Forum Scholar’s Guild: A Short Study on Ayleidic Symbolism

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This article is part of the Forum Scholar’s Guild: a collection of peer-reviewed original research written by fans about Elder Scrolls lore.

Examination of an Ayleid statue and how it reflects their religious outlook

Our understanding and knowledge of the Ayleid is scarce, even more so the understanding of their culture and myths. However, the fragmented knowledge that we do have can be cross referenced to the more familiar Altmer. From this we can then seek to understand how the Ayleids would differentiate from their Island kind. Hopefully these new insights will shed more light on the Ayleids and lead to new discoveries as to their nature.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Sha’Ziir and Adanorcil for providing several charcoal sketches and insight on the Aldmeri culture respectively.

– Marcus Kafadi


The Ayleids have left us little but ruined cities and trap ridden ancestral burials. What remains however projects an image of splendor, rising up into the sky and has had a many explorer meditate upon the past. Not always without the dire consequences.

Did they ever did incur any symbolism to their graceful flying buttress other then their admiration of the sky? This is a question that will quite possibly remain unanswered for eternity.The high ceilings and decorate iron work appear to be made for aesthetic reasons, equally devoid of a deeper symbolic meaning. Of greater interest would be the one statue that takes up such a prominent place in many ruins that most explorers would overlook it.

The Statue of Silorn

Anybody who has seen this statue with his own eyes can testify that it is a complex composition. Contrary to Cyrodiils modern displays, the statue is rotating around its own central axis and can only be observed properly by slowly walking around it. In my own admission, the soldier and the bird appear to be still quite alive and I can only admire the Ayleids for the ability to create such living stone.

The depicted scene it selves is not as complex. An Ayleid soldier is standing on a pillar decorated with Daedric faces and has a bird leaping from its perch on the shoulders of the soldier. To the initiated this clearly shows the Altmeri ordering of existence, which I’ll now explain in detail for the uninitiated.

The Lower – Oblivion
The front and side view on the base of the statue.

The supporting section of the statue is detailed with demonic faces and chaotic line patterns that would suggest a background of fire. As such, it can be assumed that this section represents Oblivion. The bottom position on the statue would imply that the Ayleids found this is the lowest of the low and the most despicable aspect of existence.

The Middle – Mundus
The middle half of the statue depicting Mundus.

The transition from Oblivion to the higher sections is blocked by a solid slab of stone, which forms a stark contrast with its polished corners and strict line carvings. As this is clearly a barrier between Oblivion and the ground the soldier is standing on, this represents the Liminal Barrier.

Even though the Liminal Barrier is in place and keeps Oblivion out, the ground is broken and corrupted. Filled with fungi and wild roots that have a certain Meridian quality to them. This idea is consistent with the Altmeri view in which Nirn is nothing but a corruption of everything that is good.

The Middle and Higher – Auriel: the Soldier and Bird

From the grounds of Mundus the soldier rises up. Although dressed like a divine bird, his feet are still stuck in the soil; he can not escape from it. This is consistent with the Altmeri myth, the gods were unable to escape Mundus.

According to the same mythology, Anuiel gave Auriel a bow and shield to fight of the invading man. As the soldier is holding these, we can assume that he is indeed Auriel.

While it may seem illogical to depict the same being twice, this is no different from the double headed representation of Akatosh by Imperial sculptors.

The upper part of the Statue.

The Bird takes up the highest and thus most important position of the statue. Leaping from the soldiers shoulders it can be easily associated with Auriel’s ascension, from Mundus. This event was widely witnessed and similar images can be found among the Altmer, Dwemer and even the Mysterious Akavir.


The statue depicts the entrapment of Auriel in Mundus and his escape. As well as the Altmeri desire to leave Mundus behind for Aetherius.The Bird form of Auriel is analogous with Dragon form of Akatosh and as such the Ayleid dress in armor made to his image.

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