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Altaïr blending with Scholars

Scholars were "holy men" who were usually wandering around the cities in small groups during the Third Crusade, deep in prayer. In Jerusalem and Damascus they were Muslim ascetics and wore turbans. In Acre they were Christian monks and wore hoods.

Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad took advantage of the similarities between the Assassin robes and the scholars' garb to confuse guards. He could also encourage the appearance of additional groups of scholars in and around cities by saving male citizens in distress.

Functions

If Altaïr blended with the scholars, they would walk in a diamond formation around him. This shielded Altaïr being seen from all directions, and like this the scholars could assist Altaïr in two different ways.

Each of the three large cities' entrances and some paths to restricted areas within them were blocked by a phalanx of guards, who would push Altaïr away if he tried to enter. Scholars were usually situated near them, allowing Altaïr to easily enter the restricted area without alarming anyone and starting a fight by joining them. The reason for this was that guards allowed scholars to pass by unchallenged, granting Altaïr easy access without climbing buildings or fighting.

If Altaïr was being chased by guards and managed to break their line of sight, he could blend in with the scholars and trick the guards into thinking he had disappeared. To do this, Altaïr moved to the center of the group and began walking with them, lowering his head and clasping his hands to appear as if he was praying.

If Altaïr was outside the guards' line of sight when he began blending with the scholars, the guards would give up on the chase after a few moments. However, if Altaïr could still be seen by the guards and he attempted to approach a group of scholars, they would stop their prayers and flee in terror, breaking their formation.

History

In 1190, Altaïr disguised himself as a scholar in order to enter the Crusader camp that besieged Acre.[1]

The Saracen leader Salāḥ ad-Dīn had encouraged scholars to visit and spend time in the cities of Damascus and Jerusalem, which was presumably why the city guards always allowed them, and by extension Altaïr, to pass through the city gates unhindered.[2]

Sibrand, leader of the Knights Teutonic as well as a member of the Templars, caught onto Altaïr's method of blending in with the scholars and publicly maltreated and murdered a Christian scholar, accusing the man of working with the Assassins. The scholar's body was then dumped into the sea.[3]

While in Cyprus, Altaïr was unable to blend in several areas without any scholars, such as Limassol, Kantara Castle, Buffavento Castle, Saint Hilarion Castle and the Archive, as the presence of a lone "scholar" caused suspicion.[4]

Ezio blending with a group of scholars

Centuries later, Christian monks could occasionally be found wandering the streets and countrysides in Renaissance Italy, such as within the Monte Oliveto Maggiore monastery. Although Ezio Auditore da Firenze was able to blend with any crowd, an incident reminiscent of scholars occurred in 1497, wherein he blended with a group of monks in order to pass through a guarded city gate and access Florence during the Bonfire of the Vanities.[5]

Trivia

  • An achievement could be obtained by blending with scholars 20 times.
  • Altaïr could not normally kill scholars using any weapons; however, throwing them into water would cause them to drown.

Appearances

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Non-canonical appearances

Gallery

References

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