Lore: Third Empire
The Third Empire (also called the Holy Cyrodiilic Empire of Tamriel) was declared by Tiber Septim in 2E 854 after the chaos of the Interregnum, and was forged through a decades-long conflict to unite Tamriel known as the Tiber Wars. It lasted throughout the whole of the Third Era and two centuries into the Fourth Era, when it began to decline.
The Septim Dynasty was founded by Tiber Septim upon using Numidium to conquer the whole of Tamriel, after which he declared the start of a new era, 3E 0. His rule of 38 years was prosperous and relatively peaceful. His grandson Pelagius succeeded him, and was poised to continue the golden age, until he was assassinated by the Dark Brotherhood after less than 3 years. Pelagius was the first and only direct descendant of Tiber Septim to rule, as he was an only child and had no children himself. Thus, the Ruby Throne passed to Tiber's niece, Kintyra, in 3E 41. Kintyra and her son, Uriel, were successful rulers who achieved a level of unity within the Empire that would not be equaled for centuries. Uriel II, who took the throne in 3E 64, had his 18-year reign blighted by plagues and insurrections, and accomplished little during his rule. Instead, he left many problems, and a great deal of debt, to Pelagius II. In response, Pelagius dismissed the entire Elder Council and allowed only those who paid a princely sum to return to their seats. While this tactic brought some prosperity back to Tamriel, it ended when Pelagius was poisoned in 3E 98, purportedly by a disgruntled former Council member. His son, Antiochus, was more interested in debauchery than politics, known across the Empire as a womanizer even before taking the throne. His reign was marred by civil war and other conflicts, and the province of Summerset was almost lost to invading Maormer in 3E 110. Antiochus died ten years later, leaving the throne in the tenuous grasp of his 15-year-old daughter, Kintyra II. The succession was contested by Antiochus' siblings and would lead to civil war.
In 3E 121, Kintyra II was imprisoned by Potema Septim, the infamous Wolf Queen of Solitude, and murdered two years later. This triggered the War of the Red Diamond, a civil war between Potema and her son Uriel III on one side, and Potema's brothers Cephorus and Magnus on the other. The armies of the brothers were eventually victorious and the succession continued.
The Empire gained and lost power and land unpredictably during the next century until the rise of Katariah Ra'Athim. The first (and only) Elven ruler of the Empire, Katariah was the first in 100 years to secure a steady, iron grip over most of Tamriel, save Black Marsh. Ultimately, this would be the Empress' undoing, as she died in 3E 200 in a minor skirmish in Black Marsh.
Another civil war broke out after the Elder Council voted to disinherit Andorak, the eldest son of Uriel IV, and offer the Imperial crown to his cousin Cephorus instead, as they considered Cephorus to be more closely related to the true Septim bloodline. The war lasted nine years until Andorak was mollified by the offer of the throne of Shornhelm in High Rock.
In 3E 268, Uriel V began his invasion of Akavir. This one invasion dominated his reign, and ultimately ended it. His life was cut short in 3E 290, and again the Empire began a slow decline. Uriel VI was unable to take the throne until 3E 307, due to his young age at the time of his father's death, and his mother Thonica's attempts to stay in power as Regent. When Uriel VI fell from his horse and died in 3E 313, his half-sister came to power as Empress Morihatha. Uriel VI had left his sister with rebellious vassals and malcontent citizens to deal with. Nonetheless, she acted decisively and by the end of her reign in 3E 339, Tamriel was nearing a sort of unity. Her nephew, Pelagius IV—though struggling at first—brought the Empire closer to unity than it had been in over 300 years, since the days of Uriel I.
Uriel Septim VII, son of Pelagius IV, came to power after his father's death in 3E 368. In 3E 389, Uriel VII's battlemage, Jagar Tharn, managed to imprison the emperor in a dimension of Tharn's own creation. For ten years, later known as the Imperial Simulacrum, Jagar Tharn ruled in Uriel's place, but showing none of the latter's wisdom. Before Tharn could entirely drive the Empire into the ground, Uriel was rescued and restored to the throne in 3E 399.
