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Main article: Pantheons of Tamriel
"The Nine say: Above all else, be good to one another."
―Anonymous[src]

The Imperial Pantheon of the Nine Divines, also the Eight and One,[1] consists of the most important religious order in Tamriel. The religion combines the Eight Divines pantheon created by Alessia with the apotheosized form of the founder of the Third Empire, Tiber Septim who became Talos, the ninth Divine. There are six gods and three goddesses. In Cyrodiil, there is a chapel in each major city venerating the divines. There are also wayshrines along the roads that are devoted to the Nine Divines. Many of these gods also appear in various combinations in the pantheons of other cultures.[2]

Pantheon[]

Nine Divines Stained Glass.png

Imperial Pantheon[]

Including the Nine Divines – the Imperial Pantheon itself also has three additional gods.

  • Morihaus (First Breath of Man) – ancient hero god of the Cyro-Nordics, associated with the Thu'um and Kynareth.[3]
  • Reman (The Cyrodiil/the Worldly God) – culture god-hero of the Second Empire.[3]
  • Shezarr (God of Man) – Cyrodilic version of Lorkhan, was the spirit behind all human undertaking and is sometimes associated with the founding of the Imperial Battlemages.[3]

Alessia and the Eight Divines[]

The Eight Divines as an official religion was instituted by Alessia upon her slave revolt against the Ayleids. She is said to have consciously made a synthesis of Ayleid and Nordic gods, in order to appease both her Nord allies and the Cyrods and Ayleids she now ruled.[14]

Perhaps coincidentally, the eight Aedra Alessia chose are those Aedra said to have been most active in the creation of the world. When the et'ada realized what Lorkhan had done, and how their divinity was being drained to create Nirn, most of them objected or withdrew. The eight Aedra that make up the divines, however, willingly gave of themselves to complete the act of creation, and are therefore seen as benevolent, in contrast to the more aloof merish deities.[2]

Popular opinion and worship[]

Mara, Mother-deity of the Divines.

"Praise the Nine!"
Cirroc[src]

Worship of the Imperial Pantheon started in the province of Cyrodiil, the homeland of the Imperials.[3] The missionary arm of the religion was known as the Imperial Cult, whose aim was to bring divine inspiration and consolation to the Empire's remote provinces.[15] Because Talos was not originally one of the Divines, in some religious sects they are referred to as "The Eight And One."[1]

Third Era[]

By the late-Third Era, worship of the Nine Divines was prevelant in both Cyrodiil, and to some extent in Morrowind. Within Morrowind, following of the Nine Divines was dominant within the territory of Great House Hlaalu and the District of Vvardenfell.[16] The Nords of Skyrim still largely followed their own religion,[17] with even the Nords in Bruma refusing to revere the Nine in favor of their own gods,[18][19] in part due to their preferance to Ysmir compared to Akatosh.[20]

Fourth Era[]

While by the Fourth Era the Nords of Skyrim's cities had enthusiastically taken to the worship of the Nine,[11] they historically had their own pantheon,[3] which was still followed by citizens in more remote locations.[21] Despite Talos not being part of the religion of the Nords, the conversion of Skyrim was such a success, that the Nords came to believe that Talos was a part of their culture and traditions.[22]

Following the signing of the White-Gold Concordat, Talos was effectively removed from the pantheon of the Gods—and The Eight Divines worship resumed.[23] While the ban on Talos worship was not enforced originally, following the Markarth Incident, the Emperor was forced to crack down, and permit the Thalmor entry to enforce the Concordat.[24] Where required, Thalmor agents from the Third Aldmeri Dominion, ensure that the worship of Talos remains an illegal activity.[25] The outlawing of Talos worship is one of the causes of the Stormcloak Rebellion, who see the ban on the worship of Talos as a violation of Skyrim's religious freedom.[11]

An Imperial Liaison to the Aldmeri Dominion wrote the book known as The Talos Mistake, stating the Empire chose to remove Talos from the Nine not because of the Dominion, but because it was the right thing to do. The book states that the worship of Talos only weakened the history of Tiber Septim's mortal deeds, and pulled the people away from the Eight Divines.[26]

The Imperial Priests of Talos within Skyrim were largely against the Empire due to the outlawing of Talos worship, believing that any true son of the Empire would never forsake Talos.[27] Within the capital city of Solitude, attendance to the chapel of the Divines was low due to many citizens joining the Legion to fight in the war, however, the High Priest of the Eight Divines did get more visitors asking for council.[28] By contrast, the population of Windhelm flocked to the Temple of Talos when the war broke out, though not always because of the war itself.[29] Within the city of Whiterun, Danica Pure-Spring, the priestess of Kynareth stopped most of her duties as a priestess to instead tend to the wounded soldiers of Whiterun who returned after clashes with the Stormcloaks.[30]

Communication with mortals and manifestation[]

An Oracle of the Imperial Cult.

Prior to Alessia's pact with Akatosh, binding her soul to the Amulet of Kings, many Aedra and Daedra were able to fully interact with Nirn and its population. However, even during this period, these eight Aedra are not known to have manifested physically on the planet, but communicated through dreams and visions (as with Alessia). Their interaction with the world is relegated to blessings through their altars and shrines, and the Divines themselves are mostly seen as distant, beyond a few charismatic cults for individual Divines.[31] On rare occassions, the Divines may communicate with a follower of the Imperial Cult, turning them into an Oracle. These Oracles are on occassion, given visions by the Divines of prophecies and magical artifacts,[32][33][34][35][36] as well as the locations of deceased followers of the Nine.[37] On occasion, the Divines manifest themselves in mortal form. The Divines which have been believed to have done so are Talos,[38] Mara,[39] and Zenithar.[40]

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dialogue with The Prophet
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Monomyth
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Varieties of Faith in the Empire
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Loading Screens (Skyrim)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 The Daggerfall Chronicles
  6. Dialogue with Helgird
  7. In-game description in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Bravil: Daughter of the Niben
  9. Dialogue with Torasa Aram
  10. The Wolf Queen, Book III
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Nords Arise!
  12. Guide to the Imperial City
  13. Dialogue with Heimskr
  14. Shezarr and the Divines
  15. For my Gods and Emperor
  16. A Life of Uriel Septim VII
  17. Dialogue with Jeleen during "The Missing Missionary"
  18. Dialogue with Isa Raman
  19. Dialogue with Arentus Falvius
  20. Dialogue with Cirroc
  21. Dialogue with Froki Whetted-Blade
  22. Dialogue with Nura Snow-Shod
  23. The Great War
  24. Dialogue with Alvor
  25. Dialogue with Thalmor Justiciars
  26. The Talos Mistake
  27. Dialogue with Heimskr
  28. Conversations between Freir and Rorlund
  29. Dialogue with Jora
  30. Dialogue with Danica Pure-Spring
  31. Reflections on Cult Worship
  32. Dialogue with Lalatia Varian during "Ring in Darkness"
  33. Dialogue with Lalatia Varian during "Ring in Darkness"
  34. Dialogue with Lalatia Varian during "Boots of the Apostle"
  35. Dialogue with Lalatia Varian during "Ice Blade of the Monarch"
  36. Dialogue with Lalatia Varian during "Skull-Crusher"
  37. Events of "The Silver Staff of Shaming"
  38. Events of "A Lucky Coin"
  39. Events of "Boots of the Apostle"
  40. Events of "Ring in Darkness"
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