- This article is about the highest rank of the Templar Order. You may be looking for the Assassin Order equivalent, the Mentor.
The title of Grand Master was the highest rank attainable within the Templar Order and granted the bearer full control over its members and their operations.
Having previously borne a more public face, more Grand Masters of the Templar Order were better known than their Assassin counterparts. However, as the Templars slipped back into the shadows, the identities of their leaders eventually fell from the public consciousness.
While it was commonly assumed that all Templar leaders were drawn from the stock of Western nobility, due to the prominence of the front-organization that was the Knights Templar during the Middle Ages, the truth was that as the Order developed, diversified and relocated, many different people of various ethnic backgrounds and cultural heritages had assumed the mantle of Grand Master throughout the Templars' longevity.
One of the first known Grand Masters was a Frenchman named Hugues de Payens, who, along with his colleague Bernard de Clairvaux, wrote the document known as the Latin Rule, which dictated the behaviors of the Order's Knights, in the year 1128. It was applied the following year and soon spread throughout the Order.
After two years without a Grand Master, Robert de Sablé entered the order of the Knights Templar and reigned as their Grand Master during 1191. During his reign, he sought the Pieces of Eden, particularly the Apple of Eden. After having lost the Apple, he launched an attack to Masyaf, the stronghold of the Assassins. Later on, during the Battle of Arsuf, he was killed by his rival, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad.
After the death of Robert, Armand Bouchart took on the mantle of Grand Master as he and the Templars retreated to Cyprus. However, Altaïr pursued him and the two fought in the Templar Archive, after the Assassin foiled the Grand Master's plans, resulting in Altaïr's victory and the Templars losing another leader.
During the early 14th century, the French King Philip le Bel was unknowingly influenced by the Assassins, and conspired against the Templars. As a result, they were branded heretics and hundreds of them were arrested, with the last official Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, understanding that the Order would not survive as a public organization. With this, he allowed himself to be burned at the stake, saving the lives of his brethren and making his enemies believe that the Templars were finished, though in reality, the Order continued to exist – underground. This aside, before his death, Molay sent nine of his most trusted men out into the world to continue his work.
In 1476, the Templars in Italy came under the leadership of Rodrigo Borgia, a cardinal under Pope Sixtus IV. Operating from Rome, Rodrigo's primary objective was to unite Italy under the Templar banner, however, the Italian Templars strayed far from the main Templar ideology and used the Order as a way to achieve and sustain power for themselves. Despite facing complications from the Assassins, mainly Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Rodrigo managed to bribe the other cardinals, and was named Pope in 1492, taking on the name Alexander VI.
Rodrigo then secured the power of the Church for the Templars, and from the Vatican, he oversaw the progress of the other Templars in Europe, including England and Spain. However, by 1500, Rodrigo's resolve had weakened, and control over the order fell to his son Cesare Borgia, who acted as the de facto Grand Master.
After he killed his own father in August 1503, Cesare became the official Grand Master of the Order, though without his father's power in the Church, he could not maintain the same influence in Europe that his father had. Cesare was soon imprisoned with the ascension of the next Pope, Julius II, and upon escaping, he fled to his brother-in-law John III of Navarre in Navarre, Spain. The Grand Master was ultimately killed during the Siege of Viana in 1507 by Ezio Auditore, destabilizing the Templars in Europe and causing them to temporarily withdraw.
By the 18th century, the title of Grand Master had been slightly altered, becoming a rank that the leaders of the orders had depending on their region.
During the time of colonial expansion by Britain, France, Spain and Portugal, the Spanish governor Laureano Torres y Ayala had assumed the role of Grand Master, operating out of Havana, Cuba. He sought the fabled Observatory in order to spy upon and thus bend the leaders of the European colonial empires to Templar will, ensuring peace through order. Torres was ultimately assassinated by the pirate-turned-Assassin Edward Kenway.
In Britain, the Grand Master of the Templar Order was Reginald Birch, an Englishman who worked as a businessman to cover his affiliations. He was responsible for the growth of Templar influence in the British colonies, sending over Haytham Kenway to lead them. Haytham, upon his arrival in the colonies, gathered his co-conspirators, which had been recruited and located by Birch, and became the Grand Master of Colonial America.
Near the end of the 18th century, the title of Grand Master had been bestowed upon Charles Lee, following the death of Haytham during the siege of Fort George by Haytham's son, the Assassin Connor. Charles, being the only conspirator left from Haytham's rule, attempted to flee back to England via ship after his initial plan to kill Connor failed. He was unsuccessful though, and Connor assassinated him inside a tavern.
In Europe, François de la Serre had risen to the position of Grand Master of the Parisian Rite of the Templar Order. However, he was ultimately deposed in a coup d'etat orchestrated by François-Thomas Germain, who usurped the position of Grand Master following de la Serre's death.
By the 20th century, the "Founders" created Abstergo Industries in 1937, which from that point on served as the front for the Templar Order. Though its highest-ranking employees all held some form of leadership in the Templar Order, there were multiple Grand Masters who still maintained control over their operations. As of 2014, there are three known Grand Masters operating respectively in Cuba, Mexico and the United States.
Known Grand MastersEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Assassin's Creed
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Revelations - Abstergo Files
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Assassin's Creed: Unity
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Assassin's Creed III