Lore:Hannibal Traven

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Arch-Mage Hannibal Traven
OB-npc-Hannibal Traven.jpg
Arch-Mage Hannibal Traven
Race Breton Gender Male
Died 3E 433
Appears in Oblivion

Hannibal Traven was the Arch-Mage of the Mages Guild at the end of the Third Era. He was a staunch opponent of necromancy and was responsible for several poorly-implemented guild reforms.

Originally, Professor Traven was the head of the Anvil Mages Guild, and supposedly ran a "clean hall". He was promoted to the position of Arch-Mage circa 3E 431.[1] Among his controversial reforms were a tightening on admission to the Arcane University and an outright ban on the practice of necromancy by guild mages. Traven's divisive stance on necromancy had many strong supporters even outside the guild, although it caused a large degree of internal fracturing. Half the Council of Mages resigned, and Magister Ulliceta gra-Kogg of Orsinium was forced to flee following her attempted arrest by the Knights of the Lamp for practicing necromancy. Traven would go on to publish The Black Arts On Trial, to document the debate between gra-Kogg and Magister Voth Karlyss of Corinth.[2]

In 3E 433, coinciding with Traven's policy change, Mannimarco returned to the affairs of mortals. With necromancers now shunned from the Mages Guild, many flocked to join the Order of the Black Worm. Mannimarco's followers were soon openly attacking the guild, going so far as to burn down the Bruma guildhall. As Traven struggled to control the Council of Mages, he turned to the Champion of Cyrodiil for help in investigating and delaying Mannimarco's plans. Traven had the Champion secure both the Necromancer's Amulet and the Bloodworm Helm, as well as a unique colossal black soul gem the necromancers had created. In a final effort to save the guild, Traven sacrificed himself by trapping his soul within the colossal gem to allow the Champion to confront Mannimarco. With the filled gem, the Champion was shielded from Mannimarco's powerful magic and was able to defeat him in Echo Cave. Traven's final act as Arch-Mage was to appoint the Champion as his successor.[3]

Although Traven's sacrifice saved the Mages Guild from destruction at the hands of the Order of the Black Worm, the institute was not able to survive the strong anti-magic sentiment that arose in the early Fourth Era following the Oblivion Crisis. The Synod and the College of Whispers formed following the guild's dissolution.[4] Given that Traven was soul trapped, it is likely that his soul was sent to the Soul Cairn in death.[5] Before his defeat, Mannimarco revealed that he had planned to reanimate Traven as a Worm Thrall for study.[3]


  1. ^ Imperial Charter of the Guild of Mages
  2. ^ The Black Arts On TrialHannibal Traven, Archmagister of the Mages Guild
  3. ^ a b Events of Oblivion
  4. ^ The Infernal City — Gregory Keyes
  5. ^ Events of Dawnguard