- "A symbol can inspire fear, and fear can inspire control - but men inevitably lose their fear of symbols. [...] This was the truth de Molay died for: the Divine Right of Kings is nothing but the reflection of sunlight upon gold. When the Crown and Church are ground to dust, we who control the gold will decide the future."
- ―François-Thomas Germain, 1793.[src]
Jacques Bernard de Molay (1244 – 1314) was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and a Sage. As a consequence of his deliberate sacrifice during the disbanding of the Knights Templar, the Order could nonetheless survive, although it had once again to operate secretly.
Jacques de Molay was born a Sage in 1244 in Molay in the Free County of Burgundy (today in France's Haute-Saône department). In 1265, de Molay was inducted into the Templar Order in Beaune. After the fall of Acre, the Order met in Cyprus in September 1291. On 20 April 1292, de Molay was elected Grand Master, leading the Templars to the height of their power. Around this time, he possessed the Shroud of Eden, which later wound up in the possession of a fellow French Templar, Geoffroy de Charny.
In 1305, Pope Clement V asked the leaders of various military orders for their opinions on a new crusade and the merging of the orders. While de Molay opposed a merge, King Philip IV of France favored it, specifically wishing to merge the orders into a force under his command.
At some point, de Molay wrote the Codex Pater Intellectus. With the Templars already serving as an economic power through banking, he envisioned in the Codex that the Templars should control humanity through the middle class and capitalism, rather than through the aristocracy and monarchy.
Even as the Templars entered a Golden Age, Philip, strongly indebted to the Order, sought to disband it and claim its wealth. In the meantime, the Assassin Order had begun to weaken the Templars. Philip unknowingly served the Assassins through his advisor Guillaume de Nogaret, Mentor of their French Brotherhood.
On 13 October 1307, raids were carried out across France with the intent of arresting all Templars. The Templar headquarters at the Temple were also raided by Assassins disguised as Flemish mercenaries, led by Esquieu de Floyrac and the Master Assassin Thomas de Carneillon.
As the attack commenced, de Molay spoke with his advisor, and deduced that the Assassins were responsible. The advisor expressed his belief that the Brotherhood's power had been broken with the fall of Masyaf. De Molay told him that the Assassins were indeed not destroyed, and instructed the advisor to hide the Codex and the Templars' Sword of Eden, before leading his men in battle.
While the advisor was able to hide the Codex and Sword, de Molay was arrested, and the former was assassinated by de Carneillon before he could rescue the Grand Master. As a result of the raids, nearly every Templar in France was arrested.
Trial and execution
- "Pope Clement, hear me! Before this year is out, you will answer for your crimes before God almighty. And you, King Philip, no punishment is too heinous for the great evil you have inflicted upon the Temple. I curse you! Curse you to the thirteenth generation of your blood! You shall be cursed!"
- ―Jacques de Molay's dying words, 1314.[src]
Following the arrest of the Templars, de Nogaret levelled charges against them, including heresy, blasphemy, and the worship of a deity known as Baphomet. During his imprisonment, de Molay was tortured by de Nogaret, Philippe de Marigny and William of Paris, and was forced to confess to these charges. As their Grand Master, de Molay understood that the Templars could no longer survive in a public image, and decided to make the ultimate sacrifice. Before his inevitable death, he sent nine of his most trusted men - who possessed knowledge of the Templars, the First Civilization, and the Assassins - out into the world to continue his work. The Templars would fade from public awareness and secretly influence leaders.
On 18 March 1314, de Molay allowed himself to be burned at the stake alongside Geoffroi de Charney. As he burned to death, he cursed Philip to the "thirteenth generation of [his] blood". By allowing himself to be executed, de Molay saved the lives of his remaining brethren, and made their enemies believe that the Order had died along with him.
In 1429, while in the same cell de Molay was imprisoned in, the Assassin Jean de Metz told Gabriel Laxart to access his Eagle Vision to decipher de Molay's scribblings, although the latter could not.
In the late 18th century, Jacques' descendant, Anne de Molay murdered two of the descendants of his interrogators. She failed to murder the third, which resulted in the Assassin Arno Dorian handing her over to the the police.
De Molay was later commemorated in 1937 by the Templar Order's new public front, Abstergo Industries. There, an image of him was displayed prominently in the room accessible only to members of the Order's Inner Sanctum.
In 2016, while reliving the memories of his ancestor Gabriel Laxart, Templar Inner Sanctum member Simon Hathaway sent the recordings of de Molay's cell to Abstergo cryptologist Zachary Morgenstern to have him decipher it.
- Contrary to other known Sages, Jacques de Molay did not appear to be affected with heterochromia. However this was probably an oversight of the development team.
- One of his real-life portraits showed his cape having a black cross though this was actually the symbol of the Teutonic Order.
- It was generally believed or it was a myth, that de Molay cursed both Philip IV and Clement V. Philip himself died when he suffered a stroke while hunting and Clement had succumbed to a long illness at the same year de Molay was executed. Also, Philip's family, the House of Capet, had ended less than thirty years after his death.
- Jacques de Molay is revered as a figurehead and a hero among the Templars, similar to Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad among the Assassins. For it was due to his actions that the Templars who were being hunted down by the public were able to survive and return to secrecy.
- Alan Rikkin was of the opinion that de Molay's view of the Templars' role was idealistic and misguided, seeing his failure as proof that the Order was meant to follow a different path.
- Jacques de Molay, along with Robert de Sablé and Armand Bouchart, is one of the only three characters in the games that historically were Templars.
- Jacques de Molay's voice actor is Mario Desmarais.
- Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations (painting only)
- Assassin's Creed: Unity (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed Unity: Abstergo Entertainment – Employee Handbook
- Assassin's Creed: Memories
- Assassin's Creed: Heresy (mentioned only)