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Poodlemoose
12-11-2012, 19:57
Hi guys,

I've spent the weekend working on a blog post about the real world origins of the Primarchs' names. It was meant to be a quick five minutes but became quite an epic task!

Please take a look here: -

http://toyznthehood.com/312/primarchs/


I hope you like it!

Lord Squidar
12-11-2012, 20:48
I doff my hat to you sah, brilliant blog post! I really like Rowbout Gillyman's explanation even if its completely wrong as you said!

Phoebus
12-11-2012, 21:13
I particularly like your tie-in of Magnus with the historical Albert Magnus.

Sinisterfence
13-11-2012, 11:31
One thing I would add is that Lionel Johnson's poem, The Dark Angel, is about his struggle to keep a great secret, which shaped the backstory of the chapter aswell as the names of Primarch and chapter.

RunepriestRidcully
13-11-2012, 12:42
And the big secret was his sexuality, suddenly that idea my mate had about prosepero being the result of a love triangle including Russ, Johnson and Magnus.... same mate who once wanted to draw/write a 40k anime/manga..

Garvey
13-11-2012, 13:41
An excellent and fun read. Thank you for posting!

Salmon
13-11-2012, 14:58
That's some nice etymologies on Perturabo and Dorn, though I'm less sure about some of the others, especially Magnus and Angron.
Angron is plausibly derived from either common greek Agrion ('wild', used less of aggression and more to indicate whether food has been grow as part of agriculture or is naturally occuring) or Avestan Angra ('destructive' or 'wild', the first part of the deity 'Angra Mainyu', the evil hypostases that opposes cosmic order. In Old Persian this deity was called 'Ahriman', this doubling of the name could indicate he belongs to a different stage of development to Ahriman).

Magnus could also be derived from Simon Magus or Magi in general. The former is the (probably mythic given that he is mentioned in Acts as a significant figure, yet Paul in his authentic writings does not even allude to him) first heretic against orthodox christianity, who tries to sell priestly office, hence the derivation of the word 'Simony' for that crime. Magus is depicted as a persuasive individual by virtue of his use of sorcery, which I think is where the link to Magnus lies, in that in the old depicted of the wh40k council of Nikaia, it is sorcery, not all psychic powers, which are the subject of contention. Furthermore, Nikaia was 325 and was not the first council of Christian bishops period, nor the first council under Constantine, nor even the first council in his reign accepted as ecumenical (Ancyra 314 was later accepted as such, but not for another 140 or so years), but rather the first one accepted as ecumenical at the time and opened by and at the request of the Roman Emperor. It is viewed as having massive significance, though not at the time, for the victors at the council are soon themselves deposed one way or another and it is nearly twenty years before Christian thinkers start quoting it positively. Part of the reason for the later belief in Nikaia's importance is that the first major creed was attributed to the council, even though it dates from 381 (from the pen of a man who was swiftly removed from power).

The naming of the primarchs occurs in distinct phases in GW's history, with the major loyalist primarchs and the major traitors named first (IIRC Guilliman, Sanguinius, Jonson, Rus, Horus and Magnus, along with possibly Vulkan, Khan, Kurze and Fulgrim) reflecting the named legions of the period, minus those whose names and stories did not become developed until later, even waiting for Index Astartes. On the loyalist side this leaves those legions whose primarchs would share their names (i.e. common raven/Ravenguard, royal fist/Imperial Fists, iron hand/Iron Hands) On the traitor side the obvious one is only Alpharius/Alpha Legion, whose background and colour schemes were only elaborated on until after the 3.5th codex, hence the absence of a planetary backstory for their primarch and their sharing of colour scheme elements with other legions. The Word Bearers may have been a copying error from the world eaters, hence their similarity in colour schemes and names. IIRC the Iron Warriors precede the Iron Hands, hence their primarch hjaving a more obscure name. Various primarch's stories share common themes, pointing to GW copying itself, for instance Vulkan and Ferrus Manus share a conquest with a dragon, while Vulkan and Rus both compete with the Emperor. Both Khan's, Guilliman's and Perturabo's stories share common themes of planetary conquest without an oppressing force (as on Deliverance and Mortarion's world) while Horus and Dorn share their origins close to Terra. Many Primarch's names are so appropriate to their legions that they must have given name to their legions, or else renamed themselves.

tl:dr If we could identify the stages of development in the GW Primarch naming periods and development of their backstories, we could see how their names might have come about; there appears to be an early and a late pattern of names with the earlier ones being more obscure and literary, and the late being tailored to the legions they lead and excessively literal. Problems arise when you consider many legions were renamed.

