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A herald was a citizen who informed the populations of cities about recent news, such as those concerning laws, taxation, public health issues or executions. They came about due to the lack of an effective means of information transfer, and were precursors to the communication systems of modern times.

History

At the time of the Third Crusade, heralds were found in major cities such as Acre, Damascus, and Jerusalem, where they attempted to convince the citizens to join the Crusaders or the Saracens, depending on which faction controlled the city at the time. From 1191, the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad interrogated and killed several heralds in order to gain information on his assassination targets.[1]

During the Italian Renaissance, whenever Ezio Auditore da Firenze committed a crime, the heralds began warning the people about the presence of the Assassin. To keep himself hidden, Ezio often bribed the heralds with 500 florins, encouraging them to speak of other matters.[2][3] Similarly, in Constantinople Ezio bribed heralds with 100 akçe.[4]

The heralds in Florence, Venice, Forlì and San Gimignano warned the public about the black plague,[2] while the heralds in Rome warned about swine flu and syphilis.[3]

In Constantinople, heralds talked about the war between Selim I and his father Bayezid II. They also commented on Manuel Palaiologos, Byzantines, and Ezio's assassination of Tarik Barleti.[4]

Dialogue

Assassin's Creed

The fires of war consume the land, and thousands of lives are lost in its defense! It seems a tragedy, but I say, this is an honor! To die in service to God, fighting for what we believe in! There is no greater glory than this!

Be wary, friends! The Shayṭān is everywhere! Watching! Waiting! He tempts us always! Be strong! Strong like Salāḥ ad-Dīn, and take up arms against our enemies in whatever way you can!

Curse him! Curse the Christian King and his army of infidels! They go against the will of God, and must be made to pay! Everywhere they ride, they leave only suffering in their wake. They say it is a crusade. A crusade for what? Ignorance? Violence? Madness? We must resist! We must fight them in any way we can!

South comes the English pig and his infidel army! They leave horrors in their wake! Salāḥ ad-Dīn rises to meet him, that these barbarous acts might be avenged! Pray that God, glorious and exalted is He, finds favor with us, that He may grant us victory!

I stand before you to deliver a warning! Should Richard take Jaffa, there will be no stopping him! He will march on Jerusalem next! We must end this before it has a chance to begin. That city is ours, has always been ours. And it is our duty to defend it until death! The crusaders must be destroyed!

Praised be Salāḥ ad-Dīn! He has found the strength to stand in defense of our great civilization! Make no mistake, it is our very existence we are fighting for! The infidel King would see us all wiped from the world! We must resist, we must push back!

We've turned away from God. And so he punishes us! Sends hordes of heathen warriors to gather at our gates! But God is also merciful! And our past misdeeds may be forgotten! All we need do is ask! And so, I say to you, repent! Lay down before Him and confess your sins! He will forgive. Such is his nature. And beg forgiveness we must, for only when our hearts and minds are cleansed can victory be assured!

Be not afraid. Fear and doubt are the weapons of our enemies! Do not listen to their lies! Poisonous words meant to sow the seeds of confusion! If you find yourself tempted, go and pray! Ask God for direction! If your heart is pure, He will surely answer!

A plague upon Saladin! A plague upon his people! We came in peace to the Holy Land to spread the message of our Lord, but they turned away! They refused to accept Him as their savior! These men hold evil in their hearts, and so blessed Richard, King and savior, now stands against them, defending us from their wicked ways!

The Saracens are routed at every turn! We cast them out of Acre, and pushed them from the countryside! Now, they retreat to the south, begging Saladin to save them! But he will not succeed, for none can withstand the might of King Richard's army! He is graced by God! It is only a matter of time, friends, before all the land is ours once more, just as it was meant to be!

Stay strong, citizens! Remain fixed in your beliefs! Though the road is long and your trials many, know that God watches over you, it is his hand that guides our warriors to victory! First in Acre, soon in Jaffa!

Be strong, stand firm! Do not give up! Without our support, Richard and his men cannot hope to free the Holy Land! We must do all we can to aid them in their cause! Tend to your fields. Provide aid to the wounded. Pray for those who sacrificed in service to the Lord. We must all do our part!

