It is situated in the center of Tamriel, where the Emperor, along with his Elder Council, lives and rules from the Imperial City. Cyrodiil is a wealthy and powerful nation and is the center of the Empire. Cyrodiil serves as the setting for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The demonym is "Cyrodilic."
Each major city has its own Count(ess) who rules over the city (the county seat), and the surrounding county, which has the same name as the city. These counts are all loyal to the Empire of Tamriel and are part of The Elder Council. The Imperial City doesn't have a Count as it is ruled by the Emperor. The Imperial City has no accompanying county, but the Imperial Reserve is located to the west and the Nibenay Basin to the east.
The Elder Council is the central government of the Empire of Tamriel, The Council convenes at its chambers in the center of the Imperial Palace complex, within the Imperial City. The Council chamber comprises a large circular table encircled by tall chairs. The Tamrielic government is a unicameral and unelected body. Though the nature of its composition is not detailed specifically, it likely comprises the Counts of Cyrodiil, the aristocracy from the other Imperial provinces, such as the Jarls of Skyrim, the highest-ranking members of military and police forces, as well as appointments made by the head of state, the Emperor of Tamriel. It is however specified that the body can legislate. This government is in charge of the province as well the whole of Tamriel.
Each major City has its own city watch. City watch guards are stationed throughout their respective city, watching over city or castle gates, or patrolling the city streets. The guards are led by a captain, who reports to the local Count and/or Countess. Their duty is to uphold peace and order throughout the city and county, as well as ensuring justice is had in the event of a crime. Additionally, they are the last line of defense of their city in the event of assault or invasion.
As the Imperial Province, the region has unrivaled access to the Imperial Legion. The Imperial Legion is the main fighting force in Cyrodiil and the Empire. It is the supreme military power of the Cyrodilic 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.
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 not a force to be trifled with.
Each city guard is equipped with a chain mail hauberk and tabard, bearing the city's color and insignia. In addition they are clad in chain mail leggings, boots and gauntlets, and a unique light helmet called a guard's helmet. Skingrad however, is an exception, where the guards wear steel rather than chain-mail.
Most of the Legion wears armor that is a combination of leather and chain mail, resembling Roman auxiliary armor called Imperial Light Armor. The Legion Legates,however, wear Imperial Armor which largely resemble Roman Lorica Segmentata armor or Roman Legionnaire armor. These show the status of each solider.
The early Aldmer settlers who came to Tamriel established strongholds on the Summerset Isles and along the coasts of Tamriel, but did not venture far inland. Only oral histories and the fragmented ballad of Topal the pilot, an Aldmer adventurer and explorer, offer glimpses of the ancient beast races that inhabited the land, but they are shadowy, mist drawn portraits of a time before reckoning. It was not until the coming of the Ayleid that Cyrodilic history truly began. As mentioned in A Pocket Guide To The Empire, "The Ayleids were ancient Altmer, cousins of all the elven races that exist today. Over time, they became a distinct people, crafting a civilization whose ruins still puzzle and fascinate modern archaeologists and adventurers." This is hinted at by the dialogue in Oblivion where when on rumors one might hear something similar to, "Ayleid ruins are thousands of years old, and have much treasure." Amazingly, the traps still work after so long. The ancient Nedic people, ancestors who were in Cyrodiil long before their modern-day counterparts, came in during the First Era. Spreading south from their presently primitive and arctic land of Skyrim, they became slaves of the Ayleids, once man-mer tensions in Skyrim reached its peak. One of the most important events of Cyrodilic history is the slave rebellion of 1E 242. The men and mer had been fighting in Skyrim for quite a while, however this revolt, led by Alessia, handed the entire region to the insurgent humans. "The heart of Tamriel was going to belong to these former slaves, present day Cyrodilics or Imperials, forever more." Imperials are related from the Nords who eventually settled in Cyrodiil.
