- "One thing I am not, is a man of violence."
- ―Leonardo to Ezio and Machiavelli, 1505.[src]
|Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci|
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 - 1519) was an anatomist, sculptor, cartographer, painter, botanist, engineer, architect and mathematician of the Renaissance.
Leonardo played an important role in the struggle between the Assassins and Templars, which raged across his homeland throughout his lifetime, all the while remaining a close friend and ally to the Florentine Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
Leonardo was born in 1452 out of wedlock in Vinci, a town outside of Florence, Italy, to a Florentine notary named Piero da Vinci, and a local woman named Caterina. He spent most of his early childhood in nearby rural Tuscany, so as to spare his father the embarrassment of a scandal.
However, young Leonardo's innate artistic prowess was obvious to his elders even then, and when he turned fourteen he was returned to Florence, apprenticed to the workshop of renowned painter Andrea del Verrocchio; while there, he is said to have collaborated with the Verrocchio on his masterpiece, Baptism of Christ.
At age 20, Leonardo was titled a master by the Guild of Saint Luke, and opened his first workshop in Florence, where he continued to collaborate with his old master. During his time there, he also befriended the Auditore family, who he sold most of his paintings to.
- Leonardo: "I often feel that my work lacks... I don't know... purpose."
- Maria: "You should have more faith in yourself, Leonardo."
- ―Leonardo speaking with Maria Auditore.[src]
In 1476, Leonardo met Ezio Auditore when the latter accompanied his mother to pick up some paintings from Leonardo’s workshop. The two conversed inside the workshop of the artist, talking about Leonardo's paintings, and what else he could do aside from painting.
However, Ezio remarked to his mother that Leonardo would not come that far, seeing that he was incapable of even keeping his workplace tidy. Ezio's mother, however, was very confident of Leonardo's future, complimenting him multiple times on his talent and telling him he should have more faith in himself.
Soon after their conversation, the three headed back to the Palazzo Auditore, Ezio and Leonardo carrying one box each, filled with paintings to hang on the walls. Again, Ezio commented on Leonardo's seeming incapability, but he soon felt he was wrong about the so-called "fledgling artist" as they arrived at the Palazzo, noting that Leonardo was one to respect. This encounter sparked the lifelong friendship between the two young men.
Building the Hidden Blade
- Leonardo: "Anything which shines glints in the sun, and that's a dead giveaway."
- Ezio: "I thought you were a man of peace."
- Leonardo: "Ideas take precedence."
- —Ezio commenting on Leonardo after he finishes repairing the Hidden Blade.[src]
After the execution of Giovanni, Federico, and Petruccio Auditore, Leonardo met Ezio once again, greeting him with a brotherly embrace. He was then requested by Ezio to repair the Hidden Blade he had inherited from his father. Leonardo was immediately fascinated by its sophisticated and advanced design, as it, despite its old age, was way ahead of even their time.
At first, Leonardo had no idea how to repair it, but soon discovered that the page of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's Codex that Ezio had included with the weapon could be decrypted, and used as a manual. It took Leonardo some hours to decode the page, and finish the repairs to the Hidden Blade.
Leonardo woke up Ezio, who had fallen asleep in the meantime, and handed the weapon over to him. Leonardo claimed that Ezio's ring finger had to be removed, because "the blade is designed to ensure the commitment of whoever wields it."
This was only for his own amusement however, as he only made to cut off Ezio's finger, before simply embedding the cleaver into the table next to Ezio's hand. Assuring the other that he was only "having fun," Leonardo explained that the blade had been modified so that the removal of the finger was no longer necessary.
Immediately after this, a Florentine guard showed up at Leonardo's workshop. Leonardo quickly told Ezio to stay hidden in his workshop, while he opened the door for the guard, keeping him outside. The guard knew that Leonardo had been in contact with Ezio, and as Leonardo tried to act ignorant of the Assassin, the guard threw him to the ground and started kicking him several times in order to extract Ezio's whereabouts.
Ezio promptly sneaked up behind the guard and tested out his newly acquired weapon on him. Afterwards, Ezio brought the body inside the workshop upon Leonardo's request, hiding it among the bodies that were used for the artist's anatomical research.
Leonardo and Ezio didn't meet again until 1478, when Ezio visited him with another Codex page attained from his uncle Mario. He deciphered the page, as Ezio practiced several new assassination techniques in Leonardo's yard with straw dummies, which had been set up by one of Leonardo's students, Vincenzo.
