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How big was the Eldar empire during mankind's "Dark Age of Technology"? Was it galaxy spanning? If so, then how did humans spread so rapidly with the refinement of the warp drive STC systems? Remember the Eldar empire did not collapse until over 5,000 years after the Dark Age ended. And if the empire extended beyond what is the Eye of Terror, what happened to it?
â€œCry â€˜Havocâ€™ and let slip the dogs of war!â€? - Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I
The eldar were actually quite localized around the heart of their empire. I don't think they actively expanded and colonized very much (at least, not within a reasonable timescale, eldar breed slowly.) This explains why the devastation was so total when the eye of terror opened.
I think their empire had a far reaching sphere of influence, and their technology made them massively influential to the point where they could exert their will on other races quite easily. But this doesn't mean they actively went out and conquered them in the way the humans did later.
The eldar empire was centered around the Crone worlds, the planets that currently make up the Eye of Terror. They had a huge influence, and had colonies everywhere. When the Fall occured and then the Great Crusade then the eldar were forced to abandon almost all of their worlds.
I shall destroy all who stand in my way. The Emperor shall be reborn in me, the Primarchs shall be remade in me. I shall cast down the Dark Gods, the Star Gods shall be consumed just as they consumed their brothers. Those who fell shall be redeemed, those who remained pure shall be rewarded. The Imperium shall regain its power and the Dark Age of Technology will seem like nothing. For I am the Numen and I am coming