The Bosmer are the Elven clan-folk of Valenwood, a forested province in southwestern Tamriel. In the Empire, they are often referred to as Wood Elves, but Bosmer, Boiche, or the Tree-Sap people is what they call themselves. Bosmer rejected the stiff, formal traditions of Aldmeri high culture, preferring a more romantic, simple existence in harmony with the land, its wild beauty and wild creatures. They are relatively nimble and quick in body and wit compared to their more "civilized" Elven cousins, making them well-suited for a variety of professions, including scouts, thieves, traders and scholars. The best archers in all of Tamriel, the Bosmer snatch and fire arrows in one continuous motion; they are even rumored to have invented the bow. They have many natural and unique abilities; notably, they can command simple-minded creatures and have a nearly chameleon-like ability to hide in forested areas. As part of their Green Pact they are religiously carnivorous and cannibalistic and do not harm vegetation of Valenwood (though they are not averse to using wooden or plant-derived products created by others).
The Aldmer arrived in Valenwood before the First Era began and found its dense forests inhabited by so many beasts that they could not hope to civilize it, so they had to fight and adapt just to become predators instead of prey. Their adaption to life in Valenwood would create the Bosmer. Eventually, they would be united under the leadership of King Eplear, whose conquest of the wilderness and founding of the Camoran Dynasty heralded the start of the First Era. They made a formal trade treaty with the Alessian Empire in 1E 340, though it would only last for several decades before breaking down into on-and-off border skirmishes with Colovia for most of the First Era. After the Bosmer were devastated by the Thrassian Plague in 1E 2417, they were absorbed by the Second Empire.
The Empire, in their usual fashion, divided power in Valenwood amongst several districts to ensure they would not unite against Imperial rule. With the fall of the Empire in 2E 430, the regional powers went about warring amongst themselves, and Maormer pirates were able to get a foothold along the coast which they used to harass the Altmer of Summerset Isle. To secure their border from attack, the Altmer, using an old treaty and encroachment from Colovia as a pretense, invaded Valenwood and established the Aldmeri Dominion in 2E 830. They formed the Thalmor and brought peace to Valenwood until the Dominion was absorbed by the Third Empire of Tiber Septim. The Camorans, who had managed to survive as a Bosmeri power, were made rulers again and led the Bosmer through 250 years of peace. In 3E 249, a pretender to the Camoran throne, the Camoran Usurper, led an army of undead and mercenaries which brought devastation throughout Valenwood and most of the western coast of Tamriel until being defeated in 3E 267. Since then, the Bosmer have become more isolationist, traditionalist, and distrusting of central authorities, and this political weakness has led to significant losses of territory to their neighbors.
The Green Pact with the Forest God known as Y'ffre, the spirit of the now, is the agreement where the Bosmer promised never to harm or eat the vegetation of Valenwood, in return for Y'ffre's patronage. To this day, they have little more than foot paths connecting their tiny settlements in Valenwood's sparsely populated forests. In return, Y'ffre grants them the power to maintain their form and not constantly change their form as in the Dawn Era, while also permitting to them to return to that state if a significant number of Bosmer perform a ritual. When this happens, the Wild Hunt begins, where the participants transform into a horde of supernatural beasts to achieve some act of justice. The earliest known Wild Hunt occurred in 1E 369, which ended with the death of the Nord High King Borgas. This assassination can be viewed as an act of self-defense, though perhaps proactive, as Borgas had journeyed there to rally support for war against Valenwood. Despite the potential advantages of such a natural skill, the Bosmer abhor using it, even refrain from discussing it, as those that take part cannot change back and often become extremely dangerous. Another Wild Hunt would not occur again until the Third Era, though whether one or two occurred is not clear. Obviously Y'ffre is their most important and perhaps bizarre god, though the Bosmeri pantheon includes many other strange deities. They are one of the few who worship the trickster Baan Dar. Like the Nords, they worship the Daedra Herma-Mora. They also worship the moon gods Jone and Jode, as well as many of the more typical members of the Nine Divines.
The elves of Valenwood have always stood ready to defend themselves against aggression, and have done so on many occasions. However, the Bosmer seem to be the most pacifistic of all races on Tamriel, as they have never instigated war with other nations (leading some more militant cultures to criticize them as cowards), though they have been accused of needlessly escalating some conflicts. They have never found a tried and true ally in any other Tamrielic nation. Mistrust has been engendered by the ritual cannibalism they practice, and it's often difficult for them to adjust their lifestyles to the expectations of other races and cultures. Nevertheless, the Bosmer are heavily dependent on good relations and trade with other races, as the Green Pact forces them to import the timber needed to make their homes, arrows, and other wooden instruments.
The Bosmer greatly value diversity; even their names are so diverse that it's usually unnecessary to proffer family names. Their respect for life's many facets is inherent in many of their old sayings, like "One mans miracle is another mans accident". Other races are welcomed all over Valenwood, though most foreigners stay in large cities for their own comfort. Some legends suggest early Bosmer were known for intermarrying with humans. They coexist with the Imga, who hold the Altmer in high regard and seek to emulate them. They have accepted all immigrants without showing favorites: they accepted slaves fleeing the Ayleids, and then Ayleids fleeing the slaves. Many foreigners visit Falinesti at some point, the marvelous traveling city of the Bosmer (though at last report, the city had mysteriously rooted itself). Recently, it's rumored that a prophet called the Precursor has emerged among the Bosmer promising new gifts from Y'ffre to reward their devotion.
 See Also
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Aldmeri Dominion — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: Valenwood — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Words and Philosophy — An interview with a Bosmer master swordsman about her life
- ^ a b c Provinces of Tamriel
- ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Prologue — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- ^ The Wild Elves — Kier-Jo Chorvak
- ^ Events of Morrowind
- ^ A Scholar's Guide to Nymphs — Vondham Barres
- ^ a b A Dance in Fire, Chapter 1 — Waughin Jarth
- ^ The Buying Game — Adabael Timsar-Dadisun
- ^ Words and Philosophy
- ^ The Gold Ribbon of Merit — Ampyrian Brum
- ^ The Rear Guard — Tenace Mourl
- ^ The Marksmanship Lesson — Alla Llaleth
- ^ A Dance in Fire, Chapter 3 — Waughin Jarth
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Aldmeri Dominion — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: The Wild Regions — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Wilds Remain: Valenwood — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: All the Eras of Man, A Comprehensive History of our History — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Blessed Isle: Alinor and the Summersets — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- ^ The Fall of the Usurper — Palaux Illthre
- ^ a b c d e Varieties of Faith in the Empire — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor
- ^ Book Five of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era - Second Seed — Carlovac Townway
- ^ Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to her Favored Daughter — Clan Mother Ahnissi
- ^ A History of Daggerfall — Odiva Gallwood
- ^ Of Jephre
- ^ Mixed Unit Tactics — Codus Callonus
- ^ The War of Betony — Fav'te
- ^ A Dance in Fire, Chapter 2 — Waughin Jarth
- ^ An Overview of Gods and Worship in Tamriel — Brother Hetchfield
- ^ The Monomyth