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Cyrodiil, also known as the Imperial Province, Dragon Empire, Starry Heart of Nirn, and Seat of Sundered Kings, and Cyrod in Ayleid, is a province in the south-central region of Tamriel, and the home of a humanoid race known as Imperials. The center of their Empire and seat of governance, Cyrodiil is also known as "the Heartland". The capital of Cyrodiil, and of the whole empire, the Imperial City, is located on City Isle in the center of the province, which bears the location of White-Gold Tower, possibly the most renowned monument of Tamriel. Despite some accounts describing Cyrodiil as a jungle, it primarily has a temperate climate. One scholar of the middle Second Era attributed this discrepancy to errors made during the transcription of historical texts, while another speculated that White-Gold Tower itself gradually adapted the climate to suit the region's inhabitants. Later sources asserted that Emperor Tiber Septim altered Cyrodiil's climate upon his apotheosis.[oog 1]
When the Aldmeri landed in the Summerset Isles, they did not move far inland, but told of ancient beasts before men or mer. Unfortunately, oral tradition only gives unclear glimpses of what they may have looked like. One account describes the ancient inhabitants of City Isle as a race of Bird Men. The only definite information of Cyrodiil's history is after the beginning of recorded history when the Ayleids came to call Cyrodiil their home. Described in A Pocket Guide to the Empire, "The Ayleids were ancient Aldmer, cousins of all the elven races that exist to this day. Over time, they became a distinct people, crafting a civilization whose ruins still puzzle and fascinate modern archaeologists and adventurers." The Nedic people of the region became slave labor for the Ayleids once man-mer tensions in Skyrim reached a boiling point. One of the most important events of Cyrodilic history is the slave rebellion of 1E 242. The men and mer had been fighting in Skyrim for quite a while. This revolt was led by Alessia, who handed the entire region to the insurgent humans. "The heart of Tamriel was going to belong to these former slaves, present day Cyrodilics or Imperials, forever more."
In an alliance with Skyrim, the Alessian Empire pushed to the west towards High Rock which at the time was under the control of the Direnni. Another big change was present at this time: as described in A Pocket Guide to the Empire, "The prophet Marukh's teachings brought both identity to Cyrodiil, codifying the pantheon most civilized Tamriellians worship to this day." It also caused conflict due to the more severe strictures he espoused. The next large event in the history of Cyrodiil occurred in the year 1E 2703: the Akaviri invasion. This event not only affected Cyrodiil, but it brought all of Tamriel together to fight the new threat. The Akaviri were driven off, and the people of Tamriel subsequently became more cooperative with one another. Under the rule of Emperor Reman I, Cyrodiil became cosmopolitan and incorporated aspects of High Rock, Colovian, Nibenese, and even Akaviri culture. The Second Empire of Cyrodiil continued to expand, engulfing almost all of Tamriel. All was normal until the assassination of Emperor Reman III and his son Juilek. The assassinations marked the end of the First Era and the Second Empire. The government was under the control of Akaviri Potentates, and it continued to evolve until the last Potentate was killed in 2E 430. Throughout the rest of the Second Era, Tamriel was in the time known as the Interregnum. Nibenay and Colovia split apart; farms, villages, and even highways were in ruin. Many tried to claim the Imperial throne and this chaos lasted for centuries. The only hope for Tamriel was Tiber Septim. He started the Third Empire by unifying Cyrodiil and then the rest of Tamriel during the Tiber Wars. The Empire has thrived since then but was weakened by the War of the Red Diamond and The Imperial Simulacrum.
