Emperor Tiber Septim, also called Hjalti Early-Beard and General Talos, was a Dragonborn and the first Emperor of the Septim Empire. He is regarded as one of Tamriel's most famous figures. Starting with his service under the Cyrodilic emperor Cuhlecain, Tiber Septim fought under the name "general Talos" to unify Cyrodiil, eventually usurping Cuchlecain and becoming emperor. 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. Tiber Septim gave his name to the lineage of Cyrodiil Emperors, the Septims. Upon his death he, arguably, became the deity Talos and took his place in the pantheon of the Nine Divines.
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.
The most commonly accepted story within the Empire is that Tiber Septim was born in Atmora as Talos, meaning Stormcrown in old Ehlnofey, hence Talos Stormcrown. 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.
Cuhlecain and Talos conquered West Cyrodiil in one year. 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. 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. 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.
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 lead the forces of Skyrim against the Reachmen of High Rock. During those days he met Cuhlecain, 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. 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".
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 and his loyalist contingent with the help of a High Rock nightblade. The Imperial Palace was burned to the ground in the action, (probably to destroy evidence), and Talos slit his own throat to take the suspicion off of him. Though he lived, his Voice failed him. The assassination was blamed on the Shaw, which, for political reasons, are still the Western Reach. 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.
After capturing the Imperial Throne, Septim found the initial administration of a fully united Cyrodiil a time-consuming task. He sent his old ally Ysmir to deal with Imperial expansion into Skyrim and High Rock. Ysmir, mindful that it might seem as if Tiber Septim is in two places at once, worked behind the scenes.
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. Ysmir had wanted a complete invasion of Hammerfell, allowing a chance to battle their foreign wind spirits himself, but Septim refused. The Emperor had already made a better plan, one that would seem to legitimize his rule. Cyrodiil supported the losing side of a raging civil war and were invited into the rule of Hammerfell. Finally, the Empire could turn its eyes towards the Elves.
Ysmir continued to impress upon Tiber Septim the need to conquer Morrowind. The Emperor was unsure that it was a wise idea, hearing word of the Tribunal's power. Ysmir, seeking his vengeance, reminded Tiber Septim that he was fated to conquer the Elves, including the mighty Tribunal. Septim's battlemage Arctus advised against the move but the emperor wanted the ebony in Morrowind, as he needed a source of capital to rebuild Cyrodiil after 400 years of war. Ysmir came up with the idea that, with the Tribunal dead, Septim might steal the Tribunal's power and use it against the Altmer, (the oldest enemies of Lorkhan, predating the Tribunal).
Alinor was, however, the furthest thing from Septim's mind. Even then, he was planning to send Arctus to the King of Alinor to make peace. In the end, the need for the ebony was the determining factor. The Empire invaded Morrowind, resulting in the Tribunal's surrender. When certain conditions of the Armistice included not only a policy of noninterference with the Tribunal, but by extension a validation of their religious beliefs, Ysmir was furious and abandoned the Empire completely. With Ysmir's leaving, all Septim's ideas of conquering Tamriel vanished and he decided to turn his focus to Cyrodiil and the human nations who were now under his rule.
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.
Partially quoted from the book The Arcturian Heresy, written by The Underking, Ysmir Kingmaker:
Tiber Septim was always fascinated by the Dwemer. After their victory in Morrowind he ordered Zurin Arctus to research the Numidium, the grand artifact of the Dwemer Tiber received from Morrowind as a gift from Vivec. In doing so, Arctus stumbled upon some of the stories of the war at Red Mountain. He discovered the reason the Numidium was made and some of its potential. Most importantly, he learned Ysmir's place in that war of long ago. Arctus believed he could activate the artifact but was working from incomplete plans, thinking that the heart of Lorkhan's body was needed to power the Numidium.
While Arctus reported about his discovery, the prophecy from the Greybeards finally became clear to Tiber Septim. The Numidium was what he needed to conquer the world. It was his destiny to have it. The heart of Lorkhan was lost to their cause but there was another source who could make the Numidium work, Ysmir. The Emperor contacted Ysmir, saying he was right all along about Morrowind. They should kill the Tribunal for Septim realized the true danger of Dagoth Ur while Ysmir was away. They needed to get together and make a plan as Septim was also in need of an army.
When Ysmir arrived, he was ambushed by Imperial guards. As he took them on, Zurin Arctus used a soul gem on him. With his last breath, Ysmir's Heart roared a hole through the Battlemage's chest. With everyone dead, Ysmir gone to ash, Tiber Septim took the soul gem. When the Elder Council arrived, he told them about the second attempt on his life, this time by his trusted battle mage, Zurin Arctus, who was attempting a coup. He had the dead guards celebrated as heroes, even the one who was blasted to ash. Following this event, Tiber warned Cyrodiil about the dangers within, but said he had a solution to the dangers without, The Mantella.
The Numidium, while not the god Tiber Septim and the Dwemer hoped for, served its purpose, (Ysmir's soul was not as strong as Lorkhan's after all, due to the fact it was only a small part of the latter), helping Tiber conquer Tamriel. After the defeat of the rulers of Alinor, a new threat appeared. A rotting undead wizard who controlled the skies, Zurin Arctus, reborn as the Underking. He blew the Numidium apart. But it pounded him into the ground with its last spasms, leaving only a black splotch. The Mantella fell into the sea, seemingly forever.
The text of The Acturian Heresy ends here.
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. 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 (man being more prominent).[OOG 1]
If the statement that he is from Atmora is true, then he is most likely a Atmoran or Nord. 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. 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.
A detailed account is given in The Real Barenziah, Book III, describing Tiber Septim's physical appearance:
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.
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 and their new Elven masters. The Stormcloaks in the province of Skyrim reject the White-Gold Concordat that instates this law.
It is important to note that the matter of Talos' godhood is still a point of contention, both in how and whether it happened, and it is possible that Septim didn't ascend at all. If he 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' niece Kintyra and her heirs, who were the descendants of Tiber Septim's brother, Agnorith. 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.
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 take his lucky coin to Red Mountain. While the hero of Morrowind has this coin, he gains a power called the 'Luck of the Emperor'. Later, an Imperial priest in Ebonheart tells the Hero 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. 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.
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 questions as. 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 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.
- Battle of Sancre Tor
- The Legendary Sancre Tor
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition
- The Real Barenziah
- 2920, vol 12 - Evening Star
- The Arcturian Heresy
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
|Emperor of the Septim Empire|
|Cuhlecain||2E 854 - 3E 38||Pelagius Septim|
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Mentioned only)
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
- ↑ Brief History of the Empire, Book I
- ↑ Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Cyrodiil
- ↑ Dialogue of Eydis
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Intro of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- ↑ The Real Barenziah, Book III
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Dialogue of Heimskr
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- ↑ Brief History of the Empire, Book I
- ↑ Imperial Dragon Armor Quest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion