The History Behind Assassin's Creed III: Nationalities
A very informative, well-researched essay regarding the “controversy” behind Connor Kenway’s depiction in the released AC3 gameplay and trailers. If you need a strong article to show someone that’s wrongly convinced that the assassin is only killing the British because the game is some sort of America, Fuck Yeah! propaganda machine, I highly recommend this one.
Ah, Apple #3. So much of the chaos in American history can be tied back to you.
To deem whether or not George Washington had ties to either the Templars or the Assassins, we must look at the history of that particular Piece of Eden. According to AC II (and using the AC Wiki to refresh my memory), Apple #3 was brought over to this country by the Freemasons from Europe, presumably before the Revolutionary War. Now, when I say Freemasons, I’m sure this pops into your head:
The film National Treasure—probably one of the more recent narratives involving the centuries-old organization—have the Freemasons being born out of the Knights Templar, although the connection is very weak at best:
There is a tenuous link between the Freemasons and the Knights Templar, a mysterious order of knights founded in 1119 to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. Many Freemasons today say they are the spiritual descendants of the knights.
According to legend, the Knights Templar discovered the greatest treasure in human history buried beneath the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. What is true, scholars say, is that the knights became wealthy and powerful, and they may have rivaled the influence of some European kings.
“They’re mysterious because they were so sensationally successful,” said Lisa Bitel, a history professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. “The idea behind lots of these conspiracy and treasure stories is that any individual could happen upon a forgotten relic of the past, join with other like-minded mavericks, and use this relic for personal redemption or universal good.”
But in the early 1300s, the knights were suppressed and executed. Whether they found Solomon’s treasure is not known. No treasure map has ever been found.
However, to implement this to the AC Historical Timeline, we know for a fact that A) the Templars found Solomon’s treasure; and B) that they weren’t all executed in the 1300s. For the Freemasons to be “spiritual descendants” of Templars…well, let’s not get too hasty on the finger pointing just yet.
The true, non-Nicolas-Cage-related history of the Freemasons is just as interesting as the movie. The organization was created right along side the emergence of the Age of Enlightenment, wherein man began to trust more in science and his senses than in a omnipotent being. To sum up this idea, look no further than to the motto of the Royal Society in 1660: “Nullius in Verba” or “On the words of no-one”. Due to its direct connection to this intellectual movement, the Freemasons felt it necessary to spread the philosophy:
During the late 1700’s, it was one of the organizations most responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment: the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual, the right of all persons to worship as they choose, the formation of democratic governments, and the importance of public education. Masons supported the first public schools in both Europe and America.
Further, many of those fighting for the Colonies during the Revolutionary War were of the Freemason Order:
Many of The Founding Fathers of America were masons, most famous of whom must be George Washington. But it included Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere and Thomas Jefferson. Though Marquis de Lafayette was not an American but a Frenchman, he was a mason and he helped in the American War of Independence. These men were the first to ever plan the Constitution of a country along the ideals of The Enlightenment.
So what does this all mean, in the context of Assassin’s Creed III? While it is obvious that the Freemasons do have a tie back to the Knights Templar, their ideals—freedom of the individual, power in the hands of the many, not the few—line up more closely with the Assassins. George Washington has possession of the Apple in 1781—two years before the end of AC3, which means Connor must be aware that he has it. We also know that the Apple stays closely tied with the American presidents, as it pops up multiple times within American history. The only known Templar to gain control of it is Lyndon B. Johnson, who became president after the assassination of JFK. Since we know that the assassins were aware of George Washington’s (and other presidents’) possession of the Apple and didn’t do anything to capture it, we can assume that they did so because it was they who had possession of it. George Washington is either an Assassin, or someone within their allegiance.
And that, folks, is your history lesson for the day.
TL;DR: George Washington is a part of the Assassin Brotherhood.
Anonymous asked: Am I the only one irked that the American flag seems to be on EVERYTHING AC3 related? Can’t buy one edition without the flag shoved in your face. It wasn’t like that for any of the other games, I don’t understand why it’s like this now. Ubi said that it wasn’t going to be all Americans = good guys but from where I’m standing it looks to be going in that direction. Thoughts?
