What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of The Elder Scrolls? If Middle Ages is one of them, keep reading. Because I've seen way too many people say the Elder Scrolls games take place in the Middle Ages, and this blog, I'm going to explain why I think that's untrue. I will also explain how Skyrim falls under a different category called "Fastasy". I'll be doing this for Skyrim in preticular, as I haven't thought about the government in Oblivion or Morrowind to an extent this much.
From first glance, the Government in all the provinces on Tamriel does look very Medieval, absolute Monarchs with lots of wealth and the rest of society below them. But if you take a closer look, you'll that the Governments in these nations actually are pretty free and even somewhat democratic.
Let's see Skyrim, the Monarchs seem to hardly have any power abuse. Out of all nine Holds, none of them seem to be acting selfish or tyrannical, this could imply that the Monarchy does have some checks and balences. There's even some in-game evidence for this, the Moot. This could mean Skyrim atleast is close to a Constitutional Monarchy, something that is not Medieval at all. Another thing is that when Guards arrest you they say "you have committed crimes against Skyrim & her people" implying that working for the government, they're upholding the values of the country, as opposed to just on behalf of the Monarch. They do sometimes say "In the name of the Jarl!". But it's still better than nothing. In the Middle Ages, there was an absolute Monarchy which had no checks & Balances and the armies only had loyalty to the monarch, atleast more so than in Skyrim (or Tamriel).
Now, let's think of people's lifestyles. In the Middle Ages regular peasants would live hard lives working for the Lords with Fuedalism. With very little money, food, or free time. But in Skyrim, this does not seem to be the case. People are working as hard as anyone would today, and seem to have time to do stuff go to Taverns, talk with friends, etc. It seems the system that is being upheld is modern day Capitalism, where people do work and try and earn their way to the top. This was done with Fuedalism, everyone had a structre and rarely moved up. But as shown by numerous "wealthy" NPCs, this isn't true in Skyrim.
Why people confuse it with Fantasy
Before I start this, let me explain what Fantasy is. Fantasy, is a type of genre for things like the Elder Scrolls. Something that has somewhat modern day western values for the most part, but lacks technology, and has things like goblins, Dragons, etc. A similar example of this is Lord of The Rings.
Now, Fantasy is often confused with Medieval times. I believe the reason for this is because a lot things that are deemed similar to The Elder Scrolls are based off of The Middle Ages, so naturally people assume they're from the same time period. But as I explained, they're not.
So, what do you think? Do you ever think Skyrim is from the Middle Ages? Explain the comments!