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Argonian Part 4: History

  • July 1, 2014

    Disclaimer: I did not create this work. It is the work of one of our ex-members, Vix. I felt that his work should still remain here for all to see, so I will be reposting it here. 


          As previously said, the Argonians themselves don't record history too well. Most of it is a part racial memory in a similar sense as what the Altmer are said to possess. Most of the information is written by outsiders which make it far more sparse than other races. Nevertheless there is still some information that can be derived from it.


    To Black Marsh:

          The Argonians seemed to have been a preliterate society much like the Khajiit. They themselves were not the original or only inhabitants of the land that would become known as Black Marsh. In fact there were many groups including the human civilizations that existed before the Atmorans arrival on the North coast of Skyrim. While Torpal the pilot did at least visit the area briefly in the merethic period, describing it as an 'the fetid, evil swamp lands'. There was very little in the way of expansion or official interaction for quite some time. The Companions under Ysgramor sent a number of warriors to Black Marsh in the first era but they were repulsed with many casualties thanks to hostile Argonians (Songs of the Return). But what is known is that the Argonians expanded northward and west, taking lands from the Chimer, Ayleids, and Aldmer who originally inhabited them (Dagoth Ur's Plans). This culminated in a series of vicious battles in which Argonia derived its name from the Aldmer. It seems the Khajiit and Argonians came into contact and conflict about this time as well. Official recognition and diplomacy didn't occur until the middle of the first Era (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition).

          It is probably not surprising that the first wars occurred not long after. In 1E 2811 a Cyrodiilic Empire army invaded Argonia and thoroughly defeated the local combatants. This was the last 'Argonian' army until the 4th era (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). In 1E 2837 it officially entered the Cyrodiilic Empire as the province of Black Marsh (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition).


    From Black Marsh to Argonia

          Imperial presence was established not long after as were many of the permanent cities which saw an influx of foreign cultures permeate the area. However, similarly Argonians began to disseminate amongst the other provinces and soon comrpised individual communities as well as military units in foreign service. Dunmer aggression seemed to be a long standing complaint and the Argonians were used to good effect in the four score war ending in 2920 under the reign of Potentate Versidue-Shaie.

          Dunmer influences seemed to intensify after this. The slavers began to move into the north which heightened tensions further. In fact, it may have been from this as well as Cyrodiilic bandits tha began encroaching along the Blackwood border. This may have been pretense to the creation of the Knahaten flue of 2E 560 which solidified control of the region for the Argonians. This flu, believed to be manufactured by the Argonians and Hist, destroyed many of the natural inhabitants of the region including the full destruction of the native Kothringi humans and likely the other humans of the area such as the Orma, Yerpest, Horwalli (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). This may have been the end of the Lilmothiit race though they seemed to also have secluded themselves earlier in the era and may have disappeared in the same manner as the Falmer. This disease did not affect the Argonians but did cause problems with the Bosmer, another disease resistant race, and decimated the Khajiit leading to even poorer relations.

           When Potentate Savirien-Chorak and his family was murdered by the Morag Tong in 2E430 (some say 2E 431) the treaties binding Black Marsh to the Cyrodiilic Empire ceased. This caused the provincial entity and over-arching authority to disintegrate and Black Marsh once again became a squabbling set of Argonian tribes (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). This was the general state of affairs until Tiber Septim's reign.


    The Benevolent Times:

           Tiber Septim was the next large scale political progression for the Argonians. He issued them a treaty which was accepted, peacefully integrating them into the Tamrielic Empire in much the same way as Morrowind (A Short History of Morrowind). Admittedly Tiber Septim didn't even want it. But the land was used by bandits and marauders and that element had to be expunged by force rather thatn starting a long lasting Argonian war (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). This led to far more imperial interest in the area and the region in an attempt to help revitalize what was seen as a backwater province and drain on the Imperial coffers. Imperial troops were stationed to help resist the slave trade and stop the banditry that existed in the exterior regions. This led not to a peaceful reign but rather guerrilla warfare perpetrated by the Argonians against the Imperial authority in the second century.

           The massacre of a column of Imperial troops at Armania finally let to the Dunmer Empress Katariah sending for another Imperial army to take Black Marsh. Trails were conducted to re-equip the Imperial expedition to make it suitable for overcoming the areas natural obstacles (The Armorer's Challenge). This seemed to work, and even more money was filtered into Black Marsh as part of the revitalization projects.

