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For the DLC, see The Elder Scrolls Online: Orsinium.
"The Orc homeland of Orsinium has had a troubled history. Indeed, for most of the past two thousand years Orsinium has existed only in the dreams of the Orc people."
Imperial Geographic Society[src]

Orsinium (Aldmeris for Orc-Town),[2] also called Nova Orsinium,[3] is an Orcish city-state located within Tamriel. It was featured prominently in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and The Elder Scrolls Online: Orsinium as the Orcish capital city. While technically being under the sovereignty of the Empire, Orsinium has in the past not been readily accepted by the other provinces of Tamriel. However, in 3E 399, Emperor Uriel Septim VII sought to improve relationships between the Empire and Orsinium through diplomacy, increased trade, and confederacy,[3] prior to its destruction.[4] Orsinium has usually been located inside the province of High Rock, in the western part of Tamriel, and as such Orcs co-inhabit the region alongside Bretons.[3] The current Orsinium lies upon the mountains between Skyrim and Hammerfell.[4]

By game


First Orsinium

The First Orsinium before its fall

Main article: Old Orsinium

The very First Orsinium, sometimes known as "Torug's Folly",[5] was founded by Orc chieftain Torug gro-Igron,[3] after Warlord Thulgeg led a great emigration of Orsimer and Goblins to the Wrothgarian Mountains in 1E 874.[1] A number of the settlers were beastmen set free by the rulers of the Summerset Isles and permitted to settle lands north of Valenwood.[2] At first, it was just a small collection of huts, then a camp and a village before becoming a sprawling town. Forge-wife Mortuga, first and greatest of King Torug's many wives, sought out a master mason to build a stone wall around the city and define its borders, choosing Kuthbarg the Steady who raised strong walls around Orsinium.[6] As word spread to the other Orcs of Tamriel about this rising civilization high in the Wrothgarian Mountains it soon grew to house more permanent structures.[3]

The ruins of the first Orsinium

In its early stages, the other races of Tamriel deemed it a place ruled by savage law which raided its neighbors along the Bjoulsae River. It was thought by the Bretons to be little more than a desolate mountain region where Orcs scratched a meager living off rocks and secretly coveted the lands and the settled livelihood of their valley-bound neighbors. Orc historians however, claim this is simply Breton superstition and exaggeration. They claim Orsinium was always a peaceful land whose inhabitants made their way by simple agriculture and commerce.[3] In truth however, the matter boils down to the roles of the Orsimer clans residing in the city. Clan Bagrakh committed the raids in honor of Clan Igron and King Golkarr. The Orcish claim is also partially true, as clans Shatul and Tumnosh provided the city's economy with farming and blacksmithing, respectively.[7]

Main article: Siege of Orsinium

In 1E 950, Daggerfall and Sentinel, with the help of the Order of Diagna and Knights of the Dragon, declared war on Orsinium in response to the Bjoulsae Raids. This event became known as the Siege of Orsinium, which lasted for thirty years. The Orc clans of the city united and fought back against the human invaders vigorously, and the three gates of the city designed by Torug also made it harder for the invading armies to break into the city. The gate of Smelter fell in 1E 960, ten years into the invasion. In 1E 970, Diagnan leader Gaiden Shinji and Orcish hero Baloth Bloodtusk had a duel, though were both assassinated by Joile of Daggerfall and General Mercedene of the Winterborn. The distraction caused by this event allowed the invaders to break through the gate of Hammer.[8] The invasion came to an end in 1E 980, when the gate of Temper fell and King Golkarr was killed.[9]

With no province to call their own, the Orsimer became little more than pests and monsters in the view of the average Tamrielic citizen. The Orcs attempted to establish at least two new Orsiniums, but they were always destroyed before they could become sustainable settlements[10]. In 2E 582, the ruins of the first Orsinium still remain. The inhabitants of Wrothgar refer to it as "Old Orsinium".[11]

Second Orsinium

The second Orsinium in The Elder Scrolls Online: Orsinium

Main article: Orsinium (Online)

Following the city's destruction, the land briefly became a territory of the Akaviri Potentate, though this ended with the assassination of Savirien Chorak in 2E 430. As a result, the lands were later sacked by Baron Fulvert Guimard in 2E 431,[12] and at some point Wrothgar later went under the control of the Daggerfall Covenant. In 2E 566, King Emeric of Wayrest sent emissaries to the Wrothgarian Mountains with the offer that if they attacked the city of Shornhelm and provided aid to annihilate King Ranser's forces at Markwasten Moor, the lands of Wrothgar would once again be theirs. They later did so under the command of Kurog gro-Bagrakh, who later became the king of Orsinium, and the Orcish representative of the Daggerfall Covenant.[11][13][14]

