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Tiber Septim

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For the deity apotheosized from Tiber Septim, see Talos.
For other uses, see Septim.

Emperor Tiber Septim, also called Hjalti Early-Beard,[1] General Talos Stormcrown,[2] and Ysmir,[2] was a Dragonborn and the first Emperor of the Septim Empire. He is regarded as one of Tamriel's most famous figures, having been the only one in history to unite the continent. Starting with his service under the Cyrodilic emperor Cuhlecain, Tiber Septim fought under the name "general Talos" to unify Cyrodiil, eventually succeeding or usurping Cuchlecain and becoming emperor.[2][1] After his unification of Tamriel, an effort that culminated in the birth of the Third Empire, he ended the lengthy Interregnum and began the Third Era.[3] Tiber Septim gave his name to the lineage of Cyrodiil Emperors, the Septims. Upon his death he became the deity Talos and took his place in the pantheon of the Nine Divines.[4]

Upbringing & Conquests

Accounts differ on Tiber Septim's biography. There are two commonly accepted theories, with the first usually taking precedent over the latter. What is known for sure is that he was brought up in Skyrim, where he learned the ways of the warrior and the strategies of war from the chieftains there.[2]


Talos farewells the king of atmora

Tiber farewells the King of Atmora

The most commonly accepted story within the Empire is that Tiber Septim was born in Atmora as Talos, meaning Stormcrown in Ehlnofex, hence Talos Stormcrown.[2] He had a brother named Agnorith.[3]Talos became General of the Colovian Estates under King (and later Emperor) Cuhlecain. General Talos met the combined army of Skyrim and High Rock on the cliffs of Sancre Tor, who were hostile to Cuhlecain. The Skyrim army joined him when they saw him use the thu'um and knew him to be blood of the Dragon and heir to the Empires of Men.[2] However, there are also records that state that the Nords joined Tiber Septim after he had caught them off guard.[5]

Cuhlecain and Talos conquered West Cyrodiil in one year.[citation needed] No one could stand before Talos' storms. They marched east and the enemy's battlemages surrendered before their armies. In 2E 854 they conquered the Imperial City and thus gained the full control over Cyrodiil.[citation needed] That year, a High Rock nightblade managed to assassinate Cuhlecain and slit Talos's throat, burning the palace in the process. Talos survived, but he could no longer shout, instead leading armies with a whisper.[6] At one point, Talos had an affair with Barenziah of Morrowind, who became pregnant. Talos quickly had the unborn child aborted to prevent conflict with his legitimate heir.[7]

The human kingdoms were conquered, even Hammerfell, which was predicted to be an arduous task. After sending the commander of the New West Navy Amiel Richton to Stros M'kai, the Battle of Stros M'kai had begun. Richton's assassin Dram shot a poisoned arrow at Hammerfell's Prince A'Tor, killing him and defeating the last of the Crown resistance. After this Tiber Septim appointed Amiel Richton as provisional governor of the island.[8]

After the conquest of Hammerfell, Tiber turned to Morrowind. Following some initial skirmishes and after increasing internal friction between Morrowind's Great Houses, a treaty was signed by either Tiber or Zurin Arctus. This included Vivec giving the Numidium to Tiber in exchange for a higher degree of autonomy and self-rule for Morrowind.[9]

The acquisition of the Numidium allowed Tiber to conquer the Summerset Isles,[9] completing the conquest of Tamriel.


Tiber Septim was born on the island kingdom Alcaire, as Hjalti Early-Beard, in 2E 828, where he learned to use a sword.[1][10] Nords and Bretons had been fighting for centuries at the northern border of Falkreath, a kingdom in the Colovian Estates. At the age of twenty, Hjalti led the forces of Skyrim against the Reachmen of High Rock. During those days he met Cuhlecain,[1][2] the king of Falkreath, who came to secure his northern border. They became allies and Hjalti was named general of the joined forces. Hjalti was a shrewd tactician, and his small band of Colovian troops and Nord berserkers broke the Reachmen's line, forcing them back beyond the gates of Old Hrol'dan.[1][11] A siege seemed impossible, as Hjalti could expect no reinforcements from Falkreath. That night a storm came and visited Hjalti's camp. Hidden in the storm was Wulfharth, a long-dead Nordic king, who spoke with him in his tent and taught him the Way of the Voice. At dawn, Hjalti went up to the gates, and the storm followed just above his head. He shouted down the walls of Old Hrol'dan, and his men poured in. After their victory, the Nords called Hjalti "Talos", meaning "Stormcrown".[2]

