The Imperial Chantry is a denomination of the Chantry centered in the Tevinter Imperium. The Imperial Chantry does not recognize the Divine of the Chantry of Andraste in Orlais, but elects its own Imperial Divine—sometimes called the "Black Divine" by the Southern Chantry. This "Black Divine" is known to reside in the Argent Spire in Minrathous, therefore it can be assumed that this is where the Imperial Chantry's headquarters are located.
In contrast to the Andrastian Chantry, the Imperial Chantry allows male priests and has more tolerant views of mages and magic. The Imperial Divine is also one of the Enchanters of the Minrathous Circle.
History[edit | edit source]
When Emperor Kordillus Drakon anointed Divine Justinia I as the head of the Andrastian Chantry, it upset the Tevinter, who had established their own Chantry with a male leader long before Orlais was ever unified, believing their country to be the Holy Land, as Andraste had lived and died there.
As mages form the ruling class of Tevinter, magic is a valued trait there. Along the upper class, it is prized and even nurtured through selective breeding. Commoners view magic as a gift that may manifest in anyone's bloodline as an admission ticket to the upper classes. Mages are respected across all social classes far more than in other countries.
Thus, the Chantry was never able to fully defeat the magister lords of the Tevinter Imperium: Despite accepting the Chantry's laws and teachings and surrendering to the Circle of Magi, they did so on their own terms. As a result, the mages of Tevinter retained much influence and power even under Chantry control.
In an effort to appease the Orlesian Chantry, the Imperial Divine's role was reduced to a ceremonial position and authority over the faith was transferred to the grand clerics within the Imperium.
The Tevinter Grand Clerics made multiple requests for recognition by the Orlesian Chantry but were rebuffed every time on the theological grounds that, the Imperial Chantry admitted men into the priesthood and all men were judged by Maferath's betrayal. At the time, the presence of multiple mages within the ranks of the Tevinter clergy was unknown to their Orlesian counterparts.
The Orlesian chantry continued to struggle in spreading and preserving its influence within the Tevinter Imperium. This was further exacerbated when, after the Third Blight, the Orlesian Chantry began promoting the story that it was the ancient magisters who caused the Blights. The Chantry's mistrust for magic conflicted with the native Tevinter culture, which still viewed magic as a mark of honor.
The greatest source of conflict ultimately arose from the second verse of Canticle of Transfigurations in the Chant of Light, "magic exists to serve man, and never to rule over him," which was subject to a very different interpretation in Tevinter. The Tevinter Grand Clerics felt that this commandment, meant that magic must serve the greater good and not be used to control the minds of others. They believed that this could best be accomplished by freeing the Magi to take part in government. The Chantry in Orlais condemned this as a wicked distortion and demanded that they revert to the original version of the Chant. Tevinter refused, claiming corruption within Val Royeaux.
The schism finally occurred in 3:87 Towers, when Tevinter broke from the Orlesian Chantry entirely and the Imperial Chantry was formed. Tevinter placed Valhail, a male member of their Circle of Magi, as the head of their Chantry. The Imperial Divine (also known as the Black Divine) declared a celebration when the Divine Joyous II died. The new White Divine named the next age the "Black Age" in reference to the 'Black Divine' and the perceived corruption in Tevinter and ordered an Exalted March against the Tevinter Imperium.
There were four Marches in total as the Andrastian Chantry amassed armies and proceeded to invade the Imperium. However, Tevinter withstood all attempted invasions. All four Marches failed to take the capital city of Minrathous or force the Imperial Chantry to surrender. With their mages free from Chantry shackles, the Imperium unleashed its full magical might against its invaders. This, combined with the aid of foreign mages seeking refuge in Tevinter, caused massive casualties among the White Divine's forces. The Exalted Marches only came to an end with the outbreak of the Fourth Blight; Tevinter correspondingly refused to aid the Anderfels and Free Marches against the darkspawn in retaliation for the Exalted Marches.
The unsuccessful Exalted Marches ensured the divide between Val Royeaux and Minrathous could never be bridged. After the Orlesian retreat, Tevinter officially separated and established their own teachings. To this day the White and Black Divines both refuse to recognize the legitimacy and authority of the other. The only cooperation between them has been during the Blights and the New Exalted Marches against the Qunari.
Teachings[edit | edit source]
The principal teaching of the Imperial Chantry (and the one which led to the schism with the Andrastian Chantry), is their interpretation of the words, "magic exists to serve man, and never to rule over him." The magisters interpret this to mean that magic must serve the greater good, which they claim to be accomplished through the rule of the magisters. The Tevinter priests altered the Chant to reflect that magic must be used in the service of all mankind for their prosperity and condemned the Chantry in Orlais. This allowed the magisters to reclaim their ancient authority and once again rule the Imperium. Meanwhile, the Chantry in Orlais remains firm in its belief that Magi are untrustworthy and should be controlled. Both Chantries condemn each other about their views on magic.
While the Chantry of Orlais believes that Andraste was divine, and was taken up to stand beside the Maker when she died, the Imperial Chantry maintains she was just a mortal prophet with considerable magical talent, even if she is a symbol of hope. While the Imperial Chantry still respects and honors Andraste considerably, they forbid the worship of her that is practiced in the Orlesian Chantry and instead focus only on worshiping the Maker.
While the Andrastian Chantry blames mortal pride for the Second Sin, and the subsequent creation of the darkspawn and the start of the First Blight, by contrast the Imperial Chantry identifies the main culprit for the blackening of the Golden City and the corruption of mankind as the lies of the Old Gods, not mortal pride.
In the Chantry of Val Royeaux, only women may become revered mothers, Grand Clerics and Divine; men are only ordained as brothers. In the Imperial Chantry men have access to all levels of rank in the Tevinter Imperium. In fact, the first appointed Black Divine was both a man and a powerful mage. This was the ultimate sacrilege to the followers of the White Divine. Nearly all priests in the Imperium marry, and work in the clergy tends to run in families.
Although all Chantries in Thedas have an Eternal Flame which is kept burning by magic, in the Imperium the day a spell is cast to renew it is a religious holiday. Magic is openly performed in the Imperial Chantry during all services.
There is an additional feast day for the "Visitations", celebrating the purported appearance of Blessed Andraste in dreams to Tevinter mages as she crossed through the Fade.
The anniversary of the death of Archon Hessarian is also a religious holiday. He is considered the most important of Andraste's disciples and is more revered in Tevinter than elsewhere in Thedas, much like Kordillus Drakon I is revered in Orlais.
The Imperial Templar Order[edit | edit source]
Mages in the Tevinter Circle of Magi are controlled by high-ranking magisters instead of the Imperium's templars. Since the restoration of the magocracy, the Imperial Templar Order falls under the authority of the magisters and thereby the Circle of Magi. Lord Seeker Lambert van Reeves claimed that the Order has no real power in Tevinter. In effect, this has reduced the templars' main function to merely enforcing Imperial law.
In special cases, unique mages known as "justicars" step in and take over for the investigating templars. Tevinter mages can make a case "special" to the justicars with the right bribe. Imperial templars prefer to consult their cases without being "walked over" by a justicar.
While Imperial templars may still intervene if a mage uses forbidden magics, and they retain the Right of Annulment at their disposal, they usually only act against mages who are weak or have fallen out of favor with the magisters. Notably, Tevinter does not consider the moderate use of blood magic inherently dangerous or forbidden, so long as it is restricted to the use of one's own blood or that of a willing participant. That level of blood magic can only garner so much power, however, and Tevinter mages always seek more. The line is crossed when mages start using sacrifices and demon summoning, and presumably any mage of rank does the forbidden kind behind closed doors while the others are quietly shut out of power or have the templars sent after them.
The majority of Imperial templars lack the ability to counter magic and are primarily utilised as soldiers. In fact, modern Tevinter mages invariably find themselves completely bewildered upon witnessing their magic nullified by non-Imperial templars, having never previously encountered such an ability within their homeland.
Another key difference between the Imperial templars and their southern counterparts is that there is no Tevinter equivalent for the Seekers of Truth, which provides oversight for both templars and mages throughout the rest of Thedas. Few, if any, Tevinter citizens are even aware that the Seekers of Truth exist or of the differences between Seekers and templars.
Codex entries[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Mages of the Imperial Chantry believe blood magic was first learned from ancient elves of Elvhenan, rather than the Old Gods. There is not enough evidence to determine whether this is true or not, however.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 125
- Mentioned in dialogue with Dorian Pavus.
- Based on the Imperial Reinforced Gloves description.
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 88
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 124
- Codex entry: In Hushed Whispers
- Prima Official Game Guide: DAO Collector's Edition.
- David Gaider. Why don't mages go to Tevinter?. Bioware Social Network. Retrieved July 19, 2015
- Based on dialogue with Fenris.
- Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights, The Streets of Minrathous
- Dragon Age: Inquisition- Sexy and Talented Dorian Joins! (First Conversation) + Flirt. YouTube.
- Based on Cullen Rutherford's report after completing the War table mission The Tevinter Resistance.
- Mentioned in dialogue between Cassandra Pentaghast and Dorian Pavus.
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 36