Afterwards, Leonardo constructed a second Hidden Blade for his friend's disposal. Shortly after practicing with it, Ezio inquired about Francesco de' Pazzi, which prompted Leonardo to discreetly tell him that he needed to seek out La Volpe. Leonardo assured Ezio that "the Fox" had eyes everywhere, that he saw everything, though no one ever saw him.
After Ezio put an end to the Pazzi Conspiracy, he visited Leonardo once more, who had been deeply worried about his friend after seeing the recent "madness" going on in Florence. He was soon cheered up by yet another Codex page, which Ezio had received from Lorenzo de' Medici.
Leonardo was astonished by the new blade design, as it had been developed to allow the wielder to inject poison into their enemies for a more subtle kill, without weakening its structure. Leonardo finished manufacturing the design rather quickly, telling Ezio that if he ran out of poison, he should visit a doctor. This confused Ezio, but Leonardo explained that the same substances that could cure could kill in higher doses.
Moving to Venice
- "Ezio! I think I've figured out how to make a man fly."
- ―Leonardo speaking of his flying machine.[src]
As he travelled to the ship bound for Venice, Leonardo once again met Ezio in the Appennine Mountains. The artist was faced with the problem of a broken wagon wheel and, lacking the means to fix it himself, was relieved to be able to ask Ezio to lift the carriage. Ezio noticed the contraption inside the wagon as he did and questioned him it, prompting the first conversation in which Leonardo mentioned his Flying Machine.
Leonardo admitted that he had not yet told anyone about it, but said that he could keep the idea to himself any longer. Ezio, amused by Leonardo’s device, offered to drive the wagon for them both. As they set off for Romagna, Leonardo curiously commented that he had not even told him where he was going.
During the trip, the wagon was attacked by the soldiers of Rodrigo Borgia, threatening their lives all the way through the mountains. Ezio held them off by steering the wagon into the horses of the soldiers, and dodging the burning arrows the soldiers had started shooting at them.
Throughout the ordeal, Leonardo was safely hidden inside the wagon, but as they reached the end of the trail, Ezio handed control of the carriage back to him. The Assassin then jumped off, staying behind to deal with the soldiers so Leonardo could get to Romagna safely.
- Ezio: "Antonio, this is Leonardo. The master inventor who built... this... this pezzo di merda."
- Leonardo: "Hey! It's not the machine's fault! ...It's mine. I've checked and rechecked my blueprints. It's just impossible! [...] Ah, che idea del cazzo!"
- ―Leonardo and Ezio, visited by Antonio after the failed test flight.[src]
Upon their arrival in Venice, Leonardo and Ezio were given a tour of the city by a baggage handler named Alvise da Vilandino, as they headed towards his new workshop. During the tour, the three stopped at the market of Venice, where a few guards started harassing a stall owner under the command of Emilio Barbarigo. Alvise hurriedly advised them to follow him elsewhere.
As Leonardo walked past a store, he found a wooden puppet that resembled the human body and its proportions, but had no money on him to buy it. He asked Ezio if he could lend some money, however, at that moment, a female thief bumped into him and stole his money pouch.
Alvise again guided them onward, near the Palazzo della Seta. The three saw the harassed stall owner walk up to the guards at the entrance of the Palazzo to demand compensation, but the guards only arrested him for "disrupting commerce."
As they arrived at his workshop, Ezio informed Leonardo that he needed to visit the Palazzo, at which Leonardo invited him to come over whenever he had more time, or if he needed another Codex page decrypted. He and Ezio then parted ways with a brotherly embrace.
In 1485, Ezio again consulted Leonardo for his expertise, but this time for something other than a decryption. He inquired about Leonardo’s flying machine, hoping to use it in order to invade the Palazzo Ducale di Venezia, and rescue Doge Mocenigo from the Templar Carlo Grimaldi.
Leonardo, however, was afraid of the consequences should something be wrong with his design, as it required the person testing it to jump off a tower. However, Ezio insisted, and after one failed test flight, Leonardo deemed the machine useless and flew into a fit of rage, throwing the plans for it into the fire.
At that moment, he was inspired by the piece of burnt paper, seeing it floating upwards from the heat of the fire. Leonardo concluded that, in order for Ezio to reach his destination, they had to light several fires across the city, and allow the flying machine to maintain altitude over a longer distance.
In 1486, after being accused of the murder of the Doge, Ezio came to Leonardo asking for a Carnevale mask, so that he would not be noticed. He also bore another Codex page, much to Leonardo's interest, as he discovered that it contained plans for a small firearm that could be concealed upon Ezio's wrist; an arma da fuoco, but as small as a hummingbird, as he stated.
