This may have come up before but has anyone ever soused out an educated guess on how many Hermetic Magi there have ever been.
The Order started with the founders and has grown to about 1200 in a few centuries. But was that steady growth or did the numbers swell initially until it reached a stable size.
There was some heavy discussion of this some time ago. I believe the consensus was that the growth was uneven. The twelve founders soon recruited other magi (some more than others), so that initially the Order swelled rapidly. This rapid growth sputtered out as wizards joined or died. There followed a period of steady growth, more or less evenly until the Schism War. That war was catastrophic. Before the schism war the Order was perhaps as large as it is today; it has taken it about two centuries to recuperate. Since the war, there have been steady growth again, but this is likely tapering down too now. Whether the Order will grow further primarily depends on how common are Gifted children; presumably, the Order has reached or will soon reach its apex and further growth is impossible as magi are already "harvesting" nearly all available apprentices.
I'm not sure what these assumptions/conclusions imply about the Order's overall population. I'd say that something like ~4000 magi over all of its history sounds about right.
Here's something with the post schism order...
The schism destroyed a lot of magi, House Diedne was as large as all the other Houses combined, and was wiped out, and then there were a lot of casualties on the winning side, too...