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Dunmer houses and slavery

korbel05
korbel05
Just a quick question. Which Dunmer house treat their slaves best? ... I mean not beat them much and all that stuff. Is it somewhere mentioned? I understand all houses hold slaves more or less, but is there some info who treat them more like a servants? I tried to google it, but without success.
  • Syldras
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    The Ebonheart Pact has forbidden slavery, so the Houses who joined it have no slaves officially (what doesn't mean some people still own them individually). Great House Telvanni and House Dres have not joined the pact and probably have a more... practical view on slaves. Other than that, I'd assume it depends on the individual owner.
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • Syldras
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    Giving it a second thought, you might like House Dres more as they use their slaves for agricultural and house work and not much more, I assume. While Great House Telvanni uses them for all kinds of things.

    On the other hand, the Dres hunt and sell slaves to other Houses. So they are basic for the supply of slaves in general.
    Edited by Syldras on January 9, 2021 10:05AM
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • Syldras
    Syldras
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    Actually, asking which slavers would be the friendliest is a contradiction in itself already. There might for sure be some that don't torture their slaves, but owning people, taking away their freedom, and forcing them into unpaid labor is a cruel thing in itself. So, if you don't want that at all - the society of the settled Dunmer might generally not be such good choice.

    That said, it's how their society works. See it from an inside perspective (as a roleplayer or whatever) - if you grow up like that, you'd probably not even question it.

    It's strange actually, that slavery is shown as something typical only (or mostly?) to the Dunmer in TES. If you consider real world history, most cultures had slavery in their past, no matter if ancient Greece and Rome, China, Japan, South American people like the Inca or the Aztecs, or the Celts or the Norse people, or the Arabs. It's s global thing, and there were probably more cultures that had slaves than those that had not. Not excusing anything here, just saying that our view of slavery as something inhumane and cruel is a rather new, modern point of view, that would probably not have been understood by many people of the past.
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • korbel05
    korbel05
    Syldras wrote: »
    Actually, asking which slavers would be the friendliest is a contradiction in itself already. There might for sure be some that don't torture their slaves, but owning people, taking away their freedom, and forcing them into unpaid labor is a cruel thing in itself. So, if you don't want that at all - the society of the settled Dunmer might generally not be such good choice.

    That said, it's how their society works. See it from an inside perspective (as a roleplayer or whatever) - if you grow up like that, you'd probably not even question it.

    It's strange actually, that slavery is shown as something typical only (or mostly?) to the Dunmer in TES. If you consider real world history, most cultures had slavery in their past, no matter if ancient Greece and Rome, China, Japan, South American people like the Inca or the Aztecs, or the Celts or the Norse people, or the Arabs. It's s global thing, and there were probably more cultures that had slaves than those that had not. Not excusing anything here, just saying that our view of slavery as something inhumane and cruel is a rather new, modern point of view, that would probably not have been understood by many people of the past.

    thats exactly what I mean... educated slaves in ancient greece and rome were usually treated very well, ofc they were not free, but its possible that they didnt mind much. I am looking for some info if that could be a possibility in Dunmer society as well (especially in house Redoran).
  • Syldras
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    Then, I'd refer to my first two posts here: Telvanni and Dres are the only Houses that currently officially still keep slaves. The others still have some as well (and most people don't really mind...), but it looks more like a private matter to me (someone correct me if I'm wrong) - not as large in scale, and the treatment really depends on the individual owner. So you really can't say who's more cruel or less cruel than average here.

    The Dres, on the other hand, keep slaves almost on an "industrial" level. Their House focuses on agriculture, and it is in fact said that they are the ones that feed whole Morrowind with their fields - which are maintained by slaves. (So, in a way, every House Dunmer somehow profits from their slaves). The other thing they do is slave hunt and trade. So most slaves elsewhere probably are also bought from them. Is it especially cruel to sell them off to everyone who pays? You decide.

    The Telvanni... Well, some conduct magical experiments on slaves, which would be considered cruel and worse than just letting them work on saltrice fields, I guess.
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • Ratzkifal
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    @Syldras Are you sure House Dres did not join the Pact? The Akaviri invasion was threatening their lands most. Last time I checked they were very upset with not being allowed to do slavery anymore but had no other choice and joined, but were allowed to continue keeping non-Argonian slaves. For example the Khajiiti slaves in Stonefalls.
    I know the Telvanni are not part of the Pact and very proud of that too, but even UESP says that House Dres joined.
    Edited by Ratzkifal on January 9, 2021 8:36PM
    This Bosmer was tortured to death. There is nothing left to be done.
  • Eirinin
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    I've never read anything suggesting one House was particularly merciful to their slaves, probably because true mercy would've meant actually freeing said slaves. As best as I can tell, slaves are seen by most as yard tools and appliances and "refrigerators" and "lawn mowers" do better when we don't beat them senseless.

    I'd be amenable to the idea that many Dunmer families see their slaves as expensive enough to keep fed and treated well enough that they don't drop dead. A slave's only value is in working hard (unless you're Telvanni, then even lazy sickly slaves can be made useful in experiments).
    Edited by Eirinin on January 9, 2021 8:53PM
  • Syldras
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    Ratzkifal wrote: »
    @Syldras Are you sure House Dres did not join the Pact?

    I was thinking of the dialogue with Deminah Salvi in Seyda Neen:
    "So slavery is illegal here?"
    "Here, and in all the territories controlled by the Great Houses that support the Ebonheart Pact. If you stray into Telvanni or Dres Territory, though, the practice remains strong and vibrant."
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Deminah_Salvi

    Sounded to me like "the Great Houses that support the Ebonheart Pact" and Telvanni/Dres were used as a juxtaposition here.

    But then again, now I also remember a dialogue about now being only allowed to keep non-Argonians... So you might be right.
    Eirinin wrote: »
    A slave's only value is in working hard

    Though I think @korbel05 made a good point with how slaves in reality weren't always treated badly but could even become respected parts of families in ancient times (and were sometimes even granted freedom then).

    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • Ratzkifal
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    House Telvanni, the only Great House aside from House Dres that is still big on slavery in ESO's time, is a very individualist bunch. So saying that all Telvanni slaves are treated badly is probably wrong, because there are no rules or laws in place for how a Telvanni has to treat their slaves if they want to stay a member. The Great House leaves its members to their own devices unless they pose a threat or undermine common interests. Also keep in mind that the Telvanni are a bunch of wizards, not plantation owners. So slave services include less of working in the mines or fields until you drop dead and more of being a target for new spells, keeping the house clean or collecting rare ingredients. Of course that doesn't mean there aren't any Telvanni mines or fields, but when House Dres already voluntarily takes care of the needs of Morrowind to make it strong, then the Telvanni have little reason to be their competitors.

    Then they also see themselves as a true meritocracy, so a slave that has useful skills will be treated better than one who can be easily replaced. If you play your cards right, your Telvanni master can even endorse you and make you a full member of House Telvanni, after which the career ladder in the Great House is open for you! Just be careful not to make the wrong enemies as you climb.

    In the end it's always a gamble with what kind of person your master is. You will have nicer Dres masters who realize that slaves who get rewards instead of whips work more efficiently or Telvanni with no need for target dummies, test subjects or soul sacrifices, who will happily let you clean their mushroom house for them and treat you better than they treat strangers who haven't made themselves useful to them. But you can also always get the insane wizard vampires in need of fresh blood or plantation owners who pride themselves for how many slaves they've whipped to death.
    This Bosmer was tortured to death. There is nothing left to be done.
  • VaranisArano
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    Syldras wrote: »
    Then, I'd refer to my first two posts here: Telvanni and Dres are the only Houses that currently officially still keep slaves. The others still have some as well (and most people don't really mind...), but it looks more like a private matter to me (someone correct me if I'm wrong) - not as large in scale, and the treatment really depends on the individual owner. So you really can't say who's more cruel or less cruel than average here.

    The major example that counters the "Slavery is a private, non-official matter in Pact territories" narrative is Sathram Plantation in Stonefalls.

    The quest description: "A frightened soldier on the road told me about a slave revolt at Sathram Plantation. Ulov Stormwall led Pact troops to the plantation, intending to suppress the revolt. Mysterious circumstances induced him to turn his blade on his own troops."

    Ulov Stormwall is a Nord, leading Pact soldiers to suppress a slave revolt inside Pact territory. Why? Because these are Khajiit slaves revolting, not Argonians.

    Some slavery, it turns out, has the official support of the Pact military as long as its their enemies, not their allies.

    Its not until ZOS released the Morrowind Chapter later on that we get content on Vvardenfell where Dunmer Governor Omellian is punished for working with slavers. Technically, according to ZOS, the base game and the chapters all take place at more or less the same time (worst year ever!), so at best we have evidence of uneven enforcement.



    On a side note, I finally recalled some of the other base game instances where non-Argonians are still enslaved in Pact territories. I remember there being a redguard slave somewhere in Stonefalls, but for the life of me I can't track down which quest/locale that was. Sorry!

    In Shadowfen, "A Life of Privilege" gives the player the choice to free or return Suriel, an escaped Breton slave, to her Dunmer mistress. If you return her to slavery, her mistress intends to return both of them to Mournhold, further emphasizing that the (base game) Pact only freed the Argonians.

    In Stormhaven, "Captive Crewmembers" features the Ember Eye slavers, a group of mostly Dunmer slavers who are preying on the Breton people of Koeglin village. The Dunmer leader specifically says, "Aha! You'll fetch a pretty penny in Balmora!" a city which is Pact territory on Vvardenfell. Specifically, we find out in Morrowind that Balmora is a stronghold of House Redoran, which puts their allegiance to the whole "no slaves" agreement into question.

    Moreover, in Auridon, "Preventative Measure" details how Argonian Delves-Deeply says she's still treated as a slave by the Pact despite the agreement to end Argonian slavery, including having her magic bound which causes excruciating pain if she exceeds her limits.


    And I'm not seeing a lot of evidence for "cozy slavery" in the instances where we know the Dunmer do keep slaves.

    Consider the case of Tirwin the Altmer slave in the Telvanni territory of Sadrith Mora during the quest "Bound by love", who's mistress' son wants to marry her. She doesn't want to have anything to do with him, but fears that if she rejects him, he or his mother will beat her. If you free her, she does reject him, and he immediately tries to have her killed, then recaptured after she escapes.


    It's not that you can't possibly have "nice" slavemasters (on a grading curve that accounts for slavery being unequivocally evil, of course). It's just that as a society, the Dunmer aren't practicing cozy slavery. [snip] slaves becoming a valued member of the household and eventually earning one's freedom was out of reach for the vast, vast majority of slaves. Its the exception, not the rule. Likewise, both TES III and ESO make it clear that the majority of Dunmer slavery is pretty darned brutal.

    [Edited to remove Inappropriate Content]
    Edited by ZOS_ConnorG on January 10, 2021 5:00PM
  • Syldras
    Syldras
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    The major example that counters the "Slavery is a private, non-official matter in Pact territories" narrative is Sathram Plantation in Stonefalls.
    The quest description: "A frightened soldier on the road told me about a slave revolt at Sathram Plantation. Ulov Stormwall led Pact troops to the plantation, intending to suppress the revolt. Mysterious circumstances induced him to turn his blade on his own troops."
    Ulov Stormwall is a Nord, leading Pact soldiers to suppress a slave revolt inside Pact territory. Why? Because these are Khajiit slaves revolting, not Argonians.
    Some slavery, it turns out, has the official support of the Pact military as long as its their enemies, not their allies.

    Does this imply official slavery (slavery being allowed, common, with rules and laws)? To me it looks more like they don't bother if an individual owns some. Intervening in case of a revolt in one's territory looks normal to me - just to keep it all calm.
    In Stormhaven, "Captive Crewmembers" features the Ember Eye slavers, a group of mostly Dunmer slavers who are preying on the Breton people of Koeglin village. The Dunmer leader specifically says, "Aha! You'll fetch a pretty penny in Balmora!" a city which is Pact territory on Vvardenfell. Specifically, we find out in Morrowind that Balmora is a stronghold of House Redoran, which puts their allegiance to the whole "no slaves" agreement into question.

    Is there any official slave market? Do the Redoran know about it?

    I have the impression we interpret the word "officially" differently. For me, it means slavery is extremely common, there are official slave markets, the House is actively supporting slavery and using slaves on their own for their affairs without making any fuss about it. It's just normal.

    For me, it is not official if it's actually forbidden, but there are nonetheless slave owners, but everyone just looks away (or intervenes in case of violence, siding with the slavers), because they are natives or have a respectable reputation in society.
    Moreover, in Auridon, "Preventative Measure" details how Argonian Delves-Deeply says she's still treated as a slave by the Pact despite the agreement to end Argonian slavery, including having her magic bound which causes excruciating pain if she exceeds her limits.

    "My people are allied with the Dark Elves. Our slavemasters are now our friends. And yet, nothing has changed. I'm still treated like a slave. I should be free to flow as the river's course demands."
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Delves-Deeply

    "like a slave" - in the UESP someones describes it as "She decided to leave after being mistreated by Dunmer who still believed in slavery.", and that's what I'm reading too. She is not officially a slave, she is just treated awfully (how exactly she lived, we do now know, we don't know why her magic was bound, either - maybe she tried to desert already before?) and therefore decides to leave.
    Even for the Ancient Greeks and Romans, slaves becoming a valued member of the household and eventually earning one's freedom was out of reach for the vast, vast majority of slaves. Its the exception, not the rule.

    Take Rome as an example, that had maybe 1.5 million slaves, and a normal households/families often had a dozen of them, bigger ones even more, sometimes even above 100. There was a huge range in their tasks. Of course, some had to work in mines and were abused and beaten (although in case of excessive violence, slaves could beg officials for shelter), others served as a scribe for their owner or were even used to teach the owner's children, some even worked as a personal doctor, some got a bit of money for their works (peculium) or were allowed to do side jobs, sometimes even getting so wealthy that they as slaves bought and owned slaves on their own (so obviously even they thought it wasn't wrong). Some got a store gifted by their owner which they could use for gaining their own income, and buying your own freedom with that money wasn't so impossible either.

    Generally, it can be said that those that were used in large scale and quite anonymously in mining or agriculture had a much worse status than city slaves that had a personal connection to their owner, were living with them and considered a part of the household (familia) and spent most of the time cooking, cleaning, making music for the entertainment of their owners, doing paperwork, and so on. Btw, all household members, even the free ones, were subordinated to their family patriarch and his decisions anyway. Some patriarchs saw their slaves more as pets and as a symbol for their wealth - if other people saw how many well-kept slaves they had, it would increase their social status. Written accounts of friendship between owners and slaves (or former slaves) exist. And there were phases when so many owners wanted to free their slaves, that it was officially forbidden (by Augustus, I think?), because the rulers were afraid society could not handle having such a vast and sudden increase in free inhabitants.

    Oh, and then there's the phenomenon of bona fide serviens: Free people who offered themselves as slaves to wealthy owners because that would give them a better life than being a low-status free person. It wasn't such an extreme rare thing as there are different official laws about that.

    Reality isn't just black and white. And slavery as a concept wasn't the same in different cultures either. The only thing that always was the same is the very basic definition of what a slave is: A person limited in making own decisions and having a different law status than free people of the same society. Other than that, everything varies.

    A problem might be that today's people think of the situation in the USA when they hear "slavery", but this is not necessarily what slavery has been in other times and cultures.
    Edited by Syldras on January 10, 2021 4:44AM
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • Lugaldu
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    An interesting track of thought. I also think that people today - understandably - start from the current point of view and with a view to the recent past. Freedom and lack of freedom or the restriction of one's own scope of action can just as easily be transferred to women's rights in earlier societies - an inequality that does not exist in Tamriel at least. For example, if you look at certain Mesopotamian laws such as those in Codex Hammurabi, then similar standards often apply to women and slaves, but not to free men. The question is whether people perceived this situation as unjust or it was simply the given reality.
  • Syldras
    Syldras
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    Lugaldu wrote: »
    An interesting track of thought. I also think that people today - understandably - start from the current point of view and with a view to the recent past. Freedom and lack of freedom or the restriction of one's own scope of action can just as easily be transferred to women's rights in earlier societies - an inequality that does not exist in Tamriel at least. For example, if you look at certain Mesopotamian laws such as those in Codex Hammurabi, then similar standards often apply to women and slaves, but not to free men.

    Great that you mention this! I had thought about this before. While we, today, see it as something absolutely horrible to limit someones freedom (over their actions, their freedom of movement, and all those other things), and I, personally, have a strong need for freedom too - but this was not normality in former times. People were used to being unfree somehow, also as non-slaves. Women were subordinated to their fathers or later husbands. Apprentices to their master. Common people to their local ruling nobility. Sometimes, there was no big difference between free or unfree, so to them, slavery must have looked less horrible than for us today, who know a free life.

    That one example I mentioned above: People offering themselves as slaves for wealthy families, knowing that there, they'll have a safe living place, enough to eat, maybe even get a bit of money - altogether a better life than they had as a free person with a very low social status... It might look extremely strange from today's perspective, I know. But it really was seen as a possibility for social advancement. A slave with wealthy owners could be better off than a poor free person.
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • Syldras
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    But, we've digressed by far from korbel05's initial question now, I guess...

    So, which House might treat slaves "best"? Do we only consider facts we have from current ESO dialogues/texts? Or do we use them as samples to develop a picture of the whole on our own, while also including rl historical examples in our considerations (we haven't seen all of Morrowind in ESO so far, after all)?

    I think, one way to see it is to ask the question: What tasks would which House use their slaves for? Then I'd say those where slaves are mostly used for household work (cooking, cleaning) would be the most "humane" (in comparison to letting them work in mines, using them in experiments, etc).
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • Lugaldu
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    I completely agree with you, people were used of being unfree and dependent in many ways in the past times. Something else might have been the relationship to respectively the attitude towards prisoners of war, where humiliation played a role. Perhaps that comes closer to today's image of slavery. But yes, we get off topic... (In conclusion, the view of the injustice of slavery in Tamriel is more like our modern view.)
  • VaranisArano
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    Syldras wrote: »
    The major example that counters the "Slavery is a private, non-official matter in Pact territories" narrative is Sathram Plantation in Stonefalls.
    The quest description: "A frightened soldier on the road told me about a slave revolt at Sathram Plantation. Ulov Stormwall led Pact troops to the plantation, intending to suppress the revolt. Mysterious circumstances induced him to turn his blade on his own troops."
    Ulov Stormwall is a Nord, leading Pact soldiers to suppress a slave revolt inside Pact territory. Why? Because these are Khajiit slaves revolting, not Argonians.
    Some slavery, it turns out, has the official support of the Pact military as long as its their enemies, not their allies.

    Does this imply official slavery (slavery being allowed, common, with rules and laws)? To me it looks more like they don't bother if an individual owns some. Intervening in case of a revolt in one's territory looks normal to me - just to keep it all calm.
    In Stormhaven, "Captive Crewmembers" features the Ember Eye slavers, a group of mostly Dunmer slavers who are preying on the Breton people of Koeglin village. The Dunmer leader specifically says, "Aha! You'll fetch a pretty penny in Balmora!" a city which is Pact territory on Vvardenfell. Specifically, we find out in Morrowind that Balmora is a stronghold of House Redoran, which puts their allegiance to the whole "no slaves" agreement into question.

