The Elder Scrolls

The Umbriel Crisis Happened in 4E 48 (not 4E 40)

Been reading the Keyes novels lately and I noticed some issues with the most commonly used date for the Umbriel Crisis.

The Umbriel Crisis is listed on UESP as taking place in 4E 40. Elderscrolls wiki has it as 4E 48 on its main page about the event, although other dates can be found on side articles.

4E 48 is correct. Exact dates are not given at the start of the novels, but the events are dated by Sul’s dialogue to Attrebus:

"I believe its master is a man named Vuhon. He vanished into Oblivion forty-three years ago, and now I think he's come back." (p. 213, The Infernal City)

Vuhon and Sul were thrown into Oblivion when their altercation set off the Red Year, which is noted in several sources as happening in 4E 5. 5+43 = 48, therefore Umbriel Crisis takes place in 4E 48.

Why does UESP say 4E 40? I think it’s probably the result of the publisher’s blurb on the back cover of Infernal City:

Four decades after the Oblivion crisis, Tamriel is threatened anew by an ancient and all-consuming evil.

As the exact date (43 years after the Red Year) is given in the text, this blurb estimate is not the last word.

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The date of 4E 48 for the Umbriel Crisis would also change Attrebus' birthdate which is given as 4E 18 (40-22) on both wikis. Attrebus is 22 during the novels, and so his real birth year would be 4E 26 (48-22).

The proper date for the Umbriel Crisis also reframes the Night of Green Fire. Legate Fasendil in Skyrim:

What happened during the Night of Green Fire?
"Back in 42 I was stationed in Hammerfell, on leave in Sentinel, trying to track down some refugee relatives who had fled persecution in Alinor. Suddenly, an explosion of magic in the refugee quarter. Thalmor mages were attacking the Altmer dissidents who were resisting with magic of their own. I ran to the scene with other Legionaries who where stationed there, but the entire quarter was a smoking ruin by the time we arrived. Everyone was dead. Wholesale slaughter. The Dominion, not content with killing dissidents at home, came to Hammerfell to finish the job.

Compare this to Penitus Oculatus agent Colin Vineben’s speech in the novels

Thalmor agents continue to harass the refugee communities in Sentinel and Balfiera-there has been a series of murders in the latter we can pretty confidently assign to them. The pattern is typical-the victims were all of mixed blood or had associations considered by the Aldmeri Dominion to be unclean. (pp 40-41, Lord of Souls)

With the UESP date of 4E 40, it appeared that the pattern of harassment Colin is describing led two years later to the Night of Green Fire. With the proper date of 4E 48, Colin is describing the aftermath of the Night of Green Fire, with a surviving Altmer refugee community in Sentinel and a continuance of the harassment.


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