In an alliance with Skyrim, the Alessian Empire pushed far west towards High Rock, which, at the time, was under the control of the Direnni, a clan of Altmer aristocrats. Another opening was present at this time, as described in "A Pocket Guide to the Empire": "The prophet Marukh's teachings brought both identity to Cyrodiil, codifying the pantheon most civilized people in Tamriel worship to this day, as well as conflict, due to the more severe strictures he espoused." Another big event in the history of Cyrodiil occurred in the year 1E 2703: the Akaviri invasion. This event not only affected Cyrodiil, but brought all of Tamriel together as one to fight the new threat of Akavir. The Akaviri forces were fought off, and the people of Tamriel subsequently became more cooperative with one another once they understood their values and boundaries. Under the new rule of Emperor Reman I, Cyrodiil became cosmopolitan, and incorporated architectural and geometrical aspects of High Rock, Colovian, Nibenese, and even Akaviri culture. This led to the diversity of Cyrodiil and the places certain races went based on their preferences. The Imperials preferred the in lands, which is why most could be found at the heart of Cyrodiil. On the other hand, races like the Argonians of Black Marsh and the Khajiit of Elsweyr stuck to themselves and went for more suitable places away from their human neighbors.
The Second Era
The Second Empire of Cyrodiil continued to expand, controlling almost all of Tamriel. All was normal, until the assassination of Emperor Reman III and his son Juilek, which marked the end of the First Era, and the Second Empire. The government was under the control of Akaviri Potentates, and it continued to evolve until the last Potentate was killed in the year 2E 430. The Empire maintained a steady structure, unlike future empires. Throughout the rest of the Second Era, Tamriel was in a state of chaos and corruption also known as the Interregnum. Nibenay and Colovia split apart, and farms, villages, and even highways were in ruin. Boycotting arose. Stealing, pillaging and murdering in towns abounded. Many tried to claim the Imperial throne, and the potential tyrants were slain by the guard. Claims of many kinds brought the worst of battles between neighbors. Skirmishes happened, but few things caused full scale war. This chaos lasted for centuries. The only hope for Tamriel was Tiber Septim, along side with his son, Claudius Septim, Crown Prince of Cyrodiil. He started the Third Empire with new governmental states and laws, and helped Cyrodiil and the rest of Tamriel thrive. He was led to greatness when honored by the name of Talos the Merchant, Watcher of The Empire. The Empire has thrived since then. The diversity gave it strength, yet the men ignored the mer peoples. All eventually was weakened by the War of the Red Diamond and The Imperial Simulacrum.
The Imperial Province continued to be the stable heart of the Empire, offering a good model to its satellites of government that settles disputes by diplomacy, not by force of arms. The marriage of Lady Alessia, daughter of the Countess of Chorrol, to Count Marius Caro of Leyawiin typifies this, a perfect blend of love and sound political judgement.
Nevertheless, there have been a few frightening moments in Cyrodiil. A suspected outbreak of the Knahaten Plague, a threat for the first time in hundreds of years, sparked panic along the southern border with Black Marsh. It was revealed to be a hoax, perhaps created by Argonians fighting back against Imperial incursions led by the Blackwood Company, and the fear was dissipated. Family strife in Kvatch claimed the lives of both sons of Count Haderus Goldwine, vying for the inheritance. While peace has been restored, the Count mourned the death of his sons and did not designate a new heir.
In the Imperial Court, there was thankfully no such tragedy. While the Emperor chose not to remarry following the Empress' death, she left to him three healthy sons who have spent their adult lives learning the arts of politics from their masterful liege and father. Crown Prince Geldall had already taken many of Uriel's responsibilities, and impressed one and all with his acumen. As the heart of the Empire is solid, all of Tamriel is strong.
However, certain events turned the whole of Tamriel upside down. It began with the assassination of Emperor Uriel Septim VII and his three known sons, and culminated with the invasion of the Imperial City by Mehrunes Dagon.
The events that followed were known as the Oblivion Crisis. Oblivion Gates opened all over in Tamriel, with the first completely destroying the city of Kvatch, an event later to be known as The Sacking of Kvatch. Other battles took place in Cyrodiil, including: The Battle of Bruma and The Battle of the Imperial City. The illegitimate son of Uriel Septim VII, Martin, was finally crowned Emperor, and with the divine help of Akatosh, cast down Mehrunes Dagon back into Oblivion, sacrificing himself in the process. After these events, Tamriel was thrown into chaos and political strife.
