.

Only a handful of the Primarchs, amongst them a scheming Lorgar, remained steadfast beside the Warmaster during this period of conflict. Horus also disagreed with many of the decrees passed by the newly established Council of Terra, a ruling body of Imperial nobles and bureaucrats, which were intended to shift the burden of taxation and administration onto the newly-conquered Imperial Compliant worlds.

Even worse, Horus came to believe in his heart that he was failing his father, and was deeply wounded that the Emperor had revealed to none of the Primarchs, not even his most favoured son, why he had secluded himself upon Terra and the truth behind his secret Imperial Webway Project. These seeds of bitterness, resentment and frustration grew, and would soon bear deadly fruit.

It was around this time that Horus, upon the advice and counsel of his greatest friend among his fellow Primarchs, Sanguinius of the Blood Angels, decided to change the name of the Luna Wolves to the Sons of Horus after all. Sanguinius had argued that the Emperor had suggested the honour precisely to show his great confidence in Horus. Bearing such a designation would show the other Primarchs that Horus had earned his right to command them through the Emperor's trust in his judgment and leadership.

First Chaplain Erebus of the Word Bearers, the XVII th Space Marine Legion that was secretly in league with the Forces of Chaos since they had been humiliated by the Emperor for their violations of the Imperial Truth on the world of Khur over 40 Terran years before the start of the Horus Heresy, became a very close confidante and adviser of Horus.

The Words Bearers, who originally had worshipped the Emperor as a god and whose Primarch Lorgar had penned the Lectitio Divinitatus before he turned against his father following the events on Khur, had been brutally reprimanded for their constant erection of temples and shrines dedicated to the worship of the God-Emperor on newly conquered worlds. This was a policy that had directly violated the Emperor's atheistic Imperial Truth and had slowed the XVII th Legion's progress in the Great Crusade to a crawl.

In the wake of his humiliation and the reprimand against his Legion on Khur, Lorgar had sought to discover whether there truly were divinities worthy of human worship during the quest that came to be known as the Pilgrimage of Lorgar. During this journey, Lorgar entered the Eye of Terror and came face-to-face with the power of Chaos, a force that he believed was truly divine and worthy of his service and the worship of all Mankind.

He brought this faith to his Legion, and soon all the Astartes of the Word Bearers believed that the Chaos Gods were more worthy of their loyalty and worship than the Emperor who had proved himself to be a false god. With the guidance of the Ruinous Powers, Lorgar and the Word Bearers hatched their secret plans over the course of the next four solar decades to convert humanity to the service of the Dark Gods, starting with Horus.

After Lorgar placed his agent near Horus, Erebus slowly managed to twist the thinking of Horus against the Emperor and turn half of the Mournival, the Warmaster's most trusted advisers within the XVI th Legion, towards the same path of treachery by exploiting their intense loyalty to their Primarch over that for their far more distant Emperor. This plot reached its climax on the moon of the Feral World of Davin, where Horus was wounded during a struggle against Eugen Temba, the former Planetary Governor of Davin who had rebelled against the Imperium following his corruption by Chaos.

An ancient xenos artefact blade sacred to Nurgle known as the Kinebrach Anathame had been stolen by Erebus from the museum of an advanced human civilisation called the Interex during the Sons of Horus' brief sojourn on their world of Xenobia and had been given by him to Temba. Temba had become the mutated servant of Nurgle, the Chaos God of disease and decay, and managed to seriously wound the Warmaster with the corrupted blade. The Apothecaries of the XVI th Legion proved incapable of healing the Warmaster's wounds despite every form of advanced medical technology at their disposal, until it seemed that Horus would surely die.

Erebus then convinced the officers of the Sons of Horus' warrior lodge to allow him to take the Warmaster to a secret sect on Davin's moon and use sorcery at this Temple of the Serpent Lodge in order to treat Horus. The creation of a warrior lodge within the Luna Wolves and many other Space Marine Legions based on the lodges used by the savage warriors of Davin had been another of Lorgar and Erebus' ploys to infiltrate and corrupt the Astartes into turning against the Emperor across the decades.

However, not all Astartes of the Legions joined the lodges, as many saw them as a direct violation of the Emperor's desires that all Space Marines dedicate themselves to truth and openness with others and among themselves. He also presciently believed that secret cabals created within military organisations almost always led eventually to conspiracies and betrayal.

The lodges would prove to be the primary purveyors of corruption in those Legions which turned Traitor in the days immediately preceding the start of the Horus Heresy. Those Astartes within those Legions which lodges which held themselves aloof from those secretive organisations were marked as Imperial Loyalists who would later be betrayed at Istvaan III.

The Serpent Lodge on Davin was in truth a Chaos Cult, and using sorcery, which was outlawed by the Emperor, the cultists managed to warp the mind of the Warmaster against the Emperor by playing on the seed of jealousy and resentment that he felt for his father after the Emperor had left the Great Crusade behind to return to Terra. During the dark rituals that followed within the temple, Horus' spirit was transferred from his body into the Immaterium.

There, he bore witness to a nightmare vision of the future. He saw the Imperium of Man as a repressive, violent theocracy, where the Emperor and several of his Primarchs (but not Horus) were worshipped as gods by the masses. While this vision of the Imperial future granted by the Chaos Gods was a true one, it was ironically an outcome largely created by the Warmaster's own actions.

The Dark Gods portrayed themselves as victims of the Emperor's psychic might, and claimed that they had no real interest in the happenings of the material world. Magnus the Red, the sorcerous Primarch of the Thousand Sons Legion, had also travelled into the Warp via sorcery to try and stop Horus from turning to Chaos. Magnus explained that the Warmaster's vision was only one among many possible futures, but one that Horus alone could prevent.

But Horus, already jealous and resentful of the Emperor, proved all too receptive to the Ruinous Powers' false vision. The Chaos Gods' pact with Horus was simple: "Give us the Emperor and we will give you the galaxy." Driven by his jealousy, desire for power and anger at what he saw as his father's abandonment of him, Horus accepted the Ruinous Powers' offer.

They healed his grievous wound and filled him with the powers of the Warp. Renouncing his oath to the Emperor, Horus led his Legion into worship of the myriad Chaos Gods in the form of Chaos Undivided. He then sought to turn many of his fellow Primarchs to the service of Chaos, and succeeded with Angron of the World Eaters, Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children and Mortarion of the Death Guard, who were the first of many to follow, along with many regiments of the Imperial Army and several Titan Legions of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Magnus the Red, the Primarch of the Thousand Sons Legion, foresaw Horus' actions through his Legion's own use of psychic sorcery that had been forbidden several years earlier at the Council of Nikaea. Magnus then attempted to forewarn the Emperor of the impending betrayal of his favourite son. However, knowing that he would have to find a means of quickly warning the Emperor, Magnus used sorcery to send his message by taking on astral form in the Warp. The message ultimately penetrated the potent psychic defences of the Imperial Palace on Terra, shattering all the psychic wards the Emperor had placed on the Palace -- including those within his secret project in the Imperial Dungeons, where he was proceeding with the creation of the human extension into the Webway.

Refusing to believe that Horus, his most beloved and trusted son, would actually betray him, the Emperor instead mistakenly perceived the traitor to the Imperium to be Magnus and his Thousand Sons, who had long suffered from a near-debilitating run of mutations known as the "Flesh-change" because of the instability of Magnus' own genome and were known to have practiced the sorcery that had been expressly outlawed in the Imperium.

The Emperor ordered the Primarch Leman Russ, Magnus' greatest rival, to mobilise his Space Wolves Legion and the witch hunters known as the Sisters of Silence and take Magnus into custody to be returned to Terra to stand trial for violating the Council of Nikaea's prohibitions against the use of psychic powers within the Imperium.

While en route to the Thousand Sons Legion's homeworld of Prospero, Horus convinced Russ, who had always been repelled and horrified by Magnus' reliance on psychic powers, to launch a full assault on Prospero instead, even though Magnus had been entirely willing to face the Emperor's judgment once he realised he was being manipulated by the entities that called the Immaterium home. In this way, Horus was successful in convincing Russ to become Magnus executioner instead of his gaoler. The Burning of Prospero was the tragic result.

Horus Heresy

Istvaan III Atrocity

The virus-bombing of Istvaan III begins

The Battle of Istvaan III begins in earnest, after the virus-bombing of the planet

The initial phase of the Horus Heresy begins on the surface of Istvaan III

Unknown to the Emperor, the Word Bearers Legion had been devoted to Chaos Undivided for some time before this event. The Imperial Planetary Governor of Istvaan III, Vardus Praal, had been corrupted by the Chaos God Slaanesh whose cultists had long been active on the world. Praal had declared his independence from the Imperium, and practiced forbidden sorcery, so the Council of Terra charged Horus with the retaking of that world, primarily its capital, the Choral City. This order merely furthered Horus' plans to overthrow the Emperor. Although the four Legions under his direct command -- the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters, the Death Guard and the Emperor's Children -- had already turned Traitor and now pledged themselves to Chaos, there were still some Loyalist elements within each of these Legions that approximated one-third of each force many of these warriors were Terran-born Space Marines who had been directly recruited into the Astartes Legions by the Emperor himself before being reunited with their Primarchs during the Great Crusade. Horus, under the guise of putting down the religious rebellion against Imperial Compliance on the world of Istvaan III, amassed his troops in the Istvaan System.

Horus had a plan by which he would destroy all the remaining Loyalist elements of the Legions under his command, a plan that would ultimately unfold into the nightmare of what Imperial scholars would later name the Istvaan III Atrocity. After a lengthy bombardment of Istvaan III, Horus dispatched all of the known Loyalist Astartes down to the planet, under the pretense of bringing it back into the Imperium. At the moment of victory and the capture of the Choral City, the planetary capital of Istvaan III, these Astartes were betrayed when a cascade of terrible virus-bombs fell onto the world, launched by the Warmaster's orbiting fleet. Captain Saul Tarvitz of the Emperor's Children, however, was aboard his Legion's flagship Andronius and discovered the plot to wipe out the Loyalist Astartes of the Traitor Legions. He was able, with help from Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro of the Death Guard who was in command of the Death Guard frigate Eisenstein, to reach the surface of Istvaan III despite pursuit and warn the Loyalist Space Marines he could find of all four Legions of their impending doom. Those that heard or passed on Tarvitz's warning took shelter before the virus-bombs struck. The civilian population of Istvaan III received no such protection: eight billion people died almost at once as the lethal flesh-dissolving virus called the Life-Eater carried by the bombs infected every living thing on the planet. The psychic shock of so many deaths at one time shrieked through the Warp, briefly obscuring even the Astronomican. The Primarch of the World Eaters, Angron, realising that the virus-bombs had not been fully effective at eliminating all the Loyalists, flew into a rage and hurled himself at the planet with 50 companies of Traitor Marines. Discarding tactics and strategy, the World Eaters Legion's Traitors worked themselves into a frenzy of mindless butchery. Horus was furious with Angron for delaying his plans, but the Warmaster sought to turn the delay into a victory and was obliged to reinforce Angron with troops from the Sons of Horus, the Death Guard, and the Emperor's Children. Fortunately, a contingent of Loyalists led by Battle-Captain Garro escaped Istvaan III aboard the damaged Imperial frigate Eisenstein and fled to Terra to warn the Emperor that Horus had turned Traitor.

On Istvaan III, the remaining Loyalists, under the command of Captains Tarvitz, Garviel Loken and Tarik Torgaddon, another Loyalist member of the Sons of Horus, fought bravely against their own traitorous brethren. Yet, despite some early successes that delayed Horus' plans for three full months while the battle on Istvaan III played out, their cause was ultimately doomed by their lack of air support and Titan firepower. During the battle the Sons of Horus Captains Ezekyle Abaddon and Horus Aximand were sent to confront their former Mournival brothers, Loken and Torgaddon. Horus Aximand beheaded Torgaddon, but Abaddon failed to kill Loken when the building they were in collapsed. Loken survived and witnessed the final orbital bombardment of Istvaan III that ended the Loyalists' desperate defence. To prove his worth and loyalty to Lord Commander Eidolon of the Emperor's Children -- and thus to his Primarch, Fulgrim -- Captain Lucius of the 13th Company of the Emperor's Children, the future Champion of Slaanesh known as Lucius the Eternal, turned against the Loyalists that he had fought beside because of his prior friendship with Saul Tarvitz. Lucius slew many of them personally, an act for which he was then accepted back into the Emperor's Children on the side of the Traitors. In the end, the Loyalists retreated to their last bastion of defense, only a few hundred of their number remaining. Finally, tired of the conflict, Horus ordered his men to withdraw, and then had the remains of the Choral City bombarded into dust for a final time from orbit.

Preparations and Allegiances

Much of Horus' later success arose from the thorough groundwork he had laid before the opening shots of the Heresy were fired at Istvaan III. He had already swayed the Primarchs Angron and Mortarion, of the World Eaters and Death Guard Legions, respectively, to the side of Chaos because of their own various personal grudges against the Emperor. Fulgrim of the Emperor's Children had been lured to the side of the Warmaster by the promise of power and personal perfection that the Chaos Gods, especially Slaanesh, offered to him and his vain Astartes. Lorgar of the Word Bearers, who had been responsible for the nascent rebellion and Horus's own corruption by Chaos, was also with the Warmaster. Three of the most loyal Legions who could not be swayed to the side of Chaos, the Dark Angels, Blood Angels and Ultramarines and their Primarchs, were sent on missions by the Warmaster far from Terra and the Istvaan System. The Imperial Fists and White Scars were too close to Terra to be contacted without raising suspicion, though Horus believed -- mistakenly -- that the White Scars' Primarch Jaghatai Khan, would ultimately take his side. Shortly before the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, Fulgrim also attempted to sway his friend Ferrus Manus of the Iron Hands Legion to Horus' cause by using many of the same inducements that had been offered to the Adeptus Mechanicus, with whom the Iron Hands were closely allied in both temperament and philosophy. This attempt failed, and Fulgrim barely escaped with his life. Angered by the rebuff, Fulgrim promised he would deliver Manus' severed head to Horus in recompense, a promise he kept on Istvaan V. The Blood Angels were sent to the daemon-infested Signis Cluster and the Ultramarines to the world of Calth, where a large Word Bearers force, under First Captain Kor Phaeron, had massed to hold Roboute Guilliman's equally massive Legion in place while Horus made his play for Terra.

Of the other eventual Traitor Primarchs, Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter, was due to face disciplinary action from the Emperor which he did not believe he deserved the Alpha Legion Primarch Alpharius had always been closer personally to his brother Horus than to his father the Emperor, although some evidence indicates that he and his twin brother Omegon's turn to Chaos was driven by mistaken loyalty to the Emperor and the Iron Warriors' Primarch Perturabo's open and bitter rivalry with Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists and his feeling that he and his Legion were handed the worst tasks in the Great Crusade for which they never received the recognition they believed they were due made him an easy target for corruption.

