- "The world is a tapestry of many colors and patterns. A just leader would celebrate this, not seek to unravel it."
- ―Suleiman to Ezio Auditore, on respecting cultural and societal differences, 1512.[src]
Suleiman I (Turkish: I. Süleyman; Ottoman Turkish: Süleyman-i Evvel; 1494 – 1566), born Süleyman bin Selim, was the tenth Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 until his death in 1566. He was the son of Selim I.
Suleiman was considered one of the Empire's greatest rulers, and was known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent, as his reign engineered the Golden Age of Constantinople. He was also known by his fellow Turks as Kanuni or the Law Giver.
Suleiman became embroiled in the struggle between the Templars and Assassins during 1511. After a failed kidnap attempt by Byzantine Templars working for Manuel Palaiologos, Suleiman befriended Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Mentor of the Italian Assassins, who encouraged Suleiman's progressive attitude for peace in the Ottoman Empire.
As his father was last in the Ottoman hierarchy, Suleiman fostered no intentions of becoming Sultan, and instead threw himself into study. He was educated at the University in Istanbul, as well as received private tutoring in Topkapı Palace. At this time, he also had a servant named Ibrahim that he considered to be his best friend.
By the time he was 17, Suleiman's grandfather, Sultan Bayezid II, recognized his great talent, and installed him as the governor of Kefe, a sizable region north of the Black Sea. He would continue to receive several similar positions until 1520.
In 1511, while returning to Constantinople from his Hajj, Suleiman met Ezio Auditore, Mentor of the Italian Assassins. Neither of them disclosed their identities to each other at the time, with Suleiman convincing Ezio that he was merely a student, and Ezio simply saying he was searching for inspiration.
As the ship arrived in Galata, and its passengers disembarked, a young lady named Sofia Sartor dropped her packages. Suleiman politely came to her aid, and helped her carry her belongings, bidding the Assassin farewell as he left.
Suleiman became the target of a supposed assassination attempt from the Byzantines during a cultural exposition he had organized at Topkapı Palace. Fortunately, the Ottoman Assassins had infiltrated the party disguised as Italian minstrels, and were quietly dispatching the would-be killers.
However, a guard noticed a body that an Assassin had failed to hide, and a battle broke out. Ezio ended the fight by killing the final Templar that had been about to attack Suleiman in the midst of the confusion.
Ezio and Suleiman then greeted each other cordially, and introduced themselves by name. After Suleiman ordered the guards to remove the bodies and send the guests home, he requested Ezio's help.
Suleiman explained that his grandfather wanted Ahmet to succeed him on the throne, but the Janissaries, the Sultan's elite soldiers, preferred Suleiman's father Selim.
During the meeting, Tarik assured Suleiman that he would investigate the infiltration, but Suleiman impatiently said that he would do it himself, "for reasons that should be obvious." Ahmet also accused Tarik of planning the attack to make him appear to be a weak and ineffective steward, though Tarik blatantly denied the claims.
- Ezio: "You are in a tough spot. But how do the Byzantines fit into this?"
- Suleiman: "I had hoped you might know. Would you be willing to help me find out?"
- Ezio: "I am tracking them myself. I can help you as long as our interests run parallel."
- —Suleiman gaining Ezio's assistance.[src]
Due to his suspicions of Tarik's failure to prevent the Byzantine infiltration, Suleiman proceeded with his investigation, and directed Ezio to the Grand Bazaar, where Tarik spent most of his time.
After discovering that Tarik was supplying weapons to the Byzantine heir Manuel Palaiologos, Ezio returned to Suleiman, who had been playing chess with Ahmet in the Constantine District. Suleiman directed Ezio to the Janissary camp, and requested that he interrogate and kill Tarik, as punishment for his treachery, despite Tarik's past friendship with Suleiman's father.
However, after the assassination, Ezio returned to Topkapı Palace and revealed to Suleiman that Tarik had been innocent. With his dying words, Tarik had revealed that he had merely been posing as a traitor in order to ambush the Byzantines at Cappadocia. Suleiman grieved the loss, and lamented that he should not have been so quick to judge.
After their exchange, Suleiman promised to arrange a ship to transport Ezio to the Byzantine base in Cappadocia. Ahmet appeared shortly afterwards, distressed that the Janissaries had pinned Tarik's murder on him, and convinced that his father would banish him as a result.
Ahmet soon spotted Ezio, and apologized for interrupting their meeting. Realizing the danger of revealing Ezio's identity, Suleiman instead introduced the Assassin as "Marcello", a European advisor from Kefe.