Cuhlecain's intent was to crown himself emperor. But Talos was still haunted by the prophecy given him by the Greybeards. Before Cuhlecain could be crowned, Talos secretly murdered him. The Imperial Palace was burned to the ground in the action, and Talos slit his own throat to take the suspicion off of him. Though he lived, his Voice failed him. To prevent Cyrodiil from falling apart again, Zurin Arctus, the Grand Battlemage, crowned Talos as Tiber Septim, new Emperor of Cyrodiil. In order to hide his involvement in the assassination, a lie was made that Tiber's own throat was cut.[1]

Tiber Septim Redguard

Tiber Septim (middle), with Amiel Richton (right).

Following the assassination, Hjalti enlisted the help of both Ysmir Wulfharth and Zurin Arctus to help administer the empire. Ysmir was consistently pushing for further invasions of Hammerfell and Morrowind, but Tiber resisted his urgings. Wulfharth ultimately left Tiber in disgust at his inaction.[1] Hammerfell and Morrowind were ultimately brought into the empire by a combination of peaceful accommodation and support of various warring factions, rather that unilateral conquest.

In that time, the great Dunmer general Symmachus, a friend of Tiber Septim's, brought Barenziah to the Imperial City where she met the Emperor and they fell in love. The Emperor and Barenziah engaged in an affair but it was soon discovered that Barenziah was pregnant. Septim determined that he could not allow such a threat to his son's dominion and so ordered a healer to force Barenziah to miscarry. Barenziah was dispatched from the Imperial City very soon after this.[12]

After receiving the Numidium from the Tribunal, Tiber Septim summoned Wulfharth back to his court, saying that he had been right all along. On his return, Tiber seized him and had his soul ripped out to power the Mantella, a soul gem that functioned as the power source for Numidium. this allowed the device to be activated and complete Tiber's conquest of the Summerset Isles.[1]


The exact race of Tiber Septim is unknown, but what is known is that he was not a Mer or Beastfolk, but a subspecies of Men.[13] If the statement that he is from Alcaire is true, then he was most likely a Breton. Kyne also refers to him as a "manmer," and Bretons are both man and mer.[OOG 1] Tiber Septim was also famous for his hatred towards Orsimer like many other Bretons.[14]

If the statement that he is from Atmora is true, then he is most likely an Atmoran or Nord.[6] Bethesda Softworks directly stated that he is not a Nord, but instead an Atmoran.[OOG 2] Tiber Septim's appearance in Redguard shows his skin color to be mainly that of a Redguard's, though Amiel Richton, who is a Colovian, also has a similarly matching dark skin-tone in the painting.[8] Most of his heirs are also Imperial, implying that he might have also been an Imperial, though this is likely a result of his successors breeding with the locals of Cyrodiil. His avatar, Wulf, however, is also an Imperial.

A detailed account is given in The Real Barenziah, Book III, describing Tiber Septim's possible physical appearance:

Tiber Septim was nothing like the grim, grey, giant warrior she'd pictured. He was of average height, fully half a head shorter than tall Symmachus, although he was well-knit of figure and lithe of movement. He had a winning smile, bright—indeed piercing—blue eyes, and a full head of stark white hair above a lined and weathered face. He might have been any age from forty to sixty.


Talos died in 3E 38, and was succeeded by his grandson, Pelagius.[3] After his death Septim is believed by most to have ascended to godhood. He became Talos again, the God of War and Governance, for after a lifetime of war, he had united Tamriel for the first time in history. Upon his ascension the Eight Divines became the Nine.[13]

During the Great War between the Empire and the elves of the Aldmeri Dominion however, peace was agreed upon with one of the conditions being that the Empire cease to recognize Talos as one of the Divines, and as such all shrines to him were removed from the temples in towns loyal to the Empire. The Stormcloaks in the province of Skyrim reject the White-Gold Concordat that instates this law.[15]

If Talos did ascend, it is possible he did so by mantling Lorkhan.[OOG 3]


Tiber Septim had a bloodline, but it went extinct in the main line with the death of Pelagius Septim. The line then switched to Pelagius' cousin Kintyra and her heirs, who were the descendants of Tiber Septim's brother, Agnorith.[16] Tiber Septim was the founder of the Septim Dynasty, which ruled Tamriel for the entire Third Era until the bloodline died out with Martin Septim.[17]

Tribunal goddess Almalexia commissioned an expansion of Mournhold as a reaction to Septim's rising greatness, returning the city to its former glory since its destruction in 1E 2920. The expansion was finished in the early third era.[OOG 4] An aspect of Tiber appeared in 3E 427, as a retired Imperial Legionnaire named Wulf. He aids the Nerevarine by asking him to keep his lucky coin while they journey to Red Mountain to defeat Dagoth Ur. Later, an Imperial priest in Ebonheart tells the Nerevarine that Wulf may have actually been a divine manifestation of Tiber Septim and that this visitation may be "a sign of great doom" for the Hero.[18] Wulf's dialogue regarding the weakening empire and old emperor later occurred during the Oblivion Crisis of 3E 433, with the Septim bloodline ending with Martin Septim's sacrifice.[19]

Conflicting Reports

There are still conflicting reports about Tiber's life due to many aspects of his early reign being rewritten, and this is why there is such confusion over his origins. Brought up by Ysmir in The Arcturian Heresy:

  • His birthplace is left as a matter of debate. Aclaire claims to be the birthplace of Tiber Septim, while various other sources suggest that he was born in Atmora.
  • Tiber Septim begins to change in character and personality after his roaring conquests.
  • It is left unclear why Tiber Septim betrayed his battlemage.
  • It is unknown whether the Mantella is the heart of the battlemage, the heart of Ysmir, or the heart of Tiber Septim.

However, it should be noted that the Heresy itself is the sole source for many of these discrepancies, and so may not be trustworthy.


See also


  • Tiber Septim's name was based on the first names of the Roman Emperors Tiberius Caesar and Septimius Severus, thus creating the name Tiber Septim. [source?]
  • The currency of the Empire, the Septim, is derived from Tiber's surname.
  • The surname of the family could be a reference to a Septum, a thing that partitions or divides. It could be a reference to the ability of the Septims to form a "partition" between the Oblivion Planes of the Daedra and the mortal plane of Nirn. [source?]
  • In Greek Mythology, "Talos" refers to an automaton made by the Greek god Hephaestus as a gift to king Minos to protect the island of Crete and Europa, one of Zeus' lovers. This may have been the influence of Numidium. [source?]
  • Tiber Septim's life and role may mirror the life of King David from the Bible. Both men have done similar things and have been in similar circumstances. Both were destined to become the rulers of their kingdoms; both inherited their thrones when the respective rulers at that time were killed (Cuhlecain/King Saul); both had an affair with a woman (Barenziah/Bathsheba); and both united their nation/continent under their rule. [source?]



Notice: The following are out-of-game references. They are not found in any in-game books, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
  1. C0DA, Page 40
  2. Letters to The Elder Scrolls Adventures — Bethesda Softworks
  3. Nu-Hatta of the Sphinxmoth Enquiry Tree
  4. Zenimax Online Writer's AMA — Lawrence Schick
Emperor of the Septim Empire
Cuhlecain 2E 854 - 3E 38 Pelagius Septim

Start a Discussion Discussions about Tiber Septim

  • Where is Tiber Septim buried?

    2 messages
    • I apologize if there is already a thread about this, but I tried looking and I could not find one. The question I have is''', wh...
    • His body was exhumed on order of the Thalmor (after signing of the concordat) and cremated so that no one could find his remains and conti...
  • Talos worshipping

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    • read up. The Towers do help anchor the Mundus.
    • Legate Tallhart wrote: read up. The Towers do help anchor the Mundus. He's look...

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