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The Ottoman Brotherhood of Assassins, also known as the Seljuk Assassins,[4] Constantinople Assassins,[5] Turkish Assassins, or simply Ottoman Assassins were the Guild of Assassins located in and around current Turkey, existing in Constantinople since at least the early 1st century CE as a branch of the Hidden Ones. For five centuries, the Hidden Ones were active in the Byzantine Empire before disappearing from Constantinople between the 9th and 12th centuries.

In 1258, a new guild was built in Constantinople by the traveler brothers Niccolò and Maffeo Polo on the order of the Levantine Mentor Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad to expand the Brotherhood across the world while also hiding the Keys of his library.

Under the Byzantine Empire, the Assassins were hunted down and killed through the Empire. After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Mentor Ishak Pasha established a lasting peace between the guild and the Ottoman Empire, assuring a stronger presence in Constantinople through Assassin Dens. Even after the Ottoman conquest of the Byzantine Empire, the Byzantine Rite of the Templar Order posed a threat to the Ottoman Assassins as they supported the remnant of the Byzantine.

During the early 16th century, the Italian Mentor Ezio Auditore helped the guild leader Yusuf Tazim to reinforce the Ottoman Assassins by recruiting many citizens of Constantinople and leading operations against Templar across Mediterranean Sea. The guild also played a key role in the recovering of the Masyaf Keys against the Templars.

Like many Assassin guilds in 2000, the Ottoman Brotherhood was wiped out during the Great Purge led by the Templar Order.


Early activity

Prior to the founding of the Assassins Guild in the 13th century, Hidden Ones were known to operate in Constantinople and its surrounding regions as early as the 4th century CE. During the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine I, at least one Hidden One witnessed Constantinople's rise as the new capital of the Roman Empire.[6]

Around 870, a team of Hidden Ones from the Middle East operated in Constantinople under the command of Basim Ibn Ishaq. That year, he sent his acolyte Ammon to Bulgar on a mission to recover a Shroud of Eden. This mission ultimately proved unsuccessful when Ammon was killed by the viking Sigurd Styrbjornsson, and Basim was subsequently informed of the mark on the viking's neck.[7] Basim would later meet Sigurd in Constantinople, and left the city to travel to the viking's home in Norway alongside fellow Hidden One Hytham.[8]

Establishment of the Assassins Guild

Altaïr: "So, where will you go next?"
Niccolò: "Back to Constantinopoli for a time. We will establish a guild there before returning to Venezia."
—Niccolò Polo to Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad about establishing the Constantinople Assassins Guild, 1257.[src]

In 1204, the leader of the Levantine Assassins, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, journeyed to Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire hoping to establish a proper Assassins Guild from which the Assassins could operate. However, due to the chaos caused by the ongoing Fourth Crusade, Altaïr was unable to recruit potential Assassins.[9]

In 1257, the tradesmen Niccolò and Maffeo Polo were invited to stay at the Assassins' fortress of Masyaf by Darim Ibn-La'Ahad, Altaïr's son. Being trained into becoming Assassins themselves, Altaïr entrusted them with creating various Assassins Guilds abroad, as well as guarding Altaïr's Codex. When the Mongols eventually attacked, the Polo brothers left Masyaf,[9] also being entrusted with safeguarding the five keys to Altaïr's library underneath Masyaf.[5]

The Polos then traveled back to their home in Constantinople, where they were successful in creating a guild and bringing the Assassin ideals to the Byzantine Empire.[9] However, the Byzantine Empire was not sympathetic with the Assassins: the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, ordered the capture and execution of Assassins throughout his Empire, but it is unknown if any of his predecessors did the same.[5]

The Byzantine Empire was eventually defeated and usurped by the Ottomans in 1453, resulting in the foundation of the Ottoman Empire. Templar presence in the region became minimal, allowing the Assassin Order to develop.[5]

Growth of the Brotherhood

"For the first time in many decades, the Assassins have a strong presence here. It wasn't always that way. Under the Byzantine Emperor, the Assassins were hunted down and killed on the spot."
―Yusuf Tazim, about the Assassins in the 16th century, 1511.[src]

By the later half of the 15th century, the Vizier Ishak Pasha - secretly an Assassin - took a leading role over the Ottoman Assassins. Ishak Pasha fought and defeated Vlad "the Impaler" Tepes, a secret Templar, and brokered a truce between the Assassins and Ottomans.[5]

During the late 1480s, Ishak Pasha had begun recruiting Ottoman citizens into the Assassin Brotherhood. One of these Ottomans was Yusuf Tazim, whose father also was an Assassin. In 1497, Ishak Pasha died. Control over the Ottoman Assassins later shifted to Yusuf Tazim, who had by then become a Master Assassin.[5]

For unknown reasons, the Ottoman Assassins seemed not to have any influence in Constantinople. In 1501, Ezio sent some of his own recruits to help set up a guild there.[10] A year later, a group of Ottoman Assassins, including Tazim, and Venetian Assassins met in Greece to make plans to end the Venetian-Ottoman war, being successful in doing so in 1503.[5]

The Assassins had realized that the Templars were spreading their reach to the New World. To ensure that they could keep their activities in check, the Assassins wanted maps to the Americas. They broke into the workshop of the famous Ottoman admiral and cartographer and Piri Reis, an exceptional Ottoman cartographer, who had been called away for naval duty. They found maps drawn in excellent detail, and found that he had tracked their common enemy to the New World. The Assassins boarded these voyages to follow.[10]

Meanwhile, the Inquisition in Portugal and Spain caused several men and women to leave the country. This community flourished with scientists, artists and philosophers. Sultan Bayezid II welcomed these refugees, as he knew that they would strengthen his empire. King Ferdinand had planted spies in this community, and made sure they exposed nothing about themselves. However, Italian and Ottoman Assassins were watching for suspicious behavior and caught about a dozen spies, killed them and replaced them with their own men. These Assassins worked to strengthen the guild in Constantinople.[11]

In 1506, after some initial conflict, the Ottoman admiral, geographer and cartographer Piri Reis - tired of the artificial boundaries that separate nations - joined the Assassin Order as a scholar and technician, eventually becoming a Master Assassin specializing in bomb crafting.[5]

Fight with the Byzantine remnants

"When the Templars take control of a district, they flaunt their presence, hanging banners, extorting the merchants. It's a constant battle to keep them at bay, and they rub our noses in every victory."
―Yusuf Tazim, talking about their struggle with the Templars in Constantinople, 1511.[src]

Yusuf introducing Ezio to the Ottoman Assassins

Following the earthquake in Constantinople in 1509, Templar remnants of the Byzantine Empire returned to the city, hoping to restore their fallen empire. The Assassins became engaged in a direct conflict with the Byzantines in the following years, though they also used the hatred between the Byzantines and Ottomans to their advantage, often purposely creating conflict between these factions.[5]

In 1511, the Mentor of the Italian Asassins, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, journeyed to the Ottoman Assassins' headquarters in Constantinople with the intention of finding the five keys needed to open Altaïr's library underneath Masyaf fortress. Greeted by Yusuf Tazim, Ezio was quickly taken in and introduced to various techniques that the Ottoman Assassins used, including bombs and Hookblades.[5]

Though Yusuf still led the Ottoman Assassins, it was Ezio who took a leading role over the Brotherhood against the Byzantine Templars. Recruiting many new Assassins and taking back Constantinople from Byzantine control, Ezio even sent his apprentices to various regions across the Mediterranean, thwarting the Templars' plans and taking over cities from Templar control.[5]

Ezio, Yusuf and other Assassins disguised as minstrels

In late 1511, Yusuf led a group of Assassins to attend a cultural exposition held in Topkapı Palace by Ottoman Prince Suleiman, knowing that the Templars were going to infiltrate it. Joined by Ezio, the Assassins went disguised as minstrels from Italy, with Ezio distracting the guests and discovering the Templar infiltrators using his Eagle Sense. Successfully locating all Templars before they could bring harm to Suleiman, the Ottoman Prince and Ezio became friends and allies in the process.[5]

In early 1512, the Ottoman Assassins aided Ezio Auditore in setting sail for Cappadocia to find the last Masyaf key, as the Janissaries were blocking the port to make sure Ezio did not leave the city. While destroyed the Great Chain spanned across the Golden Horn Ezio burned the Ottoman boats blocking the boat, Yusuf and a group of other Assassins kept the Ottoman guards at bay. Ezio successfully opened the harbor, and joined Piri Reis on the boat to Cappadocia.[5]

