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Altmer or High Elves are a tall, golden skinned, elven race that hail from the Summerset Isles. They call themselves the "Cultured People" and are typically resented by the other races for their haughty, snobbish, and proud demeanor. Altmer confidently consider themselves to be the most civilized race in Tamriel as the common tongue of Tamriel is based on Altmer speech and writing while most of the Empire's arts, crafts, laws, and sciences are derived from Altmer traditions. They are the most gifted in magic use as well as the longest lived and most intelligent of all the races. They are resistant to disease and naturally immune to paralysis but vulnerable to fire, frost, and shock.

Professional mages in Cyrodiil are typically Altmer and reside in the Imperial Arcane University studying books on magic, enchanting weapons, and binding souls. Most Altmer in Cyrodiil are notably wealthy and well learned while most enemy Altmer are conjurers or necromancers and heretics, zealots, and Priests of Order in the Shivering Isles. All marauder battlemages are Altmer and among vampires they are typically the matriarchs and patriarchs.

The Thalmor are comprised entirely of Altmer and forced the empire to ban the worship of Talos in the fourth era creating the civil war in Skyrim and caused Hammerfell to break off from the empire.

Altmer are thought to be the most direct, unaltered descendants of the original Aldmer elves but most of their history is lost or hidden. Social clashes amongst the Altmer led to emigrations from the Summerset Isles which is believed to have resulted in the great diversification of the elven races. It has been suggested that the Altmer practiced eugenic infanticide putting to death nine out of ten of their newborns for impurities, that their names are simply combinations of numbers in their language and that Altmer culture revolves around displaying social status but whether this was fabricated, exaggerated, or discontinued is unknown.

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