Lore talk:Dunmer

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Dunmer appearance[edit]

With Dagoth Ur defeated at the Red mountain, wouldn't Dunmer return to their previous… eh… shape and appearance? — Unsigned comment by Never (talkcontribs) at 08:12 on March 29, 2006

A year too late, but regardless… why would they? They were cursed for letting it happen, I doubt Azura would want them to ever forget it. -- 18:32, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
There is also a document, or dialogue I don't remember which, where an Imperial scholar argues that the cause of Dunmer appearance is actually scientific - their eyes are agitated from the ash, and it's simply caked into their skin along with increased melanin levels. Shouldn't this be noted in the section? — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 14:08 on October 18, 2008
Or did the Dunmer change to fit their gods, the Tribunal, as the Orcs changed in order to follow Malacath? Nothing is concrete about this topic.Temple-Zero 14:05, 19 October 2008 (EDT)
SPOILER: In her speech at the end of Morrowind END OF SPOILER Azura looks a lot like the Dunmer. She was probably trying to bring them closer to her instead of the Tribunal - it's as political as it is vengeful. — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 16:32 on May 14, 2009

Dunmer skin[edit]

I have done extensive gathering, and have found that dunmer may also have green and purple skin. — Unsigned comment by (talk)

Brown also, but the blueish shade is by far the most common--Corevette789 21:37, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Dunmer names?[edit]

what is the dunmer naming system, and what would be some common names, and do these names mean anything? — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 10:30 on April 13, 2008

You can find some common Dunmer names here. --Michaeldsuarez (Talk)/(Contribs) 07:01, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

Assyrian and Ashlanders[edit]

Actually, there is some cause to believe that the Ashlander Dunmer names tend to be based on Assyrian names. This does not apply to all Dunmer, however. But if you look at the typical Ashlander names (as well as those of Daedric shrines, which are presumably Ashlander in origin), you'll see a lot of similiarities between them and Assyrian. Most notable is the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. "Ashur" appears frequently in Ashlander names, as does the "nipal" suffix. Now, none of the Ashlander names are directly taken from Assyrian ones that I can see, but they're clearly inspired by them at least.

And just to lend an air of semi-authority to this theory, it just so happens that my father is one of the few people who is an expert on the Assyrian language, and after I showed him a list of Ashlander names, he agreed with me - though he was upset that the names didn't mean anything, like somebody just ripped part of one Assyrian word and slapped onto part of another with no regard to their actual meaning, which is quite likely what happened. --TheRealLurlock Talk 13:31, 6 January 2009 (EST)

There's no denying that the names are strikingly similar. The names of Daedra ruins in particular are like Babylonian (not just Assyrian) place names. But I generally frown on real world comparisons in lore articles. Most run the gambit between obvious and drawn-out to unhelpful (a paragraph on how Nords are Vikings?), and I am kind of zealous about them. At least the style guide is on my side in this case, even if lore article rarely conform to an in-world POV. In this case, it is an interesting tidbit regarding a race that has no obvious real-world analogue, so perhaps a more specific note about the similarity of names would be helpful. But mention the names, rather than extrapolating it to whatever language the ashlanders speak- we don't know how many languages there are and who did in fact name ruins and people. Americans use hebrew names after all. Dunmer language is not based on Assyrian because almost nothing Dunmer language was never created in-game.Temple-Zero 15:50, 6 January 2009 (EST)
I think there's truth on both sides here. It looks to me like someone at Bethesda spotted the "Ash" prefix and decided to have some fun. That means I can agree with Lurlock that the Ashlander names are similar to Assyrian names, but I can also agree with Temple-Zero that spurious connections between Mundus and Milky Way should be purged. I think the best solution may be to include the information as a noincluded footnote. That way, the site gets the benefit of the information without it being too prominent. –RpehTCE 16:24, 6 January 2009 (EST)
I'd say that maybe in this case, the information could be included on Ashlanders rather than here, because as I pointed out, it does not seem to apply to most Dunmer, only the Ashlanders. (For instance, no Dunmer names in Oblivion seem to be of this style. Presumably, it would be unlikely to encounter an Ashlander outside of Morrowind, or even outside of Vvardenfell.) --TheRealLurlock Talk 16:51, 6 January 2009 (EST)
No Dunmer word is actually the same as any Assyrian word. Any suggestion is just a theory based on a few letters sounding the same. Search Dunmer names in Google and they come up with all sorts of comparable words, Japanese, Malayan, Greek. The reason being is that the words are totally random and just shoved together.
The word Tong as in Morag Tong is however a Chinese originating word. The word Yurt as in the Dunmer tent is Turkic. The word Shaman as seen amongst Dunmer Ashlanders is again a Turkic word. — Unsigned comment by Telvanni Samurrye Warriors (talkcontribs) at 21:45 on January 20, 2012

