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The Great Crusade > Pre-Heresy Background Q&A > Imperial Army Symbol?

Title: Imperial Army Symbol?

Legion XX - April 13, 2012 01:53 AM (GMT)
Does anyone know what the symbol of the Great Crusade era Imperial Army is?


BigWill - April 13, 2012 04:39 AM (GMT)
Just asked this myself,the Aquila and Heresy the winged skull

While the EC were the only LEGION to be granted the honor as a badge.
Anything Imperium will have the aquilla on it,Tanks,Ammo crates.
Just not Astartes unless EC.

Legion XX - April 13, 2012 01:27 PM (GMT)

I was even taking part in that conversation...

Thanks for the reminder!

Apologist - April 13, 2012 02:55 PM (GMT)
There's a lot of conflicting material on this matter.

The older Epic background (Adeptus Titanicus, Space Marine 1st ed.) had the Imperialis (the winged skull) as the symbol adopted by the Imperial Guard after the Heresy. I believe this was in honour of the Loyalist faction's campaign army badge*; but I'll stop short of stating that as a fact, as my memstacks are hazy! ;)

Prior to that, the Emperor's forces (which presumably include the Imperial Army) used the thunder and lightning device that was the Emperor's personal sigil (this is the one present on the Mark 1 Thunder Armour models). The Eagle (n.b. not Aquila) was a common device, but not specifically related to any one person or insitution.

Meanwhile, the Aquila (i.e. two-headed eagle) in Rogue Trader was the symbol of the Imperium; with the various parts representing various bits of the Imperium. I have vague recollections that there's also a contemporary source that has the Aquila representing the two Empires the Imperium of Man and the Martian Mechanicum. Can anyone validate that?

The newer material has the Aquila as the Emperor's sigil, and little distinction is made between the single and two-headed versions which I think is where a lot of the confusion about who can use it etc.

Personally, I think it's a bit weird when it's implied that the Astartes couldn't use the Aquila, while everyone and everything else including ammunition crates seemingly could. It'd make more sense to me if the Eagle (or similar device, such as the Thunder-and-Lightning device) was a common image, while the Aquila was reserved.

I'd suggest that you use either the Thunder-and-Lightning device or a single-headed Eagle device; and have the Aquila as restricted to heroes or noteworthy individuals (exactly as for the Astartes).

Alternatively, since the Army is very much a reserve force in M31, you could rationalise it as less uniform; and not have a single unifying device at all. That way, you can go mad with cool symbols like Lions' heads (the M41 Imperial Guard are increasingly symbolised with lions in the most recent material), or a symbol of your own choice.

That said, I think it'd would be best, aesthetically speaking, to have something distinct. Winged devices (such as the Eagle, the Aquila and the Imperialis) are very common to the Astartes and M41 Imperial forces. Since Imperial Army models will have no recognisable visual equivalent to the Pre-Heresy armour marks of the Astartes, if you want to have them as recognisably Pre-Heresy, you'll be rewarded by working more creatively than simply rationalising existing symbols on the models you'll use as the basis.

Imperial Army will require work to make distinctively Pre-Heresy. There's no simply answer for their symbol, so take advantage of that to make up something aesthetically distinctive.

*Adopted by the Loyalists (everyone Astartes, Mechanicum, Army) to distinguish themselves from the Renegades, who were still using the Thunder-and-Lightning symbol... which, amusingly enough, had eight-points and was pretty much the Chaos Star!

BigWill - April 27, 2012 01:52 PM (GMT)
I definietly remember that bit about one head is the Imperium the other is Mars.
One eagle is blind the other is not
(cannot remember if the blind one is blind to the past or the future)

setanta41 - April 27, 2012 02:22 PM (GMT)
I also remeber reading somewhere that the two headed eagle was for Terra and Mars.

the damned artificer - May 9, 2012 08:14 PM (GMT)
I've had the discussion about the aquila for pre-heresy space marines with Ead from fw on the fb site, and the general misinterpretation that the only ones wearing it post heresy was the emperors children is wrong, they were the only legion allowed to have every single marine display the aquila as a general honour to the legion, other astartes could be rewarded with the aquila by the emperor, and many marines would bear such a thing with pride.

This is also my general belief on the matter, which is why I don't hesitate to put a few eagles here and there on my imperial fists :D

And I too have read the part of the two heads symbolizing the union between Terra and Mars :)

Apologist - May 9, 2012 08:32 PM (GMT)
As an update, I've been researching the Unification War, and the Thunder and Lightning symbol as the Emperor's sigil is still current canon it's in Horus Rising (pp2612) as the symbol during the Unification War.

Given the salute has changed from the pre-Unity salute (fist raised and banged against the chest) to the Aquila, I think we can (fairly) safely say that the Aquila became the symbol of the Imperium in general, as well as the Emperor's personal symbol post-Unity. Barring any specific contradiction, as the damned artificer say, it can be used sparingly on the Astartes and Imperial Army.

That said, I'd still encourage people aiming for a Pre/Heresy-era appearance to avoid it, for two simple reasons:

1) You'll have to continually explain about the Emperor's Children thing, and that'll get boring!
2) Rationalising the appearance because it's easier than modelling something other than an Aquila will result in a less distinctively Pre/Heresy-era army, which will negatively impact your theme. If you're going to go to the effort of making a Pre/Heresy-era army, then go the whole hog.

Unless the Aquila has a specific reason to appear on your model (e.g. you're modelling Garro, who's marked out by having one as an honorific), then look for an alternative as The Incredibles put it, if everyone's special, no-one is. :)

the damned artificer - May 10, 2012 02:43 PM (GMT)
I agree with apologist that in most cases the aquila needs to go, if there is no specific reason for it to be there it will throw the pre-heresy theme off. I have personally gotten rid of all the chest mounted aquilas and only using the aquila to emphasize things as rank and status, I might keep the aquila on my librarians chest to symbolize the emperor watching his purity, and shielding his heart from the dangers of the warp (even though no one was really aware of these horrors till later except the emperor, hmm...maybe I need to remove that as well)

All in all don't plaster the minis in aquilas unless you also paint them purple :P

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