Arch-Mages of the Mages' Guild

Public discussion of the Province: Cyrodiil project.
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LordInsane
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Arch-Mages of the Mages' Guild

Postby LordInsane » 17 Feb 2014, 18:07

I noticed the discussion in the Master Planning forum on Archmages and their position in the hierarchy of the Guild, and began thinking about the title of Archmage/Arch-Mage, and what Daggerfall and Morrowind said about it. In Daggerfall, it is clear that is not the leader of the Guild (regionally or otherwise) - the promotion message says that you were raised to the rank and title by order of the Archmagister of the Iliac Bay and the Council of Mages of the city you are promoted in. Obviously, this was superseded by later games (though I note that Origins of the Mages Guild seems to have based its described hierarchy on the Daggerfall one, just with the 'Archmagister (of the Iliac Bay)' replaced with a council of six Archmagisters), but Morrowind's Letter from Ocato addresses Trebonius as Guildmaster of Vvardenfell and specifies that while he is to step down from all responsibility for the Guild and grant you the title of Arch-Mage, he is allowed to keep the title of Arch-Mage.

This all makes me suspect that the title of Arch-Mage (or Archmage) is formally separate from but connected to the position of Guildmaster (whether of a regional division of the Guild, such as Trebonius, or of the entire Guild, as it will be for Traven). It might be that at one point becoming a Guildmaster required being an Archmage (after all, you would only trust a powerful and esteemed mage to lead the Guild), and that over the years the title became so associated with the position that instead of Guildmasters being selected from amongst the Archmages, those that were given the position of Guildmaster were also given the title of Archmage (with the artefacts of the separation being in formal documents and statements - such as Ocato ordering the Guildmaster of Vvardenfell to step down from that position - and in resigned Guildmasters still being Archmages).

Hope I'm not being presumptuous by posting my thoughts like this.
Last edited by LordInsane on 08 Sep 2014, 02:04, edited 2 times in total.

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SamirA
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Re: Arch-Mages of the Mages' Guild

Postby SamirA » 17 Feb 2014, 18:23

You are perfectly welcome to post your thoughts. This is good insight.
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jazzon
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Re: Arch-Mages of the Mages' Guild

Postby jazzon » 19 Sep 2014, 17:38

Another take on this has to look at the fact that:
Ocato ordered the Guildmaster of VVardenfell to step down.

(emphasis added) While this says nothing DIRECTLY, it implies separate guild-masters for regions, at least on a provincial scale. In theory, if magic using population required it, a province could possibly have more than one Guild master.
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Infragris
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Re: Arch-Mages of the Mages' Guild

Postby Infragris » 19 Sep 2014, 19:31

There's some more recent discussion on this in [Faction]: The Mages Guild.

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Re: Arch-Mages of the Mages' Guild

Postby LordInsane » 20 Sep 2014, 14:09

jazzon wrote:Another take on this has to look at the fact that:
Ocato ordered the Guildmaster of VVardenfell to step down.

(emphasis added) While this says nothing DIRECTLY, it implies separate guild-masters for regions, at least on a provincial scale. In theory, if magic using population required it, a province could possibly have more than one Guild master.

Yes, that was my assumption as well as well ("of a regional division of the Guild, such as Trebonius"), though tradition and infrastructure probably plays a larger part than just the size of the magic-using population.
Infragris wrote:There's some more recent discussion on this in [Faction]: The Mages Guild.

Indeed. I would have gone there directly, but it seems posting there is restricted.

Further thoughts: Origin of the Mages Guild describes the formal leadership of the Guild as headed by a council of six Archmagisters. It doesn't actually equate the position of Archmagister with the title of Archmage, and I think there's a way to use the description of this supposed hierarchy as nothing more than a chimera to fit with both Oblivion and Daggerfall.
Origin of the Mages Guild does not indicate how the Archmagisters are chosen. Daggerfall (our sole example of Archmagister being used for a person in the Mages Guild hierarchy, unlike Origin's generic hierarchy) indicates a geographic component, but not one that necessarily follows provincial lines.
My suggestion would be that the Guildmaster of Cyrodiil is (by tradition or formal rule doesn't really matter, given the centuries-long history of the Guild) also one of the Archmagisters of the Council of Archmagisters that is supposed to head the Guild. As the one Archmagister in the Imperial City, with direct links to the Imperial administration and heading the largest division of the Guild, the Guildmaster of Cyrodiil would have such a solid base that he or she would de-facto head the Guild regardless of any formal equality. However, that base would rely on keeping the Cyrodiilic Council of Mages on your side (as they also have advantages in connecting with the Empire, were the ones to raise you to Guildmaster to begin with, and would meet you in person far more often).
This would explain why Archmage Traven seemed to be both in a position to enforce rules on the entire Guild and mostly unconcerned with the Guild outside Cyrodiil (and since the position of Archmagister of the Mages Guild would be less important than the position of Guildmaster of Cyrodiil (which would be so highly associated with the title of Arch-Mage that most everyone just uses Arch-Mage), there would be nothing wrong with Province: Cyrodiil's implementation of the Mages Guild having Arch-Mage as the top rank. Resentment of this state of affair might even help explain why it doesn't help very much in rising up the rank in other regional divisions of the Guild).


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