"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."
- – Joseph Campbell
"Was there ever another Guardian so beloved by the people?"
- – Paean, of Saint 14, Destiny
"My good blade carves the casques of men,
My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure."
- – Sir Galahad, Tennyson
Sanguinius (also known as Papa Sang, Fabulous Fucking Hawk-Boy, Definitely Not Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Primarch Fabulous) was (and that 'was' is quite significant) the Primarch of the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter. He was notable for the fuckhueg angel-like wings that mutated out of his back during his childhood on his home planet, Baal, as well as his heroic deeds during the Great Crusade. Unfortunately, Sanguinius was slain by Horus during his eponymous Heresy, though it is widely believed that it was Sanguinius' weakening of the Arch-Traitor which made it possible for the Emperor to shut Horus's big, stupid, heresy-spewing mouth once and for all, and thus save mankind from the clutches of Chaos.
Like the rest of the Primarchs, Sanguinius was bio-engineered on Terra to serve as a general in the Emperor's armies, and was stolen in his infancy and carried away across the galaxy by daemonic agents of Chaos in an attempt to foil the Emperor's efforts to unite humanity. Landing on Baal, he was found by the Folk of the Blood, a local tribe who raised him to manhood. They were going to kill him for being a mutant, but when it became clear that Sanguinius was a badass warrior-prodigy the likes of which they'd never seen, they decided he was worth keeping. After all, Sanguinius was actually a pretty nice guy for 40k, and he was pretty handy at fighting off those other mutants that kept attacking them from Baal's radioactive deserts, which he could walk through without any protection. As such, Sanguinius quickly ascended as a leader among the tribes of Baal and drove back the hordes of mutants threatening their hold on the world, eventually attaining a near god-like status among the planet's denizens.
After the Emperor found Baal and bade Sanguinius to assume his rightful place among his armies, Sanguinius wept a single tear of joy because he's manly enough to be in touch with his feelings, and bowed before the Emperor. (Of the canonical Space Marines, his chapter is to this day one of the most batshit-loyal to the Emperor himself.) The greatest of Sanguinius' tribal warriors were extended the honor of joining the Adeptus Astartes, and were thereafter implanted with the gene-seed drawn from Sanguinius' genome. These men became the first members of the ninth Space Marine legion to be founded, and the Blood Angels were born.
The Great Crusade
Joining the Great Crusade, Sanguinius became best buds with fellow Primarchs Horus, Roboute Guilliman, Magnus the Red, Jaghatai Khan and Rogal Dorn. Ironically (and later, tragically), his friendship with Horus is said to have been closer than that of any of the other Primarchs. Which, this being Warhammer, went straight to hell when the Horus Heresy started. He was easily the most fabulous of all the Emperor's generals (SUCK IT FULGRIM); he wore a glowing, ornate set of golden artificer armor adorned with huge rubies which represented Terra, Baal, and Baal's moons, and his magnificent white wings would spread behind him as he took to the skies of the battlefield. At the same time, he gave the impression that he'd be happy to cast off his finery, whereas Fulgrim would rather die. Basically, in Sanguinius' case, Geedubs abandoned all pretense of being subtle about the whole "the Emperor is God, the primarchs are the archangels, and Horus is Lucifer" thing—like, to the point that Sanguinius became known simply as "The Angel" among the armies of mankind.
He did some pretty cool shit during the Crusade too, at one point taking on an entire blood-mad Eldar Craftworld with a third of his Legion. Admittedly it was a struggle - the Craftworld fielded Wraiths in large numbers - and had to deploy the Ordo Sinister psy-Titans after massive Eldar Wraith machines destroyed his Legio Fureans allies, but still, Sanguinius managed to tear the head off one of the walkers. Not a sparkly, feathery man to fuck with.
Though not first in favor among the Emprah's Primarchs (that position belonged to Horus, pre-heresy), or the biggest psychic powerhouse, or the best at empire-building, or even the one who looked most like Dad, Sanguinius was said to have the best blend of the Big E's attributes (which, considering the fact that space marines are a toned-down version of their primarchs, may imply the Blood Angels are the most similar to the Emperor). While a lot of the Space Marine legions and their generals fought in the Great Crusade just for the sake of glory and a good battle, Sanguinius and his Blood Angels fought for what the Emperor himself did: a better galaxy, a peaceful galaxy, one where humanity would be united, happy, and prosperous. During the Crusade, the Blood Angels formed a friendly rivalry with the World Eaters legion (yet another relationship the Horus Heresy would royally buttfuck), because both were noted for being assault-oriented shock troops; however, while the World Eaters were straight-up lunatics in combat, the Blood Angels' ferocity was mitigated when it needed to be by Sanguinius' wisdom.
Also, everyone loved the guy. Even at the depths of his heresy, even Horus wished Sanguinius was one of his generals. And he was a good guy who isn't afraid of anything.
