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The Definitive Guide to Dwemer

Author: 
Raptormeat, Revised by Xan
Librarian Comment: 

This article was previously published in Aldrien's Chalice.

Contents

What is this Guide?

1- Introduction to the Dwarves
2- What's up with the word 'Dwemer'?
3- Where did the Dwemer live?
4- What is left of the Dwemer?
5- What were they like?
6- Where did the Dwemer go?
7- Who were important Dwemer?
8- Rough Timeline

Acknowledgments
Resources

Dwemer Ruins

 

 

 


What is this Guide?

This guide is meant as an introduction to the Dwarves, or Dwemer, of Tamriel. I have outlined the major points of information relating to this race, and presented some images that might help illuminate them. I have also named and produced the primary references from which I gathered my information.

Note: This is guide is not meant to be the absolute authoritative un-changable truth. While I have provided as many of my sources as possible at the end of this guide, the info in the other parts has been interpreted by myself to make it easier to ingest. Fortunately for you I am incredibly intelligent, and rarely make logical or interperative mistakes. Really.

Introduction to the Dwemer

The Dwemer of Tamriel, also known as the Dwarves, were a reclusive Elven Clan who lived in Morrowind during the first era. Although they had long bushy beards, they were not short, stubby, Tolkein Dwarves.

Dwemer
Statue 01

Above is a sketch of two unknown Dwemer. Notice the beards, as well as the body shape. Dwemer were approximately the same height as humans and other elves. Pictured below and to the sides are statues found in the ruins at Vvardenfell and Stros'Mkai respectively.

Statue 04
Statue 02

What's up with the word 'Dwemer'?

Dwemer is the real (Elven) name for the Dwarves. It is pronounced: DWAY-mare. Some translations are "Short Folk", "Smart Folk" and, what is probably the best translation, "Deep Folk". Probably "Deep" as in "intelligent and multi-levelled" as opposed to a reference to some kind of physical depth.

The name "Dwarves" is used mostly by non-Elven races and has misguiding connotations. There have been rumors that the name "Dwarves" was given by the Giants that lived in Morrowind when the Dwemer first lived there. Thus (possibly) the confusion. A variation on the rumor suggests that the ancestors of Men and Mer, described as the "titantic" Ehlnofey (also known as the Earthbones), named the Dwemer. In this model, the name is actually a play on words, implying both shortness (relative to the "titanic" Ehlnofey), and intelligence. Both of these possibilities introduce what I view as possible factual inconsistencies that are beyond the scope of this guide, but they are still possible.

The most referenced possibility is that "Dwarf" is simply mistranslation of Dwemer, and that it's proper use is in the "Deep Folk" sense, but that Dwe was mistranslated by humans into "Short". Thus "Short Folk", or Dwarves.

Source- TES: Morrowind Teasers, Loremaster Posts, Pocket Guide to the Empire

Where did the Dwemer live?

The Dwemer lived primarily in what is now called Morrowind, land of the Dark Elves. In earlier times it was called Velothi, then Dunmereth (maybe), and then Resdayn when the Dwemer and Chimer united. One tribe, the "Rourken" clan, migrated to Hammerfell around 420 First Era in self-exile.

Ruin 01
Ruin 02
Door

Here are images of some of the Dwemeri ruins on Vvardenfell. The second image is a picture of the door to the Heart Chamber, where Akulakhan and (presumeably) Numidium were built.

 

Bamz Amschend
Weather Witch

On the left is the Bamz-Amschend, a dwemer ruin that was hidden for thousands of years under Mournhold/Old Mournhold. It was recently discovered when the army of Fabricants attacked Mournhold. The right picture is Karstangz-Bcharn (Loosely translated as the Weather Witch). It is a dwemer weather machine.

 

Ruin 03
Ruin 04

The images above are from the Dwemeri ruins at Stros M'Kai.

What is left of the Dwemer?

All that remains of the Dwemer is that which they made and left behind. In this section I will present the most famous Dwemer artifacts and remnants.

Of course, the most famous remaining artifacts are Numidium, which Tiber Septim used to forge the 3rd Empire, Keening, Sunder, and Wraithguard. For a discussion of these artifacts and more, please see 5- What were they like?

ghost
Yagrum

On the left, an example of one of the Dwemer ghosts which still haunt their ruins. On the right, Yagrum Bagarn, the Last Living Dwarf. Note that he looks the way he does due to Corprus Disease. Not all Dwemer were necessarily bloated or confined to spidery chair contraptions.

 

Armor
Weapons

These are examples of Dwemer weapons and armor, as found in Morrowind. Such artifacts are rare but do exist for adventures or collectors to acquire.

 

Sphere Centurion 01
Sphere Centurion 02
Sphere Centurion 03

An example of a Dwemer Animunculi- the Sphere Centurion. Note that, according to some sources, Dwemer Animunculi actually powered down when brought far enough away from Vvardenfell (possibly because of proximity to the Heart?). Since these Centurions are in Hammerfell, one must assume that the Rourken Clan used an alternative power source, such as the Steam Pipes device, to power these creations.

 

Morrowind Sphere Centurion 01
Morrowind Sphere Centurion 02

More images of Sphere Centurions on Vvardenfell. These images show the device extending its blade weapon in preparation to attack.

 

Centurion Archer 01
Centurion Archer 02

This advanced version of Sphere Centurion can be spotted in Bamz-Amschend, a Dwemer ruin somewhere below Mournhold. This centurion use deadly projectile when fighting, thus the name of this dwemer construct is Centurion Archer.

 

Steam Centurion 01
Steam Centurion 02

Another Animunculi- the Steam Centurion. Cyrus fought a much larger, more dangerous version of this Animunculi in the ruins at Stros M'Kai. There is an advanced version of this steam centurion in the ruin of Bamz-Amschend, below Mournhold.

 

Centurion Spider 01
Centurion Spider 02

Finally, the last Animunculi- the Centurion Spider. The weakest of the Dwemer inventions.

 

Device 01
Device 02

Images of Strange Dwemer Devices found in the ruins. Many of these devices still run.

 

Light
Pipe

On the left, an example of a Dwemer lighting device. On the right, a clear shot of the writing that is inscribed on the Dwemer pipes. These characters are repeated over and over throughout Dwemer ruins. Recently the Academy of Dwemer Study has translated the meaning of those characters.

 

Construct

This is somekind of construct (centurion?). This kind of construct is not moveable. Apparently the Dwemer was in process to assemble and animate this type of construct when "disaster" struck.

 

This is part of the "Steam Pipes" device the Dwemer in Hammerfell used to harness steam power.

 

Dirigible 01
Dirigible 02

Above is another Dwemer invention, the Dirigible. It's basically a Dwemer Airship.

 

Scarab
Observatory

On the left we see a Dwemer puzzle- the Beetle. Cyrus had to manipulate this beetle in the proper way to gain access to the Steam Pipes (above). On the right is the Dwarven observatory.

 

Banner 01
Banner 02
Banner 03
Banner 04
Banner 05
Lorkhan Symbol

Here are a selection of banners from the walls of the Ruins at Stros M'Kai. Many of these same banners can also be found on Vvardenfell.

First is an unidentified group of travellers. Possibly the Rourken Clan making their great journey? Next, an image of the Dwarven golem that was in the ruins. Then, an image of the Dirigible. The final wall images contain a distinctive beetle theme, similar to the beetle puzzle above. Considering the final image (which was not found in a ruin), and that the identifier for it was "Lorkhan", it is likely that the beetle somehow represents Lorkhan's Heart or his power.

 

Divine Metaphysics 01
Divine Metaphysic 02
Divine Metaphysics 03
Egg of Time 01
Egg of Time 03
Egg of Time 02
Egg of Time 04

These are sections out of the Dwemer books "Divine Metaphysics" and "Egg of Time", respectively. "Divine Metaphysics", in the words of Baladas Demnevanni, "..is an explanation of how the Dwemer tried to make a new god, Anumidium, using Kagrenac's tools and the sacred tones on Lorkhan's Heart." Demnevanni also tells us that "(Egg of Time) is Bthuand Mzahnch's refutation of a popular theory from Nerevar's time. A few tones of Dwemer believed that using the power Lorkhan's Heart involved unjustifiable risks. 'The Egg of Time' summarized many of Bthuand's arguments against this idea, many of which are quite compelling."

What were they like?

Since the Dwarves died so long ago, it is not know exactly what they were like. What we do know about the Dwemer in general is that they were reclusive, powerful, and tended to use "technology" over magic (the Dwarves at Stros M'Kai were reliant on steam power). They lived in great half-subterranean buildings and created mechanical creatures called Animunculi as well as other devices. We know that they were feared- by the Dunmer, by the Nords, by the Redguards, perhaps even by the Gods. Some might say that, in this respect, the Dwemer were "blasphemous". They challenged the power of the Et'Ada (Aedra and Daedra), questioned their authority, and travelled into the "Outer Realms". These factors may have led to their demise, as discussed below.

Heart

 

Keening

Probably the defining aspect of the Dwemer is their use of "The Heart". According to legend, after Lorkhan tricked or convinces the Aedra to create the mortal realm, they tore out his divine heart and threw it down to Nirn, to be hidden forever. The Dwemer found this heart, researched its intricacies, and used its divine power to create many things. They created the blade/tuning fork Keening and the hammer Sunder, along with the Wraithguard, to tap the power of the Heart.

Wraithguard
Sunder

 

Divine Metaphysics 03

One of the things they built was a monstrous golem called Numidium, or the Brass God, which was designed to help them "transend the Grey Maybe [Nirn, the Mortal Realm]" by drawing power directly from the Heart. In other words, this golem was more than just a destructive force. It was an actual new God that the Dwemer had created from the substance of Lorkhan, the "Dead" God.

After the Dwemer disappeared, Numidium makes a reappearance in a weaker form when Tiber Septim uses its power to conquer all of Tamriel and forge the Third Era.

 

A good example of the attitude of the Dwemer is the story Azura and the Box, in which a Dwemer challenges Azura to a guessing game and tricks her. He does this in order to discover the extent of the power of the Et'Ada. By contrast, his devout Chimer friend is flabergasted by the Dwemer's insolence, but agrees to help him, and is the one who summons Azura. At the end of the story, Azura places a curse on the Dwemer for their hubris, and possibly also on the House of the Chimer Priest. This is also a good example of the contrast between the faith of the Chimer and the curiosity of the Dwemer.

This theme is a reoccuring one for the Dwemer. Baladas Demnevanni says that "During the Dawn Era they researched the death of the Earth Bones, what we call now the laws of nature, dissecting the process of the sacred willing itself into the profane. I believe their mechanists and tonal architects discovered systematic regression techniques to perform the reverse -- that is, to create the sacred from the deaths of the profane."

There is one final aspect of interest in regards to the Dwemer. Although many think of them as a technologically-oriented race, there was an extra dimension added to them. Obviously the power of Lorkhan's Heart throws an element of magic into their "technology". However, there is also evidence that the Dwemer possessed an element of spiritualism that might not be expected.

According to Chimarvamidium (Ancient Tales of the Dwemer, part VI), it has been suggested that the Dwemer had an ability that was named "The Calling". This is akin to what we know as telepathy or field-consciousness. It allowed Dwemer to communicate with each other over great distances. It has been suggested that, in the last moments before they disappeared, the Chief Tonal Architect Kagrenac used The Calling to summon all of the Dwemer people and rally them to carry out their plans to transcend the Mortal Plane. Whether this version of their end is the true one remains to be seen.

Secondly, the last living Dwarf, Yagrum Bagarn, said that when the Dwemer disappeared he was in the "Outer Realms", and thus did not disappear with them. The Outer Realms refers to that which is outside of Nirn, whether it be Aetherius, Oblivion, or some other "location" in the Aurbis is unknown. At any rate, this shows us that at least some Dwemer had the ability to remove their bodies from the mortal Plane and travel beyond normal bounds, something like having an out of body experience and (perhaps) taking your body with you. This idea is backed up by Baladas Demnevanni, who says that the Dwemer had practiced "generations of ritualistic 'anti-creations'", which possibly contributed to their disappearance.

As a side note, I should mention that it is unkown whether The Calling and these anti-creations were a natural or learned trait or whether they stemmed from some technology or from some use of the Heart.

Where did the Dwemer go?

They vanished into thin air, strangely enough.

The problem is, there are many varying accounts of their end. I am going to try and split this section up into to mini sections, the (sometimes conflicting) facts of the Dwemer disappearence, along with the speculations of their disappearance.

The "Facts"

The stage was Vvardenfell, during the Battle at Red Mountain. This was the culmination of the war between the Chimer and the Dwemer. Nerevar was present from the Chimer, as were Alamelexia, Vivec, and Sotha Sil. From the Dwemer there was King Dumac and Kagrenac the Shop Foremer. Dagoth Ur from the Dagoth House was there also, as were Nords and Orcs. However, it is unknown exactly what side they were on. The Five Songs of King Wulfharth claims that the Nords and the Orcs were on the side of the Dagoth House, against the Dwemer. However, it also claims that Nerevar fought alongside the Dwemer, and the other Chimer were not present, which is unlikely. In addition, The War of the First Council claims that the Dagoth House was on the side of the Dwemer, and that the Nords and the Orcs fought with them. This, however, is also suspect, since according to Vivec's account, Dagoth Ur fought alongside Nerevar. In the end, while this question is important historically, it is unimportant in regards to the Dwemer.

In some versions of the story, the Dwemer are simply slaughtered and that is their disappearance. This is highly unlikely, as the Rourken Clan, which was across the continent at the time, disappeared at the same time. And one cannot forget that the more reliable stories (Vivec's and the Ashlanders') claim that something much more profane and meaningful happened.

Ash Pile

These versions say that the end of the Battle, Nerevar, Dagoth Ur, Kagrenac, and others are in the Heart Chamber. Dumac may have been there and killed, or disabled. In one version Kagrenac, seeing that he is in trouble, takes the tools and walks over to the Heart. The others see him attempt to use the tools on the Heart, and at that moment all of the Dwemer on Tamriel vanish without a trace. His use of the tools was probably supposed to elevate his race to something like Godhood. In other versions, Kagrenac is killed by Dagoth Ur, and Azura shows Nerevar how to use the tools to sever the Dwemer's link with the Heart. "And on the fields, the Tribunal and their armies watched as the Dwemer turned into dust all around them as their stolen immortality was taken away." The question is whether or not the tools were actually used, and whether or not they actually worked.

Speculation

Assuming that the above account of the Dwemer's End is correct, there are several possibilities as to what became of them. I will list the ones that I have thought of (and think are the most likely) here.

Possibility A: The tools worked. Kagrenac successfully used his tools, and possibly The Calling, to take his race and remove them from Mundus, the Mortal Plane. He either turned them into Deities or simply allowed them to move freely in the Outer Realms.

This is possible, but unlikely. If it had happened, then Vivec, who is a God himself, probably wouldn't have said that "I have no sense of them in the timeless divine world outside of mortal time". In addition, for reasons discussed below, I believe that certain Et'Ada would never have allowed the Dwemer to carry out this act of arrogance. Finally, one might think that if the Dwemer had become Gods, we would have heard more about it.

Possibility B: The tools failed. Kagrenac foolishly de-created his race and erased them from Nirn. They were either destroyed entirely or were transfered to somewhere outside of Nirn and died.