The Thousand Sons had never planned to join Horus, but the path Tzeentch had mapped for that Legion and their potent psychic Primarch Magnus the Red ultimately led them to Chaos regardless. Unfortunately, the Space Wolves' unexpected assault on the Thousand Sons' homeworld -- a brutal campaign remembered as the Scouring of Prospero -- resulted in the destruction of the libraries of precious knowledge that Magnus and his fellow Thousand Sons held so dear. Mortally wounded by Leman Russ, Magnus fell to temptation as he watched Tizca, the capital city of Prospero and its famed libraries of ancient knowledge burn and he called out to the Chaos God Tzeentch to save both himself and the remains of his Legion. The God of Sorcery was only too happy to oblige and he transported Magnus and the Thousand Sons through the Warp to the Daemon World later known as the Planet of the Sorcerers. Magnus became a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch and now desired only vengeance against the Emperor for what he saw as a betrayal, never realizing that it was Horus who had truly engineered his downfall and corruption.

The remaining Space Marine Legions -- the Raven Guard, Salamanders, Iron Hands and Space Wolves -- remained staunchly loyal to the Emperor, though all but the Space Wolves would pay dearly for it in the battles to come. Beyond the Legions, Horus had already swayed Magos Regulus of the Adeptus Mechanicus to his side with promises of the Standard Template Construct (STC) databases of ancient technology recovered during the war with the Auretian Technocracy. This alliance delivered crucial Adeptus Mechanicus and Titan support to the Warmaster's Traitor Legion and Traitor Imperial Army forces.

Meanwhile, Horus and his confidante and mentor in the ways of Chaos, the Word Bearers' First Chaplain Erebus, conducted a ritual designed to communicate with the Chaotic entities of the Warp. They established contact with a daemon called Sarr'kell, who acted as an emissary of the Chaos Gods to Horus and the Traitor Legions. Horus was then deceived by the daemon into believing that the Chaos Gods had no interest in dominating the material universe, and were only lending their support so that Horus could overthrow the Emperor, who they claimed was creating devices that could destroy the daemonic beings of the Immaterium. Horus agreed, and promised to swear loyalty to Chaos Undivided after his fateful operations on Istvaan III.

Drop Site Massacre

An assembly of the leaders of the Forces of Chaos from the time of the Horus Heresy, overseeing the launch of the Furious Abyss from left to right: Erebus, Kelbor-Hal, Maloghurst, Abaddon, Horus, the Red Angel, Ahriman, Ingethel the Ascended, and Fulgrim

The Istvaan System’s third world, comfortably close enough to the Istvaanian sun to support human life, had become a virus-soaked mass grave marking the anger of Horus Lupercal in the aftermath of the Istvaan III Atrocity that marked the start of the Horus Heresy. The world’s population was nothing more than contaminated ash scattered over lifeless continents, while the bones of their cities remained as blackened smears of burnt stone – a civilisation reduced to memory in but a single day. The orbital bombardment from the Warmaster’s fleet, payloads composed of incendiary shells and virus-laden biological warfare pods, had seemingly spared nothing and no one anywhere on the world. Istvaan III lingered in silent orbit around its sun, almost grand in the extent of its absolute devastation, serving as the scarred tombstone for the death of an empire. With the destruction of the last surviving warriors on Istvaan III, the Traitor Legions of Horus made their way to Istvaan V, a flotilla of powerful warships and carriers bearing the martial pride of four Space Marine Legions, their ranks fully comprised of those whose loyalty was to Horus and Horus alone. Mass conveyors of Imperial Army units brought millions of armed men and their tanks and artillery pieces. Bloated Dark Mechanicum transports bore the Legio Mortis to Istvaan V, the dark Tech-priests ministering to the Dies Irae and its sister Titans as they prepared to unleash the unimaginable power of those war machines once more.

Final victory for the Traitors on Istvaan III had been bought with many lives, but in its wake the Traitor Legions were tempered in the crucible of combat to do what must be done to seize control of the Imperium. The process had been long and bloody, but the Warmaster's army was ready and eager to fight its brothers, where the lackeys of the Emperor would find their readiness to strike down their kith and kin untested. Such mercy would be their undoing, Horus promised. Horus would strike a vicious blow against the Imperium and the False Emperor -- a blow that would resonate down through the millennia for all time.

As Horus made the opening moves of his rebellion on Istvaan III, Ferrus Manus' oldest and dearest friend Fulgrim was ordered by the Warmaster to meet with the Iron Hands' Primarch aboard his flagship Fist of Iron in the hope that he could be swayed to the side of the Traitor Legions who now served Chaos. Fulgrim had sent the bulk of his III Legion and the 28th Expeditionary Fleet on to meet Horus and the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet in the Istvaan System while he and a small force aided the Iron Hands' 52 nd Expeditionary Fleet in retaking the world of Callinedes IV from Orks. Great bonds of friendship and brotherhood had long existed between the two Legions, and Fulgrim felt that he could convince Ferrus of the righteousness of Horus' cause. Fulgrim's hope proved disastrously wrong and the meeting of the two Primarchs in Ferrus' private inner sanctum in his flagship's Anvilarium did not go well, as Ferrus was utterly outraged that his brothers would turn against their father the Emperor. The meeting ended in violence as The Gorgon made his difference of opinion over continued loyalty to the Emperor known to the Phoenician with his weapons, determined to stop Fulgrim's betrayal of the Imperium before it could begin.

The Warmaster was enraged at Fulgrim's failure at converting their brother Ferrus to their cause. Nevertheless, he still had to make preparations for the inevitable response of the Emperor, which was likely to arrive more quickly than anticipated and the Traitors needed to be prepared for it. Fulgrim was tasked to take a detail of Emperor's Children to the ruins of the alien fortresses that existed on Istvaan V and prepare that world for the final phase of the Istvaan operation. Though the Phoenician recoiled at the horrifying prospect of the menial role placed upon him, Horus explained that the Istvaan V phase of his plan was the most critical, and he could entrust this vital task to no other. Fulgrim supervised the vast teams of Dark Mechanicus earthmovers as they shifted the black sand of Istvaan V and formed a vast network of earthworks, trenches, bunkers and redoubts that stretched along the ridge of the Urgall Plateau. Laagers of anti-aircraft batteries were set up in the shadow of the walls, and mighty orbital torpedoes on mobile launch vehicles hid in the warrens of an ancient alien fortress. Fulgrim had set up his command within the remains of the keep and begun the work of ensuring that it would be a bastion worthy of the Warmaster. If the Emperor’s Legions wanted to destroy the Traitors, they were going to have to come down to the surface of Istvaan V to do so, as no obital bombardment would be powerful enough to dislodge the defenders or crack their resolve.

Overcome with mind-numbing rage at their brothers' treachery, Ferrus Manus and his Iron Hands Legion gratefully received the Emperor's orders through his brother Rogal Dorn. In response to Horus' betrayal of the Loyalist Astartes in the Sons of Horus, Emperor's Children, World Eaters and Death GuardLegions at Istvaan III, the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion, Rogal Dorn, on the direction of the Emperor who had learned of Horus' actions from the Loyalist survivors aboard the Eisenstein, ordered seven Loyalist Space Marine Legions to Horus' base on the world of Istvaan V to challenge the Warmaster's rebellion. They would attack in two waves and fall under the supreme command of the Iron Hands' Primarch Ferrus Manus. The Legions comprising the first wave were the Iron Hands, Salamanders, and the Raven Guard. The Legions comprising the second wave, who would arrive at Istvaan V after the first wave, were the Alpha Legion, Night Lords, Iron Warriors, and a large contingent of Word Bearers that their Primarch Lorgar had stationed in the star system. Unknown to Dorn and Ferrus Manus, the Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors and Word Bearers had all turned from their service to the Emperor and pledged their loyalty to Horus, and been instructed to keep their new allegiance to Chaos a secret.

Thousands of Drop Pods and Stormbirds were deployed for the initial assault. The first wave was under the overall command of the Primarch Ferrus Manus and besides his own X th Legion, the Salamanders led by Vulkan, and the Raven Guard under the command of their Primarch Corax joined him. Vulkan's Legion assaulted the left flank of the Traitors' battle line while Ferrus Manus, the Iron Hands' First Captain Gabriel Santor, and 10 full companies of elite Morlocks Terminators charged straight into the centre of the enemy lines. Meanwhile, Corax's Legion hit the right flank of the enemy's position. The odds were considered equal 30,000 Traitor Marines against 40,000 Loyalists. Horus was aware of the location of the Loyalists' chosen drop site and his troops fell upon the Loyalist Legions.

The battlefield of Istvaan V was a slaughterhouse of epic proportions. Treacherous warriors twisted by hatred fought their former brothers-in-arms in a conflict unparalleled in its bitterness. The mighty Titan war engines of the Machine God walked the planet’s surface and death followed in their wake. The blood of heroes and traitors flowed in rivers, and the hooded Hereteks Adepts of the Dark Mechanicum unleashed perversions of ancient technology stolen from the Auretian Technocracy to wreak bloody havoc amongst the Loyalists. All across the Urgall Depression, hundreds died with every passing second, the promise of inevitable death a pall of darkness that hung over every warrior. The Traitor forces held, but their line was bending beneath the fury of the first Loyalist assault. It would take only the smallest twists of fate for it to break. The forces on the surface have been embattled for almost three hours with no clear victor emerging. The loyalists waited for the second wave of 'allies' to make planetfall, believing they would be reinforced for their final advance. The traitors all knew their parts to play in this performance. They were all aware of the blood they must shed to spare their species from destruction, and install Horus as the Master of Mankind.

Though the Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders had managed to make a full combat drop and secured the drop site, the Urgall Depression, they did so at a heavy cost. Overwhelmed with rage, the headstrong Ferrus Manus disregarded the counsel of his brothers Corax and Vulkan and hurled himself against the fleeing rebels, seeking to bring Fulgrim to personal combat. His veteran troops -- comprising the majority of the X th Legion's Terminators and Dreadnoughts -- followed. What had begun as a massed strike against the Traitors’ position was rapidly turning into one of the largest engagements of the entire Great Crusade. All told, over 60,000 Astartes warriors clashed on the dusky plains of Isstvan V. For all the wrong reasons, this battle was soon to go down in the annals of Imperial history as one of the most epic confrontations ever fought.

The Urgall Depression was churned to ruination beneath the boots and tank treads of countless thousands of Astartes warriors and their Legion’s armour divisions. The loyal primarchs could be found where the fighting was thickest: Corax of the Raven Guard, borne aloft on black wings bound to a fire-breathing flight pack Lord Ferrus of the Iron Hands at the heart of the battlefield, his silver hands crushing any traitors that came within reach, while he pursued and dragged back those who sought to withdraw and lastly, Vulkan of the Salamanders, armoured in overlapping artificer plating, thunder clapping from his warhammer as it pounded into yielding armour, shattering it like porcelain.

The traitorous Primarchs slew in mirror image to their brothers: Angron of the World Eaters hewing with wild abandon as he raked his chainaxes left and right, barely cognizant of who fell before him Fulgrim of the lamentably-named Emperor’s Children, laughing as he deflected the clumsy sweeps of Iron Hands warriors, never stopping in his graceful movements for even a moment Mortarion of the Death Guard, in disgusting echo of ancient Terran myth, harvesting life with each reaving sweep of his scythe.

And Horus, Warmaster of the Imperium, the brightest star and greatest of the Emperor’s sons. He stood watching the destruction while his Legions took to the field, their liege lord content in his fortress rising from the far edge of the ravine. Shielded and unseen by his brothers still waging war in the Emperor’s name. At last, above this maelstrom of grinding ceramite, booming tank cannons and chattering bolters – the gunships, drop-pods and assault landers of the second wave burned through the atmosphere on screaming thrusters. The sky fell dark with the weak sun eclipsed by ten thousand avian shadows, and the cheering roar sent up by the loyalists was loud enough to shake the air itself. The traitors, the bloodied and battered Legions loyal to Horus, fell into a fighting withdrawal without hesitation.

The second wave of "Loyalist" Space Marine Legions descended upon the landing zone on the northern edge of the Urgall Depression. Hundreds of Stormbirds and Thunderhawks roared towards the surface, their armoured hulls gleaming as the power of another four Astartes Legions arrived on Istvaan V. Yet the Space Marine Legions of the reserve were no longer loyal to the Emperor, having already secretly sworn themselves to Chaos and the cause of Horus. The Night Lords of Konrad Curze, the Iron Warriors of Perturabo, the Word Bearers of Lorgar Aurelian, and the Alpha Legion of Alpharius represented a force larger than that which had first begun the assault on Istvaan V. The secret Traitor Legions mustered in the landing zone, armed and ready for battle, unbloodied and fresh.

The Iron Warriors had claimed the highest ground, taking the loyalist landing site with all the appearance of reinforcing it through the erection of prefabricated plasteel bunkers. Bulk landers dropped the battlefield architecture: dense metal frames fell from the cargo claws of carrier ships at low altitude, and as the platforms crashed and embedded themselves in the ground, the craftsmen-warriors of the IV th Legion worked, affixed, bolted and constructed them into hastily-rising firebases. Turrets rose from their protective housing in the hundreds, while hordes of lobotomised servitors trundled from the holds of Iron Warriors troopships, single-minded in their intent to link with the weapons systems’ interfaces. The Word Bearers bolstered their brother Legions on one flank of the Urgall Depression while the Night Lords took positions on the opposite side. Down the line, past the mounting masses of Iron Warriors battle tanks and assembling Astartes, First Captain Sevatar of the Night Lords and his First Company elite, the Atramentar took up defensive positions. Both the Word Bearers and the Night Lords were to be the anvil, while the Iron Warriors would be the hammer yet to fall. The enemy would stagger back to them, exhausted, clutching empty bolters and broken blades, believing their presence to be a reprieve.

Ferrus Manus confronts Fulgrim amidst the backdrop of the Drop Site Massacre of Istvaan V during the Horus Heresy

Dragging their wounded and dead behind them, Corax and Vulkan led their forces back to the drop site to regroup and to allow the warriors of their recently arrived brother Primarchs of the second wave a measure of the glory in defeating Horus. Though they voxed hails requesting medical aid and supply, the line of Astartes atop the northern ridge remained grimly silent as the exhausted warriors of the Raven Guard and Salamanders came to within a hundred metres of their allies. It was then that Horus revealed his perfidy and sprung his lethal trap. Inside the black fortress where Horus had made his lair, a lone flare shot skyward, exploding in a hellish red glow that lit the battlefield below. The fire of betrayal roared from the barrels of a thousand guns, as the second wave of Astartes revealed where their true loyalties now lay. Ferrus Manus looked on in stunned horror as Fulgrim laughed at the look on his brother's face as the forces of his "allies" opened fire upon the Salamanders and Raven Guard, killing hundreds in the fury of the first few moments, hundreds more in the seconds following, as volley after volley of Bolter fire and missiles scythed through their unsuspecting ranks. Even as terrifying carnage was being wreaked upon the Loyalists below, the retreating forces of the Warmaster turned and brought their weapons to bear on the enemy warriors within their midst. Hundreds of World Eaters, Sons of Horus and the Death Guard fell upon the veteran companies of the Iron Hands, and though the warriors of the X th Legion continued to fight gallantly, they were hopelessly outnumbered and would soon be hacked to pieces. The Iron Hands had damned themselves by remaining in the field.

