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"I know the human animal. What you fear, what you love. Is Rose a bad man? Undoubtedly. But I, Napoleon, can control him and turn him to what's best for France. The masses will gladly renounce their freedom if all can entertain the hope of rising to the top. With the artifact inside the temple, I will bring them the illusion of hope. And I will lead us to glory."
―Napoleon Bonaparte, 1794.[src]

Napoléon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821), born Napoleone di Buonaparte, and later Napoleon I, was a Corsican military and political leader who ruled first as the First Consul of France from 1799 to 1804, then as Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815.

He rose to power amidst the chaos and political turmoil of the French Revolution. On many occasions he was an ally of the Assassin Brotherhood and had a long and complicated friendship with the Assassin Arno Dorian.


Early life

Born in French-owned Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte's heritage made him the subject of abuse by his peers while in military school. He was also a known troublemaker in school due to his long leaves of absence.[1]

In 1791, he became an associate of Pasquale Paoli, a Corsican fighting for Corsica's independence from French rule. Despite their cooperation together, the relationship between them became strained.[1]

Due to exceeding his leave of absence, Napoleon was dismissed from the army. Nonetheless, he was still appointed as colonel of a battalion tasked with suppressing a peaceful demonstration. Against the orders of his superiors, Napoleon's troops took control of the citadel of Ajaccio.[1]

Meeting Arno Dorian

"You certainly don't look like a blood-crazed revolutionary. The hood... is a bit sinister though, if you don't mind my saying."
―Napoleon, during his first encounter with Arno, 1792.[src]

In 1792, Napoleon infiltrated the Tuileries Palace in order to acquire a key, which would unlock a First Civilization Temple beneath Saint-Denis, that had been placed in a chest and hidden in a secret vault by King Louis in the latter's study. At the same time, the Palace was under attack by several revolutionary extremists led by Napoleon's subordinate, Frédéric Rouille.[2]

Napoleon holding Arno Dorian at gunpoint

Arno Dorian too had infiltrated the palace to search for compromising documents belonging to Honoré Mirabeau. As the Assassin entered the office, he was ambushed by Napoleon who held him at gunpoint. After remarking on Arno's sinister appearance, Napoleon holstered his pistol and went back to searching the King's desk. Arno believed him to be hiding from the violence due to his uniform, which Napoleon corrected him on by saying that he was taking advantage of the chaos to search the study for curiosities. When Arno remarked on how unfortunate it would be if they happened to be eyeing the same prize, Napoleon made a casual inquiry whilst reaching for his pistol, but relaxed when it turned out not to be the case.[2]

With Arno's Eagle Vision, they discovered the King's hidden vault. Distracted by destroying the documents, Arno failed to notice Napoleon taking the casket which contained the key to open the Saint-Denis Temple, which Napoleon claimed was a cornucopia. Just then, the office was besieged by Rouille's men who were searching for Mirabeau's documents. As Arno held them off, Napoleon opened up a secret passageway hidden in the office for them to escape, expertly shooting down the last charging revolutionary. Just as they were leaving, Rouille himself burst into the office looking for the documents, missing them by a second. Noticing Arno's reaction to seeing Rouille, Napoleon elaborated a little on his rivalry with the captain.[2]

After Napoleon witnessed Arno's combat abilities, he offered the Assassin a future position in the military, an offer which Arno turned down. The pair was then aided by Bonaparte's soldiers, who managed to blow a hole in the palace's wall and provide them with an escape route.[2] After the escape, Napoleon made several unsuccessful attempts to have Rouille assigned to a more remote posting, being both exasperated and impressed by the captain's resourcefulness and connections.

