Various entries in the Houses of Hermes books makes it clear that some of the Founders spent time recruiting wizards into the Order of Hermes.
They also make clear that Bonisagus conferred with many of the Founders to obtain information necessary to complete Hermetic Theory.
When you look at the timeline of the Order's development, from when Trianoma met Bonisagus in 731, to her traveling Europe from 731 to 767, somewhere in there she had to have met the other Founders, got them to meet Bonisagus, and each had to have time to discuss their personal magic with him, and he had to have time to integrate each and every one of those elements into his Hermetic Theory, and then he had to open each and every Founder's Arts, and then he (in my opinion) would have had to spend time on Teaching the Founders. Bonisagus thus seemed very busy (a not unreasonable situation).
When I read the descriptions of the other Founders, by and large, they seemed pretty busy, too, what with going out and recruiting into the Order or killing (or whatnot). In fact, they seemed so busy, that they would hardly have had time to spend many seasons on personal Hermetic development. It's not like there were a bunch of Summae and Tractatus sitting about on some shelves, waiting to be read. It's not like Bonisagus really had the time to do Teaching for all of them. Maybe the Founders studied from vis (supposedly there was more back in that era), but even if so, everyone one of them would have been doing it, and that, I think would have made any available stores (which would have come from who knows where) in several categories of vis go down to zero before each Founder was done studying.
Now, beyond the mere development of the Founders in Hermetic magic, here is the thing. What exactly was going on with the recruits getting yanked into the Order under threat of, "Join or die!" None of them knew Hermetic Magic. I have trouble believing they all had the Gift. For those who did have the Gift, they would all need their Arts opened, a season of time for each of them just for that. And beyond opening their Arts, what of the rest of their training? Again, there were no Summae or Tractatus lying about (or very, very few, and none of them high-level, as the Founders did not appear to have many seasons for writing out these works), and any vis stocks would have long since been used up by the Founders.
For those recruits who didn't have the gift*, what happened to them?
- In Houses of Hermes: Societates, p. 8:
"Varsus was dead before the next dawn; his allied hedge wizards capitulated and joined the Order."
Really? An entire group of hedge wizards, not one of them likely having the Gift (after all, how many hedge wizards do have the Gift), suddenly joining the Order. What did they do? Which House did they join? Ex Miscellanea didn't exist yet, and with either most or all of them unable to learn Hermetic Magic, just what happened to them? Hidden in a corner of one of the Houses, as if swept under a rug? Polite disposal? "Oh, we didn't mean you were joining our Order, we meant you were joining the order of the dead," followed by a few gouts of flame from Flambeau or death spells from Tytalus. This is just one example.
And between the Founding in 767 and 773, there are suddenly regional Tribunals being established, and the requirements for a quorum are set. Did they really have four covenants in every one of those Tribunals? Did they really have 12 magi divided up between each of those four covenants in each of the Tribunals? I doubt it. Was there some desire to create a bunch of nonfunctional political subdivisions? What for?
There seems to be some underlying assumption that the Founders yanked together a large number of recruits and got them functioning as Hermetic magi in the time allotted based on the timeline given in sufficient quantities and spread out over Europe in residence to make all the new Tribunals work just seven years after the Founding. I just don't see how it happened.
Back in the ArM2-3 days, when the early history of the Order was a fog, my own development work led me to believe that it would have taken a while to train up sufficient new magi to even get to Tremere's rise to dominance in the years that led up to the Sundering. I had Tremere attempting to set up the regional Tribunals with Grand Tribunal dominance as a part of his move to take over, but he hadn't quite managed to finish his work when the Sundering struck. After the Sundering, the Tribunals were divided and a revised format of Grand Tribunal ratified as a furtherance of an new vision to stop anyone like Tremere from attempting to take over again.
When I found out in ArM5 that the Tribunal divisions occurred in 773 (which was now called the second Grand Tribunal), I was, in a phrase, taken aback.