The Raven Guard front ranks went down as if scythed, harvested in a spilling line of detonating bolter shells, shattered armour and puffs of bloody mist. Black-armoured Astartes tumbled to their hands and knees, only to be cut down by the sustained volley, finishing those who fell beneath the initial storm of head- and chest-shots. Seconds after the first chatter of bolters, beams of achingly bright laser slashed from behind the Word Bearers as the cannon mounts of Land Raiders, Predators and defensive bastion turrets gouged through the Raven Guard and the ground they stood upon. The Iron Warriors and Word Bearers kept reloading, opening fire again, hurling grenades and prepared to fall back. The Word Bearers Legion had taken up landing positions on the west of the field, ready to sweep down and engage the Raven Guard from the flank.

Traitors and Loyalists clash in the Urgall Depression

The Raven Guard were confronted by the treacherous Word Bearers, with their Primarch Lorgar, the First Captain Kor Phaeron and the First Chaplain Erebus at their vanguard. The two Legions fought one another in bitter combat. In the midst of this battle, the Word Bearers unleashed the elite unit known as the Gal Vorbak -- Astartes who had allowed themselves to be possessed by daemons. They attacked the Raven Guard's Primarch en masse, but despite the advantage of their numbers, Corax's formidable abilities as a consummate warrior proved to be more than a match for the possessed Astartes, and he slew them with impunity. Seeing the slaughter of his most favoured sons, Lorgar intervened and prevented the death of the remaining Gal Vorbak Astartes. The two opposing Primarchs then duelled one another in close combat, and the Raven Guard's Primarch quickly gained the upper hand over his outmatched brother. Lorgar had always been more of a scholar than a warrior and Corax prepared to execute him for his betrayal of the Emperor. Lorgar was spared from execution by the intervention of the Night Lords' Primarch, Konrad Curze, at the last moment. The Night Haunter and the Raven fought a brutal melee. Curze quickly gained the upper hand over his battle-weary brother and prepared to slay him, but Corax managed to escape death by taking to the sky with his master-crafted Jump Pack.

The outnumbered Loyalists were then surrounded and brutally butchered. Refusing to surrender, the remaining Raven Guard and Salamanders Astartes stubbornly defended themselves, trying to hold off the inevitable slaughter for as long as possible. Though they suffered an atrocious number of casualties, the Loyalists managed to hold their own, until the Primarchs Mortarion of the Death Guard and Angron of the World Eaters joined the fray. Bolstered by the support of the infamous Imperator-class Titan Dies Irae, the Traitors killed tens of thousands of Loyalist Astartes. At the height of the massacre the Warmaster Horus entered the fray, at the head of the elite Sons of Horus Terminators known as the Justaerin, slaughtering the Loyalists in wrathful anger.

Any hope for escape for the Loyalists was quickly crushed when the traitorous Iron Warriors destroyed the first wave's drop ships. The Loyalist starships still orbiting the embattled planet were also largely annihilated by the vastly superior numbers of the Traitor's fleet. Despite the odds arrayed against them, some of the Loyalists on the ground managed to survive against these odds—they miraculously escaped through the tightening cordon of Traitors that surrounded their position. The Raven Guard fared better than the Salamanders in escaping the brutal massacre. But the Salamanders managed to assist a few surviving Astartes from the decimated Iron Hands Legion to also escape the slaughter. Imperial history does not record the fate of these surviving Salamanders or their missing Primarch Vulkan. The Raven Guard's Primarch just barely managed to board a fleeing Thunderhawk gunship to make good his escape, but was thwarted in the attempt when it was shot down almost immediately by the gunfire of the Traitors. The badly damaged ship crashed on the outskirts of the Urgall Plateau.

Horus Triumphant

"The road to Terra is open. The time has come for us to take the war to the Emperor in his most impregnable fastness! We will make immediate preparation for the invasion of Terra and an assault on the Imperial Palace. Make no mistake, and it will be ours, my brothers! This will be no easy task, for the Emperor and his deluded followers will fight hard to prevent us from interfering with his plans for godhood. Doubtless much blood has yet to be spilled, theirs and our own, but the prize is the galaxy itself. Are you with me?"

— Warmaster Horus, Master of Istvaan

Warmaster Horus stands triumphant

After the killing had stopped and the dead were gathered into great funeral pyres across the broken desert of the Urgall Depression, the once-grey skies of the planet burned orange with the reflected glow of a thousand pyres. The firelight bathed the rippling, glassy sands in a warm radiance, and towering pillars of black smoke from the burning corpses filled the air. Thousands of Astartes loyal to Horus gathered before a great reviewing stand, constructed by the Tech-priests of the Dark Mechanicus with astonishing speed. As the sun began to sink beyond the horizon, the smooth black planes of the stand shone with a blood red glow. The stand was erected as a series of cylinders of ever decreasing diameter, one standing atop another. The base was perhaps a thousand metres in width, constructed as a great grandstand upon which the Sons of Horus stood, their pre-eminent position as the elite of the Warmaster in no doubt after this great victory. Each warrior bore a flaming brand, and the firelight cast brilliant reflections from their armour.

Atop this pedestal of flame was another platform, occupied by the senior officers of the XVI Legion. Above the senior officers of the Sons of Horus stood the Traitor Primarchs. The sheer magnificence of such a gathering of might was breathtaking. Seven beings of monumental power stood on the penultimate tier of the reviewing stand, their armour still stained with the blood of their foes, their cloaks billowing in the winds that swept the Urgall Depression. Finally, the uppermost tier of the reviewing stand was a tall cylinder of crimson that stood a hundred metres above the Primarchs. Horus stood on top of it, his clawed gauntlets raised in salute. A furred cloak of some great beast hung from his shoulders, and the light of the corpse pyres reflected from the amber eye upon his breastplate. The Warmaster was illuminated from below by a hidden light source, bathing him in a red glow that gave him the appearance of the statue of a legendary hero, as he stood looking down on the endless sea of his followers from the towering platform.

An Eye of Horus symbol like this one was burned into the northern slopes of the Urgall Depression to mark the Traitors' victory on Istvaan V

As the sun finally dipped below the horizon, a flight of assault craft roared over the Urgall Hills, their wings dipping in salute to the mighty warrior below. Solid waves of cheering crashed against the reviewing stand, howls of adulation torn from tens of thousands of throats. No sooner had the aircraft passed overhead than the massed Astartes began to march around the reviewing stand, their arms snapping out and hammering their breastplates in salute of the Warmaster. At some unseen signal a flame ignited on the northern slopes of the Urgall Depression and a blazing line of phosphor leapt across the ground in a snaking arc that described the outline of an enormous blazing eye upon the hillside. The adulation soared to new heights as the Eye of Horus seared itself into the sands of Isstvan V, the Warmaster’s forces roaring themselves hoarse in his praise. Super-heavy tanks fired in salute of Horus, and the towering immensity of the Dies Irae inclined its massive head in a gesture of respect. The ashes of the dead fell like confetti over Horus' mighty army as thousands of Traitor Astartes cheered, their cries of "Hail Horus! Hail Horus!" resounding long into the darkness.

The missing Salamanders' Primarch Vulkan's helm, lying in the scorched earth of Istvaan V in the aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre

Barely a handful of Loyalist Space Marines escaped with their lives from Istvaan V to bring dreadful word of the further betrayal of four more Space Marine Legions to the Emperor. A critically wounded Corax made the dangerous journey through the Immaterium back to Terra, arriving 133 days after departing the Istvaan System and finally reaching the Sol System -- the heart of the Imperium -- to seek audience with the Emperor. Vulkan was missing and presumed dead, though he would later reemerge after a harrowing journey back to Terra himself, to lead his Legion once more. The Salamanders, along with the Iron Hands and the Raven Guard, would spend the remainder of the Horus Heresy rebuilding their decimated Legions and were too weakened to play any further role in the great conflict.

In the days after the battle, the Traitor Legions salvaged a large number of vehicles, wargear and other war materiel from what the Loyalist Legions had left on the field. This salvage was repaired and modified for the Traitor Legions' use and then put back into frontline service to be used against the Imperium. Some of this equipment would still be in service with certain Chaos Space Marine warbands in the late 41st Millennium. Orbital space around Istvaan V was busy as the vessels of 8 Legions assumed formation prior to transit to the system jump point. Over 3,000 vessels jostled for position above the darkened fifth planet, their holds bursting with warriors sworn to the service of Horus. Tanks and monstrous war machines had been lifted from the planet with incredible efficiency and an armada greater than any in the history of the Great Crusade assembled to take the fire of war into the very heart of the Imperium.

Following the victory of the Drop Site Massacre, Horus called for a conclave of the Primarchs of all 8 of the Traitor Legions aboard his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. Five of the Primarchs, including four who had fought at Istvaan V, met in person, including Horus, Fulgrim, Angron, Mortarion and Lorgar. Three appeared through the use of hololithic emitters that transmitted their signals through the Warp, including Perturabo, the Night Haunter and Magnus the Red, who had only recently joined the Traitors after the Scouring of Prospero when the broken remains of his XV th Legion had been transported by Tzeentch into the Eye of Terror to the Planet of the Sorcerers. The Thousand Sons, bitter at what they perceived as their betrayal by the Emperor, now willingly became the eighth Traitor Legion. The council of Traitor Primarchs made their plans for the next step in their war against the Emperor and then each Legion went its way according to its assigned role.

The fleets of Angron, Fulgrim, Mortarion, Lorgar and Horus' own Legion would rendezvous at Mars, now that word had come from the Tech-priest Regulus, the Mechanicus' liaison with the 63rd Expeditionary Fleet, of that planet’s fall to Horus’ supporters within the Mechanicus during the internecine conflict known as the Schism of Mars. With the manufacturing facilities of Mondus Gamma and Mondus Occullum wrested from the control of the Emperor’s forces, the forges of Mars were free to supply the Warmaster’s army. The eager warriors of the Alpha Legion were singled out by Horus for a vital mission, one upon which the success of the entire venture could depend. Following Horus' manipulation of Leman Russ into assaulting the homeworld of the Thousand Sons, the Space Wolves were known to be operating in the region of Prospero. In the nearby system of Chondax, the White Scars of Jaghatai Khan were sure to have received word of Horus’ rebellion and would no doubt attempt to link up with the Space Wolves. Horus could not allow such a grave threat to appear, and so the warriors of Alpharius were to seek out and attack these Legions before they could join forces.

The Night Haunter’s fleet had already departed, bound for the planet of Tsagualsa, a remote world in theEastern Fringe that lay shrouded in the shadow of a great asteroid belt. From there, the Night Lords’ terror troops would begin a campaign of genocide against the Imperial strongholds of Heroldar and Thramas, star systems that, if not taken, would leave the flanks of the Warmaster’s strike on Terra vulnerable to attack. The Thramas System was of particular importance, as it comprised a number of Mechanicus Forge Worlds whose loyalty was still to the Emperor. This campaign would also serve to tie up the dreaded Dark Angels Legion, so that the forces of the Lion wouldn't be brought to bare against Horus and his upcoming campaign against Terra.

The ships of the Iron Warriors prepared to make the journey to the Phall System where a large fleet of Imperial Fists vessels were known to be regrouping after a failed attempt to reach Istvaan V in time to join the Loyalist assault. Though Rogal Dorn’s warriors had played no part in the Drop Site Massacre, Horus could not allow such a powerful Loyalist force to remain unmolested. The enmity between bitter Perturabo and proud Dorn was well known, and it was with great relish that the Iron Warriors set off to do battle with their old rivals. With his flanks covered and the Space Marine forces that could potentially reinforce the heart of the Imperium soon to be embroiled in war, the Traitors were ready to unleash 7 Terran years of devastating civil war upon the Imperium in the name of Horus and the Dark Gods.

Assassination Attempt on Horus

Execution Team

After learning of Horus' perfidy on Istvaan III, the Sires and Siresses of the various secret Imperial Assassin Clades were tasked by Malcador the Sigillite, the secret Master of Assassins, with the daunting task of slaying the Arch-Traitor Horus, for if they could accomplish this monumental undertaking, they could effectively crush the nascent rebellion against the Emperor before it could inflict further damage upon His Imperium. But every assassination attempt against the Warmaster had failed thus far. Though the operatives sent by the Clades were their finest students and equal to the task, every attempt had resulted in failure. The Assassins had thrown their most gifted students into a meat-grinder, sending them in blind and half-prepared. Every strike against Horus was broken, and he had shrugged off each attempt without notice. Every time the Clade masters met, they were forced to grimly listen to a catalogue of each other's failures.

After the last failed attempt by Clade Venenum, a new strategy was decided upon. With the advice of a special guest in the form of Constantin Valdor, the Captain-General of the Legio Custodes who served as the personal protectors of the Emperor, the masters of the Clades realised that their mission plans were not flawed, they were simply not enough. No single Assassin, no matter how well-trained, no matter which Clade they hailed from, could ever hope to terminate the Arch-Traitor alone. But a collective of killers, a strike team consisting of an elite unit of killers hand-picked for the task, might be enough to succeed. There had never been a precedent for such an initiative, for the Emperor would have never sanctioned assassination as an official Imperial policy. The deployment of an Assassin was a delicate matter and never one taken lightly. In the past, the Clades had fielded two or three of their operatives on a single mission when the circumstances were most extreme, but these Assassins were always drawn from the same Clade, and even this occurred only after much deliberation. Yet in this crucial and extreme instance, Malcador, serving as Director Primus of the Clades, decided that more drastic measures were needed to accomplish the Assassins singular goal. He authorised the creation of the first Imperial Execution Force.

Horus did not adhere to the rules of war, nor did he baulk at the use of a tactic because it offended sensibilities. At Istvaan III he had bombed his sworn brethren, his own warriors even, into obliteration. Nothing, no mater how vile, was beyond him. It was decided by the Assassins that if they were to kill this foe, they could not limit themselves to the moral abstracts that had guided the Clades in the past. They had to dare to exceed them. And so a select strike team of Assassins was formed. An Execution Force, the first of its kind. Six Assassins, one from each Clade, were gathered together and given the select task of killing Horus by any means necessary. In the meantime, the Dark Apostle Erebus had decided on a bold course of action of his own. He firmly believed that as long as the Traitor Legions followed Horus, all would be as it should and as the Dark Gods had promised. Victory would come soon enough, perhaps even sooner than any of them might expect, for after the latest assassination attempt on the Warmaster, Erebus had come to realise a truism of warfare: if a tactic could be used against Horus, then it could also be used by the Traitors against the Emperor.

"Black Pariah"

Within Imperial history, only one "Black Pariah" has ever existed. He was a former Imperial Assassin by the code-name of "Spear." Born as a human Untouchable, he was captured by the Silent Sisterhood and brought to Terra, where the Clade Culexus experimented upon and augmented him in an attempt to create a more powerful and deadly form of Culexus Assassin. It is not known whether these augmentations or his unnatural abilities made him a "Black Pariah." Spear was eventually deemed too unstable and dangerous by his Clade's masters to be left alive. He was placed in the care of the Sisters of Silence and was sent aboard one of their lone vessels, bound for the heart of a nearby sun. Unfortunately, this vessel was intercepted by a Traitor vessel carrying the Dark Apostle Erebus of the Word Bearers Legion. Boarding the Sisters' vessel, the Word Bearers killed all aboard, with the exception of Spear.