After Ahmet requested for "Marcello" to leave, Suleiman calmed his uncle, assuring him that they would find the true killer.
When Ezio returned, he had learned that Ahmet was the Templar Grand Master, and had kidnapped his close friend Sofia Sartor. After the Assassins stormed the Arsenal where Ahmet was hiding, Suleiman arrived and overheard his uncle's confrontation with Ezio.
Ahmet declared his desire for a New World Order, by finding the Grand Temple and destroying the "superstitions that keep men divided." Later on, he would also admit to being behind the assault in Topkapı Palace, though he had not intended for Suleiman to be killed, merely captured, for him to be "rescued" by Ahmet afterwards.
As Ahmet left, Suleiman came out of hiding to speak to Ezio. He admitted his uncle's sincerity, but found his fantasies to be dangerous. He also disagreed with the concept of removing the differences between men, saying that they should be celebrated instead of suppressed.
The Janissaries arrived to restore order, and moved to attack Ezio to protect Suleiman, though Suleiman quickly ordered them to stand down. Continuing, Suleiman requested Ezio to spare his uncle after rescuing Sofia, though he admitted that his father would not do the same in his position.
Indeed, some time later, when the new Sultan Selim returned with his army, he killed Ahmet. Though Selim threatened to have Ezio killed as well, at Suleiman's recommendation, the Assassin was merely banished from the city.
Later, when Ezio returned to Constantinople to tie up loose ends at the Assassins Guild, Suleiman prevented his father from harming him, and promised that Ezio's time in the city would be brief.
In 1520, a tragedy robbed Suleiman's father of the Sultanate, and Suleiman - who was 26 at the time - succeeded him. His reforms greatly improved the Empire's bureaucratic system, which would later be described as a "well-oiled engine," despite its significant size.
During his rule, Suleiman expanded his Empire to its furthest points, stretching it from Algeria to the Persian Gulf, and from Austria down to Egypt. Respecting the diversity of those under his authority, he was always careful to honor their cultures, traditions, and religions. In later years, Suleiman led the Ottomans in conflict with the Knights Hospitalier, whom the Assassins had fought due to the death of a Master Assassin at the hands of the knights. Suleiman successfully drove the Knights Hospitalier out of their headquarters in Rhodes, and forced them to relocate to Malta. Suleiman, however, could not defeat the order as the Ottoman assault on Malta was repelled by the Hospitaliers. Afterwards, Suleiman no longer made further attempts to wipe out the order and he died while on a military expedition on Szigetvár while conquering the Kingdom of Hungary.
Personality and characteristics
- "I suppose the moral of any story matches the temper of the man telling it."
- ―Suleiman, 1511.[src]
Suleiman was a kind, polite, and thoughtful man, from his youth until old age. Ezio once described him as a "remarkable boy with a magnificent mind," and he was regarded highly by many of his countrymen.
Despite his uncle being favored over his father for the Sultanate, Suleiman maintained close ties with Ahmet. Indeed, he saw no problem with the decision, and once commented to his uncle that "Grandfather has chosen you, and his word is kanun (law). What is there to argue about?"
Initially, Suleiman dealt harshly with treason, and asked Ezio to kill Tarik for the blatant disrespect for Sultan Bayezid II. However, upon later discovering Tarik's innocence, he grew more tolerant, and even asked Ezio to spare Ahmet's life if he was able, despite knowing his ill intentions.
Ever a scholar, Suleiman spent much of his time in study or travel, and once even held a large cultural exposition in Topkapı Palace, in which he invited foreign minstrels to perform. His appreciation and respect for other cultures extended into his rule as Sultan, and was attributed to be the reason he could maintain such a large Empire.
A well-travelled and understanding man, Suleiman easily found solidarity with the Assassin's and their ideals in favor of freedom, free will, and diversity as they fit in with his view of the world, a "tapestry of many colors and patterns".
- During the memory "The Prince's Banquet," Suleiman speaks some Italian.
- Suleiman is voiced by Haaz Sleiman, who voiced Malik Al-Sayf in Assassin's Creed.
- Suleiman is a derivation of the name Solomon, itself from Hebrew שָׁלוֹם (shalom), meaning 'peace.'
- Coincidentally, Suleiman bore the same epithet as Lorenzo de' Medici: the Magnificent. Additionally, both were powerful allies to the Assassins and were protected by Ezio from Templars seeking to take over their holdings.
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations (novel)
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue (mentioned in War Letters only)