- "There is little doubt that our world is filled with wonder and curiosity."
- ―Marco Polo.[src]
Marco Polo (1254 – 1324) was a Venetian explorer and merchant and a member of the Italian Brotherhood of Assassins. He was well educated, learning merchant subjects including foreign currency, appraising and the handling of cargo ships.
Marco served an important role in the Brotherhood as he ensured the recovery of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's codex from the Mongols. He also played a key role in the formation of the Auditore family, who would become the leading body of the Italian Assassins.
Marco was born in Venice in 1254, and raised by his mother there. His father, Niccolò Polo, was a merchant, primarily trading with the Middle East, who had gone on a voyage with his brother Maffeo. In 1257, Niccolò and Maffeo resided in Masyaf, Syria - the home of the Levantine Assassins - at the invitation of their Mentor, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. When the Mongols attacked Masyaf, Altaïr entrusted the Polo brothers with the codex he had written about his life, and five ancient keys. Though the codex was lost to the Mongols, the Polo brothers managed to successfully hide the keys in their home of Constantinople as requested, and founded an Assassins Guild in the city.
In the meantime, Marco's mother had died and he was then raised by his uncle and aunt. In 1269, the Polo brothers returned to Venice, and Marco met his father for the first time. They founded another Assassins Guild in Italy, and Marco himself was raised to become an Assassin.
Retrieving the Codex
In November 1271, he and his father and uncle started a journey to Asia. In May 1275, they visited the Mongol leader Kublai Khan in China and Marco became a member of the Khan's court. Polo served the Khan during 17 years, traveling around China and performing errands. However he never forgot his Assassin roots, and when the time was right, he snuck into the Khan's vault in Chengdu and retrieved Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's lost codex, taking it with him when he returned to Venice in 1295.
In Venice, Marco became the patron of a fellow member of the Assassin Order and his son, who would later take on the name Domenico Auditore. One afternoon in the summer of 1296, Marco called Domenico into his study, at which point Domenico's father revealed that he was an Assassin. Marco told Domenico that he would start his apprenticeship with Dante Alighieri, and that he would carry Dante across the Mediterranean to Spain; unbeknownst to Domenico at that point, to bring the codex to safety.
In 1321, Dante was murdered by the lifelong enemies of the Assassins, the Templars, who had secretly proceeded to exist. When Domenico came to inform his father and Marco of Dante's death, he was rushed into the study and both of them informed Domenico of the Templars' existence. They told Domenico to quickly sail to Spain with the codex, and while ushering Domenico out the door, Marco gave Domenico a piece of paper with his own bank account number on it, telling him that he could draw on his credit at any bank in Italy.
In late 1323, Marco became ill. Marco died on 8 or 9 January 1324, killed by the Templars. After Marco's death, Domenico used Marco's funds to resettle in Florence, becoming a nobleman and taking the name "Auditore".
Marco Polo's legacy greatly outlived that of his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, thanks to the book he wrote of his journey across Asia, The Travels of Marco Polo. Polo's tale was one of the very first glimpses the Western world had of Asian culture.
- In Watch Dogs, another Ubisoft game, Marco Polo and his Assassin affiliation are talked about during a phone conversation.