Sensing the usefulness of such a unique specimen, Erebus found a new purpose for his captive. He forced Spear to undergo a painful and vile Chaotic ritual, in which a minor daemon from the Immaterium was bonded with the former Imperial Assassin. This bonding created a highly dangerous apex predator -- a "counter-psyker" -- capable of redirecting a psyker's attack directly back upon him. In order to utilise this ability, the "Black Pariah" first had to obtain a sample of his target's blood. This was a necessary component that helped him synchronise with his target's psionic abilities in order to reflect their attacks. Two standard years later, following the events of the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, Erebus tasked his deadly minion to assassinate the Emperor. Spear spent an inordinate amount of time in order to painstakingly reach his ultimate goal -- a document that possessed a minute drop of the Emperor of Mankind's precious blood. Spear eventually obtained this document upon the world of Dagonet, which would bring him into direct conflict with the Imperial Execution Force.


As the Horus Heresy progressed and word filtered throughout the galaxy of Horus' galactic uprising, numerous worlds began to erupt into anarchy as the populations began to split over whether they should remain loyal to the Emperor or join the Warmaster. Dagonet was one such world, where Horus Lupercal was second only to the Emperor in being celebrated by the people of the planet statues in Horus' honour were raised everywhere, and the Dragoneti spoke of him as "the Liberator." As the historic record went, in the early years of the Great Crusade, Dagonet had languished under the heel of a corrupt and venal priest-king who ruled the planet through fear and superstition. Horus, at the head of his Luna Wolves Legion, had come to Dagonet and freed the world -- accomplishing the deed with only one round of ammunition expended, the single shot he fired that dispatched the tyrannical priest-king. The victory was one of the Warmaster's most celebrated triumphs, and it ensured he would be revered forever as Dagonet's saviour. The Dagoneti clans had started the uprising against the Imperium when the Heresy began. Dagonet's Imperial Governor issued a formal statement of support for the cause of Horus. The world's nobles had declared in favour of Horus and rejected the rule of Terra. The common people were the ones fighting back in the name of the Emperor. There was blood in the streets of the Dagoneti capital city as soldiers fought soldiers and militia fought clan guards. Those who could flee the star system filled every starship they could get their hands on. It was small wonder that the aristocratic clans who now ruled the planet would give their banners to Horus instead of a distant Emperor who had never set foot on their world.

The Execution Force soon learned the future whereabouts of where Horus would be. Agents of the Imperium operating covertly in the Taebian Sector report a strong likelihood that Horus was planning to bring his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, to the planet Dagonet in order to show his flag. The Clades believed that the Warmaster’s forces would use Dagonet as a foothold from which to secure the allegiance of every planet in the Taebian Stars Sector. Dagonet was a keystone world in the politico-economic structure of the Taebian Sector, and if it fell fully under the shadow of Horus, then it would mark the beginning of a domino effect, as planet after planet along the same trade axis followed suit. Every Loyalist foothold in this sector of space would be in jeopardy. One Imperial vessel would be able to slip through the Warp to Dagonet, far easier than an entire reprisal fleet. Six Assassins, the best of their Clades, could bring death. The Execution Force would embed on Dagonet and set up multiple lines of attack. When Horus arrived there, they would terminate his command with extreme prejudice. Horus' assassination at this juncture would throw the Traitor forces into disarray and break the rebellion before it could advance on to the Segmentum Solar.

The Execution Force successfully circumvented all detection and was able to secretly arrive upon Dagonet. The Execution Force gathered intelligence to determine what exactly had occurred on Dagonet. In the first moments of the insurrection, desperate signals had been sent to the Space Marine Legions and their Legion fleets but these had gone unanswered. Both the starships of the admiralty and the Legions had battles of their own to fight, far from the Taebian Stars. They would not intervene. For all the fire and destruction the collapse of Dagonet and its sister worlds might cause, there were larger conflicts being addressed no crusade of heroes was coming to ride to the rescue. The civil war on Dagonet was a rout, and it was those who stood in the Emperor's name who were dying. Across the planet, the forces that carried Horus' banner were only days away from breaking the back of any resistance. Dagonet was already lost. The turncoat nobility on this planet did not need to see Horus to adhere to his banner. His influence hung over Dagonet like an eclipse blotting out the sun. They were fighting in his name in fear of him, and that was enough. And when the Traitors finally won, Horus' work would be done for him. This same thing was happening all across the galaxy, on every world too far from the Emperor and the rule of Terra. When Dagonet fell, Horus would turn his face from this place and move on, his advance one step closer to the gates of the Imperial Palace.

While gathering intelligence and deciding upon the best course of action, two of the Execution Force's number decided to set about on a different course of action. The Venenum Assassin Jenniker Solam had become distracted by her mission with the plight of the local Loyalist Dagoneti who continued to wage their desperate war against the pro-Horus planet's nobility. The Dagoneti introduced her to the forbidden writings of the Lectitio Divinitatus which postulated the worship of the Emperor of Mankind as a divine being, the one, true God of humanity. Solam became a willing convert of this nascent religious movement and vowed to help the Dagoneti with their plight. Her interest in helping the people of Dagonet and her new spirituality created friction with the rest of the Execution Force, and so she took her leave, and the mission to assassinate Horus continued on without her. The Culexus Assassin Iota, who showed great interest in Solam's quest, followed her. The pair of Assassins soon came into conflict with the "Black Pariah" known as Spear. Realising the dire threat of such a creature, the two Assassins attacked the Traitor Assassin. In the ensuing battle Solam was mortally wounded. Iota utilised her Animus Speculum, unleashing her innate anti-psyker abilities upon Spear, seriously wounding him in the process. Though Iota finally gained the upper hand, her efforts were for naught, as Spear was able to sample a drop of her spilt blood. This enabled the Traitor Assassin to engage his genetic lock, using his own innate abilities to reflect Iota's attack back onto her, boiling the Assassin in the crucible of her own powers.

The dying Solam was found by her brother Eristede Kell, a Vindicare Assassin and the Execution Force's team leader. Solam made Kell promise to kill the Traitor Assassin, not out of vengeance, but for the sake of the God-Emperor. The Execution Force managed to salve Iota's memory coil from her Animus Speculum and review her confrontation with the creature known as Spear. Realising the dire threat that this Counter-Assassin represented, the Assassins' mission became twofold assassinate Horus and kill the creature that had murdered their comrade.

Moment of Truth

The Sons of Horus Legion finally arrived in-system at Dagonet. The Vengeful Spirit settled in orbit above the world of Dagonet. The vessel had brought a military force of such deadly intent and utter lethality that the planet and its people had never known the like, in all their recorded history. And it was only the first. Other warships were following close behind. This was the visitation granted to Dagonet by the Sons of Horus, the tip of a sword blade forged from shock and awe. Far below, on the planet's surface, across the white marble of Liberation Plaza, a respectful hush fell over the throng of people who had gathered. A pregnant hush fell over the Dagoneti, as they looked to the sky and awaited the arrival of their redeemer, the owner of their new allegiance. Their war-god, the Warmaster Horus. At this time, the Execution Force was in place. The Vindicare Assassin Kell waited in the perfect assassin's perch, ready for the Warmaster's arrival. The Callidus passed a measuring gaze over the nervous lines of Dagoneti Planetary Defence Force soldiers and the robed nobles standing back on the gleaming, sunlit steps of the great hall. Governor Nicran was there among them, waiting with every other Dagoneti for the storm that was about to break. Suddenly, there was a blast of fanfare from the trumpets of a military band, and Governor Nicran stepped forward. When he spoke, a Vox-bead at his throat amplified his voice. "Glory to the Liberator!" he cried. "Glory to the Warmaster! Glory to Horus!" The assembled crowd raised their voices in a thundering echo.

A Vindicare Assassin of the Execution Force takes aim and prepares to take out Warmaster Horus

The Sons of Horus teleported onto the planet's surface. The tallest of the superhuman warriors, his battle gear decked with more finery than the others, stepped forward. He was covered with honour-chains and combat laurels, and about his shoulders he wore a metal dolman made from ores mined in the depths of Cthonia the Mantle of the Warmaster, forged by Horus' captains as a symbol of his might and unbreakable will. He drew a gold-chased Bolt Pistol, raising it up high above his head and then he fired a single shot into the air, the round crashing like thunder. The same sound that rang about Dagonet on the day they were liberated.

Before the empty shell casing could strike the marble at his feet, the crowd were shouting their fealty. "Glory to Horus!" The towering warrior holstered his gun and unsealed his helmet, drawing it up so the world might see his face. This was the moment of truth. The Vindicare Assassin placed his crosshairs on the centre of the scowling grille of the Warmaster's helmet.

There was no hesitation, no margin for error. The Assassin fired his Exitus Rifle. The shot struck the target in the throat, reducing the flesh to atoms, superheating the fluids into steam, boiling skin and vapourising bone. The only sound was the fall of the headless corpse as it crashed to the ground, blood jetting across the white marble and the Warmaster's shining mantle. Horus was dead.

But the Assassins of the Execution Force had been duped. Horus had sent a surrogate, a sacrificial proxy. The Vindicare had killed Luc Sedirae, the Captain of the Sons of Horus' 13th Company. Though the warrior Kell shot wore the mantle of the Warmaster, the unique robe belonging to the Primarch himself, it had all been a ruse. In their anger, the Sons of Horus turned upon the populace of Dagonet and began to slaughter them in earnest.

Amidst the chaos and anarchy of the massacre of the entire populace of Dagonet, Kell finally tracked Spear down and with the assistance and sacrifice of his fellow Assassin, managed to finally draw out and kill the "Black Pariah." Kell found himself was the lone survivor of the first Imperial Execution Force. The Vindicare Assassin departed Dagonet and decided to make one last attempt on the Warmaster's life.

He made a suicidal attack on Horus' flagship. Kell set his own ship on a direct course for the Vengeful Spirit's command bridge, where he seemed to meet his own fate when he ejected himself into space once he reached his intended target, in an ultimately vain attempt to land a desperate shot at Horus while he stood looking out of the Battle-Barge bridge's armoured observation deck into space. The Execution Force's assassination attempt had failed.

In the aftermath of the events on Dagonet, Horus confronted Erebus within his private chambers. He chastised the Dark Apostle for his audacious plan to assassinate the Emperor, declaring that when the opportune moment finally dawned, it would be him -- and him alone -- who killed the Master of Mankind.

Striking a Blow for Horus

Battle of Calth

Ultramarines survivors fight back against their foes

An Ultramarines Tactical Squad tries to search for survivors

While Horus made his plans for what would become known as the infamous Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, the Warmaster sent word to the XVII Legion’s Primarch Lorgar that the time had come for his Astartes, the Word Bearers, to strike against the Imperium. The Warmaster was keenly aware of the bitter hatred that Lorgar had for his Primarch brother Roboute Guilliman and his XIII th Legion, the Ultramarines, who had once humiliated the Word Bearers by destroying their city of Monarchia on the world of Khur at the Emperor's orders during the Great Crusade. The Ultramarines had taken no pleasure in this act, which was intended to teach Lorgar and his Astartes to adhere to the atheistic doctrines of the Imperial Truth rather than spread the false belief that the Emperor was divine to all the worlds that they conquered. Yet Lorgar and the Word Bearers had never forgiven the Ultramarines for this action and they longed for vengeance against the XIII th Legion.

Horus told Lorgar that he had fed Guilliman false intelligence in regard to a possible threat within the Veridian System in the Segmentum Tempestus, far to the galactic south of Terra. This supposed threat stemmed from the Orks of the Ghaslakh Empire. Horus had ordered the XIII th and the XVII th Legions to muster and meet at the world of Calth in the Ultramarines' Realm of Ultramar, in order to conduct a massive joint campaign of extermination against the Ghaslakh xenohold, a common mission for the Astartes during the final days of the Great Crusade.

It would be at Calth that Lorgar would launch a surprise attack on the Ultramarines whilst they were gathered for the campaign against the Orks of Ghaslakh. The XIII th Legion would be caught completely unaware while the Word Bearers would use the advantage of surprise to completely annihilate their hated rivals. The assault at Calth would also allow the Word Bearers to reveal that they, too, now served Ruinous Powers. Calth was not chosen as the site of the confrontation between the Word Bearers and the Ultramarines by chance, for the Word Bearers intended to destroy one of the jewels in the Ultramarines' realm of Ultramar (then known as the Ultramar Coalition), just as the XIII th Legion had destroyed one of the Word Bearers' greatest achievements, the sacred city of Monarchia, four decades earlier.

Horus ordered the majority of the XVII th Legion to Ultramar, and the dark powers of the Warp gave them sure and swift passage across the increasingly restless Immaterium. As the Word Bearers entered Ultramar space, Lorgar prepared his Legion for the inevitable slaughter that would follow. Command of the main assault force was given to Kor Phaeron, the First Captain of the XVII th Legion and one of Lorgar’s most favoured champions. Calth was to be Kor Phaeron’s operation to execute, far more than it was Lorgar’s. Kor Phaeron had planned the assault of Calth for his Primarch meticulously, and executed it with the aid of the Dark Apostle Erebus. The punishment and annihilation of the XIII th Legion was the campaign's principal aim the humiliation and execution of Lorgar's hated rival Roboute Guilliman was a secondary objective. But for Lorgar, the assault would also mark his first opportunity to gain true favour in the eyes of the Dark Gods he now served to prove to them that he had earned his place as their Chosen One.

The Word Bearers turned Calth's own orbital defence platforms on the Veridian star, stripping away the outer layers of its photosphere and destabilising it, ultimately rendering the surface of Calth uninhabitable. At the same time, the Word Bearers had used the battle taking place on Calth to summon a massive Warp Storm called the Ruinstorm, that was intended to cut off Ultramar from the rest of the galaxy and prevent the Ultramarines from providing any reinforcements to Terra as Horus made his assault upon humanity's homeworld. The eruption of the Ruinstorm cut off Calth from the main body of the Ultramarines Legion and left the Astartes of the XIII th Legion trapped on Calth locked in a brutal subterranean war with those Word Bearers units that had also been left behind when their Legion retreated from the Viridian System. Yet, despite the Loyalists' last-minute victory and the survival of the Ultramarines Legion and its Primarch, the Forces of Chaos could consider their assault on Calth a success. The XIII th Legion had been badly crippled and no longer presented a viable threat to Horus' plan to drive on Terra. Erebus had managed to complete his blasphemous ritual on Calth's surface, which summoned a Ruinstorm to the galaxy's Eastern Fringe -- a monstrous Warp Storm larger and more destructive than anything space-faring humanity had witnessed since the days of the Age of Strife. It would split the void asunder, dividing the galaxy in two and rendering vast tracts of the Imperium impassable for centuries. The Ruinstorm would also isolate and trap those Loyalist forces caught behind it like the Ultramarines, preventing them from coordinating their efforts and supporting one another as the Traitor Legions moved towards Terra. It would even prevent them from warning each other, for a time, of the Warmaster's betrayal and the civil war that had begun to consume the Imperium. The Ruinstorm would leave Terra alone in the void, infinitely vulnerable to the approaching shadow of Horus.

