|Battle Cry||"Courage and Honour!" and "We March for Macragge!"|
|Successor Chapters||Roughly 65% of all Chapters.|
|Chapter Master||Marneus Calgar|
|Strength||Exactly 1000 Marines|
|Specialty||Jack of All Trades|
|Colours||Blue, white & gold|
"What else, then, is all history, but the praise of Rome?"
"Our presence remakes the past"
-the Banner of Macragge
The Ultramarines are a chapter of Space Marines, probably the most famous and well-known (both within the Warhammer 40,000 universe and without). Games Workshop considers the Ultramarines their chapter of choice, and the Ultramarines represent the standard upon which most other Space Marine chapters are based. Why Games Workshop would want a Space Marine chapter whose symbol is a
toilet seat upside down Omega (℧) is beyond us. Maybe Rick Priestley was a Colts fan, who knows? Despite what canon has been trying to imply lately (see the intro to the CGI failmovie), the Ultramarines are not named so because they are 'ultra', as in, superior, 'marines'. Nope, they're called that because their Home sector is Ultramar, and the armour is ultramarine, which is a shade of blue. They have an easily recognizable blue-with-gold-trim colour scheme that's totally not like any other legion (technically that's only the second company but who ever heard of an ultramarine player not painting his army blue and gold) - the blue colouration, coupled with the small size of the minis, has lead them to be nicknamed "Smurfs" by some. The Ultramarines, perhaps more than any other imperial faction, draw inspiration from ancient Rome.
A squad of Tactical Smurfs are the protagonists of the 40k-based movie not so coincidentally titled "Ultramarines".
The Ultramarine's central concept is that of a well drilled, immaculate army of warrior-monks who executed their duty with professionalism and competence. "By the book, no mistakes," is essentially the Ultramarine way, more so than most other Chapters. Even before they had reunited with their Primarch, it had been noted that the XIIIth Legion was strongly inclined towards the adoption of carefully thought out battle plans, an established chain of command, and an aversion to inflicting collateral damage. These tendencies was intensified further by their extensive study and practice of the Codex Astartes, which cover a very broad range of battlefield situations and doctrine to live by. Thanks to each and every one of them training and living by it, their companies operate like a smoothly functioning combat machine with every unit functionally interlocking with every other. However, as much as this by-the-book discipline was their strength, it is often also, like the real life ancient roman army, their weakness, since the few situations that the Codex Astartes did not prepare them for tended to catch them flat-footed, lacking the flexibility to properly respond. The initial Tyranid invasion was one such situation, where they got their asses handed to them, until they managed to adapt and developed the Tyrannic War Veterans.
The Primarch of the Ultramarines is Robot Girlyman, aka Roboute Guilliman, and it was he who wrote the (in?)famous Codex Astartes after the events of the Horus Heresy, prescribing each Space Marine chapter to a mere thousand warriors to ensure that no one man would ever command the loyalty of an entire Space Marine legion again. At least, that was the plan, but Roboute Guilliman himself never got to see it come to light, as he was mortally wounded by a poisonous attack from his bro, the Traitor Primarch Fulgrim, and he has been kept in stasis by the Ultramarines for thousands of years, where many claim that his wound is slowly healing.
The Ultramarines base their ideals upon the teachings of Roboute Guilliman, who ended up on a neo-Roman planet and soon adopted their way of thinking. They believe in individual strength to strengthen the whole (and not for the betterment of one self), and in following the rules, however strict they might be - This way, they strive to maintain order both towards their attacks on their enemies and in management of the Chapter itself. Courage is, naturally, also a big thing to them, since it goes with the idea of the individual working to better the whole. All this means that the Ultramarines are very, very good at doing their job, as long as they are prepared for it and works alongside the rest of their Chapter, but tend to be completely stumped when a situation, which their planning and reasoning can't immediately deal with, comes up.
The Ultramarines are also very infamous for disregarding much of the Imperium in favour of their own worlds, the 500 (or so) worlds of Ultramar. This has garnered much hate from in-universe factions, who don't like how they essentially go "Screw you guys, we'll just make our own, sort of working empire!", but many elegen/tg/entlemen dislike this as well, since it sort of makes the Ultries seem they know better than the rest of the Imperium, while still being lauded as being some of the most honourable Chapters in the entire galaxy. Remember: The Space Wolves are seen as mindless savages by many upper-class citizens, since they don't follow the rules and sumsuch. The Ultramarines are seen as honorable warriors of the Imperium, and they've created their own mini-state. Figures, Ultramar is actually quite a decent place when you check the other option, what with for once having a meritocratic structure.
