Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

The legendary Atmoran leader, Ysgramor.

Atmorans are an ancient race of Men who originated from the continent Atmora, located north of Skyrim. They are considered the progenitors of the Nords and subsequently the Imperials, Bretons, and possibly the Nedes, after a large group of them settled in northern Tamriel and founded the earliest known human city of Saarthal.[1]


Merethic Era[]

According to the Nords' belief, the first men came into being when Kynareth breathed onto the Throat of the World.[2] Although markedly colder than Tamriel, Atmora was still relatively temperate at the time, and so these Men settled there and became the first Atmorans, eventually founding a powerful culture and civilization.[3][4]

The first expeditions made by the Atmorans to Tamriel occurred later into the Merethic Era.[5] The warrior and hero Ysgramor would organize a great colonizing fleet to Skyrim in the middle of a civil war in Atmora. Ysgramor's fleet crossed the Sea of Ghosts and landed at Hsaarik Head at the northern tip of Skyrim's Broken Cape, and then moved inland. There the Atmorans built the legendary city of Saarthal, the earliest known settlement founded by Men on Tamriel, and established a connection with the native Snow Elves, and the two groups would live in relative peace.

Eventually, the Snow Elves assaulted Saarthal, and killed off the entire Atmoran populace living there, with the exception of Ysgramor and his sons, Yngol and Ylgar, and an Atmoran man who came to be known as Ahzidal.[3][6] Ysgramor and his sons fled the city, and returned to Atmora soon after.[2]

This event would ultimately be known as the Night of Tears.[2][7] Several theories had been proposed to attempt to explain the Snow Elves' fateful attack on Saarthal. One theory was that they noticed the comparatively faster growth of the Atmoran population, and so the Snow Elves attacked them with the intent of bringing the new settlers' proliferation under control, as Mer had long been accustomed of dealing with Nede populations of Men. Another theory was that the Atmorans had discovered a mysterious artifact known as the Eye of Magnus deep below the foundations of Saarthal, and so the Snow Elves attacked the Atmoran settlement to secure the object for themselves.[7]

The Return[]

Main article: The Return

When Ysgramor and his sons returned to Atmora, they brought stories of Elven treachery and the slaughter of Saarthal's citizens to their kin. This moved the bravest men and fiercest women of Atmora to band together into a large companionship, with the aim of avenging their fallen and permanently claim Skyrim from the Mer.[3][8]

The ghosts of The Five Hundred Companions.

Ysgramor took command of the elite group of warriors and hunters, who in time would become known as the legendary Five Hundred Companions, and the war band's fleet set sail from the Atmoran city of Jylkurfyk to invade Tamriel on the Day of Final Passage.[3] Soon after the Five Hundred made landfall in Skyrim they overran and retook Saarthal, and in their wrathful onslaught began to pursue the scattering and fleeing Snow Elves relentlessly across the width and breadth of the land.[9][10] This unprecedented conquest of Mer lands by Men made the ascendancy of humans possible for the first time on the continent of Tamriel, and would eventually lead to the establishment of the First Empire by Men.[11] These momentous events, known to Tamrielic historians as "The Return," became enshrined in legend in Nordic and later Imperial culture, and continues to profoundly shape the relationships between Men and Mer, even thousands of years later.

The settling of Skyrim and beyond[]

As the crews of the Five Hundred Companions parted ways with Ysgramor after reclaiming Sarthaal and established the Circle of Captains, they would venture out into the new land and gradually interbred with the Nedic populations of Skyrim, whom they inadvertently liberated from the dominion of Mer through their campaigns of conquest against the Snow Elves. Through this, the Companions gave rise to the modern-day bloodline of the Nords. Those settlers of Atmora who came after and ventured west into High Rock intermingled with the Aldmer living there, becoming the progenitors of the Breton people. Others who moved southward were captured and enslaved by the Ayleids, and interbred with the Nedic humans of Cyrodiil during their captivity. Their offspring would eventually overthrow the Ayleids under leadership of the Nede slave queen Alessia, and begin the bloodline that would lead to the modern-day Imperials.[1]

As the crews of the Five Hundred roamed Skyrim during these years, many of them continued to raid Elvish settlements and stalk Mer stragglers up until the moment of Ysgramor's death, after which they laid down their weapons in a terrible grief and in homage to their legendary harbinger.[10][8]

The frost fall and the end of the Atmoran civilization[]

But as Ysgramor's migration went on, more dramatic and dire things started to happen back at Atmora. Due to a mysterious event known as "the frost fall", the continent's climate drastically changed, growing increasingly colder and colder, to the point where it became inhospitable and even downright hostile to the humans living there, motivating more and more Atmorans to head south over the Sea of Ghosts, trying to escape the smothering cold.[1]

The last larger detachment of Atmoran refugees arrived in Tamriel in 1E 68, where two ships from the north pulled into a harbor with more than half their crews dead.[1] According to the legends about his early life, Tiber Septim was born in Atmora around 2E 828, before spending his childhood and adolescence in Skyrim, making him the last known immigrant from the continent.[12] Expeditions to Atmora in the Third Era has described the continent as nothing but a frozen wasteland cast in eternal winter, it is presumed by scholars that the Atmorans who remained there perished many centuries ago.[1]


The Dragon Priest Ahzidal.

Main article: Ancient Nordic Pantheon

The Atmorans were known to venerate nine animal avatars; the Fox, presumed to be Shor, the Bear, presumed to be Tsun, the Hawk, presumed to be Kyne, the Wolf, presumed to be Mara, the Moth, presumed to be Dibella, the Whale, presumed to be Stuhn, the Owl, presumed to be Jhunal, the Snake, presumed to be Orkey, and the Dragon, presumed to be Alduin. When they migrated to Skyrim, they brought this belief system with them and it became a part of the fledgling Nordic culture. For reasons lost to history, the Atmoran shamans venerating the Dragon grew far more influential in this new society than the shamans who represented the other animal avatars, and began to wield power equal to the kings. Henceforth, these Dragon Priests ruled over the Atmoran and Nord populations at the behest of their Dragon overlords, establishing the Dragon Cult as Skyrim's dominant religion in the Merethic Era.[13]

Notable Atmorans[]