Signus Prime and Ka'Bandha
At one point during the Great Crusade, Sanguinius and the Blood Angels were tasked by Warmaster Horus with reclaiming the Signus Cluster from a supposed xenos infestation and liberating the humans there from their oppressors. However, when they arrived, they found that the entire system had been consumed by the evil influence of the Chaos Gods, and specifically a Keeper of Secrets calling itself Kyriss the Perverse. This was actually a trap set by Horus in an attempt to eliminate Sanguinius early on, because he feared him more than any of his other fellow Primarchs as he was nearly his equal in both combat and commanding. Also this was after Horus's corruption and Sanguinius was not aware of the Isstvan conflicts at the time. Long story short, the Blood Angels were stranded in-system, caught off guard, and lost a lot of Marines, ships, and crew, but eventually regrouped and conquered the armies of cultists and Chaos daemons in the Signus system. Kyriss even manifested on the bridge of the Red Tear, the Blood Angels flagship, from the frames of eight servitors, to taunt Sanguinius. This was also Horus's first true defeat, as there was no benefit gained from the campaign.
But a greater threat soon emerged: Ka'bandha, a powerful Bloodthirster and one of Khorne's greatest servants. He attacked the Blood Angels while taunting Sanguinius in the middle of the battle and claimed that Horus had betrayed him. Refusing to believe this, Sanguinius attacked in rage, and managed to stab his sword right into the daemon's chest and wound him severely. Ka'bandha roared in pain and lashed out with his whip, ensnaring Sanguinius' legs and crushing them. Then, leaving Sanguinius alive for some reason, Ka'Bandha charged off to slay a few hundred Blood Angels. The Red Thirst, already a problem for the Blood Angels, was exacerbated by the psychic shockwaves of each of his sons dying, and Sanguinius vowed that he would take vengeance on Ka'bandha for this atrocity. In the Chaos temple at the centre of the battle, Sanguinius duelled Ka'Bandha again, ripping off a wing and then throwing him off a platform and back through a portal into the realm of Chaos. To top it off, Sanguinius then faced Kyriss and beheaded that sick fuck, promptly ending his rule and Chaos' hold on the system.
During the later Horus Heresy
"Blade with whom I have lived, blade with whom I now die,
serve right and justice one last time, seek one last heart of evil,
still one last life of pain. Cut well, old friend, and then farewell."
- – Sir Orin Neville Smythe
After Signus Prime, the majority of the Blood Angels found themselves on the wrong side of the Ruinstorm. Drawn to Macragge by the Pharos, Sanguinius learned that his brothers Guilliman and the Lion were trying to set the beginnings of a second Imperium. Sanguinius reluctantly accepted the premise, and was instated as the Emperor of the Imperium Secundus. Being Emperor didn't sit easily with him, and much of the day-to-day ruling was done by Guilliman and the Lion. After Curze paid him a nasty visit / scrying competition, the Angel demanded more oversight into the affairs of the new Empire. When Curze was finally captured, all three members of the Imperial Triumvirate realised that Terra had not yet fallen, but that Sanguinius would be doomed to die by Horus's hand.
With the help of the Dark Angels and the Ultramarines, the Blood Angels were able to make it back to Terra in the closing days of the Horus Heresy to defend it from the traitor legions and their daemonic allies. Sanguinius and his legion led the defense of the Imperial Palace itself when the forces of Chaos closed in around it, and the Primarch slew innumerable daemons, traitors and other assorted scum in the process. Fortunately for Sanguinius, Ka'Bandha also turned up during the battle, and the two went at it again rather majestically atop the Eternity Gate to the Emperor's throne room. Not to be beaten again, Sanguinius managed to SNAP KA'BANDHA'S SPINE OVER HIS MOTHERFUCKING KNEE and hurled the bastard's corpse back into the throng of Chaos filth below, and the Blood Angels who had died by the Bloodthirster's hand were thus avenged in the most spectacularly badass of ways.
But this is Warhammer 40,000, and noblebright doesn't last very long against grimdark, even when it's badass noblebright. Eventually, the Big E himself, along with Sanguinius, Rogal Dorn, Rogal Dorn's mustache, and a contingent of their respective Marines, launched a last-ditch assault against Horus, teleporting aboard his battle barge and taking the fight to the Warmaster himself. As fighting broke out across the capital ship, Sanguinius got sequestered from the rest of the assault party, and when he found Horus, he was alone. Horus, perhaps out of some small, lingering sense of brotherhood with Sanguinius, offered his former friend, for the final time, a chance to turn to Chaos. But Sanguinius said "NEVAH!" and the two Primarchs proceeded to battle for the fate of mankind. Though Sanguinius was one of the most powerful of the Primarchs, he was wounded and wearied from the fight on Terra and already at a disadvantage, and Horus had been granted terrible power by the gods of Chaos to boot. Horus therefore slew Sanguinius so hard that it psychically traumatized the Blood Angels for ages to come, and the Black Rage became the (almost) inescapable mental scourge it is on the chapter today.
