During this period, Templar goals for establishing peace through a New World Order were corrupted by the two Grand Masters from the House of Borgia, Rodrigo and Cesare Borgia, changed instead into seeking power and domination at all costs. Modern Templars view the Borgias as debauched tyrants and consider their reign to be a Dark Age of the Order.
The Roman Rite consisted of three powerful Italian families, the House of Pazzi alongside Uberto Alberti. The House of Barbarigo alongside Carlo Grimaldi, and the leader of the Italian Templars the House of Borgia, with Rodrigo Borgia as the Grand Master and later his son Cesare Borgia after Rodrigo Borgia's death.
The Roman Rite was eventually destroyed over a period of thirty-one years through the efforts of the Italian Brotherhood of Assassins, led by the Mentor Ezio Auditore. In Modern times however, the Roman Rite returned to prominence in the country.
During the later days of the Roman Republic, the Templars heavily influenced its ruling body, the Senate. Their intervention in Roman politics was continuously thwarted by the Assassins, however. A notable example of this was the plot against the Templar-backed general Julius Caesar, who was appointed dictator for life. Forty Assassins, most notably Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, planned to assassinate Caesar, a plan which they successfully executed on 15 March 44 BCE.
Retrieving of the Ankh
By 259, the Templars still had positions within the Roman Empire. However, during the same year, the Roman Assassin Aquilus, guided by his father Lucius, had begun taking down a number of Templars, until he got to his third target: the Roman general Gracchus. Being given entrance to Gracchus' military tent, he confronted Aquilus with the information he had gathered on the Assassin's activities. Trying to prevent Aquilus from killing him, Gracchus stabbed Aquilus in the chest; however, the wound was not fatal, and the Romans were quickly attacked by Alamanni.
Around this time, the Roman senator Caïus Fulvus Vultur - a secret Templar - traveled to Lugdunum to meet with his old contact Lucius; at the same time, Aquilus was traveling home to Lugdunum, carrying with him the Ankh, an ancient artifact capable of reviving the dead which Aquilus retrieved from his Alaman cousin Accipiter. Lucius and Aquilus, both unaware of Vultur's affiliations, had Vultur stay in their home temporarily. The same night, Aquilus interrogated the Templar priest Faustin, whom Lucius suspected on having informed Gracchus. Simultaneously, Vultur betrayed Lucius, killing him and taking possession of the Ankh. Faustin revealed Vultur's ties to Aquilus, who rushed back home, only to find his father dead and the Ankh gone.
Upon learning of Vultur's betrayal, Aquilus traveled to Rome and managed to infiltrate Vultur's house. After a short skirmish, Aquilus managed to enter the Senator's room with the aid of one of Vultur's guards. After Vultur attempted to ambush the Assassin with a spear and failed, the Senator explained to Aquilus about the history of the Ankh he had stolen after he was seized, following which he was killed by Aquilus, who took the Ankh with him.
Late Middle Ages
In 1321, the Templars killed the Italian Assassin Dante Alighieri, making their existence known to the Assassins. Three years later, they also killed the Assassins Marco Polo and the father of Domenico Auditore.
In the second half of the 15th century, the Brotherhood had regained a stronger position of strength on the world stage, spreading deep into the Church and nobility of Italy, which served as the primary headquarters of Templars and Assassins alike during this era. Under the command of Rodrigo Borgia, the Templars sought to unify Italy under their command, and regain the Apple of Eden which they knew to be buried in Cyprus.
Under Rodrigo, the Templars sought to remove the Sforza family from power in Milan, thus destabilizing the city's relations with Florence. Their plan was to assassinate the Duke, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, on the Feast of Santo Stefano. Rodrigo, having made plans in Florence, left the city with a couple of henchmen, but was followed by Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, an Assassin. Rodrigo, frightened, left his henchmen to fight Giovanni while he made his escape. Giovanni managed to kill the henchmen, and take one captive. Giovanni brought this man to the Medici, where he was tortured by Lorenzo de' Medici and Uberto Alberti, who was secretly a Templar.
Having gathered enough information on their plans from Rodrigo's henchman, Giovanni hurried to Milan to prevent the Duke's assassination. However, the Templars Giovanni Andrea Lampugnani, Carlo Visconti and Gerolamo Olgiati killed the Duke when the church bell rang for the twelfth time. Visconti and Olgiati managed to escape, while Lampugnani was killed by a Sforza guard.
Having been successful in their plan for Milan, the Templars switched their attention to the city of Florence. However, Florence's de facto ruler, Lorenzo de' Medici, was an ally of the Assassin Giovanni Auditore, and his family was a strong enemy of the Pazzi family; the Templars' main stronghold in Florence. In order to avoid further interventions from the Assassins, Giovanni Auditore and his two sons Federico and Petruccio were imprisoned in the Palazzo della Signoria, and they would be trialed by their former ally Uberto Alberti, who was corrupted by the Borgia.
However, the Pazzi guards were unable to capture Giovanni's remaining son; Ezio. Nonetheless, Giovanni, Federico and Petruccio were hanged in front of the Palazzo della Signoria. Ezio, who had attended the execution, realized that his family had been betrayed by Alberti, and after escaping, began making preparations for his revenge. Not too soon afterwards, Ezio, using his father's equipment, killed Alberti during an exhibition of Verrocchio's latest work.
However, the Borgia, believing their problems with the Assassins were solved, continued with their plans to take down the Medici.
Over the next two years, the Templars, majorly the Pazzi family, continued their schemes for control over Florence. In 1478, Rodrigo met with Jacopo, Francesco and Vieri de' Pazzi in San Gimignano, discussing everyone's tasks in the conspiracy. However, Vieri was killed right after the meeting ended by Ezio, who had attacked the town alongside his uncle Mario and his mercenaries.
Nonetheless, the Templars continued their plans, again arranging a meeting underneath Santa Maria Novella not too long after the former meeting. Rodrigo, who had received Pope Sixtus IV's blessing on the conspiracy on the condition that nobody was killed, was again present, and made the final preparations. The following Sunday, the Pazzi attacked the Medici when they arrived at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore for High Mass; the event that would be known as the Pazzi Conspiracy. Francesco successfully killed Giuliano de' Medici, stabbing him in the chest nineteen times, but the Pazzi Conspirators were only able to wound Lorenzo de' Medici, who was joined by Ezio Auditore in fighting off the Medici. With Ezio's help, Lorenzo managed to escape, but the Pazzi did not cease to cause trouble in the city. On Lorenzo's request, Ezio hunted Francesco de' Pazzi down and killed him.
With the Templars routed from Florence, Jacopo and the other conspirators fled to San Gimignano in Tuscany, where they had once again arranged to meet with Rodrigo in 1480. However, all four remaining Pazzi Conspirators - Bernardo Baroncelli, Antonio Maffei, Stefano da Bagnone and Francesco Salviati - all fell to Ezio's blade over the course of two years. Jacopo went to the meeting alone, where his failure and words angered Rodrigo; in the process, Jacopo was stabbed in the chest, nearly killing him. Sensing Ezio's presence at the meeting, Rodrigo sent his guards after the Assassin; nonetheless, Ezio was once again able to fend the guards off and put Jacopo out of his misery. With their plans for Florence thwarted by the lone Assassin, the Templars turned their attention to Venice.
Taking over Venice
By 1480 in Venice, Emilio Barbarigo was attempting to unite all the merchants in Venice's commercial district under his banner. Despite failed attempts from the city's Thieves Guild, Emilio was assassinated in 1486 by Ezio Auditore. A meeting between Carlo Grimaldi, Silvio Barbarigo, Marco Barbarigo, Dante Moro and Rodrigo Borgia took place soon afterwards, discussing their plans for Venice. They decided that they would kill the Doge, Giovanni Mocenigo, that same night and that Marco Barbarigo would take his place. In fact, the plan to take the Doge's seat was a plan to distract the Assassin from the Templars' real objective: retrieving the Apple of Eden from Cyprus.
Ezio Auditore, who had eavesdropped on the meeting, quickly devised a strategy to prevent the killing of Mocenigo and used Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine to infiltrate the Doge's residence, the Palazzo Ducale. However, Ezio was too late to prevent the Doge from being poisoned, but he managed to kill Carlo Grimaldi, who was responsible for the Doge's death.
Marco had taken the position of Doge, never to come out to prevent the Assassin from having an opportunity to kill him. However, during Carnevale, Marco was obliged to show himself to the people at his personal party. Ezio had managed to obtain entry to the party, and as soon as Marco showed himself, the Assassin struck.
Due to the Assassin's efforts, the Venetian Templars had to rely on Silvio Barbarigo and Dante Moro. They had hired a group of mercenaries to strengthen their forces, and positioned themselves in the Arsenal of Venice, fighting with Venice's Mercenaries Guild led by Bartolomeo d'Alviano. Ezio Auditore joined forces with Bartolomeo, and together they managed to draw Silvio and Dante away from their troops. Without any protection, the two attempted to flee to their boat inside the Arsenal to sail to Cyprus, but they were killed by Ezio before they could set sail. Other boats had already managed to set sail, though, and were on their way to Cyprus.
Quest for the Apple
Despite the Templars facing "complications" on Cyprus, the Templar boat returned to Venice in 1488. A Templar courier was assigned to bring the Apple to a Templar guard post, from where the Apple would be escorted to Rodrigo Borgia. However, Ezio killed the guard assigned to carry the Apple, and put on his uniform; impersonating him. After the escort had reached Rodrigo, its members were killed by Ezio and the latter faced off in a fight with Rodrigo. Ezio was later joined by other members of the Assassin Order, and Rodrigo made his escape, leaving the Apple behind.
With the Apple in the hands of the Assassins, the Templars approached the Orsi brothers – Ludovico and Checco – to obtain a map detailing the location of the Codex pages from the wife of the Templar Girolamo Riario – Caterina Sforza. Invading Forlì, the Orsi brothers demanded the map, and the Apple in exchange for the lives of Sforza's children. The brothers were rebuked, and assaulted the Rocca di Ravaldino. Together with the city guards, the Assassins Ezio Auditore and Niccolò Machiavelli held off the assault, although a second succeeded in claiming the Apple briefly when Ezio Auditore left to kill Ludovico. After Ezio had returned successfully, he chased after Checco and assassinated the latter, taking the Apple with him.
Control over the Papacy
Despite the loss of the Apple, Rodrigo was ultimately unfazed. In 1491, he became a candidate in the Papal conclave and fooled the Spanish Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada into following his orders. Much of these orders involved annihilating the Assassins Guild in Barcelona, Spain, with Rodrigo claiming they were heretics. Rodrigo also made attempts to thwart Christopher Columbus' journey to the New World, and planning to make the Templars journey there. However, all of these plans were thwarted again by Ezio Auditore, who had sailed to Spain.
On 11 August 1492, Rodrigo had become Pope Alexander VI after having bribed most of the cardinals. Being the head of the Christian church, the Templars became the most powerful force in Europe and based their headquarters in Rome. As the Pope, Rodrigo had access to the Papal Staff, which was in reality one of the Staves of Eden.
In the late 1490s, Rodrigo learned that the Apple had come into the possession of the monk Girolamo Savonarola, who had just become the ruler of Florence. Aiming to get the Apple back in their possession, the Borgia sent continuous waves of soldiers to Florence. However, the bodies kept being sent back, and the Borgia were disappointed when Savonarola was executed without them having the Apple in their possession.
