Tamriel , also known as "Dawn's Beauty"  in Aldmeris, "Starry Heart" in Ehlnofex , "Taazokaan" in the Dragon Language and "Arena," is one of the several continents on Nirn and is where the events of all The Elder Scrolls games take place. It is located on the planet of Nirn, which is the mortal realm of the finite and the partial, as opposed to the immortal realms of the infinite and the absolute. In The Elder Scrolls, Mundus, another name for Nirn, is the Elvish root for the human word "mundane", meaning ordinary. During The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Mankar Camoran reveals that Tamriel is an extension of the realm Oblivion, although this could just be the ramblings of the Mythic Dawn considering he is the only Daedric prince to claim this. In terms of size, Tamriel is 12 million square kilometers and is divided into 9 provinces.  
Recorded Tamrielic history is divided into four distinct eras: the First Era, the Second Era, the Third Era, and the Fourth Era.
- First Era - The long First Era is mostly marked by the shifting of power from Elves to Men and the birth of some of the most powerful religions in the land. From the heartland of Tamriel, we learn of the struggling Human race: from their miserable fate as slaves to finally being able to push out their Elven masters from the land. From the northeast part of the continent, the Heart of Lorkhan tempts so many mortals, from the Dwemer to Chimer. The Divine Heart causes a terrible war, and the extinction of a once great race, the Dwemer.
- Second Era - The Second Era starts after the Akaviri Potentate "Versidue Shaie" assassinates the last of the Cyrodiil line. This is also the era when some of the most powerful factions in Tamriel are born, the Mages Guild and the Dark Brotherhood being two from among the greatest to arise during this time period. The era finally ends after Tiber Septim, wielding a Dwemer artifact called Numidium, successfully unites the entire Tamrielic landmass once again.
- Third Era - The Third Era, which some describe as the most glorious era thus far, is the time of the Septim Dynasty. In fact, the long line of Septim Emperors almost reaches an end at several points in the history of this period. Some of the significant events are the War of the Red Diamond, a civil war over the succession, and a long decade of reign by the traitorous Jagar Tharn. Furthermore, this era is marked by the rebirth of Nerevar Indoril, the greatest Chimeri general; as well as the rebirth of Numidium and the second Dragon Break that follows. The Oblivion Crisis also arose when the Daedric Prince, Mehrunes Dagon, attempted to enter the mortal world in his "god-like" state. In the final days of the Third Era, the emperor, Uriel Septim VII is assassinated at the' beginning of the next chapter in the Elder Scrolls, Oblivion, along with all his heirs, save one illegitimate son, Martin Septim. In the final fight for Septim's life, the Blades were aided by an escaped prisoner. It was this escaped prisoner who rescued Martin from the siege of Kvatch, this prisoner who again and again stormed Oblivion, and this prisoner who recovered the Amulet of Kings. It was also this prisoner, called Champion of Cyrodiil, Hero of Kvatch, and Savior of Bruma, who witnessed Martin's ultimate self-sacrifice to end the Oblivion Crisis, and with it, the Third Era.
- Fourth Era - At the beginning of this era was the fall of the Mage's Guild. The Aldmeri Dominion which recovered and resurrected its old power and even gained allegiance with the Khajiit began the Great War and nearly destroyed the Empire until the Empire was forced to sign the White-Gold Concordant or face extinction. Later on in The Fourth Era the High King of Skyrim Torygg is killed by Ulfric Stormcloak, sparking a Civil War in Skyrim between a Nordic nationalist faction known as the "Stormcloaks" and the Tamrielic Empire. As of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Titus Mede II is emperor. Alduin, Nordic God of Destruction and Firstborn of Akatosh also returns bringing with him the reappearance of the dragons to Skyrim. Yet one called the Dragonborn or Dovahkiin rises up to counter the threat and save Skyrim.
There are two other Eras previous to the aforementioned four. They are the 'Dawn Era' in which the universe and everything in it came into being, and the 'Merethic Era', otherwise known as the Mythic Era, in which Mer (Elves) first arrived in Tamriel and all manner of mythological occurrences are said to have taken place. These two Eras are commonly considered to be outside of verifiable history, as humanity did not possess a written language to speak of until the end of the Mythic Era. Aldmeri records, on the other hand, date back to the beginning of ME, however these are not open to Imperial scholars.