This is more likely. The book "The Egg of Time" seems to indicate that there was a debate going on. The book argues that it is safe to tap the power of the Heart, and that the Dwemer who believed that it was a great risk were incorrect. I believe that this kind of "debate" wouldn't have been revealed to us unless tampering with the Heart actually was dangerous, and that something terrible very well may have happened if Kagrenac had tried to use the tools on it. Also, there exists an article entitled Sermon Zero of the Thirty-and-Six-and-Nine Sermons, which was given to us by Jobasha on the official forums. It is highly confusing and likely not considered an official document, but it contains three secret messages which can be deciphered from the text. One of them reads "To the Dwemer and Oblivion belong this treasure and they are there dead".

Possibility C: Kagrenac had no chance to actually use the tools. The split second that he did, Daedra Prince Azura snatched him and all of the other Dwemer from Nirn, and imprisoned them in Oblivion. Alternatively, he did use the tools, but as soon as his race was removed from Mundus, Azura imprisoned them in Oblivion. Or he died before he had the chance, and Azura instructed Nerevar to use the tools to destroy the Dwemer enchantment upon the Heart, making them instantly disappear. Either way, Azura put them in Oblivion and there they may or may not have died.

Egg of Time 03

This, in my opinion, is the most likely of all of the possibilities. As has been discussed elsewhere, the Dwemer doubted the power of the Et'Ada and did not venerate them as the other races did. One specific example of this directly involves Azura- the account contained in Azura and the Box. And one cannot forget the very idea of Numidium, The Brass God. The construct which, according to Divine Metaphysics, was a new God constructed from the power of a "Dead" God, Lorkhan. This is blasphemy in the highest sense of the word, and according to several accounts, Azura did not want it completed.

Egg of Time 04

More importantly, Azura was involved several times in the affairs at Battle of Red Mountain, before and after the war. In The Battle of Red Mountain, it is said that Nerevar went to Holomayan and summoned Azura to receive counsel, and there she told him that the construction of the "New God of the Dwemer should be prevented at all costs". In Nerevar at Red Mountain, Azura instructs Nerevar while in the Heart Chamber to use the tools on the Heart to destroy the Dwemer, which he does (at this moment, according to the legend, the Dwemer simply all vanish). Later, according to both accounts, the Tribunal break their oath to Nerevar and Azura and use the Heart to become Gods. At this time Azura appears and curses the Chimer, turning them into Dunmer "that they might know forever their wicked deeds ". And finally, it might be said that Azura returned her champion Nerevar to Morrowind to once and for all destroy the Heart and its destructive influence, and that this is the story of the Nerevarine.

All of these events show that Azura was an active force in the prevention of the use of the Heart. For whatever reason, she did not want the Heart to be used for profane purposes. Thus, I find it likely that Azura, whether it be to protect some kind of natural order regarding divinity and mortality, to protect the safety of those on Tamriel, or simply as a punishment for the Dwemer arrogance and hubris, imprisoned the Dwemer in Oblivion forever, and there they still exist.

Who were important Dwemer?

Following is information regarding important or famous Dwemer, in alphabetical order.

Bthuand Mzahnch

One of the Tonal Architects and author of "The Egg of Time". In it, Bthuand argues against the idea that tapping the power of Lorkhan's Heart is too dangerous. Some believed that useing the Heart would have side effects, but the Tonal Architects argued that no unforseen consequenses could result from their work.

Dumac

King of the Dwemer and friend of Nerevar. Dumac and Nerevar united their races to drive the Nords from Morrowind (then Dunmereth). They then renamed the land Resdayn and formed the First Council as a ruling body over the two races. Eventually, they warred on each other when Nerevar demanded that the Dwemer cease construction of Numidium (which Dumac may or may not have known about). Also called Dumac Dwarfking or Dumac Dwarf-Orc by his enemies.

