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MrSatan
12-09-2010, 01:09
I haven't finished reading the HH books (up to fulgrim) so I'm not sure is this covered.

I was wondering where the emperor came up with the names for his legions? Did he just pick ones that sounded badass? When he first created them the primarch were missing and they were virtually the same so how did he come up with the flavourful names?

"Hmm...I'll call these ones the blood angels...I'm sure it will fit them somehow...and these....I'll call them the white scars...for no apparent reason'

Even the ones that were renamed after the Primarchs' were found doesnt make sense. The death guard were called the Dusk Raiders, fair enough that they apparently liked to attack at night but still you get the point.

All I can think of is retcons. The original designers thought of the names before the fluff was fully thought out so they are now just that way.

What do you guys think?

bignbadbum
12-09-2010, 01:36
While I can't say for the Emperor, I think it isn't to hard to figure some of them out after the Primarchs were found.

Blood Angels = Marines are the 'Angels' of Death, Sanguinius was the leader of a human tribe called "The Blood", thus Blood Angels?
Space Wolves = Marines with a lot of pet wolves used in war? Wolf pelts, Wolf Fangs, Wolf iconography, Wolf fetishes, etc. It only makes sense since they are riding around in space.
Ultramarines = Well, all their worlds were essentially utopias, so instead of demolishing everything like some chapters they make them paradise. So these marines must be 'Ultra'
(At this point I'm just throwing crap around.)
Word Bearers = Well, they brought the word/light of the Emprah to the galaxy?
World Eaters = Well.. this is more abstract, but in a sense they chewed worlds and spit them out due to their feriocity and bloodthirsty nature.

Those are the most I could think of. Word Bearers are the only ones I could place as being suitable explanation pre-primarch. Then in that case though.. all of them are essentially "Word Bearers".

SultanBaal
12-09-2010, 01:48
Also i think the Ultra has to do with a ocean on Macragge. Forgot were it came from tho.
The Dark Angels are because of a Terran poem , When the First Legion came to Caliban which Luther said it, ironically
White Scars cause they use scars as signs of status and strength.
Most of the Legion names have to do with the world the Primarch grew up on or their tactics they prefer.

Stormfather
12-09-2010, 01:57
Many of them were renamed from more generic names when the Primarchs took control: you already mentioned the Death Guard; also, the World Eaters were dubbed the War Hounds by the emperor and renamed World Eaters by Angron. I seem to recall that Angron's band of gladiators were called the World Eaters, thus the name, but I'm not sure if it was an official source or on a forum...

But I think you were right in your theory that the developers named the legions pretty early on, and the fluff evolved out of that.

Scorpius_78
12-09-2010, 02:11
Many of them were renamed from more generic names when the Primarchs took control: you already mentioned the Death Guard; also, the World Eaters were dubbed the War Hounds by the emperor and renamed World Eaters by Angron. I seem to recall that Angron's band of gladiators were called the World Eaters, thus the name, but I'm not sure if it was an official source or on a forum...

Close man,

The Gladiator army that Angron lead was called the "eaters of cities" by the population of Angron's home world. It was a captain in the War Hounds (A captain Dreagher, if i remember right) that coined the name World Eaters by saying,


Your men were known was the eaters of cities, but with you leading us my lord we shell be the eaters of worlds

Or something close to that, sorry dont have the book on hand right now

FabricatorGeneralMike
12-09-2010, 03:08
Close man,

The Gladiator army that Angron lead was called the "eaters of cities" by the population of Angron's home world. It was a captain in the War Hounds (A captain Dreagher, if i remember right) that coined the name World Eaters by saying,



Or something close to that, sorry dont have the book on hand right now

Yeppers, it was Dreagher.

Quote " Your warriors were the eaters of cities,lord, but with you to command us the War Hounds will be the eaters of worlds!"
For a momentAngron swayed, his eyes and fists closed. But then he looked at Dreagher, from there to Kharn. And he smiled.
"World Eaters," he said,slowley, tastings the sounds. "World Eaters. So you shall be ,then, little brothers. You'll learn to cut the rope. We shall bleed, and be brothers." This time they all met his eyes. Slowly, one of Angron's great fists came up to return their salutes.
"Come with me, then, World Eaters. Come down into my chamber and we will speak." Angron turned on his heel and walked back into his chamber.
Silently, supporting Kharn in their midst, the World Eaters followed their primarch down into that darkness that stank of blood.

After Desh'ea was on of the best stories in Tales of Heresy. Over all its a rather good book. Personally I think 40k works better in a short story format then as full novels. But thats just me. I think thats why Tales of Heresy was such a good book.

Nazguire
12-09-2010, 09:03
The Dark Angels were originally simply the 'First Legion' and I'd imagine the fair majority would have been simply "Legion XIV" or such similar until their Primarchs were re-discovered.

The majority of the Legion names, save the 'Imperial Fists' and 'Emperor's Children', would have been named by their Primarchs. Sanguinius would have named his the 'Blood Angels' and Leman Russ the 'Space Wolves' after their cultures.

E.g Mortarion re-named the Dusk Raiders out of respect to his old fighting cadre.

Idaan
12-09-2010, 09:47
Thousand Sons named themselves that even before the fleshchange killed all but a thousand members of the Legion. But as Ahriman said, there's no coincidences.

MrSatan
12-09-2010, 11:27
I think nazguire has it. I was referring to their names before they met their primarchs

Zweischneid
12-09-2010, 11:37
Also i think the Ultra has to do with a ocean on Macragge. Forgot were it came from tho.
.

Well, presumably the oceans of Macragge are Ultramarine Blue too :D

But yeah, I guess they never really explored that for a lack of explaining the slightly tonque-in-cheek Ultra-Marine/Ultramarine Blue ambiguity consistenly in-game.

DantesInferno
12-09-2010, 11:40
I think nazguire has it. I was referring to their names before they met their primarchs

As far as I'm aware, the World Eaters, Death Guard and Thousand Sons are the only Legions for which we know their pre-Primarch names (War Hounds, Dusk Raiders and Thousand Sons respectively).

There's no evidence that the Emperor was involved in naming the Legions before they were reunited with their Primarchs - it's a safe bet that their official names were simply "Legio I", "Legio II" and so forth, while some of the Legions came up with their own nicknames for themselves (War Hounds and so forth).

Pacific
12-09-2010, 16:42
Close man,

The Gladiator army that Angron lead was called the "eaters of cities" by the population of Angron's home world. It was a captain in the War Hounds (A captain Dreagher, if i remember right) that coined the name World Eaters by saying,

Or something close to that, sorry dont have the book on hand right now

Indeed, check out my sig :)

The names of the Legions (then Chapters) and Primarchs (then Commanders) I think were just thought up on the fly, for the most part, during the writing of Rogue Trader. I can't imagine that they ever thought the names would have endured and come under such close scrutiny almost 30 years later.

I guess that's why some of them are more than a little dubious, but I'm glad GW has gone with them rather than try and retcon them out of existence (with the exception of the Rainbow Warriors of course, the chapter named after the Greenpeace ship that got sunk by the French and caused a bit of a stink all those years ago).

I seem to remember a story about the Dark Angels, and the Primarch Lion El'Johnson, alluding to a poem about homosexuality. Sadly I can't remember it. There is also the more obvious one of the Ravenguard, with the last words of Corax ('nevermore') a clear reference to the Edgar Allen Poe story.

I'm sure there are many more suttle references there, the early designers, Rick Priestly et al, had a wonderfully dry sense of humour and definitely didn't take it too seriously! :)

AndrewGPaul
13-09-2010, 08:15
definitely didn't take it too seriously! :)


You've got the wrong tense there. That should be "don't take it too seriously". That's the fans' job. :rolleyes:

LexxBomb
13-09-2010, 09:48
I was under the impression the Legions only had Numbers as names until the Primarchs chose a name for them.

MrSatan
13-09-2010, 12:54
Thats what I'm trying to work out

TheMartyr451
14-09-2010, 01:00
I was under the impression the Legions only had Numbers as names until the Primarchs chose a name for them.

The Death Guard were called the Dusk Raiders when the Crusade first started and until Mortarion was found and he renamed the Legion.

