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Something that fleshes out a fantasy world is the lore and history behind it, and the Elder Scrolls series is no stranger to this concept. It is very detailed that it sounds like an alternate reality of our world where dragons and magic exist. One of the elements which make it believable that you can immerse yourself in the world of Tamriel is the religion involved.
Different cultures have different interpretations of who created the world and how it was created. This statement is true for both the real world and the world of Tamriel. In Tamriel, a chief deity exists responsible for time flow, albeit they have different representations depending on the culture. This chief deity is known as Akatosh to most of the human empires.
He bears different names to some; the Aldmer people know him as Auri-El (or Auriel), the dragons know him as Borhamu (Father), and the Khajiit folks know him as Alkosh. You have probably encountered his shrine in Skyrim’s Solitude, the province’s capital city, and wondered who this enigmatic figure is. This guide will help you in understanding him and the mystery surrounding him.
Who Is Akatosh in Skyrim?
Akatosh is known as the Dragon God of Time and the chief God of the Nine Divines (Eight Divines if you do not consider Talos as a Divine like the Aldmeri Dominion) throughout Tamriel’s history. He is known as Auri-El or Auriel in Aldmer mythology and Alkosh in Khajiit mythology. Shrines and places of worship paint him as a golden dragon, while some use an hourglass to symbolize him.
Another title for Akatosh includes “the Lord of the Dragons,” as seen in King Edward. His “Dragon God of Time” title comes from another book called “The Amulet of Kings,” written by Wenengrus Monhona. Paarthurnax referred to him as Bormahu, which is Father in common language, while Alduin referred to himself as the firstborn of Akatosh.
Akatosh embodies many aspects, such as immortality, virtue in duty, service, obedience, historicity, and genealogy. According to legends, he is the first Divine formed in the Beginning Place. The other Divines formed with relative ease after Akatosh’s formation.
What Is the Shrine of Akatosh?
The Shrine of Akatosh is a shrine you can find in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that grants you the Blessing of Akatosh upon activation.
What Does the Shrine of Akatosh do?
It boosts your Magicka regeneration by 10% and cures any diseases that you may have. However, this effect only lasts for eight hours.
What Does the Shrine of Akatosh Look Like?
It is a small shrine made of brown material, possibly metal or wood. It depicts a slithering dragon enveloping a pole while swallowing an upright sword with its blade first. A pair of wings appear behind the dragon.
How to Craft the Shrine of Akatosh
To craft the Shrine of Akatosh so that you can put it in your homestead, you need:
- Amulet of Akatosh (x1)
- Iron Ingot (x1)
- Flawless Amethyst (x1)
- Corundom Ingot (x1)
Note that shrines require a shrine base to be displayed on. If you do not have a shrine base yet, craft one using the following materials:
- Sawn Log (x1)
- Quarried Stone (x2)
- Clay (x2)
Where Is the Shrine of Akatosh?
You can find the Shrine of Akatosh in many places throughout Skyrim. Below is a list of its locations.
- Temple of the Divines in Solitude
- Rorikstead Hill: At the top of the hill north of Rorikstead lies a small cluster of rocks, and you can find the shrine at its base. You may also find some Dragon Scales among the rocks.
- Twilight Valley, northeast of Twilight Sepulcher: You may also find an enchanting skill book titled “A Tragedy in Black.”
- Steamcrag Hillock, south of Steamcrag Camp: You can find a Shrine of Akatosh atop a small rocky hill. The shrine sits on an alter with risen skeletons that act as its guards. You may also find an alteration skill book titled “Breathing Water” and a leveled weapon.
- Fort Sungard Shrine: You can find the shrine at the upper wall on the fort’s south side. However, it is only available if the Imperials garrisoned the fort.
What Is the Amulet of Akatosh?
The Amulet of Akatosh is an amulet you can find in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that represents Akatosh. You will be granted a skill bonus upon wearing this jewelry.
What Does the Amulet of Akatosh do?
Specifically, the enchantment is Fortify Magicka Regen, which speeds up Magicka regeneration by 25%. It is a unique amulet, so you cannot disenchant it at an arcane enchanter.
What Does the Amulet of Akatosh look like?
