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 rebellion against the Tevinter Imperium in approximately 1020 TE.

Background[edit | edit source]

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[2]

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.[2]

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, which he renamed Glandivalis.[3]

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 elves rendered was not in vain, however. The People were rewarded by Andraste's children with the creation of a new elven homeland in the Dales. Shartan, however, did not live to see it.

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."[4] The "New Cumberland Chant of Light" does, however, include these passages.[5]

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.[6]

Involvement[edit | edit source]

Dragon Age: Origins[edit | edit source]

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, in The Gauntlet, during A Test of Faith quest, the Warden encounters what appears to be the spirit of Shartan, who will ask a riddle and tell of his desire for an elven homeland. The riddle is "I'd neither a guest nor a trespasser be. In this place I belong, that belongs also to me." "Home" is the correct answer to his riddle. If the Warden answers correctly then the spirit will disappear. Otherwise, they will have to fight an ash wraith.

Dragon Age II[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

This section contains spoilers for:

If Leliana is made Divine, she re-canonizes the Canticle of Shartan, a move that divides Andrastians deeply.[7]

See also[edit | edit source]

Codex entry: Dark Moon Codex entry: Dark Moon

Codex entry: The Long Walk Codex entry: The Long Walk

Codex entry: The Dales Codex entry: The Dales

Codex entry: Glandivalis Codex entry: Glandivalis

A Slave's Life A Slave's Life

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • 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.[8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[9]

This section contains spoilers for:

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.[9]

References[edit | edit source]

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