The Second Orsinium existed during the Three Banners War in 2E 582, where it was undergoing construction. The city was under the control of Kurog gro-Orsinium, who united it with the Daggerfall Covenant.[15] Kurog did not control the entirety of Wrothgar, and sought to unite the Orc clans under one faction. This did not prove easy, as Kurog's support for the worship of Trinimac did not sit well with the other chieftains. Kurog later invited many of the Orcish chiefs to a Moot, though it was revealed that this was in fact a trap, and Kurog attempted to assassinate the chiefs. His plans were foiled by Bazrag gro-Fharun, Eveli Sharp-Arrow, and the Vestige, and Kurog was later slain by the Vestige in 2E 583. Bazrag then held a funeral for Kurog on the city's Castle Overlook, saying that Kurog was influenced by his mother to take such dire actions. After pressure from the Orc community, Bazrag took the title of the King of Orsinium. After these events, Orsinium's alliance with the Daggerfall Covenant was put into question, as the accord was struck with Kurog and Emeric, resulting in Bazrag to consult the Orsimer community on the matter.[11] It is unknown when it was destroyed, though in 2E 864 the Orsimer petitioned Tiber Septim to grant them the status of an Imperial Territory once more.[2]

Third Orsinium

The Stronghold of Orsinium as seen in Daggerfall

Main article: Orsinium (Daggerfall)

An Orc visionary named Gortwog gro-Nagorm acquired the site of the former civilization of Orsinium and began reconstructing a new city for the Orsimer of Tamriel. As it grew, many believed it would succumb to the same fate as its predecessor. Gortwog though, proved to be a superb politician and diplomat and managed to make negotiations with Orsinium's neighbors which saw the Third Orsinium prosper.[3]

The location of the Third Orsinium

Orsinium had asked the Imperial authorities to raise it to Provincial status, making it recognized as a fully-fledged Province of Tamriel. Its request was under review and given the likelihood of a stable future with its previous rival High Rock, many believed Orsinium had a very good chance of succeeding in its goal.[3] It is unknown if it became a province prior to its sacking in the early Fourth Era.

There is however, a religious conflict in Orsinium which shows signs of becoming a major problem. In accordance with tradition, the Orsimer have always worshipped the Daedra lord Malacath as their deity. Orsinium's current leader, Gortwog, however, has controversially claimed that Malacath is in fact a fake and has set up a priesthood dedicated to the worship of the ancient Aedric hero, Trinimac. This had caused controversy as Trinimac was said to have been devoured by Boethiah, and afterwards became Malacath.[3]

Fourth Orsinium

Some time in the early Fourth Era, Orsinium was once again sacked, this time by a combined Breton-Redguard force. During the sack two Imperial Legions, the Seventh and Fifteenth Legions, intervened. It is unknown if they fought the besiegers, however they did rescue Orc survivors and brought them to Skyrim.[16]

Like before, it was rebuilt, but this time not in the Wrothgarian mountains like the three previous incarnations of the Orc kingdom. The Fourth Orsinium was instead built in the Dragontail Mountains in between the Eastern Reach of Skyrim and Craglorn of Hammerfell.[4] It was likely built on the site of Exarch's Stronghold, an Iron Orc stronghold that existed during the Second Era, which could be found in the center of Craglorn.[15]



Torug gro-Igron was said to have had a strong relationship with Malacath, with the Orc-Father granting the tomb of Torug's bear with Daedric guardians. When the tomb became accessible in 2E 583, this guardians had remained there since Torug's death.[10] His successor King Golkarr was said to have been a zealot over Malacath,[17] and prayed to the deity Mauloch for strength before he was killed.[9]

When Bazrag gro-Fharun came in command of the Second Orsinium, he himself was very lenient towards the worship of Malacath. After it was revealed that the Vosh Rakh were working with Kurog, the statue of Trinimac in the Temple of Ire was torn down, and the new deity to be depicted in stone later came under discussion.[11]


Though a minority, some residents of the First Orsinium privately worshiped Trinimac in their homes, commemorating him with small gold statues. Paragon's Remembrance was an ancient site for Trinimac worship from the same era as the First Orsinium.[18]

King Kurog gro-Orsinium had established a temple of Trinimac within the Orcish city, which later suffered from a surprise attack. While he did not ban worship of the Malacath, he did show distaste of the practice. Due to many Orsimer still favoring Malacath, Kurog's vision to unite the Orc clans of Tamriel was affected as many chieftans did not wish to join him over this. The Vosh Rakh, a group of Trinimac radicalists, also grew in power during his reign.[11]

Gortwog's belief that Trinimac still lives and that Malacath is a mere demon was the official view taken by the majority of the leading priests of the Third Orsinium. A handful of Orcs within Orsinium and the majority of Orcs outside of it viewed Gortwog's beliefs as heresy. Many of Gortwog's supporters feared that turning their back on Malacath could prove to be a terrible mistake.[3]