Following the Oblivion Crisis and sacrifice of Martin Septim the Fourth Era began. After the death of Potentate Ocato in 4E 10, the Stormcrown Interregnum began, which saw a series of pretenders attempt to claim the throne of Tamriel. The Mede dynasty rose to power in 4E 17 when Titus Mede I, a Colovian warlord at the time, captured the Imperial City from the Nibbense pretender Thules the Gibbering, ending the Stormcrown Interregnum. Soon after the Imperial City fell to Mede another pretender, Eddar Olin, attempted to seize control but was swiftly defeated by the Emperor, solidifying the Mede dynasty's hold on the Empire. In 4E 49 Cyrodiil was under threat once again, this time by the floating city of Umbriel but Titus Mede I was victorious in the end thanks to his son, Prince Attrebus Mede.
In 4E 168, Titus Mede II ascended to the Imperial throne. By this time Cyrodiil's empire had been heavily weakened. Valenwood and Elsweyr were captured by the Aldmeri Dominion, Black Marsh had created its own Republic which later captured parts of southern Morrowind in the Argonian Invasion , and in Hammerfell a civil war was being fought between the Crowns and Forebears, though still part of the Empire. Meaning that in 4E 168 the Empire consists of Cyrodiil, Skyrim, High Rock and Hammerfell.
On the 30th of Frostfall, 4E 171, the Aldmeri Dominion sent an ambassador to the Imperial City with a gift in a covered cart and an ultimatum for the new Emperor. The long list of demands included staggering tributes, disbandment of the Blades, outlawing the worship of Talos, and ceding large sections of Hammerfell to the Dominion. Despite the warnings of his generals of the Empire's military weakness, Emperor Titus Mede II rejected the ultimatum. The Thalmor ambassador upended the cart, spilling over a hundred heads on the floor -- every Blades agent in Summerset and Valenwood had been executed. So began the Great War, which would consume the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion for the next five years. Within days, Aldmeri armies invaded Hammerfell and Cyrodiil simultaneously. A strong force commanded by the Thalmor general Lord Naarifin attacked Cyrodiil from the south, marching out of hidden camps in northern Elsweyr and flanking the Imperial defenses along the Valenwood border. Leyawiin soon fell to the invaders, while Bravil was cut off and besieged.
Eventually in 4E 175, the White-Gold Concordat was signed, officially ending the war. Two provisions in the treaty had serious impacts on what remained of the Empire. First, large portions of southern Hammerfell were ceded to the Aldmeri Dominion. The Redguards, outraged that the Empire paid for the treaty with their hard-won lands, began their own separate war with the Aldmeri. As a result, the Empire renounced Hammerfell as an Imperial province and abandoned the Redguards. With the resilience and strength that are characteristic of Redguard warriors, they fought back and defeated the Aldmeri. But, relations between Hammerfell and Cyrodiil have become bitter as a result. Secondly, the worship of Talos was outlawed, and the Nine Divines became the Eight Divines once more. Many Nords saw this as an affront, notably Ulfric Stormcloak, and some continued to worship Talos in secret. The Nords' anger over the White-Gold Concordat is one of the driving forces behind the current Civil War in Skyrim.
With the sacking of the Imperial City as well as the lengthy occupation of Anvil, Bravil and Leyawiin by the Aldmeri Dominion, it can be assumed that atleast southern and western Cyrodiil has been severly devastated by the Great War. In addition, Cloud Ruler Temple was also said to have been destroyed by Aldmeri forces, indicating that during the war the Aldmeri Dominion had some sort of military presense in northern Cyrodiil.
Though many were angered against the Empire for signing the treaty, it can be argued that if the treaty wasn't signed and the war continued, the Aldmeri Dominion would have destroyed the Empire.
Cyrodiil is the second largest country in Tamriel with an area of roughly 162'300 sq. miles, it is mostly an expanse of forest and mountains. Its heart, the Nibenay Valley, is a vast plain, enclosed by equatorial rain forests. Many rivers flow through this area, and as one ventures further down the rivers, the land slowly becomes more sub-tropical, eventually giving way to the swamps of the Black Marsh. The elevation rises gradually to the west and sharply to the north. The western part of the region is relatively dry. The Velothi Mountains (Valus Mountains, as the Imperials call them) to the east have some roads, but most travel in Cyrodiil is dominated by rivers. Cyrodiil is the most diverse province in terms of geography and climate.
