Lore:Artorius Ponticus Answers Your Questions
Given the large number of casualties due to recent calamities, the afterlife has recently drawn the attention of my studies. I have some previous knowledge of the Far Shores that claim heroes of Redguard lineage and the Aetherial realm of Sovngarde, but few other references seem to refer to the destinations of dead souls beyond Aetherius as a whole. What other realms of Aetherius do the Divines call their followers to upon death, and what ceremonies are necessary to ensure safe passage for the deceased?
Respectful regards, Rohais of Auridon"
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "Though other faiths may have fanciful names for the realm of the afterlife, to us in the Chantry of Akatosh it is simply known as Heaven. We followers of the Eight rely upon the Consecrations of Arkay to protect a soul in its heavenward journey."
"Dear Bishop Ponticus,
I would be humbled if you could explain a question that has baffled me for years and still gnaws at my curiosity. I am just a mage and a scholar and I have not the insight for such spiritual matters. As far as I know, both the priests of the Divines and the Altmer of Summerset agree that Akatosh and the Elven Auri-El are indeed the same deity. And yet again, I fail to see similarities between the Golden Eagle and the Time Dragon. I have yet to encounter any depiction or mention of Auri-El ever being depicted as a dragon, or Akatosh being in some way inspired by or related to Auri-El. Could you explain how the two deities are related and if one precedes the other? Are they, in fact, the same God of Time so many of us pray to?
Yours, Grand Enchanter Etienne Dumonte"
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "All but the most dogmatic of theologians agree that the Imperial Akatosh and the Elven Auri-El are one and the same, though the Elves' worship of Auri-El is skewed by their unfortunate racial biases. But Auri-El is indubitably the God of Time for both the Altmer and Bosmer, and in their creation myths we easily recognize the acts of our own Father Akatosh. As to your penultimate question, since both Akatosh and Auri-El are credited with commencing the flow of time, by definition neither could 'precede' the other."
"Dear Bishop Ponticus,
I would be humbled if you could answer a question that I dare not share with my friends and kin. It does not pertain to almighty Akatosh, but to the loving and forgiving Mara. It is always a joy to see young couples exchange their wedding vows in the temples of the Divine Mother, but I have not witnessed a wedding between two men or two women. Do Mara and her priests allow the union between two men or two women, and what is their opinion of such relations? Does Mara embrace all, or is it that two men or mer of the same gender should not marry?
Yours, Grand Enchanter Etienne Dumonte"
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "Mother Mara loves all her children regardless of form. She cherishes their souls, not their bodies, and it is the souls that are united when two mortals take the Pledge of Mara."
"You're a Bishop of Akatosh is that so? Well, there is two things that I don't understand about this aberrant 'Divine' of yours:
As a Singer I study both Words and Swords. And if my etymology serves me well, the name of "Akatosh" is constituted of the Aldmeri 'Aka' meaning 'Dragon' and the word 'Tosh' from an obscure Nedic dialect, meaning 'Dragon' too. So 'Akatosh' means 'Dragon Dragon'. But when I look to your representations of Akatosh, I see a bicephalous god with a dragon head and a human head, why not two dragon heads as suggested by his name?
The second question is: why do you consider that Akatosh is the 'first of the Divines'? The time is not that important. I mean, even if the Nords are dumb, their mythology makes sense with the role of Alduin, in a way. In other hand your mythology seems totally artificial. Well, I guess it's because of that crazy 'prophet' Marukh who destroyed all your Nedic heritage, so you had to build a new mythology out of nowhere. But still, I had to ask.
Seriously, you Cyrodiil folks are fools.
Tobr'a" – Iszara the Restless, Singer of the Scenarist Guild"
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "Though you bluster, Restless Iszara, I sense that your questions are sincere, so I will overlook your irreverence, the better to tend to lessening your ignorance.
"Your etymology is not without merit, but it oversimplifies a matter of some complexity. Lord Akatosh wears both a dragon's face and a human's to symbolize the Covenant with the Empire of Man, that covenant made between the Divine and St. Alessia when the humanity of Cyrodiil was freed from the Elves. And the linguists will tell you that, to the Nedes, 'Tosh' means not just 'Dragon,' but also (depending on usage or placement) either 'Tiger' or 'Time.' Thus: Akatosh the Time Dragon.
"Your second question also has two answers. Akatosh was the first of the Divines to assume form in the Beginning Place; his was the example that all others followed. And, of course, as the god who set time running forward, he is the Prime Mover of Duration, and thus First of the Divines on that basis."
