Lore: Divines


The Divines are the Aedric deities which make up the official pantheon of the Cyrodilic Empire, and thus have been worshiped all across Tamriel. [1] Their membership was defined by Saint Alessia at the founding of the First Empire in the aftermath of the rebellion she led. Her now-emancipated people had long ago adopted the Aldmeri religion of their Ayleid captors, but the rebellion had only been won with the aid of armies from Skyrim, who adhered to the Nordic pantheon. [2] Alessia could not force either group to adopt the religion of the other, for fear of starting another war which would tear apart the newborn Empire. Instead, she developed an elegant synthesis of both traditions, combining common archetypes (mother goddess, god of death, etc.) and avoiding drastic changes. [3] This new pantheon was the Eight Divines, commonly called simply the Eight:

The Eight [ edit ]

The One [ edit ]

For the spirit worshipped by the Alessian Order, see the One.

Talos/Tiber Septim A mortal and emperor who upon death became a divine.

This pantheon would stand for thousands of years, until Tiber Septim's reunification of Tamriel and declaration of the Third Era. Upon his death, so great were his deeds that he achieved apotheosis and joined the ranks of the Divines. [4] Known as Talos, the ascended emperor was accorded a lofty position among the gods, who now numbered the Nine Divines [5] (or more traditionally, the Eight And One). [6] He became the patron of the Empire and all its ideals of civilization, as well as those who go to war to defend it. [7] [8]

The Nine would watch over the Empire at its height under the Septim Dynasty, throughout the Third Era. But the Oblivion Crisis brought the Empire to its knees, and the reach and influence of the Imperial pantheon dwindled into the Fourth Era. It came to a head in 4E 171 , when the Aldmeri Dominion demanded a stop to the worship of Talos in an ultimatum to Emperor Titus Mede II. He refused, sparking the Great War, which ended with the controversial White-Gold Concordat, banning Talos worship as one of its conditions. [9] With this, Divines once again officially numbered Eight, and Thalmor agents were empowered throughout the Empire to stamp out worship of the deposed Talos. [10] This proved to be a highly disruptive imposition on an already-fractured Empire, leading to widespread discontent and even a province-wide revolt.

Worship [ edit ]

As Aedric beings, the Divines gave greatly of themselves during the creation of Mundus, using their own energy to imbue the world with life and natural laws. [11] This leaves them in a much reduced state, not able to interfere with mortal affairs as freely as the Daedra who maintain their full power in Oblivion. For this reason, the primary view of the Divines is as impersonal, generally benevolent spirits, worthy of propitiation but without any strong direct relationship. [12] However, there are notable exceptions in the form of cults, which are particularly dedicated to the worship of a single Divine. The Imperial Cult reveres Talos, and is particularly influential among members of the military. [12] An even more militant cult is the Vigil of Stendarr, paladins who fanatically hunt down Daedric creatures which threaten mankind. But Dibella claims the most widespread appeal, boasting dozens of cults dedicated to various aspects of beauty and aesthetics. [12] [13]

Since the Divines were based on existing local pantheons and common archetypes, in many areas the two co-exist. For instance, among the Nords of Skyrim, Kynareth has not entirely supplanted native Kyne as the goddess of nature. [14] Generally, these alternatives are tolerated by Imperial authorities for pragmatic reasons, although proper worship of the Divines is always encouraged. [14]

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