The Nibenay Valley is the most prominent area of the land, a great grassland with Lake Rumare in its heart. Several small islands dot the surface of this lake, and between them stand great bridges. It is on these islands that the Imperial City stands. The rest of Cyrodiil also contains the cities of Anvil, Bravil, Bruma, Chorrol, Cheydinhal, Kvatch, Leyawiin and Skingrad.
The west of Cyrodiil is named Colovia and includes the areas of the Gold Coast, the West Weald, the Colovian Highlands and the Imperial Reserve. This area includes the cities of Skingrad, Anvil, Chorrol and Kvatch. This area has rolling countryside and slopes down to a warm coastline to the West and rises to more rugged hills in the North. This area is also noted for its wealth and prosperity.
In the Pocket Guide to The Empire, Cyrodiil was described as a vast jungle. Arena's maps of the region with a boreal green, fading into brown in the west and a richer pine green in the southeast, towards Black Marsh. Oblivion, however, found Cyrodiil to be completely lacking in any form of tropical climate. Former game developer Michael Kirkbride wrote a minor text rationalizing the change within the game, wherein Emperor Tiber Septim uses his mastery of the Thu'um, as well as his understanding of CHIM, to bring a temperate climate to the region. The Imperial Library refers to the text as a "retcon."
Anvil is a port city and the political capital of County Anvil. It is the westernmost city in Cyrodiil, located along the Abecean Sea. The Great Chapel of Dibella, where followers of the Nine Divines seek her blessing, dominates its skyline. In the northeast portion of Anvil lies the statue of the Selkie of West Ferry, who is said to guide sailors along the Gold Coast. Castle Anvil, home of Countess Millona Umbranox, lies on a small island just to the south of the city.
Bravil is located in southern Cyrodiil on a small peninsula at the mouth of the Larsius River as it empties into Niben Bay. From the look of the buildings and its architecture, it appears that Bravil's populace is one of the less wealthy of Cyrodiil. It also might be high in crime rate, as there is a skooma den within the walls of the city. It is also home to the Night Mother crypt.
Bruma is the northernmost city in the province of Cyrodiil, located in the Jerall Mountains along the border to Skyrim. Bruma's northern latitude, combined with its high altitude, results in a much different climate than that of other populated areas of the province. The city is perpetually covered in snow, with clear, sunny days a rarity. The city, being heavily influenced by the Nords, has adapted to the climate with a much simpler, hardier way of life.
Cheydinhal is the city closest to the Morrowind border near the Velothi Mountains. Being so close to Morrowind, Cheydinhal is populated and influenced considerably by the Dunmer. To the north is Lake Arrius; to the south, the Reed River; to the southeast, Lake Poppad. Cheydinhal is built next to a lake at the foot of the mountains.
Chorrol is a major city in Cyrodiil, located in the Great Forest, near the Hammerfell border. The city itself is heavily fortified as it serves as county seat for County Chorrol. Weynon Priory, a monastery of the Order of Talos, is located nearby. To the east is Castle Chorrol, home of Countess Arriana Valga.
The Imperial City, in the heartland of Tamriel, is the ancient seat of power and the capital of the Empire of Tamriel. From the First Era into the Fourth Era, the White-Gold Tower continues to be the centre of Tamrielic cultures and the beacon of the Empire. It was once the center of an Ayleid city, noticeable in the gleaming white architecture and magnificent statues.
Kvatch is a city located on the Gold Road between Anvil and Skingrad. The Count of Kvatch was Ormellius Goldwine, before being killed by the armies of Mehrunes Dagon, along with most of the citizens. The city was the site of the only Arena other than the one in the Imperial City. It is the location of an early battle between Daedra and the people of Tamriel. Before its destruction, Kvatch was the second largest city in Cyrodiil, in front of Skingrad and behind Imperial City. Kvatch was rebuilt after the Oblivion Crisis.
Leyawiin is a fortified coastal city and capital of County Leyawiin, in the Blackwood region of southern Cyrodiil. County Lewayiin is nestled around the Southern Nibenay Basin, bordered by Black Marsh to the east, Elsweyr to the west, and the Topal Bay to the south. Situated on the southern west bank of the Lower Niben Bay, the city of Leyawiin guards the passage up the Niben River from Topal Bay to the Imperial City.
