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"The Order is Eternal. You are ephemeral."
Ptahmose to Bayek, 38 BCE.[src]-[m]

The Order of the Ancients, also known as the Order of Ancients and known collectively as The Snake, was a secretive cabal operating throughout the ancient world.

Founded in 1334 BCE by Egyptian pharaoh Smenkhkare, the Order of the Ancients sought to use the relics of the ancient gods to promote peace and progress for mankind under their ordered rule.

Within time, their influence grew beyond Egypt and expanded into nearby Persia, where they influenced the reigns of centuries of Achaemenid Emperors, including Darius I and his son, Xerxes I. During the late Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, the Order ruled Egypt from the shadows by exploiting the young Pharaoh, Ptolemy XIII, as their puppet. After Ptolemy's death, they shifted their support to Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, the latter giving them leverage to expand their influence throughout the Roman Republic. The Order also played a significant role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

The Order of the Ancients was one of several antecedents to the Templar Order.[2]

History

Early years

The Order of the Ancients was founded by the Pharaoh Smenkhkare around 1334 BCE, with the aim of identifying and exploiting ancient Isu technologies. Having discovered the Isu vault Eeyoo Sekedoo Aat, Smenkhkare eventually had his own tomb connected to the vault in order to keep it hidden.[2] The Order spread across Egypt before expanding into Persia, where it sought to manipulate and control the Achaemenid Emperors. By the 5th century BCE, the Order had grown into a powerful organization that had dominated the empire for generations.[3]

Eventually, their existence and activites were discovered by the Persian elites Artabanus, and his friends Amorges and Pactyas, during the reign of Xerxes I. Forming a small group to oppose them, they successfully assassinated Xerxes in 465 BCE. The Order then turned their attention to Xerxes' son, Artaxerxes I, who had succeeded his father as Emperor. When Artabanus, fearing the potential for another puppet king, plotted his assassination, Amorges betrayed his friend and joined the Order. Amorges foiled Artabanus's plan and had him branded a traitor, which forced Artabanus and his family to flee. Amorges later became a leader of the Order and sent a branch of the Order led by Pactyas to pursue and eliminate Artabanus, who by then adopted the name Darius.[3]

Their pursuit of Darius notwithstanding, the Order of Hunters were principally charged with tracking and eliminating those they considered "Tainted Ones", human descendants of the hybrids who possessed enhanced strength and abilities. To this end, c. 429 BCE the Order of Hunters made its way to Makedonia, Greece in order to eliminate the Spartan misthios Kassandra, who they correctly suspected of being such an individual.[3]

Expanding their activities into Greece came with risks, however, and the Order's leadership became concerned that the Cult of Kosmos, who controlled much of Greece's aristocracy, might became aware of their existence. As such strict orders were given to their agents to avoid the Cult at all costs.[3]

Ptolemaic Egypt

In the mid-1st century BCE during the Ptolemaic dynasty, Flavius Metellus served as one of its leader and various members of the Order held high ranking positions and titles within the regime, including Eudoros, Pothinus, and Berenike. At some point, they also obtained an Apple of Eden, the secrets of which they sought to unlock.[2]

When the young Ptolemy XIII ascended to the throne as co-ruler of Egypt alongside his sister-wife Cleopatra in 51 BCE, the Order quickly became the true power behind the throne and used all their powers to influence, through Ptolemy, the organization of Egyptian society and to push forward their own plans for the realm.[4]

After discovering that the Queen was not as easy to handle as her brother, the Order instigated the expulsion of Cleopatra from Egypt in 49 BCE. They chose Ptolemy, knowing that Cleopatra was a much more cunning ruler and a better strategist than her younger brother, who was more interested in the superficiality of power and was easily swayed by them.[4] At some point, the Order of the Ancients discovered a vault beneath the Temple of Amun in Siwa, which they believed to be connected to the Apple in their possession. Given said belief, several of the Order's members journeyed to the vault in 49 BCE, and attempted to unlock its mysteries. They kidnapped the Medjay Bayek and his son Khemu, bringing them to the vault entrance, believing them to either know something about the vault, or be able to open it. The Order had figured out that the Apple was one part of the key, and apparently believed the Medjay bloodline to be the other part.[5]

As it turned out, their attempts were in vain; Bayek, nor his son had knowledge regarding the vault, nor did the vault door react when they placed the Apple in Khemu's hands. Before they could further interrogate the Medjay, they were interrupted by the news of Ptolemy XIII's awakening, and of his desire to come to the Temple of Amun. Most of the Order members present left, leaving Bayek and Khemu within the chamber, telling them to open the door. With Khemu's aid, Bayek freed himself and attempted to fight off the Order, though Khemu was killed in the process.[5]

