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Bolstered by centuries of relative peace on the continent of Tamriel, a developed and robust military, and thriving commerce between ethnically diverse provinces, the Septim Empire was a leading political, economic, and cultural force on Nirn during its time.
The Potentate Versidue-Shaie ruled for 430 years in prosperity that established some traditions of the empire before the last Potentate was assassinated by Morrowind's official assassins guild, the Morag Tong . His successor, also a Tsaesci, was promptly murdered by the Dark Brotherhood, leaving no Akaviri heirs, and officially ending the Second Empire.
A rather un-noteworthy series of Emperors would follow over the next four hundred years, until the rise to prominence of the Imperial General Talos Stormcrown, also known as Tiber Septim. Septim commanded the army and navy of Cyrodiil through a number of victories or stalemates, slowly bringing the independent states of Tamriel under the umbrella of Imperial Provinces. Talos' own emperor was assassinated in 2E 854, leaving the Elder Council in charge of the government and, effectively, putting Tiber Septim in charge of the Empire. He continued to press his attacks across Tamriel, until in 2E 896, he enacts a truce between Cyrodiil and Morrowind to bring the Dunmer province into the Empire as a mostly independent province, in return for the aid of the golem Numidium in defeating the rest of the continent. Talos succeeds, and is named Emperor Tiber Septim I, beginning both the Third Era and the Third Empire , the Septim Empire .
The first few in the line of Septim Emperors ruled with relative peace and prosperity, but within 50 years, mismanagement and political infighting become the norm. In more than one case, wars are fought over the throne, including the notable War of the Red Diamond , fought among three surviving heirs. Potential kings or queens frequently attack the sitting Emperor, or have him assassinated, and the Empire begins to lose its grip on several provinces. It would not be until the reign of Uriel Septim V that the lands of Tamriel were reconquered and the Empire returned to its place of power. Unfortunately, Uriel V also chose to launch an ill-planned invasion of Akavir, in which he was defeated soundly and killed.
The next generations of Septim rule restored the peace, prosperity, and most importantly, the stability of the Imperial line to Cyrodiil. By the time of Pelagius Septim IV , and his son Uriel VII , the Empire was back almost to the height of its power.
Uriel VII's reign was overall a stable one, but was dotted with occasional strife and near-catastrophe. His Imperial Battlemage Jagar Tharn, possibly at the urging of Mehrunes Dagon, imprisoned him and ruled in his stead for several years. The Emperor escaped just in time to thwart an attempt by the King of Wayrest to conquer Daggerfall. By the time of the Dagoth Ur crisis in Morrowind, there was talk of the failing health of the Emperor, and concerns over the future of the Empire.
As it turned out, the Emperor's health was not an issue, as he was assassinated trying to flee the Imperial City after learning of the murder of every known heir to the throne. Their murderers, a cult called the Mythic Dawn serving Mehrunes Dagon, were preparing Tamriel for an invasion by the Daedra Lord. Septim's one remaining illegitimate son Martin eventually led a defense of the Empire by becoming an avatar of Akatosh and defeating Dagon, but died in the process.
The Empire was left without an heir once more, but this time, with no one even distantly related to Tiber Septim available to be crowned. The Elder Council, which had essentially ruled during the periods of the weakest emperors, was now officially running the Empire. Many provinces floated rumors of dissolving the Empire; after the Oblivion Crisis many provinces left the empire like Black Marsh.
Unfortunately, ever since the beginning of the Fourth Era, the Septim Empire has undergone heavy changes and loss of provinces. The death of Martin Septim and the end of the Oblivion Crisis marked the end of the Septim Dynasty, only to be lead by the Mede Dynasty. The province of Black Marsh was lost as a result of the Oblivion Crisis, Morrowind became independent when the Empire had pull its forces from Morrowind to defend Cyrodiil during the Oblivion Crisis. Slowly, the Altmer of the Summerset Isles recreated the Aldmeri Dominion, taking the provinces of Valenwood and Elsweyr with them. The Empire went for 15 more years before the death of Chancellor Ocato which cause a brutal civil war in Cyrodiil and ended when the Colovian warlord Titus Mede conquered the Imperial City and took over what was left of the Empire and a new empire was born.
By the time of the Great War, the Empire was only a shadow of its former self. Only by signing the White-Gold Concordat was the Empire was able to survive the endless attacks by the Dominion. The treaty only lead to the loss of Hammerfell, where the southern part of the province would have been handed over to the Dominion, if not for the Redguard uprising. Since then, the northern portion of Hammerfell has been warring with the Dominion-held southern portion. Also in the treaty was the banishing of all worship of Talos, which would go on to cause the Stormcloak Rebellion in Skyrim. (Many Nords and other Talos-worshiping races now simply worship in secret.) All that is left of the new empire are the provinces of High Rock, Cyrodiil and the war-torn province of Skyrim.
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena (First appearance)
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion