The Imperial Legion is a military organization in The Elder Scrolls universe. It was inspired by the Roman legions that were the supreme military power of their time. In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the player could join the Legion, perform tasks for them and eventually rise to the highest rank, the "Knight of the Imperial Dragon." Morrowind's sequel, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, featured the Legion, yet gave the player no opportunity to sign up as a legionnaire.
The Imperial Legion was the supreme military power of the Cyrodiil Empire of Tamriel; no other organized army in the world could match it in combat. The Legion is primarily composed of Imperials (who occupy most high-ranking positions), Redguards, Nords and Bretons (who fight as infantrymen but especially as battlemages, filling the ranks of these units by the thousands), with a notable Orcish (due to their excellence as heavy infantry) and Dark Elf minority (most prominently in Gnisis). Its headquarters is located in the Imperial City's Prison District. (Note that this is the makeup of the Legion in Morrowind — in Oblivion, the Legion consists predominantly of Imperials, with a few notable exceptions in the ranks of the town guards.)
The Legion works for the Imperial government, with support from the Emperor. In peacetime, the legionnaires serve as guards; in war, they have also been used as an invasion force.
In war, the Imperial Legion is a feared and unstoppable force. Their huge numbers and strict discipline cause even the most battle-hardened army to question their tactics. With wide ranks of hundreds of disciplined soldiers, the Imperial Legion is a force not to be trifled with.
However powerful their unstoppable numbers may make them appear, Imperials (who make up the majority of the legion) are not a natural warrior race. To counter this, they are a balanced and prolific race and the average trooper can be trained to hold their own against any foe. Still, they opt to attack with massive amounts of well-equipped and well-trained troops, to minimize the chance of failure and lower the morale of the opposition. Using diverse unit types -- including archers to cause damage, cavalry to run enemies down, officers to lead with their experience, and most importantly, their infantry platoons to crush the enemy infantry, as well as companies of battlemages to rain fire, ice, and lightning to the enemies and protect their allies with defensive spells -- the Imperial Legion is an unstoppable war machine, capable of crushing any opposing army in their tracks.
The Lord's Mail and Chrysamere, also known as The Paladin's Blade, is an artifacts of special importance to the Imperial Legion. Prior to the theft by a former legion member, the Mail was on display in the Imperial Commission in Ebonheart, Morrowind. After having been retrieved from the traitorous legionnaire, it is kept at an undisclosed location along with Chrysamere, presumably for security reasons.
In Skyrim, the Imperial Legion, led by General Tullius, has a large foothold due to the civil war with the Stormcloaks. Their numbers and strength have dwindled since the Oblivion Crisis, which has prompted various assaults on Tamriel at large and, more specifically, Cyrodiil.
The Imperial Legion selects candidates on the basis of superior Endurance, the soldierly virtue, and trustworthy personality, the citizen's virtue, for service in the Legion is the model for the duties of Imperial citizenship. Troopers are expected to demonstrate mastery of the Blade, the spear, and blunt weapons. Legion troops train with shield and heavy armor, and so must be skilled at blocking and moving in heavy armor.
As a trooper or knight, you must master the long blade, spear, and blunt weapons. You must block whatever blows you can, and take unblocked blows upon your heavy armor. Recruits must also be proficient at athletics, both to march long distances with heavy packs, and to advance and maneuver, charge and retreat on the field of battle.
There are a number of special duties that Imperial Legion soldiers fulfill. Normally, the Legion is responsible for the projection of Imperial power in the provinces and the security of the Tamrielic roads. However, there are special companies of Legion soldiers that have different duties.
The Imperial Foresters are rangers who patrol the dense forests of Cyrodiil and some other provinces. They are quick and nimble, lightly armored in comparison to their regular counterparts and equipped with bows and swords. They are usually seen prowling the forests and attacking bandits, highwaymen, wolves etc. Also on rare occasion, possibly due to a glitch or mistaken 'friendly fire', they can be seen fighting each other and mounted legion soldiers that patrol Cyrodiil's roads.
Duke's Guard and Palace GuardEdit
A special Imperial Legion platoon comprises the guard of any duke in the province of Morrowind, the Duke of Vvardenfell, for instance. These soldiers are among the best the Legion has to offer; the most accomplished soldiers of the Duke's Guard have the honor of serving as personal Palace Guard to the King of Morrowind.
Imperial Watch and Imperial Palace GuardEdit
The Imperial Watch serves as city guard for the Imperial City. It has guard towers in every district of the city, as well as the Arcane University. The Watch is commanded by four Watch Captains, each with his own city district to protect. In the official version, the best soldiers of the Imperial Legion and the Imperial Watch serve as Imperial Palace Guard. However, it is suspected that most of the Imperial Palace Guard is made up of Blades, the special bodyguards and spies of the Emperor.
Guaranteed Imperial Watch Loot:
- Fine Steel Bow
- Silver Arrow
- Silver Longsword
- Legion Boots
- Legion Cuirass
- Legion Gauntlets
- Legion Greaves
- Legion Helmet
- Imperial Watch Key
When the need arises, the Counts of Cyrodiil may ask for a list of candidates of the Imperial Legion to serve as their city guards. Every Count has the authority to summon Legion soldiers to serve under their flag after the candidate list has been submitted. They are identified by their colors and coats of arms they wear belonging to the cities of Cyrodiil. In the end, though, their ultimate allegiance still resides with the Empire and they are still Legionnaires.
Imperial Legion BattlemageEdit
Members of both the Legion and Mages Guild, Imperial Legion Battlemages are soldiers trained in the use of magic and sword. They can mainly be seen on patrol within the Arcane University in the Imperial City and also at Legion Forts located on Vvardenfell. They are outfitted in standard Imperial Legion armor, however, they wear a blue hood instead of a helm and rarely utilize a shield. In battle, they act as support to the main Imperial assault forces. Most recognize High Chancellor Ocato, head of the Elder Council, as either their leader or their strongest ally.
Soldiers trained to fight on horseback, they act as a heavy cavalry force in wartime, delivering thunderous and unstoppable charges. However, in peacetime, they guard the Empire's roadways from bandits and goblins. They wear helmets similar to those of the Greek hoplites. In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, however, they can't fight from horseback, so they must dismount to engage in combat.
Legion soldiers charged with defending the sewer entrance to the Imperial Prison in Imperial City. These men, under the command of Captain Gepard Montrose, are among the few legionnaires in the game who are in fact not Imperials. The section is made up of "Captain Gepard Montrose" (Breton), "Prison Guard" (Nord), "Prison Guard" (Redguard) and "Prison Guard" (Altmer).
Legionnaires or county Guardsmen who hold the entrance to each City's Penitentiary. They are the only key holders to the cell blocks and must accompany prison visitors at all times. These men wear their respective count's crest and uniform (or in the case of the imperial city, the standard legion uniform) but refrain from carrying shields and choose to use maces as opposed to the standard issue silver long swords. There are generally two jailors to each city, one sleeps whilst the other is on duty and vice versa.
|Knight of the Garland|
|Knight of the Imperial Dragon|
The Legion is a strictly hierarchic organization. Each fort is usually commanded by a Champion (smaller forts) or any higher-ranking Knight (larger ones). The commander of a fort is usually called "Captain" or "General." Only knights may serve as generals. A Knight of the Imperial Dragon is the highest-ranking Legion officer in any district.
The Imperial Legion itself is sub-divided into armies, also called "Legions," with numericals added for identification (for instance, the 10th Legion, which fought on Akavir).