- Black Marsh - This huge and mostly uncharted region of densely vegetated wetlands is at the southeastern tip of Tamriel. Argonians thrive in the foreboding swamps and thick brush, thanks to their amphibious underwater breathing abilities and very high resistance to disease.
- Cyrodiil - This province lies in the center of Tamriel and is the home of the human Imperials. Cyrodiil is mostly an expanse of forest and mountains. At its heart is the Nibenay Valley, a vast plain enclosed by equatorial rain forests. Many rivers flow through this area, and as one ventures further south, the land slowly becomes increasingly sub-tropical. For most of the Elder Scrolls games, it is the seat of the Empire. Cyrodiil is referred to as the Heartlands and is the setting for the game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
- Elsweyr - Divided across arid badlands to the North and a more populous sub-tropical zone in the South, this region marks the southern coast of Tamriel. Elsweyr is home to the Khajiit.
- Hammerfell - Lying in west Tamriel, this province is dominated by the Alik'r Desert. Hammerfell is home to the Redguard human race. The northern region of Hammerfell is part of the setting for the game The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.
- High Rock - Home to the human Bretons and Orcs, this province is divided into multiple Breton city-states and minor kingdoms. It is a temperate coastal region in northwestern Tamriel. The southern region of High Rock is part of the setting for the game The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.
- Morrowind - The province in the northeast corner of Tamriel and home to the Dunmer (Dark Elves). It consists of a continental mainland and a large island in the center called Vvardenfell, separated by an inlet from the Sea of Ghosts, The Inner Sea. Vvardenfell is the setting for the game, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. There is also an island to the north west of Morrowind called Solstheim, which is the setting for both Morrowind's add-on, The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon and Skyrim's third add-on, The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn.
- Skyrim - This northern, snow-covered, and mountainous region is home to the Nord human race and Falmer meri race (Snow Elves). Skyrim contains some of the tallest mountains in all of Tamriel, most notably the Throat of the World. Skyrim is less urbanized than Cyrodiil, but the 5 largest cities do have sizable population, with the other 4 cities being more like towns. Skyrim is the setting for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- Summerset Isles - This province is located in the Eltheric Ocean, with the Abecean Sea separating the islands from the mainland Tamriel continent. It is composed of three islands, one large western main island and one smaller named Auridon with another unknown location likely immediately south of Valenwood and east of Auridon. These islands are home to the Altmer (High Elves).
- Valenwood - The province in the south-western region of Tamriel. This province is largely uninhabited forest wilderness. The coasts are dominated by mangrove swamps and tropical rain forests, while heavy rainfalls nurture the temperate inland rain forests. Valenwood is home to the Bosmer (Wood Elves).
Tamriel was effectively an Empire that, until the end of the Oblivion Crisis, was ruled by an Emperor of the Septim Dynasty. Technically speaking, it was referred to alternately as the Third Empire of Man, the Third Dynasty, or the Seat of Sundered Kings. The center of the Empire was Cyrodiil, which was the home of both the Emperor and the Elder Council, which serves administrative functions and as an interim government during times of instability. Upon the death of the Emperor, the new Emperor is usually the oldest legitimate child (preferably a son) of the dead Emperor. However, spouses, younger children, siblings and on at least one occasion, an illegitimate child have taken the throne. Below the Emperor is the Elder Council, effectively a Cabinet of sorts. This body rules the Empire in interregnal periods when no heir is to be found. The details of Imperial government below the Elder Council are convoluted and obscure. In addition, each Province has its own government which sees to the affairs of that Province. The Provincial government works parallel to a local Imperial government that seems to handle the Empire's business in that Province, in collusion with the Provincial government. After the death of the last of the Septim Emperors and the disappearance of the last Septim heir, the head of the Elder Council and de facto head of state was Imperial High Chancellor, Grand Battle-Mage Ocato. This role is only practical, however, and may be compared in function to the British Governor-General.
