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"May the Father of Understanding guide you."
―Masun, writing the Templar blessing to a Masyaf basket weaver, 1191 CE.[src]-[m]

The Father of Understanding is a title originating in the Isu Era. Originally part of a triad of titles alongside the Mother of Wisdom and the Sacred Voice, the secretive religious cabal known as the Order of the Ancients took these titles and its holders as divine beings to worship until being reformed into the Templar Order. Thereafter, the "Father of Understanding" became a subject often mentioned in reverence by Templars, particularly during ritual ceremonies, blessings, or as a form of greeting to one another.

Symbolism and reverence

It is unknown what the title symbolized in the Isu Era. Following the Great Catastrophe,[1] the titles of the Father of Understanding, the Mother of Wisdom, and the Sacred Voice were adopted as a trinity of deities by the Order of the Ancients,[2] who strictly revered them as divine beings in secluded Temples throughout the world. [citation needed] It was not until the rise of an early incarnation of the Templar Order, founded by King Alfred the Great of Wessex, that this trinitarian practice was abolished for being regarded as "pagan blasphemies".[2]

By the time the Templar Order became a public monastic order, only reverence for the Father of Understanding remained. In addition to its religious significance,[2] the title also came to allude to the principle of order that the Templars embraced. As part of Templar dogma, it not only served as a reverence for a divine supreme being, but also as the "divinely given" logic the Templars appealed to in their ambition to shepherd and transform the world and humanity as a whole into an eternally peaceful utopia which would blossom and advance under their secluded leadership.[3]

History

Isu Era

On the 24th day of 2161 Isu Era, Samael, an Isu official tasked with the preparatory work for Project Anthropos as ordered by the High Council, referred to Yaldabaoth as the Father of Understanding alongside Saklas as the Mother of Wisdom and Samael as the Sacred Voice.[4] As part of the later Capitoline Triad, Jupiter was titled the Father of Understanding in counterpart to Juno as the Mother of Wisdom and Minerva as the Sacred Voice.[5]

Antiquity and early history

Aya: "So Caesar is the King of the Order now?"
Septimius: "Caesar is the Father of Understanding."
—Aya and Lucius Septimius during their fight, 44 BCE.[src]-[m]

Various humans took the title for themselves throughout the millennia,[6] though its first known use was in the waning years of the Ptolemaic dynasty when Gaius Julius Caesar adopted it.[7] In 47 BCE, the Medjay Bayek of Siwa first heard the title upon entering Cyrene in order to assassinate the Egyptian Order member Flavius Metellus. As Bayek made his way to the Roman Akropolis, he heard an orator who served the Order proclaim that the organization's rule was fated to happen before invoking the Father of Understanding to guide humanity, but the Medjay did not investigate whether this Father was a newly conceived divine being or a true person.[8]

ACO Fall of an Empire, Rise of Another 6

Lucius Septimius with the "Father of Understanding", Julius Caesar

The Father's identity would remain anonymous until three years later on 15th March 44 BCE, when the leader of the Order Lucius Septimius engaged in a fatal battle with the Hidden One Aya. When Aya questioned whether Julius Caesar was the Order's new king, Septimius corrected her, insisting that Caesar was the Father of Understanding. However, with Caesar's assassination shortly thereafter in the Theatre of Pompey at the hands of Aya, Brutus, Cassius, and 38 other Roman Senators, the title was not passed on to a successor and eventually fell out of use.[7]

By the time of the 9th century Viking expansion into England, members of the Anglo-Saxon Order of the Ancients revered the trinity of the Father of Understanding, the Mother of Wisdom, and the Sacred Voice. It was noted in King Alfred's research that these beliefs came from the Gnostic texts and were therefore sacrilegious to his accepted religion of Christianity. He stated that the Mother of Wisdom and the Sacred Voice were vile blasphemies and maintained that the true Father of Understanding was God. After destroying the Order in England through the unwitting help of the shieldmaiden Eivor Varinsdottir, Alfred privately vowed to create a new order in which the Father of Understanding would be revered as an almighty source of goodness, harmony, and order for all mankind.[2]