The Amulet of Akatosh resembles a necklace made using brown wood. Its chain seems to be made from wooden beads, and its centerpiece resembles a long wooden surfboard with holes and intricate designs.
Where Is the Amulet of Akatosh?
There is no definite location where you can pick up the Amulet of Akatosh, but there are available methods to obtain one.
- You can buy them from general goods and jewelry merchants.
- You can sometimes buy them from the Radiant Raiment in Solitude, a clothing store located near the city’s main gates.
- You can find them as random loot in chests.
- You can loot them as rare drops from high-ranking bandits and similar enemies.
- You can sometimes find them worn by Imperial and Stormcloak soldiers.
- You can sometimes receive one from a friendly NPC as a gift.
What Is the Wayshrine of Akatosh?
The Wayshrine of Akatosh is an establishment you can find in the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion dedicated to Akatosh.
What Does the Wayshrine of Akatosh look like?
The Wayshrine of Akatosh has a circular base made from white marble and a central altar. A ring of marble pillars with a ring marble top surrounds the altar. Some of these wayshrines are damaged, having cracks and chips on the pillars.
What Does the Wayshrine of Akatosh do?
Activating the Wayshrine of Akatosh by praying to it blesses you with the Jaws of Akatosh, which grants the following bonuses:
- Fortify Speed: your speed increases by ten points for ten minutes.
- Cure Disease: your diseases are cured if you have any.
- Restore Agility: your Agility is restored by 100 points.
- Restore Endurance: your Endurance is restored by 100 points.
- Restore Intelligence: your Intelligence is restored by 100 points.
- Restore Luck: your Luck is restored by 100 points.
- Restore Personality: your Personality is restored by 100 points.
- Restore Speed: your Speed is restored by 100 points.
Where Is the Wayshrine of Akatosh?
Below is a list of locations where you can find the Wayshrines of Akatosh.
- Southeast of the Bruma Caverns in the southern area of Bruma
- Near the city wall south of Cheydinhal, which is north of Harlun’s Watch
- East of Silorn
- East of Anvil’s main gates and south of Garla Agea
Akatosh in the Books of Elder Scrolls
Many books talk about Akatosh in great detail. Below are books that dive deeper into the topic. These books are, but are not limited to, the Monomyth, the Varieties of Faith in the Empire, King Edward, The Amulet of Kings, and more.
Akatosh in The Monomyth
“The Dragon God is always related to Time and is universally revered as the ‘First God.’ He is often called Akatosh, ‘whose perch from Eternity allowed the day.’ He is the central God of the Cyrodilic Empire.” – excerpt from the Dragon God and the Missing God from the Monomyth.
The Monomyth is a theological book concerning Tamriel’s creation myths that the players can read in Morrowind, Skyrim, and Elder Scrolls Online. It details several pantheons in Tamriel, and one of them is called “The Dragon God and the Missing God.”
It states that the Dragon God is related to time and that he is commonly referred to as the First God and Akatosh. It further states that his “perch from Eternity” formed the days and that he is the Cyrodilic Empire’s central deity. Time began when Akatosh completed his formation, and the other spirits found it easier to take form as beings bound to the rules of time.
In another pantheon known as “The Myth of Aurbis,” Akatosh is a magical being of the Mythic Aurbis, an unnatural realm that existed with no starting point. The magical beings lived long and complex lives that created the myths’ patterns. Akatosh is the first of these beings, and he is referred to as the Time Dragon. His formation made it more convenient for other beings to form.
Another section of the book titled “Cyrodiilic ‘Shezarr’s Song’” details Akatosh as the leader of the Aedra, who are the “Gods of Men and Beast Folk.” It states that all creation pleased the Aedra and cherished the Mortal Races, who acted as their wards.
Akatosh in The Varieties of Faith in the Empire
“Akatosh is the chief deity of the Nine Divines (the major religious cult of Cyrodiil and its provinces), and one of two deities found in every Tamrielic religion (the other is Lorkhan).” – excerpt from the Varieties of Faith in the Empire.