The Aldmeri Dominion is an alliance that has repeatedly occurred between the Altmer of Summerset Isles, the Bosmer of Valenwood, and the Khajiit of the Elsweyr Confederacy (or the kingdoms of Anequina and Pelletine). The Dominion of the Second Era was the most stable power in Tamriel until the coming of Tiber Septim, and at the end of the Interregnum, Tamriel was divided between the Empire and the Dominion. The Dominion's ruling body, the Thalmor, is a congress of Bosmeri chieftains and Altmeri diplomats, and its armies were responsible for repelling the Colovian invasions of Valenwood, and Thalmor Justiciars also helped to remove every Blades spy in Summerset and Valenwood. At the end of the Second Era, the King of Alinor and the Imperial Battlemage, Zurin Arctus, were to strike a peace treaty between the Empire and the Dominion. However, Tiber Septim instead decided to use the Brass God, Numidium, to conquer the Summerset Isles, an event that is still remember by many living Altmer with horror. In the early Fourth Era, the Aldmeri Dominion was re-established after over 400 years.
- See also: Pantheons of Tamriel
Many different gods are worshiped across all Tamrielic cultures, each race having its own pantheon of gods. A complete list of these can be found in the book Varieties of Faith in the Empire. However, most of these pantheons represent the same properties, and can be split into 2 groups:
- Aedra - The term Aedra comes from the Aldmer and means 'ancestors'. This corresponds with the original Aldmeri belief system that the Altmer are the direct descendants of these immortals. The term is used by scholars from other races to describe all gods who are aligned to Anu (stasis). The Aedra are often seen as creators. The most widespread of these Aedra are the 8 gods who created the mortal world. These gods form the core of the Imperial pantheon: together with Tiber Septim they form the Nine Divines.
- Daedra - The term Daedra means either 'stronger, better ancestors' or 'not our ancestors', the first being used by the Chimer to emphasise their separation from other Aldmer. Other races adapted the term to a broader use which includes all gods aligned to Padhome (change), although most humans refer to them as daemons. The Daedra consist of 16 princes and a large number of lesser Daedra.
GeographyEditTamriel consists of nine provinces, each of these provinces corresponds with their own culture and race, with the exception of High Rock, which houses two distinct species:
- High Rock was inhabited by Bretons, who were Man/Mer hybrids on the human side; Orsimer or Orcs, which was Aldmeris for 'Pariah Folk': Elves so ruined and corrupted that they are often mistaken as akin to goblins and/or trolls. Orsimer live in the city of Orsinium.
- Hammerfell, inhabited by the Redguards (native to Yokuda), enterprising expansionists from the west. Though they are men, they do not share the same blood as the other human races. Hammerfell once housed a significant Dwemer population. It was later Orcish territory until the landing of the Yokudan in their Ra'gada, or "Warrior Wave." It is from this wave that the Redguards take their name, and their swift, easy conquest of Hammerfell that earned them their reputation as the best soldiers upon Nirn.
- Skyrim was inhabited by the Nords, and before the beginning of the First Era, the Snow Elves. Nords were the only remaining direct and unchanged descendants of the original human Atmoran settlers from across the now frozen Sea of Ghosts by the Fourth Era. 
- Morrowind, inhabited by Dunmer, or Dark Elves, meaning 'accursed folk' in Aldmeris (Due to Azura's curse after the events at the Battle of Red Mountain). This region once also housed a large Dwemer population. All that remains are their ruins.
- Black Marsh, inhabited by Argonians, highly evolved lizard people, who are commonly looked down upon as beastfolk. For this reason, the Argonians were formerly a popular slave race.
- Elsweyr, inhabited by the Khajiit, cat folk, also commonly looked down upon as savage. The Khajiit were also common slaves to the Telvanni. The Khajiit are a strong people who are good at sword combat and also the best thieves and assassins in Tamriel due to their balance and quiet paws.
- Valenwood, inhabited by Wood Elves, or Bosmer in the Elven, meaning 'tree-sap folk', the Bosmer of Valenwood are known for being short but due to this they are very agile and can sneak, hunt, gather, and use a bow at very good accuracy being the best archers and rangers in Tamriel.
- Summerset Isles, inhabited by Altmer, or High Elves. The Altmer have a very powerful way of magic and are the best mages within Tamriel. They have breathtaking culture and often refer to themselves as superior with many reasons for claiming that.
- Cyrodiil, the Imperial province, inhabited by the Imperials, or Cyrodiils, a common human race who form the foundational population of the Empire, although the ruling Septim dynasty are thought to be of at least some Nordic blood (which might explain their long history as conquerors and warrior-kings). The Line of Septim is also known to have some Dunmeri ancestry.
