The Pantheons of Tamriel are groups of deities and saints worshiped in the different provinces on the continent of Tamriel. In most games in the series, one or more of these entities plays a major role—or has a major influence on—a game's storyline.
Gods of the PantheonsEdit
Varieties of Faith gives the following summary of the pantheons. The book's date is unknown, but first appears in Morrowind, suggesting it was written during the Third Era. Its outline is still broadly applicable, but there are some differences in the later games. These will be discussed in the sections following the list.
- CYRODIIL: Akatosh, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, Shezarr, Tiber Septim, Morihaus, Reman
- SKYRIM: Alduin, Dibella, Orkey, Tsun, Mara, Stuhn, Kyne, Jhunal, Shor, Ysmir, Herma-Mora, Maloch
- ALTMER: Auri-El, Trinimac, Magnus, Syrabane, Y'ffre, Xarxes, Mara, Stendarr, Lorkhan, Phynaster
- BOSMER: Auri-El, Y'ffre, Arkay, Z'en, Xarxes, Baan Dar, Mara, Stendarr, Lorkhan, Herma-Mora, Jone, Jode
- DUNMER: Almalexia, Vivec, Sotha Sil, Boethiah, Mephala, Azura, Lorkhan, Nerevar, Molag Bal, Malacath, Sheogorath, Mehrunes Dagon
- YOKUDA: Satakal, Ruptga, Tu'whacca, Zeht, Morwha, Tava, Malooc, Diagna, Sep, HoonDing, Leki, Onsi,
- BRETONY: Akatosh, Magnus, Y'ffre, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, Sheor, Phynaster
- ELSWEYR: Alkosh, Khenarthi, Riddle'Thar, ja-Kha'jay, Mara, S'rendarr, Lorkhaj, Rajhin, Baan Dar, Azurah, Sheggorath
Outline of the PantheonsEdit
All pantheons share some representation of the creator/trickster deity most commonly called Lorkhan, and the dragon god of time, most commonly called Akatosh. Others contain obvious references to certain other spirits, with different emphases.
Variously the Eight or Nine Divines throughout its history, the Cyrodiilic Pantheon is a synthesis of merish and mannish gods, with the Eight Divines created initially by Alessia as a compromise between the Aldmeri-leaning slaves she had liberated, the Ayleids who submitted to her, and her Nordic allies.
Akatosh is the head of the pantheon. The pantheon contains several deified cultural heroes, Tiber Septim (or Talos), Reman and Morihaus. Shezarr is a less anti-mer version of Shor, designed to not alienate those who venerated the Aldmeri gods. Apart from the creation of the world, the deeds attributed to him would seem to equate him with Pelinal, who is not acknowledged as part of the Pantheon.
Worship in the Cyrodilic Pantheon is considered formalized and the gods are distant. However, individual gods have their own cults, which emphasize a more charismatic style of worship.
The Nordic pantheon of Skyrim has many similar gods to that of Cyrodiil, with obvious name similarities between the two pantheons. However, the Nordic representations are almost always more warlike than their Cyrodiilic counterparts.
Unlike most pantheons, the Nordic gods are not led by the Dragon God of Time. Instead, Alduin is seen as the "wellspring" of the pantheon, rather than its leader. Some consider Kyne to be the head of the pantheon, who is one of the "hearth gods." This term is only seen in one in-game text, but is referenced in a design document published by Michael Kirkbride, which explains it more fully.
Shor, the Nordic equivalent to Lorkhan, is seen less as a creator god and more as a champion of men and, following his death at the hands of mer, god of the underworld. Along with Tsun, he is considered to be one of 2 Nordic gods that are dead.
The Nordic pantheon gives a totemic representation to each of its main deities, as follows:
- Dragon as representation of Alduin
- Hawk as representation of Kyne
- Snake as representation of Orkey
- Fox as representation of Shor
- Whale as representation of Stuhn
- Bear as representation of Tsun
- Owl as representation of Jhunal
- Wolf as representation of Mara
- Moth as representation of Dibella
The Nordic pantheon only gives particular significance to 2 of the Daedric Princes, and even then not in their entirety. The pantheon contains Orkey, a version of Malacath heavily associated with death (and, as a result, Arkay). The other is Herma-Mora, the Woodland Man, who according to Nordic myth nearly tricked the Nords into becoming Aldmer. He is called the Demon of Knowledge, but otherwise does not bear any significant relation to Hermaeus Mora. The Nords also make reference to Maloch, whom they call "Mountain Fart."
Merish religion is more focused towards their ancestors than other pantheons, evidenced by the use of the term Aedra ("our ancestors") to describe them. These Aldmeri ancestor-heroes include Trinimac, Syrabane, Phynaster and Auri-El, the head of the pantheon. In the Altmeri tradition, Lorkhan is thought of as an evil figure who tricked the gods into creating the material world as a place of limitation and death.
