Black Robe is the highest level of mage in the Tortallan Universe. There were only seven in the world in the 400s HE. During the 200s HE, there were twelve. The studies regarding black robe mages were more theoretical than practical. A well known black robe mage was Numair Salmalín.
Robes in other colors signified a lower level of magecraft, e.g. scarlet robes stood for mastery while yellow robes were worn by adepts.
Process of Becoming a Black Robe
One can become a black robe mage, or be acclaimed as one, by three university schools for mages: the one in Carthak, the one in Corus, and the one at City of the Gods. Mages of red robe and black robe rank recommend a candidate for black robe status, and the candidate's worthiness is debated in closed sessions, and by letter, mirror, or crystal, with the other two Academies and qualified mages who are on the road. A 3/4 majority decision of the qualified mages in the Eastern and Southern Lands must be reached. These discussions are held in utmost secrecy; all parties to them are sworn to silence. They may not break that vow until a Black Robe Mage is named.