"Ah, good Bishop. It is an honor to be in correspondence with one who keeps the true Imperial faith in these benighted times. I hope you can forgive me for applying scholarly curiosity to sacred subjects, but nonetheless I have a pertinent question regarding the faith and the faithful. I'm curious as to the origins of the Imperial worship of Akatosh himself, and I assume you must be an expert on the theology surrounding him, so I'm curious to hear your input. I was dutifully reading a tome from the library at Wayrest, called "Shezarr and the Divines", which suggests that the Nords who assisted Alessia in the formation of the Eight Divines church were reluctant to include Akatosh in the Alessian pantheon, because he was an Elven god. I find this odd for two reasons. Firstly, I was under the impression the Aldmeri name for the Time God was always Auri-El, who is depicted as an Eagle or a tall Altmer with a crown. Secondly, some further research into the heathen faith of the ancient Nords suggests that some form of Dragon idol was imported from Atmora in ancient days. Could this primitive, no doubt Pagan god be some brutal, misunderstood iteration of our beloved Akatosh, or does this idol represent some savage barbarian god best left forgotten? I'm fascinated by the possibilities, and eagerly await your response, good sir."
– Legate Cyclenophus of the Bretonic Imperial Restoration Society
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "The Nords who aided Alessia in the Slave Rebellion were, as you put it, 'reluctant to include Akatosh' in the new pantheon not only because he was worshiped by the Elves, albeit under another name. Even more important was the Nords' fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Dragon God of Time, whom they conflate with their myth of Alduin, the Dragon Who Eats the World. This was, indeed, a 'brutal misunderstanding,' an error that lives on even today in the beliefs of the less educated folk of Skyrim. As the book you refer to explains, the Nords were only mollified when Alessia agreed to adopt their beloved Shor into the pantheon as Shezarr, the Missing God. And this was appropriate, as it both recognized the importance of Shezarr, and emphasized his absence."
"Salutations Bishop Ponticus,
My question to you is: how the state church deals with the bastardizations of the worship of the Eight Divines, such as those practiced by the Khajiit, or the worship of the Living Gods of the Dunmeri Tribunal?
Does the Church acknowledge such variation in the faith and, if so, how does it reconcile these differences in worship?"
– The lonely Ayleid
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "Reconcile differences in worship? What a quaint idea. The world abounds in ignorance and error, and it is the task of the Faithful to set this right. The Covenants instruct us in the proper ways to worship Akatosh and the other seven Divines. To teach other peoples the truth of the Covenants is one of the Three Purposes of the Chantry of Akatosh."
"Dear Artorius Ponticus.
My question revolves around the "Daedric Prince" Meridia.
Meridia is quite a unique entity amongst the Daedric Princes, if she can even be called one.
For one, Meridia seems to possess many Anuic qualities that are common amongst Aedra and many Aetherian et'Ada but not Daedric Princes. Furthermore, Meridia was on Nirn during its creation, and left alongside Magnus, in fact, according to some research she was one of the Magna Ge, and was also related to the Light in Ayleid mythology. I have interacted with her and her servants before, and she does not seem to have ill will against Nirn or its inhabitants. In fact, she seems willing to assist mortals, particularly against those who corrupt life.
I would like to hear your opinion of why she is considered a Daedric Prince: is it because she created a realm in Oblivion out of the Sun's light instead of returning to Aetherius? Also is Magnus considered a Daedra as well? He did, like Meridia, not give his powers up when Nirn was being formed."
– Melanion, Templar of Stendarr and Meridia
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "I assume from your name, Melanion, that you are some breed of Elf, which may help to explain how you have fallen into such heinous error. Meridia may speak fair to mortals when she wishes to use them or command their obedience, but here in Cyrodiil we remember her for what she was: a patron and mentor to the Heartland High Elves, and complicit in the bondage and oppression of as much of humanity as the Ayleids could enslave. Her honeyed words hide devious purposes. Heed instead the words of the Covenants, and trust not in the promises of Daedra!
"As regards Magnus, he is not considered one of the Eight Divines, for though he gave much, he did not give all. When he withdrew from the Mundus, he left mortals the gift of magic, a dubious contribution that does the world at least as much ill as good—however, there is no doubt as to his Aedric nature. But I invite you to come to Kvatch, Melanion, that we may discuss these matters further, and clear up your many misconceptions."
"Letter - To Be Delivered Posthaste Via Courier On Horseback To:
Bishop Artorius Ponticus
Cathedral of Akatosh
City of Kvatch, Province of Cyrodiil
Remainder Of Delivery Fee (12 Coins) Enclosed
Most Reverend Bishop Ponticus,
I was very pleased to hear that you had offered to answer questions regarding the nature of worship of the Eight Divines throughout Tamriel (may it be filled with the blessings of Akatosh and all the divines). Do forgive me, Father, if I become too wordy. Firstly, I would like to know about the liturgies which you yourself celebrate in the holy cathedral. Is there some certain ritual performed at the central altar in the cathedral? How is the laity involved in worship? Are there certain liturgies for certain days of the week, or of certain times of the day? Do you engage in worship reading from or utilizing certain texts? Secondly, I would like to know about the personal devotions of your flock and congregation. Do they worship in their homes? Do they pray upon beads, or perhaps using devotional books? Do you yourself prescribe certain prayers or devotional acts? Thank you kindly for your attention.