*edit* nvm...it mentioned in the first post. Huuurrr duuurr. XD

Inquisitor Engel
14-09-2010, 02:12
I was under the impression the Legions only had Numbers as names until the Primarchs chose a name for them.

Depending on earlier sources, it's either as you state or they were either named their true name prior to having their Primarch found (leading to the ridiculous case of coincidence as stated above).

The Horus Heresy series has fleshed out, much better, the fact that many of them had monikers (perhaps not true legion names) due to their battle-tactics and/or acts before being found by their Primarchs.


"Emperor's Children" was given by Fulgrim during the rebuilding according to the old IA, though no initial name was given (likely because it wasn't clear there would be a legion at all!)

Imperial Fists is generic enough that it might be pre-Dorn and Dorn simply adopted it since it had a nice ring to it.

Nazguire
14-09-2010, 03:57
Depending on earlier sources, it's either as you state or they were either named their true name prior to having their Primarch found (leading to the ridiculous case of coincidence as stated above).

The Horus Heresy series has fleshed out, much better, the fact that many of them had monikers (perhaps not true legion names) due to their battle-tactics and/or acts before being found by their Primarchs.


"Emperor's Children" was given by Fulgrim during the rebuilding according to the old IA, though no initial name was given (likely because it wasn't clear there would be a legion at all!)

Imperial Fists is generic enough that it might be pre-Dorn and Dorn simply adopted it since it had a nice ring to it.

I would say that the name ''Imperial Fists" was given by Dorn, judging by some of his quotes. Given that he prided himself as the Emperor's Champion and all, "Imperial Fists" seems like a name he would bestow them.

I believe that with the Legions, prior to the introduction of the Primarchs, that they were mostly quite similar in tactics and culture, with only a few exceptions to differentiate from each other (ie. War Hounds aggression, Ultramarines discipline, Dusk Raiders attacking at twilight etc). They all originally came from Terra, after all.

It wasn't until the Primarchs, and the new recruits from their respective homeworlds (Fenris, Barbarus, Chemos, Cthonia, et al) did their internal culture, personality, tactics, preferences, names, etc change. My belief anyway.

Gdolkin
15-09-2010, 00:20
The Dark Angels are because of a Terran poem , When the First Legion came to Caliban which Luther said it, ironically

Some confusion here. The Dark Angels and their Primarch Lion El'Jonson were named as such by the original developers back in the 80's as a nod to the 19th Century(?) English poet Lionel Johnson and his poem 'The Dark Angel', about his own dark secret that he was ashamed of and scared of the ruin that it's revelation would inflict on him, but could not deny, apparently. Although many recognisable references to our own time and history have appeared in the Horus Heresy novels, like references to the playwright/'ancient remembrancer' Sergei Eisenstein and a couple of philosophers etc, this is not one that has been stated in-universe as a reason for the 1st Legion's name.
'Descent of Angels' has it that the people of pre-Imperial Caliban had a myth, possibly related to the presence of the Watchers in the Dark, that some kind of dark angels would one day appear to wipe out the beasts and monsters of Caliban. When the first members of the 1st Legion descended from the sky on wings of fire to the roaring of their Stormbird, Luther was part of the party (along with the Lion, Zahariel and Nemiel IIRC) that witnessed their arrival, and invoked the myth of the Dark Angels. I'll try and find the quote and page reference inabit.

The Iron Hands have the most coincidental name out there, but I have to wonder whether the people of Medusa called their hero 'Ferrus Manus' BEFORE he went and got himself some actual metal hands.. He didn't land on Medusa with them, so what did they call him when he first walked down from the mountains, before he went silver wyrm-wrestling? Maybe 'Ferrus Manus' is Medusan for 'He who broke the darkness' rather than 'Iron Hands' eh?:rolleyes:

baphomael
15-09-2010, 02:54
Ultramarines = Well, all their worlds were essentially utopias, so instead of demolishing everything like some chapters they make them paradise. So these marines must be 'Ultra'
(At this point I'm just throwing crap around.)
.

Maybe its just because of the colour they wear.



World Eaters = Well.. this is more abstract, but in a sense they chewed worlds and spit them out due to their feriocity and bloodthirsty nature.


