The Mages Guild is a guild dedicated to the collection, preservation, and distribution of magical knowledge with an emphasis on ensuring that all citizens of Tamriel benefit from this knowledge. Members of the Guild receive many benefits, including training, services, and education in the established laws regarding the proper use of magic. There are small guild halls in all of the cities in Cyrodiil. But the Guild's main building, the Arcane University, is located in Imperial City. In Skyrim, the equivalent of the Mages Guild is the College of Winterhold. The guild is lead by an Arch-Mage and guided by the Council of Mages.
- Mages Guild (Arena)
- Mages Guild (Daggerfall)
- Mages Guild (Redguard)
- Mages Guild (Morrowind)
- Mages Guild (Oblivion)
- Mages Guild (Online)
Vanus Galerion, a Psijic of Artaeum and student of the famed Iachesis, began organizing users of magic from around Summerset Isle at the urban city of Firsthold. At the time, this gathering and conduction of magical experiments in populated areas was considered unacceptable. Even more shocking, Galerion proposed to make magical items, potions, and even spells available to any member of the general public who could afford to pay.
Galerion was brought before Iachesis and the King of Firsthold, Rilis XII, and made to state the intentions of the fraternity he was forming. Although it's not recorded what he said to convince them, the charter was approved, and the Mages Guild was born.
Like a tree from an acorn, the Mages Guild grew branches all over Summerset Isle and gradually the mainland of Tamriel. Although initially the Guild was rejected in some areas of Tamriel, eventually it was accepted and became a powerful force in Tamriel. There have been only a few rare incidents of the Mages Guild actually becoming involved in local political struggles. On these occasions, the Guild's participation has been the ultimate decider in the conflict.
As begun by Vanus Galerion, the Mages Guild as an institution is presided over by a supreme council of six Arch-Mages, with subsequent masters over certain Areas, creating a pseudo-bureaucracy. One need not be a member of the Mages Guild to know that this carefully contrived hierarchy is often nothing more than a chimera. As Vanus Galerion himself said bitterly, leaving Tamriel to travel to other lands, "The Guild has become nothing more than an intricate morass of political infighting."
Multiple Mages Guild headquarters existed in the Second and Third eras in the Glenumbra and Stormhaven regions surrounding Illiac Bay, along with guildhalls in Rivenspire and Bangkorai during the Second. A Mages Guild was also established in the Second Orsinium under the orders of King Kurog, who sought to have magical studies integrated as part of Orcish education.
During Forbear High King Fahara'jad's rule in 2E 582, the Mages Guild had headquarters in Sentinel, Hallin's Stand, Belkarth, Bergama, and Kozanset. The Guild came fairly late in the Crown-supporting areas compared to other provinces, the one in Stros M'kai being set up in only 2E 660. According to Cyrus, the traditional Redguards had a dislike against magic due to the historic conflict with the Left-handed Elves.
There is a Mages Guild in Morrowind, lead by Arch-Mage Trebonius Artorius. Mages Guild chapters are "established in Guild-owned, free-standing guildhalls in the towns of Ald'ruhn, Balmora, and Caldera," with additional guildhalls existing in Vivec City and Wolverine Hall in Sadrith Mora." The most notable event from this province was the discovery of the reason for the Dwemer's disappearance.A mages guild existed at one point in Gnisis, but was later abandoned for reasons unknown. They also are often in conflict with the other Magic-users of Vvardenfell, House Telvanni. It also appears that the Guild was responsible for the education of the population of Vvardenfell, as seen in Ilmeni Dren's Literacy Campaign.
In Cyrodiil, the heart of the Empire, the Mages Guild is headed by the Arcane University. With exclusive and selective membership, the University is a place of learning for mages both experienced and not. The Council of Mages, centered by the Arch-Mage, leads the Arcane University. Each city in Cyrodiil, excluding Kvatch, hosts a guildhall of Mages. Each city specializes in a specific School of Magicka.
- Cheydinhal – Alteration
- Chorrol – Conjuration
- Skingrad – Destruction
- Bravil – Illusion
- Leyawiin – Mysticism
- Anvil – Restoration
Entrance into the Arcane University requires associates of the guild to receive recommendations from the leader of each guild hall. In 3E 431, Arch-Mage Hannibal Traven instated a highly controversial ban on Necromancy, which inevitably lead to the returned presence of Mannimarco, King of Worms. The guild was dismantled sometime after the Oblivion Crisis. Members of the guild split into the College of Whispers and The Synod.
In 2E 582, there were Mages Guildhalls present in Riften, Nimalten, Shor's Stone, Windhelm, and Fort Amol. As of the Fourth Era, no official Mages Guild exists in Skyrim, although the College of Winterhold is begrudgingly considered its counterpart. Led by an Arch-Mage and a Master-Wizard, the guild accepts new students based on spell-casting merit, which must be demonstrated upon entrance into the college. The guild holds a fluid stance on the practice of necromancy, unlike the Arcane University, although its practice is considered taboo outside of the college. The College dates back to the Second Era, and sometime during the institution's history, it acquired the Ysmir Collective, a library dating more than 700 years. After Morrowind was invaded by the Argonians and the Red Mountain erupted, several Dunmer refugees emerged at the college. Sometime there after, a cataclysmic event known as the Great Collapse destroyed Winterhold, the city surrounding it. Many speculate aftershock from Red Mountain's eruption caused the event, while most blame the mages of the college, causing much discord between the citizens of Skyrim which persists even into the age of the Dragon Crisis.
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Shadowkey
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- Mages Guild Charter
- Origin of the Mages Guild
- Events of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- Events of The Elder Scrolls Online
- Events of The Elder Scrolls Online: Orsinium
- Dialogue of Falicia
- Events of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Four Suitors of Benitah
- Mages Guild Charter
- Events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- Events of An Elder Scrolls Novel: Lord of Souls
- Events of An Elder Scrolls Novel: The Infernal City
- Events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Skyrim
- On the Great Collapse