Many, but not all, of the other Space Marine legions adopted the Codex and split up into multitudes of smaller chapters, and most Space Marine chapters today follow the practices found within it, although some like the Space Wolves and the Black Templars have refrained from implementing it. Few are as rigid in pursuing the use of the Codex as the Ultramarines, though. Where most other Chapters like the Imperial Fists and Raven Guard looks to it for guidance when encountering unfamiliar situations, the Ultramarines see the Codex as a sort of "holy book" and follow its instructions to the letter. Ironically, Guilliman himself believed this to be misguided and noted that the Codex was never meant to replace the ability to act on one's own judgments.
Because they are the poster-boys for Space Marines, they are perhaps the most famous Chapter in the general 40k fandom, but are widely hated by many denizens of /tg/. This may initially have been due to their popularity - the Space Marines in general suffer something of a backlash from fa/tg/uys because of their overwhelming popularity with the annoying young children that infest the hobby, and the Ultramarines are the most popular of them all - but of recent editions the blatant favouritism displayed by certain Games Workshop writers towards the Chapter have earned them considerable ire, especially from fans of other Space Marine chapters that get slagged off in the process. This is mainly the fault of Matthew Ward's 5th edition Space Marine Codex, which explicitly claimed that the Ultramarines were superior to all other Space Marines (In 2nd edition it was explicitly stated.) and was not helped by Ward's own poor fluff-writing skills (see Quotes below). However, more recent fluff has served to bring the Smurfs back to their "Space Roman" roots, making them far less objectionable than they were in the past. Forge World's Horus Heresy line has been particularly kind to them, giving them a variety of stylish Heresy-era gear, all of them with that "The Glory That Was Rome" vibe.
First Edition History
|This article or section is about something oldschool - and awesome.|
Make sure your rose-tinted glasses are on nice and tight, and prepare for a lovely walk down nostalgia lane.
Back in the first edition of Warhammer 40,000, in an article co-written by Rick Priestley. The XIIIth Legion were actually traitors and were banished to the Eye of Terror along with the other traitor legions. The modern day 40k Ultramarines were established on new years day 001.M32, which would make them a Third Founding chapter. They received all of the gene-"sperm" & implants, rituals and paraphernalia of the original legion.
Not only that, they only received lordship over the world of Macragge AFTER the First Tyrannic War. And though they did have different names for all of their company captains and command staff, they were/are still commanded by a man named Marneus Calgar.
The implications of this would be startling if we use the "everything is canon, but not necessarily true" stance that GW has adopted when regarding fluff inconsistencies. Hinting that Guilliman's marines were heretics and traitors and were eventually banished from the Imperium.
However, attempting to reconcile this old origin story with "modern" Ultramarines is extremely difficult, we can only coherently insert it into the current state of play if we assume there is a second chapter out there called the "Ultra-Marines" with a chapter master and homeworld of the same name and the same level of involvement with the Tyrannic Wars. Though what completely knocks this old fluff out is that it also has possession of the body of Roboute Guilliman so it has to be a retcon though it still opens the door to conspiracy theories or that Marneus Calgar is in command of multiple Chapters. Or more likely, it's just old fluff which went the way of the Squats after Rogue Trader.
- Marneus Calgar, the current Chapter Master of the Ultramarines. His accomplishments include being thoroughly ripped apart by the Swarmlord (by that we mean all his limbs, a large portion of his body and his eye), single handedly holding off an Ork Waaagh! for 9 days all by himself and killing a Daemon Prince with only a squad of Terminators by stabbing him with a
warp-touched daggerAn Anathame shard named "The Shard of Erebus". However, his crowning moment is his defeat of an Eldar Avatar of Khaine in 1 vs 1, hand-to-hand combat, which is typically killed by the same effort it takes to kill a Khornate Bloodthirster - never mind that the thing is made of molten metal and over three times his size. He also had a rematch with the Swarmlord and won.
- Severus Agemman, captain of the Ultramarines First Company. He was Captain of the Second Company, and Sicarius commanding officer before being promoted after the First Tyrannic War. There isn't much fluff about him besides being overshadowed by his former subordinate Sicarius. As first Company Captain he's Calgar's appointed successor, however much of the chapter thinks it will be Sicarius instead of him. Agemman is aware of this possibility and isn't very happy about it.
