Written by Brady Shaver
Tamriel, also known as “Dawn’s Beauty” in the Elven tongue, or “Tah’zukhan” in the language of the Dragons; is the continent on which all The Elder Scrolls games take place. Tamriel is a land of many unique natives, and even more mysteries and conflicts. Many have experienced this world through their own adventures, but completely overlooked many hidden secrets. In The Elder Scrolls mythology there are hundreds of undeniable similarities to that of Greek mythology, acting as an example as to how our understanding of Greek mythology may have changed.
The urbane Gods and Goddesses in both the Iliad and The Elder Scrolls are some of the most fantastic forces in the universe. Homer writes “But now as the twelfth dawn after this shone clear the gods who live forever marched home to Olympus” (Homer, 373). The Elder Scrolls universe consists of many gods as opposed to the few divines featured in the Iliad. The Dieties in the Iliad and The Elder Scrolls are the most comparable aspects of all.
The creation myth in the Elder Scrolls universe is truly unique and very interesting. In a podcast series created by a high school art teacher who calls himself: Boringbuthonest, he teaches about the creation of the universe according to The Elder Scrolls mythology. The official Elder Scrolls Forum states “Gods with an Anuic basis include almost all Aedra and most gods associated with the creation of the world.” (The Elder Scrolls Wikia) In the beginning, Padomay and Anu claimed rule over the void. In the space between the dark Padomay and the light Anu, was the beautiful Nir. Nir and Anu gave birth to a collection of twelve worlds called: “Creation.” In a fit of rage, Padomay destroyed the twelve worlds with his blade, thus killing Nir. After Banishing Padomay outside of time, Anu forged the remains of Nir into Nirn. After a great fight, Padomay and Anu accidentally force themselves out of time forever. Though it is unknown if this was the demise of Anu and Padomay, Their souls remain stranded in the void for eternity.
Greek mythology claims Chaos gave birth to the Night, Hell, and Day. These divine beings created Gaea (Earth), Love, Ether (Heavenly light) and Uranus (Heaven). After Chaos’ death, the great titan Cronus took rule over the universe. Fearing that his youngest son “Zeus who marshals the thunderheads” (Homer 386) would eventually overthrow him, Cronus swallowed all of his sons. The mighty Zeus fought back and poisoned Cronus, forcing him to throw up his sons. Zeus’s brothers and sisters united together and banished Cronus to the underworld; thus bringing peace to the newly created universe.
After the creation of Nirn in The Elder Scrolls mythology, many children descended from the blood of Anu and Padomay. The blood from the evil Padomay formed the Daedra (bad guys) and the space between the Daedra and the stars became the Aedra (good guys). Boringbuthonest says “The sources of magic are the many and diverse heavens collectively known as Aetherius.” (Boringbuthonest). This describes the Heavenly plain of existence in which the Aedra reside. Millennia after Anu and Padomay’s quarrel, the Daedric prince of trickery, Lorkhan devised a plan to create a mortal plain of existence: Mundus. In order to create Mundus, Lorkhan coerced the Aedra and Daedra into giving up their power. The Daedra fled to Padomay’s plain of existence: Oblivion (Hell). The kind hearted Aedra accepted this fate and agreed to create Mundus.
Man is the most influential being in both The Iliad and The Elder Scrolls. In The Elder Scrolls universe, Man and Mer alike are the inhabitants of Mundus. The Ancient in-game dragon Paarthurnax asks: “What is better, to be born good or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?” (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Paarthurnax) However there are no races in The Elder Scrolls Universe who are naturally evil in its entirety, the elven races have caused the majority of the conflicts throughout the history of Nirn. Man and Mer hail from Ehlnofey. Ehlnofey is an extinct race that is believed to have spawned naturally on the original twelve worlds of Nir. When Anu forged Nirn from the remains of Nir, The Ehlnofey were implemented into Nirn as well. The numerous races of Elves and Man were now left to inhabit this world. While many Daedric princes intervene in the lives of the mortals for their own entertainment, Man and Mer still thrive in Nirn.
Greek mythology holds Zeus tasked Prometheus and Epimetheus with creating life for Gaea. While Epimetheus set out to create beasts for Gaea, Prometheus was struggling to create man. Once he created a physical form for man, Prometheus asked Epimetheus to give traits and abilities to man. Frustrated Epimetheus had already given all his traits to his beasts, Prometheus let man stand upright and gave them fire like the gods. Homer writes “Seer of misery! Never a word that works to my advantage!” (Homer 368) These words, spoken by Agamemnon suggest an imperfect and magnanimous morality among man in Greek mythology; this is almost identical to that of The Elder Scrolls.
While the Greek mythology featured in The Iliad may seem very different from that of The Elder Scrolls, The similarities hide behind the differences. Since most stories like The Iliad are conveyed via the voice, the stories changed throughout the years. The Elder Scrolls can act as an example of modified version of Greek mythology. Some may argue The Elder Scrolls mythology is simply pure fiction the developers have conjured up. While their beliefs are intelligible, it is directly stated The Elder Scrolls mythology is inspired by Greek mythology in an official developer forum. However, the developers may have modified Greek mythology themselves; that is simply another example that our view of Greek mythology has changed.
There are hundreds of miniscule details and similarities hidden behind the action packed fantasy world in The Elder Scrolls. Critics rave that The Elder Scrolls is one of the highest rated role playing games in history; and the developers are still working on new titles. There is no doubt the mythology will not evolve much into the next game released by Bethesda. However, maybe future titles by Bethesda or other game companies or even authors may include factors that act as a precedent for a new stage in the mythical evolutionary scale.
- Homer, the Iliad, Trans, Array Prentice Hall Literature: World Masterpieces. Boston: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. 360-408. Print.
- Bethesda Studios. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. 2011. Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3.
- “On Magic and Aetherius” The Elder Lore series, Boringbuthonest. February 1, 2012. Web. February 1, 2012.
- “The Aedra.” The Elder Scrolls Wikia. Bethesda Studios. November 11, 2011. Web. November 20, 2011.
- “Elder Scrolls Lore Series: Prologue” Shoddycast. Youtube.com. February 16, 2013. Web. February 16, 2013.