After Ezio tested the pistol, Leonardo gave him the mask he had requested, and pointed him in the direction of Sister Teodora Contanto and Antonio de Magianis, so he could plot to assassinate the new Doge: the Templar Marco Barbarigo.
Just before the Doge's party started, Leonardo recognized Cristina Vespucci - a previous guest of one of his patron - who was attending Venice's Carnevale with her husband. He informed Ezio of her presence, though also said that it might not be a good time to see her because of her husband. Ezio, however, having his new mask to cloak him, thought that she would not recognize him anyway, and went to see her against Leonardo's advice.
Apple from Cyprus
- Leonardo: "Fascinating... Absolutely fascinating..."
- Ezio: "What is it, Leonardo? What does it do?"
- Leonardo: "I could no more explain this than explain to you why the Earth goes around the sun!"
- —Leonardo studying the Apple of Eden.[src]
In 1488, Leonardo and Ezio met by the Basilica di San Marco, just after Ezio discovered that a Templar ship was returning to Venice the next day. Leonardo pointed out several key facts that he had discovered, by piecing together the markings on the back of the Codex pages; such as the arrival of a "prophet" on the day the Piece of Eden was brought to the floating city, Venice.
Later that year, Ezio, Mario, and Niccolò Machiavelli visited Leonardo to see if he was able to make sense of the Apple of Eden, which they had successfully obtained from Rodrigo Borgia. However, even the master inventor could not figure out what it was, stating that it was as unexplainable as the fact that the Earth went around the sun.
Leonardo pondered on both the artifact's names, "the Apple" and "Piece of Eden", suggesting that it could be similar to "Eve's Apple of Forbidden Knowledge." When Ezio touched the Apple, accidentally activating it, Leonardo bore witness to the symbols and projections the Piece of Eden emitted, though Niccolò and Mario fell to the floor in pain. Ezio, slightly less affected, quickly deactivated the artifact.
Leonardo commented that the Apple should never fall into the wrong hands, since it would drive weaker minds insane. They then decided that it should be taken to Forlì, which was well fortified, and ruled by their ally, Caterina Sforza. As they departed, Mario offered that Leonardo come and visit them at the Villa Auditore.
He managed to create a map pointing out the temple's location, and used invisible ink to draw pieces of it onto his paintings, which hung on the villa walls.
- Leonardo: "There is graver news, I am afraid. They have the Apple."
- Ezio: "Yes, I know. I gave the Apple to Mario."
- Leonardo: "I am sorry, Ezio. Cesare left it in my hands to study, to make it work. Then Rodrigo took it from me, I know not where."
- —Leonardo and Ezio meeting in Rome.[src]
Leonardo was also forced to fashion pistole, one of which was used to kill Mario Auditore. These firearms were also used by the Papal Guard, and by Cesare in the Siege of Viana. Despite this, Leonardo remained an ally of the Assassins, secretly meeting with Ezio to inform him of Cesare's plans.
He turned over the locations of the Templars overseeing his war machines, and requested that he destroy them. Leonardo also fashioned weapons and other items for Ezio's use.
Leonardo also aided Ezio's apprentices by providing them with the same inventions and weapons he built for Ezio himself. Francesco Vecellio in particular was impressed with Leonardo, and saw him as a "strange man, interested in art and invention more than politics."
To avoid Templar scrutiny, Leonardo and Ezio would meet at different locations chosen by Leonardo, and denoted with a drawing of a hand on a bench, as a signal for Ezio to wait for him there.
During their meetings, Leonardo agreed to reconstruct a second, smaller Hidden Blade that could fit against a standard glove, in order to replace the one Ezio had lost during the fall of Monteriggioni. He also provided him with a reinforced glove to allow Ezio to use the Climb Leap technique, and a forearm-mounted poison dart launcher.
However, due to being paid "very little" by the Templars, Leonardo needed to ask Ezio for the money for the raw materials upfront. After the war machines were finally destroyed, Leonardo also designed a parachute that could be built by sympathetic Roman tailors, though his design (or at least the materials used) would not survive the landings, and would need to be replaced after every use.
When the Assassins finally secured the Apple of Eden from the Borgia, Ezio and Leonardo met at the headquarters on Tiber Island. Leonardo mourned the need to lock away the Apple, likening it to a masterpiece being hidden away from the world, though he did not oppose Ezio's decision.
Additionally, as Leonardo's patron had been arrested and his income was still meager, Ezio turned over a sum of money to his friend, They parted on good terms, although Leonardo refused to accept the money if it was meant to be a "goodbye."
The Pythagorean Temple
- "Ever since my exploration of that strange Apple, [those symbols] have been stamped on my mind. I found symbols like them in the writings of the Pythagorean disciples."