Assassin's Creed II

There are four different sets of herald quotes in Venice and Florence, and one each in Forlì and San Gimignano. These change depending on whether Ezio is Incognito or Notorious.

Florence Heralds

  • State attenti: good Fra Donato wishes to remind all earnest Christians of the need for charity in these hard times. Offerings can be brought directly to the priory entrance all days, save feast days.
  • To all ragazzi of suitable age, the city guard is recruiting volunteers for the road patrols in city reserves. Why serve with mercenary condottieri when you could uphold the honor of the Republic?
  • Notice from Maestro Corsini il Medico: treatment with the leech varieties brought back from the marshlands of the Indies will heal almost any ill, and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
  • Notice to all foreign merchants within the glorious Republic’s walls: the città in its wisdom has elected to raise a nominal levy on all export trade registered through any of the Arti Maggiori.
  • State attenti: next week’s public mass with the Cardinal will have to be cancelled due to a small outbreak of plague. Pray for his recovery, and the confinement of the dread death to the small, unimportant village he was in.


  • Good people of Firenze, a message from the Arte della Lana, may this year’s Festival of San Giovanni be a time of great joy and pride in our great città. The masters of the Guild wish all another successful year.
  • State attenti: as a consequence of the flooding further up the Arno, a small tax shall be imposed for repairs. All batelli sailing into the main staging docks of the city shall be tolled based on tonnage.
  • Notice concerning the Republic’s fountains: please do not use dyes or puer in municipal sources. Remember, all tanning must be conducted outside the city limits. Offenders will be fined.
  • To all respected members of the Arte del Cambio, the biannual congress has been postponed due to the legal concerns now confronting the Gonfaloniere. It shall be held some time after the execution.
  • By order of the Signoria, all merchants trading in unconverted woolens shall hereby be taxed an extra hundredth part on all foreign transactions. This will aid in the maintenance of the Republic’s armory and road patrols.


  • The citizens of Pisa have held a mass demonstration, once again sending Firenze a message of contempt. The city’s youth apparently gathered and bared their posteriors at our honorable delegation.
  • Attenzione: it has come to the attention of the Signoria that young men have been climbing the city’s buildings for sport. While not illegal per se, remember: it is only divertimento until someone breaks a leg.
  • The Arte del Cambio warns members to avoid the Bentivoglios of Bologna. Important defaults suffered by an esteemed member have led to this draconian measure, which will persist until satisfaction is received.
  • The Signoria has called a contest to build a new municipal hall to be sited near Santa Maria Novella. Interested members of the Arte dei Maestri di Pietra e Legname should submit applications to their Gonfaloniere.
  • Today’s top stories: the short supply of wheat from this year’s harvest has pushed the price up six florins per hundredweight, and the Arno has again flooded near Castel Sant'Angelo.


  • Attenzione, attenzione! Only Pantassare the tailor can make you the object of every citizen’s envy. Come around the shop, see for yourselves the wonders a true artist can achieve!
  • To all members of the Arte della Seta, beware the latest shipment of ore from the merchant Fidello. Several members have cast inferior bronze from it, suspecting impurities in the copper delivered.
  • State attenti, tutti: would the wine merchant who left his carriage by Vito the butcher’s please move it before the evening procession of Santa Croce gets underway? There will be a fine if not.
  • Attenzione! A hired company of condottieri will be stationed in the fields northwest of the città within the fortnight.
  • Luigi the fish merchant of San Marco wishes it be known throughout the città: none can beat his prices or the freshness of his stock!

  • The Assassin who plagues our glorious Republic has been sighted nearby. Be vigilant — he must be destroyed!
  • Find this blasphemous snake, rip the aberration’s heretic heart from his lifeless corpse! Bring the city peace!
  • Never has one so cursed our city by his actions. He is a cancer that slowly spreads, corrupting all we hold dearest!
  • He must be caught and terminated quickly! Let the people of Firenze freely walk the streets once more, knowing no fear!
  • Do not be taken in by malicious rumors. This man is a brutal, coal-hearted killer! We must all work toward his apprehension!