The races that are playable in the Elder Scrolls series are the Bretons, Redguards, Argonians, Khajiit, Altmer (High Elves), Dunmer (Dark Elves), Bosmer (Wood Elves) and Nords. All of these races are playable in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. In Arena and Daggerfall, the Orc weren't playable; in Daggerfall, the Imperial weren't playable either. In Battlespire, the Argonian and Khajiit weren't playable. Imperials are theoretically playable in Arena, but in some versions, a glitch in the character creation process makes them unavailable. More specifically, one chooses their character's race by selecting the appropriate province on a map. Cyrodiil, for whatever reason, is non-selectable in some versions of Arena.
The main races of Tamriel were the Bretons, Redguards, Argonians, Khajiit, Altmer (High Elves), Orsimer (Orcs), Imperials, Dunmer (Dark Elves), Bosmer (Wood Elves), and Nords.
Other races on Tamriel included the following:
- The Falmer and Snow Elves, the original Mer/Elven inhabitants of Skyrim. They were lead by their leader, the Snow Prince, who notably fought in The Battle of the Moesring against Ysgramor and the Five Hundred Companions. During the battle, a 12-year old Nord girl, Finna, witnessed her mother slaughtered by the Snow Prince. As she watched her mother being slain by the Snow Prince, she picked up her mother's sword and struck the prince down. This ended the war between the Snow Elves and the Nords in Skyrim. The remaining Snow Elves sought out shelter with the Dwemer. However, the Dwemer did not trust their Snow Elf guests for long, and forced them to eat a toxic fungi rendering them blind...and making them their slaves. At some point after this, the Snow Elves rebelled against the Dwemer which started the War of the Crag.
- The Dwemer, meaning "Deep Elves, Deep Folk," , "People of the Deep,", "Smart Elves (based on the Dlyxexic Theory),", or as they were commonly referred to by Men, "Dwarves," were an ancient, lost race of Mer that inhabited most of Tamriel, including Morrowind, Skyrim, High Rock and Hammerfell. Their history is somewhat sketchy and unknown, they disappeared simultaneously during the concluding battle of the War of the First Council and the Battle of Red Mountain, when Lord Nerevar led the Chimer* in an attack against the Dwarves to keep them from using Kagrenac's Tools.  The Dwemer were trying to use the tools to create a God (called 'Numidium') for themselves. The Chimer and some of the Dwemer, including some of the Tonal Architects, saw this as an affront to their gods, for whom they faced ridicule and ostracism; thusly the war.  It is believed that Kagrenac attempted to use the tools in desperate gamble, causing the Dwemer to be removed from all of existence, however Ashlander tradition maintains that Nerevar and Dagoth Ur severed the Dwemer connection to the Heart of Lorkhan at the end of the War of the First Council, and all the Dwemer vanished.
- The Ayleid were a race of Mer who were the original rulers of Cyrodiil and are now apparently extinct. Their ruins can be found scattered across Cyrodiil, and are a lucrative venture for anyone skilled and brave enough to venture into one and return with treasures. Lesser Welkynd Stones and Varla Stones, which can be found in most such ruins, are 50 and 1000 gold a piece, respectively. There were once also Greater Welkynd Stones, but these have all been plundered and consumed. However, Ayleid sites are littered with ingenious and deadly traps, and have often become the hiding place of gangs of Necromancers, Conjurers, bandits, or other outlaws, or of tribes of goblins, or even, on occasion, vampire clans.
- The Chimer, meaning 'changed folk' in Aldmeris, were a small cult of High Elves who were led by the prophet Veloth to the promised land of Resdayn, now called Morrowind. They were cursed by the Daedric Prince Azura after the Tribunal used the the Heart of Lorkhan to become living gods. The curse turned gold colored skin to black in hue and turned their eyes to glowing red, transforming the Chimer into Dunmer. The curse also contained a promise that some day, Nerevar Indoril would return and signal the downfall of the profane Tribunal Temple. However, this is contested by Imperial scholars, who instead suggest that this is just a myth - and the real cause of the skin and eye color change was because of their change in geography.