The Varieties of Faith in the Empire is an expansive list of pantheons compiled by Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College. You can read this book in Morrowind and Skyrim. The book depicts Akatosh as a deity in Cyrodil and Bretony, although he has different names and forms in other pantheons. Akatosh is referred to as the Dragon God of Time, and he is the primary deity of the Nine Divines.
He, alongside Lorkan, is one of the two deities that you can see in every religion in Tamriel. People consider Akatosh the first of the Gods to take shape in the Beginning Place, and other spirits found it easier to form after Akatosh’s formation. He is the Cyrodilic Empire’s ultimate God who represents “endurance, invincibility, and everlasting legitimacy.”
Akatosh faded from the teachings of ancient Chimer legends after their separation from the ways of the Summerset Isles. However, another deity represents some of his values deemed important to the mortal races, such as immortality, historicity, and genealogy. This deity is Almalexia, also known as the Mother Morrowind.
The people of Tamriel refer to Mara, another common deity among the different pantheons, as the wife of Akatosh since she is the Goddess of Love. However, some people believe that Mara is Lorkhan’s wife, while others believe that she is the concubine of both.
Alduin in Skyrim as Akatosh
In Skyrim, they do not believe in Akatosh, but instead, they have Alduin. The book notes that Alduin is the Nordic version of Akatosh. It depicts Alduin as the “world eater” who, according to mythology, takes form as a tremendously savage firestorm that will destroy the world and start a new one. The Nords believe that the God of time is both the beginning and the end of Tamriel.
The difference between Alduin and Akatosh in Skyrim mythology is that Alduin is not the chief deity. Even the legendary dragon Paarthurnax refers to Alduin as the “First-Born of Akatosh.” There is no chief deity in Skyrim.
Alkosh in Elswyr as Akatosh
They do not have Akatosh in Elsweyr mythology, but they have Alkosh, the Dragon King of Cats. He is a variation of Auri-El in Altmer mythology, and so he is regarded as the earliest Khajiit. The Khajiit still depicts him as a dragon though they think dragons are big cats.
Auri-El in Altmer as Akatosh
They worship Auri-El in Altmer, which is the Elven variation of Akatosh. He is the chief deity in most Aldmeri pantheons and is the supposed ancestor of most Altmeri and Bosmeri. According to Altmer mythology, he agreed to participate in creating the mortal plane during his only known moment of weakness.
The mortal plane’s creation split apart the elves from their connection to the spirit worlds of eternity. Auri-El served as a leader for the Aldmer in the wars against Lorkhan’s armies as an act of repentance. He succeeded in defeating the tyrants and established Altmer’s first kingdoms, Altmora and Old Ehlnofey. He ascended to the heavens after his victories as his followers watched to learn from him.
Akatosh in King Edward
“‘I might like that. You have good friends, and even though you have said that you must do the thinking for them. I think that they can do some thinking on their own, and it would appear that they have decided that you are a worthwhile fellow,’ The dragon hesitated for a second and actually managed to look shy! ‘You can call me Akatosh.’” – excerpt from Part VII of King Edward
King Edward is a series of books about the life of a particular ancient king, which you can read in Daggerfall. Many of the characters in the stories insist that Akatosh wants the boy named Edward to be the king. Later on, they meet a golden dragon who called himself Akatosh and spend time with him. Even when he became king, Akatosh guided the boy to become a great leader.
Akatosh in The Amulet of Kings
“On behalf of the suffering human races, St. Alessia, the first in the line of Cyrodiils, sought the aid of Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time and ruler of the noble Aedra. Akatosh, looking with pity upon the plight of men, drew precious blood from his own heart, and blessed St. Alessia with this blood of Dragons, and made a Covenant […]” – excerpt from The Amulet of Kings
The Amulet of Kings is a chronicle written by Wenengrus Monhona about the Amulet of Kings’ formation. You can read this chronicle in Oblivion, Skyrim, and The Elder Scrolls Online. In the book, St. Alessia, also known as Queen Alessia, the Slave Queen of Cyrodiil, and El-Estia, sought the help and support of Akatosh for the good of the suffering human races.
Akatosh witnessed the suffering and gave Alessia the blood from his heart. Akatosh’s blood became a blessing to Alessia. It formed a covenant, which states that as long as her descendants remained true to the dragon blood, Akatosh would do his best to seal the Gates of Oblivion and prevent the Deadra and undead armies from the mortal plane.
The covenant also formed the Amulet of Kings and the Imperial City’s Eternal Dragonfires. The Amulet of Kings contains a huge red diamond and eight other gems to symbolize the other Eight Divines. Akatosh maintains the strong barrier between Tamriel and Oblivion as long as the Empire worships him and his kin and Alessia’s descendants wear the Amulet of Kings.
Akatosh in Before the Ages of Man
“Akatosh (Auriel) formed, and time began. The Gods (et’Ada) formed.” – excerpt from Before the Ages of Man.
Before the Ages of Man is a historical account of events written by Aicantar of Shimerene covering the Dawn and Merethic Eras. You can read this book in Oblivion and Skyrim. It briefly touches on Akatosh, which states that time began as he took form. However, Lorkhan convinced the Gods, including Akatosh, to create the mortal plane known as Nirn.
Akatosh in For My Gods and Emperor
“Our doctrines are simple. We acknowledge the divinity of the Nine Divines: Akatosh, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, and Tiber Septim. We preach the Nine Virtues: Humility, Inspiration, Piety, Work, Compassion, Justice, Ambition, Learning, and Civility.” – excerpt from “What is the Virtuous Life?” in For My Gods and Emperor.
For My Gods and Emperor: A Handbook for the Imperial Cult is a handbook specifically made for new recruits of the Imperial Cult. You can read this book in Morrowind. The guide acknowledges Akatosh as part of the Nine Divines in their cult, along with Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth, Julianos, and Tiber Septim. This acknowledgment is part of their doctrine.
Akatosh in The Ten Commandments of the Nine Divines
“9. Akatosh says: Serve and obey your Emperor. Study the Covenants. Worship the Nine, do your duty, and heed the commands of the saints and priests.” – Akatosh’s commandment from The Ten Commandments of the Nine Divines
The Ten Commandments of the Nine Divines is a book that details each of the Divines’ teachings. You can read this book in Oblivion. The book states that Akatosh knew in his wisdom that man’s impatience and stubbornness to walk the roads of truth. Thus, he allowed the ten commandments to be manifested, which everyone must follow.
His commandment states that everyone must serve and obey their Emperor, study the covenants, and worship the Nine Divines. It also states that everyone must do their duties and listen and follow what the saints and priests command them to do.
Akatosh in Akatosh Dichotomy
“When I journeyed to the stark white province, I was surprised to find a people whose views on Akatosh are almost diametrically opposed to those of the Altmer. The majority of Nord people seem to believe that their Alduin of legend is not Akatosh but another deity entirely. A great dragon, yes, but not the Great Dragon.” – excerpt from Akatosh Dichotomy.
The Akatosh Dichotomy is a book written by Alexandre Simon, a high priest of the Akatosh Chantry found in Wayrest, the capital of High Rock, the Bretons, and the Daggerfall Covenant. You can read this book in Skyrim. The Akatosh Chantry is a temple that has garnered many followers dedicated to the ways and teachings of the Great Dragon Akatosh.
The book details the priest’s findings and research on the dichotomy between Akatosh and Alduin, one of Skyrim’s deities. He traveled to Skyrim to discover what the Nords thought of the matter. He states that the people of Nirn universally worship Akatosh, albeit in different forms depending on the culture. He mentions Auri-El as an example, who is Akatosh to the Altmer.
People believe that Alduin in Skyrim mythology is Akatosh, similar to Auri-El’s situation. However, he realized that some think Alduin and Akatosh are two separate entities. He confirmed in his findings that many of the Nords he has met, including the chiefs and elders, believe that Alduin is a different deity from Akatosh.
However, he concludes that due to the lack of physical evidence, Alduin is Akatosh whose tales became different after centuries of the legend’s retelling and embellishment. He further concludes that the people of Skyrim are primitive enough not to recognize Akatosh’s greatness. He finalizes his findings by stating that Alduin is a “phantom of bedtime stories.”
Akatosh in Trials of St. Alessia
“Akatosh made a covenant with Alessia in those days so long ago. He gathered the tangled skeins of Oblivion, and knit them fast with the bloody sinews of his heart, and gave them to Alessia, saying, ‘This shall be my token to you, that so long as your blood and oath hold true, yet so shall my blood and oath be true to you. This token shall be the Amulet of Kings […]” – excerpt from Trials of St. Alessia
Trials of St. Alessia is another retelling of how the Amulet of Kings came to be, and you can read it in Oblivion, Skyrim, and Elder Scrolls Online. The book’s contents have more dialogue from Akatosh than a book entitled The Amulet of Kings. However, the events that occurred remain the same.
Akatosh in Worship of the Dragon God
“If there is a single Divine who holds dominion over the Gold Coast, it has to be Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time. From the grand Cathedral of Akatosh in Kvatch and radiating outward, the word of Akatosh and his servants spreads the light and the truth of the Dragon God in all directions.” – excerpt from Worship of the Dragon God.
Worship of the Dragon God is a religious essay that discusses Akatosh’s commandments in great detail. You can read this book in the Elder Scrolls Online, and it opens up with a popular prayer devoted to Akatosh. The prayer goes, “Lord Akatosh, lend us your might! Lord Akatosh, grant us your light!” It then states how Akatosh’s influence reached far and wide.
According to the essay, Akatosh is the first deity to take form in the Beginning Place and the first and greatest of the Divines. He watches over the mortal plane and its inhabitants as the God Defender of the Empire. It is said that he watches over the Empire no matter its state.
An Imperial known as Primate Artorius or Primate of Kvatch says that Akatosh looks past the people’s everyday concerns and instead contemplates the expanse of time. He further says that the current difficulties and challenges are merely specks in time flow.
The book details Akatosh’s three tenets and five commands. It finishes with an excerpt from Primate Artorius, which states, “As Akatosh wills it, so shall it be.” It concludes by saying that Akatosh is yesterday, today, and tomorrow and that he embraces the responsibility of his duties, which is something his followers must endeavor to replicate.
The three tenets of Akatosh
The essay states that Akatosh embodies three key attributes: Endurance, Invincibility, and Everlasting Legitimacy.
Akatosh embodies Endurance through his strength to keep moving forward. He is also the God of Time, the warden of a concept that endures. It further states that everyone who follows the teachings of Akatosh will embody Endurance. No matter their condition, whether it be sick from fatigue, stress, or any other difficulties, Akatosh and his followers continue to move forward.
Akatosh embodies invincibility through his undefeated and unconquered presence. Nobody can subdue him, so everything he does is from his will. His followers can also embody this tenet as long as they follow his teachings.
Akatosh embodies everlasting legitimacy through his eternal existence. His followers also observe this tenet in terms of law and reason, as these rules should always be legitimate. It notes that everything Akatosh blesses is justified.
The Five Commands of Akatosh
The essay then talks about the five commands of Akatosh, which you can find in his commandment among the Ten Commandments of the Nine Divines.
The first command is to serve and obey the Emperor and states that the Empire and Akatosh coexisted since its inception. The second command is to study the covenants, the written agreements between Akatosh and his followers.
An example of such is St. Alessia and her descendants, who sought his help, became blessed with his blood and formed the Amulet of Kings. The third commandment is to worship the other Eight Divines, as Akatosh is not an envious god. Instead, the essay teaches that Akatosh wants his followers to follow his fellow Divines.
The fourth commandment is to do one’s duties, as Akatosh’s teachings emphasize responsibility. The final commandment is to heed the commands of the saints and priests. The essay states that Akatosh likes proper hierarchy and that everyone should respect it.
Yes, he is. According to many, especially his followers, Akatosh is the defender and protector of the mortal plane. According to St. Alessia’s Covenant, Akatosh is the barrier between Tamriel and Oblivion. The Daedra and undead army would infiltrate the world and destroy it without him. He is the first of the gods to take shape, and he is heavily responsible for creating the world.
He is the God of Time, so his presence is important for time to flow properly. He is part of the Nine Divines, and he has five commands and three tenets for his followers. Many cultures refer to him as the primary God who takes precedence over the other Divines.