I’m not bothered by it at all. Since this is the official third entry into the AC franchise, practically everything is new (settings, characters, etc.) It has to fill the void that Altair and Ezio left behind so I imagine Ubisoft wants to enforce the fact that this is the new direction they are taking the AC games in.
<} Bureau Leader
Hey, Rafiq here. While I agree with our Bureau Leader’s viewpoint on this to a certain extent, I felt passionately enough about this question to throw in my two florins.
Now, I understand where the fear of uber-jingoism comes into play in regards to Assassin’s Creed III; trends within media have set the precedent that anything dealing with the United States is to be presented in an “AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!” type fashion. Concerns have arisen that, although Ubisoft has assured us that Connor is a man without allegiance, the gameplay so far has been of our assassin brutally killing only British soldiers. And now the American flag has been emblazoned across every edition of the game. Is it time to point the favoritism finger?
To address the issue with the flag: this isn’t the Stars and Stripes that you see detailed across rednecks’ pick-up trucks or tattooed with bald eagles on scary men’s biceps. This flag—thirteen red and white stripes, and thirteen white stars on a blue background, representing a new constellation—was representative of revolution.
Paul Revere didn’t ride through Boston and shove the flag in Royalists’ faces, shouting “If you don’t like it, you can giiitttt out!” Benjamin Franklin didn’t wave the flag while threatening to put a buckled shoe up King George’s ass. The Thirteen Star Flag was too new to have any negative connotations; in fact, the Second Continental Congress didn’t pass a law regarding what the American flag should look like until 1777, meaning that our flags looked like whatever the hell we wanted. And even with the law, it was vague on certain points, so flags still lacked uniformity for decades. It wasn’t something that the British saw and thought, “Oh shit, America!” More likely, they twittered, “Oh my, they think that they are a sovereign nation! These yokels who cannot be trusted crossing the Cumberland Gap in fear of being slaughtered by Indians? Typical.”
So why have the Thirteen Star Flag on everything? Especially if Connor is supposed to be assassinating targets on both sides of the conflict? Because of what it symbolizes. Not the America of the 21st Century, but America of the Revolutionary War. Trust me, show a panel of people that flag and over 75% of them will recognize the flag as the Flag of the Revolution. Why do you think that the promotional items for Ezio’s stories are filled with harlequins, Venetian masks, and plague doctors? The common man will see these items and be able to associate maybe not the exact country in Europe, but a time and a place. The same goes with the Thirteen Star Flag; it’s not about America. It’s about the Revolutionary War.
As for the concern that Connor will be killing primarily British soldiers, and that since his allies seem to be made up entirely of revolutionaries that AC3 will be leaning more towards the Colonists’ side of the conflict, I could easily say “Well, we haven’t played the game yet, so be patient!” But I won’t. What I will say is that history is a messy, messy place with many lies and misconceptions. Even American schoolchildren are taught a history riddled with mythology by a system more concerned with building a national identity than education.
—Benjamin Franklin was a staunch Royalist who supported the Stamp Act, which if you remember from school was the one act that the teachers bothered telling you about because it REALLY pissed off the Colonists. Like, “Let’s go to war over paying a minor tax because England is BROKE” pissed.
—The Boston Tea Party was less of an organized protest against “taxation without representation” and more of John Hancock being butthurt because the East India Company’s low, low prices were going to cut into his fat, tea-smuggling paycheck.
—George Washington, while being a lackluster general at best, was also a Freemason, and refused to willingly give orders to officers who were not inducted into the Craft (or, perhaps, the Templars?).
So why show Connor assassinating Redcoats? Because they have always been painted as the “boogeymen” in history. Ubisoft isn’t going to show its Colonial-Templar-laden hand right away; why spoil the twist right out the gate?
TL;DR: History has a way of surprising you. Expect the unexpected. The flag is only a flag.
More new pictures in this photoset! Tumblrhood, seriously, you guys are insane. And I love it.