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The Persepolis Janissaries are the elite Imperial Guard light infantry regiments raised from the harsh desert world of Persepolis, which is also the Chapter homeworld of the ferocious Sable Lions Space Marine Chapter. The warriors of Persepolis are a proud and noble people who value courage and honour above all else. They believe that only through glorious battle can someone advance within Persepolisian society. They fight to bring honour to their clans, but more importantly, to honour the Al-Malik (Emperor of Mankind).

From the time they are children they are taught to wield a blade and instructed in the ways of war. If they somehow manage to survive the arduous training of the Janissaries as well as the never-ending internecine tribal conflicts, these warriors will become formidable specimens and able fighters. Since the bygone era of the early years of the Horus Heresy in M31, the Persepolis Janissaries have become known for their characteristic stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds as well as their mastery of guerrilla tactics. Ferocious, determined and resourceful, the Persepolis Janissaries are commonly deployed to hostile warzones where their hit-and-run tactics come to the fore.

They typically hit weak points in an enemy's defences hard and then perform lightning strikes upon locations of tactical importance to cripple the foe. These regiments also rely heavily on their reconnaissance forces to identify good drop sites for the rest of their regiment's deployed forces. Commissars assigned to Persepolis regiments are not required to maintain order and zeal, as is normally the case, but rather, to ease interaction between Persepolis and non-Persepolis regiments and to curb the over-zealous tendencies of their charges.



Departmento Cartigraphicae data-file pict of Persepolis

Persepolis is a harsh desert world that lies near the border of the Segmentum Ultima, near the Pelegron Cluster. In ancient times this region of space was known as the Xersinia Prohibited Zone – a vast area of the void whose dark renown long predated the birth of the Imperium. Few save the insane or desperate would venture within Xersinia's bounds. Long before the wars of the Horus Heresy, all Imperial shipping was under specific interdiction from entering the region. When Persepolis was first discovered by human settlers in the 29th Millennium it was classified as a civilised verdant Agri-World. In ancient days, Persepolis had an earth-like atmosphere. However, during the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium, dual Traitor fleets comprised of the World Eaters and Word Bearers Legions enroute to Calth, made good use of this forbidden region of space to conceal their approach to Ultramar.

Thus began the so-called Shadow Crusade, the joint military campaign that saw the two Traitor Legions proceed to lay waste to the Ultramarines' stellar empire in the Eastern Fringe of the galaxy, as they rapidly destroyed twenty-six worlds in quick succession. One of the first worlds to feel the wrath of the Traitors was Persepolis. Its relative isolation meant that its demise went unnoticed as it was swiftly razed to ashes by the combined fleets of Lorgar and Angron as a bloody prologue to their assault on Ultramar itself. Much of the world's population was wiped out and many of Persepolis' once great cities were cast to ruin. The Traitors unleashed ancient weapons of terrifying potency which irrevocably changed the face of the planet forever. Verdant grasslands became arid deserts and the seas were flash-boiled away as they were vaporised by rad-caster saturation and pin-point lance strikes.

The few surviving inhabitants of Persepolis were forever after plagued by the horrors that the servants of Horus had unleashed, and quickly regressed into a feudal state. They struggled for their very existence against the corrupted environment and the harsh elements. The number of survivors dropped nearly to the point of extinction before the last remaining humans banded together in their struggle for their survival. The population devolved into nomadic tribes who constantly roamed the land seeking out the few remaining sources of food and water. Only the strongest of them survived. The nomads took to the mountains, where they were able to meek out a meager existence amongst the ruins of their once-great civilization.

Soon, the survivors began to rebuild these ruins into massive fortress cities. The occupants lived in a complex feudal societies under the command of mighty warlords (Amir). These warlords rule the great fiefdoms called Kasr, which encompass both their colossal fortresses and any surrounding territory. Kasr also house great warrior hosts originally sworn to defend from occasional pirate attacks or xenos raids, but now more frequently from assaults by rival Kasr. In exchange for service within his armies and a tithe of any looted equipment, an Amir accords these warriors various hereditary rights based on the particular feudal clan to which they belong, as well as individual rewards for accomplishments in battle. As in all things, from dress to bestowed honours, the people of Persepolis follow the dictates of the ancient ways.