Fizzy
13-11-2012, 15:05
I heard Angron was a real rebellious gladiator in history and not based on the word "Angry".

Poodlemoose
13-11-2012, 19:16
Firstly I'm glad you guys enjoyed it, it was good fun writing it and it's great to see other ideas as well.




tl:dr If we could identify the stages of development in the GW Primarch naming periods and development of their backstories, we could see how their names might have come about; there appears to be an early and a late pattern of names with the earlier ones being more obscure and literary, and the late being tailored to the legions they lead and excessively literal. Problems arise when you consider many legions were renamed.



This would be a great exercise. I have my copy of Rogue Trader which lists Chapters but only mentions two of the Primarchs - Lynn Elgonson of the Dark Angels and Leman Russ, Space Wolf Captain. I'd speculate that the Chapters came first, then the name of the Primarchs from that and then the proper shape of the Chapters. For example the Dark Angels is an easy name as Space Marines are known in Rogue Trader as Angels of Death, from that we eventually get Lion El'Johnson, who hides a dark secret, over the years we find out (one) of these secrets in Angles of Darkness hidden deep in the Rock. That's an easy one.

Sadly i don't have the Compilation, Compendium or old Codices any more :(

The bearded one
13-11-2012, 22:12
I suppose while it is great fun thinking over the etymology of names that now form the basis of our beloved setting decades in the making (it really is, because a lot of it is in fact very clever), there's always the danger of overthinking it or overthinking the capabilities of GW writers at particular stages in the development ;) Angron might originate from greek or avestan, or it could simply be unsubtly from.. 'angry!' (Angron, always angry, all the time!) while we attempt to find clever connections ;)

For Roboute Guilliman I've for example also read another explanation, concerning a particular politician (In the UN I think?) who was nicknamed 'master of logistics' and who's name resembled roboute's. But, as we discover, they just made up a name that sounded nice and fit a particular age.

Londinium
13-11-2012, 23:47
I always thought Lorgar was just a word play on the word 'Lore', obviously Lorgar is a searcher of the truth and answers in terms of religion and that's what leads him towards Chaos and he preaches this truth, spreading the lore of Chaos throughout the galaxy. Furthermore there's the common compound of 'Forbidden Lore', which in fantasy backgrounds is often used to refer to dark magics and witchery, which is the equivalent to what Lorgar got involved with in 40k.

Idaan
14-11-2012, 09:58
I'd be more inclined that Lorgar comes from "Logos", Greek for "Word", established to have religious connotations in our culture by Gospel of St. John.

Salmon
14-11-2012, 17:39
Firstly I'm glad you guys enjoyed it, it was good fun writing it and it's great to see other ideas as well.



This would be a great exercise. I have my copy of Rogue Trader which lists Chapters but only mentions two of the Primarchs - Lynn Elgonson of the Dark Angels and Leman Russ, Space Wolf Captain. I'd speculate that the Chapters came first, then the name of the Primarchs from that and then the proper shape of the Chapters. For example the Dark Angels is an easy name as Space Marines are known in Rogue Trader as Angels of Death, from that we eventually get Lion El'Johnson, who hides a dark secret, over the years we find out (one) of these secrets in Angles of Darkness hidden deep in the Rock. That's an easy one.

Sadly i don't have the Compilation, Compendium or old Codices any more :(

Maybe I'm just repeating a bit of false history here, but wasn't Guilliman originally not necessarily a space marine but simply named as a famed human general in RT? That would make the ur-primarches to be Jonson, Russ and Guilliman and would also explain the disparity between the background of the name (East Indies, or Haitian freedom fighter-type name, possibly given by a slaver or a European adaptation of a West African name) and the current depiction of him (as a white jock/Octavian like administor...roman....person...thing). The last group of primarches are probably


