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"You've seen it yourself, the future belongs to us now. Old gods and new be praised."
―Aspasia, c. 422 BCE[src]

Aspasia (c. 470 BCE – c. 400 BCE) was an Athenian hetaera who became the lover and partner of Perikles and, as a result, wield considerable political influence during the early part of the Peloponnesian War. She also held the position of the Ghost of Kosmos, the leader of the Cult of Kosmos.

Biography

Life in Athens

With Perikles as the de facto ruler of Athens, Aspasia planted herself at the heart of the Athenian intellectual community. As a socialite, she actively fostered a culture of diverse thought by hosting parties and events for renowned politicians, artists, and philosophers of the age. Far from being a passive actor, she was a tantalizing speaker who contributed to this high point of Athenian philosophy with her own brilliance.[1]

Secretly operating as the Ghost of Kosmos, Aspasia became aware of the existence of Alexios and Kassandra, descendants of Leonidas. She acted in the best interests of the Cult and the Greek world by having the Pythia Praxithea sentence the infant Alexios to death. However, not all went according to plan as Kassandra was also thrown from Mount Taygetos, seemingly killing two birds with one stone.[2] He was later saved from death by the Cultist Chrysis and made into the the Cult's weapon, Deimos.[3]

At some point Aspasia understood that Deimos was impossible to be fully controlled and he gained more power and influence within the Cult. By the time of the Peloponnesian War, Deimos became de-facto leader of the Cult with the original goal soon shifted according to Deimos' ideals. Aspasia, having became disillusioned with what the Cult had become, devised various ways to bring down her order.[4]

Meeting Kassandra

In 431 BCE, Aspasia hired Phoibe, an orphan girl from Kephallonia, who told her of Kassandra, now an adult having survived the fall and after become a renowned mercenary, her friend. Being informed of Kassandra's existence, Aspasia went to great lengths to assure her coming success by going so far as cover up her acts in Megaris.[5] Having known her relation to Deimos and her lineage, Aspasia sought to make use of her skills to bring down the Cult.[4]

Perikles's Symposium - Aspasia arrives - Assassins Creed Odyssey

Aspasia enters the Symposium, turning everyone's gaze

Later in May, Aspasia officially made the acquaintance of Kassandra at one of Perikles' symposiums. She warned her not to drink wine that had been poisoned by Hermippos, saving her life and gaining her trust.[6] Noticing her debate with Sokrates, she applauded her skill. She was then joined by Phoibe, who informed her that Perikles had retired early from the symposium. Aspasia thanked the girl and dismissed her. Turning to Kassandra, Aspasia told her that her actions in Megaris did not go unnoticed and she had to cover them up. However, noticing that all the eyes in the room were affixed to them, Aspasia told the misthios to speak her piece quickly. Kassandra told Aspasia that she was looking for her mother. Kassandra told her of her leads; Hippokrates in Argos, and Anthousa in Korinthia. Aspasia then told Kassandra about an Argive woman Agathe who could help and a pirate acquaintance, Xenia. Kassandra thanked her for the intel and left to get Perikles for her.[5]

The Plague of Athens

Aspasia worried about Perikles

Aspasia worried about Perikles

During the Autumn of 429 BCE, Athens was hit with a terrible plague. Perikles became afflicted with it and was bedridden, deliriously muttering about the Parthenon. Aspasia met with Kassandra, who had just returned to Athens, having found the location of her mother. Aspasia expressed her concerns about her lover to Kassandra, revealing that his health was ailing. Saddened that he would not allow anyone to enter his chamber, she sent Kassandra in the hope that she could get through to him. During that time, Aspasia sent Phoibe to Anastasios to see about a ferry out of Athens. However, by the time that Kassandra had returned, Phoibe had not, greatly worrying both Aspasia and Kassandra. Aspasia pointed Kassandra in the direction of Anastasios' house to check on Phoibe.[7]

ACOD Athens's Last Hope - Perikles Corpse

Aspasia mourning her lover

After Kassandra left, Perikles went missing. Following his trail to the Parthenon, Aspasia was confronted by an angry Kassandra. Phoibe had been killed carrying out Aspasia's instructions. Surprised and overcome with sadness, Aspasia calmed Kassandra, saying her death was out of her hands. Putting aside her anger, Kassandra followed Aspasia inside the Parthenon, meeting Hippokrates and Sokrates inside. Just in time to see Deimos slitting her lover's throat while Aspasia cried out in anguish. After Kassandra dealt with the Cultist guards, Aspasia knelt by Perikles' discarded body and wept. Steeling herself, she realized that she needed to flee Athens and turned to Kassandra for help. Together, they fleed Athens aboard Kassandra's trireme the Adrestia. Hippokrates and Sokrates stayed behind to help the civilians and give Phoibe a proper burial.[8]

Fleeing to Naxos

Fleeing to the island of Naxos, Aspasia sailed with Kassandra to find the "Phoenix", the alias of her mother. Aspasia noted that they would find "Phoenix" in the villa in the center of town. Curious, Aspasia asked Kassandra what she would say to her mother once they were reunited. Sneaking past the Parian blockade set up by the Cultist Silanos, they landed in Naxos. Aspasia was present when Kassandra and Myrrine were finally reunited after seventeen years apart.[9] Through the following months while Kassandra caught up on current events with her mother, Aspasia withdrew into herself, overcome with grief. She was visited by Kassandra on many occasions but showed no more signs of opening up.[10]

