The Thalmor refers to an Altmeri governmental organization that has served each of the three Aldmeri Dominions in varying capacities. It is also a general term for the members and paramilitary enforcers of that organization.
In the Fourth Era, the new incarnation of the Thalmor is a shadowy cabal that rules the Dominion, dedicated to Elven supremacy and “the pacification and purification of all of Tamriel – to bring about a new Merethic era”.:154
First Aldmeri Dominion
The Thalmor began as an obscure Altmeri council within the government of the Summerset Isles that was tasked with safeguarding Altmeri heritage. With the ascension of Ayrenn to the Altmeri throne and the establishment of the First Aldmeri Dominion in 2E 580, the Thalmor's role was expanded to become the executive arm of the alliance, a bureaucracy that managed the Dominion's day-to-day affairs and liaised between its various local leaders and factions. It incorporated representatives from all three races in the Dominion's territory, in ratios appropriate to their administrative abilities. The Thalmor Inner Council served as Ayrenn's personal advisors, and included such notables as King Aeradan Camoran of the Bosmer and Lord Gharesh-ri of the Khajiit, as well as a number of other Bosmeri and Khajiiti nobles who were included largely as figureheads.[UOL 1]
Some organizations that existed prior to the Thalmor being elevated into a governmental position were later controlled by, or turned into direct divisions of the Thalmor. Two examples being the 'Fists of Thalmor' and the Divine Prosecution.
Second Aldmeri Dominion
During the Second Aldmeri Dominion, formed in 2E 830, the Altmer reconstituted the Thalmor as the new governing body of Valenwood. They claimed they had the authority to create this government on behalf of a claimant to Valenwood's throne, Camoran Anaxemes, whose ancestors had signed an ancient treaty with the Summerset Isles. As Valenwood previously possessed no true, unifying government, the Thalmor purported to maintain order in the region to uplift their Bosmer brethren. In reality, the formation of the Thalmor was far from an altruistic gesture: the Altmer desired to control Valenwood because the region, along with southern Hammerfell, harbored various pirate groups which had long threatened the Summerset Isles. Fed up with the constant pirate attacks, the Altmer hoped to secure the shores of Summerset for good by denying the pirates any safe haven from which to attack them. One Thalmor leader, Andel Crodo, wished to enforce a policy of non-intervention in non-Dominion lands, and that the decision was nearly unanimous. The Thalmor was dissolved a short time later when Tiber Septim brought Valenwood into his Empire using the overwhelming power of the Numidium.
Third Aldmeri Dominion
Sometime prior to the Oblivion Crisis in 3E 433, the Thalmor resurfaced as a radical and xenophobic political movement that espoused the absolute supremacy of Elves over all other Tamrielic peoples. For years they were largely ignored, but in the aftermath of the Oblivion Crisis they exploited the confusion to claim credit for the salvation of the Altmeri people, which greatly enhanced their influence.
In 4E 6, the Thalmor incited the Argonians to mount a massive uprising against Morrowind and the Empire that was known as the Accession War. Black Marsh was lost to the An-Xileel, but the Thalmor too lost what influence they had over the Argonians. In 4E 22, the Thalmor overthrew the Altmeri monarchy and seized control of the Summerset Isles, renaming them Alinor.
Valenwood was brought under the Thalmor's control in 4E 29, creating the Third Aldmeri Dominion.
The Night of Green Fire occurred in 4E 42, when the Thalmor attacked Altmer dissident refugees who had fled persecution in Alinor and were living in the city of Sentinel, in Hammerfell. According to a Legion officer claiming to be an eyewitness, there was an explosion of magic in the refugee quarter, where Thalmor mages were attacking the Altmer dissidents who, in turn, were resisting with magic of their own. Running to the scene with other Legionaries who were stationed there, the eyewitness found the entire refugee quarter a smoking ruin, and that everyone had been slaughtered. This night appears to have been part of a broader effort by the Thalmor, whose agents harassed the refugee communities in Sentinel and Balfiera, were somehow involved in Elsweyr, funded insurgent groups, and were connected to a pattern of murders where the victims were all of mixed blood or had associations considered by the Aldmeri Dominion to be "unclean".
