Marco was born in 1413 to the noble Barbarigo family of Venice. From an early age, he acted tyrannically towards the people below him, demanding absolute servitude in return for continued employment. This wish for power grew with age, and was the reason for his eventual membership within the Templar Order.
Once old enough to understand his place in the world, Marco immediately demanded for riches from his family; which was very influential and one of the wealthiest of the Venetian Nobility. His family doted upon him as the elder of two sons, and everything that he wanted - ships, gold, jewelry - was given to him.
This greed was demonstrated by his later thievery of Carlotta Moro, another man's wife.
- Silvio: "This guard's a good find, cousin, how much do you pay him?"
- Marco: "Perhaps not as much as he deserves; he saved my life on two occasions."
- ―Marco and Silvio discussing Dante.[src]
Once a friend of his bodyguard and attendant, Dante Moro, Marco became attracted to Dante's wife Carlotta, and orchestrated an attempt on his former friend's life in order to win her for himself. Dante was stabbed three times in his torso, and once in the cranium by the men Marco had sent to kill him.
Dante escaped his killers, and managed to survive the near-fatal wounds. Though he did not die as Marco had hoped, the stab wound in his skull left his brain damaged and caused him to lose his higher levels of cognitive thinking, reducing Dante to little more than a drone.
Marco forced Dante to renounce his marriage, and proceeded to make Dante his personal slave. Marco then married Dante's ex-wife, and made her his own, though she never lost hope for Dante's recovery.
- Rodrigo: "And you were never given permission to make plans."
- Marco: "I'm sorry, maestro, we wish only to serve."
- ―Rodrigo reprimanding Marco's plans.[src]
Like most of the Barbarigo family, Marco became involved with "the Spaniard" Rodrigo Borgia, and his plot to take over the Venetian government. In 1485, after the assassination of his relative Emilio Barbarigo, Marco, Dante Moro, Silvio Barbarigo and Carlo Grimaldi met with Rodrigo to plan the assassination of the current Doge Giovanni Mocenigo.
Before Rodrigo arrived, those present argued over who would be appointed Doge after the successful assassination. Rodrigo caught them arguing and reprimanded them for it, before announcing that Marco would take Doge Mocenigo's place.
Unknown to them at the time, the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze eavesdropped on this meeting, and discovered the Barbarigo's allegiance and plans. After the death of Doge Mocenigo, whom Ezio failed to rescue, Marco was appointed as the next Doge, and declared Ezio an enemy of Venice for the murder of his predecessor.
After securing his seat as Doge, Marco spent most of his time in Venice hidden in the Palazzo Ducale, never to emerge. However, Ezio gained entrance to Marco's private party during Carnevale using a Golden Mask he had stolen from Dante, which allowed the bearer immediate, unquestioned entrance to the party.
However, after Dante discovered the theft, he alerted the city guards, and joined them in the search. Despite the guard's attempts to locate him, Ezio remained invisible amongst his hired courtesans, until Marco emerged from his boat to celebrate Carnevale with his "fellow man."
The party was short-lived as Ezio shot Marco down where he stood, using the hidden gun. After his death, Marco's brother Agostino Barbarigo took his brother's place as Doge; unlike Marco, Agostino was sympathetic to the Assassin cause.
Marco was of medium height and stature, though he was often slightly hunched, giving his body an elderly and weak appearance. He had long white hair, thinning with age, and a wispy beard of the same color.
He generally wore the same attire in public which included a hat to hide his thinning hair, a white ermine mantle, and very rich clothing that reflected his noble stature.
His fingers and neck were laden with jewelry, and his soft palms and fingers portrayed the comfortable lifestyle he lived; the thick layers of clothes barely hiding an elderly, overweight man.
Personality and characteristics
Marco was, at heart, a cowardly man. He hid inside of his Palazzo when his fellow Templars' lives were threatened, and had a rival murdered through deception rather than challenging him honorably in public.
When finally forced to publicize himself, Marco stayed aboard a ship as his own party thrived on land. Ezio was forced to use his hidden gun on Marco instead of using stealth, his favored method of assassination. This may show Marco as a cunning foe rather than a coward; he very nearly stayed out of reach of the Assassin.
The man's intelligence was never lacking, and Marco manipulated events around himself to get what he wanted. A whim was enough to send him on a murderous rampage - always using his hired men though. By having Dante attacked, he was able to win the man's wife and get a tenaciously attentive bodyguard in a single event.
Marco never seemed very aware of his surroundings, and did not recognize the warning signs of his predecessor being murdered in his own Palazzo. His greed and vanity was pronounced through bright, expensive clothing and layers of jewelry that were openly displayed to incur the envy of the poor people of Venice.
- Marco: No, it's too soon. I'm not ready.
- Ezio: We rarely are. Che la morte non sia crudele. (Death be not unkind.) Requiescat in pace. (Rest in peace.)
- In Assassin's Creed: Lineage, Marco Barbarigo was portrayed by Frank Fontaine, who was 73 years old at the time. He is only seen briefly, giving a courier a letter.
- Historically, Marco did not die during the Carnevale, but in August, probably in a dispute between nobles.
- If Ezio shoots Marco with his hidden gun, he is still transported next to Marco during the sequence in the Memory Corridor, even though Ezio remains where he is after the final words sequence.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Ezio sings a song about Marco and refers to him as "Venezia' s grim Doge".