Having failed to open the vault, the Order abandoned their search and left the village. They appointed Medunamun, who used the cryptonym the Ibis and served as the Oracle of Amun in the temple, to remain in the village, giving him the Apple in order for him to learn more about the relic.[6] Later that year, Bayek went on a quest of vengeance against the Order, seeking revenge for his son's death. In 48 BCE, he located Rudjek, the Nomarch of Saqqara Nome and a member of the Order who went by the cryptonym the Heron, hunting him to the Bent Pyramid. Bayek knocked out Rudjek's personal bodyguard, cornering Rudjek in the tomb. Rudjek attempted to retaliate by throwing a knife at the Medjay, who blocked it with Rudjek's mask. Bayek shoved the mask into Rudjek, killing him with the blade embedded in it.[7]

Sometime later, Medunamun was assassinated by Bayek, who had returned to Siwa after his assassination of Rudjek, taking the Apple from the priest.[5] In the same time frame, Aya of Alexandria, Bayek's wife, also began her own quest to hunt down her son's killer. She enlisted the aid of Apollodorus, Cleopatra's follower, to locate the members. She eventually located Actaeon and Ktesos, two members of the Order who operated in Alexandria. For her actions, she was declared wanted by the city's Phylakitai, Gennadios, who worked with another member and the Royal Scribe, Eudoros.[8]

Eventually, Bayek and Aya learned that the men they had thought to be responsible for Khemu's death were merely a part of a much larger conspiracy to control all of Egypt through power. As a result, they later founded the Hidden Ones, an organization which would eventually evolve into the Assassin Brotherhood and fight against the next iteration of the Order of the Ancients in the following millennia, the Templar Order.[2]

Overview and ideology

Foundations and memberships

By the time Egypt had been under the control of the Ptolemaic dynasty over one thousand years, the Order comprised of various men and women at the upper echelons of the ruling class; these individuals retained positions of power and, for the most part, were involved in political, religious, economic and military proceedings. Members of the Order of the Ancients symbolically wore identical masks, headdresses, and robes when they met in congress - a visual display of their loyalties. Each key member of the Order was responsible for their own sphere of influence within Egyptian society and they were scattered all over Egypt, due to the antiquated constraints of communication and transport.[2]

Goals and beliefs

"I have served them and your beloved Egypt. And I'll be rewarded in the Afterlife. An eternity of drinking and whoring with my brothers."
Lucius Septimius, explaining his beliefs to Aya.[src]
Unlike the residents of ancient Egypt, the Order of the Ancients, much like their future incarnation the Templars, were deistic in their faith and were not polytheistic. They did believe in the Afterlife. The Order of the Ancients also believed in the Father of Understanding.

The primary aim of the Order during the 1st century BCE was to bring back a strong dynastic power, equal to that of previous dynasties which had ruled during the glory days of Ancient Egypt, prior to the arrival of the Ptolemies. This was reinforced by the belief that the pre-existing system had been founded on order, on the divine power of the Pharaohs. In this perspective, the Order was looking for means of control, be they political, religious, military or cultural, to regain what had been lost. In addition, they also had people looking for the secrets of the past, such as the Pieces of Eden, and how to unlock said secrets' potential.[2]

Members

Ancient Egypt

Achaemenid Empire

Ptolemaic Egypt / Roman Republic

Roman Empire

Allies and puppets

Achaemenid Empire

Ptolemaic Egypt / Roman Republic

Roman Empire

Trivia

  • Many of the Ptolemaic era members' aliases are representations of various deities in Egyptian mythology:
  • The ankh that accompanies the crowned snake hieroglyph resembles the cross pattée of the Order's future incarnation, the Knights Templar.
  • Despite its Egyptian origins, the insignia of the Persian Branch of the Order of Ancients was very different. It consisted of a distortion of the Faravahar, the national emblem of Persia, with a face at the bottom of the symbol.
  • The serpent wears the pschent, the double crown, symbolizing the Order's desire to rule all of Egypt.
  • The Order's symbol and name, The Snake, contrasts the Assassins' association with the eagle.
  • The masks and associated headdress the Ptolemaic-era members wore at their meetings were crafted with icons related to divinity and sovereignty within Egyptian mythology: the double feather crown (swty) evoked Amun, and as usual, was adorned with a solar disc and uraeus, and their masks had the braided, fake beard related to Osiris.

Gallery

Appearances

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Assassin's Creed: Origins - The Hidden Ones
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Assassin's Creed: Origins
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Assassin's Creed: Odyssey - Legacy of the First Blade: Hunted
  4. 4.0 4.1 Assassin's Creed Origins: Official Game Guide
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Assassin's Creed: Origins - The False Oracle
  6. Assassin's Creed: Origins - The Oasis
  7. Assassin's Creed: Origins - The Heron Assassination
  8. Assassin's Creed: Origins - Aya