Theres a short story in Tales of Heresy that notes where the World Eater's got their name from.

Pacific
15-09-2010, 16:27
You've got the wrong tense there. That should be "don't take it too seriously". That's the fans' job. :rolleyes:

Haha, indeed....

Campbell1988
15-09-2010, 16:39
According to HH, not all were chosen by the Emperor.

Night Lords- very likely created by Cruze, though it's possible they already showed an aptitude for striking from darkness at the time.
Thousand Sons- there were a thousand of them at creation. The HH book apparently forgot this obvious *********** detail for some stupid and inane conspiracy thing.
Word Bearers- Likely chosen by Lorgar for the religious meanings. Name before could have been different.
Death Guard- were originally dubbed Dusk Raiders because of their tactic for attacking at dusk. Changed to Death Guard with inclusion of Mortarion in honor of his warriors.
Blood Angels- Angels of Death as mentioned. Add to that the focus of the people on Sanguinius' homeworld with blood and there you go. Could have been made this before or after finding of Primarch.
Imperial Fists- Well they were basically the Emperor's legion. Profoundly loyal.
World Eaters- Likely for their excessively violent nature.
Alpha Legion- named by Alpharius.
Raven Guard- no clue. Could be something bout night fighting. Maybe the Emperor saw a pretty raven that day or Corax just liked the bird.
Emperor's Children- name chosen for being able to bear the bird I do believe.
Space Wolves- they're bloody space werewolves
White Scars- the honor scars brought into practice by Jaghatai Khan. Post primarch name.
Iron Hands- also post Primarch for obvious reasons.
Iron Warriors- would guess their heavy reliance on vehicles and artillery.

Not sure for the rest. Unless there is somebody I'm forgetting that I actually know.

Lord Zarkov
15-09-2010, 16:49
According to HH, not all were chosen by the Emperor.

Night Lords- very likely created by Cruze, though it's possible they already showed an aptitude for striking from darkness at the time.
Likely correct
Thousand Sons- there were a thousand of them at creation. The HH book apparently forgot this obvious *********** detail for some stupid and inane conspiracy thing.
1,000 marines when reunited with Magnus, not at creation (their numbers had reduced due to mutation) this has been the case at least since Index Astartes
Word Bearers- Likely chosen by Lorgar for the religious meanings. Name before could have been different.
Likely correct
Death Guard- were originally dubbed Dusk Raiders because of their tactic for attacking at dusk. Changed to Death Guard with inclusion of Mortarion in honor of his warriors.
Correct
Blood Angels- Angels of Death as mentioned. Add to that the focus of the people on Sanguinius' homeworld with blood and there you go. Could have been made this before or after finding of Primarch.
I would imagine Sanguinius having wings and looking like an angel would be where that bit comes from. His Baalite tribe's ('The Blood' IIRC) traditions would give the other.
Imperial Fists- Well they were basically the Emperor's legion. Profoundly loyal.
World Eaters- Likely for their excessively violent nature.
Renamed in honour of Angron's slave rebbelion (dubbed the Eaters of Cities) as explained by others above
Alpha Legion- named by Alpharius.
Raven Guard- no clue. Could be something bout night fighting. Maybe the Emperor saw a pretty raven that day or Corax just liked the bird.
Emperor's Children- name chosen for being able to bear the bird I do believe.
Names by the Emperor in honour of a speech Fulgrim gave spuring his legion on, despite the fact they were few in number due to an accident. This same speech was why the Emp let them wear the aquila
Space Wolves- they're bloody space werewolves
I'd guess named by Russ after his upbringing
White Scars- the honor scars brought into practice by Jaghatai Khan. Post primarch name.
Iron Hands- also post Primarch for obvious reasons.
Iron Warriors- would guess their heavy reliance on vehicles and artillery.

Not sure for the rest. Unless there is somebody I'm forgetting that I actually know.

Responces in red

Nazguire
16-09-2010, 03:51
Yes, there were a thousand of them at creation. Than they were almost destroyed till only a thousand were left, again. When Magnus found them, there were only a thousand due to uncontrolled mutation.

The point that Ahriman was trying to make was that there is no such thing as coincidences.