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Warhammer 40K Theories: The Eldar Destroyed The First Human Empire

by Ozva Admin

What really ended the Dark Ages of Technology. It could be our pointy-eared enemy friends: the Eldar.

For the most part, modern human history in 40K begins with the rise of the Emperor and the Unification Wars. Before then, very little was known about humanity’s expansion to the stars and what it did there. Between now and around 30,000 years ago, history is mostly a series of question marks. But humanity spread to the stars, populating countless worlds and reaching great heights. They formed a great empire. But something knocked him down. Let’s take a look at a theory about it.

Steller’s first empire

Sometime around M18, humanity developed the twin technologies of Warp Drive and Geller Field. Although humanity had already begun its exodus from Steller and reached other worlds, slow travel times meant expansion was slow and each colony was isolated. The creation of the Warp Drive opened the galaxy to rapid colonization and humanity flourished, spreading across vast reaches. Here during the dark age of technology (indeed, a Golden Age) human technology reached a height never before equaled. This period is also sometimes referred to as the first human Steller Empire, though we don’t actually know what kind of government or governments it had. Most worlds in the Imperium can trace their human population back to this period.

End of the Age of the End

Although we do not have exact dates, this Golden Age came to an end. The Golden Age began in M15 and ended in M25. We don’t know exactly why the Dark Age of Technology came to an end. Various reasons have been given: too many rogue psykers, powerful warp storms, AI controlled wars. Iron men. Any of these could have happened. Maybe even all of them happened.

While the cause is unknown, the result is; anarchy, death and the collapse of human civilization. The great light of human progress went out and the era of fighting it started. Old Night’s mantle would stretch through human history, until the arrival of the Emperor. It’s easy to see the end of the Golden Age as a result of natural or internal problems, but what if there was an external source for it?

Humans were not alone

When humans reached out to the stars, they would not have found them empty. Many of the classic 40K races would now be missing. The T’au were in their infancy, the Necrons still slept, and the Hive Fleets had yet to reach our galaxy. Still, a large number of Xenos races populated the worlds that humanity sought to settle. Many of these would have been small and minor breeds. Some of the major 40K races were around that time as well. The Orks in their team multitudes lived among the stars and it was there also that the Eldar Empire flourished.

Rival empires?

At the time of the great exodus of humanity, the most powerful race in the Galaxy were the Eldar. This long-lived race had come to dominate after the end of the War in Heaven and built a huge, technologically advanced Empire. The history of this Empire is quite incomplete, with very little known. We know that it began sometime after the conflict with the Necrons, about 60 million years ago, and that it ended in M30 with the birth of Slaanesh and the opening of the eye of terror. The Imperium is said to have reached its height of some 10,000 worlds just prior to its destruction. Honestly, that’s not much for 60 million years!

All of this means that the Eldar Empire was a massive and possibly still expanding concern right at the time when humans were spreading across the galaxy and building their own first Empire. It seems impossible that the two races had not come into contact. In fact, we know the Xenos. Cabala, which includes the Eldar, has been active on Terra since the 20th century. Since most have been in contact, it is possible that the two empires fought a war. Was this the reason behind the end of the Dark Ages?

Evidence of a war

There isn’t much evidence about any kind of warfare during this period, but that’s mainly because we have almost no evidence of anything in this period. We know that the Emperor certainly distrusts the Eldar and all Xenos, and he tried to destroy them. He knew a great deal about them, and while they might seem like good allies to the humans, he chose to make war on them, perhaps out of a lingering hatred for the way they undermined the early human empire.

The Eldar also tend to look down on humans as less advanced, and yet Dark Age technologies often seem to rival Eldar technology in many ways. However, if the Eldar had won a war against the humans in the past, it would make more sense for them to despise them. Lastly, it makes some sense. It’s hard to think that these two massive empires were expanding into the galaxy at the same time and No get in conflict.

Let us know what you think about this theory, in the comments below!


Abe is something of a rarity, an Austin local born and raised here. Although he keeps moving, DC, Japan, ETC., he always seems to find his way back eventually. Abe has decades of experience with a wide range of tabletop and RPG games, from historical to Star Wars, D&D, and 40K. He has been contributing to BOLS from almost the beginning, when he worked for and then owned a local game store. He used to be very into the competitive Warhammer tournament scene, but age has mellowed him out and he now appreciates a good casual game. He currently covers the tactics and lore of 40K, as well as all things Star Wars, with occasional forays into other topics. Abe remains in mourning the loss of WFB to this day.

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