In September 1792, Napoleon was accosted by several revolutionaries who mistook him for a noble by his uniform, though they let him go once he proclaimed his allegiance to the French Republic. Later on, he met with Arno and informed him of Rouille's location. Thanks to Bonaparte's information, Arno was successful in assassinating Rouille in the Grand Châtelet prison.[2]

Excavating Saint-Denis

"Find me the door that this key unlocks, and I shall reward you beyond your wildest dreams."
―Napoleon, hiring Rose to find the Temple, 1794.[src]

In September 1793, Napoleon participated in the Siege of Toulon and with the help of Philippe Rose took the city. Due to his experience as an artillery master, Napoleon earned the attention of brothers Augustin and Maximilien de Robespierre, the former appointing him as the brigadier general, with the command of the artillery of the French Army.[3]

Unbeknownst to Napoleon, Maximilien de Robespierre was concerned with Napoleon's rising popularity within the army. Thus, he secretly conspired with his colleague Louis Antoine de Saint-Just to discredit Napoleon by providing him with defective armaments for Napoleon's men. However, Arno was able to sabotage the defective weapons before they could be delivered to Napoleon, safeguarding his career.[2]

Napoleon checking up on Rose's progress

In August of 1794, after the fall of Robespierre, Napoleon secretly hired Rose to excavate the Precursor Temple underneath Saint-Denis in order to obtain the artifact, an Apple of Eden, hidden there. On 3 August, Napoleon personally came to check up on Rose. When shown a carving of the Temple, Napoleon noted that a part of the carving resembled the key to the Temple door. He ordered Rose to find the door, promising to pay the captain handsomely. He then took note of a young boy, Léon, who was captured by the raiders. Napoleon instructed Rose to escort the boy back to the surface, but once Bonaparte had left, the raiders intended to murder Léon.[3]

Napoleon then moved to another part of the catacombs, where one of his lieutenants complained about Rose, whether he could be trusted. Napoleon compared Rose to a rat wanting food and was confident that he could control him, even though he knew that Rose was untrustworthy. Assuring the lieutenant that what he did was for the good of France, he then placed the Temple key in a box and entrusted it to the soldier.[3]

Napoleon being arrested

Unbeknownst to Napoleon, a soldier had convinced Rose to take the Apple of Eden to a higher bidder. Sent on a mission by the Marquis de Sade, Arno Dorian became entangled in Napoleon's quest for the artifact, and in the process killed Rose. He managed to retrieve the Apple first and sent it to Al Mualim in Egypt, where Napoleon could never acquire it.[3]

On 6 August, Napoleon was placed under house arrest on charges of treason, desertion and supporting Maximilien de Robespierre during the Reign of Terror. Eighteen days later, due to his influence in politics, Napoleon was soon released and acquitted of all charges.[3]

Collaboration with Arno

Even after the event at Saint-Denis, Arno accepted to help Napoleon and the French Army in some missions to protect Paris from the last remaining royalists. He even ran some personal errands for Napoleon.[2]

Around 1795, Napoleon became engaged to Désirée Clary, who was intended to be engaged to Napoleon's brother. During the French Revolution, as Napoleon feared for Désirée's safety, he sent his fellow captain Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte and Arno to protect her from royalist mercenaries. As Arno fought off the attackers, Désirée was struck by Bernadotte's charms, and a mutual romance began to blossom. However, as Désirée was promised to Napoleon, she resisted Bernadotte's advances despite her feelings.[2]

Eventually, Napoleon became aware of the romance, and asked Arno to look into the matter. Finding evidence that Bernadotte intended to ask for Désirée's hand, Arno attempted to stop Bernadotte and spare Napoleon any embarrassment, but arrived too late. As Bernadotte confronted his superior, he became engaged in a brawl with some patrons at the Restaurant Boulanger that Napoleon and Désirée were dining at. Embarrassed, Désirée demanded Bernadotte that he leave her alone.[2]

Arno, sent by a remorseful Désirée, snuck into Napoleon's house and stole love letters sent between him and Désirée. However, Napoleon did not mind the theft at all, as he had begun to lose interest in Désirée and was instead smitten with another woman, Joséphine de Beauharnais, who would become his future wife.[2]