    Is there any official slave market? Do the Redoran know about it?

    I have the impression we interpret the word "officially" differently. For me, it means slavery is extremely common, there are official slave markets, the House is actively supporting slavery and using slaves on their own for their affairs without making any fuss about it. It's just normal.

    For me, it is not official if it's actually forbidden, but there are nonetheless slave owners, but everyone just looks away (or intervenes in case of violence, siding with the slavers), because they are natives or have a respectable reputation in society.
    Moreover, in Auridon, "Preventative Measure" details how Argonian Delves-Deeply says she's still treated as a slave by the Pact despite the agreement to end Argonian slavery, including having her magic bound which causes excruciating pain if she exceeds her limits.

    "My people are allied with the Dark Elves. Our slavemasters are now our friends. And yet, nothing has changed. I'm still treated like a slave. I should be free to flow as the river's course demands."
    https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Delves-Deeply

    "like a slave" - in the UESP someones describes it as "She decided to leave after being mistreated by Dunmer who still believed in slavery.", and that's what I'm reading too. She is not officially a slave, she is just treated awfully (how exactly she lived, we do now know, we don't know why her magic was bound, either - maybe she tried to desert already before?) and therefore decides to leave.
    Even for the Ancient Greeks and Romans, slaves becoming a valued member of the household and eventually earning one's freedom was out of reach for the vast, vast majority of slaves. Its the exception, not the rule.

    Take Rome as an example, that had maybe 1.5 million slaves, and a normal households/families often had a dozen of them, bigger ones even more, sometimes even above 100. There was a huge range in their tasks. Of course, some had to work in mines and were abused and beaten (although in case of excessive violence, slaves could beg officials for shelter), others served as a scribe for their owner or were even used to teach the owner's children, some even worked as a personal doctor, some got a bit of money for their works (peculium) or were allowed to do side jobs, sometimes even getting so wealthy that they as slaves bought and owned slaves on their own (so obviously even they thought it wasn't wrong). Some got a store gifted by their owner which they could use for gaining their own income, and buying your own freedom with that money wasn't so impossible either.

    Generally, it can be said that those that were used in large scale and quite anonymously in mining or agriculture had a much worse status than city slaves that had a personal connection to their owner, were living with them and considered a part of the household (familia) and spent most of the time cooking, cleaning, making music for the entertainment of their owners, doing paperwork, and so on. Btw, all household members, even the free ones, were subordinated to their family patriarch and his decisions anyway. Some patriarchs saw their slaves more as pets and as a symbol for their wealth - if other people saw how many well-kept slaves they had, it would increase their social status. Written accounts of friendship between owners and slaves (or former slaves) exist. And there were phases when so many owners wanted to free their slaves, that it was officially forbidden (by Augustus, I think?), because the rulers were afraid society could not handle having such a vast and sudden increase in free inhabitants.

    Oh, and then there's the phenomenon of bona fide serviens: Free people who offered themselves as slaves to wealthy owners because that would give them a better life than being a low-status free person. It wasn't such an extreme rare thing as there are different official laws about that.

    Reality isn't just black and white. And slavery as a concept wasn't the same in different cultures either. The only thing that always was the same is the very basic definition of what a slave is: A person limited in making own decisions and having a different law status than free people of the same society. Other than that, everything varies.

    A problem might be that today's people think of the situation in the USA when they hear "slavery", but this is not necessarily what slavery has been in other times and cultures.

    Syldras, certain sources seem to indicate that the Pact has banned slavery in their territories.

    I'll try to link it again: https://en.m.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Pact_Pamphlet:_Congratulations!#:~:text=By Order of the alliance,are no longer a slave!

    As in: "By Order of the alliance herein referred to as the Ebonheart Pact, and with the agreement of the ruling bodies of Skyrim, Morrowind, and Black Marsh, let it be known now and forever that slavery has been abolished in all Pact territories and principalities. Congratulations! You are no longer a slave!" It goes on to say this applies to all races within Pact territory.

    That sort of official abolition is NOT what we see in game. We see both official support of slavery (Sathram Plantation) and several situations that seem like either official acknowledgement of non-Argonian slavery or tacit approval of it, even in places that should be covered under that declaration of abolition.

    To the contrary, the Pact military supports slavery as long as its not the enslavement of their Argonian allies. At Sathram Plantation, they are not merely looking the other way and pretending not to see that an individual owns slaves. They are not there to free the slaves either. They are there to suppress a slave revolt and return control of the plantation to a woman who explicitly intends to continue working her Khajiit slaves to death. Way to go, EP?

    In the same way, Governor Omellian is arrested for dealing with slavers. On the other hand, we have the Ember-Eye Captain saying he'll sell us in Balmora. Black market slave trade? Perhaps. But it certainly calls into question whether House Redoran is incompetent at suppressing the slave trade in their own strongholds or if they deliberately look the other way as the declaration of the Pact is flouted.