Kagrenac

The 'Chief Tonal Architect' or 'Shop Foremer' of the Dwemer. Kagrenac was the primary mer who worked on the Heart of Lorkhan. He created the original Brass God, Numidium, as well as Keening, Sunder, and the Wraithguard. He was present at the Battle of Red Mountain, and (according to some stories) went to use the tools on the Heart at the last second before his race evaporated.

Radac Stungnthumz

A dwemer ghost that helps the Nerevarine reforging the Trueflame, the sword of Nerevar. Radac originally was a soldier that somehow knew about applying Pyroil tar on a blade in order to make it burning and deadly.

Yagrum Bagarn

The last living Dwarf and one of Kagrenac's Tonal Architects. Bagarn was in the Outer Realms when the rest of his race disappeared, so he was unaffected by the event. He wandered Morrowind for many years searching for other Dwemer, to no avail. Eventually he caught Corprus and descended into madness for many years. He is now housed in the Corpusarium at Tel Fyr and is mostly conscious, though he does not have full control of his body or mind.

Rough Timeline

Here is an rough timeline of the Dwemer and their works in Tamriel. The dates may vary by a number of years.

Year

Event

??? - 1E 222

The Dwemer and the Chimer live in Velothi (Morrowind). They live un-harmoniously.

1E 240

The Nords conquer Velothi, (possibly) renaming it Dwemereth (now Dunmereth).

1E 420

Taking advantage of the Nordic War of Succession, the Indoril Nerevar and Dumac Dwarfking unite and drive the Nords out. They rename the new joined kingdom, Resdayn.

1E 420

The Rourken Clan, refusing to unite with the Chimer, leave Resdayn and travel westward to a desert land that is called Volenfell (later Hammerfell).

1E 668

Nerevar hears rumours of Numidium and confronts Dumac. The two races go to war, and the Dwemer disappear. The Tribunal use the power of the Heart to become Gods, and Dagoth Ur creates a link with the Heart and becomes a Mad God. Azura changes the Chimer to Dunmer, and the Volcano majorly erupts for the first time in recorded history.

3E 0

Talos (Tiber Septim) recovers Numidium and uses it to help him conquer Tamriel and begin the Third Era. However, Septim never finds Lorkhan's Heart, Numidium's power source and is forced to substitute with another one, possibly the heart of his powerful battlemage, Zurin Arctus. During this process Septim betrays Arctus, who becomes the Undead wizard known as the Underking and proceeds to smash Numidium.

3E 405

The unnamed Hero raises Numidium once more and creates the Warp of the West. In this condition, many events are said to be happening at once (the rise of the new Orsinium, the rise of the King of Worms to godhood, etc.) The Underking absorbs the Mantella (said to be his own heart) and dies a mortal death giving him the peace that he desires.

3E 427

Nerevar returns to Nirn in the form of another unnamed hero- the Nerevarine, or the Incarnate. The Nerevarine unites Morrowind behind him/her, and uses Kagrenac's tools to destroy the enchantment upon the Heart once and for all. Lorkhan's Heart shrivels and disappears. Dagoth Ur dies and his construct Akulakhan, the Second Numidium, are destroyed.

Acknowledgments

Here I will list out some thank-yous to people who have helped with the contruction of this guide.

First off- thank you to the Bethesda Devs, past and present, for creating such an interesting series and for being so good to us. Thanks specifically to Tedders, Michael, and GT for their comments and help when they had them.

Also, a thank you to everyone who emailed me comments and suggestions for the guide while it was being updated. Many of you emailed me facts that I already knew (though you of course couldn't have known this), but I thank you for taking the time to send them to me. This includes: Khalay, Lews Therin Telamon, RyKnOw, and Smartpsycho2882.

Next, thanks to those who checked the guide for me pre-release and gave me suggestions. This includes: B, Fallen Murk, GhanBuriGhan, Nazz, and Striker.

Finally, thanks to everyone reading and to everyone who has pointed out errors or fixes to me! I totally appreciate it. I hope I got everyone's names here but if not, please email me and kick my butt!