Middle Ages and Renaissance

"Gentlemen. Tomorrow, a new sun rises over Firenze. May the Father of Understanding guide us."
―Rodrigo Borgia to the Pazzi conspirators, 1478.[src]-[m]

Over the next 200 years, worship of the Father as an entity ceased with the rise of Christianity and the name instead became a symbolic catchphrase among Templars, representing their goal to lead humanity by adopting the role of a concerned "father" instructing a wayward child.[9][2] [citation needed] Its shift from a being to a symbol did not stop the Templars' continued use of the Father's title among themselves in a practice which began as early as the Third Crusade, when the Levantine Templars would sign the name as a closing in their letters.[10]

In the late 13th century, the Parisian Templars' Grand Master Jacques de Molay wrote the Codex Pater Intellectus, or "Codex of the Father of Understanding", which detailed his views on his order, their goals, as well as his knowledge of the Isu after he learned that he was a Sage. In 1307, when the French Assassins conducted a night attack on the Templars at the Temple in Paris, de Molay commanded his advisor to hide both the Codex and a Sword of Eden in the fort's underground vaults.[11] The artifacts remained there until they were unearthed 400 years later by the new Sage François-Thomas Germain, who took de Molay's written words to heart and sought to reorganize how the Templars functioned.[12]

WGA 10 v

Rodrigo Borgia and the Pazzi taking the Templar pledge during a meeting

Similarly, the Italian Templars during the Renaissance would invoke him when resolving meetings. Notably, their Grand Master and then-Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia twice called upon the Father to bless his fellow Templars. The first time was after the Milanese Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza's assassination in 1476,[13] and the second was two years later upon finalizing the plan to assassinate both Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother Giuliano at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore as part of the House of Pazzi's conspiracy to remove the Medici family from power over Florence.[14]

Knowledge of the Father was not restricted to Western Europe as it eventually made its way to Asia, specifically to 16th-century China during the Ming dynasty. In 1526, the Jiajing Emperor's Templar court eunuchs known as the Eight Tigers captured Shao Jun,[15] one of the last members of the Chinese Assassins following a purge enacted on the pretense of removing the Emperor's political opponents.[16] After unsuccessfully questioning her in the Maijishan Grottoes on the nature of the mysterious Precursor box found among her effects,[15] the Tiger Gao Feng retired briefly to meet with fellow Tiger Qiu Ju. Qiu Ju granted Gao Feng permission to torture the information out before stating that he would depart for Beijing, prompting Gap Feng to call on the Father of Understanding to guide the Tigers in their mission.[17]

The Tiger Gu Dayong used the phrase later that year.[18] Having since escaped her cell and reunited with her Mentor Wang Yangming,[19] Shao Jun infiltrated the port city of Macau to assassinate Dayong,[20] who had made a fortune selling political and Templar opponents into slavery under the Portuguese Empire.[21] After cornering Dayong on his fortress balcony, Shao Jun stabbed him in the liver with her jian before leaving him to bleed to death. Dayong survived long enough to warn a visiting Qiu Ju of Shao Jun's presence, before uttering the traditional blessing as his final words and dying.[18]

Golden Age of Piracy

"Mark and remember our purpose. To guide all wayward souls 'til they reach a quiet road. To guide all wayward desire 'til impassioned hearts are cooled. To guide all wayward minds to safe and sober thought. By the Father of Understanding's Light, let our work now begin."
―Laureano Torres addressing the Templar initiates, 1715.[src]-[m]

With the Europeans' finding of the Americas and Caribbean during their Age of Discovery, the Father of Understanding's name was carried over the Atlantic Ocean and saw brief use in the Golden Age of Piracy. In 1715, the phrase was used briefly by the Caribbean Templars' Grand Master Laureano de Torres y Ayala during his first meeting with the pirate Edward Kenway, who was impersonating the late Assassin turncoat Duncan Walpole.[22]

Continuing across the Pacific Ocean, in February 1725, Shimazu Saito uttered the phrase while she stood at Macau's docks and watched in amazement as Edward fought a group of Shimazu clan ninja sent to kill him for his supposed knowledge about the Khmer Empire's lost city of Angkor.[23]