In 4E 47, Magister Hierem made a secret trip to Black Marsh to negotiate with the An-Xileel leaders supposedly to propose an alliance against the Thalmor.:65 Intendant Marall of the Penitus Oculatus had Colin Vineben investigate if the Thalmor had summoned Umbriel, but he could find no evidence.
It is said that of all of his enemies, Emperor Titus Mede I never managed to defeat the Thalmor, and it would be Titus Mede II who would pay the price. When Titus II inherited the Imperial throne, the Thalmor instigated the Great War in 4E 171 by delivering a series of ultimatums to the Imperial City, then presenting the head of every Blades agent who had been stationed in the Aldmeri Dominion when Titus II refused their demands. After four years of bloody war, a stalemate was reached. The Emperor was forced to sign the White-Gold Concordat, essentially giving in to the Thalmor's original demands. One of the Concordat's terms mandated that the Empire relinquish large tracts of land in southern Hammerfell to the Dominion, which outraged the Redguards and resulted in the secession of Hammerfell from the Empire. Fighting continued in Hammerfell, but the Redguards eventually forced the Dominion to the negotiation table and the Second Treaty of Stros M'Kai, which stipulated that Aldmeri forces withdraw from Hammerfell, was signed in 4E 180. This led the Redguards to believe that the Concordat was a mistake, and Titus II had overestimated the Thalmor's strength when he signed it. Another term of the Concordat was the outlawing of the worship of Talos, and the right of the Thalmor to enforce that ban within the Empire.
Circa 4E 180, members of the Thalmor lead by Justiciar Aranande arrived in Rivercrest and other surrounding towns and villages, where they stated they were investigating for Blades agents. Henrik and the Warrior worked to hide their identities by leading the Thalmor on suicide missions and giving them false leads, with creatures such as bears and undead Ayleids killing Thalmor soldiers as they fell for these tricks. The Thalmor were also tipped off on the location of a temple of Talos and intended to kill the worshippers there, however, the Warrior discovered the location of the Talos worshippers and warned them before the Thalmor could get to them. After this, the Warrior also managed to kill a Thalmor messenger before they could rely information on who the hidden Blades were. Eventually the Thalmor discovered the identity of Henrik and had him killed, but the Warrior avenged him by killing Justiciar Aranande.
Skyrim Civil War
By 4E 201, the Thalmor, well aware that Talos was especially revered by the Nords as both a god and a folk hero, were using the Concordat as a justification to carry out a campaign of persecution against Talos worshippers from their embassy in northwest Skyrim. They have been known to secretly capture and imprison any Nords who question their doctrines or beliefs. It was widely believed around this time that the Thalmor were preparing for a second attempt to conquer Tamriel.
- For game-specific information, see the ESO (First Aldmeri Dominion), Skyrim and Blades (Third Aldmeri Dominion) articles.
- Regarding the "Fists of Thalmor" by Canonreeve Falduil
- Thalmor Handbill by Aicantar of Shimmerene, Sapiarch of Indoctrination — Thalmor pamphlet offering guidance for interacting with Khajiit and Bosmer allies
- Flight from the Thalmor by Hadrik Oaken-Heart — A written epitaph of a Nordic skald
- Rising Threat by Lathenil of Sunhold — A multi-volume series on the threat posed by the Thalmor
- Loading screens in Legends
- The Infernal City — Gregory Keyes. Del Rey Books, 2009.
- Aicantar of Shimmerene Answers Your Questions — Aicantar of Shimmerene
- Dialogue of Chief Justiciar Carawen in Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Aldmeri Dominion — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: Valenwood — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Rising Threat, Vol. II — Lathenil of Sunhold
- Rising Threat, Vol. IV — Lathenil of Sunhold
- The Great War — Legate Justianus Quintius
- Lord of Souls — Gregory Keyes. Del Rey Books, 2011.
- The Troll Trap quest in Blades
- The Haunted Grove quest in Blades
- The Freedom to Believe quest in Blades
- The Messenger quest in Blades
- A Friend in Need quest in Blades
- Loading screens in Skyrim
Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.