    And there really isn't a good explanation for the Breton slave Suriel being taken back to Mournhold by her Dunmer mistress. Either we're back to Almalexia's ordinators being utterly incompetent or we're seeing that the Pact is disinterested in stopping slavery of non-Argonians in their own capitol city where Almalexia the Tribune resides.


    [snip]

    But on the whole, I'm not seeing any evidence in the lore for one House to be particularly cozier than the rest. Its not like House Redoran is the noble house who usually treats their slaves like lesser members of the family, while evil House Hlaalu usually throws their slaves in the Caldera mines to haul glass shards out of the rocks with their bare hands and works them to death in the plantation fields. At best, we can look at which House is a slave more likely to wind up in a bad position. In ESO, I'd rather be in House Redoran, Indoril or Hlaalu, since they are supposed to have abolished slavery in Pact territories, you know?

    Though again, I feel that I must reiterate that even in a "good" position, a slave is not safe. As in Tirwin's quest, she does not seem to be particularly ill-treated by her mistress compared to the farmers at Sathram Plantation, yet lives in fear of being beaten for the sexual appetites of her mistress' son. [snip]


    Overall, you seem to want to use historical sources to point out that Dunmer slavery might not have been all that bad on the whole. I'd argue that's contrary to what we see in the games. We don't see many slaves being treated as valued servants, employees, or members of the family who aren't to be abused - the rare few who do rise within the House system (I can only think of Sun-in-Shadow, but perhaps you can find other sources?) seem to be the exception that proves the rule. Sun-in-Shadow manages it only because she has the capable help of a hero when she needs it. Most slaves we see gain their freedom by dangerous escapes or revolts. We do see an awful lot of cruelty and abuse, particularly in the groups we'd expect to see it in mines and plantations, but also in house servants like Tirwin.

    We also see that the vast majority of slave characters were outlanders taken in slaver raids or as prisoners of war (seen in both TES3 and ESO). The only counterexamples I'm aware of that are explicitly mentioned for other reasons are TES3 Ciralinde, an Altmer who was a wanted criminal, and probably two Dunmer slaves in TES3 Falura Llervu and Llaals Ores. We don't actually hear why either Dunmer is a slave, though Llaals is a former miner who was sold into slavery, so I'd guess its some sort of debt bondage.

    Now if you have sources to the contrary, please do show them! I'd like to see where you are finding in-game/lore sources for this. I'd be especially interested to see if you find any in-game or lore examples of i]bona fide serviens[/i] in Dunmer slavery or if that's an extrapolation from historical phenomena.


    To the OP: if you want to roleplay as a valued slave who isn't abused or who's been given the rare chance to rise within your House, I'd say just pick a House and say you've got a really nice Master. Technically, Houses Indoril, Redoran, and Hlaalu aren't supposed to have slaves at all in Pact territories since they follow the Tribunal and are members of the Pact. But as we've seen, the ESO Pact have a pretty, er, uneven approach to enforcement of abolition in their own lands.

    Honestly, a very realistic option would be to roleplay a former valued slave who was abruptly freed by the Ebonheart Pact and now decides that they like their House and want to join it as a free citizen.

    [Edited to remove Inappropriate Content]
    Edited by ZOS_ConnorG on January 10, 2021 4:58PM
  • Ratzkifal
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    Just wanna point out here that I hate it how this forum has an age rating below that of the actual game and content that is explicitly stated or implied is not appropriate for this forum to talk about.

    Returning to the topic now, if I was forced to choose between being a slave for Hlaalu, Indoril or Redoran, I would not want to be an Indoril slave. House Indoril is quite xenophobic and you can expect to be treated like a lesser race forever, while the Hlaalu are more pragmatic and the Redoran will respect you as long as you share their values.
    This Bosmer was tortured to death. There is nothing left to be done.
  • Syldras
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    I really appreciate that you took so much time to write all this, but unfortunately, you misunderstood what I was writing about.
    Syldras, certain sources seem to indicate that the Pact has banned slavery in their territories.

    I never disagreed on that.
    That sort of official abolition is NOT what we see in game.

    I didn't disagree on this either. There are obviously widespread violations of the contract and the official declaration is more propaganda than reality.

    What remains is our disagreement on what to call a private or an official matter. We seem to have different definitions for that and could probably discuss this until next month - but how does it help the OP?
    Overall, you seem to want to use historical sources to point out that Dunmer slavery might not have been all that bad on the whole.

    I have not written about slavery in Dunmer society being like in ancient Rome, actually that historical part was nothing about Dunmer or TES at all. I just replied to your general remark:
    Even for the Ancient Greeks and Romans, slaves becoming a valued member of the household and eventually earning one's freedom was out of reach for the vast, vast majority of slaves. Its the exception, not the rule.

    Nothing less, nothing more.
    Lugaldu wrote: »
    (In conclusion, the view of the injustice of slavery in Tamriel is more like our modern view.)