- Cato Sicarius, the captain of the Ultramarines Second Company, is kind of a glory hog, but he's arguably earned his right to be a braggart through his skill at arms.
- Uriel Ventris is the captain of the Ultramarines Fourth Company and the main character of Graham McNeil's Ultramarines novel series. Notable for destroying the Daemonculaba.
- Ortan Cassius, a chaplain of the Ultramarines, is one of the oldest Space Marines alive and not yet placed in a Dreadnought. The Tyrannic War Veterans were his idea.
- Varro Tigurius, the Ultramarine's Chief Librarian, has enough psychic prowess to make psychic contact with the Hive Mind without going bonkers in the process.
- Torias Telion (aka; Sean Connery made Grimdark) is an Ultramarine Scout Sergeant. A skilled sniper, other chapters have borrowed him to train their scouts occasionally. He also has an impressive mustache.
- Captain Titus is a Smurf Captain of the who the fuck knows company (if the trim of his pauldrons are accurate, he's Captain of the 2nd Company). He gained prominence (will gain prominence?) on the forge world of Graia, trying to keep a whole Waaagh! from stealing all the bitz for themselves while keeping a probably radical Inquisitor happy. Also there's a portal to the warp letting out Daemons and Chaos Marines to go on a jolly old pub crawl. He is also one of the few Ultramarines who clearly states that the Codex Astartes is not meant to be a mental straightjacket. Thus, he is awesome.
- Chaplain Varnus, an Ultramarines Chaplain dispatched to Lorn V. For perhaps the first instance in recorded time, he is a Space Marine who actually respects the Imperial Guard and couldn't ask for a better force (barring his own company).
- Aeonid Thiel: A sergeant during the Horus Heresy, despite being seen as rule breaking maverick he ends up playing a major role in the gorundwork for the Ultramarines post-war including the red panted helmets for sergeants, the Tactical Marine Squad and the co-writer of the Codex.
"Chapters [not descended from Guilliman's geneseed] are disciples who owe their genetic inheritance to another Primarch, but follow the Codex Astartes as keenly as their divergent heritage allows. While primarily composed of successor Chapters, this group also includes several Chapters of the First Founding - notably the Imperial Fists, White Scars and the Raven Guard.
These chapters can never be Ultramarines, for their gene-seed is not that of Roboute Guilliman. Nevertheless, they will ever aspire to the standards and teachings of the great Primarch.Fucking Matt Ward...
[Chapters who do not emulate the Ultramarines] are aberrants; chapters who, through quirk of gene-seed, mutation or stubbornness, eschew the Codex Astartes in favor of other structural and combat doctrines. Some, such as the Blood Angels and their successors, strive to be worthy of Guilliman's legacy, but their recalcitrant gene-seed drives them ever further from it. Others, such as the Space Wolves and the Black Templars, remain stubbornly independent, looking to their own founder's ways of war and caring little of how they fare in the eyes of others. These aberrant Chapters were always few in number and their presence diminishes with each passing decade, for their gene-seed is no longer the source of fresh Chapters."
"The Ultramarines are undoubtedly the best Space Marines ever. Yes, really! Thanks to the heritage of Guilliman and their myriad heroic deeds, the Ultramarines are the exemplars of the Space Marines. With a few fringe exceptions who have severe mutations [Blood Angels] or stolid stubbornness [Space Wolves and Dark Angels] all Space Marine Chapters want to be like the Ultramarines and recognize Marneus Calgar as their spiritual liege."
- Matt Ward, Ultramarines player, codex writer, in the White Dwarf interview celebrating the release of Codex: Space Marines.
"But your teachings…"
"Are yet flawed," said Guilliman. "No one, not even one such as I, can anticipate every possible outcome of battle. My words are not some holy writ that must be obeyed. There must always be room for personal initiative on the battlefield. You and I both know how one spark of heroism can turn the tide of battle. That knowledge and personal experience can only be earned in blood, and the leader in the field must always be the ultimate arbiter of what course of action should be followed."
- Who Watches Them
- Macragge heresy
- Ultramarines Honour Company
- The past wot got remade by their presence - the original Chapter Approved write up of the "Ultra-Marines."