The Elder Scrolls Online: Ranking the Top 6 Oldest Dragons


The dragons in The Elder Scrolls series is acknowledged for its eternal nature, yet some possess a greater degree of eternity than others. Can you now imagine which of the dovah found in Skyrim specifically hold the distinction of being the oldest?



  • The age of dragons simply varies on the basis of their individual place in the creation hierarchy along with their ability to survive.
  • Some dragons were killed during the Merethic Era, while others continued to exist by assisting mortals.
  • Unique dragons like Nahfahlaar and Durnehviir have intriguing pasts, surviving through alliances and cunning.
  • Elder dragons such as Shulkunaak and Paarthurnax possess immense knowledge and power, enduring through various eras.
Time behaves quite abruptly in Nirn. The Dawn and Merethic eras make it somewhat more challenging to establish precise historical dates due to Nirn’s fantastical nature. Though it appears to progress linearly, time on Nirn is subject to the whims of the gods, occasional disruptions, and imperfect adjustments.
There are instances when disruption in time was seen. But the dragons always step in to mend it. It’s mainly due to their inherent links between dragons and time, where death is not final unless a Dragonborn absorbs their souls, determining their ages becomes a complex task. Despite Skyrim categorizing some dragons as “ancient,” accurately depicting their ages which remains a challenge.

Dragons, referred to as “dovah” in their own tongue, basically originate from the time God Akatosh. Yet, the majority of The Elder Scrolls lore suggests that they were not all created simultaneously, implying the existence of a hierarchy based on seniority.

By the end of the Merethic Era, the majority of dragons had been hunted down and even reduced to piles of bones. Now, these dragons had less accumulated experience and can be classified as quite “younger.”

Dragons who managed to endure for much longer time can be suspected to be older. In spite of the above, some dragons simply ignored their demise while affording them greater expertise than their peers, regardless of occasional disruptions in Nirn’s linear time flow.


6 Nahfahlaar

Died: 2E, 864

The Elder Scrolls Online Nahfahlaar Nafaalilargus


  • This dragon formed strategic alliances with mortals and fought alongside Tiber Septim’s army.
  • Its demise occurred during the late Second Era.
  • The dragon was slain by Cyrus within one of the treasure vaults of Stros M’kai.


Not every dragon spotted in Skyrim had to be brought back by Alduin following his return from temporal exile. In fact, certain dragons endured the slaughter after the Dragon War in the Merethic Era.

Nahfahlaar happens to be a prime example of a highly intelligent dragon who survived well into the second era by forming alliances with mortals, including Tiber Septim (before his elevation to godhood), despite facing many enemies among fellow dragons.

The dragon’s feats within the Imperial army were deemed remarkable to earn him the prestigious title of being a “jewel in the imperial crown.” Despite Nahfahlaar’s adeptness at prolonging his life on Nirn, he ultimately couldn’t evade Cyrus’ dragonfire-branded sword during the events of The Elder Scrolls Online Adventures: Redguard, resulting in his demise within the treasure vaults of Stros M’kai.


5 Dragonne Papré

Died: 3E, 398

Skeletal Dragon in Skyrim
  • Limited information exists about this massive dragon, as he was killed before the events of Battlespire.
  • His skeleton can be found alongside that of his mortal companion, the Imperial Battlemage known as Starlover.

There is only a little information exists about Dragonne Papré’s background. Till now, we only know that he managed to reside deep within the Battlespire, once a training ground for Battlemages before its partial destruction and sealing.

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After Starlover’s met with his own dragon, especially after the events of The Elder Scrolls: Battlespire, he found only Dragonne Papré’s bones. Starlover also passed away shortly thereafter, likely at the hands of the same rampaging Daedric forces.

Dragonne Papré’s demise occurred in the year 3E 398, suggesting an age of nearly 6,000 years, unless he had been killed and later resurrected by Alduin during the height of the dragon war.


4 Shulkunaak

Last Seen: 4E, 180: Blades

screenshot of Shulkunaak from the elder scrolls blades
  • This dragon existed until Alduin’s return, preceding the resurrection of other dragons, which distinguishes him as one of the longest-lived of his species.
  • The means by which he survived for such a duration remains unknown.
  • His advanced age has granted him a deep understanding of esoteric magic, including the intricacies of the Elder Scrolls.

Shulkunaak known to have existed the Blades’ pursuit of dragons after the conclusion of the Dragon War managed to life until 2 decades before Alduin’s resurgence and the subsequent revival of his fallen brethren. He achieved it without moving into the dark arts associated with claiming descent from the dragon god of time.


3 Durnehviir

Last Seen: 4E, 421

Durnehviir in Skyrim
  • Durnehviir existed the dragon eradication by being trapped in the Soul Cairn for thousands of years.
  • His expertise in necromancy provides him with a higher level of immortality compared to other dragons.
  • However, his captivity by the Ideal Masters has barred him from returning to Nirn.

Even though, most dragons expected shelter to evade attacks of dragonslayers, Durnehviir took a different path, delving as deep as one can go: into the realms of Oblivion, specifically the Soul Cairn: a realm where souls are ensnared within soul gems.

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2 Paarthurnax

Secondborn Of Akatosh, Last seen: 4E, 421

NPC Best Quotes Skyrim Paarthurnax 2


  • Paarthurnax is classified as an elder dragon.
  • He ranks second in age and strength, following the primal dragon, Alduin.
  • While not confirmed, it seems unlikely that Paarthurnax existed prior to the creation of the universe.

Paarthurnax once held the position of Alduin’s right-hand dragon, he became the 2nd strongest, attributed to his status as Akatosh’s second born.

The firstborn dragon is believed to have existed before the universe’s creation, placing him ahead of Paarthurnax, who likely emerged after the formation of Nirn, given his apparent lack of contemplation on the matter.


1 Alduin

Firstborn of Akatosh, Last Seen: 4E, 421

Picture of Alduin flying in the sky at the end of Skyrim


  • In spite of missing loads of eras, Alduin’s birth predates the current universe’s kalpa.
  • It might be the fact that he has observed the creation and destruction of numerous worlds across countless time spans.

Alduin was created by Akatosh, the god of time, with a singular purpose: to consume the world to bring about its end and the dawn of a new era. However, during the events depicted in Skyrim, he veered from his intended path and instead sought to dominate mortals and establish control over Tamriel.

The above facts might force anyone to believe that even after catapulted hundreds of years into the future, Alduin managed to preserve his title as the “eldest” to his younger brother. However, Alduin likely spans multiple kalpas (the duration of an entire universe), and it’s even conceivable that he has always existed.



Also Read: Baldur’s Gate 3: How to Break Wyll’s Pact With Mizora




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