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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.[3][4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

As part of the Capitoline Triad, Suttungr was titled the Father of Understanding, in counterpart to Hyrrokin as the Mother of Wisdom and Gunnlǫð as the Sacred Voice.[7]

Antiquity and early history

The first known use of the title was in 47 BCE, when the Medjay Bayek of Siwa entered Cyrene in order to assassinate the Egyptian Order of the Ancients member Flavius Metellus. As he made his way to the Roman Akropolis, he heard an orator who served the Order of the Ancients proclaim that the Order's rule was fated to happen, before invoking the Father of Understanding to guide humanity.[8]

However, its apparent meaning would not be revealed until three years later on 15th March 44 BCE, when the leader of the Order of the Ancients, Lucius Septimius engaged in a fatal battle with the Hidden One Aya. When Aya questioned whether Julius Caesar was the new king of the Order of the Ancients, 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.[9]

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 of the Ancients in England through the unwitting help of the shieldmaiden Eivor Varinsdottir of the Raven Clan, King 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]

Influence

Over the next two hundred 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. However, this did not stop the Templars' continued use of the Father's title among themselves. As early as the Third Crusade, the Levantine Templars would sign his name as a closing in their letters.[10]

Similarly, the Italian Templars during the Renaissance would invoke him when resolving meetings. Notably, the Italian Grand Master and then-Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia twice called upon the Father to bless his fellow Templars: once in 1476 after the assassination of the Duke of Milan Galeazzo Maria Sforza,[11] and again two years later when finalizing the plan to assassinate both Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother Giuliano during Sunday Mass at the Duomo as part of the Pazzi conspiracy to remove the Florentine Medici family from power.[12]

Use of the Father's name expanded even further westward to the Spanish Templars, with Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada's personal enforcer Ojeda twice calling on the Father during the Reconquista. His first invocation was while meeting with Torquemada in 1489 to discuss their plan to seize both the Apple of Eden held by Sultan Muhammad XII of Granada, and the pieces of the Shattered Staff of Eden that were spread throughout the Crown of Castile.[13] He did it again just before dying in 1492 at the hands of Aguilar de Nerha, imploring the Father to "bring [Aguilar] enlightenment" to see the error of the Assassins' ways.[14] Unlike most later Templars who would invoke the Father to simply guide them without stating a direction, Ojeda was unique in his devotion to the Templar cause and specifically entreated the Father each time "to guide [the Spanish Templars] to victory".

Knowledge of the Father was not restricted to Western Europe, as it eventually made its way to Asia, specifically to 16-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 box found among her effects,[15] the Tiger Gao Feng retired briefly to meet with fellow Tiger Qiu Ju. Ju granted Feng permission to torture the information out before stating that he would depart for Beijing, to which Feng called on the Father of Understanding to guide the Tigers in their mission.[17]

The phrase was used again that year by the Tiger Yu Dayong.[18] Having since escaped her cell and reunited with her Mentor Wang Yangming,[19] Jun infiltrated the port city of Macau to assassinate Dayong, who had made a fortune selling political and Templar opponents into slavery under the Portuguese. After cornering Dayong on his fortress balcony, 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 expiring from his wound.[18]

With the Europeans' discovery of the Americas and Caribbean in the Age of Discovery, the Father of Understanding's name was carried over the Atlantic Ocean. In 1715, the phrase was used briefly by Laureano de Torres y Ayala, Grand Master of the West Indies Templars, during his first meeting with the pirate Edward Kenway, who was impersonating the late Assassin turncoat Duncan Walpole.[20]

Before and during the American Revolutionary War, the phrase was used three times by Haytham Kenway; first, during the induction of Charles Lee to the Colonial Templars in 1755,[21] again, when inducting Shay Cormac to the Order in 1757,[22] and lastly in 1778, as a password to enter the Smith and Company Brewery with his son, Connor.[23] Shay himself would later use the phrase in December 1776 after assassinating the French Assassin Charles Dorian in the Palace of Versailles and reclaiming the lost Precursor box which he knew held a map of more Isu Temples. As he exited the building, Shay quietly repeated the words spoken to him at his induction into the Order, reaffirming his loyalty to the Templars, before invoking the Father of Understanding to guide humanity.[24]

Before and after the French Revolution, the Sage and Grand Master of the French Templars François-Thomas Germain mentioned the Father of Understanding twice: the first time, when concluding a meeting at the Hôtel de Beauvais in Paris which was attended by Aloys la Touche,[25] and again upon his death in Temple, when he suggested to the French Assassin Arno Dorian that the Father of Understanding had apparently wished for both men to meet and discuss Germain's life while reviewing his memories.[26]

At some point during the Revolution, Arno investigated the French Templars' affiliation with the Cult of Baphomet. Arno required a password to gain entrance into the cult's lair, and was informed by a cult recruiter that the password was "The Father of Understanding", confirming his suspicions.[27]

The use of the blessing continued, though much more infrequently, into the modern era. In 1868, James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Templar, and a Tory in the House of Commons, wrote to Grand Master Crawford Starrick, informing him that the death of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli would indefinitely stall the House passing the Corrupt Practices Act and that William Gladstone would be far more pliable to puppeting as Prime Minister, before signing the letter in closing with the traditional blessing.[28]

Over a century 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.[29] 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 and "prove" Berg's theory that in spite of, Assassins truly wanted order instead of the freedom their Creed claimed to promise to its adherents.[30]

In 2019, the Templar doctor Kaori Kagami called upon the Father of Understanding while in her Abstergo Industries lab in Yokohama, Japan. After convincing her patient Lisa Huang 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 Lisa to consider continuing the treatment. Finally alone as Lisa 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 Lisa.[17]

Known Fathers of Understanding

References

  1. Assassin's Creed IIIn Bocca al Lupo
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Assassin's Creed: ValhallaThe Poor Fellow-Soldier
  3. Assassin's Creed: Origins [citation needed]
  4. Assassin's Creed: Valhalla [citation needed]
  5. Assassin's Creed: The Essential Guide (2nd edition)
  6. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaLayla Hassan's personal files – SecureShare: "PRE_trslt_Canterbury.odt <v. 1 by ahenry>"
  7. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaThe Price of Wisdom
  8. Assassin's Creed: OriginsThe Final Weighing
  9. Assassin's Creed: OriginsFall of an Empire, Rise of Another
  10. Assassin's CreedPickpocketing (Masun)
  11. Assassin's Creed: Lineage
  12. Assassin's Creed IINovella's Secret
  13. Assassin's Creed: RebellionPrologue
  14. Assassin's Creed: RebellionThe Fall of Granada
  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 JunChapter 1
  18. 18.0 18.1 Assassin's Creed: Blade of Shao JunChapter 4
  19. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: ChinaThe Return
  20. Assassin's Creed IV: Black FlagMister Walpole, I Presume?
  21. Assassin's Creed IIIThe Braddock Expedition
  22. Assassin's Creed: RogueScars
  23. Assassin's Creed IIIFather and Son
  24. Assassin's Creed: RogueQXNzYXNzaW5hdGlvbg0K
  25. Assassin's Creed: UnityRise of the Assassin
  26. Assassin's Creed: UnityThe Temple
  27. Assassin's Creed: UnityThe Cult of Baphomet
  28. Assassin's Creed: SyndicatePlaying Politics
  29. Assassin's CreedEmail subject header: "Analysis"
  30. Assassin's Creed: RogueModern day