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Shalidor's Insights: A Study

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Tailin Sero's picture
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There is a repeating quest in Skyrim at the College of Winterholdwhere the player most locate the writings of Shalidor, a famous mage from the 1st era. The book(s) obtained in the quest(s) is Shalidor's Insights. When I first encountered the book I thought it was written in some ancient language, but today I took a second look and I notice that most of the notes made in the book are actually Tamrielic (English). Unfortunately, Shalidor has terrible penmanship. I tried to decipher as much as I could, but some of the "scribbles" are too much for me to sort out.

First Page:

From what I could see, Shalidor talks about Alduin and how he is the "Nordic variation of Akatosh" in the first paragraph. Also in the first paragraph there look like a phrase that could be "Nine Divines", but that wouldn't make sense given the era this book was written. He later makes reference to what looks like "King Wurlfharth" several times in the second paragraph. There is also text written in an unknown language on the left of a "diagram". To me the diagram looks similar to the lines found on an Elder Scroll, but this image has (Ayleid/Falmer) script written around it and the circles are above the x-axis, where as on an Elder Scroll the circles are centered perfectly.

Could Shalidor have been studying Alduin's defeat and the use of an Elder Scroll on the Throat of the World? But where does Wurlfharth fit in?

Second Page:

The first paragraph looks like it talks more about Dragons in general and Time itself. "Dragon have [existed] since the [beginning] of Time..."

The second paragraph has parts scribbled out. It ends with the phrase "...off when Time began...".

The third paragraph is a bit easier to read. As I understand it it reads: "In the beginning dragons were wild and [Illegible] [Aka(?)]... Alduin was the (illegible) of dragon (Illegible) — the (illegible) and Aka

Maybe a 1st era Padomay and Anu?

The last two paragraphs are not written in Tamrielic (English) neither of which look familiar to me.

If anyone can decipher more of the text, or has an idea about what some of the already deciphered text could mean, please share.

Stygies VIII's picture
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This is amazing. I never noticed this and shrugged the text off as some ancient notes by an ancient man. It does look like he was studying the banishment of Alduin.

Shor's buttocks, this stuff is so hard to read... You made me want to know what this is word by word.

Paragraph 1:

"Alduin World Eater: Alduin is the Nordic variation of Akatosh and only superficially resembles his counterpart in the Nine Divines. His [this?] example, Alduin's sobriquet, the world eater, comes from myths that depict him as the horrible, ravaging firestorm that destroyed the last world to begin this one.”

So Shalidor understands kalpas. I'm going to try with 2 next paragraphs too.

Tailin Sero's picture
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The Lusty Dovahkiin wrote:

Paragraph 1:

"Alduin World Eater: Alduin is the Nordic variation of Akatosh and only superficially resembles his counterpart in the Nine Divines. His [this?] example, Alduin's sobriquet, the world eater, comes from myths that depict him as the horrible, ravaging firestorm that destroyed the last world to begin this one.”

So Shalidor understands kalpas. I'm going to try with 2 next paragraphs too.

I'll take another look at the second paragraph as well. I'll see if I could make out any more.

Tailin Sero's picture
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The second paragraph is an exact copy of the third song of King Wulfharth, Old Knocker, from The Five Songs of King Wulfharth.

The author of The Five Songs of King Wulfharth is "anonymous". I think whoever wrote that book copied Shalidor's work.

Now for the second page...

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The Lusty Dovahkiin wrote:

"Alduin World Eater: Alduin is the Nordic variation of Akatosh and only superficially resembles his counterpart in the Nine Divines. His [this?] example, Alduin's sobriquet, the world eater, comes from myths that depict him as the horrible, ravaging firestorm that destroyed the last world to begin this one.”

That is from Faith in the Empire!

And should read For example.

Proweler's picture
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Another interesting bit. His hand writing become ragged at the end of the second page. Not sure why, perhaps it was already mentioned in the quest.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Proweler wrote:

Another interesting bit. His hand writing become ragged at the end of the second page. Not sure why, perhaps it was already mentioned in the quest.

Doesn't the orc guy at the College of Winterhold say that Shalidor eventually went mad or something?

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Second Page: Dragons have existed since the beginning of Time as some kind of kindred spirits to [scribbled out] -- (illegible) a lesser relation to him or his children or part of him that split off when Time began or whatever.

In the beginning, begone were mild and (illegible) like everything (illegible) Alduin was the nation of dragon civilization -- the Tristlarn(Fistlarn?) and the [cuts off]

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Cordate wrote:

Second Page: Dragons have existed since the beginning of Time as some kind of kindred spirits to [scribbled out] -- (illegible) a lesser relation to him or his children or part of him that split off when Time began or whatever.

In the beginning, begone were mild and (illegible) like everything (illegible) Alduin was the nation of dragon civilization -- the Tristlarn(Fistlarn?) and the [cuts off]

Firstlarn could be Firstborn. It fits, he is the firstborn of Akatosh.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Cordate wrote:

Second Page:

...Alduin was the nation of dragon civilization...

Could it be "creation" instead of nation?

I'm not sure if that would make any sense, though.

It's "—tion", that part is clear.

Stygies VIII's picture
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Guys, take a look here.

Tailin Sero's picture
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The Lusty Dovahkiin wrote:

Guys, take a look here.

It would be good if we could confirm this ourselves. We also have the 5 unused pages to do as well.

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The word is "creator." That last character is exactly like every other r in the sample.

