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It was my dream for the People to have a home of their own, where we would have no masters but ourselves. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and thus we followed Andraste, against the Imperium. But she was betrayed, and so were we.


Shartan, also known as The Liberator,[1] was the leader of the elven slaves who joined Andraste's Exalted March Against the Tevinter Imperium in -171 Ancient.[2]

Background[]

Arrows fly as Andraste and her elven allies, led by Shartan, rebel against Tevinter

At Shartan's word, the sky
Grew black with arrows.
At Our Lady's, ten thousand swords
Rang from their sheaths,
A great hymn rose over Valarian Fields gladly proclaiming:
Those who had been slaves were now free.

Shartan 10:1, Dissonant Verse[3]


Shartan was born into captivity, but dreamed of a homeland where the elves could once again be free and encouraged his fellow elven slaves to rise up against their Tevinter masters. Apparently, his followers stole whatever they could find to make weapons and fought with harvesting tools, knives of sharpened stone and glass, and with bows made from broken barrels or firewood.[3]

Andraste makes Shartan her champion and gifts him with Glandivalis

Under Shartan's leadership the elves successfully ambushed and overwhelmed Tevinter forces, bringing them to the notice of Andraste's army. Shartan and Andraste negotiated an alliance of equals and together joined forces at Valerian Fields to fight the Tevinter army. After the battle was over, Andraste named Shartan her Champion and gave to him her mother's sword,[4] which he renamed Glandivalis.[5]

After Andraste was betrayed and captured, Shartan and a hundred elves charged the pyre she had been tied to in an attempt to free her, but were all killed by a hail of arrows before they could get to her.[1]

The support he and the other elven slaves rendered to the first Exalted March was not in vain, however. In -165 Ancient, the elves were rewarded by Maferath with the creation of a new homeland in the Dales.[6] The migration to the promised land in the southern Thedas was called "The Long Walk" and many elves perished along the way, including Shartan himself.[7]

The Chant of Light originally included a canticle describing Shartan's contribution to Andraste's cause, but it was removed from the Chant after the Exalted March on the Dales and is now considered heretical; his involvement is now referred to as the "Heresy of Shartan."[8] The "New Cumberland Chant of Light" does, however, include these passages.[9]

An unusual example of a Chantry mural depicting Shartan

Following the Exalted March against the Dales, all Chantry art including elves was destroyed. The only exception was a mural by Henri de Lydes featuring Shartan, Andraste, and her disciples. However, Shartan's ears were docked. A faithful reproduction of the mural exists at the University of Orlais.[10]

Involvement[]

Dragon Age: Origins[]

If the Warden is an elf they can ask two chantry sisters who stand outside Denerim's chantry about elves in the Chant, and sisters will tell about the Canticle of Shartan and that Shartan himself was burned at a stake beside Andraste. 

Leliana will speak a little about Shartan if asked if she knows any stories about the Dalish, explaining that he was born into captivity and died when Andraste was betrayed.

Furthermore Shartan is one of the eight spirits the the Warden encounters in the Gauntlet during the quest A Test of Faith. He will appear as a shade and disclose to the Warden of his desire for an elven homeland. In order to advance the quest the Warden will need to answer the following riddle proposed:

"I'd neither a guest nor a trespasser be. In this place I belong, that belongs also to me."

The correct answer is "Home""; all other answers are not accepted. If the Warden answers correctly the shade will disappear. If the Warden answers incorrectly, "Shartan" will turn into an ash wraith and attack.

Dragon Age II[]

Hawke can find a book written by Shartan which can be gifted to Fenris, one of the Champion's possible companions. Hawke can also loot the sword Glandivalis that once belonged to Shartan from the pride demon Hybris. Interestingly, Hybris says that he has "fragments of every fool who held a throne, here or in the black."

Dragon Age: The Masked Empire[]

Empress Celene travels to the University of Orlais to discuss the acceptance of common and elven students. There she and her champion Ser Michel de Chevin note the reproduction mural of Shartan in its courtyard. Later, a human female actress portrays Shartan's involvement in Andraste's rebellion by way of a play aimed to critique Celene's position on the elves of Orlais.

Dragon Age: Inquisition[]

If the Inquisitor is an elf, Mother Giselle mentions Shartan’s support to Andraste when conversed with.


This section contains spoilers for:
Trespasser.


If Leliana is made Divine, she re-canonizes the Canticle of Shartan, a move that divides Andrastians deeply.[11]


Quests[]

A Test of Faith A Test of Faith

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: The Dales Codex entry: The Dales
Codex entry: Dark Moon Codex entry: Dark Moon
Codex entry: Glandivalis Codex entry: Glandivalis
Codex entry: The Long Walk Codex entry: The Long Walk

Trivia[]

  • It appears that many Andrastians suspect, as a matter of salacious debate, that Shartan and Andraste were lovers during her rebellion against the Magisters of Tevinter.[12]
  • Though uncommon for a slave (most elven slaves of his time could not even write in Tevene, much less Elvish), Shartan was literate and wrote at least one book during his lifetime: A Slave's Life. His writings were later suppressed following the Exalted March upon the Dales.[13]
  • Some scholars debate whether Shartan was a single elf or instead many seeking freedom under the title of "Shartan," or even truly real, as many aspects of his Canticle are similar to ancient elven folktales of a rebellion against tyrants led by a trickster warrior.[13]

This section contains spoilers for:
Trespasser.


These folktales were likely inspired by the real rebellion against tyrannical Evanuris led by the trickster, Dread Wolf.


  • Scholars question whether the true location of the elven rebellion lay in Vol Dorma or elsewhere, such as the cities of Marnas Pell, Hasmal, Marothius or Solas. All these locations suffered from slave revolts and the Tevinter famine.[13]
  • The spirit who takes the appearance of Shartan during the Gauntlet is labelled as "Thane Shartan", even though "thane" seems to be an Alamarri/Avvar title; it might suggest that Shartan gained recognition as Thane among Andraste and Maferath's forces, the bulk of which consisted of Alamarri people.

See also[]

Chant of Light: Canticle of Shartan
Chant of Light Verses: Canticle of Shartan
A Slave's Life A Slave's Life
The Book of Shartan The Book of Shartan

Gallery[]

References[]