Kasr 2

Kasr el-Kullani, one of the fortress-cities of Persepolis

The warriors of Persepolis are a proud and noble people who value courage and honour above all else. Only through combat and glory in battle can individuals advance within Persepolisian society, which means the clansmen must fight continuously to maintain their Kasr rights in a never-ending cycle of death and bloodshed. In addition to power and glory, the inhabitants of Persepolis also fight to honour the great warrior king of heaven referred to in clan lore as the Al-Malik (Emperor of Mankind). It is said that long ago, the celestial god-king sent his host of angels down from the sky on columns of flame to deliver the people of Persepolis from their enemies in a purifying baptism of blood. These legends also foretold that the Al-Malik's armies would one day return to Persepolis to convey the worthy to fresh conquests across the heavens.

From the time they are able to wield a blade, the children of Persepolis are instructed in the ways of war, in preparation for this glorious return. When a child reaches seven summers old, they are placed within one of the Kasr's Janissaries, where they undergo rigorous education and training regimen as mandated for all male citizens of Persepolis. The training is brutal in the extreme, with only the most senior clan warriors allowed to instruct the new recruits. The training involves battle tactics, cultivating loyalty (Asabiyya), brotherhood (Ikhwan) and Persepolis tradition (Khabar), as well as military training, pain tolerance, hunting and basic survival skills. Discipline is strict and the males are encouraged to fight amongst themselves to determine the strongest member of the group. The aim of the Janissaries is to produce physically and morally strong males to serve in Persepolis’ standing Planetary Militia Forces.

Ancient sand dwellers sancient

Kasr Clan warriors march to war

Each Kasr maintains its own militia force and is responsible for protecting their region from pirate attacks, xenos raiders, and even the occasional Chaos incursion. But the clans' sons are not the only ones who are forced into the Janissaries. Every five years, the Amirs will send their Kasr's clan warriors to scour the surrounding deserts and mountains, to seek out any signs of the La Magiri -- the "Unconquered" -- the ancient nomadic tribes who long ago, were forced to adapt to the brutal environment of Persepolis. Their continuous fight for survival and cultural persecution saw them emerge as efficient and hardy warriors, who use their superb combat skills and deadly environment to fend off those with superior technology and formal training. The skills of these warriors are highly prized by the Amirs, for after their indoctrination and training at one of the Kasr's Janissaries, their loyalty is absolute. They are often shown great favor and are relied upon for an Amir's personal guard.

La Magiri Fighter

One of the formidable and mysterious desert warriors known as the La Magiri, "the Unconquered"

The feudal clansmen of Persepolis wield a variety of weapons in combat, such as khanjar knives and curved scimitar blades. These weapons vary in condition and function, from jealously-guarded relics to blades that have been repaired countless times over the years. Many of these weapons are proudly maintained by a familial line, and are handed down from father to son. Persepolis tradition states that if a blade is drawn, it cannot be re-sheathed until it had drawn blood. These warriors believe that every weapon has a spirit within that yearns for battle, and that this spirit must be maintained if a weapon is to aid them in battle. For this reason, older, proven weapons are highly valuable to these warriors, both as relics of the Amir’s armies and objects of personal value to the fighter and his clan. Many go to great lengths to retrieve weapons that have been damaged in battle, though those which are beyond repair are ceremonially salvaged in order that the spirit within may live on.

When the lords of the Imperium turned their eyes back towards Persepolis in the 32nd Millennium, they soon realized the potential for such skilled fighters. Soon the Ecclessiarchy sent missionaries from the Missionarus Galaxia to begin the long and diligent process of indoctrinating the clansmen of Persepolis into the Imperial Creed. Within a few decades the Amirs were shown the proper rites of devotion, and those who survived publicly swore new blood oaths to the Al-Malik. Shortly thereafter, Departmento Munitorum transport vessels arrived, and before long the first Imperial Guard regiments were raised, and the Persepolis Janissary regiments left their world behind to claim glory and honour upon the Imperium's countless battlefields.

Notable Campaigns

Regimental Organisation

Regimental Ranks

Officer Ranks

  • Müşir (Field Marshal)
  • Birinci Ferik (Serdar) (General)
  • Ferik (Lieutenant General)
  • Mirliva (Major General)
  • Miralay (Brigadier General)
  • Kaymakam (Colonel)
  • Binbasi (Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Kolağasi (Major)
  • Yüzbaşi (Captain)
  • Mülâzim-l Evvel (First Lieutenant)
  • Mülâzım-l Sani (Second Lieutenant)

Non-Commissioned Officers

  • Raqib Awwal (Sergeant Major)
  • Raqib Thani (First Sergeant)
  • Raqib Areef (Vice Sergeant)
  • Raqib (Sergeant)
  • Onbasl (Corporal)


  • Jundi Awwal (Private First Class)
  • Nefer (Trooper)

Regimental Recruitment & Training

Regimental Combat Doctrine


Persepolis Janissary 5

A Persepolis Janissary Onbasl (Corporal) arrayed in his regiment's panoply of war (night operations camouflage).