  • Evil haunts our great città! He mocks all the good, God-loving values that are the core of our lives. Cast out this demon!
  • Fear this evil, wild, rabid animal! He kills any who cross his path, indiscriminately! He must be brought down, ora!
  • You must be of one purpose: aiding your stoic watchmen! Help their cause, catch this Assassin, rid Firenze of his curse!
  • I too know fear, my friends. I am also a slave to the terror his presence breeds! But there is strength in numbers — let us fight this devil together!
  • Dare we bargain with the wolf that eats our sheep? No! Harbor no kindly thoughts for this hardened killer; he is not a friend!


  • Unite, amici! Guelph, Ghibelline, Christian, Jew — such divisions mean nothing while this insane killer has not been found and executed!
  • The evil propagated by this one agent of hell is enough to make strong men tremble! He must be put to death with all haste!
  • By all that is holy, hear me well! This Assassino is a scourge sent to test God’s children! Hear the call, kill the fiend!
  • The Gonfaloniere di Giustizia will award any who aid in the Assassino’s capture with a fat purse and the città’s eternal gratitude!
  • Let no man be confused concerning the nature of this killer. He is a base, evil man out for the blood of innocents!


  • Until this renegade is strung from the window of the Signoria, no one shall know true peace in this città!
  • So great are this man’s crimes, a private bounty shall be offered to he that brings his person — or his head — into city custody.
  • We must destroy this blasphemer! He takes the values most dear to all good Christian folk, and turns them upside-down!
  • Do not think for one instant that this insane Assassino has anything but the foulest motivations driving him. He must die!
  • Friends, be warned! He kills for sport! There is no method to his brutal spree. Next could be you — your father — your daughter!

Venice Heralds

  • Following the death of the Portuguese ambassador, the Council reminds all citizens not to eat the fishes from the city's canals. Extending the warning to all visitors to the Most Serene Republic is considered a civic duty.
  • Tired of feeling the road through your boots? Is the rain keeping your feet cold and clammy all day? Perhaps it's time you made an appointment to treat your feet right! Come to Facco's - he's got just the boots for you!
  • State attenti! We remind cittadini that the restorative work on several of the city's bridges is ongoing. Please be patient, and do not vent frustration caused by the delays at the workmen themselves.
  • To all members of civilized Venetian society, let it be known un ballo in maschera is to be held before the Palazzo Dandolo in one week's time. Sior Frangibus Dandolo himself shall preside.
  • By order of the Doge himself, non-carrier pigeons are to be shot at will by the populace. A bounty of one ducat per hundred shall be offered as recompense for the truly industrious.


  • By decree of the Council of Ten, all cittadini wishing to enlarge their storage cellars must first seek planning permission. The incident in San Polo and its like are to be avoided, and violators will be punished.
  • State attenti! Recent flooding in the lido-facing sestieri of the città has caused some structural damage. Please be careful near work sites, report any unattended damage to City Property, and be courteous to city workmen.
  • Good citizens, in its wisdom the Minor Council has approved the reopening of trade links with the coastal cities of the Barbary Coast. A new agreement has been signed with the Bay to ensure your safety.
  • Note that until word returns to us from the Holy Father, the disputed lands to the south are to be excluded from all mercantile enterprises. However, merchants acting privately may do so with no fear of reprisal.
  • Attenzione: Notice of Execution. The merchant Medardo of San Polo has been found guilty of treason against the Serene Republic, and will be executed publicly in the Palazzo San Marco at first light, two days hence.


  • Warning! All travelers arriving from the lower Dalmatian coast should be examined by a Maestro following reports of a recent outbreak of plague. Please consult as swiftly as possible for the greater good of all.
  • State attenti — naufragio! It has been reported by the San Pellegrino that the merchantman Daedalus sank with all hands off the coast of Thessalonica. The Republic extends sympathies to the families of the crew.
  • News from abroad has arrived. There is talk of unrest among the Ottoman ranks. The Doge and council attend meet this day to determine a course of action. Merchants had better comb all trade through the Aegean for now.
  • Cittadini! The Scuola di Sant'Orsola has commissioned another cycle to adorn their chapel, and has asked that interested parties submit applications, as Sior Carpaggio is no longer available.
  • Remember to visit Bertuccio’s fucina for all your blacksmithing, weapons, armor, locksmithing, and tableware needs! Serving Venetians with style and quality for over three generations. Bertuccio’s of San Paolo!