Age of Revolutions

"I'm not really there, either. At the moment, I'm bleeding out on the floor of the Temple. But it seems the Father of Understanding has seen fit to give us this time to talk."
―A dying François-Thomas Germain in a vision experienced by Arno Dorian, 1794.[src]-[m]
ACIII-BraddockExpedition 18

The Colonial Templars taking the Templar pledge at Charles Lee's initiation

Before and during the Revolutionary War in America, the phrase was used multiple times by members of the Colonial Templars, with the majority of its occurrences coming from their Grand Master, Haytham Kenway. His first use of it was during Charles Lee's induction to the Order in 1755,[24] again with Shay Cormac's induction in 1758,[25] and lastly in 1778, as a password to enter the Smith and Company Brewery with his son Connor.[26]

Shay himself would later use the phrase in December 1776 after killing the French Assassin Charles Dorian in the Palace of Versailles and reclaiming the lost Precursor box. As he exited the building, Shay quietly repeated the words spoken to him at his induction, reaffirming his loyalty to the Templars, before invoking the Father of Understanding to guide humanity.[27]

The phrase also had minor usage before and during the French Revolution. In May 1789, the French Templar Chrétien Lafrenière sent a private missive to Grand Master François de la Serre[28] warning him of a plot against de la Serre's life before closing the message with the traditional line.[29] However, François never received the letter, as it remained where Arno Dorian had left it unopened under the office door[28] until two months later in July, by which time François had been murdered as Lafrenière feared and the Revolution was sweeping through Paris.[29]

Lafrenière was not the only prominent French Templar to call on the Father, either, as the Sage and new Grand Master François-Thomas Germain twice mentioned the Father of Understanding in his life, and lower-ranking Templars also knew the phrase. The first time was upon concluding a meeting with Aloys la Touche at the Hôtel de Beauvais,[30] and again upon his death in the Temple, when he suggested to Arno that the Father of Understanding had apparently wished for both men to meet and discuss Germain's life while reviewing his memories.[12] During the Revolution, Arno also investigated the French Templars' affiliation with the Cult of Baphomet, which required a password to gain entrance to their lair. He was quickly informed by a cult recruiter that the password was "The Father of Understanding", confirming his suspicions.[31]

Modern era

"The Father of Understanding guided you to us. And for that we are grateful."
―Juhani Otso Berg to the research analyst, 2014.[src]-[m]

The use of the blessing continued, though much more sporadically, into the modern era. In 1868, the British Templars' Grand Master Crawford Starrick dictated a letter to his butler in which he thanked his second-in-command Lucy Thorne for her service to the Order and then informed her that he was dissolving their partnership, before closing the missive with the historical phrase. However, upon learning moments later that the British Assassin Evie Frye had killed Thorne, Crawford ordered the sealed letter be burned.[32]

Shortly afterward, Starrick's underling and Tory politician James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan wrote to inform him that killing Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli would indefinitely stall the House of Commons in passing the Corrupt Practices Act. He added that William Gladstone would be far more pliable to puppeteering as Prime Minister, before also signing the letter with the traditional blessing.[33]

Over 140 years later, in September 2012, Abstergo Industries' CEO Alan Rikkin emailed Warren Vidic regarding historical events or artifacts to investigate further and placed the phrase at the end of his message.[34] In 2014, the Master Templar Juhani Otso Berg voiced a belief that the Father of Understanding had fatefully guided the research analyst pejoratively known as "Numbskull" to Abstergo Entertainment in order to relive Shay Cormac's memories. In Berg's eyes, the Father had sent this employee to "prove" his theory that Assassins truly wanted order in spite of the freedom their Creed promised to its adherents, despite any evidence suggesting divine motives.[35]

In 2019, the Templar doctor Kaori Kagami called upon the Father of Understanding while in her Abstergo lab in Yokohama, Japan. After convincing her patient Kō Risa that her Animus sessions reliving the genetic memories of her ancestor Shao Jun were to help curb her aggressive tendencies, Kagami ended their appointment and asked Risa to consider continuing the treatment. Finally alone as Risa began walking home, Kagami called an associate and informed them that she had found "the treasure", before ending the call by appealing to the Father of Understanding to guide her sessions with Risa.[17]