During Uriel Septim VII's reign, which lasted 65 years, he united the Empire for the first time in centuries. By the end of the Imperial Simulacrum, Warp in the West, and Vvardenfell Crisis, the Empire was even closer to unity than at the end of Pelagius IV's reign. After his assassination, his son, Martin Septim, ended the Oblivion Crisis, the Third Era, and—with no more heirs—the Septim dynasty.
The Empire recovered from Tharn's deceit, but ultimately ended when Martin Septim sacrificed himself in a successful bid to seal the rift that had been opened to Mehrunes Dagon's plane of Oblivion. High Chancellor Ocato became Potentate Ocato when no candidate to replace Martin could be found. Ocato kept the Empire more or less intact in the tumultuous years after the Oblivion Crisis, but was assassinated in or around 4E 10, which ushered in the seven-year Stormcrown Interregnum.
At some point in the seven years following Ocato's assassination, a Nibenese witch-warrior named Thules the Gibbering was crowned Emperor, although he was not well liked by the people, the Elder Council favored him over Titus Mede, a Colovian warlord who sought the throne. Eventually, in 4E 17, Titus Mede captured the Imperial City from Thules and crowned himself the first Emperor of a new dynasty, eventually persuading the Elder Council to accept him as a liberator rather than a conqueror.
In 4E 168, Emperor Titus Mede II ascended to the throne. The Empire was at that time a shadow of its former glory. Valenwood and Elsweyr had been ceded to the third Aldmeri Dominion, Black Marsh had been lost to Imperial rule since the Oblivion Crisis, Morrowind had yet to fully recover from the eruption of Red Mountain, and Hammerfell was plagued by infighting between the Crown and Forebear factions. Only High Rock, Cyrodiil, and Skyrim remained prosperous and peaceful.
In 4E 171, the Great War began when armies from the Aldmeri Dominion invaded the Imperial provinces of Hammerfell and Cyrodiil after Titus II rejected an ultimatum to make massive concessions to the Thalmor. An army led by Thalmor general Lord Naarifin emerged from hidden camps in northern Elsweyr and assaulted southern Cyrodiil, flanking Imperial defenses along the Valenwood border. Leyawiin fell to the invaders, and Bravil was surrounded and besieged. Simultaneously, an army under Lady Arannelya crossed western Cyrodiil, bypassing Anvil and Kvatch and entering Hammerfell. This army was joined by smaller forces landing on Hammerfell's coast. Imperial troops were forced into retreat across the Alik'r Desert. The Imperial City was besieged, and fell after the Emperor fled with the remnants of his army to Skyrim. The war ended a year later with the liberation of the Imperial City after the Battle Of The Red Ring, and with the subsequent Imperial acceptance of the White-Gold Concordat. This treaty contained terms almost identical to those rejected before the war, specifically the outlaw of Talos worship, which became one of the major causes of the Stormcloak Rebellion in Skyrim. Hammerfell seceded from the Empire and worked to combat Thalmor forces on its own, gaining its freedom in 4E 180. This left the Empire in a diminished and less stable condition, though it retained control of the provinces of Cyrodiil, High Rock and Skyrim.
In 4E 201, the Stormcloak Rebellion broke out in Skyrim. The belligerents were the Stormcloaks, led by Ulfric Stormcloak, who fought for the independence of Skyrim, and the Imperial Legion, led by General Tullius, with the intention of holding the Empire together in the face of growing political tensions between them and the Thalmor.
