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Type Settlement
Continent Tamriel
Province Summerset Isles
Region Summerset Isle
Appears in Arena, ESO
Sunhold circa 2E 583
Sunhold in a map of the Summerset Isles.

Sunhold is one of the eight major city-states in the province of the Summerset Isles,[1] being situated on the south-central coast of Summerset Isle. Sunhold is a leading force in the province's sea-based endeavors, from being the heart of export in Summerset, to a nigh impenetrable fortress that withstands the neverending onslaught of the Maormer. The naval armada in Sunhold is considered the best in the Isles, even being used by the First Aldmeri Dominion.[2][3]

Layout & Geography[edit]

The city-state of Sunhold is one of the largest cities in the province, rivaling the likes of Alinor and Firsthold. Sunhold is located behind the southern mountains, only accessible through the Eastern Pass near Sil-Var-Woad, on the other side of the island. The path between both settlements is heavily forested, with riverways flowing down the mountains from the sacred site of Archon's Grove. Sunhold city itself is known for its narrow streets and alleyways and its thick walls, designed to withstand the Maormer invasions. Between the inner and outer gates of Sunhold are a park and a path to the harbor. The harbor extends across the Sunhold Bay and the beach. According to some scholars, when both Sunhold and Alinor inevitably merge, then it would forge a metropolis not seen since Lost Aldmeris.[2] Sunhold has several neighboring settlements, including Glenview in the west, Archen Grangrove in the east, and Holly Falls in the north.[1]


Sunhold's origins date back many years when High Elven society branched into tribes, and when the Gryphons dominated the skies. On a fateful hunt, an Altmer tribesman, Ulorome had discovered a Gryphon egg in an abandoned nest. Assuming it would never hatch, Ulorome returned to his tribe, preparing to cook it for a feast. As he set it on a fire, his entire tribe were overwhelmed and sung songs of hearth and family, as they felt blessed with this egg. But the singing and warmth had hatched the egg, and a baby Gryphon, with wings as red as a Phoenix, emerged out of the egg. Ulorome, thanking the gods for the baby, named the creature Cel-himwe, who would become the first mountable Gryphon in Summerset. Because of the combined forces of Ulorome and Cel-himwe, Ancient Sunhold expanded, and Ulorome's lineage would go on to rule the settlement. Cel-himwe received a reputation, being known as the Red Wind to the Maormer, as well as, being the progenitor of the famous Sunhold line of Gryphons. Sunhold would go on to become a major settlement in the province.[4]

During the Interregnum around 2E 583, the city-state of Sunhold was ruled by Kinlady Helenaere. The city's defense utilized the Gryphon Sunnawel, a descendant of Cel-himwe. Sunhold's harbor had been used by the Aldmeri Dominion navy, keeping the city well defended. Sunhold had at this time constantly been harassed by the Maormer under the command of Admiral Viscarne, who was tasked by King Orgnum to capture Sunhold.[5] During one of Viscarne's attacks, the Maormer discovered Sunhold empty—its fleet had been sent off to fight in the Three Banners War—with no ships or people in the area. However, Helenaere evacuated the city and staged her army from the Sunhold Palace. The Admiral's army was driven out of Sunhold, only to come back later and successfully capture Sunhold. Driven out of her domain, Helenaere accepted the aid of adventurers to drive out the Maormer and kill Viscarne. After the Admiral had been slain, Helenaere staged a counterattack, which ended in success.[6]

During the Imperial Simulacrum, the city-state of Sunhold was ruled by King Saruriil. When it had a rivalry with Shimmerene.[7] Like many other settlements in Summerset, Sunhold was sacked during the Oblivion Crisis, and the refugees sought haven in the walls of the Crystal Tower. Of these refugees was Lathenil of Sunhold, who would manage to escape the Crystal-Like-Law as the Daedra stormed the tower. Lathenil would travel to Cyrodiil, where he would document the events during and after the crisis, especially the rise of the Thalmor. The High Elf would warn the people of the Empire of the impending doom, but it ended in failure. Eventually, he would be killed by unknown forces, likely the Thalmor, and his writings would be published as Rising Threat. In the end, Lathenil's efforts were in vain as Chancellor Ocato was assassinated, and the Great War commenced several years later.[8]



  • The city is spelled "Sunhhold" on the Elder Scrolls Anthology map, though this is likely a misspelling.[9]
  • Arena was originally conceived as a fighting game featuring a tournament that took the player to each of Tamriel's cities to challenge different gladiatorial teams. According to a file from that stage of development left behind in the final game, Sunhold's gladiatorial team would have been called "the Griffins".[UOL 1] This likely served as the inspiration for Sunhold having a gryphon mascot and long-standing history with the creatures.[4]


  1. ^ a b Map of Summurset Isle — The Elder Scrolls: Arena
  2. ^ a b Our Blessed Isles: A GuideRunilstir the Surveyor
  3. ^ Loading screen in ESO
  4. ^ a b The Flight of Gryphons
  5. ^ The King of Vipers, Canto 17
  6. ^ Sunhold Sundered quest in ESO
  7. ^ Events of Arena
  8. ^ Rising ThreatLathenil of Sunhold
  9. ^ The Elder Scrolls Anthology map

Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.

  1. ^ Original TES: Arena texts at the Imperial Library
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