Okay, so this weekend I was thinking a lot about the terms used in the Encyclopedia, and I realized that the entire Encyclopedia contradicts itself when it comes to how the Assassin and Templar Orders are organized. Therefore, it also makes it hard for us to contain good information. The Encyclopedia says the following, under "The Mentor"'s section:
- "Prior to the 20th century, the title of Mentor was given to any Assassin leader who had achieved an extraordinary level of skill and wisdom, and who had taken on apprentices of his own. During the 20th century, this title was made official and singular."
So, the title of Mentor was given to a lot of Assassin leaders throughout history. Darby McDevitt has also said that there were multiple leaders for the Order because contact between different countries and continents was very bad, and in a lot of cases completely non-existent. Therefore, an Assassin leader in Italy did not lead the Assassins in China, because there was no proper contact between these countries.
Also, Assassins had always been a widespread organization; there were Assassins in the Roman Empire, in the Middle East etc. since hundreds of years before Assassin's Creed. However, the Encyclopedia heavily implies that during the High Middle Ages, there were only Assassins in the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Israel etc.), and that the Assassins were led by only one Mentor at this time. However, there had, for example, always been Assassins in China, and they were not related to the Assassins in the Levant. The Chinese Assassins even did not have the iconic hidden blades, and had different customs and techniques (see Embers), than the other Assassins. Therefore, there must always have been multiple "branches", even during the High Middle Ages.
Now here are the terms and sentences from the Encyclopedia that bother me:
- "...the Brotherhood, under the leadership of Al Mualim, had achieved prominence and notoriety across the Levant. Their main base of operations was in the walled city of Masyaf. The city thus became the cornerstone of the Assassin network;"
- This hints at the Assassin Order being ONLY located in the Levant, yet there are also Mongolian Assassins, and it is said on several instances that the Order is a global organization. Additionally, it is said that before the 20th century, there was not just ONE leader of the Order.
- "By the 15th century, the center of Assassin activity had shifted from the Levant to Italy."
- "The Templars, under the leadership of Rodrigo Borgia,"
- All Templars were under Rodrigo's control? Also those in China?
- "Al Mualim, leader of the Assassins,"
- Again, there was not just one leader before the 20th century, right?
- "At the same time [Altaïr] began to finalize the dismantling of the Brotherhood's headquarters within Masyaf, preferring to see many Assassins Guilds across the world rather than one central quarter of operations."
- There already were Assassins in other areas of the world during Altaïr's time, such as Mongolia, so this is completely redundant.
- "Altaïr also gave his Codex to the Polo brothers, trusting them to establish Assassin cells throughout the world."
- Cells? The term "cells" is also used to refer to the small Assassin teams during 2012, later on in the encyclopedia. A "cell" and a "guild" are NOT the same thing.
- "and learned from Santángel that the Spanish Assassins Guild had been arrested as part of the recent Spanish Inquisition,"
- "[Shaun Hastings,] being the tactical lifeline of at least one Assassin cell in Sao Paolo."
- The Assassin teams, consisting of approximately FOUR members, as of 2012, are "cells". So, the Polo brothers did NOT go to create any of these "cells", as I said before.
- "Aquilus, a distant ancestor of Desmond Miles, was a Gallo-Roman member of the Assassin Brotherhood from Lugdunum (modern-day Lyon, France) during the 3rd century CE."
- I do not kind of agree with the choice of the words "Assassin Brotherhood from Lugdunum", seeing as they also say "Assassin Brotherhood in the Levant" in the Encyclopedia, which isn't really of the same caliber in comparison. However, this hints at there being more Assassin in Lugdunum aside from Aquilus and Lucius, which is not implied in the French comic, and also a bit confusing, in my opinion.
- "Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad (1165 - 1257) was a Syrian Assassin during the Third Crusade, becoming leader Master of the Brotherhood in 1191."
- I need not explain. Though I should add that in Revelations, Al Mualim, Altaïr and Abbas are only referred to as "Mentor", not "Master". The term Mentor was used for any Assassin leader who had received an extraordinary amount of skill and knowledge. Therefore, they were simply "Assassin leaders" of a branch, and NOT the entire Order.
- "Al Mualim (unknown - 1191) was leader of the Assassin Brotherhood in the Levant during the Third Crusade, governing the Assassins from Masyaf, Syria."
- Finally something that DOES make sense. "Assassin Brotherhood in the Levant", emphasis on the last three words there.
- "Though on the surface a regular condottiero, Mario was actually leader of the Assassins in Italy."
- Yes, "Assassins in Italy". No mention of guilds or cells, whatsoever; so nothing confusing here.
- "Upon his arrival, he quickly fell in with the Ottoman Assassins and their leader, Yusuf Tazim,"
- Look at the following:
- "Yusuf Tazim (c. 1465 - 1512), head of the Assassins in Constantinople, was an affable Turkish Assassin"
- The Ottoman Assassins were not only located in Constantinople, as the Mediterranean Defense from Revelations confirms that there were also Assassins in Bursa. Thus, this is contradicting.
- "Yusuf was a charismatic leader and kept the Ottoman Assassin's guild intact"
- "Rodrigo Borgia (1431 - 1503) was a Spanish aristocrat who was both Grand Master of the Templar Order and an important figure in the Catholic Church,"
- Okay, fair enough. Rodrigo was the leader of the entire Templar Order, as this implies. But then there's this:
- "Operating on the fringe of society, the Order's leaders--eventually led by Rodrigo Borgia--forgot their true purpose, blinded by greed and personal ambition. Templars refer to this period as the Dark Age of the Order. Still, in other parts of the world the Templars remained strong; in Asia, for instance, they aided Emperor Jiajing secure his hold upon China."
- How can Rodrigo lead the Templars in China, when contact between Italy and China was non-existent during the Renaissance, and the Italian Templars and Chinese Templars both had different motives and ideals? Very contradicting.
- "Born in the late 19th century, Nikolai Orelov was a member of the Russian branch of the Assassin Brotherhood,"
- And now, the term "branch" is used. This one, to me, makes the most sense, since it's a proper term to span all Assassins in the whole country, and all of these Assassins share common objectives.
So, there are a fuckload of different terms right? Yet commonly, none of those terms have the same meaning. With a lack of proper clearance, I'm going to go with the following conclusion for how the Orders were divided:
- There were "Assassin branches" up until the 20th century, when they were united under a single "Mentor", and they split up into "Assassin camps" (such as the Farm and the Philadelphia camp from The Fall). Then, during the Great Purge, when most Assassin camps were exterminated by the Templars following the Mentor's assassination by Daniel Cross, the Assassins split up into small "Assassin cells", like the one Desmond is part of.
- There were "Templar branches" up unil the 20th century, when they were united under Abstergo Industries.
I'm just throwing it out here so you guys will know why I'm replacing the guilds with the branch articles, and so you guys can know the contradictions in the Encyclopedia. And with a little bit of hope, Ubisoft will read this too, and take some time to clear this confusion up in the future.