ACOD Death and Disorder

Aspasia informing Myrrine and Kassandra about the Cult's plan

After some time, Aspasia snapped out of her depressed state and informed Myrrine about the Cult's plan to hunt her. Telling Kassandra about the Cultist elites stationed on the island, Kassandra left them to kill the elites. Returning, Kassandra delivered a scroll written in an old dialect to Aspasia. Able to translate the script, Aspasia revealed that not only was Silanos a member of the Cult, so was a Spartan king.[11] Aspasia then waited on the island while Kassandra destroyed the Parian blockade, as well as Silanos' trireme.[12][13] After Myrrine had abdicated her position as archon of Naxos to accompany her daughter back to Sparta, Aspasia volunteered herself for the position, becoming the new archon of the island.[14]

The Ghost unveiled

Kassandra: "Why not just use me? I was in the palm of your hand."
Aspasia: "You made me optimistic, that you could help me bring down the Cult that had become so corrupt. And you did, albeit unknowingly"
―Aspasia explaining her actions to Kassandra, 422 BCE.[src]-[m]

Six years later, after all the other members of the Cult had been eliminated by Kassandra. Aspasia traveled to Delphi in Phokis where she received a vision from the Cult's artifact about how her ideals would survive. When Kassandra found her, she revealed herself to the misthios, the mastermind behind everything. Initially shocked and angered, Kassandra chose not to kill her and Aspasia left Kassandra and the Cult behind.[4]

Personality and characteristics

"The powers that be in the Greek world weren't doing things the right way. The Cult just wanted a clean slate."
―Aspasia explaining the Cult's original goal to Kassandra, 422 BCE.[src]-[m]

Aspasia was considered one of the wisest women of the Greek world, considering herself a symbol of progress for Athens. But as the shadowy leader of the Cult of Kosmos, she was an ambitious and populist woman openly obsessed with the progress of humanity. Aspasia believed that the people were the true owners of the world. Aspasia was also well-versed in the art of manipulation, promising each Cultist leader that they were special and would be rewarded.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

Aspasia believed in the advancement of humanity, willing to use the Greek world's own superstitions against it in order to guide society along a desired path towards the future, with the ultimate goal of moving humanity away from the construes of the past towards a rational society. Out of mistrust or merely a desire to protect her paramour Perikles, she kept him in the dark about her plans. However, she overestimated her own capabilities; after Deimos came into his own in the Cult, he began to hold ever-increasing sway and eventually became the unofficial leader of the Cult, reducing Aspasia's role to that of a figurehead position. With the Cult following their champion's example, she watched helplessly as it became more and more violent, prolonging the Peloponnesian War rather than ending it according to her original plan. Her total loss of control culminated in the death of Perikles and the ascension of Kleon in Athens, and she was forced to retreat from public life.[4]

While Aspasia noted that people like Leonidas I of Sparta had always opposed the Cult, and that his grandson Deimos was impossible to control, she was surprised at how Kassandra was nothing like her brother, and came to believe in Kassandra's potential. She became optimistic and held hope that Kassandra could destroy the Cult that had become so corrupt, and subsequently believed they could work together to usher in a new republic, enough that she dropped her deceptions and revealed herself to Kassandra of her own volition after the final Cultist had fallen.[4]

Behind the scenes

In Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, during the final quest "A Fresh Start", the player can choose to either spare or kill Aspasia. Additionally, if the player chooses romantic dialogues, the player can kiss her, which has the same end result as sparing her.[4]

According to The Art of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, Aspasia was not merely Perikles' companion, but his wife.[23]

Gallery

Appearances

References

  1. Assassin's Creed Odyssey Characters - Aspasia Ubisoft
  2. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThe Big Break
  3. Assassin's Creed: OdysseySpeak No Evil
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyA Fresh Start
  5. 5.0 5.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyPerikles's Symposium
  6. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey novel – Chapter 7
  7. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyAbandoned By the Gods
  8. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyAthens's Last Hope
  9. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyA Mother's Prayers
  10. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Chapter 11
  11. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyDeath and Disorder
  12. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyThe Paros Blockade
  13. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyUnified Front
  14. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Chapter 12
  15. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyCult of Kosmos clues: "The Ghost's Whisper to Deimos"
  16. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyCult of Kosmos clues: "The Ghost's Whisper to Hydra"
  17. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyCult of Kosmos clues: "The Ghost's Whisper to Kleon"
  18. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyCult of Kosmos clues: "The Ghost's Whisper to Pausanias"
  19. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyCult of Kosmos clues: "The Ghost's Whisper to Exekias"
  20. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyCult of Kosmos clues: "The Ghost's Whisper to Polemon"
  21. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyCult of Kosmos clues: "The Ghost's Whisper to Iokaste"
  22. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyCult of Kosmos clues: "The Ghost's Whisper to Nyx"
  23. The Art of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Chapter 4: Attika: "Aspasia"

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