The WH40k wiki states that Khorne, Nurgle, and Tzeentch all came to being during Earth's middle ages - at most only a few hundred years apart from each other. The descriptions imply that it was Earth's events who marked their birth.

[Khorne] is the mightiest and the oldest of the four major Chaos Gods, fully
coming into existence in the Immaterium sometime during Terra's European Middle Ages in the early 2nd Millennium, his birth heralded by an era of wars and conflict that raged across the globe

[Tzeentch] was the second of the Chaos Gods to come to full sentience within the Warp, sometime during Old Earth's Western medieval period in the 2nd Millennium. His birth marked the maturation of human nations and politics

[Nurgle] is the third of the Chaos Gods to fully awake within the Warp, emerging during the 2nd Millennium in the midst of Terra's European Middle Ages, as great plagues swept across the world heralding his birth.

At this point in the history of WH40k, there have been multiple galaxy spanning wars that have ended entire races of godlike beings. But a few dozen million warring, diseased, plotting Europeans millions of years later were the creation of the entire Chaos pantheon at this point in the WH40K universe?

How weren't they born earlier?

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    It doesn't read to me like earth's events created the Chaos Gods (as your title implies) so much as the other way around. The plagues of the middle ages, for example, are a result of Nurgle's birth, not the cause. But you're right in that the timing seems way off, considering the War in Heaven events of millions of years ago. Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 19:44
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    I would challenge the source (a wiki) as Slaanesh is the youngest and was 'born' out of the Fall of the Eldar, which happened much earlier than any of the events in the quote. Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 9:53
  • It seems a bit strange to me that the sources don't use the same name for Earth in each one. Did you get all those paragraphs from the same source?
    – JMac
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 11:03
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    @Accio_Answer: how come? The Eldar's Fall was 10,000 before the current events of the game, so during M30 in the Imperial Calendar. The Great Crusade and Horus Heresy was during M31 (according to Lexicanum: wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Timeline). The Chaos God are born during M2, that is 1000~2000.
    – Taladris
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 12:07
  • @Taladris: Hmmm... I feel there may have been a retcon somewhere. There is a White Dwarf story where Asdrubael Vect (Dark Eldar cabal leader) tells of raids on pre-historic Terra to find sentient creatures with souls to appease Slaanesh's thirst. Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 22:27

3 Answers 3


You are mistaking cause and effect: Chaos gods haven't been born because there was war/plague/political manipulation happening on Earth, but the events on Earth have happened because the gods were born.

In the first and second millennium, humanity's impact on the galaxy was next to non-existing1: yes, the Emperor was already alive, but he was pretending to be barely a local leader. At the same time, Eldars and Orks were alive and thriving for about 60 million years, together with many more (currently extinct) races and civilisations.

Lets take for example Khorne: yes, there was quite a bit of fighting in the middle ages, but there were wars claiming many more deaths before that (The Crusades claimed "barely" about ~1.7 million deaths, which is comparable to the Punic wars (264 BCE - 146 BCE) and much less than for example the Three Kingdom War in ancient China (184-280 CE), which claimed over 37 million deaths (source).

As for the question "why the gods haven't appeared earlier" - we can only speculate. Most likely there were no civilisations powerful enough to create them - whenever a race had a strong presence in the Warp, it would attract the Enslavers - a race of psychic parasites - which were able to wipe whole planets.

Please remember, that Eldars created barely one Chaos god and were almost destroyed as a race - imagine what would happen if humanity created three of them...

1 Although, apparently some times during the early Medieval period the Emperor (as Saint George) has imprisoned SOMETHING under the surface of Mars. That "Something" is most likely C'tan known as Void Dragon, this is not exactly confirmed (or denied) by the GW

EDIT: This information apparently also has been retconned sometime in the past - currently it is assumed that all gods except for Slaanesh were born after the War in Heaven, ~60 million years ago.


The Ruinous Powers are not entities bound by time or cause and effect, and their interactions with the mortal plane are paradoxical. From humanity's perspective, they may well have 'created' the Gods at those moments, or garnered their attention, or any host of other possibilities. All the while having always existed, or having been created during the War in Heaven, or some other unknown point.

Attempting to discern the truth of precisely when and where the Gods were created is a little like ants trying to determine the psychological and cultural motivations for a mean child with a magnifying glass...except the child with the magnifying glass is a being from an alternate reality that has only the loosest of respect for the laws of physics.

It's all very lovecraftian :)


I'm not completely up to date with the new fluff but way back when I used to follow GWS (1993-2000) the explanation was that humans were the first race in the galaxy with powerful enough psychic abilities to cause significant disturbance in the Warp.

And yes, originally it was generally accepted that human activities caused the birth of Chaos Gods. The power of human psychic abilities also gave birth to the Emperor of Mankind.

Note that there is a slight pedantic difference between causing the birth of a god and creating said god. There are several mentions in the fluff that all Chaos Gods including Slaneesh existed since the first sentient being first formed a thought. So for all practical purposes they have always existed but it takes a great disturbance in the Warp to fully form and awake them.

And yes, the slightly over-the-top fact that humans gave birth to three of only four Chaos Gods is blatantly an attempt to make us appear more awesome compared to the other races.

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    "an attempt to make us appear more awesome compared to the other races" this implies that mankind is not actually more awesome than other filthy xenos. Which would be heresy!
    – VLAZ
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 9:36

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