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"Find them, kill them. In doing so, you will sow the seeds of peace."
―Al Mualim conversing about assassination targets with Altaïr, 1191.[src]-[m]

Ezio Auditore da Firenze assassinating a target

Assassination is the killing by sudden or secret attacks, often for political reasons or revenge.[1] Over the centuries, political organizations like the Templar Order and most prominently the Assassin Brotherhood, have carried out innumerable assassinations of their enemies to advance their causes.

Background

The term assassination comes from the word assassin, which in turn comes from the Arabic word for "Hash-Smokers". Historian Shaun Hastings argued that the Hidden Ones adopted the later name of Assassins as a mark of pride.[2] Both incarnations used contracts to outline targets, explain the reasoning for their targeting and even to specify manner of death at times.[3][4][5]

Though precise in their methods, both sides of the Assassin-Templar War did not complete assassinations at times, due to choice or circumstance. For example, Louisiana Assassin Aveline de Grandpré spared the life of Antonio de Ulloa[6] and Colonial Templar Shay Cormac would intercept Assassin contracts and prevent them from accomplishing their tasks.[7] Italian Assassin Ezio Auditore prevented Templars from killing high profile people such as astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus[8] and then-prince Suleiman I.[9]

Assassination techniques

Hidden Blade

Altaïr's codex on Hidden Blade assassinations

The first recorded use of the Hidden Blade was dated from the 5th century BCE, when Darius used it to assassinate King Xerxes I in Persia.[10] Centuries later, his hidden blade was given to Aya by Cleopatra to aid in their quest to take down the Order of the Ancients. Aya would gift it to her husband, Bayek,[11] who would first use it against Eudoros, a member of the Order.[12] The use of the Hidden Blade would come to define both the Hidden Ones and their later incarnation, so great was their usage.[13]

Levantine Assassins Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad and Malik Al-Sayf worked to improve the methods of assassination using the Blade, three of which Altaïr documented in his codex: "from on high, from ledges, and from hiding places". These would later be dubbed "air assassinations"[14] "ledge assassinations" and "hidden assassinations".[15] Altaïr himself described these methods as basic, though critical.[13] In the same codex page, he introduced another improvement: the addition of a second identical Hidden Blade for the Assassins that needed to dispatch two targets at once.[13] This method was called a "double assassination".[16] All of these were taught to Assassin recruits[17] and became recognizable to Templars.[15]

Poison

A slower method of assassination, but still widely used, was poisoning, which allowed elimination of targets without the use of force.[18] Babylonian assassin Iltani used poison against Alexander the Great in her quest to retrieve his Staff of Eden[19] and Hidden One Amunet gave Cleopatra a vial of poison she used for her suicide.[20]

Altaïr's codex on poisons

At some point before 1191, the use of poison was forbidden among the Levantine Brotherhood, and it was not before Altaïr became a mentor that the prohibition was lifted.[21] In his codex, Altaïr reserved a section for instruction on how to construct an alteration to the Hidden Blade that allowed poisoning of targets, as well as instructions on how to distill the poison.[22]

Poison also allows for many different approaches in an assassination. The method used in Margaret of York's death, for example, was to separate the compounds of the poison into harmless ingredients which were admnistered through her food, makeup and pillow.[23] Queen Isabella I of Castile was slowly poisoned through her food until she succumbed.[24][25] Black Cross Albert Bolden used a Templar pin with two types of poison, one that killed instantly and another that took one hour for its effect to take hold.[26]

The Assassins and Templars made ample use of poison darts in their arsenal, regardless of the method of delivery: Aveline de Grandpré used both a blowpipe[27] and a modified parasol,[28] Colonial Templar Shay Cormac used an air rifle,[29] French Assassin Arno Dorian used the Phantom Blade[30] and the Frye twins used their Assassin Gauntlets.[31]

High-profile assassinations

Italian Assassin Domenico Auditore built a sanctuary beneath his villa at Monteriggioni and included seven statues to honor the memory of the Assassins "who guarded the freedom of humanity when it was most threatened". These were the statues of Qulan Gal, Darius, Wei Yu, Amunet, Iltani and Leonius; who were thought of having performed high profile assassinations, and Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. Accompanying the statues were seals engraved with the famed weapons. [32] Though neither Qulan Gal nor Amunet were directly responsible for the assassinations of Genghis Khan and Cleopatra (respectively), they were involved in their deaths.[33][20]

  • Qulan Gal assassinated Genghis Khan with a bow and arrow.
  • Darius assassinated Xerxes I with a Hidden Blade.
  • Wei Yu assassinated Qin Shi Huang with a spear.
  • Amunet assassinated Cleopatra with an asp.
  • Iltani assassinated Alexander the Great with poison.
  • Leonius assassinated Caligula with a dagger.

Other notable assassinations were the assassination of Julius Caesar engineered by the Hidden Ones,[34] the assassination of Cesare Borgia by Ezio Auditore[35] and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.[36]

References

  1. Merriam-Webster dictionary. Assassination.
  2. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaShaun's notes – The Hidden Ones
  3. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaA Brief History of the Hidden Ones
  4. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaLayla Hassan's personal files – Files: "Session Report: SHastings"
  5. Assassin's Creed IV: Black FlagOverrun and Outnumbered
  6. Assassin's Creed III: LiberationA Governor No More
  7. Assassin's Creed: RogueAssassin Interception (Scott Lawson)
  8. Assassin's Creed IICopernicus Conspiracy
  9. Assassin's Creed: RevelationsThe Prince's Banquet
  10. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade
  11. Assassin's Creed: OriginsAya
  12. Assassin's Creed: OriginsEnd of the Snake
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Assassin's Creed IIAltaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's Codex: Page 13
  14. Assassin's Creed: Unity companion app – Les Invalides: You'll Pay For This
  15. 15.0 15.1 Assassin's Creed IV: Black FlagMister Walpole, I Presume?
  16. Assassin's Creed II
  17. Assassin's Creed: RogueLessons and Revelations
  18. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: IndiaDatabase: Iltani's Story 2
  19. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: IndiaDatabase: Iltani's Story 5
  20. 20.0 20.1 Assassin's Creed: Origins (comic)Issue #04
  21. Assassin's Creed II – Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's Codex: Page 6
  22. Assassin's Creed II – Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's Codex: Page 21
  23. Assassin's Creed: Project LegacyContracts: London, England
  24. Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy – Contracts: Barcelona, Spain
  25. Assassin's Creed: InitiatesDatabase: Ending Isabella
  26. Assassin's Creed: TemplarsIssue #03
  27. Assassin's Creed III: LiberationThe False Mackandal
  28. Assassin's Creed III: LiberationPrélude to Rebellion
  29. Assassin's Creed: RogueBy Invitation Only
  30. Assassin's Creed: UnityThe Kingdom of Beggars
  31. Assassin's Creed: SyndicateCable News
  32. Assassin's Creed IIA Change of Plans
  33. Assassin's Creed: ReflectionsIssue #02
  34. Assassin's Creed: OriginsFall of an Empire, Rise of Another
  35. Assassin's Creed: BrotherhoodPax Romana
  36. Assassin's Creed: Bloodstone
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