The Angel had in truth already foreseen his death at the hands of Horus, and knew what it would mean for his sons. However, he accepted that his sacrifice was necessary to preserve his father's works in the long run and took solace in the fact that the Blood Angels would continue to follow in his footsteps even as they grappled with the Black Rage. Moreover, via the temptations of chaos he endured with his brothers in the Ruinstorm--he found that the false hope he had been given, namely that he could survive the end of the Horus Heresy and even triumph, but learned it would come with a terrible cost. He would gain power from Chaos and slay Horus and save his sons from the curse to come--as a Greater Daemon of Chaos Undivided made mention that Horus had become an imperfect vessel and that papa-Sang was to take his place as the Angel of Ruin. So in a nutshell it's The Last Temptation of Sanguinius, but with less Willem Defoe. Naturally space vampire Jesus didn't take the daemon up on the offer and fought his way through a daemon throng until he pinned the daemon halfway through the materium and the warp. In his mind a last defiant act, choosing to neither be slain by Horus or choose chaos, but to die holding the daemon in between the rift to the warp so his Brother-Primarchs could Orbitally Bombard Davin into dust. Unfortunately through vision he realized that the Black Rage would be inevitable, as the proto-rage had filled him by that point, its origins being explained as the violent hatred and rage at the Betrayal of Horus against him and the Emprah, and the sheer pain of his death, existing in the past and future as it resonated through time--and the grief of the death he hadn't experienced yet. Timey Wimey bullshit shenanigans aside, if the Jesus metaphors weren't strong enough Sanguinius' Herald stepped up to the plate and planted his sword in the Daemon's spine and held it there so Sanguinius wouldn't have to die there. And with that last act the flickers of hope that had died in Sanguinius rekindled and witnessed the miracle of a new Angel coming into being. The Herald was empowered by the warp, glowing a radiant gold with the outline of wings springing from his shoulders as he became in the Primarch's own words the "Son of my hope". Explaining the origins of one of the Blood Angel's specialest of snowflakes, making him a Draigo/Celestine-esque Daemon Prince of Sanguinius. That sound you're hearing is the noise of every Puritan Inquisitor's blood-vessels bursting in their eyes.
On a positive, because of the Triumvirate of Primarch's success on Davin the Ruinstorm abated revealing a straight shot to Terra, on a negative, Horus had left a massive fleet to protect the way there (how he knew that THAT place would be the way that opened for them is a bit of a mystery) and all tactical scenarios concluded that if they tried to engage them simultaneously they would only be mired down so that none of them could reach Terra. So the Primarchs decided to split up, taking a page out of the Codex of Brother Vincentius Lombardius, they would split the defense and rush the goal: Guilliman using the sheer bulk of his larger fleet to engage the traitors while the Lion fell back and attacked the traitor Legion's homeworlds, burning them with extreme prejudice, while the Blood Angels hung back long enough for Guilliman to break the bulk of the armada and the Lion to draw away and contend with the forces that splintered away as he burnt their homes, giving us a nice tidy bow of exactly where the hell the other primarchs were when shit happened. As Sanguinius corroborated his visions with Curze, he felt that he had come across a revelation - hence the need for his Legion to be the ones to reach Terra. He may have been fated to perish at the hands of Horus, but even if destiny was set, the consequence could be altered. He would fight and die, but his sacrifice would allow the Imperium to persist. He let Curze in on this, letting him in on the razor-thin hope of the future's mutability; he said he could take the Night Haunter to the Emperor, and that the Big-E could do something Konrad had never thought of exploring: he could forgive him. Just as a spark of hope entered his eyes, Sanguinius promised that he wouldn't allow that for Curze, that he would freeze Curze in stasis and jettison the pod, preserving him for millennia if necessary, and that Konrad Curze had no fucking chance of outrunning or changing his future death, terrifying 40k batman so hard he'd probably be locked in an eternity of despair as he's frozen in stasis.
Good is not nice, indeed.
Iskandar Khayon revealed an interesting fact about the Vengeful Spirit, after letting himself be captured. Apparently, those who died aboard it during the Siege of Terra had echoes of themselves bound to the ship, manifesting as crystal statues that let you experience a part of their death if you touched them.