Resources

I have assembled a listing of those works which you may find helpful. Below that list is a selection of other sources which are unpublished or are otherwise hard to find (such as useful developer posts).

I'd also like to thank everyone who emailed me with suggestions and resources during the revision process.

The Pocket Guide to the Empire

People on Vvardenfell to talk to

Baladas Demnevanni, Gnisis
Yagrum Bagarn, Tel Fyr Coprusarium
Divayth Fyr, Tel Fyr
Hasphat Antabolis, Balmora Fighter's Guild
Vivec, Vivec's Palace at Vivec (haha)

You can read our interview with Baladas Demnevanni, Yagrum Bagarn, Hasphat Antabolis and others here.

Books about the Disappearance

The Battle of Red Mountain, and the Rise and Fall of the Tribunal
Nerevar at Red Mountain
Kagrenac's Tools
The Real Nerevar
The War of the First Council
The Five Songs of King Wulfharth
Sermon Zero of the Thirty-Six-and-Nine Sermons

General Informational Books

Chronicles of Nchuleft
Antecedents of Dwemer Law
Nchunak's Fire and Faith
Secrets of Dwemer Animunculi
The Ruins of Kemel-Ze
Ancient Tales of the Dwemer

 

Dwemer Academy

For more study on Dwemer, their belief, creation and language; please continue to the Academy of Dwemer Study.

Dwarven Myth and Legend

Posted by WormGod (of Bethesda) on the Official Forums

"This myth and legend takes place long, long ago, before the Empire was established, and even before the northerners touched foot on Tamrielic shorelines. Elves (Dunmer) were the predominant race of the continent, alongside the much smaller races of beastmen. A traveling band of elves were crossing through a mountainous range in the northeastern region of Tamriel. They encountered a friendly group giants and established relations amongst the two races. The giants had never encountered any human-like races and were bewildered at the small appearance of the elves. The towering giants stood many, many heads over them. The elves of course, were really not too much different in appearance or size than a typical human, but the giants were not aware of this since they had never seen a human. The giants labeled the elves as "Dwarves", claiming that they were just smaller versions of themselves. Over several years, this tag became a widespread label, and these Elves were known as Dwarves.

The Dumner translation of the word Dwarf is Dwemer. So, strangely enough, all Dunmer would use the term "Dwemer", while the northerners/newcomers rerered to this ancient race as Dwarves, taking on the translation of the giants. It is unknown, but perhaps the newcomers encountered the giants before they did the elves.

Little is known as to the significance of this legend, but it is told to children all over Tamriel. Many would swear by it while many others will claim it is simply a bogus story.

More info on the Dunmer can be found in the Pocket Guide and even in Redguard. :-)"

later in the same thread, by WormGod

"Let me try this again....

Ok, "according" to the legend, the Dunmer originated from the Dwemer. They WERE once also known as Dwemer. The giants thought they were small people, and so called them Dwarves (just as we call short people midgets and dwarves). After many many generations perhaps, the name Dwarf, or the translation "Dwemer", finally just became the tag. I am not saying that the labeled Dunmer accepted the name, they may have just tolerated it. I mean afterall, to them it just meant "a short person". Remember, they have/had no concept of the D&D Dwarves, so would not think of themselves as being compared to them. It also doesnt make them a different race. They were by no means a different race. This was many many years before the Empire was even a thought, so the Houses didnt even exist back then either. The Dunmer operaterd their race through a network of tribes. When the Dwemer was heard about by other Dunmer tribes, they were considered as another tribe. But, for reasons perhaps unknown (hehehe) to many, this tribe was not accepted by other Dunmer tribes. Many things would occur in the years following the creation of the Dwemer, right up until the disappearance."

And again, in the same thread- by Affamu

"Of course, others believe the Dunmer and the Dwemer originated from Elves who called themselves Chimer, or "Changed Folk." At first glance, this is patently ridiculous as the Dunmer were not "changed" according to most popular accounts until the Dwemer vanished -- long after these alledged "Chimer" lived. But on second glance?

