4E 171 – 4E 175
The Thalmor refer to this war as the First War Against the Empire. The Aldmeri Dominion invaded the Empire of Tamriel after Emperor Titus Mede II rejected an ultimatum presented by a Thalmor ambassador. The Aldmeri forces caught the Empire by surprise and apparently had far better success than planned. Their success apparently encouraged them to go beyond the aim of conquering Hammerfell, and instead they decided to conquer the entire Empire. The Aldmeri advance culminated in the Sack of the Imperial City, which was under occupation for nearly a year before its liberation in the Battle of the Red Ring. The war ends with the signing of the White-Gold Concordat.
-Sack of the Imperial City, 4E 174. Lord Naarifin’s Aldmeri army surrounded the Imperial City. Titus II broke through the perimeter with his main army and fled north to Skyrim to join with reinforcements under General Jonna. The Imperial City was sacked by the invaders soon after. The White-Gold Tower was burned and looted, and the Aldmeri committed many atrocities against the city’s populace.
-Battle of the Red Ring, 4E 175. Titus II split his remaining forces into three hosts that surrounded the occupied Imperial City. After a long, bloody battle, the Aldmeri army in Cyrodiil was utterly destroyed and the Imperial City recaptured. Lord Naarifin was hung from the top of White-Gold Tower and kept alive for thirty-three days. Despite the resounding victory, Titus II realized the Empire was too exhausted to continue fighting. He negotiated with the Thalmor and signed the White-Gold Concordat, a treaty that gave the Thalmor free reign to stamp out the worship of Talos in Tamriel, disbanded the Blades, and ceded a large part of southern Hammerfell to the Aldmeri Dominion. Critics note that the terms of the Concordat are almost identical to those of the original ultimatum presented by the Thalmor prior to the war.