Muthsera, S'wit ETC[edit]

What do these sayings mean? Most dunmer refer to my character with these words and i would like to know what they mean please :)--VergilSparda 14:01, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Muthsera is a term of respect - I think the rough translation would be "madam" - "Sera" would be "sir". "S'wit" is an insult. rpeh •TCE 15:01, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
ahhh Thank you --VergilSparda 22:10, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Reference List[edit]

Right, this page is missing far too much information for me to continue to ignore. I'll build a list of references here so I or anyone else who wants to help improve this page can have the information necessary to do so.

Note: These references will likely be useful for plenty of lore articles related to the Dunmer, so use these as you see fit.

That should be plenty of sources, I know where to find a few more, but for now that should be plenty. --AKB Talk Cont Mail 03:50, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Because I am bored but I don't have the patience to do anything but info gathering here are a few more potential citations. I found these by looking at Lore:Khajiit, so this wasn't so much as foot work and more me being thorough looking for info.
Okay, now I can't think of any more sources of legitimate information on the Dark Elves, but thankfully this should be plenty of information. I plan on using this information to expand this page eventually, but for now if someone else wants to use these to improve the page, feel free too. This should be all of the sources and citations you could possibly need to write an article on the Dunmer. --AKB Talk Cont Mail 18:46, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

The Infernal City[edit]

Why hasn't the Lore article about the Dunmer been updated to reflect the happenings of Infernal City? It should make mention of those events as they are very major events for the Dunmer people. — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 03:45 on 10 September 2011 (GMT)

It has now.  :) --GKtalk2me 03:51, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

asia ,mostly chinese[edit]

I think morrowind equal to asia in real world. They live in the east. They see themselves higher before the west come, like chinese think they are superior brfore 1842(i am a chinese, pls correct me if i have a biased view or miss other information). They were being treated distrustfully by human ,like western power look down asian. We were isolated before the western come, like the dunmer. We were/are proud and clannish. If talking about greatly value loyalty and family, it must be describing chinese. If talking about promiscuity, it is absoluely not chinese, since china women are well know for being loyal to their husband( if they really talking about us, i must say that i am disappointed). For religion we worship our ancestor like dunmer but i don't know what daedric prince really represent.The building style of hlaalu and redoran like islam building style . but the buinding style of Mournhold is chinese style. A lot of clue indicated that they are asian/chinese, i am pretty sure dunmer = asian/chinese.(Vvardfell 13:33, 24 December 2011 (UTC))

Just to add some support to this claim with some facts to consider.
Dunmer Ashlanders display words and cultural exacts with Turkic & Mongolian people of Central Asia. Yurt is a Turkic word as is Shaman.
Dunmer also have the Morag Tong. Tong is a word of Chinese origin and identity.
I feel these words and their origin should be noted.
Telvanni Samurrye Warriors 21:49, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
We don't note real world influences on lore pages, but I have been wanting to start a small project which records this kind of thing. As for what you're both saying, the non-human races seem to have a blend of both folklore and real world cultures in them. They don't necessarily equate to one geographic region or period of history, and I don't think every element can be traced back to a specific place or time, some parts are entirely based in fantasy. That being said, you both make pretty good pulls with the emphasis on ancestor worship, clan loyalty and some of the etymology they seem to use in Morrowind. It might also interest you to know that Akavir seems to be heavily based on Eastern history and mythology, and it's entirely possible that an Asia-derived human race may live there that we haven't yet seen.--Admos 22:14, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Telvanni Samurrye Warriors, I don't think Morag Tong is talking about Chinese. It should be Tang not Tong that represent oversea Chinese. And from the concept art , i think it is talking about Assassins of Arabian, since the word itself come from this group of religious people.Admos, If you are talking about akavir . I only know that the blades's style is Japanese style. Nothing more cam be tell(Vvardfell 04:28, 11 March 2012 (UTC))
On the contrary Tong is a Chinese word as well (Cantonese in origin) and in fact the word 'tong' refers to merchants associations which, itself, is a euphemism for black market and secret societies akin to the freemasons. For example, try googling 'Chinese Tongs', and read the wikipedia article. The Morag Tong seems like it could fill this category. — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 09:36 on January 25, 2013
This topic is (now) unrelated to the content of the article, and more suited to the forums. Please feel free to continue the discussion there.
This topic is now closed.