Praise be to Akatosh and all the Divines,
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "In every church, chapel, or cathedral where Akatosh is worshiped, his mass is held exactly at noon, as determined by the presiding priest's Buoyant Sundial floating in the Vessel of the Hours. Except on days holy to Akatosh the mass is brief, consisting of a reading of the appropriate daily liturgy from the Augmented Covenants, after which the priest leads the congregation in the Orison of Gratitude.
"Home worship, or personal worship when one cannot attend mass, is even simpler: the layman of Akatosh merely pauses for a full minute to count out the Seconds of Requital, thereby giving thanks for his or her mortal life and every hour it endures, however few."
"Greetings, my dear Bishop. There has been a matter weighing down on my heart for some time now, and you being a worshipper of the Akatosh may finally result in some closure on this subject – it is about a possible connection between the Daedric Prince Peryite and the Dragon God of Time. Some months ago, a grizzled gentleman of the Imperial College mentioned to me that worshippers of the Taskmaster regard his likeness to the Dragon Gold as some form of unknowable jest from the beginning of time. Both are also represented by dragons, and where Akatosh upholds the Aedric Order, Peryite's sphere of Natural Order seems to do the same for the Daedra. I have also noticed that statues of the two used by priests and cultists alike often only have a few minor derivations. Are these similarities simple coincidences, or is there in fact some hidden connection between these two immortals? As Akatosh's Bishop, what are your thoughts about this?"
– Eis Vuur Warden, Wayward and Contract Scholar
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "Daedra again! I will never understand people's fascination with those hateful and malicious demons. They are false gods, paragons of selfish willfulness, incapable of the sacrifice the Aedra made to create our world, unreliable of purpose and unworthy of worship.
"And yet some dare compare mighty and beneficent Akatosh to one of these so-called 'Princes' solely because the demon has stolen a Dragon's form and uses it as his symbol. If it were done out of admiration one could almost excuse it, but admiration is not a trait of the Daedra. This is theft, pure and simple, an attempt to gain unearned power and majesty by adopting another's guise. The Taskmaster? Pfah! Say, rather, The Impostor!
"We shall speak no more of this matter."
"In the standard Tamrielic worship, in specific the cults to Dibella, how do they go on about picking their Sibyl, or is this selected by divine inspiration via Dibella herself or otherwise?"
– Valaria Aritus, Apprentice of the Mages Guild.
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "How the Sibyl of a House of Dibella is selected is one of their cult mysteries—if I knew the answer, I couldn't tell you, as I would be sworn to secrecy! It is said by some that Dibella herself chooses her Sibyls, communicating her choice to a congregation through some form of divine revelation. Others, myself included, deem this rather unlikely, as the Self-Sacrificed Gods are no longer active presences in our world. Father Akatosh might be considered the most 'active' Aedra of all, as we sense him every second in the passage of time—but if I, a Bishop of Akatosh, have never communed with my Divine, then (with no disrespect to the Lady of Love) how likely is it that a Sibyl of Dibella can commune with hers? Not at all. No, not likely at all."
"To Artorius Ponticus, Bishop of Akatosh at the Temple in Kvatch,
Every Cyrodiil knows about the Covenant between Father Akatosh and St. Alessia, but this amateur scholar does not understand how Molag Bal could bypass this agreement between the Divine and Al-Esh when the Daedra Prince destroyed Gil-Var-Delle in the final year of the First Era. Could you explain in terms that even the simplest of Nords could understand?"
– Quintillius Trebates of the Grand Library of Leyawiin
Bishop Artorius Ponticus says, "That challenge may be beyond me, Honorable Quintillius, as the matter is … complicated. The issue of protecting Nirn from the depredations of the Daedra is not simply binary, with Tamriel either defended or undefended. The Mundus is multiplex, and both contains and is surrounded by the unnumbered planes of Oblivion. This is paradox, but it is true nonetheless. The Covenant of Akatosh is sacred and peerless, of course … but there may be ways by which it could be weakened, or even, unthinkably, sundered.
"The God of Time may be First of the Aedra, but there are many other powers in the Mundus, and others we will not speak of in the Beyond. Some defend us; some contest with our defenders; and even the acts of mortals may not be inconsequential. We have unyielding faith that Father Akatosh defends us—but still we pray in times of peril."