Indeed, the old man - presumably the visiting scholar Thom Morton - straightens up at the podium and clears his throat.
"Ahem. Hello, welcome to, ah, this discussion - or, ah, lecture - on the Mana Crisis. If everyone could, please, quiet down?"
He sweeps his gaze over the class as everyone settles down. After a moment of silence, aside from the shuffling of papers, he continues.
"Right. Well, best start at the beginning," he mutters, "As I am sure most of you know, the Mana Crisis began when the Mana Seal was broken, at the end of the last age - which we now call, the Sealed Age, or Sealed Era. Well, I say it began then, but the disaster most associated with the Crisis - the Mana Sickness - did not begin appearing more than, ah, sporadically, until perhaps ten years after the Seal was broken. We will not be covering the Sickness right away, instead I will be taking this time to speak of the societal collapse caused by the sudden introduction of magic to a previously magicless world..."
The lecture is fairly informative. The man speaks more of the experiences of the common people during that tumultuous time than of the collapse of nations and such, in many cases sounding as though he experienced it himself. Despite pausing to peer down at his notes every so often, the lecture portion is well worded and engaging.
Apparently most communities either banded tightly together or collapsed - in the face of witch hunts, in some cases, or forced recruiting, in many others. The first ten years after the Seal broke many nations fell to civil war, while many others warred with each other. Conscription of any who showed any sign of controlling their mana was common. It wasn't until roughly twenty years after the sickness had run its course that ancient compendiums began to be found in ruins all over the world, eventually leading to safe, structured high tier magic being used by more than just Complex Artefact users and those they taught.
With fifteen minutes to spare before the end of the lecture period, he stops to answer questions. One boy - looks to be in his mid-teens - raises an arm to catch his attention.
"You were alive during the Crisis, right? Do you have any idea how the Seal was broken?"
He clears his throat nervously, "Ah, no, no one knows how it happened. It's, generally assumed, that the ancients left some way to break the Seal, but no one knows how it was done - no, not even I."