Dunmeri/Ashlander language[edit]

Has anyone considered adding some Dunmer language phrases which have been muttered by Dunmer NPCs in Morrowind?

I know the phrases like "YOU N'WAH!!" is a degrading term for "Outlander!!", but I also noticed some Dunmer NPCs, especially Ashlanders, will sometimes mutter some foreign language. Though I could be mistaken.

If anyone has some good research on Dunmer language (and maybe text as seen on shop signs), I think it'd be a great addition to the page, as it is prevalent in Morrowind. --Yal 09:47, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I believe the text on the shop signs is Daedric is it not?
Lore:Daedric_Alphabet 16:01, 2 January 2013 (GMT)
I was mistaken. The town signs have Daedric lettering. Shop signs have something else, presumably Dunmeri. My bad 16:37, 2 January 2013 (GMT)

Ayleid name?[edit]

If the Dunmer only emerged after the Battle of Red Mountain, several hundred years after the disappearance of the Ayleid, how did the Ayleid language come to have a name for them? — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 06:57 on February 29, 2012

Presumably the same way that Latin can have names for plants and animals that were never known to the Romans. It might simply be the words that mean "dark elf" in Ayleid, or else it might be an adjective (or even epithet) from that language that the Dunmer embraced. --NepheleTalk 07:52, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Or the word could just be Chimer. Or Velothi or something.Temple-Zero 04:49, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

No Source[edit]

This quote that has been added multiple times, although potentially true, has no source:

However some Dunmer are returing to Morowind to rebuild.

MadokaOda, where is the source for this? If you have none, then it has to be removed. • JATalk 02:14, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I remeber hearing about it somewhere ill remove it till i find the source sorry for troubling you with it--MadokaOda 02:17, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
It's not a problem at all. We're just very nit-picky with sources in the Lore section, in order to keep it top-quality. But yes, try to find that source if you can. If you can find the source I'll just re-add it. • JATalk 02:19, 12 May 2012 (UTC)


any idea how long the dunmer can live? This seems to be a topic of much debate, one source claims they live to be a little over one hundred, however the real baarenziah claims that they live to a thousand. Divayeth Fyr is over four thousand, but that's not a good example. Barenziah should be well over the 120-150 mark by now and she isn't "special". 08:49, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

If Barenziah was born in 2E 893, four years before the third era, and is still alive in 3E 427 (Morrowind events), that makes her 431 years old at the time of Morrowind.
Rythe Lythandas, a married man and famous artist in 3E 433, still sells Painted Troll fat in 4E 201. That would make him around 220 years old at least, probably more like 240 or 250.
It sounds as if a thousand years may be the best estimate. Vely►t►e 02:17, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't know what source this information on Rythe came from, but I do know that Neloth was aive in both 3E 427 and 4E 201, which is at least 206 years, added to his age in Morrowind. Schiffy (talk) 17:54, 19 February 2013 (GMT)
Divayth Fyr was 4,000 years old as of Morrowind. Neloth was already hundreds, if not thousands of years old in morrowind. I believe they have a natural lifespan of at least 500 years, with magic lengthening lives. The alchemist in tel mithryn said she was a small child when red mountain erupted in 4E 5, and she seems to be about mid thirties in a human equivalent age. Jeancey (talk) 17:59, 19 February 2013 (GMT)
Source on Rythe. Also, that mycologist in Tel Mithryn describes herself as an "old woman". —Legoless (talk) 18:01, 19 February 2013 (GMT)
Really? I don't remember that at all... hmmm I'll have to go back and talk to her. Jeancey (talk) 18:02, 19 February 2013 (GMT)
We have an answer. Without magic, elves who are 200 years old are "old" while elves of 300 years are "very very old". Anything longer than that was achieved through magic. Jeancey (talk) 19:34, 6 May 2013 (GMT)
Avrusa Sarethi had a shop in Vivec City before Red Mountain erupted so she is at least 196 plus however old she would have to be to own her own shop. She also says she may open a shop 'some day' in Skyrim, so it's not very likely that at 200+ she is considered 'old' by Dunmer standards. Her sister is presented as being fairly young and carefree. I don't remember Elynea Mothren calling herself an old woman, but she does say that when Red Mountain erupted, Neloth was already old, whatever that would be, and that it was 'a life time ago'. Also, I haven't heard it myself, but if Teldryn Sero did meet St. Jiub in Blacklight, then he would also be over 200 years old. I think you were closer with 500 being a more likely natural lifespan.--Clamber (talk) 18:59, 15 June 2013 (GMT)