Although Sanguinius lost to Horus, it is widely believed that the Emperor would not have been able to destroy Horus afterwards were it not for the chink that Sanguinius put in Horus' armour. And it is also widely agreed that if Horus hadn't come to save his legion's ass that day on Terra, it would have been ground out of existence by Sanguinius and the Blood Angels. Lastly, it is also agreed that Sanguinius was tired after several days of fighting (he defied fucking Daemon primarch Angron on the battlements!), is already bleeding and wounded (as shown by Ruinstorm) and if he had been totally refreshed, Horus would have had a lot more than just a chink in his armour. However, in the Horus Heresy Collected Visions, it details the battle between the Emperor and Horus, and makes it clear that the main reason Big E didn't kill him immediately is because he thought he might be able to save him…a hope which was dashed as soon as he saw Sanguinius' body. However, in Visions of Heresy, Big E still held back, even after seeing Sanguinius' body. It wasn't until the Emperor was mortally wounded on the floor that this changed. It says that as he's lying, waiting for the final blow, a certain adamantium-balled Imperial Guardsman (exemplifying everything it means to be one) appears and rushes toward him, Horus contemptuously kills the Guardsman without barely an effort, laughing maniacally as he did so. It was this utter contempt for taking a life which FINALLY made the Emperor realise there was no saving his son.
In short, if Horus is Lucifer and The Emprah is God, then Sanguinius is Jesus. Sanguinius died for your sins…just like Optimus Prime does on a daily basis.
Sanguinius also bears the distinction of being one of the few Primarchs (alongside Horus, Ferrus Manus, Leman Russ, and Roboute Guilliman) who were capable of lasting a little more than 3 seconds against Angron, who had Sanguinius's strength, but was much quicker to go all-out. It should also be noted that, unlike his brothers, who each embodied one of the Emperor's traits (Roboute Guilliman was his strategy, Angron was his ferocity, etc.), Sanguinius was the embodiment of the Emperor as a whole. So, you could argue that the Blood Angels are the Astartes closest to the Emperor (suck it, ultrasmurfs).
In the 41st millennium, Sanguinius is the Primarch most beloved by the Imperium for his heroic sacrifice (despite what he who shall not be named would say about our Spiritual Liege), and is a hero of the Imperial Cult. Across the Imperium a celebration called the Sanguinala is held in his honor, where adepts wear the iconography of the Blood Angels. A festival dedicated to Leman Russ would have been a better party, but would also have involved more property damage and alcohol-related deaths. Also, apparently, Reclusiarch Grimaldus is not a huge fan of it.
The mysterious entity known as the Sanguinor is believed to be the incarnation of Sanguinius' better nature, or the first Sanguinary Guard Herald Azkaellon, miraculously preserved through time. Its actual origin, though, is far more mundane: when Sanguinius was named Emperor of Guilliman's Imperium Secundus, he and Azkaellon invented the figure who could act as Sanguinius' public face and deal with petitioners, whilst Sanguinius himself could be elsewhere, you know...dealing with stuff. In modern 40k, outside of perhaps the Sanguinary Guard themselves, the only "living" person confirmed to know the truth is the Lion, but he's in no position to tell anyone. But since nobody else in the 41st millennium is entirely certain of the truth, it's getting the Inquisition's panties in a bunch. A good thing, too, since Sanguinius' original position of proxy-Emperor was a teensie bit heretical. But whether or not the modern and original Sanguinor are the same person, something warpy had to happen since then, since the Sanguinor pops in and out of the immaterium, Legion of the Damned style.
It is a well-known fact that every female (human, xenos, and daemonette) in the the whole grimdark galaxy wants Sanguinius sexually, as well as most males, including
Khorne WHO THE FUCK SAID THAT?! and Slaanesh. Many Sororitas (and some Astartes) cry themselves to sleep at the knowledge that they won't ever be able to hold his beautiful golden mane as he slays their quivering love pudding with his mighty, throbbing, enormous power sword.
A recent flub on Twitch TV has revealed that Sanguinius may actually not be dead after all, but rather in Stasis... God damn it GW!! Actually they meant to say his model would be released for Horus Heresy along with the rest of the Primarchs who still don't have models.
Take note, this article contains a considerably smaller amount of the usual humor found on this wiki. That's just how revered Sanguinius is. People don't like joking about him.
As is the nature of the shifting turbulent cluster-fuckery that is Warhammer 40k lore, in a strange turn of events, Primarch Sanguinius is also the only
Primarch Human being? that has garnered the respect of Szarekh, the Silent King of the Necrons. That's right, the King of a 60-million-year-old race of space zombie-robot Egyptians that hates all life and views all other civilizations as inferior beings to be completely wiped out and almost harvested the entire galaxy seems to regard Sanguinius with a degree of deference.
|The Primarchs of the Space Marine Legions|
| Loyalist |
Corvus Corax - Ferrus Manus - Jaghatai Khan
Lion El'Jonson - Leman Russ - Roboute Guilliman
Rogal Dorn - Sanguinius - Vulkan
| Traitor |
Alpharius/Omegon - Angron - Fulgrim
Horus - Konrad Curze/Night Haunter - Lorgar
Magnus the Red - Mortarion - Perturabo