In 1499, the leading Assassins in Italy traveled to Rome to distract the Borgia guards, while Ezio traveled along the Passetto di Borgo to St. Peter's Cathedral. Once inside, the Assassin lunged at Rodrigo Borgia while he was proclaiming the Nicene Creed in Latin to the congregation. Rodrigo shoved the Assassin away, then used the Staff to subdue his entire congregation. A fight ensued with Rodrigo using the Staff and Ezio using the Apple. The power of the Staff was able to overpower Ezio, and after Rodrigo stabbed Ezio in the abdomen, he entered the Vault underneath the Sistine Chapel. Rodrigo wasn't able to enter the Vault, though, as only the "Prophet" could do it. Rodrigo was soon faced by Ezio again, and after one final fight in hand-to-hand combat, Ezio informed Rodrigo that he was not the Prophet and had never been. Broken by this revelation and accepting defeat, Rodrigo told Ezio to kill him and put an end to it, but unlike Ezio's other targets, Rodrigo was not killed as Ezio could not find a reason to do so, stating that killing him wouldn't bring his family back. As Ezio entered the Vault, Rodrigo fled back to safety.
Five days afterwards, Rodrigo's son Cesare, who served as the Captain General of the Papal Army, had slowly begun to take control over the Templar Order and laid siege to the Assassins' and Auditore's headquarters of Monteriggioni. In the process, the Templars captured Caterina Sforza, executed Mario Auditore, shot Ezio Auditore and obtained the Apple of Eden. After Monteriggioni lay in ruins, the Borgia returned to Rome victorious.
As control over the Templars slowly shifted to Cesare, he became the new Grand Master and strived to take over all of Italy, and later Europe. As the Templars were ruling the church, individuals such as King Louis XII of France, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and King Manuel I of Portugal all answered to the Borgia. Meanwhile, Cesare planned to strengthen his army with war machines created by Leonardo da Vinci, who had been forced into serving the Borgia. With his army, Cesare quickly conquered various states in Italy.
However, Ezio Auditore had moved to Rome and started rebuilding the Assassin Brotherhood there. In Cesare's absence, Ezio destroyed the war machines and the Assassins killed most of Cesare's high-ranking generals, including his personal banker Juan Borgia and the French general Octavian de Valois. Control over Rome became lost to the Templars, and their plans couldn't be executed. Returning home from war, Cesare found all his support gone and his funds cut off.
Routing from Italy
On 18 August 1503, Rodrigo, who had begun to see Cesare as a threat, met with his son in the papal apartments of the Castel Sant'Angelo. There, he placed a platter with poisoned apples on the table, and as planned Cesare took a bite from one of them. However, Cesare's sister Lucrezia had found out about Rodrigo's intentions and entered the room to warn her brother. Furious, Cesare shoved the remaining apple down Rodrigo's throat, asking him where the Apple was simultaneously. However, Rodrigo died and Cesare obtained the Apple's location after threatening his sister. Ezio Auditore entered the room after Cesare left, and also got the Apple's location from Lucrezia. Both Cesare and Ezio raced to the Apple, though the latter got to it faster. With the Apple, Ezio exterminated most of Cesare's remaining followers and Cesare himself was arrested on orders of Pope Julius II.
Cesare, who had become the sole ruler of the Templars, was able to escape his imprisonment in the Castel Sant'Angelo. He tried to escape by boat, but was captured by Ezio once again. The Pope had Cesare transferred to Castillo de la Mota, Aragon in Spain in 1504; a location that only the Pope was aware of.
In 1506, Cesare was freed from La Mota by Micheletto Corella, and together they rode to Valencia. There, Cesare started to raise an army, operating from the Lone Wolf Inn. Ezio, who had used the Apple to track Cesare, destroyed Cesare's encampment and twelve ships together with Niccolò Machiavelli. Cesare blamed Micheletto for the attack, and the latter attempted to strangle Cesare. Cesare gained the upper hand during the struggle, though, and shot Micheletto. Without any men, Cesare made his escape to the Kingdom of Navarre, ruled by his brother-in-law John III.