  • Attenzione! The penalties for usury committed by any citizen of Venezia have been revised. These have been posted as amendments to the laws concerning the Collegantia, available for consultation at all uffici comunali.
  • Notice to all cittadini: due to the shortage of funds after the recent campaign in defense of the Republic's foreign interests, a levy will be imposed upon all importation of goods deemed non-essential.
  • Attenzione! Following the recent festival fire in San Polo, the Doge has decreed that the manufacture of fuochi d'artificio be controlled and subject to certain standards. The Guild has the complete list for consultation.
  • To all citizens of the Most Serene Republic: following the increase in accidents and drownings upon the Grand Canal, a decree has been brought into effect barring excessive drinking while at the helm.
  • State attenti! To all merchants dealing with spices from the East, a tariff will be imposed to help fund the cost of maintaining the Arsenale. Certain exemptions apply; consult the full decree to see if you are eligible.

  • I have heard it said he entered a convent and slew half the sisters before forcing himself on the other half! Then he killed them too!
  • The Assassino is in this sestiere! This bestia must be found, and the life torn from him! He is the vilest animale!
  • Truly has no man ever deserved a fate as cruel and twisted as is devisable by Maestro Priuli! But first, we must find him!
  • He kills and kills, and yet we seem powerless to stop him. Citizens — your city needs you now! Help us end his deadly reign!
  • No true man would wander the streets, killing innocents! This Assassin is crazed, taken completely by vile madness!


  • This murdering heretic must be stopped! It is the duty of all loyal citizens of Venezia to collaborate and bring him to an end!
  • Do not be deceived by those voices seeking to justify his acts. He is nothing but a cold killer, reveling only in death!
  • There is a vile, infernal Assassin walking among us. Fear spreads throughout the città, a plague of terror and death!
  • They say he slew whole families; parents before their children, then not even the little ones were spared! Monster!
  • The acts of this disgusting criminal cannot be tolerated in a civilized, enlightened society such as ours. He must be erased!


  • Let it be known: a handsome reward is on offer for any who bring about the demise of the Assassino!
  • The killing must stop! We, the proud citizens of the Republic, must band together, root out this madman, and kill him!
  • The city is gripped in terror, held captive by the horrid acts of one man! We must all work together to bring about his downfall!
  • Venice will never tolerate the Assassin’s cowardly way! We must find this execrable agent of Satan, and burn the life from him!
  • Too many have died at this base Assassino’s hand! More will surely follow if you, good people, do not aid your valiant guardsmen!


  • Let it not be said that noble Venice stood by and deserted her proudest citizens in their hour of need! We must find and kill this menace!
  • There is no law but God's for killers such as he! Thou shalt not kill! I say, obey the Lord -- find this Assassin and make him feel God's wrath!
  • Friends! I weep to see our fair città brought low by one man! I shake in anger, knowing he is free. Let us do Venezia proud: find the killer, make him pay!
  • Do not be fooled by tall tales of honor, false notions of justice, and rumors of righteous revenge! This mad killer is just that, and no more!
  • Wherever this Assassin may be, he rips the peaceful fabric of this city in passing, and leaves only misery in his wake!

Tuscany / San Gimignano Heralds

  • Cittadini! Decree of the Signoria of Florence! All residents of San Gimignano are to comply with standards of coin minting, purity, and weight preservation. Penalties will be most harsh for any caught transgressing.
  • State attenti! By order of the honorable Council of Florence, the tithe on this season’s harvest shall extend to every second bushel after ten, and three quattrini per hundredweight of Vernaccia.
  • Notice from the Guild of Brother Masons and Sculptors: due to a shortage of stone, work shall be delayed on the shoring of the portal of San Matteo. Please exercise caution when entering via the gate.
  • Notice to all equine breeders, ostlers, wagoners, and lance officers: due to the recent outbreak of choleric humors found among cavalli, the Council requires regular inspections of stock.
  • To all maestri di pietra e di ligname of the Guild of Blacksmiths, a notice from the purveyors of stone: due to severe shortages, only one-third weights of current orders may be fulfilled this month.