Signus Prime

When the Imperial Warmaster Horus, the greatest of the Emperor's genetic sons, fell to the temptations of the Chaos Gods and became swayed by their promises of power, he sought to sway his brother Primarchs to his cause. Horus and Sanguinius, the Primarch of the Blood Angels Legion, had fought many campaigns by each other's side. Their relationship was so close it had even incited jealousy amongst their brother Primarchs on occasion. But in his black heart Horus knew that Sanguinius would never willingly betray their father, and so he had formulated an audacious plan to either convert the Blood Angels Legion to his cause or utterly destroy them. To this end, Horus had discovered decades earlier a carefully guarded secret of the Blood Angels when he fought alongside Sanguinius' IX Legion in a xenocidal campaign on the world of Melchior. Horus had come upon his brother Primarch in a sunken ruin of an alien chapel and had witnessed the unthinkable -- Sanguinius murdering one of his own Astartes. Sanguinius explained his actions to his bewildered brother. He had discovered that within his own genome there was a trait that lay buried and waiting to be awakened. This genetic flaw would later be known as the Red Thirst.

Sanguinius had been aware of the flaw in his genome for several years, keeping the truth from the Emperor and his fellow Primarchs. Some of the Angel's sons had learned a measure of the truth, but only Azkaellon, First Captain Raldoron, the IX th Legion’s Master Apothecary on the Legion homeworld of Baal  and a few others were fully aware of the extent of this affliction. They were united with Sanguinius in finding a way to repair this Flaw. Horus swore to his brother that he would never speak of this matter to anyone, even their father. He would keep this promise for as long as Sanguinius wished him to. The Angel was touched by his brother's gesture and expressed his gratitude. Horus solemnly vowed to help Sanguinius deal with this matter, however long it took. Little did they know at the time, that one day a corrupted Horus would take full advantage of this knowledge and attempt to turn the Blood Angels' Flaw against them.

Decades later, Horus exploited this knowledge of the Blood Angels' genetic Flaw. The Warmaster had found a way to sway his "beloved" brother's Legion to his cause and the service of the Chaos Gods. In his capacity as Imperial Warmaster, Horus ordered Sanguinus to gather his entire Legion and make for the Signus Cluster, a triple star system located in the Ultima Segmentum near the Eastern Fringe. His IX th Legion was to cleanse the 7 worlds and 15 moons that comprised the Signus Cluster of xenos invaders and release the humans settled there from their xenos-overlords. To further entice Sanguinius, the Warmaster informed him that he had found the means by which the Blood Angels would be able to excise the darkness from within their souls, and rid themselves of the Flaw. If Sanguinius obeyed the Warmaster's command in this matter, then Horus promised him that the Blood Angels would find a new freedom. Sanguinius had no reason to doubt Horus, for they were as close as two brothers could be. Many of their fellow Primarchs were even jealous of the closeness between the pair. Sanguinius relished the opportunity to once again prove the value of their bond, and so the Blood Angels Legion gathered in its entirety and duly set course for the Signus Cluster, unaware that they were heading into a terrible trap.

Unaware of the Warmaster's perfidy, Sanguinius willingly obeyed his brother Primarch and immediately set out for this volatile region of space. Unbeknownst to the Blood Angels, they were blindly walking into a deadly trap, for the Signus Cluster had fallen prey to agents of the Ruinous Powers and become a veritable Realm of Chaos -- a system of hellish Daemon Worlds under the rule of a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh known as Kyriss the Perverse. When the Blood Angels arrived in-system, their fleet was ambushed by the malevolent forces of the Warp, crippling or killing many of their Navigators and Astropaths  in the initial onslaught. The Blood Angels now faced the fury of Chaos for the first time. Kyriss sent an image of himself to Sanguinius, declaring his lordship over the system in the name of Slaanesh and taunting the Primarch into taking it back from him. Though they had never faced such a foe, the Blood Angels prepared their counterattack, sure that they would prevail. Rising to the challenge of the vile Greater Daemon, the Blood Angels Legion attacked the daemon host of Kyriss, launching a series of attacks across the seat of the daemon's power, the world of Signus Prime.

During the epic battle, Sanguinius came face-to-face with a new nightmare known as Ka'bandha, a Greater Daemon of Khorne. During the battle that ensued, Sanguinius was sorely wounded and temporarily incapacitated. He witnessed Ka'bandha slaughter 500 of his sons with huge swathes of his mighty axe. The psychic backlash of the deaths of so many of his sons blasted Sanguinius into unconsciousness. With the fall of their Primarch and the slaughtering of their brethren, the Blood Angels Legion was consumed by a black rage that drove them into a berserker's fury as they charged into the daemonic horde and in their madness they smashed the horde of daemons asunder. Yet the brutal violence of the daemon Ka'Bahnda had unleashed something dark within the psyche of the Space Marines, a thirst for blood that would not be slaked until every taint of Chaos had been erased from the planet. Even the mighty Kyriss was banished back to the Immaterium. Only when the planet was cleansed did the rage of the Blood Angels finally subside. Though Signus had been freed from its thrall to the Forces of Chaos, the cost of victory was far higher than any could have wished. The berserker rage the Blood Angels had experienced had left a brooding shadow on their souls that would manifest in the centuries to come as the great curse (later known as the Black Rage) that would afflict the Blood Angels and their later Successors.

Battle of Terra

Landing on Terra

Warmaster Horus aboard his ship, the Vengeful Spirit, directing the Traitor Legions during the Siege of Terra

The Battle of Terra began with an orbital bombardment by the Warmaster Horus' fleet as the prelude to invasion. Although the Loyalist fleets and defenders fought back and the massive orbital defences on Luna reaped more than a quarter of the starships in the Traitor fleet they, like the Loyalist soldiers on the surface, were too few to face the combined forces of so many Traitor Legions, and were mowed down without mercy. After days of bombardment, the Chaos Space Marines landed on the surface of Terra in Drop Pods and advanced on the two spaceports nearest the location of the Imperial Palace to secure them in preparation for the main landings of the Traitor forces. Elements from five of the Traitor Legions participated in the battle, aided by the Traitor forces already on the surface. Despite the brave efforts of the Loyalists, the Eternity Wall and the Lion's Gate Spaceports fell within hours to the Forces of Chaos. Dark Chaos Cultists made their invocations, calling down the Greater Daemons of Chaos from the Warp directly onto Terran soil. With the spaceports secured, Horus' remaining troops of the Traitor Legions and their Traitor Imperial Army and Dark Mechanicus support forces landed en masse, and the hulking transports carried thousands of troops each. They also landed the terrible Traitor Titans that served the Warmaster's cause and had been infected with the daemonic power of Chaos. The transports' immense size made them prime targets for Terra's defence lasers. Although many of the Traitor landing craft were destroyed in-atmosphere, many more made it to the surface, disgorging yet more soldiers, main battle tanks and Traitor Titans to add to the besiegers' strength. They met stiff resistance from the Loyalists as the Imperial defenders knew that the survival of the Mankind's homeworld, their Emperor, and the future of the entire human race rested on their shoulders.

Siege of the Imperial Palace

Imperial Army soldiers holding out against the vast tides of Chaos

Loyalists fight against the onslaught of the Traitor Legions

Blood Angels Astartes defending the Inner Palace from the tides of Chaos

The Chaotic besiegers forced the Imperial defenders back to the walls of the Imperial Palace, where thousands died slowing the assault. The Primarch Angron of the World Eaters Legion, now a Daemon Prince of the Blood God Khorne, came forth before the walls of the Palace and demanded the Loyalists' surrender, saying that they were cut off, outnumbered, and defended a ruler unworthy of their loyalty. Many would have surrendered to Angron after seeing the sheer power of the Forces of Chaos that stood arrayed before them had it not been for the Primarch Sanguinius, the winged and seemingly angelic leader of the Blood Angels Legion. The two Primarchs, once brothers, gazed at each other, perhaps communicating telepathically. Eventually Angron withdrew from before the gates of the Imperial Palace, telling his forces, not without some relish at the prospect of slaughter, that there would be no surrender.

The siege of the Imperial Palace then began in earnest. Three times the Forces of Chaos scaled the walls, and three times were hurled back by Sanguinius and his Blood Angels. Outside the Palace walls, Space Marine and Imperial Army forces led by Jaghatai Khan, the Primarch of the White Scars Legion, unsuccessfully tried to draw the bulk of the besiegers' army away from the Palace. Soon the outnumbered defenders were pushed back into the maze of corridors and bulwarks within the Palace walls. Frustrated with his army's slow progress, Horus ordered the Legio Mortis (Death's Head Legion), a Traitor Titan Legion, to demolish entire sections of the wall. Despite grievous losses, the Titans, led by the infamous Imperator-class Battle Titan Dies Irae, gouged open breaches in the Imperial Palace's defences, which the Traitors then flooded through.

Facing a breach and potential collapse of the Imperial defences, Jaghatai Khan decided on a change of plan. Rather than assaulting the almost-invincible flanks of the Chaotic army, Khan redirected his highly mobile White Scars Space Marines and the surviving Loyalist Tank Divisions of the Imperial Army to Lion's Gate Spaceport. At dawn Jaghatai's lightning raid caught the Traitor garrison at the spaceport completely by surprise, and reclaimed the spaceport for the Imperium. The Khan ordered his troops to reactivate the spaceport's defence lasers to prevent the Traitor fleet from bringing down any more troops and equipment and form a defensive perimeter to hold their newly reconquered territory. Khan's troops repelled several frenzied counter-attacks from the Traitors, and began firing on Horus' unprotected drop ships. The Khan's plan worked perfectly: the flow of the Traitors' men and machines to the Imperial Palace had been cut in half at a single stroke. Inspired by this success, the Loyalists also tried to seize back the Eternity Wall Spaceport, but were driven back by the Chaos forces without difficulty, as they had reinforced their garrison following the loss of the Lion's Gate.

Inside the Palace, the defenders had been forced back to the Eternity Gate, the sole point of entry into the inner sanctum of the Imperial Palace. The Astartes of the Blood Angels and Imperial Fists tried to hold back the attacking Chaotic troops, while the remaining Loyalists made it through the Gate. Soon the mighty Bloodthirster Greater Daemon Ka'bandha came forth and bellowed out a challenge to Sanguinius in the name of his master Khorne. The daemon hurled itself at the Angel of Baal, barely allowing him time to parry the daemon's strikes. The two took to the air, trading blows and battle cries high above the heads of the two forces. Already fatigued from the long siege, Sanguinius was cast down by the daemon, pulverising the ferrocrete below upon impact. The Loyalist forces seemed to collectively groan at the fall of their great champion.

Yet the Blood Angels' Primarch was not beaten, only stunned by the force of the impact. Sanguinius cleared his head, forced himself back to his feet, and once again took to the sky. The Angel seized the gloating daemon, holding it by the right ankle and arm. The Primarch hefted the creature high and broke its back over his knee, before hurling the daemon's carcass back at the besiegers, who howled in despair as the last Loyalists fell back and made it into the Imperial Palace's inner sanctum before the great portal of the Eternity Gate was shut tight behind them. Of course, as a daemon, Ka'bandah could not truly be slain, only banished to the Warp for a 1000 standard years, but the Bloodthirster's spirit was sent howling back into the Immaterium to meet the displeasure of his master the Blood God.

The Eternity Gate was closed.


The Warp Gate the Emperor had constructed deep beneath the Imperial Palace and the short section of Webway passage beyond required constant maintenance lest they fall into ruin. At first this demanded only a small portion of the Emperor's psychic might and so He was able to command His armies and do all that was expected of Him as Emperor. But the hideous monstrosities that ruled the Warp -- the self-proclaimed Gods of Chaos -- had ever been his foes, and now conspired to subvert the Emperor's goals as they had since the day He had launched the Great Crusade. To this end they had tempted the naive Magnus the Red to warn Him of the very plot they had initiated, the betrayal of the Imperium by Horus. Magnus sent his warning by means of powerful psychic sorcery and this broadcast had wreaked havoc upon the protective psychic shielding surrounding the Emperor's fragile Webway construct. The spell of Magnus not only allowed the foul denizens of the Warp entry to the section of the Webway the Emperor's secret army of Adepts and Tech-priests had by then conquered, it destroyed the delicate controls the Emperor had set in place. Now the Warp Gate he had constructed required virtually all of His psychic power and mental concentration lest it rip open a permanent doorway between Terra and the Warp, flooding the homeworld of Mankind with the daemonic legions of the Ruinous Powers.

The Emperor told Malcador that he had to take the Emperor's place on the psychic amplifier known as the Golden Throne, which provided the psychic sheath needed to protect the new, human-built sections of the Webway intended to be the Emperor's final gift to humanity before the Horus Heresy had begun. The Emperor's original choice of His replacement on the artefact had been the Primarch Magnus the Red, but since Magnus and his Thousand Sons Space Marine Legion had sided with Horus and the Chaos God Tzeentch, Malcador was now His chosen successor and the only remaining human psyker with enough strength to carry out the duty.

In the days before the final confrontation between the Emperor and Horus aboard his Battle-Barge the Vengeful Spirit during the Battle of Terra, the Emperor ordered Malcador to summon twelve " of character, skill and determination" who would be tested and trained to become the elite group of investigators intended to root out treachery across the Imperium in the centuries to come to prevent any event like the Horus Heresy from occurring again. The Emperor also told Malcador to prepare himself for the dreadful sacrifice that he would be called upon to make.

Malcador the Hero

The Terran Warp Gate would remain closed to the daemons for as long as the Emperor was able to power it from His throne atop the golden portal. Only the mightiest of human psykers had power enough to do this and even then most would be exhausted and fail in a short time. Only the Emperor Himself had the might to keep the gate closed permanently and for Him the effort grew harder as the daemonic forces gathered about Him. For as long as the daemon horde threatened to breach the portal, the Golden Throne would be His prison. As Horus' forces began their final assault on the Sol System and the Battle of Terra began seven standard years after the Traitors had first turned upon the servants of the Emperor at Istvaan III, the Sigillite returned from his mission to recruit the foundation of the Inquisition. Only through the most artful of psychic subterfuge were Malcador and his new recruits able to pass unscathed through the battlelines and come unharmed and unseen before the Emperor within the inner sanctum of the Imperial Palace.

Malcador had finally received the call and was now prepared to perform his final duty to the man he had followed for the greater part of his life. Once within the depths of the Imperial Palace, the Emperor asked if Malcador was prepared to take his place upon the Golden Throne. Ever loyal, the Sigillite was more than willing to sacrifice himself for his Emperor. But before he ascended to take his place upon the Throne, the Sigillite had one last duty to perform. He was accompanied by a group of twelve hooded attendants. In stern silence the Emperor surveyed the robed figures that Malcador had brought before him, and he saw that his faithful servant had done well. Of the twelve, four were mortal lords and administrators of the Imperium possessed of an inquisitive nature and unyielding strength of mind. The other eight were Space Marines whose abilities were as peerless as their dedication to the Emperor. Some hailed from Legions that had abandoned the Emperor's light in favour of Horus' dark promises, but these Battle-Brothers had never lost their loyalty and had fought the Heresy from within. Fulsome in his approval of the selection, Malcador the Sigillite ascended to the Golden Throne, replacing the Emperor who now stood before the edifice with his loyal captains Rogal Dorn and Sanguinius.

Malcador could not speak, such was the concentration he had to bring to bear in order to control the tempestous forces at his call. The Emperor directed the attention of the two mighty Primarchs, "Behold the greatest sacrifice of our age! Malcador the Sigillite is no more. Henceforth he shall always and only ever be Malcador the Hero!" At this the three figures retired from the Imperial Palace's vault and made ready to teleport onto the Battle-Barge of Horus. The task of keeping the daemons out of the Imperial Palace was daunting for the Emperor, the mighty reincarnation of a thousand human psykers with millennia of experience to call upon. Though he was a powerful psyker in his own right, Malcador was still but a mere human, his mental powers nothing compared to that of the Emperor, and this task proved overwhelming, consuming him body and soul in a matter of hours.


Sanguinius confronts his former brother Primarch, the corrupted Warmaster Horus

The siege of Terra following the initial assault on the Imperial Palace lasted for 55 days. Both sides knew that the defeat of the Imperium of Man was near after the defence of the Eternity Gate. Sensing this, and knowing that he must complete the siege before the arrival of Loyalist reinforcements from the other Space Marine Legions that were already on their way, Horus prepared to teleport to the surface from his flagship, the Vengeful Spirit, to lead his forces in person. Before this could happen, the Word Bearers' First Chaplain Erebus broke the news to Horus: their daemonic allies in the Warp had informed them that the Dark Angels and Space Wolves Legions were nearing Terra and the Ultramarines were only a short distance behind.

At that moment, Horus despaired his gamble had failed, weeks of further conflict would be needed to break the defenders and the Emperor's reinforcements would arrive in mere hours. What happened next is disputed in the Imperial historiography of the Heresy some believe Horus disabled his Void Shields as he experienced one last moment of regret for his betrayal of his father and his turn to Chaos, while others believe it was a personal challenge to the Emperor. Nevertheless, Horus lowered the Void Shields of his flagship, the enormous Battle Barge Vengeful Spirit. The lowering of the vessel's shields was detected by the Loyalist vessels in orbit and the information was relayed to the Imperial Palace.

The Emperor of Mankind rose to the challenge, leading members of His elite personal guard, the Legio Custodes, the Primarchs Sanguinius and Rogal Dorn, and several companies of Imperial Fists and Blood Angels Veteran Space Marines in the assault and teleported aboard the Vengeful Spirit. Horus used his Chaotic powers to scatter the Emperor's force throughout the massive warship when they teleported up through the Warp. Each fought a series of battles against the elite Forces of Chaos aboard the corrupted starship, attempting to link up with their comrades and confront Horus.

The Emperor confronts Horus on the Battleship Vengeful Spirit after the death of Sanguinius

It was Sanguinius who reached his brother Horus first. The Warmaster attempted to turn the Blood Angels' Primarch, his oldest and closest friend among the other Primarchs, to Chaos one last time. When Sanguinius refused to be corrupted, Horus attacked. Wounded from his many battles on Terra and the terrible battle with the daemon Ka'bandah, Sanguinius proved to be no match for Horus, now at the peak of his daemonic power after his long alliance with the Ruinous Powers. Horus strangled the Angel of Baal with ease. An alternate version of this event sometimes recorded in the Imperial records has Sanguinius cutting a small hole in Horus' Terminator Armour before he died, as this hole aided in the Emperor's final defeat of Horus.

When the Emperor finally entered the throne room of the Vengeful Spirit, he saw the winged corpse of the angelic Sanguinius lying at Horus' feet. Horus called the Emperor foolish for refusing the power that the Chaos Gods offered to Men, and timid for not taming them to His will if He was truly the Master of Mankind as He claimed. Horus proclaimed that if the Emperor would kneel before him, then he would spare his life. But the Emperor, tens of millennia older than his misguided and once beloved son, knew well the ancient trap that had snared Horus. The Emperor told the corrupted Primarch that he was the deluded slave of Chaos, not its master, for no mortal could ever truly claim to be more than simply a pawn of the Ruinous Powers. Snarling, Horus hurled bolts of daemonic lightning at the Emperor, but the Emperor nullified them with His own immense psychic abilities. The die was cast. Each god-like being knew that the fate of humanity now hung in the balance.

The Emperor and Horus engaged one another in the throne room of the massive Battleship, a battle that was both physical and psychic in nature. Though the Emperor's psychic gifts and martial skills were unequaled, He found Himself unwilling to summon His full strength against His beloved son. The Emperor suffered grievous wounds at Horus' hands, and after a score of thrusts, parries and counter-thrusts between the Emperor's Runesword and his own Lightning Claw, Horus sliced open the Emperor's chest armour, then opened his jugular and severed the tendons in his right wrist, disarming the Emperor. A psychic blast seared the flesh from the Emperor's face, destroying one of the Master of Mankind's eyes. After tearing the Emperor's right arm from its socket, Horus raised his father's broken body high over his head, and broke his back over his knee.

At that moment, a lone Loyalist warrior entered the bridge, just as the Emperor fell. Horus, gloating in victory, showed the Imperial warrior the Emperor's broken form and laughed, taunting the Loyalist's uselessness and defeat. The valiant Imperial warrior, far from being daunted, roared in defiance and interposed himself between the Emperor and the Warmaster, heroically holding the line against the Chaos-corrupted Primarch. He was flayed alive for his defiance by a glancing psychic blast from Horus.

The Emperor and Horus -- father and son -- face one another for the last time

The exact identity of the brave warrior is a source of much debate amongst Imperial historians, for today only the Emperor knows the truth. The Adeptus Ministorum tell the story that it was a lone Imperial Army trooper named Ollanius Pius who held the line, going as far as to canonise the man as the Guardian Saint of the Imperial Guard in the 32nd Millennium, yet many doubt that mere humans would have accompanied the Emperor and His Primarchs to confront Horus. The Imperial Fists maintain it was one of their Terminators who challenged Horus, however some see this as a desperate attempt to lessen their collective guilt stemming from the fact that Rogal Dorn never could participate in the fighting. Most savants now agree that it was probably one of the Adeptus Custodes who interceded, yet the other stories continue to be told and retold over the whole of the Imperium of Man.

The casual brutality of the Warmaster's act galvanised the Emperor as He realised what awaited Mankind under the rule of Horus and the Chaos Gods. Realising at last that His favoured son was truly lost to the corruption of Chaos, the Emperor finally gathered His full and awesome psychic power in the Immaterium and unleashed a lance of pure Warp energy that pierced the gloating Horus' psychic defences and ripped his body apart. In some versions of the tale, this blast was only able to pierce Horus' body through the hole that had been made by Sanguinius before his death. Just before Horus died, he looked his father in the eye, shedding a single tear, begging his father to forgive him for his betrayal. The Emperor saw regret in his fallen son's eyes. The Emperor also knew that the Ruinous Powers could attempt to possess Horus again, and that He would not be there to stop his son again if they did. Driving all of the near-infinite reserves of compassion from His mind for the sake of the humanity He had served and loved all the years of His long life, the Emperor destroyed Horus utterly, his essence burned from existence in both the physical world and the Immaterium so that the Ruinous Powers could not resurrect Horus as a Daemon Prince through their claim on his soul.

The destruction of Horus' soul sent a psychic shockwave surging across the Solar System, casting the daemons of Chaos back into the Warp, and spreading mass panic among the Traitor Legions and other Traitor forces on the surface of Terra in seconds as the Chaos Gods found their powers disrupted temporarily by the death of their favoured mortal vessel. It became clear to the Forces of Chaos that their leader had been defeated. A terrible, berserk fury later known as the Black Rage had encompassed the Blood Angels at the moment of their Primarch's death, and they were surging forth to scatter the attackers. Retreat turned to rout, and rout soon turned to bloodbath thousands upon thousands of Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Titans fell attempting to flee. The ground before the Sanctum Imperialis ran red with the blood of Traitors and Heretics.

After Death

The tragic tale of Horus does not end with his death aboard the Vengeful Spirit. His body was enshrined on the Daemon World of Maeleum that the Sons of Horus claimed for their own within the Eye of Terror after they fled Terra at the end of the Heresy. Horus' corpse resided there for several hundred Terran years in the early 31st Millennium, before the body was stolen by the corrupted Apothecary Fabius Bile and the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion during the Slave Wars in the Eye of Terror. This was part of an attempt to clone the body of the Warmaster to bring Horus back to life so that he might lead the Traitor Legions once more in an attempt to conquer the Imperium.

But Ezekyle Abaddon, the former First Captain of the XVI th Legion, reasserted his control over the entire Legion at this time, proclaiming himself Horus' successor. Abaddon led an assault by the Sons of Horus upon the Emperor's Children's fortress, and believing that the continued worship of his Legion's dead Primarch had trapped the Traitor Legions and led them to the brink of destruction, Abaddon utterly destroyed Horus' corpse and claimed the Warmaster's Power Claw, the Talon of Horus, as his own, as well as the title of Warmaster of Chaos.

Abaddon also underwent an epiphany in which he believed that Horus, whom he had once worshipped, had failed to defeat the Emperor because he was weak, and so the Forces of Chaos needed a new leader who would not hesitate to do what had to be done in the Long War to at last throw down the Corpse-Emperor. Abaddon ordered the Sons of Horus to paint their Power Armour black as a symbol of both mourning for Horus and their desire for vengeance against the Imperium. He gave the XVI th Legion a new name, the moniker that now breeds fear into the heart of every true servant of the Emperor who hears it spoken aloud: the Black Legion.

Abaddon ordered the Legion to abandon Maeleum and instead transformed his forces into a Fleet-based Legion that maintained assets across the expanse of the Eye of Terror. Abaddon turned the Black Legion's eyes towards the future and away from the past represented by their lost Primarch. He swore that the Black Legion would one day fulfill Horus' dream of throwing down the Corpse-Emperor from his throne and establishing the dominion of Chaos across the galaxy.

And so Ezekyle Abaddon became something more than he had been, something more than even Horus Lupercal's successor -- he became the greatest Champion of Chaos the galaxy had ever known, the feared tyrant and genocidal killer known to generations of Imperial defenders as Abaddon the Despoiler.

Comparing Jesus to Horus

Was Jesus and Horus the same person or God? Was the similarities just a coincidence? This is what I love about mythology, and if there was ever justification for my belief that Christianity is merely a revised version of Egyptian religion, I'd say this is it:

1. Both were conceived of a virgin.

2. Both were the "only begotten son" of a god (either Osiris or Yahweh)

3. Horus's mother was Meri, Jesus's mother was Mary.

4. Horus's foster father was called Jo-Seph, and Jesus's foster father was Joseph.

5. Both foster fathers were of royal descent.

6. Both were born in a cave (although sometimes Jesus is said to have been born in a stable).

7. Both had their coming announced to their mother by an angel.

8. Horus birth was heralded by the star Sirius (the morning star). Jesus had his birth heralded by a star in the East (the sun rises in the East).

9. Ancient Egyptians celebrated the birth of Horus on December 21 (the Winter Solstice). Modern Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25.

10. Both births were announced by angels (this si nto the same as number 7).

11. Both had shepherds witnessing the birth.

12. Horus was visited at birth by "three solar deities" and Jesus was visited by "three wise men".

13. After the birth of Horus, Herut tried to have Horus murdered. After the birth of Jesus, Herod tried to have Jesus murdered.

14. To hide from Herut, the god That tells Isis, "Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child." To hide from Herod, an angel tells Joseph to "arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt."

15. When Horus came of age, he had a special ritual where hsi eye was restored. When Jesus (and other Jews) come of age, they have a special ritual called a Bar Mitzvah.

16. Both Horus and Jesus were 12 at this coming-of-age ritual.

17. Neither have any official recorded life histories between the ages of 12 and 30.

18. Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus. Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan.

19. Both were baptized at age 30.

20. Horus was baptized by Anup the Baptizer. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

21. Both Anup and John were later beheaded.

22. Horus was taken from the desert of Amenta up a high mountain to be tempted by his arch-rival Set. Jesus was taken from the desert in Palestine up a high mountain to be tempted by his arch-rival Satan.

23. Both Horus and Jesus successfully resist this temptation.

24. Both have 12 disciples.

25. Both walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, and restored sight to the blind.

26. Horus "stilled the sea by his power." Jesus commanded the sea to be still by saying, "Peace, be still."

27. Horus raised his dead father (Osiris) from the grave. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. (Note the similarity in names when you say them out loud. Further, Osiris was also known as Asar, which is El-Asar in Hebrew, which is El-Asarus in Latin.)

28. Osiris was raised in the town of Anu. Lazarus was raised in Livanu (literally, "house of Anu").

29. Both gods delivered a Sermon on the Mount.

31. Both were crucified next to two thieves.

32. Both were buried in a tomb.

33. Horus was sent to Hell and resurrected in 3 days. Jesus was sent to Hell and came back "three days" later (although Friday night to Sunday morning is hardly three days).

34. Both had their resurrection announced by women.

35. Both are supposed to return for a 1000-year reign.

36. Horus is known as KRST, the anointed one. Jesus was known as the Christ (which means "anointed one").

37. Both Jesus and Horus have been called the good shepherd, the lamb of God, the bread of life, the son of man, the Word, the fisher, and the winnower.

38. Both are associated with the zodiac sign of Pisces (the fish).

39. Both are associated with the symbols of the fish, the beetle, the vine, and the shepherd's crook.

40. Horus was born in Anu ("the place of bread") and Jesus was born in Livlehem ("the house of bread").

41. "The infant Horus was carried out of Egypt to escape the wrath of Typhon. The infant Jesus was carried into Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod. Concerning the infant Jesus, the New Testament states the following prophecy: 'Out of Egypt have I called my son.'" (See Point 13)

42. Both were transfigured on the mount.

43. The catacombs of Rome have pictures of the infant Horus being held by his mother, not unlike the modern-day images of "Madonna and Child."

44. Noted English author C. W. King says that both Isis and Mary are called "Immaculate".

45. Horus says: "Osiris, I am your son, come to glorify your soul, and to give you even more power." And Jesus says: "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once."

46. Horus was identified with the Tau (cross).

Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis. Osiris father was Seb.

Osiris was cut into 12 pieces by Set and the bits thrown in the Nile. Isis sewed him back together and made him into a mummy - she resurrected him not Horus. Horus was born sometime later. It all sounds suitably religious.

While Christianity has many remarkable similarities with other pre-existing religions, most of this list seems contrived.

I would like to see the sources for a lot of that. Some of it seems way off. I think this link is a little bit better and more factually correct at showing the similarities between the christ figure and the pegan gods:

Although there is a much better one on the web, I simply cant find it and don't have the time to go looking right now.

Know what this post reminds me of?? Ever see Super Troopers?

""Well, basically the Butler is saying to Johannes Chimpo 'Don't let the Great Satan tempt you with the Western culture. You must remain true to the Taliban warlord.'""

"Hallowed are the Greensborings"

I just wish I could find that History channel episode that layed it all out. Where it shows the parallels between Zeus, God, Ra, etc. and that they're all the same.

That was a great episode. Probably got destroyed because of the complaints.

From our conference speaker. Were you too busy to come, attend and ask the question? Intimidated by public appearances? Shy?

So the Jesus character is not derived from the Horus character? Then who was Jeusus derived from?

Royal D: No need to answer this one. I know your answer.

Liv wrote: So the Jesus character is not derived from the Horus character? Then who was Jeusus derived from?

Royal D: No need to answer this one. I know your answer.

Ok. then I'll take it. Jesus was derived from God the Father with some help from the Holy Spirit. His coming was foretold numerous times in the old testament. Jesus is real and is not a "character".

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second,it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Liv wrote: Then who was Jeusus derived from?

Royal D: No need to answer this one. I know your answer.

Jesus the Man. John: 1:14 "Only begotten of the Father".

It's funny how christians view this. They usually come up with a silly excuse like, "the devil did it." This evidence proves without a doubt the bible is full of myths and legends. There were religions before christanity, and all of the practices and rituals mentioned in the christian faith were practiced before christanity even originated. Jesus never was.

Jesus existed between the years of 4 A.D and 34 A.D. The first gospels of John were written in 70 A.D.
Think about the time difference. 40 years went by before the first gospels were written. If jesus performed all these miracles that surprised everyone, then why didn't John write the bible during Jesus' life time?

We aren't exactly sure what happened between 34 A.D and 70 A.D, but we are sure that Jesus is a pagan myth and his character descriped in the bible is an accumulation of characters from the egyptian gods.

All of christanity is recyled version of past religions. Everything in The New Testament was already practiced, but way long before Jesus existed. There were many Egyptian gods who performed miracles, walked on water, healed the sick, claimed to be the son of god, and rose people from the dead.

Just combine all the greek and egyptian gods together, and you got Jesus.

IF jesus existed, which I highly doubt, then he was a prophet just like Muhammad and Buddah.
But he wasn't the son of any god, and he's not the only person who performed miracles and healed the sick.

The Old Testament is scientifically proven and is strongly supported by many scientist. The only part in the old testament that is doubted by science is the creation story, but everything else is scientificlly accuate.

jacobb wrote: It's funny how christians view this. They usually come up with a silly excuse like, "the devil did it." This evidence proves without a doubt the bible is full of myths and legends. There were religions before christanity, and all of the practices and rituals mentioned in the christian faith were practiced before christanity even originated. Jesus never was.

Jesus existed between the years of 4 A.D and 34 A.D. The first gospels of John were written in 70 A.D.
Think about the time difference. 40 years went by before the first gospels were written. If jesus performed all these miracles that surprised everyone, then why didn't John write the bible during Jesus' life time?

We aren't exactly sure what happened between 34 A.D and 70 A.D, but we are sure that Jesus is a pagan myth and his character descriped in the bible is an accumulation of characters from the egyptian gods.

All of christanity is recyled version of past religions. Everything in The New Testament was already practiced, but way long before Jesus existed. There were many Egyptian gods who performed miracles, walked on water, healed the sick, claimed to be the son of god, and rose people from the dead.

Just combine all the greek and egyptian gods together, and you got Jesus.

IF jesus existed, which I highly doubt, then he was a prophet just like Muhammad and Buddah.
But he wasn't the son of any god, and he's not the only person who performed miracles and healed the sick.

The Old Testament is scientifically proven and is strongly supported by many scientist. The only part in the old testament that is doubted by science is the creation story, but everything else is scientificlly accuate.

Unfortunately for your argument, most scholars agree that John's gospel was one of the latter books of the Christian testament. Paul's writings date within 15 years of Jesus death. Most scholars argue that Mark was the earliest of the gospels. These were codified as the witnesses to Jesus life began to die. The impact of the "Christos" is seen throughout Roman history. To deny that something happened involving some historical being denies basic common sense. To each his own. By the way, who is this "we" you keep referring to? By that I mean as in "we are sure that Jesus is a pagan myth and his character descriped in the bible is an accumulation of characters from the egyptian gods." Can you site on legitimate scholar who would agree?

Let's do more research before we believe what modern people say about stuff that happened 2000 years ago. Sometimes modern people like to think that people 2000 years ago were stupid. What - you think they didn't have Egyptologists back then to say "hang on - wait a minute!", and the stories of Horus were amazingly lost until recent times for recent scientists to say "hang on - wait a minute!" ?? I don't think so.

The people 2000 years ago had the greatest chance ever (given it was current events) to debunk Christ, but they couldn't.

Horus's mother was Isis your whole argument ends there. Jesus is more like Buddah in their teachings. And here is the acount of his birth that has more to do with necrophilia than virginity.
..Horus was NOT born of a virgin at all. Indeed, one ancient Egyptian relief depicts this conception by showing his mother Isis in a falcon form, hovering over an erect phallus of a dead and prone Osiris in the Underworld (EOR, s.v. "Phallus").

Indeed, the description of the conception of Horus will show exactly the sexual elements that characterize pagan 'miracle births', as noted by the scholars earlier:

Edit 7/2: 0.9 Slight arrow fixes, added jpeg because why not.

Edit 6/26-2: Updated to 0.8.9: Condensed horizontally (Mostly stacked a few books vertically from Fulgrim- adjusted to suggestions from HeadofPR, Jareddm, insaneHoshi, Ubiquotous1984. Added anthologies reference.

Edit 6/26: Updated version to 0.8.4 & added SVG

Note: SVG lacks the cool cover photos on hover- Not sure if I can get around that. It also lacks a proper zoom function / control. This shouldn't be an issue for mobile users.

I wanted to make a chart that not only covered the entirety of the series but highlighted the important reading order of the major story arcs. I wanted a chart that was [somewhat] interactive, in that you could search, see cover images, and I wanted to include links to the wiki for each book to get a bit more info then you would from the chart. The emphasis, again was reading order for the major story arcs and eventually how they come together. it's not necessarily meant to be totally spoiler free though it does work that way. It's just not exhaustive. The overall layout is basically governed by the arcs themselves, as they relate to each other. that's basically the only thought process to layout- the only importance was readability and the least confusing sequence of arrows basically. lol.

Spent at least 20 hours putting this together, using a few different charts and a little of my own research. The charts that I drew from were good but were either not up to date and/or didn't have everything I wanted.

Now I will certainly admit I haven't even read half of these yet so please if you have corrections, post! I will fix. I still have a bit more to do, mostly in adding more of the short stories and ensuring everything is there. Also as a forewarning I'm not sure how it views and works on other resolutions, especially on phones. but it should work better than a flat jpeg that old charts were. Again, feedback welcome.

Horus Timeline - History

Horus is the god of the sky, and the son of Osiris, the creator (whose own birth was thought due to the Ogdoad). Horus became depicted as a falcon, or as a falcon-headed man, leading to Horus' name, (in Egyptian, Heru), which meant The distant one.

Horus was sometimes known as Nekheny (meaning falcon), although it has been proposed that Nekheny may have been another falcon-god, worshipped at Nekhen (city of the hawk), that became identified as Horus very early on. In this form, he was sometimes given the title Kemwer, meaning (the) great black (one), referring to the bird's color.

The family of Osiris. Osiris on a lapis lazuli pillar in the middle,
flanked by Horus on the left and Isis on the right (Louvre, Paris)

This myth has been told in various ways, but the message is aways the same - death and resurrection a metaphor for the journey of the soul in the alchemy of time.

Plutarch recounts one version of the myth surrounding the cult in which Set fooled Osiris into getting into a box, which he then shut, had sealed with lead, and threw into the Nile (sarcophagi were based on the box in this myth).

Osiris' wife, Isis, searched for his remains until she finally found him embedded in a tree trunk, which was holding up the roof of a palace in Byblos on the Phoenician coast. She managed to remove the coffin and open it, but Osiris was already dead. She used a spell she had learned from her father and brought him back to life so he could impregnate her. After they finished, he died again, so she hid his body in the desert.

Months later, she gave birth to Horus. While she was off raising him, Set had been out hunting one night, and he came across the body of Osiris. Enraged, he tore the body into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout the land. Isis gathered up all the parts of the body, less the phallus which was eaten by a fish thereafter considered taboo by the Egyptians, and bandaged them together for a proper burial. The gods were impressed by the devotion of Isis and thus resurrected Osiris as the god of the underworld. Because of his death and resurrection, Osiris is associated with the flooding and retreating of the Nile and thus with the crops along the Nile valley.

Diodorus Siculus gives another version of the myth in which Osiris is described as an ancient king who taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization, including agriculture. Osiris is murdered by his evil brother Set, whom Diodorus associates with the evil Typhon ("Typhonian Beast") of Greek mythology. Typhon divides the body into twenty six pieces which he distributes amongst his fellow conspirators in order to implicate them in the murder. Isis and Horus avenge the death of Osiris and slay Typhon. Isis recovers all the parts of Osiris body, less the phallus, and secretly buries them. She made replicas of them and distributed them to several locations which then became centres of Osiris worship.

The tale of Osiris becoming fish-like is cognate with the story the Greek shepherd god Pan becoming fish like from the waist down in the same river Nile after being attacked by Typhon . This attack was part of a generational feud in which both Zeus and Dionysus were dismembered by Typhon, in a similar manner as Osiris was by Set in Egypt.

Osiris was viewed as the one who died to save the many, who rose from the dead, the first of a long line that has significantly affected man's view of the world and expectations of an afterlife.

Scholars such as E.A. Wallis Budge have suggested possible connections or parallels of Osiris' resurrection story with those found in Christianity: "The Egyptians of every period in which they are known to us believed that Osiris was of divine origin, that he suffered death and mutilation at the hands of the powers of evil, that after a great struggle with these powers he rose again, that he became henceforth the king of the underworld and judge of the dead, and that because he had conquered death the righteous also might conquer death. In "Osiris the Christian", Egyptians found the prototype of Christ, and in the pictures and statues of Isis suckling her son Horus, they perceived the prototypes of the Virgin Mary and her child."

- Mekhenti-irry (He who has on his brow Two Eyes) - the sun and moon representing his eyes, on nights when there is no moon. In this form he was considered the god of the blind.

- Haroeris (Horus the Elder) An early form of Horus - God of light. His eyes represented the sun and moon. He was the brother of Osiris and Seth. Sometimes he was the son, or the husband of Hathor.

- Horus Behudety In the form of Horus of Edfu, he represented the midday sun. This Horus was worshipped in the western Delta and later, as his cult spread south into Upper Egypt, a cult center was established in Edfu. Horus of Edfu fights a great battle against Seth and an army of conspirators. He is pictured as a winged sun-disk or as a hawk headed lion.

- Ra-Harakhte (Horus of the two horizons) - He was identified with Ra and the daily voyage of the sun from horizon to horizon. The two deities combined to become Ra-Harakhte. He was represented as a falcon or a falcon-headed man wearing the solar disk and double crown or the uraeus and the atef crown.

- Harmakhet (Horus in the Horizon) In this form he represented the rising sun and was associated with Khepri. He was also considered to be the keeper of wisdom. He was sometimes pictured as a man with a falcon's head, or a falcon headed lion. But his most recognizable form is that of a sphinx, or as a ram-headed sphinx.

- Harsiesis (Horus son of Isis) This Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris. He was conceived magically after the death of Osiris and brought up by Isis on a floating island in the marshes of Buto. The child was weak and in constant danger from the scheming of his wicked uncle Seth, who sent serpents andmonsters to attack him. But his mother, Isis was great in themagical arts and she warded off this evil by using a spellagainst creatures biting with their mouths and stinging withtheir tails, and the young Horus survived and grew.

- Harendotes (Horus the avenger of his father)

- Har-pa-Neb-Taui (Horus Lord of the Two Lands)

- Harpokrates (The infant Horus) As a child he represented the new born sun and was often pictured being suckled by Isis. he was usually represented as a seated child, sucking his thumb, his head was shaved except for the sidelock of youth. Even as a child, he wore the royal crown and uraeus

As Horus was the son of Osiris, and god of the sky, he became closely associated with the Pharaoh of Upper Egypt (where Horus was worshipped), and became their patron. The association with the Pharaoh brought with it the idea that he was the son of Isis, in her original form, who was regarded as a deification of the Queen.

It was said that after the world was created, Horus landed on a perch, known as the djeba, which literally translates as finger, in order to rest, which consequently became considered sacred. On some occasions, Horus was referred to as lord of the djeba (i.e. lord of the perch or lord of the finger), a form in which he was especially worshipped at Buto, known as Djebauti, meaning (ones) of the djeba (the reason for the plural is not understood, and may just have been a result of Epenthesis, or Paragoge). The form of Djebauti eventually became depicted as an heron, nevertheless continuing to rest on the sacred perch.

Just as a precaution: a great deal of the following information is incorrect. For example, Isis has always been Horus' mother and never his wife. Osiris has always been Horus' father and Horus is not both Horus and Osiris. The relation between the story of Jesus and the story of Horus is the fact that Horus' story is the story of the REAL first immaculate conception.

The story goes as follows: Seth (brother of Osiris) was jealous of Osiris and fought him to the death. After he killed Osiris he cut his body up into 14 pieces and spread the pieces throughout Egypt. Isis (Osiris' wife) found out that her husband was killed and she searched egypt looking for his body parts. She found all but one (his penis) and using her magic she put his body together and buried him, during the process of putting him back together she became impregnated with her son Horus. She gave birth to Horus who became the god of the sky and later avenged his fathers death by killing his uncle Seth.

Since Horus was said to be the sky, it was natural that he was rapidly considered to also contain the sun and moon. It became said that the sun was one of his eyes and the moon the other, and that they traversed the sky when he, a falcon, flew across it. Thus he became known as Harmerty - Horus of two eyes.

Later, the reason that the moon was not as bright as the sun was explained by a tale, known as the contestings of Horus and Set, originating as a metaphor for the conquest of Lower Egypt by Upper Egypt in about 3000BC. In this tale, it was said that Set, the patron of Lower Egypt, and Horus, the patron of Upper Egypt, had battled for Egypt brutally, with neither side victorious, until eventually the gods sided with Horus.

As Horus was the ultimate victor he became known as Harsiesis (Heru-ur, and Har-Wer, in Egyptian), meaning Horus the Great, but more usually translated as Horus the Elder. Meanwhile, in the struggle, Set had lost a testicle, explaining why the desert, which Set represented is infertile.

Horus' right eye had also been gouged out, which explained why the moon, which it represented, was so weak compared to the sun. It was also said that during a new-moon, Horus had become blinded and was titled Mekhenty-er-irty (he who has no eyes), while when the moon became visible again, he was re-titled Khenty-irty (he who has eyes).

While blind, it was considered that Horus was quite dangerous, sometimes attacking his friends after mistaking them for enemies.

Ultimately, as another sun god, Horus became identified with Ra as Ra-Herakhty, literally Ra, who is Horus of the two horizons. However, this identification proved to be awkward, for it made Ra the son of Hathor, and therefore a created being rather than the creator.

And, even worse, it made Ra into Horus, who was the son of Ra, i.e. it made Ra his own son and father, in a standard sexually-reproductive manner, an idea that would not be considered comprehensible until the hellenic era. Consequently Ra and Horus never completely merged into a single falcon-headed sun god.

Nevertheless the idea of making the identification persisted, and Ra continued to be depicted as falcon-headed. Likewise, as Ra-Herakhty, in an allusion to the Ogdoad creation myth, Horus was occasionally shown in art as a naked boy, with a finger in his mouth, sitting on a lotus with his mother.

In the form of a youth, Horus was referred to as Neferhor (also spelt Nefer Hor, Nephoros, and Nopheros), which, in the Egyptian language, means beautiful Horus (i.e. youthful Horus).In an attempt to resolve the conflict, Ra-Herakhty was occasionally said to be married to Iusaaset, which was technically his own shadow, having previously been Atum's shadow, before Atum was identified as Ra, in the form Atum-Ra, and thus of Ra-Herakhty when Ra was also identified as a form of Horus.

In the version of the Ogdoad creation myth used by the Thoth cult, Thoth created Ra-Herakhty, via an egg, and so was said to be the father of Neferhor.

During the overthrow of the hated Hyksos, foreign rulers over Egypt, Set became demonized by the nationalistic fervour, as he had been chosen by the Hyksos as their favorite god. The previous brief enmity between Set and Horus, in which Horus had ripped off one of Set's testicles, was revitalized as a tale representing the conquest over the Hyksos. Since by this time, Set was considered to have been gay, Set is depicted as trying to prove his dominance, by seducing Horus (with the line how lovely your backside is) and then having intercrural intercourse with him, in which Set takes the top role. However, Horus places his hand between his thighs and catches Set's semen, then subsequently cut the hand off, throwing it in the river, so that he may not be said to have been inseminated by Set.

Subsequently, Horus secretly masturbates, and deliberately spreads his own semen on some lettuce, which was Set's favourite food (the Egyptians thought that lettuce was phallic, since Egyptian lettuce was hard, long, and released a milk substance when rubbed). After Set has eaten the lettuce, they go to the gods to try to settle the argument over the rule of Egypt. The gods first listen to Set's claim of dominance over Horus, and call his semen forth, but it answers from the river, invalidating his claim. Then, the gods listen to Horus' claim of having dominated Set, and call his semen forth, and it answers from inside Set. In consequence, Horus is declared the ruler of Egypt.

When Ra assimilated Atum into Atum-Ra, Horus became considered part of what had been the Ennead. Since Atum had had no wife, having produced his children by masturbating, Hathor was easily inserted as the mother of the previously motherless subsequent generation of children.

However, Horus did not fit in so easily, since if he was identified as the son of Hathor and Atum-Ra, in the Ennead, he would then be the brother of the primordial air and moisture, and the uncle of the sky and earth, between which there was initially nothing, which was not very consistent with him being the sun.

Instead, he was made the brother of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys, as this was the only plausible level at which he could meaningfully rule over the sun, and over the Pharaoh's kingdom. It was in this form that he was worshipped at Behdet as Har-Behedti (also abbreviated Bebti).

Since Horus had become more and more identified with the sun, since his identification as Ra, his identification as also the moon suffered, so it was possible for the rise of other moon gods, without complicating the system of belief too much. Consequently, Chons became the moon god.

Thoth, who had also been the moon god, became much more associated with secondary mythological aspects of the moon, such as wisdom, healing, and peace making. When the cult of Thoth arose in power, Thoth was retroactively inserted into the earlier myths, making Thoth the one whose magic caused Set and Horus' semen to respond, in the tale of the contestings of Set and Horus, for example.

Thoth's priests went on to explain how it was that there were 5 children of Geb and Nuit. They said that Thoth had prophecied the birth of a great king of the gods, and so Ra, afraid of being usurped, had cursed Nuit with not being able to give birth at any point in the year.

In order to remove this curse, Thoth proceeded to gamble with Chons, winning 1/72nd of moonlight from him. Prior to this time in Egyptian history, the calendar had had 360 days, and so 1/72 of moonlight each day corresponded to 5 extra days, and so the tale states that Nuit was able to give birth on each of these extra days, having 5 children.

The Egyptian calendar was reformed around this time, and gained the 5 extra days, which, by coincidence, meant that this could be used to explain the 5 children of Nuit.

When Isis became identified as Hathor (i.e. Isis-Hathor), Isis became the mother of Horus, rather than his wife, and so, in his place, as Isis had become regarded as one of the Ennead, she was seen as the wife of Osiris. However, it had to be explained how Osiris, who as god of the dead, was dead, could be considered a father to Horus who was very much not considered dead. This led to the evolution of the idea that Osiris needed to be resurrected, and so to the Legend of Osiris and Isis, a myth so significant that everything else paled in comparison.

As the son of Isis, Horus was referred to as Har-sa-Iset (Harsiesis in Greek), literally meaning Horus, son of Isis. There were also titles that differentiated between this form of Horus as an adult, and him as a child, specifically, Harpocrates (Har-Pa-Khered in Egyptian), meaning Horus the child, and Har-nedj-itef, meaning Horus, saviour of his father, i.e. a reference to Horus' actions against Set once Horus had become an adult.

Since he had been the son of Hathor, a fertility goddess, the idea that a major event about Horus was when he was a child, Horus sometimes depicted as a fertility god, holding a cornucopia, although it was much more common for him to be shown as being nursed by Isis (more accurately Isis-Hathor, who was depicted as Isis, but with Hathor's horns).

In the New Kingdom, Anhur, a war god, gained the title Saviour, due to the feelings of the benefits of going to war to assert your own freedom, and so he became conflated with Horus, who shared both these characteristics, as the warrior against Set, with the title Saviour of his father.

The identification of Anhur as Horus, referred to as Horus-Anhur, was given a new name during the Egyptian period of dominance over Nubia, when the kushites named him as Arensnuphis (also Arsnuphis, Harensnuphis), Ari-hes-nefer in Egyptian, meaning something along the lines of Horus of the beautiful house.In a certain few areas, Horus was identified as the son of Banebdjed, who was an obscure version of Osiris, technically his Ba, worshipped in Mendes, and consequently also the son of Hatmehit, the local chief goddess of Mendes who had become considered Osiris' wife.

Horus became very popular during the time of the Roman Empire, in his form as a child, where he was depicted riding a goose or ram (symbols of Thoth and Banebdjed respectively).Since Horus was sometimes identified as Ra, Isis assimilated the mythos of Neith, Ra's mother.

Consequently, Horus sometimes took on the aspects of the tale that Ra exhibited, to have been the son of Neith, who remained a virgin, as a result of Kneph's creative act of breathing Horus' life into her via an ankh. Kneph was connected to the Ba, and became identified with Banebdjed, both being depicted as ram-headed, and consequently this tale became viewed as Osiris, the most important god (at this time), causing Isis to become pregnant, while she still remained a virgin, by breathing Horus' soul into her.

Since Horus, as the son of Osiris, was only in existence after Osiris's death, and because Horus, in his earlier guise, was the husband of Isis, the difference between Horus and Osiris blurred, and so, after a few centuries, it came to be said that Horus was the resurrected form of Osiris. Likewise, as the form of Horus before his death and resurrection, Osiris, who had already become considered a form of creator when belief about Osiris assimilated that about Ptah-Seker, also became considered to be the only creator, since Horus had gained these aspects of Ra.

Eventually, in the Hellenic period, Horus was, in some locations, identified completely as Osiris, and became his own father, since this concept was not so disturbing to Greek philosophy as it had been to that of ancient Egypt.

In this form, Horus was sometimes known as Heru-sema-tawy, meaning Horus, uniter of two lands, since Horus ruled over the land of the dead, and that of the living. Since the tale became one of Horus' own death and rebirth, which happened partly due to his own actions, he became a life-death-rebirth deity.

In the time of Christ the term "son of god" had come to mean the bearer of this title was the father god himself as well as his own son incarnated on earth. Horus was Osiris the father who incarnated as Horus the son.By assimilating Hathor, who had herself assimilated Bata, who was associated with music, and in particular the sistrum, Isis was likewise thought of in some areas in the same manner.

This particularly happened amongst the groups who thought of Horus as his own father, and so Horus, in the form of the son, amongst these groups often became known as Ihy (alternately: Ihi, Ehi, Ahi, Ihu), meaning sistrum player, which allowed the confusion between the father and son to be side-stepped.

The combination of this, now rather esoteric mythology, with the philosophy of Plato, which was becoming popular on the mediterranean shores, lead to the tale becoming the basis of a mystery religion.

Many Greeks, and those of other nations, who encountered the faith, thought it so profound that they sought to create their own, modelled upon it, but using their own gods. This lead to the creation of what was effectively one religion, which was, in many places, adjusted to superficially reflect the local mythology although it substantially adjusted them.

The religion is known to modern scholars as that of Osiris-Dionysus.

A connection between Jesus and Horus-Osiris is frequently raised by critics of the historicity of Jesus, who argue that he was a mythical figure. Superficially, the death and resurrection of Horus-Osiris, and Horus' nature as both the son of Osiris and Osiris himself, appear to be a template for the idea that this occurred in Jesus.

Deeper similarities between Horus and Jesus, which are not at all obvious to those who are not completely familiar with ancient Egyptian mythology and linguistics, have been said by some to mean that certain elements of the story of Jesus were embellishments, which were copied from the Horus as syncretism. Indeed, according to a few more radical scholars, Jesus was copied from Horus wholesale, and made into a Jewish teacher. In particular, it is said that Horus is the basis for the elements assigned to the M Gospel (the bits in Matthew which are not in the Q Gospel or Mark) and the L Gospel (the bits in Luke which are not in the Q gospel or Mark), especially the infancy narratives.

The nativity sequence itself stands out for comparison with the nativity of Ra, whose mother became thought of as Neith, who had become the personification of the primal waters of the Ogdoad. As the primal waters, from which Ra arose due to the interaction of the Ogdoad, Neith was considered to have given birth whilst remaining a virgin. As the various religious groups gained and lost power in Egypt, the legend altered, and, when the cult of Thoth sought to involve themselves in the story, it was said that Thoth's wisdom (which he personified) meant that he foretold the birth of Ra to Neith. Since the later legends had other gods in existence at Ra's birth, it was said that they acknowledged Ra's authority by praising him at his birth.

Later, the tale evolved so that the god Kneph was present, who represented the breath of life, which brought new life to things. This was partly to do with the assertion, of the small cult of Kneph, that Kneph was the creator, although it was more accurate to say that Kneph was the personification of the concept of creation of life itself. As a creator, Kneph became identified as the more dominant creator deity Amun, and when Amun became Amun-Ra, so Kneph gained Hathor as a wife.

Many of the features look similar to the nativity of Jesus at first glance, such as the continued virginity, lack of father, annunciation, birth of god, and so forth, but others do not. There is much that is more subtle. Although many deities, and indeed people, were referred to as beloved, it was a title which was most frequently applied to Neith, indeed it became something of an alternative name. The word used, in this context, for beloved, is Mery in Egyptian.

Meanwhile, Kneph was said by Plutarch to have been understood by the Egyptians in the same way as the Greeks understood pneuma, meaning spirit, and so it was that Neith became pregnant by the actions of the holy spirit, like Mary does in the Christian story.

Thoth himself was identified by the Greeks, due to his association with healing, as Hermes, and consequently, in the hellenic era, Thoth was considered the messenger of the gods. This role was taken by the Archangel Michael in Jewish thought, and so if the Christians copied the tale, it would have been Michael, not Gabriel, who made the annunciation to Mary.

Much criticism of this similarity is leveled at the fact that Neith is a goddess, and not a human mother. However, Pharaohs often attributed tales of divinity to themselves, and their families, and so divine birth stories for themselves were common. Nethertheless, the tale was essentially about Neith rather than the queens of pharaohs, until that is, Amenhotep III applied it to his wife and the birth of his son, whom was consequently identified as Horus, as after the amalgamation of the gods Ra and Horus, the tale became one of Horus too. The significance of Amenhotep making the identification is both that it became a tale of the birth of Akhenaten, who left such an impression that, as the gods evolved further, the tale became remembered as being one of the birth from a human mother of a human son, who was nevertheless divine.

Archaeologists unearthed an important cemetery of god Horus, one of the ancient Egyptian trinity that comprises Osiris and Isis, and dates back to the Ptolemaic era. This is the first time a complete cemetery of the falcon shaped god Horus was unearthed. The find includes tombs in which big oval earthenware sarcophagi were found with linen-wrapped embalmed falcons inside them, some of which had gold-plated dark green and black masks covering the heads. A number of intact falcon eggs were also found, in addition to a treasure trove outside the tombs representing a scarab pushing one of these eggs forward as told by the ancient Egyptian legend of creation.

Traces of gold were found on the remains of human skeletons gathered haphazardly and also on the skulls, teeth, fingers and toes as well as an incomplete bronze statuette of god Horus in the sitting position, a group of amulets, bronze vessels and a god hat-hor-shaped pestle previously restored with lead, he noted.

Mythology and Metaphysics

The Wedjat was later called The Eye of Horus

Ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power from the Gods

Seven different hieroglyphs are used to represent the "eye" (human body parts). One is the common usage of the verb: to do, make, or perform. The other frequently used hieroglyph is the Wedjat, a sacred eye symbol that gives a mummy the ability "to see again", called the Eye of Horus after his cult rose to prominence as the son of Hathor.

When you study the mythologies of ancient civilizations, you realize they are all designed by the same geometric blueprint that follows into humanity's current timeline. In the physical we find duality on all levels, especially in the pantheons of creational forces linked to one another. We further find the pattern of creation and destruction . repeating in the cycles of time . embracing the human experience. Designing the gods and goddesses falls into the same categories of duality - good and bad - light and dark - forever seeking balance and the return to full consciousness.

Always we find Gods who came from the sky (higher frequency) and those that came from the sea of creation (collective unconsciousness). Their creation myths speak to us about a beginning and an end for Earth, giving rise to something greater. We are reaching the end of the current programmed experience. Reality is a holographic projection seen through the eye of consciousness in time. The eye is a metaphor for the place of creation through which all things emerge as consciousness and are experienced and archived as it moves to the next.

The Egyptian Pantheons of major and minor gods and goddesses follow the pattern along with animal representations that link to destruction and rebirth - birds, cats, aquatic beings who create or destroy. In truth, one soul played the roles of all the gods. That souls also played the god roles in all of the ancient civilizations as told in their creation myths.

Who they are and what they symbolize are all part of the myth, math, metaphor and magic of realities.

Horus is linked with the eye of time (Hours). He is also part of the ancient mystery school teachings - sometimes referred to as the Right Eye of Horus Mystery Schools which hold the truth about reality. These teachings were allegedly encoded by Isis and Osiris - left behind with their priests in Egypt to be passed down through the millennia until the time was right for consciousness to awaken. Many believe these are the same souls who were the priests in Atlantis. The Eye of Horus and the Eye of Ra or God are one and the same.

  • 1: Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness, pg. 243
  • 2: Horus Heresy (Artbook Series)
    • 2a: pgs. 46–54
    • 2b: pg. 111
    • 2c: pg. 158
    • 2d: pg. 306
    • 2e: pgs. 362–375
    • 2f: pgs. 342-343
    • 17a: Chapters 1-2
    • 17b: Chapters 17–19
    • 18a: Codex Astartes
    • 30a: Chapter 1.05, pg. 113
    • 30b: Chapter 3.03, pg. 355


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