  • M36 Persepolis Pattern Lasgun - The Lasgun can be produced in a multitude of different styles and patterns and can be found on almost every world of the Imperium. The M36 Pattern is one of the most ubiquitous variants of the Lasgun in use by the Imperial Guard across the galaxy. The Persepolis Janissaries make use of a special variant of the M36 Pattern Lasgun unique to their regiments that is specially adapted to desert conditions with a longer barrel to enhance its accuracy and a more fluid operational design intended to prevent sand and grit from interfering with the weapon's delicate mechanisms.
  • 4 Charge Packs - Charge packs are the powerful batteries used for all Imperial laser weapons, which varies in both size and output, depending on the classification of the weapon. Also, depending on the number of rounds the weapon is able to fire, these charge packs provide for the number of shots for that particular weapon.
  • Mono-Knife - The Mono-Knife is a one-handed melee implement that is one variant of the ubiquitous back-up melee weapon for warriors all across the Imperium, be they lowly hive scum or the elite soldiers of a Planetary Governor. Some, such as the Catachan Fighting Knife, are designed for a specific purpose, whilst others are more generic in nature. The Mono-Knife utilised by the Persepolis Janissaries is a specially fashioned Combat Knife with a superfine blade only a single molecule thick along the edge that can easily cut through combat armour and never dull. These knives are carried by all members of the Persepolis Janissaries for use as both a bayonet and a field tool. These distinctive curved knives, known on Persepolis as the Khandjar come in many shapes and sizes and are preferred by natives of Persepolis over standard-issue pattern Combat Knives or bayonets. For most Persepolis Guardsmen it is their only close combat weapon. Some particularly fine examples are cast with a lion's-head pommel and ornate scabbard. Many of these prized knives are uniquely manufactured and awarded to Persepolis officers and Guardsmen in recognition of a battlefield victory or a heroic action. The size of a Khandjar can vary from that of a small belt knife to those the size of a true sword. Persepolis-made Power Swords and Chainswords also mimic the distinctive curved shape of the Khandjar which is a distinctive cultural artefact of the Persepolisian people.
  • 2 Frag Grenades - Frag Grenades use a combustible charge and special fillers of shrapnel fragments which make them potent anti-personnel weapons. Imperial Frag Grenades are roughly the size of a clenched fist and covered with a heavily notched shell, both to increase the shrapnel produced and provide a more secure grip for throwing.
  • 3 Smoke Grenades - Smoke Grenades release a dense smoke which only obscures basic eyesight and optical based systems. They do not block detection systems that use heat or other spectral bands outside of normal human eyesight, but are much more widely available and easier to construct.
  • Flak Armour - Flak Armour is the standard-issue form of body armour issued to the millions of troopers of the Astra Militarum. It is comprised of several layers of ablative and impact absorbent material to help provide protection from case fragments ("frag") from high explosive weaponry, such as anti-artillery ("flak") grenades, some rounds used in shotguns and land mines, and other low-velocity projectiles. It is not designed to protect against high-impact weapons fire from small arms such as rifles or handguns. However, flak armour is able to sustain certain gunshots, depending on the armour, the projectile and the range from which the shot was fired. Lightweight and cheap to produce, this standard-issue wargear is dependable in most combat situations and many veteran troopers have a tendency to keep utilising it even if offered something better.
  • Persepolis Janissary Imperial Guard Uniform - An officer of the Persepolis Janissaries wears the general service uniform issued to all of the members of the Imperial Guard regiments raised from Persepolis, regardless of their rank or specific military role within the force. The Persepolis desert smock is a piece of utility clothing made of very hard-wearing natural materials. Near infrared signature management technology is incorporated into the weave of the uniform fibers to help minimize the infrared silhouette of an individual trooper, especially in night-time conditions, when the enemy is utilising night-vision technology. The trousers possesses flame resistant materials and features in-built pouches for knee-pad inserts. The desert smock usually hangs to just above the knee in length and often has voluminous sleeves. Some veteran Persepolis armour commanders modify this smock by narrowing the sleeves, because unwieldy pieces of cloth are not practical when working within the narrow confines of an armoured vehicle. The desert smock traditionally has no pockets, and so all items must be carried in the webbing pouches, backpacks or sling-bags issued to all ranks in the regiment. Smocks are manufactured in a wide variety of colours, including desert camouflage patterns. Most are a brown or sandy yellow colour, although there is little standardisation even within the same regiment or company. Some may be brown whilst others are camouflaged.