    Yep, modern and, it seems to me, very American-centric (which makes sense if you consider the background of the developers).
    @Syldras | PC | EU
    The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors.
    Sarayn Andrethi, Telvanni mage (Main)
    Darvasa Andrethi, his "I'm NOT a Necromancer!" sister
    Malacar Sunavarlas, Altmer Ayleid vampire
  • korbel05
    korbel05
    Ratzkifal wrote: »
    Just wanna point out here that I hate it how this forum has an age rating below that of the actual game and content that is explicitly stated or implied is not appropriate for this forum to talk about.

    Returning to the topic now, if I was forced to choose between being a slave for Hlaalu, Indoril or Redoran, I would not want to be an Indoril slave. House Indoril is quite xenophobic and you can expect to be treated like a lesser race forever, while the Hlaalu are more pragmatic and the Redoran will respect you as long as you share their values.


    thats exaclty what I mean... I wanted to role play argonian warden who used to be well treated slave before pact and after he was freed after forming the pact he has nowhere to go so he stayed with his original owners. Personally I would prefer house Redoran (as I love their bug style houses), but I wasnt sure if it would be ok from lore view.
  • Gilvoth
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    korbel05 wrote: »
    Just a quick question. Which Dunmer house treat their slaves best? ... I mean not beat them much and all that stuff. Is it somewhere mentioned? I understand all houses hold slaves more or less, but is there some info who treat them more like a servants? I tried to google it, but without success.

    i agree that it would have to be Great House Telvanni as others have mentioned.
    however, there have been rumors of horrible things happen that are rare events and i dont want to say what took place, but yes they are treated best in House Telvanni.
  • VaranisArano
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    korbel05 wrote: »
    Ratzkifal wrote: »
    Just wanna point out here that I hate it how this forum has an age rating below that of the actual game and content that is explicitly stated or implied is not appropriate for this forum to talk about.

    Returning to the topic now, if I was forced to choose between being a slave for Hlaalu, Indoril or Redoran, I would not want to be an Indoril slave. House Indoril is quite xenophobic and you can expect to be treated like a lesser race forever, while the Hlaalu are more pragmatic and the Redoran will respect you as long as you share their values.


    thats exaclty what I mean... I wanted to role play argonian warden who used to be well treated slave before pact and after he was freed after forming the pact he has nowhere to go so he stayed with his original owners. Personally I would prefer house Redoran (as I love their bug style houses), but I wasnt sure if it would be ok from lore view.

    Given that House Redoran has officially signed onto the Pact's abolition of slavery in their territories, and that even pro-slavery House Telvanni seems willing to allow a former slave to join the House as a hireling and rise in their ranks, I think it is well within the lore to consider that some councilors in House Redoran would be willing to sponsor former slaves as well.

    Just keep in mind that different councilors probably have very different opinions on the matter. While we don't see much of House Redoran opinions on slaves in the games or the lore, the topic of outlanders was mentioned - in TES 3, we see that the councilors don't always agree. Athyn Sarethi is fairly open-minded and willing to sponsor outlanders like the Redguard Neminda and the Player Character, while Archmaster Bolvyn Venim will not sponsor outlanders and indeed must be killed when he refuses to name an Outlander as Hortator. In ESO, Redoran councilor Dolvara is willing to hire outlander mercenaries over the protests of High Councilor Meriath and Councilor Eris who prefer using Redoran soldiers. It seems likely that some Councilors would be willing to sponsor a former slave and others would not - that's a fruitful source for conflict in your role-playing, if that's what you want to do!

    So when it comes to your role-playing, it may be worth looking into House Redoran's codes. In both ESO and TES3, they place a heavy emphasis on piety and devotion to the Tribunal Temple. Is that something your Argonian Warden would want to live up to?
  • psychotrip
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    Lol as a black guy this thread hurts to read.

    But yeah, there's no way to roleplay a "good" slaver. Wanna be a villain? Hell yeah! Go for it! This is roleplay.

    But there's no such thing as a kind or even decent slaver. Either embrace being a bad guy or make your character an abolitionist.
    Edited by psychotrip on February 1, 2021 1:28PM
    No one is saying there aren't multiple interpretations of the lore, and we're not arguing that ESO did it "wrong".

    We're arguing that they decided to go for the most boring, mundane, seen-before interpretation possible. Like they almost always do, unless they can ride on the coat-tails of past games.
  • Shihp00
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    Gross
  • TankinatorFR
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    On the subject of the difference between slavery in base game and Morrowind that people are raising in this topic, could the difference be geographic ?