  • Cast aside foolish ideals of honor and romance! There is nothing the killer brings but evil and death to all he visits!
  • Assassino! Assassino sighted within our walls! Trust your watchmen, take no chances! He must be stopped!
  • Attenzione, attenzione! Be on your guard, citizens — a notorious criminal’s presence is suspected in our parish!
  • Beware the infamous Assassino! His reign of blood strikes terror into us all. It must be stopped!
  • The killer is here! Make haste, amici — take your families home! Remain inside with barred doors til his shadow has passed!

Romagna / Forlì Heralds

  • Aviso: due to the lack of able-bodied men following the recent campaign and subsequent plague, the company of foot is offering an extra three quattrini a year on all new enrollments.
  • Viaggiatori, state attenti! Bandits sighted at the crossroads to Bologna! They are believed to be unemployed Gascon footmen. Exercise caution! Bring wine for passage, or cross at mealtimes.
  • State attenti, all members of the Fraternity of San Paolo: due to unfortunate misuse of funds by the since — [ahem] — executed former rettore, the annual feast in the grand hall has been cancelled.
  • Excommunication! Again, the brotherhood of misery, flagellation, and poverty at Monte Poggiolo have imperiled their souls, displeasing His Holiness the Pope by not ceding the tithe on annual rents.
  • Notice of Reward: any having information concerning the whereabouts of Santa Galla’s stolen finger-bone, the bishop will grant special dispensation and pardon, along with future spiritual considerations.

  • This killer stains the very stone of our city with his presence! Surely God will be displeased with us should we fail to strike him down!
  • Attenzione! The foul, hellspawned, infernal killer you have all heard of is here in Forlì! He is merciless, and feeds off of terror!
  • Let none defend this vilest of criminals. He’s no hero — he slays with wanton abandon, for nothing but his own grotesque amusement!
  • Assassino sighted! Forlì is no longer safe! On to your homes and loved ones, see that all you cherish is safe and well-guarded!
  • His nefarious, odious, stinking presence must not be tolerated in our city. Unite for the greater good of all Forlì!

Trivia

  • When viewed with Eagle Vision, heralds were marked with blue if they were announcing normal events. If they spoke of the Assassins, usually consisting of lies and slander, they were shown glowing red, as any other enemy would. Peculiarly, they sometimes also glowed gold.
  • Bribing a herald lowered notoriety by 50%, but in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, bribing them would only reduce notoriety by 25%.
  • The Magistrates in Assassin's Creed III: Liberation worked very much like Heralds in the sense that bribing them would reduce your notoriety.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, heralds would appear on the Animus mini-map as long as Ezio's notoriety was not at 0%. In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, notoriety must have been greater than 50%, and in Revelations, they appeared around 25% Templar awareness. It should be noted that, in Assassin's Creed II, in Venice, heralds appeared at 50% notoriety.
  • It was possible to steal back the money that Ezio used to bribe heralds, though they would initiate a fistfight should Ezio remain in the area afterwards. The Brotherhood achievement "Easy Come, Easy Go" could be earned by doing so.
    • In this achievement, a herald was referred to as an "orator".
  • In Brotherhood, when bribing a herald, citizens would make threatening remarks, as if Ezio had drawn his weapon in public.
  • Some heralds strongly exaggerated their lies against Ezio, which involved him not sparing women and children during his killings.
  • In Assassin's Creed III, heralds were replaced by town criers, which did not attract crowds like in earlier games, and held up newspapers instead.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Unity, men could be seen shouting news about the French Revolution and general propaganda about certain groups or against certain individuals.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, instead of heralds crying about news, there were newsboys on the streets of London.

Gallery

Appearances

References