() The 200 years, with 300 being very very old comes from an official source. Elynea calls herself an old woman, and she is 200 (ish) years old (she was a small child when red mountain erupted). Neloth isn't really in this picture since he is a sorcerer. Also, remember, Saint Juib could have met him as a child (sero being the child), thus making sero quite old, but not that much older than 200. Jeancey (talk) 21:11, 15 June 2013 (GMT)

so would 300 be about the max life span of a regular, non magical Dunmer? 200 is old compared to say, any of the human races, but most of the Dunmer who are confirmed to be at least 200 don't seem to be end-of-life old at all and a good number of them had established adult lives and families before Red Mountain. Is the official source Elynea's dialogue? I haven't heard it myself so I'll have to listen out for it. Just curious, but do Dunmer (and the other elven races for that matter) reach maturity at the same rate as humans? --Clamber (talk) 22:17, 15 June 2013 (GMT)
The way I read it is that 200 seems to be about 65, which is old, but by no means ancient. 300 is like 95. So it is possible that dunmer will live longer than 300 without magic, but very unlikely. Jeancey (talk) 22:20, 15 June 2013 (GMT)
ok, that makes sense. especially if you assume that they can have families and jobs by 25. so avrusa would have plenty of time to set up her alchemy shop in skyrim at some stage during her proverbial golden years. --Clamber (talk) 22:36, 15 June 2013 (GMT)
Yep. That's not even considering that, due to her expertise with potions, she hasn't been able to concoct some potion that will extend her life. But there is no evidence of that (but it definitely could happen). Jeancey (talk) 22:42, 15 June 2013 (GMT)
Am I the only one bothered by the fact that the same source of information in the same answer mistated that Orsimer are beast-folk? Just for clarification for those reading this comes from an answer in an "Ask the developers of EOS" article. The statement is a bit hard to reconcile with the fact that there are several Dunmer in Skyrim who clearly are around the 200 mark but don't use the aged skin texture overlay that's available and observable in the CK for a 40ish appearance or the one for an even older appearance and don't seem to have much if any association with magic unless even a minimal affinity to magic use is enough to offset age by decades to centuries. If that's all that's required then stating that 200-300 years is the "normal" lifespan of Mer doesn't see to be very meaningful if it's qualified by the fact that there is nothing "normal" about the lifespan of many if not most of the Mer encountered in the games. --DagmarH (talk) 08:35, 6 July 2013 (GMT)
The only *hard* sources we have is an alchemist in Tel Mithryn who is roughly 200 years old, and calls herself an "old woman", Neloth, who is a mage, and Diyvth Fyr, also a mage. We have no other real sources for the age of dunmer. All of these fit well with the stated age range given. Jeancey (talk) 19:15, 6 July 2013 (GMT)
Not true. There is also Ravyn Imyan who was a member of the Morag Tong which disbanded after the Argonian invasion of Morrowind which makes him at least 200 years old. Neither his class or stats give even the slightest hint of association with magic and he uses the under 40 default skin mesh and presents as significantly younger than an old Dunmer. Ambarys Rendar and Malthyr Elenil also mention returning to Morrowind implying that they were part of the refugee wave in the early part of the Fourth Era that emigrated to Skyrim. Also Neloth, Divyth Fyr and Teldryn Sero (who you overlooked - he met Jiub who died in 3E 433) do not fit well with the stated age range given but all three are users of magic which would explain their youthful appearance. In point of fact there are several more that don't fit within the age range but used magic including Barenziah. On that note there's still the reference to the thousand year life span granted to elves by the gods in The Real Barenziah. Also given that Altmer racial abilities are clearly magical in nature does this mean that all Altmer lifespans exceed the 200 to 300 range? --DagmarH (talk) 03:42, 11 July 2013 (GMT)

() I'll respond to your points in kind.

First point: Ravyn Imyan and the morag tong: The Morag Tong was disbanded officially, but we see all the time hardcore members of disbanded groups keeping things alive (case in point, the outlawed talos worship in skyrim). He could easily be a generation removed from the group being disbanded.