- The Giants, a race of gargantuan humanoids, are found in the wilderness of Skyrim and High Rock. Infamous for their colossal height and immense strength, Giants share little civil interaction with humans. Culturally, Giants herd Mammoths, processing their milk into cheese, complimenting their omnivorous diet with the cooked meat of Skeever. Seemingly nomadic, Giants travel with their herds, setting camp across Skyrim and High Rock -- mostly above ground. Invaders are attacked with the massive clubs forged by the Giants.
Provinces of the 4th EraEdit
In the 200 years before Skyrim, the Empire had lost much of its territory. By 4E22, The Summerset Isles belonged to the Thalmor faction. By 4E115, the Second Aldmeri Dominion had been formed, comprising the Summerset Isles (now renamed "Alinor") and Valenwood, which had been seized by Thalmor sympathizers during a coup. Around 4E5-6, Red Mountain erupted in Vvardenfell, destroying the island and much of northern Morrowind (Red Year). With Morrowind severely weakened, the Argonians (who had seceded from the Empire) invaded, conquering the Dunmer. Also, due to the Great War, and the White-Gold Concordat that followed, Hammerfell fought a war of independence and now belongs to neither the Empire or the Dominion. Depending on the resolution of the Skyrim Civil War and the actions of the Dragonborn, Skyrim may continue to be apart of the crumbling empire, or gain freedom of the empire and the Aldmeri dominion, and create a independent nation.
Below are a list of all Provinces and their affiliation:
- The Empire (Capital: Imperial City)
- The Aldmeri Dominion (Capital: Alinor)
- Independent Provinces:
(*) - Pending resolution of the Civil War
Although Tamriel is the most well-known and important place in the world, it isn't the only one. Far to the north of Tamriel lies Atmora, from which the Atmorans came to conquer Tamriel. Atmora, in the Elvish language, means 'Elder Wood'.
To the west of Tamriel lies the sunken continent of Yokuda, from which the people that are now called the Redguards came to take over Hammerfell, in the year 808 of the First Era. The people who became the modern-day Redguards came to Tamriel because the island was completely destroyed, but the cause of it is still being debated.
To the east of Tamriel lies the continent of Akavir, which means 'Dragon Land'. Akavir is home to four major groups: Kamal, Tsaesci, Tang Mo, and Ka Po' Tun. It was once home to the Akaviri, a race of Man and, most notably, the Dragons, but the Tsaesci drove the Dragons and Men to extinction, and it is unknown what happened to the Akaviri. Before the Akaviri became extinct, they had launched multiple invasions on Tamriel in the past.  Although a line of Tsaesci did rule Tamriel for some time, it was replaced by the Septim Dynasty of rulers; all other invasions have failed.
The Coral Kingdoms of Thras, an archipelago southwest of Tamriel, is the homeland of the sload, a conservative amphibious sluglike race. The Thrassian Plague devastated Tamriel around 1E2200, after which a united Tamrielic navy ravaged and sank Thras into the sea. It has since recovered.
As with much of The Elder Scrolls lore the exact size of Tamriel is unknown. In The Elder Scrolls: Arena and especially The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall it was far larger than in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena is the only game in which players can fully explore Tamriel.
- In the upcoming MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online, players can explore regions of every province of Tamriel, however the entire continent will not be explorable at launch.
- "Mundus" can also be translated as "world" in Latin.
- The Nu-Mantia Intercept translates Tamriel as 'The Starry Heart of Dawn's Beauty'.
- ↑ 
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mysterious Akavir"
- ↑ The Elder Scrolls: Arena Manual
- ↑ Provinces of Tamriel
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Aldmeri Dominion
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Elsweyr Confederacy
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 A Concise Account of the Great War Between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Valenwood
- ↑ The Arcturian Heresy
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Summerset Isles
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- ↑ Nords of Skyrim
- ↑ Songs of the Return
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls series
- ↑ Fall of the Snow Prince
- ↑ The Falmer: A Study
- ↑ 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 5
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Morrowind
- ↑ Dwarves, v1
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Hammerfell
- ↑ The Aetherium Wars
- ↑ Dwemer Inquiries Vol I
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Morrowind
- ↑ War of the First Council
- ↑ The Battle of Red Mountain
- ↑ Kagrenac's Tools
- ↑ The Battle of Red Mountain
- ↑ The ELder Scrolls Online Interactive Map of Tamriel
- ↑ Nu-Mantia Intercept. Retrieved on December 26, 2006.