|This article is about the Templar black arms dealer. You may be looking for Damascene oddities merchant Tamir.|
- "You think me some petty death-dealer, suckling at the breast of war? A strange target, don't you think? Why me, when so many others do the same?"
- ―Tamir on his death.[src]
Tamir (c. 1147 – 1191) was an infamous black arms merchant who came to rule over the Souk Al-Silaah, the largest market of Damascus. As one of the nine leading members of the Levantine Templars during the Third Crusade, he was responsible for the production and supply of the order's weapons.
At the height of his influence, he was reputed to control the most extensive underground trading network in the Levant, with the power to procure any item requested by his clients at exorbitant prices. He rose to prominence from the status of a lowly caravan merchant, managing to win the favor of the Sultan of Egypt and Syria, Saladin, himself, but his operations were rife with abuse and terror. The merchant guild of Damascus was loyal to him, but only out of fear, for he frequently resorted to threats and public executions to pressure his employees into meeting his demands.
He worked closely with his fellow Templars, particularly the Merchant King of Damascus, Abu'l Nuqoud, who provided the funds needed for his mass production. Conspiring with the Order to bring about a New World under their dominion, he was privy to their efforts to retrieve the Apple of Eden, but the Assassin leader Al Mualim betrayed their secret alliance to secure the artifact for his sole power. As a result, he was the first target assigned to the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, in his pursuit of redemption, as part of a wider purge of all the Templar leaders, and he became the first among them to perish at Altaïr's blade.
Rise to notoriety
- Altaïr: "You believe yourself different then?"
- Tamir: "Oh but I am, for I serve a far nobler cause than mere profit. Just like my brothers."
- —Tamir speaking with Altaïr of his motivations.[src]
A notorious black market merchant, Tamir rose from obscurity as a minor supplier for the Saracen army to become the owner of the largest trading center in Damascus, the Souk Al-Silaah. At its peak, his souk dominated the commerce of the Poor District, selling everything from food, to perfumes, to spices, and weapons. He was popular for his ability to procure just about any item a client desired, no matter the legality, provided that the customer could afford the hefty price.
According to the propaganda of a herald, the merchant originally dealt in fruits and vegetables, making regular rounds between Damascus and Jerusalem. In the time leading up to the Battle of Hattin in 1187, however, demand for food produce had diminished in the region. Faced with a surplus of food, Tamir drove his caravan north in hopes of finding customers before his supplies rot. Much to his fortune, he chanced upon the famished army of Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria, then preparing for a major confrontation against the Crusaders. Reinvigorated by Tamir's abundant supply of food, the Saracen army went on to deal a critical victory at the Battle of Hattin. Tamir entered into the favor of Saladin after the battle and was awarded generously for his fortuitous contribution.
Regardless of the veracity of his propagandist's tale, by 1191, Tamir's business chiefly revolved around the black market trade. Specializing in the production of weapons and armor, he soon amassed a fortune selling not just to his own people, but privately to their Crusader enemies as well. Unbeknownst to Saladin, his true allegiance laid not with the Saracens but to the Templar Order.
The Templars benefited heavily from his devotion to their cause; he was a powerful man who dominated what was likely to be the largest underground trading network in the Holy Land, supported by many blacksmiths and financiers. From him, they could obtain a constant supply of weapons and gear. Arms shipments from Tamir were frequent and regular, but in the summer of 1191, they placed the largest order yet: enough weapons to field an army of at least a thousand men, all in a short time span. Such a tremendous order strained against Tamir's budget, and he critically required the waning support of the merchant guild and the donations of the Merchant King Abu'l Nuqoud, a fellow Templar.
Much to his fury, his men failed to fulfill the order by the expected date, even in spite of working overtime. As a result, he summoned the merchant guild to a meeting at the Souk Al-Silaah, seeking to pressure them into contributing to his labor. By this point, many members of the guild were disgruntled by his iron fist hold. Notwithstanding that they were often expected to work without pay, Tamir was feared for his tendency to carry out public executions of merchants that defied him. His influence was such that the local guards turned a blind eye to these crimes and abuses.
- "You will pay for this. You and all your kind."
- ―Tamir, moments before passing away.[src]
Tamir's meeting with the merchant guild to reprimand them for the failed order was fated to be his last; he and the other Templar leaders had unknowingly been marked for elimination by the leader of the Assassins, Al Mualim, ironically one of their secret co-conspirators for the Apple of Eden and the New World Order. For this purge, Al Mualim relied upon his best agent Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, a former Master Assassin recently demoted to the rank of novice for violations of the Creed. Under the promise of redeeming his lost honor and rank, Altaïr was tasked with Tamir as his first target.
After having learned much about Tamir through his investigations, Altaïr arrived at the central courtyard of the Souk Al-Silaah moments before Tamir himself, deciding that this was the moment to launch his attack. Tamir strode in from one of the souk's arcades, arguing with one of his merchants, condemning him as lazy for failing to supply the large order in time. The merchant insisted in his defense that his men were already working overtime, notwithstanding that the route to their client's destination was quite perilous. This did little to placate Tamir, who dismissed them as incompetent excuses. When the merchant, firm in his conviction that Tamir's expectations were unrealistic, voiced as much, Tamir's wrath dramatically escalated. Outraged at this remark, Tamir pressed forward and spat in the merchant's face.
The merchant, now recognizing the threat, pleaded that he meant no offense, but by this point, Tamir's tantrum could not be abated. He spontaneously lashed out with his dagger, slicing the merchant across the abdomen. In terror, the merchant begged him to stop, but Tamir only laughed that it was just the beginning. He proceeded to savagely slash at the merchant, too wounded to flee, again and again, as many as eight times before pausing just a moment to scream at him. As the merchant, still barely alive, crouched by the fountain whimpering in agony, Tamir resumed his merciless assault. Four times he plunged his dagger into his back, before a final stab sent the man sprawling into the fountain, his blood pooling into the water. Afterward, Tamir stopped one of his guards from removing the body, intending it to serve as a lesson for others.
With that, the crowd around the courtyard, all having beheld the gory spectacle, dispersed and returned to their activities pretending that nothing had happened. Tamir set off to inspect the various stands and shops in the courtyard, each belonging to traders under his authority. At each stall, he was again infuriated by his employees' merchandise, always finding them to be of mediocre quality.
So preoccupied was he with berating more of his merchants that he failed to notice Altaïr creeping up behind him, the Assassin having witnessed his murder moments earlier with abject disgust. It had been part of Altaïr's meticulous plan to wait for Tamir to engross himself with the affairs of multiple merchants before striking, and it was while threatening another one of his employees that Tamir was executed from behind with a Hidden Blade.
During his last moments, Tamir rejected his reputation as a "petty death dealer", claiming his motives to be far nobler than that of mere profit. Cryptically, he informed his killer that he was but a small piece in the wider schemes of his "Brotherhood's" plans. At that, the black arms merchant perished, and Altaïr was left to escape from the man's guards, who had only just then taken notice of their boss' demise.
Personality and characteristics
- "You came into MY souk! Stood before MY men! And dared to insult ME? You must learn your place!"
- ―Tamir murdering one of his merchants in a fit of rage, 1191[src]
A true micro-manager at heart, Tamir was frequently seen in public inspecting the workshops and stalls of fellow merchants, criticizing them mercilessly for the poor quality of their goods. He cared nothing for his workers and forced them to work day and night to fulfill his business contracts—often without pay; those who failed were harassed, abused, or in the worst-case-scenario, executed. Even his reputation as the largest "death dealer" in the land did not move his heart. In fact, he made no secret of his admiration for the killing effectiveness of his blades; to many, it was as though he was even proud of the murders he's committed.
Tamir was a proud but cold-hearted taskmaster, who would not take "no" for an answer. He had high expectations, and was vicious in punishing those who could not meet them. Unfortunately, his standards could rarely be satisfied by his employees, for they were overambitious and unrealistic. To Tamir, if he desired it, it was a reasonable target, no matter the limitations to his and his workers' resources, the notion of which he equated with excuses for laziness. The concept of resources might as well have been a figment of imagination in his eyes, for if he willed it, it must and could be done, and to warn him otherwise was to pique his infamously violent short-temper.
Indeed, he was excessively prone to bursts of savage tantrums, which he made no effort to constrain, even reveling in them as a means to mete out retribution against those he questioned his judgment. A notorious example lied in his brutal killing of the elderly merchant who could not complete the largest weapon order he was ever requested for his Templar brethren. Once the public murder was done, he had little fear of repercussions as he exploited his influence to ensure the authorities turned a blind eye to such crimes. The incident was not an isolated case, as by that point, he was already known for calling meetings with the local merchant guild for little more than public executions.
Unknown to the general population of Damascus, Tamir secretly worked with the Templars, not with the Saracens, and even at death's door, he insisted his cause was noble. His cruelty was thought unmatched, and many, including the Assassins saw him as a man without morals, driven only by profit. Nevertheless, he rejected such monikers, viewing himself as more than a "petty, death dealer", and that his work ultimately contributed to a higher calling. He understood that he was merely a pawn, holding no illusions he was any greater, and earnestly saw his fellow Templars as "brothers".
Tamir wore a dark beige turban checkered with thick, auburn stripes, accompanied by loose pantaloons of a lighter shade of brown and dark golden inscriptions. His main attire consisted of a long, rust-colored embroidered tunic, which hung almost up to his knees. Additionally, he donned an orange leather belt with a darker yellow pair of shoes. He was of tall stature but average build. He bore a prominent and recognizable moustache. Though only in his forties at the time of his death, his shriveled head and wrinkled face marked a man of seemingly greater age.
- Tamir, תָּמִיר, is a Hebrew name meaning "stately, wealthy", and is related to the female name Tamar, תמר, which means "date, date palm, palm tree".
- Tamir had his own personal bodyguards, who were dressed in crimson red and gold lined uniforms. He was one of five out of the nine targets to have personal bodyguards, the others being Talal, Abu'l Nuqoud, Majd Addin, and Jubair al Hakim.
- In the non-canonical mobile version of Assassin's Creed, he is named "Tamir bin Musa" and dons full battle armor. Bin (بن) is a colloquialism of ibn meaning "son of", whereas Mūsā (موس) is an Arabic variant of the name Moses. Unlike the console version, he is the fifth target of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad and his assassination is set in 1190 in Masyaf. Despite canonically being the base of the Assassins, Masyaf is the location of a secret Templar base. He is killed when Altaïr acquires one of the bombs he created and throws it at him.