- ―Leonardo on his obsession with the Apple's projections.[src]
When Leonardo returned to Rome in 1506, he made contact with the Cult of Hermes, and he frequently visited the personal library of their leader, Ercole Massimo. There, he researched about Pythagoras, a brilliant mathematician who had once also dealings with a Piece of Eden. Eventually, Leonardo was kidnapped by the Hermeticists, who wanted him to give them the location of the temple.
With the aid of Leonardo's apprentice Salaì, Ezio hunted down the paintings that had been seized by the Borgia during the fall of Monteriggioni, as Leonardo had left them a hint that the map was hidden within them. Using his Eagle Vision, Ezio pieced together the hidden map and the temple's location.
By that time, Leonardo had been taken away to be interrogated in the catacombs that led to the Temple of Pythagoras, where Ezio eventually caught up with him. Ezio killed all the Hermeticists, including Ercole, and rescued Leonardo. Despite his injuries from the ordeal, Leonardo insisted that he and Ezio venture deeper into the catacombs to explore the Temple of Pythagoras together.
They eventually reached the final chamber, and Ezio recognized the room's architecture – a surviving Temple designed by the First Civilization. Though Ezio's DNA communed with a pedestal and revealed what would be coordinates, he decided that it was best to leave it, despite Leonardo being eager to learn and explore more.
Ezio quickly distracted Leonardo by asking him about his future plans, which Leonardo gladly revealed as they walked out of the temple.
Invitation into the Order
After his rescue from the Hermeticists, Leonardo traveled with Niccolò and Ezio to Spain to chase down Micheletto Corella, and stop him from freeing Cesare. After surviving wild seas, a skirmish in a bar, long horse rides and constructing bombs, Leonardo decided that he had enough of traveling and fighting, and returned to Rome, leaving Ezio and Niccolò to destroy Borgia warships with handheld bombs he had crafted for them, and battle Cesare.
After Ezio killed Cesare in Navarre during the Siege of Viana, Leonardo met again with Ezio and Niccolò at Ezio's forty-eighth birthday party. Ezio offered Leonardo a place in the Assassin Order, though Leonardo refused, saying that although he respected and supported the Assassins' goals, he wanted to tread a different path: "a solitary one."
- "All my life - while I thought I was learning to live, I have simply been learning how to die."
- ―Leonardo to Ezio and Niccolò, a week before his death.[src]
Leonardo spent his last years in France, at the home awarded to him by King Francis I, who became his generous employer and close friend. Leonardo took his most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, with him when he retired to France in 1513.
In late April of 1519, Leonardo was visited by Ezio and Machiavelli in his home in Amboise, after he had sent a letter to Niccolò about his deteriorating health. Leonardo, rejoiced at the sight of his old friends, quickly offered them cakes and wine, to the dissatisfaction of his manservant Etienne.
Leonardo eagerly spoke of his desire to visit King Henry VIII of England, who had expressed interest in buying the designs of his submarine. However, Leonardo quickly gave in to the inevitable, and revealed that he was dying.
Ezio and Niccolò stayed with Leonardo the next week, until Leonardo died on 2 May 1519. They were present with him at the moment he died. On their journey back from Amboise, Niccolò recalled a rumour that Leonardo had died in King Francis' arms, to which Ezio remarked "'Some people - even Kings - will do anything for publicity'".
Characteristics and personality
- Ezio: "Leo - does this machine of yours actually work?"
- Leonardo: "Well, it's in the early stages. I mean, it's nowhere near ready yet - but I think, in all modesty, that - yes! Of course it will work. God knows I've spent enough time on it! It's an idea that just won't let go of me!"
- ―Leonardo's attitude on his flying machine design.[src]
Leonardo was a cheerful and optimistic man. Ezio was his closest friend, and as such, he treated him like a brother, and took great risks to protect him; even though he later said that courage was not his strong suit.
Despite being an accomplished and respected artist, as well as being deeply curious about the world's wonders, Leonardo was also a chronic procrastinator.
Most of his commissioned works took years longer than anticipated, and many were never even finished. It is possible that this was because he did not feel his work to be important enough to devote his life to, as when he met Ezio, he complained that it lacked purpose, and he wished to do something that had more impact on the world. Leonardo was also very critical of his work, as shown when he and Ezio talked about the Mona Lisa.
Regardless, when Leonardo was intrigued by something, he became insatiably curious and often impossible to communicate with, as demonstrated when Ezio first brought him Altaïr's Codex pages for decryption.