           It should be noted this was a 'humanitarian' effort at enormous expense to the empire that came from not only government sections but Cyrodiilic citizens and organizations. This cost the Empire in time, money, effort, and lives. More Imperial patrols were stationed in the area to protect trade routes. Farmers and plantations were imported from elsewhere. Irrigation works and land clearing for draining swamps was conducted, Mercenaries were hired for localized protection, infrastructure was erected, temples were established to stop the internal slave trade and provide education. Nothing worked, either Black Marsh's topography or the locals seemed to thwart many efforts and it became a persistent drain on resources. Eventually the province was left to neglect, and in this peculiar way of observing the local customs instead of imposing what was hoped to be helpful foreign ones the province once more became productive. What was done in their best interest ended up being a worthless and very expensive endeavor. It should be noted that of all things it was the temples that helped in an indirect way. Pillaging led to the dissemination of knowledge and the written word amongst Argonians particularly in the interior (Argonian Account).


    Argonia Once More:

           The Argonians stayed in this state up until the Imperial Simulacrum from 3E 389-399. This neglect once more let Imperial soldiers unsupported and unable to hold back Dunmer expeditions in the region. The Arnesian war of 3E 396 was sparked by the Argonians murdering a Dunmer named Roris who was later canonized by the Tribunal. He was the patron saint of carpenters.  This is somewhat ironic, given the tale of The Seed which is popularly said to be about the Dunmer not Dwemer had a carpenter named Juhnin killed by the spirit of the Hist. He was captured and told to renounce his faith, when he refused he was tortured and killed. This became the spark that led to the Arnesian war in which the Morrowind forces defeated the Argonians and took the Northern Kingdoms back after an initial campaign of Argonian Expansion (Pocket Guide to the Empire 3rd edition). Through the campaign 'for saint Roris' became the common rallying cry for Dunmer forces (Lives of the Saints). Most of the situation was once more smoothed out at the end of the Simulacrum, slavery became illegal in Morrowind, and relations slowly improved. Even by the end of the third era something else had been put in motion.

           The Hist and the An-Xileel political party became active in recalling as many Argonians to Black Marsh as possible. This prepared them for the Oblivion Crisis far before anyone else had any inclination of what was about to happen. This means that the Hist and the Argonians were well aware of all the events before they occurred, once more betraying a very self-serving organization. When the Imperial city fell Dagon's forces attacked elsewhere both in Black Marsh and in the Summerset Isles. The unprepared cities took excessive losses, but Black Marsh was prepared and actually counter attacked the Oblivion gates before the Daedra could spill out. This pushed the daedra back and had them voluntarily close the gates because of the Argonian attacks. This led to the rise of the An-Xileel as the single major force in Argonian politics and the refounding of Argonia (The Infernal City).

           Relations had been steadily improving with Morrowind but under the An-Xileel things disintegrated again. The Imperials lost control of the region as Potentate Ocato couldn't subvert the popularity of the An-Xileel. When Red Mountain erupted the Argonians acted again and in 4E6 they invaded Morrowind, catching the devastated provinces entirely off-guard. The scattered, leaderless, and disorganized Dunmer armies were swiftly routed (Lymdrenn Tenvanni's Journal). The whole of southern Morrowind up to Old Ebonheart was captured. It was later attributed to the re-emergence of the Thalmor in 4E 22 though even they, if this far fetched anachronistic story is correct, lost control soon after (The Rising Threat). The new territories were not cultivated, they were merely held to avoid the Dunmer or Imperials owning it.

           In 4E40 Umbriel appeared and cut a swath over the region, turning those in its shadow into undead and causing widespread destruction of the region. This over-ran the cities of Gideon and Stormhold and entirely destroyed Lilmoth. This slaughter is said to be one of the most bloody and gruesome in Tamrielic history. This seemed to have damaged An-Xileel efforts up to the third century at present, though the Argonians remain sole occupiers of their province.


           I do hope this has given you some insight into the hidden world of Black Marsh and its denzines the Argonians. As always if you have something to add, correct, or would like to discuss feel free. For now though I'll live you with one of the most basic summations about the Argonians and their lands from the Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition:

          The historian Brendan the Persistent writes, "The Argonian people have, throughout Tamrielic history, been perhaps the most misunderstood, vilified, and reviled of all the sentient races. Yet, those who have taken the time to experience Argonian culture have gained a greater appreciation for this noble and beautiful people." It should be noted that the historian disappeared during his final expedition into the deeper swamps of Black Marsh.

    ← Part 3: Black Marsh

  • October 26, 2014

    I hope there is more Argonian lore in the next ES game, one of the reasons I don't often play as one is the lack of flavour.