- "Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you: I CAN see down that road! I KNOW where we're going! It's a beautiful place, and we're going there together!"
- ―Marco Barbarigo to his subjects, 1486[src]
Marco was born around 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.
- 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.
Working with Rodrigo Borgia
In 1476, Marco was entrusted with a letter destined for Pope Sixtus IV in Rome. In the Palazzo Ducale, he passed the letter to a courier who in turn would take it to Grand Master Rodrigo Borgia. However, the courier was intercepted by the Assassin Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, and the letter compromised.
Later, after Giovanni had confronted Borgia in Rome, the Grand Master called a meeting to discuss the impending Pazzi conspiracy and the need to eliminate Giovanni. Marco was one of the Templars present during this meeting.
- 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" 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.
Personality and characteristics
Marco was a greedy, spoiled, selfish, and tyrannical man, willing to betray even close friends (such as Dante Moro) to get what he wanted. A whim was enough to send him on a murderous rampage, although he would always use hired men to do it. One example is when he ordered Dante's assassination so he could steal his wife. Although the assassination attempt was unsuccessful, Dante was brain-damaged enough that Marco could easily convince him to annul his marriage and become his personal bodyguard. He was also a cowardly man, hiding inside 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 behind a battallion of armed guards. Ezio was forced to use his hidden gun to kill Marco, who knew full well that Ezio was hunting him and that he wasn't safe on land. This may show Marco as a cunning foe rather than a coward, since he very nearly stayed out of reach of the Assassin.
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. 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.
- In Assassin's Creed: Lineage, Marco Barbarigo was portrayed by Frank Fontaine. He is only seen briefly, giving a courier a letter.
- Historically, Marco did not die during the Carnevale, but in August, supposedly after a fight with his brother Agostino during a senate meeting.
- 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".