- See also: Magisterium
There is a mistaken impression outside the Tevinter Imperium that a 'magister' is simply a mage, and the mere act of being a mage is all that is required to be among the ruling class—a misperception aided, no doubt, by some Tevinter mages claiming the title outside their homeland to take advantage of its reputation. In truth, being a magister requires one hold a seat in the Magisterium, the upper house of the Imperial Senate. This is the body that makes laws, and which chooses the new Archon if there is no approved heir. The Senate's lower house, the Publicanium, consists of elected officials, but it has no true power and is considered a bureaucratic body.
Magisters, meanwhile, come from the ranks of the Circle of Magi and the Imperial Chantry, but most hold their seats by virtue of an Archon having granted it to their family long ago. It is not technically required for a magister to be a mage... indeed, after the Transfiguration that saw the Old Gods abandoned and Andrastianism embraced, most were not. Since the Towers Age, however, non-mages in the Magisterium have slowly been weeded out. A true magister is thus a figure of real power in Tevinter. All other mages serve at their pleasure, and any mage not of proper lineage has no influence outside of that which personal wealth and talent provide.
—From The Ancient North by Sister Petrine, Chantry scholar