|Name||Born||Race||Crowned||Died, Deposed, Abdicated,
or Office Abolished
|Third Empire — Septim Dynasty|
|Tiber Septim||2E 828||Atmoran or Breton||3E 0||3E 38||Upon conquest of Tamriel, Tiber founded Third Empire and declared the Third Era.|
|Pelagius Septim I[nb 1]||?||3E 38||3E 40[nb 2]||Assassinated by the Dark Brotherhood.|
|Kintyra Septim I||?||3E 40||3E 53||First cousin of Pelagius I and daughter of Tibers brother Agnorith. The direct dynastic line of Tiber is broken.|
|Uriel Septim I||?||3E 53||3E 64||Son of Kintyra I; known as the great lawmaker of the Septime Dynasty and promoter of independent organizations and guilds.|
|Uriel Septim II||?||3E 64||3E 82||Son of Uriel I, his reign is known for a bad financial and judicial handle as well as civil unrest.|
|Pelagius Septim II||?||3E 82||3E 98||Dismissed the entire Elder Council only to sell back the seats to those who could pay. By the end of his reign, he fixed the Empire's financial situation.|
|Antiochus Septim||3E 51||3E 99[nb 3]||3E 120[nb 4]||Known for having many mistresses and nearly as many wives. His reign is known for civil wars, surpassing even those of Uriel II's time.|
|Kintyra Septim II||3E 104||3E 120||3E 121[nb 5](deposed)||Accused by her cousin, the later Uriel III, to be a bastard, starting a series of events which would conclude in the War of the Red Diamond.|
|Uriel Septim III||3E 97||3E 121[nb 5]||3E 127||Born as Uriel Mantiarco as the son of Mantiarco, he later took the surname of his mother. He captured Empress Kintyra II and supposedly had her executed, so he could be crowned Emperor.|
|Cephorus Septim I||3E 77||3E 127||3E 140||Son of Pelagius Septim II. He captured Uriel III and was later crowned Emperor. His reign is marked by civil war as he tried to stabilize the Empire after the War of the Red Diamond.|
|Magnus Septim||3E 79||Breton[nb 6]||3E 140||3E 145||Son of Pelagius Septim II. His reign is know for the punishment of traitorous kings of the War of the Red Diamond.|
|Pelagius Septim III 'the Mad'||3E 119||Breton||3E 145||3E 147 (deposed),||Son of Magnus Septim. Known for his eccentricities of behavior and, later, his madness.|
|Katariah Ra'Athim||?||Dunmer||3E 147 (deposition of Pelagius),||3E 200[nb 8]||Katariah was the consort of Pelagius III and assumed the position of Empress Regent after he was sent to an Asylum. Her reign is known for repairing much of the damage the broken alliances of the last few Emperors had suffered and she was popular with the common people.|
|Cassynder Septim||?||Dunmer-Breton||3E 200||3E 202[nb 9]||As the son of Pelagius III and Katariah he is said to be "half-elven". He assumed the throne with bad health and so his reign only lasted 2 years.|
|Uriel Septim IV||?||Dunmer-Breton||3E 202[nb 9]||3E 246[nb 10]||Born as Uriel Lariat as the son of Katariah Ra'Athim and Gallivere Lariat, he doesn't share any relation with the other Septims. In fact, he was adopted by his half-brother Cassynder into the dynasty. His reign is described as a long and difficult one in which the Elder Council assumed more and more powers.|
|Cephorus Septim II||?||Nord||3E 247||3E 268[nb 11]||Only Emperor to be elected by the Elder Council. The Council disinherited Uriel IV's son Andorak and proclaimed a member of a branch more closely related to the original Septim line Emperor. Andoraks supporters begin a military campaign against the Emperor, leading to Andorak receiving the Kingdom of Shornhelm.|
|Uriel Septim V||?||3E 268||3E 290||Son of Cephorus II, known for the famous Tamrielic Invasion of Akavir. While he was absent, civil wars continued.|
|Regent Thonica||?||3E 290||3E 307||Uriel VI was too young to rule in his own right when he was crowned, so his mother Thonica ruled as regent. He was eventually allowed to ascend the throne and assume full Imperial powers in 3E 307. Under her reign, civil wars continued.|
|Uriel Septim VI||3E 285||3E 290 (crowned)
(3E 307) (end of regency)
|3E 317[nb 12]||Originally an Emperor only in name, Uriel VI only had the power of an imperial veto. Only by 3E 313 he was able to assume full power. Under his reign, civil wars continued.|
