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The Arcanamirium was established by the Arclords of Nex not long after they had formed a power block to fill the void left by their departed lord Nex. In the centuries since, it has become a mainstay of the city's Wise Quarter and one of the most influential non-governmental bodies in all of Absalom.
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The school is overseen by the first spell lord, an appointed official who handles all questions of magic within Absalom and its holdings. A strict hierarchy within the student body ensures that pupils are not only divided by ability and experience, but that apprentices serve journeymen in their efforts to learn as well as pay the often steep tuition. Every tenured teaching spellcaster employed by the school is allowed to sponsor one student each year. These students are given basic living quarters and secondhand equipment, but they receive their education free of charge. Similarly, traveling members of the school faculty have been known to pay (up front) for the education of a particularly promising student found abroad. Lord Gyr currently holds the title of First Spell Lord.
Admission to the Arcanamirium is a multistep process beginning with an annual open exam. Applicants journey from all across Golarion to partake in this test, which not only proves their mettle as an arcanist, but also ranks them as an apprentice, journeyman, maven or an esteemed arcanscenti. Occasionally Arcanamirium docents travel to other cities to scout for arcane talent to recruit to the school, but regardless of how one gains entry into the university, magical talent is an absolute requirement.
Unlike many comparable arcane institutions, the Arcanamirium promotes universal study over specialization, shying further from the schools of illusion and necromancy than the other demesnes. Any form of magic is also encouraged, and students who have the inclination are supported in mixing magic with martial skills, stealth, divine rituals, and even mundane talents, resulting in a student body well-versed in “practical magic,” the ability to use spells and magic tools to accomplish direct, measurable results in the material world.