—Canticle of Silence 3:18”
The Archon, officially the Imperial Archon, is the mage-ruler of the Tevinter Imperium. The position is usually inherited, whether through blood relation or apprenticeship of the previous Archon, but the Magisterium, the legislative body of Tevinter, has the power to elect the Archon should the need arise. Most notably, this is done in the event that an Archon passes without an appointed heir.
One third of the Archons throughout history have been Laetans. Archon Tidarion was the first Laetan to become Archon, and the outrage that this caused among the Magisterium led to a civil war that lasted over seventy years. The magisters believed that magic was a favor of the Old Gods rather than an accident of birth, and refused to acknowledge the mage underclass of elves and newly liberated foreigners. The civil war was only ended in -620 Ancient when Archon Parthenius, former high priest of Dumat, finally admitted the Laetans to the temples and gave them three seats in the Magisterium.
Archons are technically part of the magisters and used to be elected from the ranks of the Magisterium but since the Black Age this practice changed and no member of the Imperial Chantry or a magister can become an Archon.
The seal of the Archon is a hooded ferryman.
Archons technically have the power to overrule laws passed by the Magisterium, but this power is exercised rarely. The Archon's most coveted power is the ability to appoint new magisters, so the ruling families actively vie for his or her favour.
In chronological order:
- Thalsian – first of the magisters; he claimed to have contacted the Old God Dumat, and to have learned blood magic from him; according to Tevinter, he was made honorary Archon by Darinius after the formation of the Magisterium According to Chantry texts, the power he gained from blood magic allowed him to establish an empire under his rule
- Darinius – the first historically noted Archon, who united the human tribes under the Tevinter Imperium and ruled it from its inception in -1195 Ancient to -1180 Ancient; he sealed a covenant between Tevinter and the ancient dwarven empire, traveling underground to meet with their leader Endrin Stonehammer; he was the first owner of the Imperium Rings, which were given to him by the dwarves
- Thalasian – known as "The Destroyer", he declared war against Arlathan in -998 Ancient (197 TE) and destroyed the city together with his blood mages in -975 Ancient (220 TE)
- Almadrius – reigned from -760 Ancient to -692 Ancient; he built himself a palace in the Eyes of Nocen; after his reign ended in violence, Tidarion, his successor, converted the palace into a garrison for his troops
- Tidarion – successor of Almadrius, ruled from -692 Ancient to -640 Ancient; he is most notable for being the first Archon from the Laetan class; he spent his entire reign fighting a civil war which ultimately led to him dying on the battlefield
- Vanarius Issar – was almost assassinated by an elven slave; he chose Emerius as the new capital of the slave trade following his daughter's marriage to Magister Emerius Krayvan's son;
- Parthenius – began his rule in -620 Ancient, ending the Civil War; he was a former high priest of Dumat; he admitted Laetans into the temples and gave them three seats in the magisterium to end the civil war
- Valerius – predecessor and father of Hessarian; when his consort and advisor, Eleni Zinovia, prophesied his downfall, he cursed her by trapping her spirit in a stone statue; the prophecy came true, and Valerius was killed and his fortress destroyed
- Hessarian – known as "The Redeemed"; he ruled in the days of Andraste, who was betrayed to his forces by her husband Maferath; he is said to have repented as he watched Andraste burn and heard the Maker speak to him, and killed her himself with a sword to end her suffering; he then converted Tevinter to the cult of the Maker, though it is highly debated among scholars whether he truly came to believe in Andraste and her religion, or was simply bowing to political pressure as a result of the Exalted March against the Tevinter Imperium; he died in his sleep in -125 Ancient;  the Canticle of Silence, considered a Dissonant Verse in the southern Chantry, is attributed to him, as is the Canticle of Erudition, which is still sung in the Chantry today
- Therion – in 2:2 Glory he gifted a replica of the Blade of Mercy to his general and is known to have been the first Archon to do so
- Vespasian – reigned circa 2:99 Glory; he was assassinated on the same day that the Grand Cathedral in Orlais was completed; he was succeeded by Hadarius
- Hadarius – succeeded Archon Vespasian after he was assassinated; Hadarius was himself assassinated after finding out that his Magister's Shield did not protect him from poison as well as it did other things; a Ring of the Ferryman bearing his name surfaced in Kirkwall in 9:34 Dragon, though whether it was Hadarius' or a forgery is unknown
- Nomaran – elected in 7:34 Storm "directly from the ranks of the enchanters;" his rise saw mages regain open political power in Tevinter, and was therefore condemned as "a return to the days of the magisters" by those outside Tevinter, though the people of Tevinter itself, are said to have greeted his election with "great applause"
- Davan – predecessor to Radonis; he granted Aurelian Titus a seat in the Magisterium and was eventually assassinated in 9:29 Dragon
- Radonis – succeeded Davan in 9:29 and was still the reigning Archon of Tevinter as of 9:41 Dragon; after the events that occurred at the Winter Palace, he was quick to offer an alliance to the Inquisition; Josephine Montilyet describes him as cunning, politically well-versed and a powerful mage... who, allegedly, has a soft spot for cats
Archons not placed in chronology
- Ishal – ordered the construction of the Tower of Ishal at Ostagar sometime in the Ancient Age
- Lovias – forged two rings to simultaneously command the physical realm and the Fade; he authored the Chant of Lovias, a rare arcane text that was nearly lost; he was paranoid ruler and held the throne up to the age of 89–when he choked on a fishbone
- Codex entry: Archons of the Imperium
- Codex entry: The Life Drinker
- Codex entry: The Magister's Shield
- Codex entry: Ring of the Ferryman