|Morihatha Septim||3E 288||3E 313[nb 12]||3E 339||Established the Imperial Province to be under direct control of the Empress and nded the series of civil wars that had begun under her grandfather Cephorus Septim II as she slowly slowly took back her rebellious vassals.|
|Pelagius Septim IV||3E 314||3E 339||3E 368[nb 13]||Continued the efforts to reunite Tamriel.|
|Uriel Septim VII||3E 346||Imperial||3E 368[nb 13]||3E 389||Continued the efforts to reunite Tamriel.|
|Third Empire — Imperial Simulacrum|
|Jagar Tharn||?||3E 389||3E 399|
|Third Empire — Restoration|
|Uriel Septim VII||3E 346||Imperial||3E 399[nb 13]||3E 433||Uriel is the last proper Emperor of the Septim Dynasty to rule the Empire.|
|Martin Septim||?||Imperial||3E 433||3E 433||Martin was born as a bastard of Uriel VII and was enthroned shortly after his father's death. However Martin's only act as Emperor was to sacrifice himself to end the Oblivion Crisis. During his time at the Cloud ruler temple Martin learned how to open the portal to Gaiar Alata and led the army in the Battle of Bruma.|
|Third Empire — Stormcrown Interregnum|
|Potentate Ocato of Firsthold||?||Altmer||4E 0||4E 10||Originally trying to elect a new Emperor, he reluctantly took the position of Potentate after the Elder Council urged him to do so.|
|Thules the Gibbering||?||Imperial||?||4E 17|
|Third Empire — Mede Dynasty|
|Titus Mede I||?||Imperial||4E 17||?|
|Attrebus Mede[nb 14]||4E 18||?||?|
|Unknown[nb 15]||?||?||4E 168|
|Titus Mede II||?||Imperial||4E 168||4E 201|
- "There has been some disagreement regarding Pelagius' relationship with Tiber Septim. A version of a Brief History of the Empire referred to Pelagius as Tiber's eldest son, but it has since been revised. Some passages in The Real Barenziah suggest that Tiber's wife, referred to as the Empress, had multiple "children". The likeliest explanations include that Tiber and the Empress had female children otherwise unrecorded to history, or that the general public were referred to as the Empress' "children". Other possibilities include that the Empress had children that were not Tiber's, the two of them had secret offspring, or a mistake on the part of the author. Regardless, the throne ended up with Kintyra.
- A Brief History of the Empire says that Pelagius reigned for "less than three years", suggesting a date of 3E 40. The Daggerfall Chronicles explicitly uses this date.
- Book 3 of The Wolf Queen indicates that Antiochus was not offered the throne until some time had passed after the death of Pelagius II. A Brief History of the Empire indicates that he took the throne twelve years before the War of the Isle in 3E 110, which leads to the same date.
- Book 5 of The Wolf Queen states that Antiochus fell into a coma in 3E 119 and that his funeral was in 3E 120. The Madness of Pelagius agrees, stating that Kintyra ascended the throne "just over a year" after Pelagius' birth in 3E 119. Both books are contradicted in the Biography of the Wolf Queen, which explicitly places his death in 3E 112. To add to the confusion, see the note about the date of Pelagius III's birth. This chart uses the 120 date, since most references state that to be the correct date.
- In The Wolf Queen, although there is uncertainty over the date of Kintyra's death, it is stated that Uriel III was crowned "four years previously" to the year 3E 125, implying that he was crowned in 3E 121. A Brief History of the Empire explicitly states that Uriel took the throne in 121. The Biography of the Wolf Queen states that Kintyra was executed in 3E 114 and that Uriel ascended to the throne "seven years later". Thus, while all three books agree on the date of Uriel's ascension, the Biography implies a seven year interregnum during the War of the Red Diamond when nobody wore the Imperial crown. The precise date given in Broken Diamonds implies that Kintyra was held in captivity for some time before her death.
- Magnus' Race is never stated. However his wife Hellena, the mother his son Pelagius, is described as "Cyrodiil". So Magnus must have been Breton as Pelagius is Breton.
- The Madness of Pelagius says that Pelagius III died in the 34th year of his life, which translates to 3E 153.
