Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
SepLnUp Imperial a1&c2

Female (left) and Male (right) Imperials in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

For other uses, see Imperials.

Imperials are some of the most well-educated, wealthy and well-spoken of the races in Tamriel and the natives of the cosmopolitan province of Cyrodiil. Imperials are also known for their discipline and training of their citizen armies. Because of this, the Imperials have dominated Tamriel for more than 2,000 years.

Biology and culture[]

Imperials can be differentiated from Bretons and Nords by their fair to swarthy skin, as opposed to the typically fairer complexion of Bretons and Nords. The Imperial skin tone is not as dark as that of the Redguards, however. Imperials also have slightly sharper faces than other races of men. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, if they are not part of the Imperial Legion, they typically serve as diplomats, traders, stewards, and craftsmen — which is well-suited, since Imperials are renowned for their diplomatic skills and cosmopolitan ideology.

The phrase "Imperial Race" is a bit of a misnomer. The people of Cyrodiil are divided into two ethno-cultural groups: Nibeneans and Colovians. Both descend from the native Nedic and Cyro-Nordic peoples that were enslaved by the Ayleids, but diverged a bit after consecutive invasions and interactions with other races. Colovian Imperials in Western Cyrodiil are more Nordic, sharing similar beliefs such as a heavy martial and seafaring tradition. Nibeneans have an Akaviri and, to a lesser degree, elven heritage. They have a greater appreciation for magic, art, commerce, and spirituality, in spite of being staunchly loyal to Alessian traditions. Both groups reflect the Empire's culture — a hybrid of Nordic, Aldmeri, and Akaviri culture.

Character creation[]

"Natives of Cyrodiil, they have proved to be shrewd diplomats and traders. They are skilled with combat and magic. Anywhere gold coins might be found, Imperials always seem to find a few more. They can call upon the Voice of the Emperor to calm an enemy."
―Racial description[src]

Skill bonuses[]

Starting spells[]

The starting spells in Skyrim are more important than they were in previous games, as the only way to learn additional spells is to find spell tomes or buy them from merchants or court mages. The Flames spell, which produces a continuous stream of fire when cast, is a starting spell for all races, as is Healing.

Special abilities[]

Popular usage[]

Skyrim character creation

A player-generated Imperial female.

Due to their broad skill set, Imperials are ideal for custom classes. Their versatility leaves them highly customizable and efficient at cross-classes, such as battlemages and crusaders. In particular, they excel when playing as a paladin/templar due to their high base restoration skill and bonuses in heavy armor and one-handed. Their Voice of the Emperor ability allows them to calm a humanoid target, giving them the opportunity to retreat and recover. This time can be used to prepare for when the spell eventually wears off and the hostilities resume. Those skilled in the Sneak skill can take advantage of pacified targets in order to stealthily attack and kill their foes. They also find more gold coins than any other race, making them efficient thieves.

Naming conventions[]

Imperial characters often have Latin names. Examples include, Sorex Vinius, Tullius, Camilla Valerius, Cicero, etc., keeping with the overall Roman characteristics. However, starting with Skyrim, some Imperial names start to sound more Italian than Latin such as Viola Giordano, Severio Pelagia, Marcurio or Vittoria Vici, reflecting the change in language over time.

Notable Imperials[]


  • The Imperials' tendency to be influenced by other cultures, including the Nords and Mer, is reminiscent of Romans deriving aspects of their culture from those they conquered.
    • The Imperials' history and architecture also have similarities with the later Roman Empire.
  • Despite Imperials' greatest weapons being their silver tongues in the lore, they do not start out with a Speech skill bonus.
  • Despite Imperials having +10 to Restoration, they do not have an extra starting spell as other magic oriented races.


See also[]