Dunmer, Chimer, and Dwemer are (or were) all Elven races at one point. What "Dwemer" originally meant in Aldmeri has been debated for years, but scholars today tend towards one of three translations: "Short Folk," "Deep Folk," or "Clever Folk."

The Dwemer were clever, in a twisted sort of way, and any reputable scholar of archeology would agree that the ruins of Stros M'Kai (flying machines and all) were made by Dwemer.

The following may be enlightening, but for the authoritative account, you really must read Marobul Sul's Ancient Tales of the Dwemer.

Keep in mind that I am a Khajiit and could just be pulling your tail."

Posted later by WormGod

"Here's a few to ponder....

Is it possible that the Dwemer are ALL dead and that they may have deserved the "supposed" extinction?

Were the Dwemer a race/faction/house to be feared? And if so, who may have feared them?

What do you think?"

At TES (The Essential Site) - Morrowind Teasers

The Essential Site is no more, it's dissapeared with the death of m0use server.

There is much more good info at this page. I am only reproducing a small section of it.

"First, the place was Velothi, a bunch of squabbling Chimeri and Dwemeri tribes. Then, the Nords came, conquered, and named it 'Dunmereth.' The Chimer and Dwemer finally got smart, joined up, kicked the Nords out, and created 'Resdayn.' Then the Dwemer vanished, the Volcano erupted, the Tribunal showed up, everybody's skin changed, and things got _really weird_. Now the lovely place is called 'Morrowind.'"

Please note that now know that the place was named Dwemereth by the Nords, not Dunmereth as the Dunmer has not yet *created* back then.

From The Dwemer, Noumena And Phenomena topic in Elder Scrolls Official Forum

Michael Kirkbride's post

"...They were unfathomable citizens of an inexplicable culture.

...

Of all the races of Tamriel, the Dwemer (Deep Folk) or 'Dwarves' are the weirdest. The Khajiit might have 24 different forms dictated by a magical, biological connection with Tamriel's moons, and the Argonians no doubt enjoy, at least psychologically, the most alien sentience on the planet, but the Dwemer are still WEIRDER. Why? It's simple, really. Elves in popular fantasy literature have always been ciphers for humans, almost always of that special breed known as Paragons on the Decline. They are not the Other (as lizard people and cat people must be) but rather the Another, that which has qualities similar enough to humans that we can relate to it but also possessed of a certain cultural outlook, religious tradition, or scientific method so skewed that the relationship is strained almost to the breaking point. In "Lord of the Rings" the aspect of the Another was immortality. In Tamriel, and specifically the Dwarves, that aspect is what I can only call Heroic Abrogation of Everything, a complete and utter refusal to accept what everyone else experiences as the real.

That's why the Dwemer are the weirdest race in Tamriel and, frankly, also the scariest. They look(ed) like us, they sometimes act(ed) like us, but when you really put them under the magnifying glass you see nothing but vessels that house an intelligence and value system that is by all accounts Beyond Human Comprehension.

Dwarves were the ultimate Bartleby's of the universe: whenever it asked something of them they simply 'would rather not.' Let me take this a step further and say Dwarves regularly practiced the perception of acausal effects. Dwarves knew that phenomena (that which can be perceived by the senses) and noumena (that which is the thing-itself) were both illusions, with the second one just being more clever. Dwarves could divide by zero. There isn't even a word to describe the Dwarven view on divinity. They were atheists on a world where gods exist.

...

[They] are Tamriel's biggest mystery and there should be no end to their enigma...

Stories written by them should read as communiqués between an X and Y axis that is tired of planar love poetry. Personal accounts of their wars with the Chimer should seem like Revelations written in computer syntax. Anumidum isn't a Giant Robot to them, but God's Encyclopedia of Amnesia. Or their Automated Hypnogogic Transgression..."