- Both Brief History of the Empire and The Madness of Pelagius put the length of Katariah's reign at 46 years. To fit in with later events, this reign must end in 3E 200.
- The Daggerfall version of Brief History says "In two years, he was dead" while the later version says that Cassynder died "Three years after [his accession]". It is impossible to determine exactly which year these statements are intended to mean, but 3E 202 seems reasonable.
- Brief History of the Empire describes the reign of Uriel Septim IV lasting 43 years. This must have extended into 3E 246, as The Rear Guard describes a law made "in 3E 246, during the reign of Uriel IV". The Daggerfall Chronicles place Uriel's death in 3E 247, but it doesn't seem possible to stretch his reign into this year given other events. It is possible this date has been superseded.
- Although the Brief History of the Empire states Cephorus II became emperor in 3E 268, this is clearly an error. The same book states that Uriel Septim V also became emperor in 268, so it is more logical to assume the latter is correct and that Cephorus simply followed on from Uriel IV. Cephorus is described as "a cousin more closely related to the original Septim line", although his precise line of descent is not clear.
- The Third Era Timeline states that Uriel VI died and Morihatha was crowned in 3E 320, and Tamriel's Timeline, The Daggerfall Chronicles suggests the year was 3E 317. However, Brief History of the Empire notes that Morihatha was born a month after her father left for Akavir in 3E 288, and that she was 25-years-old as Empress, which would put her coronation in 3E 313.
- The Brief History of the Empire states that Pelagius reigned for 49 years, but this has been acknowledged as an error - the correct span is 29 years.
- Although it is never stated that Attrebus Mede succeeded his father Titus I as Emperor, it can be assumed that he did since he was Crown Prince as of 4E 40, there was no indication of other heirs to the throne at the time, and the Mede bloodline survived until the time of Titus II.
- It is unknown how many Mede Emperors reigned between Attrebus and Titus II. Given the gap of 150 years between Attrebus' birth in 4E 18 and Titus II's ascension to the throne in 4E 168, as well as the knowledge that Titus II's father had a sister while Attrebus had no known siblings, Attrebus was most likely not Titus II's father or grandfather. It can therefore be assumed that at least two other Medes reigned as emperor between Attrebus and Titus II.
- The_Wolf_Queen, v1 — Waughin Jarth
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Cyrodiil — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Brief History of the Empire v 1 — Stronach k'Thojj III
- Brief History of the Empire v 4 — Stronach k'Thojj III
- Biography of the Wolf Queen — Katar Eriphanes
- The Wolf Queen, v6 — Waughin Jarth
- Brief History of the Empire — Stronach k'Thojj III
- Brief History of the Empire v 2 — Stronach k'Thojj III
- Report: Disaster at Ionith — Lord Pottreid, Chairman
- Brief History of the Empire v 3 — Stronach k'Thojj III
- Rising Threat — Lathenil of Sunhold
- The Infernal City — Gregory Keyes
- The Great War — Legate Justianus Quintius
- Events of Skyrim
- Tamriel's Timeline, The Daggerfall Chronicles — Ronald Wartow
- The Wolf Queen, v2 — Waughin Jarth
- The Wolf Queen, v3 — Waughin Jarth
- Biography of the Wolf Queen — Katar Eriphanes
- The Wolf Queen, v5 — Waughin Jarth
- The Madness of Pelagius — Tsathenes
- The Wolf Queen, v4 — Waughin Jarth
- The Wolf Queen, v6 — Waughin Jarth
- The Wolf Queen, v7 — Waughin Jarth
- The Third Era Timeline — Jaspus Ignateous
- The Wolf Queen, v8 — Waughin Jarth
- The Fall of the Usurper — Palaux Illthre
- Report: Disaster at Ionith — Lord Pottreid, Chairman
- Intro speech in TES4 by Uriel Septim "I was born 87 years ago...". The speech was made in 3E 433.
- The Black Horse Courier, Special Edition
- Events of Oblivion
- Lord of Souls — Gregory Keyes
- Events of Skyrim