Although Bosmeri religion technically revere Auri-El as the head of their pantheon, it is Y'ffre who holds the most meaning for them. In Bosmeri cosmology, Y'ffre gifted the Bosmer with a fixed form, through the institution of the Green Pact, which informs much of Bosmeri culture.
Bosmer also revere Jone, Jode and Baan Dar, which are most commonly associated with the Khajiit. This may give some truth to the Khajiits' assertion that they and the Bosmer share a common lineage.
Almost uniquely of all the cultures on Tamriel, the Dunmer have never worshipped the Aedra. Their deities have either been the Daedra, or the Tribunal of Almalexia, Sotha Sil and Vivec. The original Chimer, or Velothi, worshipped Boethiah, Mephala and Azura as saving them from the decadence of their life in Summerset, and traveled to Dwemereth, now Morrowind, under the guidance of the Prophet, and later Saint, Veloth.
After the Battle of Red Mountain, the Tribunal replaced this faith with worship of themselves as god-kings of the Dunmer, banning the worship of the Daedra, although they were still held in reverence. The original Good Daedra became the Anticipations, reflections of the various aspects of the Tribunal. Molag Bal, Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon and Sheogorath are regarded as "Bad Daedra," the House of Troubles, a group of Daedra who did not accept this. These Daedra are acknowledged sent to test the faith of the Velothi.
In addition to these gods, the Tribunal faith had an array of saints, of which Nerevar was the first. Many of these saints exemplify ideal virtues for the Dunmer, and provide a model for them to live by.
Following the events of Morrowind, the Tribunal were either dead or reduced in power. This and the events of the Red Year caused a crisis of faith for the Dunmer, who then returned to their original daedra worship, now styled as the Reclamations, while the Tribunal were reduced to the status of saints within the new faith.
The Khajiiti pantheon has some obvious stand-ins from other pantheons (Alkosh as Akatosh, for example). However, Khajiit still revere Jone and Jode, Aldmeri moon deities forgotten by most other cultures on Tamriel. These are considered to be Tamriel's two moons, who in Khajiit belief form part of the ja-Kha'jay, the Lunar Lattice. However, it also appears that the moons are referred to by some Khajiit as Masser and Secunda, their more common names.
The Khajiit follow the pattern of Aedra and Daedra, believing them to be distinct "litters" of Et'ada, birthed by Ahnurr and Fadomai. However, they also hold Nirni to be a child of these beings too, on an equal footing with the other two. Indeed, Nirni and Azurah have a rivalry. Azurah is credited with making the Khajiit as they currently are, in order that they may be "Nirni's secret defenders," and stabilizing their form. Y'ffer also took some and made the Bosmer.
To the Khajiit, Lorkhaj is a troublesome figure, distinct from both litters of Ahnurr and Fadomai. He is associated with the Dark, which to the Khajiit is Namiira, and his Heart corrupts Khajiit spirits, turning them to dro-m'Athra, a form of Khajiiti demon.
Orcs typically worship Malacath, the changed remnant of Trinimac, and his code informs much of their law and practices. Malacath is occasionally also called Mauloch, in this context. In the Third Era the orc chief Gortwog established a separate priesthood for Trinimac directly in his Orsinium. This was viewed as heresy by most orcs outside Orsinium and a minority within it, and a bad omen for orcs as a whole.
Redguard Pantheon (Yokudan Pantheon)Edit
The Reguard pantheon is very different to most others, although again comparisons can be drawn between some gods, most notably Sep and Lorkhan. Where most cultures start with Anu and Padomay, Yokudan faith starts with one, Satakal, the World-Skin. They also believe their gods were tricked into becoming mortal, in the same way to most merish belief, and consider it their birthright to return to the Far Shores, the world beyond Mundus. Yokudan belief holds special reverence to the stars, believing them to be the way back to the Far Shores, although they do not acknowledge the Magna-Ge as distinct from the rest of their pantheon, and it is Tu'Wacca, their god of death, who helps them get there, not any kind of equivalent to Magnus.
Where Imperial culture has Shezarr as a god of human achievement, and the Nords have Shor, the Yokudans have the Hoon'Ding, the Make Way God, who comes at a time of crisis to make way for his people. He has historically materialized as a variety of things, such as a sword, a crown or both.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Varieties of Faith in the Empire
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Monomyth
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Shezarr and the Divines
- ↑ Reflections on Cult Worship
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition
- ↑ Goddess of Storm, Mother of Nords
- ↑ The Nords' Totemic Religion
- ↑ Varieties of Faith: The Nords
- ↑ The Ooze: A Fable
- ↑ Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi
- ↑ Exodus from Summerset
- ↑ The Anticipations
- ↑ The House of Troubles
- ↑ Lives of the Saints
- ↑ The Reclamations
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to her Favored Daughter
- ↑ Litter-Mates of Darkness
- ↑ The Code of Malacath
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition