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Sload
Developer Emeritus
06 Feb 2005



History of the Great Houses
by Hasphat Antabolis

The ancient culture of the Chimer (tr. 'Crafty Folk') was, like many elven societies, dominated by clannish kinship groups. As the peoples of Dwemereth evolved and developed sedentary ways of life, the native name for these clans became the same word for "hearth" or "home;" hence today, in translation, the structures which have evolved from these clans are known as "the Great Houses." (Hereafter I will avoid philological digressions.)

In the so-called First Council period, there were not five or six but dozens - possibly well over one hundred - house-clans worthy enough of note that they could be attested in record. Many of these have left major traces on the history of Morrowind; not only those which evolved into Great Houses (such as Llalu, later Hlaalu, or Indr-El, later Indoril), but also others (such as Sotha, clan of Sotha Sil the Magus). Later authors have made reference to the "Seven Houses of the First Council." This is ahistorical arising from ignorance (in the case of Western researchers) or religious revisionisms (in the case of native propagandists).

During the long reign of the Tribunal Temple that the many house-clans coalesced into a small number of Great Houses. Most were subsummed into the massive House Indoril, the House most closely associated with the trappings of power. Some of the southern houses formed a confederacy, becoming House Dres. House Hlaalu is a merger of a few houses from Morrowind's south-west. House Redoran developed its own traditions along Morrowind's rugged frontier with Skyrim. House Telvanni was one of the latest house-clan to form, arising among heretics in the distant islands which take its name.

It was only after these monolithic Houses came into existence and stabilized that they became known as Great Houses. The Great Houses became associated with particular roles in Dark Elf society, or aspects of Dark Elf identity, as a result of theological advancement during the early Second Era. Around the time of the Potentacy, cosmological schema such as "The Five Cornered House" or "The Wheel of the Tribunal" (both reproduced below) became popular, providing teleological & moral justification for the existence of the Great Houses.

[Image: The Five Cornered House]

[Image: The Wheel of the Tribunal]

Since the Armistice, the order of the Great Houses has been somewhat disturbed. The Indoril's self-perception as the central and most authoritative House has been disrupted by the advancement of the Hlaalu at their expense. The Redoran, once the staunch defenders of the country's borders, struggle to find a new role after Morrowind's integration into the cosmopolitan Empire. The Dres & Telvanni cling to outmoded customs, including nemer slavery, which are beginning to be challenged by outsiders. The Great House system has proven to be unstable in these changing times, and its future is very uncertain.

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Last edited by Sload on Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:19 am; edited 6 times in total
Post Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:05 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Sload
Developer Emeritus
06 Feb 2005



The Wheel of the Tribunal Description:

A wheel with six spokes, the symbol & name of each house at the point where a spoke hits the wheel. The center of the spokes is the Tribunal, each spoke is identified (twice, on either side of the center), with a tribunal. The specific arrangement is:

Spoke 1 (top to bottom): Vivec; House Redoran @ the top, House Dagoth @ the bottom

Spoke 2 (upper left to lower right): Almalexia; House Indoril @ upper left, House Hlaalu @ lower right

Spoke 3 (lower left to upper right): Sotha Sil; House Dres @ upper right, House Telvanni @ lower left.

The Five-Cornered House

A pentagon (upright), with a Velothi-type clay hearth in the center of it. Along the outside edges of the pentagon are written these words:

Upper-left: Redoran, Warden
Upper-right: Indoril, Lawgiver
Lower-right: Dres, Upholder
Bottom: Telvanni, Cynic
Lower-left: Hlaalu, False Denier

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Post Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:12 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

Cool. Apart from the typo in 'subsumed' there aren't any errors and such, but I have a couple of queries/comments.

- I thought Chimer meant 'Changed folk'?
- What does 'nemer' mean? Is it different from 'betmer'?
- I'd always imagined that Telvanni literally meant something like 'Tower-dwellers', and began as a nickname applied to them by others rather than the name of a bloodline or a region.

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Post Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:31 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



Surely 'nemer' refers to non-mer = humans

Dagoth could be rubbed off the wheel on Indoril land? especially since it's a symbolic construct.

Sload wrote:

During the long reign of the Tribunal Temple that the many house-clans coalesced into a small number of Great Houses.


(one "that" left in,)
How would Dagoth have become "Great House Dagoth" only during Temple reign if the House (great or not) was mostly obliterated right before their ascension? (or is that murky) the 'great house' part can't possibly refer to Ur slowly gathering cultists.
Post Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:56 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

Grammar and such:

- Dwemereth? Because the ingame author is a Dwemer fanboi?

- "ahistorical arising from ignorance" doesn't sound right; maybe "false history arising from ignorance".

- remove the "that" after "Tribunal Temple".

- "subsummed" as Gro already pointed out.

- "one of the latest house-clan" should have a plural-s, right?

- I think the plural of "schema" is "schemas" or (more appropriate here) "schemata".

Stuff to think about:

- Has House Telvanni ever been a (merger of) house(s)? I'd like to think that the answer is No, just to stress the way the Telvanni are basically a fuck-you to the Laws Ordained. And I see gro is suggesting the same.

- Are you suggesting House Redoran has started out as one single house and never merged with others? (Not a bad idea.)

- When did the houses become "corporations", in the sense of having ranks and advancement? Might be worth a paragraph. A family doesn't have ranks, outside maybe the Indoril realm...
Post Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:37 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Sload
Developer Emeritus
06 Feb 2005



gro-Dhal wrote:
Cool. Apart from the typo in 'subsumed' there aren't any errors and such, but I have a couple of queries/comments.

- I thought Chimer meant 'Changed folk'?
- What does 'nemer' mean? Is it different from 'betmer'?
- I'd always imagined that Telvanni literally meant something like 'Tower-dwellers', and began as a nickname applied to them by others rather than the name of a bloodline or a region.


This text is by Hasphat Antabolis; certain errors have been introduced, Chimer is such an error (he makes the same error in Redguard Forum Madness). rot has already identified nemer. The sentence about Telvanni is intended to be vague.

rot wrote:
How would Dagoth have become "Great House Dagoth" only during Temple reign if the House (great or not) was mostly obliterated right before their ascension? (or is that murky) the 'great house' part can't possibly refer to Ur slowly gathering cultists.


Dagoth is a religious construction, the evil house.

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Post Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:46 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

Sload wrote:
The Wheel of the Tribunal Description:

A wheel with six spokes, the symbol & name of each house at the point where a spoke hits the wheel. The center of the spokes is the Tribunal, each spoke is identified (twice, on either side of the center), with a tribunal. The specific arrangement is:

Spoke 1 (top to bottom): Vivec; House Redoran @ the top, House Dagoth @ the bottom

Spoke 2 (upper left to lower right): Almalexia; House Indoril @ upper left, House Hlaalu @ lower right

Spoke 3 (lower left to upper right): Sotha Sil; House Dres @ upper right, House Telvanni @ lower left.

The Five-Cornered House

A pentagon (upright), with a Velothi-type clay hearth in the center of it. Along the outside edges of the pentagon are written these words:

Upper-left: Redoran, Warden
Upper-right: Indoril, Lawgiver
Lower-right: Dres, Upholder
Bottom: Telvanni, Cynic
Lower-left: Hlaalu, False Denier


Does anyone feel like tackling these? Rats? Swiftoak?

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Post Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:46 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Sload
Developer Emeritus
06 Feb 2005



there are a lot of grammar issues i noticed, my bad i think it was like 2 am
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Post Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:05 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

Nothing someone else (ie me) couldn't quickly fix once we have illustrations (assuming you're too busy to go over the text again).
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Post Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:14 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



So yeah, i'm interested in tackling them illustrations. Was wondering should the text bits be in Daedric or in latin alphabet?
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Post Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:30 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Sload
Developer Emeritus
06 Feb 2005



hmm do them in daedric, more discovery
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