  • Respirator - A simple breathing mask that covers the nose and mouth or entire face, these offer much better protection than filtration plugs and are used by the troops of the Persepolois Janissaries in desert and toxic environments or during attacks by chemical or even biological weapons.
  • Shemagh - The traditional headscarf worn by the people of Persepolis, called the Shemagh in the local Persepolisian dialect of Low Gothic, is the distinctive garment of the Persepolis people. They are worn by everyone from that world as a matter of social custom. The Shemagh acts as protection against the worst effects of the twin suns' rays, and in the hottest conditions is sometimes worn after being soaked in water, to help reduce body temperature and prevent sunstroke. The scarf also doubles as a dust mask, wrapped across the face to prevent inhaling dust and sand. Combined with goggles, this provides good protection against the worst effects of sandstorms. Other standard-issue clothing includes a linen undershirt, combat trousers, heavy-weight marching boots and leg bindings. Persepolis Imperial Guardsmen will scavenge replacement equipment when necessary, and on campaign their uniforms often show minor variations.
  • Flak Vest & Flak Helmet - Most Persepolis troops are issued No. 38 Mark III plasteel shoulder plates. The right shoulder badge bears the winged skull symbol known as the Imperialis, showing that the regiment is a fully inducted member of the Imperial Guard. The shoulder plates attach via small buckles to the webbing. A front and rear plasteel chest and back plate can also be attached to complete what is actually a suit of Flak Armour. These solid blocks of plasteel are regarded as too heavy and hot to be worn effectively by most men in a Persepolis regiment and are in fact rarely used in actual combat. The protective shoulder plates are often discarded by Persepolis tank and amroured personnel carrier crews who find them encumbering within the confines of an armoured vehicle, and who feel they have little need for personal protection since they are already confined within their vehicle's armoured shell.
  • Webbing - A Persepolis soldier's webbing and belts are made of leather and are used to hang general equipment, pouches, water canteens, scabbards and holsters. A typical Persepolis tank crewman has little need of extra carrying pouches, as his personal kit will be stowed within his vehicle. The triple pouch cross-belt contains replacement power cells for a standard issue Laspistol. This sidearm is not visible in the picture to the right, as tank officers usually store their sidearms in their tanks.
  • Micro-Bead - This short-range communication device is worn in the ear and is utilised for short-range communication (usually about one kilometre, depending on weather conditions and terrain). These devices fit securely and discretely in the ear and often cannot be detected by a casual inspection.
  • Magnoculars - Magnoculars are powerful vision aids that magnify distant objects. More advanced, high-quality magnoculars can also do such things as give range read-outs, detect heat sources, calculate target location positioning, and take pict-captures of a view for later analysis.
  • Poor Weather Gear
  • Rucksack
  • Basic Toolkit
  • Mess Kit
  • Water Canteen - The standard issue canteen is vital in arid climates.
  • 4 week's Rations
  • Blanket & Sleeping Bag
  • Rechargeable Lamp Pack - Sturdy and reliable, these portable devices are used to help illuminate the darkness of a battlefield during inclement weather or occluded conditions, shining a highly luminescent, yellowish beam of light a dozen or so metres in width. A Lamp-Pack can be utilised for roughly five hours before its portable power pack needs to be recharged or replaced.
  • Grooming Kit
  • Dog Tags
  • Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer - This is the standard-issue field manual that covers a myriad of topics as it relates to the upkeep and care of standard-issue equipment and covers a wide variety of topics; from the various Imperial Guard ranks, organisation and structure, drill-and-ceremony as well as topics on survival, battlefield medical instructions and combat tactics. Those Imperial Guard troopers found without possession of this vital field manual often face severe punishment at the hands of their supervisors or attached Commissar.
  • Wind Goggles - A Persepolis officer carries equipment which has much in common with all Persepolis-based Imperial Guardsmen, regardless of rank. The goggles carried by Persepolis Guardsmen are of tinted plexiglass and leather construction and are standard issue to all Janissaries, regardless of rank. They provide protection against wind-blown sand and dust, most toxic gases and the dazzling effects of strong sunlight. They are not photo-chromatic, and offer only minimal protection against sudden flashes such as Photon Grenade explosions.

Optional Wargear

Notable Persepolis Janissary Regiments

Notable Persepolis Janissaries

Regimental Appearance

Regimental Insiginia

Regimental Markings



Notable Quotes

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By the Perseopolis Janissaries

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About the Persepolis Janissaries