Lore:Empire of Cyrodiil (Interregnum)
For other Imperial entities also referred to as "Empire of Cyrodiil", see Empire.
The Empire of Cyrodiil refers to an Imperial state that existed during the early years of the Interregnum. Although identified as an empire, it differed from the Alessian Empire, Second Empire, and Third Empire in that its only permanent dependency was Cyrodiil itself, and it was at no time ruled by a Dragonborn emperor.
With the collapse of the Second Empire in 2E 430, its provinces reasserted their independence, leaving the Imperial heartland of Cyrodiil to its own devices. The region remained a bastion of Imperial culture as the rest of Tamriel rejected its influence. Further, institutions that had been hallmarks of the Second Empire, including the Imperial Legion, the Elder Council, and the office of emperor, survived the chaos relatively intact. As such, the Empire of Cyrodiil, as it would come to be known, succeeded the Second Empire as a matter of course. In the absence of legitimate claimants to the Ruby Throne, the Empire of Cyrodiil was ruled over by a succession of pretenders who usually attained the throne through conquest.
The earliest known of these pretenders was Durcorach, a leader of the Reachmen, who reigned over the Empire for a time before being slain in battle outside Daggerfall in 2E 541. He and his successors, a dynasty called the Longhouse Emperors, held the throne until the death of Leovic at the hands of Varen Aquilarios of Chorrol in 2E 577. Of all of the pretenders who had thus far achieved control of the Empire, the Longhouse Emperors had been some of the more successful ones, having managed to stay in power for a span of several decades. One triumph of their reign was the opportunistic annexation of Riverhold and Orcrest in northern Elsweyr by the Legion of the West Weald under General Lavinia Axius. This occurred during the early years of the Knahaten Flu outbreak, which had hit the Khajiit particularly hard. The Khajiit attempted to retake both cities from the Imperials, but were unsuccessful.
Leovic's usurper, Varen Aquilarios, had been the Duke of Chorrol before leading the Colovian Estates in rebellion against Leovic when he legalized Daedra worship. After personally killing Leovic and claiming the title of emperor of Cyrodiil, Varen set out to cement his status a legitimate leader of the Empire by retrieving the lost Amulet of Kings. He was encouraged in this endeavor by the powerful necromancer Mannimarco, who promised that the Amulet could be used in a ritual to persuade Akatosh to make Varen a Dragonborn. Mannimarco betrayed Varen, however, and the ritual broke the covenant with Akatosh and set Nirn adrift in the Mundus in an event named the Soulburst. Varen was believed lost in the event and his wife, Clivia Tharn, ascended to the Ruby Throne as Empress Regent.
Clivia Tharn's reign ushered in a time of increasing instability within the Empire. Swayed by offers of power and immortality, Clivia fell under the thrall of Mannimarco, who convinced her that the Mages Guild was responsible for the Soulburst and to expel them from the Imperial City, allowing Mannimarco's Worm Cult to operate freely. Mannimarco himself aspired to become a god and rule not only Nirn, but his master Molag Bal's realm of Coldharbour as well. Beyond the Empire's borders, the other nations of Tamriel began to unite into three different alliances in response to perceived Imperial aggression and corruption: the Ebonheart Pact, Daggerfall Covenant, and the first Aldmeri Dominion. Each alliance sought to conquer the Empire of Cyrodiil and place one of their own on the Imperial Throne, triggering the Alliance War that wracked the whole of Tamriel in 2E 582.
With central Cyrodiil ravaged by war, most of its inhabitants scattered. Some of them hid in the northern and eastern mountains, while others fled south to Blackwood. The richest of the Imperials, mostly Nibenese, bought estates in western Colovia, around the cities of Kvatch and Anvil, away from raging war. That proved to be a mistake, however, as Anvil was captured by pirates who claimed dominion over the entire Gold Coast and declared it an independent state, leading to strife with loyalist Kvatch.[UOL 1]
The Empire did not sit idle as the armies of the alliances forged deep into its territory. It attempted to expand its reach on two fronts: High Rock and Hammerfell to the north, and Valenwood to the south. The invasion of High Rock and Hammerfell was spearheaded by the infamous Magus-General Septima Tharn. To the south, an Imperial Legion was mustered from Colovia to annex Valenwood's Arenthia Vale, which by decree of the Count of Skingrad and the Elder Council was renamed the South Weald. Each of these ventures ultimately failed. Circa 2E 583, Chancellor Abnur Tharn as head of the Elder Council attempted to end the Alliance War and restore the Empire's power through assembling the Wrathstone and using it to activate an "ancient weapon" within the Halls of Colossus. Instead, this unleashed several dragons which had been imprisoned for centuries.
Little is known about the outcome of the war and the Empire of Cyrodiil's subsequent history, but by the time of Tiber Septim's conquests in the Ninth Century of the Second Era, the Empire had long ceased to exist. Cyrodiil was divided between the Nibenese east and Colovian west, and remained so until reunification under the warlord Cuhlecain, whom Tiber Septim served as a general at the time.
- True Heirs of the Empire — Erystera Ligen
- Knights of the Dragon
- Chronicles of the Five Companions 4 — Abnur Tharn
- Khali's dialogue in ESO
- Eulogy for Emperor Varen — Lord Abnur Tharn, Chancellor of the Elder Council
- Chronicles of the Five Companions 1 — Lyris Titanborn
- The Chim-el Adabal — Mannimarco
- Travails and Triumphs of a Monarch — His Majesty King Emeric
- The Order of the Black Worm — Evoker Brucille
- Events of Elder Scrolls Online
- Bangkorai, Shield of High Rock — King Eamond
- Yours for the Taking! — Catonius Libo, Aide-de-Camp to General Lavinia Axius
- The Halls of Colossus quest in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Seat of Sundered Kings: Cyrodiil — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
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.