Second point: Ambarys Rendar and Malthyr Elenil returning to morrowind: Morrowind wasn't completely destroyed in any sense. Large parts of morrowind remained completely untouched by either the destruction from red mountain or the argonian invasion, which means they could have come from morrowind last week, and are now returning, it doesn't mean they've been gone for 200 years.

Third Point: This is really your overall point, that they don't "look" old. You cannot use in game mechanics (i.e. subjective appearance, who are you to say what looks old or not for a dunmer) to prove points in lore (i.e. the actual age of the person). Their appearance in-game has nothing really to do with their age, especially since the elven races have no "elder" skin.

In all, the only people with CONFIRMED ages fit with the given explanation, with the possible exception of Barenziah, who we don't really know whether she is a magic user, or perhaps just an oddity. Keep in mind, this is the NORMAL age-span for dunmer, but people live well past a normal human lifetime all the time. If 100 years roughly equates to 30 years of a human lifetime, then 200 years is 60 human years (i.e. old but most people reach it) 300 is 90 years (pretty old, but people reach 90 often enough that there are many people around of this age), 400 would be 120 years (pretty much no one reaches this, but some people can, occasionally come close, case in point, a person who recently died at 116). TL;DR: All the given info fits well with what we know. Jeancey (talk) 21:09, 11 July 2013 (GMT)

The outlawed worship in Talos is not even remotely analagous to the continued existence of a prominent faction in Tamriel as it involves no known faction and the banning of it doesn't equate to the end of the worship of Talos. Ravyn cleary states he was a member of the Morag Tong. There are no examples of hardcore members of factions "keeping things alive". An organization either exists or it doesn't exist and the lore doesn't support any new iteration of the Morag Tong after its disbandment in the early Fourth Era. Unless and until actual content is introduced to the contrary, the only thing one can conclude is that Ravyn was a member of the only Morag Tong faction referenced in the game content which was the faction that dissolved in the early Fourth Era
The vast majority of the Dunmer in Windhelm are either part of the refugee wave that emigrated to Skyrim around the time of the Red Year or the descendants of the same. It's a bit of an understatment to say that it's extremely unpersuasive to present Windhelm as a desireable place for relocation for any Dunmer who was previously living in Morrowind after the Red Year and the Accession War as the apartheid policies of Windhelm regarding the Dunmer have been in place for at least two generations and possibly far longer. It is the last place in Skyrim any such Dunmer would choose to reside during that time. There is a clear impression that the current Dunmer choose to remain in Windhelm because they have roots there that precede the imposition of their current living conditions which implies that they are either of the generation that emigrated around the time of the Red Year or the descendents of those Dunmer.
My observations of appearance are not subjective. They're based on how the texture layers that can be applied over the base skin mesh of each race are named in the CK in a manner that associates them with age on the human scale (30, 40 and older). They're used on NPC's that are not of the Elder race to convey approximate age of the NPC's throughout the game. All three of the aforementioned Dunmer use the texture layer associated with the younger adults in Skyrim.
In the end it is what it is. The developers of ESO have made an unambiguous statement about the normal lifespan of Mer, but reconciling it with at least some of what is observable in the game is arguably problematic. --DagmarH (talk) 18:26, 1 August 2013 (GMT)
I think what you are missing about the appearance in game is that it is IN-GAME. We cannot use in-game mechanics, in this case the appearance of the NPC, to judge a lore base statement, in this case age. 200 year old Dunmer happen all the time. That's perfectly normal, so the ones in Windhelm, or even the Morag Tong guy could easily still be alive. What I was trying to get at is that he doesn't HAVE to be from before the Red Year, not that he WASN'T. And there are examples of extreme people keeping organizations alive in TES, just look at Delphine. After the blades were disbanded she single-handedly kept them alive. Also, in Dragonborn there are clear, existing members of the Morag Tong that still exist today, well after they were "disbanded" in the early fourth era. Clearly the organization still exists, and it is likely that many of the members are from after the supposed disbanding. Jeancey (talk) 18:42, 1 August 2013 (GMT)
Well Teldryn Sero is definitely over 200 years old and is still fit. -- 21:04, 13 December 2014 (GMT)
If the sources on the age from developers of ESO are correct, then altmer and dunmer live 200-300 years. Where then is the influence of Phynaster's shorter stride which was taught to only the Altmer, extending their lifespans 100 years. I am all for listening to official sources and whatnot, but it isn't like developers don't make mistakes, not to mention sometimes they just don't seem to agree with each other even. Also, I'm sorry but I cannot agree with not using appearance in-game. If, in Morrowind, Caius Cosades were stated to be 12 years old with no explanation, I would certainly raise an eyebrow. Seeing as they have old features for dunmer, I expect dunmer who are old to look old. It's very easy to do. If we ignore appearance for age, should race and gender of NPCs also be ignored unless specifically mentioned in text. Just my 2 cents Lazy Waysef (talk) 08:43, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