Conflict with Shehzade Ahmet

"The whole city rises against us, while Yusuf's murderer waits and watches from the arsenal, laughing. Fight with me, and show him what it means to cross the Assassins!"
―Ezio Auditore, rallying the Ottoman Assassins against Shehzade Ahmet, 1512.[src]

Ezio, giving Yusuf his last rites

Though before Ezio left, he asked Yusuf to protect a woman named Sofia Sartor, a bookseller Ezio expressed interest in. Yusuf agreed, and he and several other Assassins had taken up positions around Sofia's bookstore to ensure her safety. Though Ezio was able to eliminate Manuel Palaiologos in Cappadocia, marking the fall of the Palaiologi and the ultimate destruction of the Byzantine Empire, the Byzantine Templars became under the full control of Ottoman Prince Ahmet, the favored son of Sultan Bayezid II who had secretly made plans for the Templar Order from within the royal house. On order of Ahmet, the Templars attacked Sofia's store to capture her, knowing she was close to Ezio. Though managing to kill a large group of Templars, Yusuf was eventually stabbed fatally in his back. Ezio discovered the body upon his return to the city, which served as a large motivator for the Assassins to strike back at Ahmet and the Templars, who were hiding in the city's arsenal.[5]

The Assassins led a full-on assault on the arsenal, and numerous Assassins and Templars faced off against each other. Ezio reached Ahmet deep inside the arsenal, but had to spare his life in order to find out Sofia's location. Offering a deal to trade Sofia for the Masyaf keys, Ahmet and the Templars left the arsenal.[5]

Before going to the exchange near Galata Tower, Ezio appointed Tazim's lieutenant Dogan to become the new leader of the Ottoman Assassins.[12] Suspecting the exchange to be a trap, Ezio had the Assassins take up positions around the perimeter, and they jumped in as soon as Ezio's suspicions became true. Nonetheless, Ezio managed to successfully rescue Sofia, and the two of them chased after Ahmet in the countryside around Constantinople. After a long chase, Ezio and Ahmet ultimately found themselves falling from a cliff, only to be saved by Ezio using one of his parachutes. Right afterwards, they were joined by Ahmet's brother Selim, Suleiman's father, who had just become Sultan and was on his way back to Constantinople. Selim attacked and strangled Ahmet, and eventually shoved Ahmet off another cliff to his death. Only for his son's respect for the Assassins, Selim spared Ezio's life, but ordered him to permanently leave Constantinople.[5]

Nonetheless, Ezio and Sofia returned to Constantinople, with Suleiman's knowledge and Selim's temporary consent. Ezio made preparations to leave and to stabilize the Assassins in the city. Azize, a female Assassin who had taken care of Sofia's bookshop in her absence, was allowed to run the shop full-time and the Brotherhood bought it from Sofia. With Dogan as the leader of the Ottoman Assassins, Ezio knew that the Brotherhood would continue to thrive. Eventually, Ezio left for Rome with Sofia, who had become his fiancée.[12]

Origins and appearance

Ezio with a group of Ottoman Assassins

By the 16th century, the Ottoman Assassins wore tanned white Assassin robes with an orange chest-plate, and blue pants. In some cases, Assassins also wore Ottoman masks underneath their hoods, and some Assassins always wore their hood down, like Yusuf Tazim, in contrast to common Assassin custom. Each of them were equipped with a Hidden Blade and a Hookblade, which they used for fast and easy climbing and for transporting via ziplines, so they could make their way to their destination fast.[5]

During the time of the Ottoman Empire, people from various countries and regions around Turkey were attracted to the empire, which resulted in the Assassin Brotherhood containing members from various different cultures and ancestries.[5]


An Ottoman Assassin performing double assassination

The basic techniques of the Ottoman Assassins were similar to those of the Levantine Assassins, their spiritual forebearers. However, the Ottoman Assassins invented their own upgraded version of the Hidden Blade, called the Hookblade, which allowed for faster climbing and faster travel via Constantinople's ziplines.[5]

The Ottoman Assassins were also introduced to various types of bombs, by trade from China. They trained themselves in their usage, and the Master Assassin Piri Reis eventually created more specialized bombs with experience gained in the Ottoman navy.[5]


Allies and puppets

Byzantine-Ottoman wars