ACFT - Shimazu Sei and Mitsuko Nakamura

Mitsuko Nakamura wishing for the Father of Understanding to guide Shimazu Sei on her mission

In 2023, the Templars' Inner Sanctum member Mitsuko Nakamura flew to Abstergo's research vessel Exitus in Macau[36] and ordered agents to abduct the Korean-American college student Noa Kim, whom they had lured to the city with a vacation prize trip upon learning he was a descendant of Edward Kenway. When Abstergo forcibly connected Noa into an Animus,[37] Nakamura watched as he relived Edward's life in Southeast Asia, but was unimpressed by his repeated desynchronization errors. After Nakamura stressed to Dr. Shimazu Sei on the importance for the Templars' goals and the Shimazu clan's well-being of promptly learning what Edward had uncovered in Asia, she left to return to Abstergo's headquarters and wished for the Father to guide the doctor, which Dr. Sei repeated.[23]

Known Fathers of Understanding

References

  1. Assassin's Creed IIIn Bocca al Lupo
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Assassin's Creed: ValhallaThe Poor Fellow-Soldier
  3. Assassin's Creed: The Essential Guide (2nd edition)
  4. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaLayla Hassan's personal files – SecureShare: "PRE_trslt_Canterbury.odt <v. 1 by ahenry>"
  5. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaThe Price of Wisdom
  6. Twitter EeshanK (@@125qwert) on Twitter "@DarbyMcDevitt So Julius Caesar was the father of understanding all along? Can you shed some light on this topic please? :>" (screenshot)
    Twitter Darby McDevitt (@DarbyMcDevitt) on Twitter "@125qwert He was the current father, it seems. Or so S[eptimius] believed. But the title goes back a long way..." (screenshot)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Assassin's Creed: OriginsFall of an Empire, Rise of Another
  8. Assassin's Creed: OriginsThe Final Weighing
  9. Assassin's Creed: RevelationsAbstergo Files: "File.0.15\Hst_NewOrder"
  10. Assassin's CreedPickpocketing (Masun)
  11. Assassin's Creed: UnityThe Tragedy of Jacques de Molay
  12. 12.0 12.1 Assassin's Creed: UnityThe Temple
  13. Assassin's Creed: Lineage
  14. Assassin's Creed IINovella's Secret
  15. 15.0 15.1 Assassin's Creed Chronicles: ChinaThe Escape
  16. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: ChinaDatabase: Scroll 9
  17. 17.0 17.1 Assassin's Creed: Blade of Shao JunHomecoming
  18. 18.0 18.1 Assassin's Creed: Blade of Shao JunThe Slave Trader
  19. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: ChinaThe Return
  20. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: ChinaThe Slaver
  21. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: ChinaDatabase: Yu Dayong
  22. Assassin's Creed IV: Black FlagMister Walpole, I Presume?
  23. 23.0 23.1 Assassin's Creed: Forgotten TempleEpisode 4
  24. Assassin's Creed IIIThe Braddock Expedition
  25. Assassin's Creed: RogueScars
  26. Assassin's Creed IIIFather and Son
  27. Assassin's Creed: RogueQXNzYXNzaW5hdGlvbg0K
  28. 28.0 28.1 Assassin's Creed: UnityHigh Society
  29. 29.0 29.1 Assassin's Creed: UnityImprisoned
  30. Assassin's Creed: UnityRise of the Assassin
  31. Assassin's Creed: UnityThe Cult of Baphomet
  32. Assassin's Creed: SyndicateA Thorne in the Side
  33. Assassin's Creed: SyndicatePlaying Politics
  34. Assassin's CreedEmail subject header: "Analysis"
  35. Assassin's Creed: RogueModern day
  36. Assassin's Creed: Forgotten TempleEpisode 42
  37. Assassin's Creed: Forgotten TempleEpisode 1

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