    France would be an historical example for such thing.
    Slavery was strictly forbidden on the land owned by the French King since 1315. If you were to bring slaves to the metropolis, and it was discovered, they would be liberated by the authorities.
    But Colonies were not belonging to the French king, but rather to multiple private companies and independent merchant. Theirs lands were thus not part of the french kingdom, and not concerned by the royal edit and could practice slavery, as long as their slaves benefited from a minimal protection guaranteed by the later Edit of 1685 (resting days, medical care and food in quantity and quality equivalent to what was considered normal for the European poor workers).
    Note that this would lead to a century of "legislative war" between the nobility, mostly favourable to the Freedom of the Land, as a sacred right and a nobler cause, and the economic lobbies, who wanted the restriction on slavery to be softened, both in France and in the colonies, as less regulation would allow a decrease in labourers costs, increasing profits.
    This would lead to strong variations in the application of the laws, depending on the allegiance of the decision maker toward the government or the economy.

    ESO's Dark Elves might live a similar time. Slavery have been banned from the land of Morrowind, a really important land in their culture and history, but remain accepted, under certain rules, in their other territories. But in practice, the application of theses decision is not coherent and varies depending on who is in charge. Such interpretation would explain theses incoherences, as both the affirmation that all slaves were liberated and only argonian slaves were liberated could be true at the same time. This would lead to soldiers enforcing different law in different regions of the pact, matting a revolt of slaves somewhere, while ensuring the liberation of all slaves in an other.
    Edited by TankinatorFR on February 2, 2021 12:21PM
  • Lugaldu
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    Yes why not. In the past (especially the longer the past reaches back), geographical boundaries have always played an important role in the spread of cultural phenomena. I hope that someday we will be able to find out in ESO what is going on in the East of Morrowind and on all Telvanni Isles.
  • psychotrip
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    On the subject of the difference between slavery in base game and Morrowind that people are raising in this topic, could the difference be geographic ?

    France would be an historical example for such thing.
    Slavery was strictly forbidden on the land owned by the French King since 1315. If you were to bring slaves to the metropolis, and it was discovered, they would be liberated by the authorities.
    But Colonies were not belonging to the French king, but rather to multiple private companies and independent merchant. Theirs lands were thus not part of the french kingdom, and not concerned by the royal edit and could practice slavery, as long as their slaves benefited from a minimal protection guaranteed by the later Edit of 1685 (resting days, medical care and food in quantity and quality equivalent to what was considered normal for the European poor workers).
    Note that this would lead to a century of "legislative war" between the nobility, mostly favourable to the Freedom of the Land, as a sacred right and a nobler cause, and the economic lobbies, who wanted the restriction on slavery to be softened, both in France and in the colonies, as less regulation would allow a decrease in labourers costs, increasing profits.
    This would lead to strong variations in the application of the laws, depending on the allegiance of the decision maker toward the government or the economy.

    ESO's Dark Elves might live a similar time. Slavery have been banned from the land of Morrowind, a really important land in their culture and history, but remain accepted, under certain rules, in their other territories. But in practice, the application of theses decision is not coherent and varies depending on who is in charge. Such interpretation would explain theses incoherences, as both the affirmation that all slaves were liberated and only argonian slaves were liberated could be true at the same time. This would lead to soldiers enforcing different law in different regions of the pact, matting a revolt of slaves somewhere, while ensuring the liberation of all slaves in an other.

    Guys, this is all brilliant but you know this wasnt the intent, right? It's just a lore-inconsistency because Zenimax cant always keep the lore straight between expansions. This often happens in MMOs where lore takes a back seat to mechanics and whatever the story currently needs to be.

    It's especially prevelent in financially successful, big budget games where executives may have different demands for the story at any given time. The writers have much less control over this stuff than you may think.

    A classic example of this is how, in Auridon, there's an entire quest about how an Altmer summoning ANY daedra (even an atronach!) is punishable by death.

    Meanwhile, Altmer have summoned daedra in every previous game, have written books on daedra traffick (liminal bridges), and have always had stat bonuses in conjuration.

    What likely happened is different people at Zenimax (maybe writers, maybe execs) had different ideas on what the lore should br regarding the Altmer. The same thing is happening here with the dunmer and slavery.

    There's a lot less cohesion between Elder Scrolls entries than we assume. Sometimes I feel like the community does better work making it all "fit together" than Zenimax or Bethesda.

    What you said above sums it up perfectly,

    "But in practice, the application of theses decision is not coherent and varies depending on who is in charge."
    Edited by psychotrip on February 2, 2021 2:04PM
    No one is saying there aren't multiple interpretations of the lore, and we're not arguing that ESO did it "wrong".

    We're arguing that they decided to go for the most boring, mundane, seen-before interpretation possible. Like they almost always do, unless they can ride on the coat-tails of past games.
  • TwinLamps
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    They all see them as slaves, so act like these are cattle.
    Friendly slavers is an interesting idea, but not existing in TES/ESO from what I saw
    Awake, but at what cost
  • ZOS_ConnorG
    Greetings all,

    After review we have closed this thread as it has a high potential to escalate from here, so we have closed it to prevent that. Thank you for you understanding.

    You are welcome to review the Community Rules here.
    Staff Post
This discussion has been closed.