Lorgar: 'lore'?, though I like the 'Logos' suggestion, which, though present in Christinianity is also present in neo-platonism and middle platonists like Philo of Alexandria and fits quite well with the theology of chaos undivided that he develops. I'm not sure on the Afghan etymology as I cannot think of any writers in 40k with an interest in central Asia; Iran is about as far afield as names are drawn from (in 2nd edition: Ahriman, in the HH novels: Achaemenid, Ohrmazd) First mention: 2nd edition Chaos Codex which would be around WD 199?
Alpharius: later Alpharius Omegon, an obviously literal porting of the legion's name. Quite probably not even his real name, but taken by him when finding out he was the last primarch looked for.
Ferrus Manus: similarly a port of the legion name, probably not a personal name but rather descriptive of his physical being. However, I think they get a mention in either RT or the white dwarves previewing the game. First legion reference WD 93-99?
Corvus Corax: partial porting of legion name, seems to be a personal name, unlike previous two as it can be abbreviated to 'Corax', thus Ravenguard in fluff named after him, while in development of the story the reverse would be true.
Rogal Dorn: thanks to Steve we now know is a nearly literal porting of the name, probably invented to provide an ancestor to the Crimson fists, who almost uniquely predate the legion they were founded from. (I think the Carcharadons do too, but their association with the Ravenguard is recent and they've had a name change)


To these one might add Perturabo (legion not mentioned in Space Marine, the Adeptus Titanicus expansion of 1989, though name not obvious derivation of legion or legion's theme); Jagahtai Khan (obvious derivation of White Scar background in both form and story, yet legion is mentioned in Space Marine, possibly name in background book?); Vulkan (background elaborated in 3rd edition, plays no particular role in heresy, controversy over whether he dies on Istavaan V)

I'm really unsure on where Angron and Mortarion come from, as although their legions are really old (amongst the eldest of the Chaos legions) their names suggest quite a late stage of development and I can't think of references to them before 2nd edition. Would anyone with the relevant material (Space Marine, Rogue Trader the WDs at the time of their release) be able to look into it and find when they were named?

Oh, and a note on Angron, I've never been able to find an ancient source that names someone with a name similar to his as being one of the named leaders of the Spartacus revolt, I think the confusion may be that there is a character Agron (named from Agrion) who is a german slave in the most recent adaptation of this historical event, but this obviously post-dates our Angron by over fifteen years.

Wyrmwood
14-11-2012, 22:42
I'd be more inclined that Lorgar comes from "Logos", Greek for "Word", established to have religious connotations in our culture by Gospel of St. John.
That is how I understand the origin of his name.

Lupe
18-11-2012, 23:40
I heard Angron was a real rebellious gladiator in history and not based on the word "Angry".

Pretty sure I remember the name coming up in that context somewhere outside of 40K, too. Just can't figure out for the life of me where...

Horus Lupercal
19-11-2012, 00:24
You are referring to "Agron" (Agg-ron) who was one of the big dogs in Spartacuses slave rebellion. A rebellion that started when a bunch of Gladiators had enough and broke out. Then fought until death. Sounds kinda similar to Angrons story doesn't it!!

However Agron was liberated a little later on. Not one of the initial few like he is seen in the Spartacus TV series.

baphomael
20-11-2012, 11:14
Another point on Russ and Viking connection, the Kievan Rus originated from Viking settlers, from where we get the word Russia - land of the Rus.

Scalebug
21-11-2012, 19:16
I'd also put down Lorgar to "Lore" (with that word in turn coming from/having to do with the greek "logos"), rather than some place in Afghanistan, even if a lot of the writers are history buffs and it possibly would have figured in brittich colonial expeditions in the 19th century.

Probably entirely unconnected, but I was reading reading really old White Dwarfs on scribd now, and in #99 there is a page of "Adventurers", a series of models from early 1st edition in the more scenario-based roleplaying game style, before armies as we now know them became the default way of playing, and back then all (or at least most) models were named... among those adventurers is a pilot named Lorgar...

158090

Other than Horus, Mortarion is the first mentioned traitor Primarch, as he is the example patron daemon prince power to grant gifts, in the second Realms of Chaos book (1990). Angron and Fulgrim does not figure in the first book, they are simply referred to as "the Chapter Master" when relevant (remember that the word chapter and legion was used loosly and interchangebly back then). From what I can find, they first came into the game universe with the 2nd edition Epic rules for chaos in 1992, and then all the primarch got listed with the 2nd ed 40K book the year after.

Edit: Just remembered that Magnus got a cameo on the 1st edition Space Marine box, with a quote on how uncool it was of the Emperor to persecute mutants and psykers... so he was around in name from 1989.



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