The Ancients are the ancestors of the Altmer of Auridon, the second largest island in the Summerset Isles archipelago. They are responsible for the various limestone ruins that dot the island. The term is used by the natives to refer to both the early Aldmer and more recent Altmer ancestors.
The ruins of the Ancients are similar in style to the Ayleid ruins found on mainland Tamriel. However, Altmer architecture is cleaner and more direct, with less baroque ornamentation than that of the Ayleids. Aside from their shared ancestry, the reason for this similarity is due to Altmeri propensity for refinement over innovation, and a resistance to large-scale change. As well as Dawn Era Welkynd Stones, these ruins also contain Malondo and Culanda Stones, modern inventions of the Altmer which were not utilized by the Ayleids.[UOL 1] The Ancients are also known to have harnessed the power of Meteoric Iron to create Aetherial Wells, magical relics similar to the Ayleid Wells found on the continent.
The ruins of Torinaan are named after High Lord Torinaan, an early Aldmer settler from Aldmeris, and are an apparent example of Aldmer ruins. Tanzelwil and Castle Rilis, on the other hand, serve as mausoleums for modern Altmer. Other ruins on the island include Ezduiin, the Buraniim sea-complex, Quendeluun, and the Eye of the Ancients.
The term "Ancients" is also sometimes used to refer to the Ayleids on mainland Tamriel.
- In earlier versions of ESO, conflicting sources described the Ancients of Auridon as not only Aldmer and Altmer, but as exiled Ayleids from Valenwood. This theory was presented in the old version of Auridon Explored, Chapter XII, where Fenlil the Wayfarer asserts that the Ayleids landed on the northern tip of Auridon following the Alessian Slave Rebellion and became the ancestors of the island's Altmer population. A member of the Mages Guild also asserted that the ruins of Ezduiin were Ayleid. These sources conflicted with both established lore and other in-game texts, including earlier entries in the Auridon Explored series. They were later refuted by developers[UOL 1] and ultimately removed from the game during a patch. However, ESO continues to occasionally mistakenly identify ruins on Auridon (such as Torinaan) as Ayleid in origin.
- Despite being of similar antiquity, Aldmeri ruins on the main island of Summerset possess a much different architectural style distinct from that of the Ancients.
- Auridon Explored — Fenlil the Wayfarer
- ESO loading screens
- Notes on Elven Architecture — Gastinus Florus, Masons' Guild Historian
- Aetherial Fragments — Lady Cinnabar of Taneth
- Aetherial Wells on Auridon in ESO
- Magic from the Sky — Irlav Jarol
- Events of ESO
- Centurion Burri's dialogue in ESO
- Auridon Explored, Chapter XII — Fenlil the Wayfarer (old version)
- Naarcaano's dialogue
- Zahari's dialogue on Torinaan during the Elsweyr prologue quest Dark Souls, Mighty Weapons
- Tor-Hame-Khard loading screen in ESO
Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.