Skingrad is a large city located southwest of Imperial City on the Gold Road, near the border with Valenwood. Skingrad is noted for its wealth and this is reflected in the appearance of the city and its citizens. The city is divided into two sections: North and South. The North contains many upper-class homes, shops and the guild halls. The South is where the chapel is located and many other residences. It is separated by a huge trench running through the city. Before Kvatch was destroyed, Skingrad seemed to have been the third largest city in Cyrodiil. Now it seems to be the second largest city. Most of the city can be viewed from the bridge.
The economy of Cyrodiil is split between the different areas of the nation. The centre, mainly the Imperial City is the most wealthy region as it is very mercantile in nature, as it was here that merchants started to make their fortunes in the first era. The west of Cyrodiil is very self-reliant; particularly reflected in the independent attitude of Chorrol and Colovia as a whole. Skingrad, Leyawiin and Anvil appear to be some of the wealthier cities whilst Bravil seems to be the poorest. The economy of Cyrodiil has now been used as a model for economies in the rest of the Empire. Rice and textiles are its main exports, along with more esoteric treasure-goods, such as hide armor, Moon sugar, and ancestor-silk.
The Imperials are well-educated and well-spoken. Imperials are also known for the discipline and training of their citizen armies. Because of this, the Imperials have dominated Tamriel for more than 2,000 years. 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 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.
Ayleids, also known as Wild Elves or Heartland High Elves, were a race of Aldmer who immigrated to the province in the Merethic Era. Ayleids worshiped both Aedric and Daedric deities, and forced the Nedes in slavery. The Ayleids had many cities scattered across Cyrodiil, all now turned to ruin. In 1E 242, the Nedic slave queen Alessia led a rebellion which overthrew the Ayleids. Following this, many Ayleids fled to neighbouring provinces and few Ayleid cities were still inhabited. By the end of the First Era, most Ayleids were extinct, and the last Ayleid died in 2E 582.
The Nine Divines are the most important religious order in Tamriel. The religion combines the eight Aedra with the founder of the Third Empire, Tiber Septim (Talos). 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. These Aedra also appear in various combinations in the pantheons of other cultures.
Because Talos was not originally one of the Divines, in some religious sects they are referred to as "The Eight And One." As of 4E 200, Talos was effectively removed from the pantheon of the Gods and The Eight Divines worship resumed. Thalmor agents from the Aldmeri Dominion, per the White-Gold Concordat, ensure that the worship of Talos remains an illegal activity.
The (Twelve) Nine Divines of Cyrodiil
This monotheistic religion was once very popular, but today only remnants of its faith remain. It started in the coastal jungle of what is now the Colovian west, where a prophet named Marukh, who had spoken to the "Enlightened One," Saint Alessia, began to question the validity of Elven rule. These sentiments led to an increasingly abstract and unknowable depiction of a Single God. The Alessians were wise enough to realize that they had to incorporate the ancient polytheistic elements into their new religion for it to find a wide acceptance. The divine aspects worshipped by the various humans and Aldmeri were recognizable in the guise of the myriad saints and spirits of the evolving Alessian canon. It wasn't long before the Order was the authority on every religion in Tamriel, and their power grew to earthshaking proportions. Nearly a third of the First Era passed under their theocratic rule. When its priesthood had become too widespread to support itself, the Order began to fight among itself. With the severance of the territories of West Cyrodiil from the Empire, too much money and land had been lost. The War of Righteousness broke out, and the Order which had almost ruled the world undid itself in a ten year span.
Imperial culture is a pragmatic melting pot of the various contrasting cultures of the provinces, unified by the strong hereditary Emperor and bureaucracy, the rule of law, a professional army, and tolerance of disparate polytheistic cult worships. Education and wealth is broadly distributed through all social classes where Imperial culture has flourished. Many citizens are literate and protected under Imperial Law.
Persons of all races and creeds can advance in wealth and status in commerce, the bureaucracy, and the military. The quality of life in Cyrodiil and its Empire seems to be high, with many wealthy and educated citizens.
Most of Cyrodiil's population are Imperial, but the Nibenay Valley is largely multicultural, and is often the site of conflicts between rival Khajiit and Argonian. The northern city of Bruma is occupied by a minority of Nords. Elves are dispersed throughout Cyrodiil and the Count of Cheydinhal is a Dunmer with Cheydinhal itself having a considerable Dunmer population due to its proximity to Morrowind. Orcs aren't seen very often.
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- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
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