History of the Maccabees

The Maccabees Space Marine Chapter is a successor chapter to the Dark Angels. Part of the 2nd founding in the late 31st Millennium, they were posted to the Eastern Fringe between the Tau Empire and in the path of Hive Fleet Drakken, near several Ork kingdoms to shore up a perceived weak point in the Imperium’s defenses.

Though they are descended from the Dark Angels, they are not considered part of the “Unforgiven”. Unlike their cousins, they do not pursue the “Fallen Angels” nor do they regard their duties to be a penitential crusade. Instead, they see themselves as guardians of the ancient truths of the covenant between God and Mankind.

Their founding Chapter Master was originally a Lieutenant Commander in the Dark Angels named Matisyahu Hakon who had a reputation for piety and zealotry. Like all Dark Angels, he knew the Emperor as a man, not a god. He respected him as the liberator of mankind and revered him the gene-father of all Space Marines, the Dark Angels in particular, but unlike his brethren he was willing to share these truths with the humans he was charged to protect.

Hakon rejected the so-called “Imperial Truth”, he knew the existence of the C’tan and the Chaos gods proved there were indeed gods. He also knew none of these beings were sovereign and were, at best, false gods.

He came to accept the ancient wisdom that while the Emperor is the Master of Mankind, he is no god. The One True God made the heavens and the earth. When Luther staged his rebellion against Lynn El’Jonson during the Horus Heresy, Hakon lead the resistance on Caliban. When the Fleet arrived, it was Hakon who lowered the planet’s defensive shields. His willingness to sacrifice everything for the honor of the Chapter impressed the Lion who declared Hakon alone innocent of the Dark Angel’s secret shame.

When the High Lords reorganized the Adeptus Astartes, the successors to the Dark Angels were known collectively as the “Unforgiven”, however, the Inner Circle decreed that Matisyahu and his men who had resisted Luther even at the cost of their home world were absolved of the sins of the Chapter by the Lion himself. 

They were bidden to take their unshakeable faith into the wilderness of the Segmentum Pacificus, they would be Dark Angels no more but they would be the Maccabees. Matisyahu named his new chapter in honor of his new mission. Gathering the most sacred texts of ancient Terra, he and his men selected the world of Ka’naan as their new base world. The fact that it was held by seven warbands of the Word Bearers Chaos Marine Legion was no obstacle to the Maccabees.

The Maccabees attacked the world using the drop tactics favored by their chapter master, they matched the murderous fury of the traitors with their faith and established a foothold on the world at the Movi Fields. From their drop site, they assaulted the Word Bearer fortress at Rikko, seizing the city in a lightning campaign that lasted only a week.

With a secure base of operations, the Maccabees spread out and met the Word Bearers on the Plains of Shelow, there Yohoshua Benin lead his outnumbered men against the Canonites of Ogmah, a large Word Bearer Warband. Ogmah was a Deamon Prince of the Word Bearers, a twelve-foot tall monster yet Yohoshua’s faith was unshakeable and he slew the abomination in single combat. With the loss of their leader, the Canonites were put to flight and were massacred by the faithful.

The climax of the campaign was the seizure of the Word Bearers’ main Temple in Salem. Originally built as a massive Imperial Shrine, the Word Bearers had defiled and corrupted it. The Maccabees rededicated it to the service of G-d and it remains the center of their power to this day.

After the liberation of Salem, the campaign took an additional seven years but at its end the faithful were victorious and Ka’naah became New Judea, the fortress world of the Maccabees. The Maccabees pushed the forces of Chaos back across the Levant subsector, forcing them into the Satyressia Abyss, a warp storm that covered several Chaos wracked hell-worlds at the border of the sector.

The Chapter Master of the Maccabees was granted the title Lord Levantine by the Imperial Senate. The Realm of Levant is a vassal kingdom of the Holy Terran Imperium. Like other vassal kingdoms, such as the Realm of Ultramar, the worlds of the realm pay their tributes not to the Adeptus Terra but to the Maccabees Chapter. Like most Imperial worlds, they raise PDF regiments and detail some of them to the Royal Army. The Chapter Master of the Maccabees is also the head of the Royal House of Levant. If need be, the Realm of Levant can contribute, not mere regiments but entire armies to the Imperial Guard. However, the Adeptus Munitorium rarely calls upon the Levantines to do so out of respect for the autonomy of the Adeptus Astartes. Instead, the Royal Army is most typically deployed in support of the Maccabees or to defend the Realm from threats that don’t warrant the attention of the Adeptus Astartes.

The Maccabees have governed this kingdom for the nine millennia since keeping Ork, Reaver, and Xenos at bay all the while. The Realm is stable, loyal, and wealthy. In general, the Realm enjoys a higher level of technology than most parts of the Imperium.

The Ecclesiarchy is rather weak within the Maccabees’ realm, as the chaplains of the Chapter have continued the tradition laid down at their founding of not withholding the Truth from the people they protect. This has caused some friction with the Inquisition but the independence of the Adeptus Astartes is well established within the Imperium. As a result of their physical isolation and doctrinal alienation from the Adeptus Terra, the Maccabees are mainly an infantry force as what forge worlds they control are dedicated to producing high-quality weaponry for the regiments of the Royal Army and Navy. The Maccabees see this not as a problem but as an affirmation of the divine purpose of humanity. “Flesh over Steel” is an often-quoted maxim of the chapter’s tech marines.

Their focus on the divinely ordained purpose for the human race and their origins as the one incorruptible part of the Dark Angels legion led them to stress purity above all else. As a result, the chapter boasts a rather large Apothecary to maintain the purity of its gene-seed. There is a large medical auxiliary attached to the chapter, indeed many women of the fortress world receive training in the medical arts from the chapter’s Hospitalars.

The side effect of their preoccupation with humanity over machinery is that they field relatively few vehicles outside of Dreadnoughts. The chapter has no Land Raiders; armored support comes in the form of Predator tanks or Heavy Weapons Squads. Bikers and Land Speeders are also uncommon but present in limited numbers. They have little contact with and little use for the Tech-Priests. Their own Tech Marines have preserved what technical lore the chapter can draw on but since most of their technology dates back to the Dark Age of Technology and has remained uncorrupted by the Cult of the Omnissah, the Maccabees enjoy a higher overall technology (if in limited quantities) than most space marine chapters.