Cordate's picture
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Tailin Sero wrote:

We also have the 5 unused pages to do as well.

I'll get on that

Proweler's picture
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Erh. Folks word of warning about that gamesas.com link. Its a google-hack. That website is scraping Bethesdas forums and posts stuff verbatim and by being better at SOE they end up higher in the results.

@Lusty you should be able to find the same thread on the official forums.

Tailin Sero's picture
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An UESP brought me to this forum on TIL it has the same topic as this thread, but talks more about the "Magic Text" found on the pages and in the Master Illusion Text in Skyrim.

A translation guild can be found here.

I ask that you guys refrain from posting on the old thread. We don't need two threads of the same topic floating around the Library. Had I known that thread already existed, I would have posted my findings there instead. Unfortunately, we now have two. If you have a comment about a post on the old thread you are more than welcomed to share them here.

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Proweler wrote:

Erh. Folks word of warning about that gamesas.com link. Its a google-hack. That website is scraping Bethesdas forums and posts stuff verbatim and by being better at SOE they end up higher in the results.

@Lusty you should be able to find the same thread on the official forums.

Thanks for the info. I registered on Bethesda Softworks forums but can't find anything by using the search option :(

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Why Shalidor couldn't write like a human being is beyond me

Stygies VIII's picture
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Cordate wrote:

Tailin Sero wrote:

We also have the 5 unused pages to do as well.

I'll get on that

We can do it together, if you want to split some work with me. I can help.

Here is my translation of the "Magic Text" on the pages that were not translated by UESP. 
 

Tailin Sero's picture
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I've taken the liberties of making a Google Doc. you guys can use for sharing your findings. I'll ad the 'unused' images to it soon:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QZnErlJ-8WZJ4Ud6-sgX4W_5TeOaus1aXd6FtK_pSNs/edit?usp=sharing

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Tailin Sero wrote:

I've taken the liberties of making a Google Doc. you guys can use for sharing your findings. I'll ad the 'unused' images to it soon:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QZnErlJ-8WZJ4Ud6-sgX4W_5TeOaus1aXd6FtK_pSNs/edit?usp=sharing

Do we just add our things to the bottom or..?

Tailin Sero's picture
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Cordate wrote:

Tailin Sero wrote:

I've taken the liberties of making a Google Doc. you guys can use for sharing your findings. I'll ad the 'unused' images to it soon:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QZnErlJ-8WZJ4Ud6-sgX4W_5TeOaus1aXd6FtK_pSNs/edit?usp=sharing

Do we just add our things to the bottom or..?

You guys can do whatever you want to it. It's there so you guys can better organize your findings. I think the comment option will be very useful in this case. I only added the pictures to give you guys something more to go off of. The picture next to the "Page 1" picture is a translated version of that page. I'm going to make others like it and they will later be posted onto TIL.

Cordate's picture
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Could I get a link to the UESP thread?

Edit: Nevermind

Tailin Sero's picture
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Tailin Sero wrote:

Cordate wrote:

Tailin Sero wrote:

I've taken the liberties of making a Google Doc.

Do we just add our things to the bottom or..?

*snip*

...or would you guys prefer if I removed the pictures? 

Cordate's picture
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Tailin Sero wrote:

Tailin Sero wrote:

Cordate wrote:

Tailin Sero wrote:

I've taken the liberties of making a Google Doc.

Do we just add our things to the bottom or..?

*snip*

...or would you guys prefer if I removed the pictures? 

They're fine, I think

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The Lusty Dovahkiin wrote:

Cordate wrote:

Tailin Sero wrote:

We also have the 5 unused pages to do as well.

I'll get on that

We can do it together, if you want to split some work with me. I can help.

Here is my translation of the "Magic Text" on the pages that were not translated by UESP. 
 

How do you want to divide the work?

Cordate's picture
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I don't know if this is helpful to anything right now, but the third page of the unused Insights looks like a fancy Fibonacci/Golden Spiral

Tailin Sero's picture
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Cordate wrote:

I don't know if this is helpful to anything right now, but the third page of the unused Insights looks like a fancy Fibonacci/Golden Spiral

Did you check the google doc.? I posted a image of a Fibonacci Spiral earlier today. This makes me think that some of the letters could double as numbers.

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Tailin Sero wrote:

Cordate wrote:

I don't know if this is helpful to anything right now, but the third page of the unused Insights looks like a fancy Fibonacci/Golden Spiral

Did you check the google doc.? I posted a image of a Fibonacci Spiral earlier today. This makes me think that some of the letters could double as numbers.

No I did not but now I have

Cordate's picture
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Final Page:

Paragraph One: Finally (our?) (illegible x6) is (join?) the (illegible x2) -- this (illegible x4) the (illegible) in the proto-(illegible) -- be (illegible) (them?) in (illegible) the (illegible). This (illegible) the (illegible) and the proto-(illegible x3) Alduin and the dragons and

Paragraph Three: Interesting that Alduin was the (illegible) of (began?) (sins?) (illegible) -- the Firstborn and the (illegible) opens (illegible x2) attributed to (illegible x2) of the world as a (illegible) a god's (illegible) Alduin knows Akatosh (illegible) (Mundus?) (illegible x4)

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Shalidor's insights are a fragmentary cosmogony. He's studying the order of creation. The diagrams add a sacred geometry flavor.

I like the collection's use of the Songs, and may we have the oldest comparative study on religion in our hands? This is exciting!