() Speculation on my part, but couldn't a shortened lifespan have been included as part of Azura's punishment? If this were the case, one could argue that following the events in Morrowind, circa 3e427, Dunmeri life expectancy could have increased. 03:04, 31 July 2016 (UTC)Sampi5287

Dunmer Alphabet And Language?[edit]

In the origins of Cyrus comic, their are dunmer speaking in some language using an unknown alphabet. I've never seen it anywhere else. I assume it just got less popular after the founding of the Septim Empire. Iituti (talk) 16:01, 22 June 2013 (GMT)


Forgive me for any potential ignorance, but I just read the Daggerfall version of 'The Real Barenziah' by Plitinius Mero (or whatever his real name is), and I could not help but notice how embellished everything was, not to mention the omniscient narration of that prose, which would be near-impossibly accurate if true. Is this book a trustworthy source to stereotype an entire race's females as being "well known for their promiscuity"? For reference, here is the original segment found in the book:

"Barenziah cocked her head to one side quizzically. "They say dark elf women are pro- pro- something. Prostitutes?"
"You mean promiscuous, although some do become prostitutes, I suppose. Elf women are promiscuous when they're young. You'll outgrow it. Perhaps you're beginning to already," Katisha said hopefully. "You ought to meet some nice elven boys, though. If you keep on keeping company with Khajiits and humans you'll find yourself pregnant soon."


It should also probably be noted that this conversation between Barenziah and Katisha happened after a particularly juicy segment intimately detailing the exploits of a well-endowed Khajiit. :P

So what we're essentially referencing here for the entire female Dunmer demographic is one quote by a Nord character from a novella written by a young Imperial scribe who was born hundreds of years after the events detailed in this so-called biography. I know in-game sources are difficult to come by, but wouldn't this be akin to referencing, say, 'Fifty Shades of Blehh' for '[insert irl race] women being well known for their erotic fantasies'? Or perhaps I have a play from another prestigious Imperial detailing the female Argonian's predisposition towards polishing spears and kneading bread. :D

On a more serious note, I believe there is an irl branch of International Relations political science that deals exactly with this type of issue - the issue of cultures xenophobically and ethnocentrically prescribing mythical traits on the 'other', 'alien', 'exotic' culture. For direct comparison, refer to Victorian-era Europe's view of Arabian women as being scantily dressed in silk and passionate lovers. Here's the wiki article on Orientalism, as it's called, if anyone cares to know (indeed I suspect the Bethesda loremasters created this book with the intent of mimicking Orientalism): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orientalism

Moreover, I believe the quote in question refers to "Elf women" inclusively, and not just Dunmer (as is implied in many articles on Dunmer on the internet). If we're going to stereotype all Dunmeri women as being promiscuous while young, why not broaden it to include all the other races of Mer (if a fictional Nord penned by an upstart Imperial is such a trustworthy source)?

I hope I'm not coming off as being overtly white knight keyboard warrior-ish; my intent is only to address this particular line that has been bothering me. I fully acknowledge my own bias on this matter (since I'm against unfounded stereotypes against any group of people), and I also fully acknowledge that I don't know TES lore nearly as well as many other people on here. If I am wrong in my claims, which I likely may be, I would greatly appreciate an explanation or a secondary source confirming the aforementioned. Lastly, I congratulate anyone who has read this entire thing all the way through. Cheers! :) -Deltahost (talk) 10:16, 25 December 2013 (GMT)

I'm afraid you are being overly protective. Promiscuity is not a negative thing as much as people try to make out, plus this is a game. Of course the races have been influenced by human culture, but you cannot compare them to those cultures when making the lore. Stereotyping is also intrinsically truthful, almost always having a basis in truth (at least at some point), albeit a truth that some people try to brush over or ignore. If we have one source to describe young Dunmeri women, then that is the source we use.
On the note about it being all mer, I'd can't wholly agree. When Barenziah asks about Dunmeri promiscuity she is not corrected (though the reply only says Elves), but when she states to Symmachus that "Elves are promiscuous by nature," she is correct with "Some are, some aren't." Mystery of Talara is about a visit to Valenwood, and while in company of prostitutes he remarks on a difference between them and "less promiscuous females", but this isn't all that helpful without making large jumps to conclusions.
"Having casual sexual relations frequently with different partners; indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners" This discussion was also held on Haelga's page, where it was more easily ascertained that it was true, especially as a student of Dibella. Any negative connotations placed on the term are wholly real-world. While some people in the games may have a negative opinion about such behaviour, it is hard to think it is such a negative in a world where prostitutes have high positions in some countries and not forced to work "underground" and where one of the Eight/Nine Divines is a goddess of love and erotic instruction. Silence is GoldenBreak the Silence 14:58, 25 December 2013 (GMT)
I don't really care about the implications of 'promiscuous' or anything; I just think that the source does not at all support such a broad sweeping statement as is made in the article. We are making a huge generalization based on a single statement in an in-universe work of historical fiction. Plus, as you quoted, Symmachus later directly contradicts the notion that elves are notably more promiscuous than any other race. At the very least, I think the wording of the statement should be much less certain, since all it's going on are popular rumors and stereotypes. -- Hargrimm(T) 15:41, 25 December 2013 (GMT)
The Symmachus quote was used as a supporting statement that the other elven races don't have the same reputation, not that the statement was untrue of Dunmeri women. Of course the whole book is highly fictionalised, but the writer did take the time to make that difference. Broad cultural stereotypes found in fictional books does not make them any less "true". Making statements based on one source is unfortunate, but if one source is all we have then we must use it, we cannot neglect sources simply because they are the only one. With a whole game based in parts of Morrowind, it should be easy for someone to provide evidence to the contrary from somewhere in that game. Lack of a secondary source to back the first will never be enough reason to remove something, only contrary sources, or something undermining the credibility of the source. Silence is GoldenBreak the Silence 15:55, 25 December 2013 (GMT)

() I should probably clarify that in no way am I arguing from a 'moral' standpoint, that is, I don't really see anything wrong with being promiscuous, as long as there is mutual, rational consent. However, if we're looking at this through a cultural perspective as is the argument made by Orientalism, then a Nord character created by an Imperial scribe can hardly be considered an accurate source of information regarding a culture they were never assimilated into, yes? This is on two different levels: 1., perhaps the author himself is biased (in addition to being young at the time and near-impossibly accurate in his omniscient narration), and 2., perhaps the author purposely chose to create a biased Nord character to further embellish his story. And while people may not find promiscuity to be morally wrong irl, this entire argument comes from the context of a predominantly Aldmeri-Imperial culture in-game, whereby being a chaste and modest woman is considered moral (ref: Symmachus' description of Tiber Septim, "He requires intelligence, obedience, discretion and total loyalty in all his appointees, and he favors chastity and modesty in women. I suggest you model your deportment after Drelliane." Also, Tiber Septim's description of his wife, "She is a good and virtuous woman"). As for the practice of 'Dibellan Arts', yes, Dibella is an awesome Divine, but at the same time, I believe Haelga also said she was forced to practice her Arts in secret for fear that she would be run out of town (this is why you can ultimately blackmail her in that quest given to you by her niece). Dibella is the Divine of a great many things related to beauty, not exclusively of promiscuous behaviour. While beauty is certainly admired by the Imperial pantheon, it still doesn't appear that promiscuity is, even into the Fourth Era. So in this regard, the Imperial scribe is essentially reinforcing an Orientalist stereotype of the Dunmer 'other' from the perspective of the 'virtuous' Empire, in part to denigrate the Dunmer as a conquered nation in need of Imperial virtues, in part to appeal to the erotic fantasies of the domestic moneyed class. Kipling comes to mind right about now.

As for the Symmachus quote:

Barenziah screwed up her face. "I might as well be back in Black Moor. Elves are promiscuous by nature. Everyone says so."
"'Everyone' is wrong, then. Some are, some aren't...."