Eventually, Arno was sent by Thomas-Alexandre Dumas to escort Napoleon as the latter met with Joséphine, intending to take her on a romantic stroll. Despite Napoleon's protests, Arno followed the couple, and eliminated Royalists who attempted to assassinate Bonaparte. Nervous, Napoleon had difficulty completing his sentences during the meeting. While Joséphine told him about her former marriage, Napoleon fascinated her with his Corsican accent and military career.[2]

At the end of the meeting, a captivated Napoleon complimented her eyes and insisted that they meet again. Despite clearly being exhausted from the ordeal, he was confident that their stroll together had gone well. The relationship developed, and as Joséphine was older than Napoleon by a few years, she showed a considerably higher level of sophistication than him.[2]

Rise to power

"Napoleon's claim to fame was using cannons on the streets of Paris. Outnumbered 6 to 1, he crushed Royalist forces marching on the National Convention."
Bishop, regarding Napoleon's rise to power, 2014.[src]

Napoleon during the 13 Vendémiaire uprising

For the next few years, Napoleon had a successful career during the crushing of the 13 Vendémiaire uprising in Paris. Despite commanding only five thousand troops against twenty-five thousand insurgents, Napoleon defeated the Royalists through the use of cannons and grapeshot. His successful campaigns in Italy to fight the Austrians caused an upsurge in his popularity.[2]

In 1798, Napoleon embarked on a campaign to Egypt and Syria, with the intention of claiming the Apple of Eden from the Saint-Denis Temple.[3] After successfully retrieving the artifact, he returned home in 1799. Using his newfound power,[4] Bonaparte seized power for himself during the coup of 18 Brumaire, becoming the First Consul of France.[2]

On 24 December 1800, the last remaining Royalists of the 13 Vendémiaire coup, led by François-Joseph Carbon, plotted to use "The Infernal Machine" against Napoleon. Arno was able to eliminate all of the snipers who fired on Napoleon's carriage as it headed towards the opera. The plan backfired when the Infernal Machine detonated too early, far away from Napoleon's carriage. Napoleon's men then escorted the Consul to safety while Arno and a team of Assassins tracked down Carbon and eliminated him, preventing any further assassination attempts. Napoleon himself remained oblivious to the Assassins presence.[2]

During the last few years of the Haitian Revolution, Napoleon remained as the Consul of France. He saw Toussaint Louverture as a threat, and sent Charles Leclerc to remove him from power, as well as giving him orders to reinstate slavery in the colony. He succeeded, but later in the war, French troops were forced out of Saint-Domingue.[5] As a result, Napoleon, seeing the rebelling colonies more of a continuous liability, sold the French colonies to the United States, in what would be known as the Louisiana Purchase.[6]

Emperor of the French

Arno and Napoleon recovering Germain's corpse

In 1804, after five years as the First Consul of France, Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France. Four years later, Napoleon decided to demolish the Temple to prevent it from being a hideout from any potential Royalists. Before demolishing it, he accompanied Arno to retrieve the skeletal remains of François-Thomas Germain from the Temple's sanctuary, which he was awed by. The pair then buried his body in the Parisian Catacombs.[7]

In 1805, Napoleon covertly sent one of his agents, the flemish Jan van der Graff, to steal the Koh-i-Noor, a Piece of Eden in possession of the Ottoman Sultan Selim III.[8] Despite the fact that van der Graff eventually recovered the artifact after spending three years in the Sultan's jails, he had in the meantime joined the Templar Order and kept the diamond.[9]

In 1808, Napoleon invaded Spain and made his brother, Joseph, King of Spain.[10] By 1812, Napoleon was still Emperor of France and still had in his possession his Apple of Eden.[11]


Details of Napoleon's Apple were later collected by the Assassin Clay Kaczmarek in 2012, and hidden in the Animus for his successor, Desmond Miles to find.[11] Which he did in September of that year.[12]

Personality and characteristics

"A man of principle."
―Arno half-sarcastically describing Napoleon, 1792.[src]

Napoleon was an eloquent and collected man who rarely lost his temper, only displaying subtle signs of annoyance when pressured. However, he was prone to losing composure when conversing with Joséphine, frequently stuttering and pausing nervously; he admitted to her that she had left him breathless.[2]

When he met Arno, Napoleon was also extremely ambitious, yet pragmatic and liberally idealistic.[4] Despite his affiliation to the revolutionary cause, he saw those in charge were inefficient in leading France, and instead brought about chaos and anarchy.[2]

As he got older, Napoleon became more jaded and disillusioned, akin to how Arno had been. He came to the belief that mankind was meant to be subjugated by a higher authority in order to bring peace, similar to the Templar ideology. This made him crave power, becoming somewhat megalomaniacal in nature.[4] In his pursuit for power, he became somewhat ruthless, burning several rats alive while in the ruins of Saint-Denis, simply to prove a point to his lieutenant. However, he nonetheless ordered for the boy, Léon, to be safely escorted back to the surface, seeing him to be harmless.[3]

Napoleon also displayed a habit of speaking in military jargon, describing how to 'flank' Joséphine while still remaining engaged with Désirée. He maintained an upper class attitude towards those around him, which made him very intolerable among his colleagues such as Bernadotte and Dumas. He was also had some sardonic wit, pointing out the shady and indiscreet appearance of Arno's Assassin outfit.[2]

Following their first encounter, Napoleon and Arno Dorian bonded, despite their philosophical differences. Arno's devotion towards the Assassin philosophy of freedom of humanity sharply contrasted with that of Napoleon's own beliefs that peace could only be brought about through power and control over humanity. Napoleon trusted Arno enough to allow him to help run personal errands with Désirée, while Arno seemed confident enough to speak with Bonaparte about his relationship with Élise de la Serre, albeit in a joking manner.[2] Though Arno thwarted Napoleon's plans with the Apple of Eden in Saint-Denis, the two did not interact or meet each other, and maintained contact for several years.[3]

Equipment and skills

"Better than anyone, he knew how to exploit his victories and cover up his defeats for the sake of public opinion."
Shaun Hastings, 2014.

Napoleon was a gifted and capable leader, able to come up with military strategies that granted him victory despite the overwhelming odds. During the 13 Vendémiaire coup, despite being severely outnumbered, Bonaparte managed to defeat the Royalists with minimum casualties through the use of cannon fire. His charisma also played a pivotal role in his rise to power, garnering massive popularity in many of his campaigns. His popularity was such that even Robespierre feared Napoleon's popularity would overshadow his own.[2]

Napoleon shooting a Republican extremist

As a commander of artillery, Napoleon was a skilled marksman, capable of shooting down an extremist rebel charging towards him without misfiring. Napoleon carried a cavalry saber as well as dual flintlock pistols, but the former was largely ceremonial as he was never seen using it. He also displayed quick reflexes, being able to catch Arno off guard and hold him at gunpoint during their initial meeting.[2]

Due to his influence in both military and politics, Napoleon was extremely resourceful for a man of his rank in the army. This was seen by his knowledge of the Apple of Eden in Franciade, whereas neither the Assassins nor the Templars were even aware of its existence.[3]

Behind the scenes

Napoleon Bonaparte, a historical figure, was first introduced in the Glyphs of Assassin's Creed II. it wasn't until Assassin's Creed: Unity that he made a physical appearance though, where he was voiced by Brent Skagford.

The name Napoléon is a compound name composed from the Greek elements neapolis (new city) and leōn (lion): hence, "lion of the new city." His surname Bonaparte is of Italian origin; it is composed of the elements bona (buona) 'good' + parte 'solution', 'match', a name bestowed as an expression of satisfaction at the child's arrival.

Léon referred to Napoleon as "the little commandant", a reference to Napoleon's depiction in many forms of popular culture as being of short stature. This is a result from the difference between the measurements of the French pouce (2.71 cm) and the British inch (2.54 cm). Napoleon was actually 1.68 meters (5 ft 6 in) tall, making him of average height for the time period. This nickname was also a reference to how Napoleon was addressed by his subordinates, due to his camaraderie with them.