I know that the Imperial Space Marines are modified to be super human, but apart from violent death in battle do they age at all? Do they ever reach a point where their bodies are no longer fit for battle and they must set aside their battle armor?

  • 1
    I can't write out an answer ATM, but in one of the Ultramarines books the author describes a veteran marine who comes close to having "retired". He was so badly wounded he had many limbs replaced with bionics, but not so badly wounded he could have been interred in a dreadnought. As a result he was no longer fast enough to fight and so was assigned to help administer a world of ultramar.
    – Kobunite
    Sep 17 '13 at 11:14
  • Not retirement in the tradition sense, but a form of retirement none the less, even if it is only from combat duties.
    – Kobunite
    Sep 17 '13 at 11:15

In theory, they could. In practice, they don't. They don't really "age" in the sense you're asking about, and they're in much too great a demand to ever be allowed to leave, even if they wanted to.

Space Marines are practically immortal - that is, if they're not stabbed or shot or burned or dismembered or poisoned or in some other way acutely damaged, their bodies are modified to be capable of handling the diseases that kill most people and the slow, systemic breakdown that leads to normal "old age". However, since the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, no Space Marine has ever had a prospect of a life without those risks.

The current oldest Loyalist Space Marines is the Blood Angels Chapter Master, Dante, clocking in at over 1100 years. He's closely followed by the Space Wolves Chapter Master, Logan Grimnar, who has been the Great Wolf for over 700 years so he's presumed to be at least pushing a millennium.

Dreadnoughts "live" even longer, as exemplified by Bjorn the Fell Handed, one of the Space Wolves's Dreadnoughts, who is one of the last surviving Loyalists to have personally met the Emperor before he was interred on the Golden Throne, 10,000 years ago.

However, amongst the treacherous Chaos Space Marines, it's believed that some have lived at least since their creation 10,000 years ago. Some have possibly even lived longer, given the rather loose definitions of time in the Warp.

  • 1
    "who is one of the last surviving Loyalists to have personally met the Emperor, who died over 10,000 years ago" last time I checked the Emperor isn't dead yet, see warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Golden_Throne
    – CTZStef
    Jun 21 '14 at 4:01
  • He isn't that much alive either, It's also noteworthy that some champions of chaos have even been revived from death by their patron gods such as Lucius of the Emperor's Children.
    – svarog
    Dec 27 '14 at 14:48
  • Bjorn of the Space marines has met the Emperor but hasent actually been "alive" for the entire 10000 years. He is kept in cryosleep or some such until he is needed again. then they wake him, he kills and they put him back to sleep. They do this with most other venerable dreadnoughts also.
    – Cherubel
    Apr 28 '15 at 6:15
  • @Cherubel, I agree with you. I was providing a briefer - and less detailed - explanation by putting quotes around 'live'. Because Dreadnoughts are an edge case of being alive (and certainly couldn't retire) I didn't think a greater level of detail was pertinent.
    – rsegal
    Apr 28 '15 at 17:47

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