At the end of the Third Era, Tamriel was left with no emperor. In the early Fourth Era, the Empire collapsed and Cyrodiil splintered into many city-states until 4E 17, when Titus Mede led an army to conquer the Imperial City and was crowned the first emperor of the Mede Dynasty. Cyrodiil was again reunited but would face a new era of bloodshed against the Aldmeri Dominion starting in 4E 171, triggering the Great War after the Thalmor's ultimatum was rejected by Titus Mede II. Cyrodiil was invaded by the Thalmor, who took the Imperial City by force and committed many atrocities on the helpless population. It wasn't until 4E 175 that the Imperial Legion was able to retake the Imperial City during the Battle of the Red Ring, resulting in the destruction of all Aldmeri forces in Cyrodiil. Although the Imperials emerged victorious, they felt they were unable to continue the war and ended the Great War with the signing of the White-Gold Concordat, banning the worship of Talos and ceding a large portion of southern Hammerfell to the Dominion.
Cyrodiil has a varied environment, and is divided into several regions:
- Nibenay Basin: This vast region dominates Cyrodiil, containing all the area that drains into the River Niben. The area around the Imperial City and the Upper Niben is often known as "the Heartlands". East of the river, the region consists of mostly open fields while to the west and north it is more wooded. The Imperial City covers City Isle in the center of Lake Rumare, the source of the Niben, and the city of Bravil is located on the banks of Niben Bay in the "Nibenay Valley".
- Great Forest: An immense woodland area just west of the Imperial City.
- Colovian Highlands: A hilly, forested region of western Cyrodiil with the town of Chorrol as its main settlement.
- West Weald: The open countryside of southern Cyrodiil that is well known for its vineyards. The city of Skingrad is located here.
- Gold Coast: The western coastline of Cyrodiil that is dotted by farms. The main settlements of the region are the port city of Anvil, and the city of Kvatch further inland.
- Jerall Mountains: A mountain range in northern Cyrodiil on the Skyrim border, containing the town of Bruma.
- Valus Mountains: A mountain range in eastern Cyrodiil on the Morrowind border. The city of Cheydinhal is located at the foothills.
- Blackwood: A swampland in southern Cyrodiil east of Leyawiin, along the Black Marsh border.
- A harbor city on the Gold Coast.
- A rundown, squalid town on the west bank of the Niben.
- A town in the northern Jeralls boasting Nordic population and character.
- A town in eastern Cyrodiil with a large Dunmer population.
- A town located between the Great Forest and Colovian Highlands, in the northwestern region of Cyrodiil.
- Cloud Ruler Temple
- An ancient fortress of Akaviri origin. It served as a fortress for the Emperor's bodyguards, the Blades, before they were disbanded.
- Imperial City
- The capital of Cyrodiil and the whole of the Empire. It is located on City Isle in central Lake Rumare.
- A city on the Gold Coast between Anvil and Skingrad, built on a large plateau. It is north of the River Strid in Colovia.
- A city at the southern reaches of Cyrodiil, straddling the Niben River where it meets Topal Bay.
- Sancre Tor
- Now little more than a ruined fortress, the city and location of Sancre Tor has been the site of important events since the First Era.
- A large town located in the West Weald region to the southwest of the Imperial City, along the Gold Road.
- An abandoned settlement located in the Gold Coast region.
- Prior to The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, Cyrodiil was known as the "Imperial Province".
- The Heartland of Cyrodiil by Phrastus of Elinhir — A description of the Heartlands
- Subtropical Cyrodiil: A Speculation by Lady Cinnabar of Taneth — Thoughts on the climate of Cyrodiil and its relationship to the White-Gold tower
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Cyrodiil — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Seat of Sundered Kings: Cyrodiil — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Mock Q&A for The Origin of Cyrus!
- The Song of Pelinal, v 3
- Provinces of Tamriel
- Events of Elder Scrolls Online.
- Events of Oblivion.
- The Heartland of Cyrodiil — Phrastus of Elinhir
- Subtropical Cyrodiil: A Speculation — Lady Cinnabar of Taneth
- Mythic Dawn Commentaries 3 — Mankar Camoran
- Father of the Niben — Florin Jaliil
Note: the following references are not found in-game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.
- From The Many-Headed Talos, Michael Kirkbride