Imperium of Man | Warhammer 40,000

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worlds of mankind stand on the precipice of destruction. Beset on all sides by predatory alien empires
and threatened from within by heretics, mutants, traitors and worse. Yet even in this dying galaxy, in a time when
peace has been forgotten and every hope seems lost, there stands a great bulwark between
humanity and that which would destroy it. It is a power of unimaginable scale, in command
of inexhaustible armies that hold back the eldritch terrors that await beyond. It is a regime built on benevolence and cruelty,
repression and stagnation, irrational superstition and bureaucratic corruption; a nation tempered
in the fires of endless war. It is the 41st Millennium and rising from
the light of Ancient Terra stands boldly the great work of the Emperor: the Imperium of
Man. It is a commonly said that the Imperium presides
over a million worlds, but the truth is far less simple. Every year its dominion waxes and wanes as
new systems are colonized or conquered and lost worlds are brought back into the fold,
while elsewhere across the galaxy, planets are isolated and lost, taken by xenos or brought
to ruin by rebellion. The Imperium carries on only through the weight
of its own immensity, ever expanding and ever declining. To think of it then as a single realm of defined
borders and united territories is a fallacy. Against the enormity of the universe, even
the Imperium is spread thinly, and its worlds might be separated by hundreds or even of
thousands of light years. Planets within the Imperium are separated
as much by technology as distance. Even within a single system one world might
be home to advanced industries and enriched with great wealth brought about by interstellar
trade while another might exist in squalor, its medieval population worshipping Imperial
administrators as divine emissaries. This disparity is as much by design as by
circumstance. There exists a great fear of technology that
borders on superstition, and planetary governors might insist on restricting certain knowledge
in order to keep their populations docile and subservient. The disparate and widespread nature of Imperial
holdings makes cataloging them completely unfeasible, although entire armies of administrative
staff spend their lifetimes attempting to do so. Instead, the Imperium is divided into five
administrative zones known as Segmentums. The Segmentums of the Imperium span the entire
galaxy, with the only limits to the Imperial domain imposed by the range of the Astronomicon,
an immense psychic beacon projected by the Emperor of Mankind from within the Golden
Throne. The beacon provides the means for the ancient
families of the Navis Nobilite to plot a course through the otherwise incomprehensible dimension
known as the Warp. This nightmarish realm is the primary method
used by the Imperium for faster than light travel and remains so vital that should the
Emperor fail and the light of Astronomicon be severed, then the Imperium would quickly
collapse into Chaos and darkness. The Emperor of Mankind remains the formal
sovereign of the Imperium, although in the millennia since his body was shattered and
entombed within the Golden Throne, the rule of mankind has fallen instead to the Council
of the High Lords of Terra. Entrusted to interpret and enact the will
of the Emperor, the High Lords carry out the day to day decisions necessary to govern the
Imperium. Judgements of the High Council affect the
lives of endless trillions but the nature of the Imperium prohibits any centralized
governance from being universally enforced. Instead, the Imperium makes use of countless
organizations to keep the wheels of bureaucracy and war moving. Perhaps the largest of these is the Adeptus
Administratum, teeming with countless scribes and petty officials. It administers the Imperium at every level,
collecting tithes and taxes, performing censuses, and determining which threats to the Imperium
must be dealt with and by which of the Imperium’s myriad of military forces, alongside a thousand
other chores and duties. The Administratum is a maze of subdivisions,
departments and offices, some conducting programs that are no longer needed, while others may
have been abandoned entirely, its clerks doomed to perform a menial task that’s purpose
has been forgotten. On Mars dwells the headquarters of the Adeptus
Mechanicus, an ancient priesthood of technicians and engineers responsible for the construction
and maintenance of all Imperial technology and equipment. Granted a level of independence unequalled
within the Imperium, the Mechanicum is viewed with suspicion by the rest of the Imperial
Administration. Their Forge Worlds operate without oversight,
and their religion is viewed as almost heretical. Above all, the Priesthood of Mars covet knowledge,
and they guard their discoveries with jealousy. Binding the Imperium together through faith
is the Adeptus Ministorum, the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Imperial Cult which spreads
the universal worship of the God Emperor of Mankind. Known commonly as the Ecclesiarchy, the organization
wields considerable power, for it derives its authority from the common belief in the
Emperor’s divinity. Even by Imperial standards, it is a complex
and baffling hierarchy of Priests, Confessors, Cardinals and dozens of other ranks and titles. All across the Imperium, its agents guide
the soul of mankind, purging heresy and inspiring true devotion. Of all the Imperial organizations however;
the Sanctioned Psykers of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, the guardians of Imperial Law
in the Adeptus Arbites, the royal guardsmen of the Adeptus Custodes, or even the vaunted
killers of the Officio Assassinorum, no single institution holds greater power or instills
more fear across the galaxy than the Imperial Inquisition. Inquisitors are charged with protecting the
Imperium against the malevolent influences of the galaxy, whether they be the allure
of alien philosophies or the machinations of the ruinous powers. Its members may pass through doors that would
be closed to all others and there are very few in the Imperium who can refuse to execute
their orders without complaint or delay. The Inquisition operates outside of the control
of even the High Lords of Terra and answer only to the Emperor and themselves. While such organizations have wide-reaching
authority, their direct involvement in the governance of individual planets and star
systems is relatively uncommon. For as long as the Imperial tithe is paid
and obligations and responsibilities are met, the Imperium is content to allow various Imperial
Commanders and Planetary governors to rule their worlds, systems or even sectors however
they see fit. In this way the Imperium resembles some manner
of feudal confederacy, with a hierarchy of lords and vassals stretching from the lowliest
page to the Emperor himself. Such a system, while effective at maintaining
order and enforcing Imperial authority, means that very few worlds are governed in the same
manner and mobilizating these discordant vassals and feudal lords is often taxing and slow. In a galaxy of carnage it is by the will and
strength of humanity’s armies rather than its bureaucrats that has allowed the Imperium
to endure for so long while other powers have withered and failed. Mankind has always excelled in warfare and
the Imperium commands a vast array of powerful forces rivaled by nothing else in the universe. The backbone of Imperial strength is the Astra
Militarum, also known as the Imperial Guard. Consisting of countless millions of trained
men and women, often armed with nothing more than a lasgun, a bayonet and their faith in
the Emperor, Imperial guardsmen can be found in nearly every garrison and battlefield. They are the first line of defense and the
focal point of any Crusade. While the Imperial Guard musters countless
armies, certain worlds have won great acclaim across the Imperium for the quality of their
soldiers and the heroics of their regiments, their deeds and commanders entering the Imperial
pantheon of legends. It is the superhuman Adeptus Astartes who
have come to symbolize the might of the Imperium however, elite warriors gifted with immense
strength, size, resilience and intellect. These Space Marines have inherited the traditions
of the Emperor himself and are one of the few forces available to the Imperium that
can rapidly respond to a developing threat. The Astartes are divided between roughly 1000
chapters, each with their own storied history and proud traditions. Though few in number, a squad of Space Marines
can turn the tide of battle, while an entire Chapter can shift the balance of a war. In space, the Imperium calls upon the great
warfleets of the Imperial Navy. The starships it operates are legion, ranging
from single man fighters and bombers, to ancient battleships capable of terrible displays of
destructive power. In addition to its armadas, the Navy
also operates colossal space stations, great ports, and distant anchorages, always at the
ready to deliver the forces of humanity to the next grand battlezone. The enemies of the Imperium are simply too
many and too varied for any single organization to effectively combat and there exist a great
many specialized orders and detachments used in only the most specific or dire circumstances. The Grey Knights, the Deathwatch, the Orders
Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, the Skitarii Legions and Collegia Titanica of Mars, the
forces of the Imperium are as innumerable as their foes and it is only through their
ceaseless vigilance that the Imperium is sustained. In spite of its unlimited military potential,
during extreme circumstances when the price of retaking a world is simply too high or
the risk of spreading mutation, disease or heresy too great, the highest authorities
in the Imperium can order Exterminatus. Through orbital bombardment, virus bombs,
cyclonic torpedoes or other instruments of extermination, a planet’s biosphere is completely
destroyed, along with all life on it. This terrible order is rarely given and only
as a last resort. If the Imperium has ever known an age of peace
then it is an era long forgotten. It was in war that the Imperium was founded
and through war it has endured. In the 30th millenium, from the terrors of
the Age of Strife, when anarchy, war and destructive technological regression brought man to the
edge of extinction, there arose the Emperor. He served as a guiding hand that brought man
back from the brink and ushered in a new golden age for all humanity. Using his legions of Thunder Warriors, the
ancient precursors of the Space Marines, global order was restored across Terra and once again
the planet became a hub of unceasing activity, production and planning. Aligning himself with the Tech Priests of
Mars, the Emperor and his legions set off across the galaxy in search of the Primarchs,
20 beings of extraordinary power crafted from the Emperor’s own genetic material. Seized and hidden by the dark gods of Chaos,
over time each primarch was found and they joined the Emperor’s Great Crusade as his
most capable commanders, diplomats and warriors. Thousands upon thousands of human worlds were
liberated and united under the Imperium, but in this moment of triumph, as the Emperor
worked in secret to bring about his greatest gift to mankind, the galaxy descended once
more into chaos and war. Warmaster Horus, the favored son of the Emperor
and greatest of his generals was manipulated by the dark gods of Chaos and together with
nine of his brothers split the Imperium in two. When the Horus Heresy finally came to an end
after nine years of civil war, the traitor legions had been beaten and Horus slain. But the effort had laid waste to much of the
Imperium and the Emperor, mortally wounded in his last great confrontation with Horus,
was sealed inside the Golden Throne now physically broken with only his immense psychic will
remaining. In the millenia since, the dream of the Emperor
has wilted and died. The promise of knowledge and understanding
has been replaced by ignorance and fear. Endless war is now the purpose of the Imperium
and each century brings grave new threats and short lived triumphs. Ork warbands spread unchecked across the stars,
Tyranid hive fleets circle the galaxy like predatory sharks all while ancient and young
races alike work to usurp the Imperium’s position of superiority. Even the light of the Astronomicon has begun
to flicker and fade. In the aftermath of Abbadon the Despoilers
13th Black Crusade and the fall of the Cadian Gate, unprecedented warp storms now stretch
across the galaxy and the Imperium is once more split in two. Traitor legions and alien armies besiege countless
worlds, entire sectors have disappeared into the abyss and few dare speculate what nameless
horrors run rampant in the weakened and isolated corners of the galaxy. Worse still is the knowledge secretly reported
to the High Lords of Terra that the mechanisms of the Golden Throne have begun to fail and
the knowledge necessary to repair them has been lost. Before being executed for their heresy, prophets
across the galaxy say now is the time of ending, when the Imperium will finally collapse into
a trembling collection of shattered realms before being swallowed up by the encroaching
darkness. Yet rumors abound that legends thought lost
to time have been reborn. There are whispers that hidden vaults on Mars
have been unlocked and powerful new soldiers and armaments are now fighting across the
galaxy. If now is truly the time of Ending then the
Imperium is not content to stand idly by. Across the worlds of the Imperium new Crusades
have been proclaimed, great armies raised and mighty battlefleets armed and sent forth
against the enemy. For in the grim darkness of the far future
there is only war. The Templin Institute investigates alternate
worlds and realities. If you’ve enjoyed this video and would like
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