Looking at "Elves" through the context of 'Elven races' is one way of interpreting it, but couldn't it just as likely have been interpreted as, 'judge each Elf individually'? I think (again, my humble conjecture) the latter interpretation is more fitting with the character of Symmachus as a rational, calculating military man of Dunmeri heritage who was well attuned with the virtues of the Empire. If Symmachus was conceding that all young Dunmeri women in particular are promiscuous, wouldn't he be consciously conceding them to be inferior in the eyes of the Imperials? Did Symmachus really want to label his fellow Dunmer as being a lesser race? His reply "'Everyone' is wrong, then" (note apostrophes) to Barenziah can in itself be considered satirical of the absolutist stereotyping used by Barenziah. Then again, there is also the quote, "Symmachus despised wood elves as lazy thieves and high elves as effete intellectuals, but he admired humans, especially Bretons, for their combination of pragmatism, intelligence and energy." But even though this quote marks Symmachus as a decidedly prejudiced individual, wouldn't this prejudice further his own necessity to not insult his entire race for fear of casting them down to the ranks of those "lazy thieves" and "effete intellectuals"? Moreover, it still reinforces the point that facts should not be predicated on the opinions of any one individual, including if that individual happens to write a book. Of course, this is all assuming again that 'The Real Barenziah' is a work of facts, and these quotes irrefutably accurate, rather than simply being embellished fiction. Ideally, we wouldn't have to rely on this book for appraisals of people of historical importance.

And while I absolutely agree that "if one source is all we have then we must use it", shouldn't we at the very minimum employ a degree of judicial process in determining if that source is factual, or simply from an individual's own perspective? Not sure if there is an 'innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt' clause on the internet, lol. I mean, anecdotally, I haven't found a single young Dunmeri woman in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim who acted or even hinted at being promiscuous (believe me, I've tried :P ). If indeed we should set the precedent that all lore books in TES, regardless of context, should be considered factual notwithstanding the lack of any confirming evidence, text-based or anecdotal, then why isn't Crassius Curio a definitive scholar on Argonians? :D

Cheers again! And happy Yuletide, everyone! -Deltahost (talk) 23:21, 25 December 2013 (GMT)

It does seem like a stretch to say "Young female Dark Elves are well known for their promiscuity" in a lore article based on this one statement, and I also can't recall any other source for this rumor. Based on what I perceive as the conservatism of Imperial and Nord cultures, this sounds like a negative judgment to me, along the lines of "Everyone knows she's a <insert negative sexually-active female slur here>". I would prefer to see something more along the lines of "Young female Dark Elves are rumored/reported/thought/et cetera to be promiscuous", if mentioned at all. --Xyzzy Talk 07:28, 11 January 2014 (GMT)
Indeed, this is just a relatively simple wording change. Deltahost, you're filibustering your own initiative. It's best to remain concise unless and until you hit some opposition. Otherwise, you're likely just getting in the way of a good idea. Minor EditsThreatsEvidence 07:47, 11 January 2014 (GMT)
Very true. I think I spammed the heck out of my argument. Apologies. Unless anyone objects, are we free to alter the wording of that particular sentence? I like the proposal that Xyzzy made. -Deltahost (talk) 05:54, 13 January 2014 (GMT)
While I agree that the section should have been removed, I did want to state a few things I feel are relevant. (1) In societies without birth control, it is actually somewhat logical to have promiscuity be looked down upon. That could even be a possible explanation why, were the insinuation that elves are more promiscuous true, it would make sense since they have lower birthing rates. (2) There is in fact an example of a very promiscuous Dunmer in Morrowind, Nalvilie Saren, so there is at least one example. If the rumors about Bolvyn Venim and Fathase Llethri are true, there is that as well. (3) Nalvilie is very unpopular and seems to have disgraced her family with her behavior, indicating the Dunmer or at least temple/Redoran do not seem to approve of such behavior. Perhaps, even if the stereotype is true, it applies to women that leave Morrowind and not the ones that live there. This can sometimes be seen in real life as well, when people leave socially conservative areas to go to live elsewhere for college or work, sometimes the new found freedom can be overwhelming. — Unsigned comment by Lazy Waysef (talkcontribs) at 16:28 on 11 October 2015 (UTC)


It's noticeable in ESO particularly, but we've been seeing Dunmer without red eyes since Skyrim. Seems like it should be noted on the page, given the fact that it's an integral feature of the race. —Legoless (talk) 03:22, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I always thought that the red eye color was a part of the Azura's curse. I don't remember noticing Dunmer without red eyes in Skyrim, but some of the Shad Astula students in ESO really surprised me. I even considered a possibility of them being Kothringi, but, besides being nearly wiped out, Kothringi look very much Men, not Mer. So, I think it definitely should be mentioned.  ~Shuryard (talk) 05:43, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
When creating a Dunmer in ESO, you can even make their eyes silver (which looks really weird). --Vordur Steel-Hammer (TINV1K) 11:51, 2 June 2015 (UTC)