While attempting to answer this question about the Rebirth of the Emperor, I realised I don't know much about his first-birth.

The Lexicanum page for the Emperor has a section describing his birth and the reasons behind it, but it has no citation...

enter image description here

enter image description here

So what do we actually know about His origin?

Is the Lexicanum correct or is this just someone's best guess as there is no citation to corroborate it?

  • As far as I recall, none of the books ever go into good detail on how he came to be; and many of these things end up getting retconned eventually anyway. – Theik May 22 '15 at 12:10
  • 3
    Not sure what you're looking for. The shamans all committed suicide in such a way that their souls would all reincarnate into a single person rather than new individual shamans. A year later, the man who would be Emperor was born. Presumably, his birth and childhood was no different than anyone else's until the point where he stopped aging. – Omegacron May 22 '15 at 13:25
  • 1
    @Omegacron where are you getting this information? – Daft May 22 '15 at 13:27
  • 1
    @Daft that was way back in 1st Ed, Rogue Trader manual I believe. If it hasn't been retconned since, should still be true. – Omegacron May 22 '15 at 14:41
  • 5
    I would just like to mention that clicking these links sucked me into a wiki-hole that lasted a whole day. – Paul May 26 '15 at 19:11

Here is the original fragment regarding the "birth" of the Emperor first described in the "Realms of Chaos: the Lost and the Damned in 1990

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

Since then a new story has been described in the "Master of Mankind" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, that describes Emperor as a human child that has awakened his powers when his uncle murdered his father, which was apparently the first murder committed by a human with cold blood. Emperor shows this vision to Ra, one of his Custodes, but then the same story can be a metaphor since Emperor doesn't respond to the outright question "Did this truly happen?"

This doesn't negate the shamans' origin story - the "Master of Mankind" version simply says that Emperor was a child at some stage and his father (real or adopted) has been murdered and "the boy who will be king" was able to stop the heart of the murderer.

Both of those origins date his birth to around 8000 BCE and place it in Anatolia (modern day Turkey).

In the afterword to the "Emperor of Mankind" the author says:

I didn’t want to reveal anything about the Emperor as any kind of definitive, objective truth. I don’t think anyone should, either - partly because understanding the Emperor’s nature and origins hasn’t been important for three decades of enjoyment in the supremely popular setting (and it’s never going to be necessary for that), and partly because, well, no answer will ever be satisfying enough or believable enough for everybody.[...]
Could the Emperor have been born from the souls of primitive shamans? Is he a Dark Age construct aping human form, left out to enact his will over the now-ignorant species? Was he a manipulative overlord and tyrant who knew everything of Chaos? Was he just a good man whose intellect strained to work alongside the levels of those beneath him, and was he ultimately failed by lesser beings?
All of them might be true. None of them might be true.

  • is BC in game abbreviation? or does it really mean 8000 BCE (Before the Common Era)? – Oni Feb 12 at 21:54

The truth of the Emperors origin has changed over the years. Originally he was the outcome of 50 Shamens sacrificing themselves and combining there essence to form a super being, they did this because they could see that the Emperor would be needed in the future.

Since the release of the Horus Heresy books that version is looking less and less like cannon with the introduction of a race of beings called perpetuals. In Master of Mankind we see flash backs to what the Emperor suggests was his childhood, when he first learnt of his powers. While it is possible this child was the result of the 50 Shamen sacrifice the emperor does not mention it, instead talking about how his uncle had killed his father.

So until a definitive version is given you can either assume he is a perpetua, or the creation of a ritual sacrifice. Or he is a perpetual because of the sacrifice

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.