In March 1507, John III appointed Cesare to lead his forces during the Siege of Viana. During the battle, Cesare was once again faced by Ezio, who used the Apple to locate Cesare. Cesare made his escape towards the castle, but was ultimately confronted by Ezio atop the walls of Viana Castle. After being defeated, Cesare got thrown off the castle walls by Ezio. With Cesare's death, the Templars were no longer led by the Borgia and their quest to conquer Italy and the rest of Europe was at an end.
In 1515, Dei Petrucci was carrying an Apple of Eden through Florence but was ambushed by the Assassins Hiram Stoddard and Giovanni Borgia. The Assassins killed several of his guards and were about to take the artifact when the last of his men distracted them enough to give Petrucci the time to flee with the Apple.
In 1794, the Roman Rite was contacted by Frederick Weatherall, who sent appeals asking them to support the overthrown De la Serre family against François-Thomas Germain and his extremists. Though they lent their sympathies, they offered no support, as the Parisian Rite ran smoothly, making Élise de la Serre's request for support of marginal interest. It was also likely Germain had contacted them and convinced them that overthrowing the De la Serre family was necessary.
Although many modern day Templars saw the House of Borgia as debauched tyrants, a statue of Rodrigo Borgia could be seen outside of the Templar company Abstergo Entertainment. The modern day Templars also regard Grand Master Rodrigo Borgia as one of the greatest minds in Templar history who also valued family but attained a bad reputation due to the work of his arch enemy Ezio Auditore.
- Uberto Alberti
- Stefano da Bagnone
- Emilio Barbarigo
- Marco Barbarigo
- Silvio Barbarigo
- Bernardo Baroncelli
- Cesare Borgia (Grand Master; 1500-1507)
- Lucrezia Borgia
- Rodrigo Borgia (Grand Master; 1476-1503)
- Juan Borgia the Elder
- Juan Borgia the Younger
- Il Carnefice
- Fiora Cavazza
- Faustina Collari
- Nicolaus Copernicus
- Micheletto Corella
- Gaspar de la Croix
- Sirus Favero
- Matteo Favero
- Pietro de Galencia
- Verulo Gallo
- Carlo Grimaldi
- Giovanni Andrea Lampugnani
- Ilario Lombardi
- Il Lupo
- Antonio Maffei
- Donato Mancini
- Charles de la Motte
- Auguste Oberlin
- Gerolamo Olgiati
- Checco Orsi
- Ludovico Orsi
- Francesco de' Pazzi
- Jacopo de' Pazzi
- Vieri de' Pazzi
- Dei Petrucci
- Girolamo Riario
- Lia de Russo
- Silvestro Sabbatini
- Francesco Salviati
- Baltasar de Silva
- Rocco Tiepolo
- Octavian de Valois
- Teodor Viscardi
- Carlo Visconti
- Caïus Fulvus Vultur
Allies and puppets
- Georges d'Amboise
- Agostino Barbarigo
- Pedro Álvares Cabral (Portuguese Rite)
- Vasco da Gama (Portuguese Rite)
- Isabella I of Castile (Spanish Rite)
- Pedro Llorente (Spanish Rite)
- Louis XII of France (French Rite)
- Manuel I of Portugal (Portuguese Rite)
- Juan de Marillo (Spanish Rite)
- Gaspar Martínez (Spanish Rite)
- Dante Moro
- Demetrio il Silente
- Sixtus IV
- Tomás de Torquemada (Spanish Rite)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Assassin's Creed: The Essential Guide
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ Assassin's Creed 1: Desmond
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Assassin's Creed 2: Aquilus
- ↑ Assassin's Creed 3: Accipiter
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Assassin's Creed: Lineage
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II - Battle of Forlì (DLC)
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II: Discovery
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Renaissance
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II - Bonfire of the Vanities
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel
- ↑ Assassin's Creed (Titan Comics) - Volume 3: Homecoming
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Unity (novel)
- ↑ Assassin's Creed
- ↑ Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag