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High Lord Torinaan leads his Aldmer ships to Auridon
Statue of Topal the Pilot

The Aldmer (meaning "First Folk" or "Elder Folk"), or Alcharyai,[UOL 1] were the original Merethic Era proto-mer who settled Summerset Isle and most of mainland Tamriel. They are often said to have been the first technologically sophisticated inhabitants of Nirn[1], although some believe this distinction belongs to the Hist. The ancestors to the beast people, the Argonians and Khajiit, existed at the time in aboriginal, preliterate communities, and were easily displaced by the more advanced Aldmer. The Aldmer allegedly came from a lost city-continent called Aldmeris,[1] but a number of sources, supposedly even the revered Elder Scrolls, claim that this is pure myth.[UOL 2]

As the Aldmer spread throughout Tamriel, they evolved away from one another, physically and culturally, into the various types of mer known today. Some remained in Summerset Isle and became the Altmer.[1][2] The first emigrants to the mainland settled in Valenwood and became the Bosmer.[3] Morrowind was colonized by both the Dwemer and later the Chimer (forerunners of the Dunmer).[1] There were also the Ayleids of Cyrodiil, the Snow Elves of Skyrim, the Maormer of Pyandonea, and the Orcs or Orsimer, a group of Aldmer who worshipped Trinimac and were transformed when he became Malacath.[4] They then migrated to the province of High Rock and founded Orsinium. High Rock is also home to the Bretons, mixed-blood descendants of the native Nedes and (non-Orc) Aldmeri settlers.[5][6]

God King of the Maormer, Orgnum

Not many Aldmer historical figures are known, but notable Aldmer include High Lord Torinaan, who first settled the Summerset Isles; Topal the Pilot, who discovered much of Tamriel; and Orgnum, a former Aldmer who is now the ageless sorcerer-king of the Maormer.

The Aldmer had a "chivalric high culture",[7] but little is known of it. They were known to have their own music notation, which is reportedly difficult to read.[8]

The modern Altmer are believed to resemble the original Aldmer. The Altmer today hold their ancestors in great reverence and constantly strive to emulate their ways; it has even been alleged that they selectively breed for Aldmer-like features.[9] Some High Elf songs in modern times are written in the language of Old Aldmeris.[10]

The term Aldmeri is occasionally used as a catch-all term for all elves,[11] and is also used when referring to members of the Aldmeri Dominion.[12]

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