Leonardo was often forgetful and easily distracted. Ezio exploited this in the Pythagorean Vault by asking Leonardo about his projects, and taking his mind off the mysterious images and numbers they were gazing at.
Leonardo appeared to be homosexual, as this was hinted at several times. When speaking to Ezio in Rome, he mentioned his work on the Mona Lisa, and Ezio warned him not to allow pretty girls to distract him from making the designs he needed. With his arm around him, Leonardo lightly assured Ezio that women would "provide little distraction" to his work.
Additionally, he seemed to be in a relationship with his assistant, Salaì. While exploring the Pythagorean Temple, Ezio and Leonardo conversed briefly about Salaì. Leonardo asked where he was, but quickly clarified that he was only concerned about Salaì's careless spending. Ezio assured him that Salaì was safe at home, much to Leonardo's relief. Ezio also commented that he fit Leonardo, and that he approved, leaving the other nervously speechless.
Leonardo is renowned primarily as a painter. Two of his works, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, are the most famous, most reproduced, and most parodied portrait and religious paintings of all time, their fame approached only by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon.
Only around fifteen of his paintings survived, due to frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, and his notebooks are an invaluable contribution to later generations of artists.
Indeed, Leonardo could arguably be considered the most iconic artist of the Italian Renaissance, with only a handful of his contemporaries (most notably Leonardo's chief artistic rival and fellow Florentine, Michelangelo) posing a realistic challenge.
Leonardo was also revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualized a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, the double-hull, and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. As a scientist, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics.
Thanks to Ezio's intervention, the secrets of Leonardo's designs were unknown to many and were considered unfeasible by mainstream historians. During the American Revolutionary War, woodworker Lance O'Donnell attempted to build a flying machine for the Assassin Connor, based on copies of Leonardo's plans from France, but their attempt failed.
- Leonardo had no surname; "da Vinci" simply means "of/from Vinci," identifying the town of his birth, much in the same manner that "Ezio Auditore da Firenze" shows that Ezio was born in Florence. Historically, surnames as modern society knows them were still fairly uncommon during his time.
- Historically, Leonardo became a close friend and military engineer for Cesare Borgia, son of Rodrigo Borgia.
- Ezio used a wheellock firearm based on a design found in the Codex pages, which wasn't actually developed until just after the time-frame of the game. Historically, Leonardo designed some of the first wheel-lock firearms.
- Inventions and art
- Leonardo and Giovanni Auditore were the only known ones to be able to decipher and translate Altaïr's Codex.
- When Ezio accidentally activated the Apple of Eden in Venice, images similar to Leonardo's later designs for the Tank could be briefly glimpsed. This experience may have provided him with the ideas for his later inventions.
- Eight of the thirty collectible paintings that were placed in the Villa Auditore were painted by Leonardo.
- A map of the city of Imola that Leonardo drew for Cesare Borgia appeared frequently in-game; on a wall in the Hideout, in Leonardo's workshop, as the Codex map that Caterina gives to Ezio, and in a Lair of Romulus, on the ground. It also appeared on a wall in his workshop in Florence in Assassin's Creed II, even though he would not have completed it until 1502.
- In the short film Assassin's Creed: Embers, it is possible to see that Ezio kept Leonardo's painting Salvator Mundi inside his private room. The painting is historically known for being lost between 1513 and 1649.
- Appearance and behavior
- In Assassin's Creed II, like other main characters, Leonardo's appearance did not change throughout the 23 years he is shown in the game, from his first encounter to the decoding of the Codex in the villa in 1499. This was rectified in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, where Leonardo was depicted older with a longer beard and slightly greying hair.
- In Assassin's Creed II, the cut-scene when Ezio visited Leonardo is the same each time (even after Leonardo moved to Venice), except when the Codex pages provided new modifications to Ezio's equipment.
- In Assassin's Creed II, Leonardo was shown as right-handed, but in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, he is left-handed, as he was known to be historically.
- Leonardo has the same voice actor as the Rafiq in Damascus from Assassins Creed, Carlos Ferro.
- The strategic map of Rome that came with the Codex edition of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood contained some mirrored writing. Historically, Leonardo was skilled in mirrored writing.
- In a GameInformer interview, Corey May stated that the one thing he greatly regretted not showing in-game was Ezio being with Leonardo when he died.
- In Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance, Leonardo was depicted as having assistants as early as 1476, with Agniolo and Innocento as the only ones named.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Assassin's Creed: Renaissance
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Assassin's Creed II - Battle of Forlì (DLC)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - The Da Vinci Disappearance
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Assassin's Creed: Revelations novel
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Wikipedia: Leonardo da Vinci
- ↑ Assassin's Creed III