Elves on the Dragon Age wikia
A humanoid race, elves are typically shorter than humans and have a slender, lithe build and pointed ears. Long ago, the elves were the dominant race on Thedas, and they lived in a civilization based on nature and magic. After the fall of their great city of Arlathan to the Tevinter Imperium and the subsequent generations of slavery, the elves lost most of their cultural heritage and identity. They attempted to rebuild their society in the Dales, only to watch that fall to the Chantry. Since then, their few numbers have been scattered all over Thedas in either forests as primitive nomads or in cities as impoverished outcasts, with little hope of recovery for their culture or their race. They're now a people associated with poverty, crime, barbarism, and are often used as scapegoats for humanity's difficulties. Humans use the term "knife ears" as a racial slur. Though most of the elven language has been lost, they once referred to themselves as "elvhen" or "the people".