author: Jakub Mirowski
History According to Assassin's Creed - Conspiracy Theorist's Paradise
The plot of Assassin's Creed is one great conspiracy theory: with mysterious monasteries, intrigues that entwine the whole world, supernatural artifacts and ancient civilization. Hold tight, because the writers of the franchise are not messing around.
According to Assassin's Creed, every more significant conflict is the result of years of intrigue – and this principle applies to both modern times and antiquity. The Peloponnesian War for example. But this time it's not Templars – it's the mysterious cultists of Kosmos, the progenitors of the order. This cult, made up of individuals of significant political, social and economic influence and standing, established a relationship with the Ancients in Persia. The two organizations had a common goal – to facilitate Xerxes' conquest of Greece and unite it under his rule. To achieve this, they influenced the Delphic oracle to dissuade the Spartan King Leonidas from going against the Persians. This plan failed, and the Spartan sacrifice prevented the worshippers of Kosmos from realizing their intentions. The conspirators, however, would not surrender, and a few decades later arranged a conflict between the two most powerful polis of the time in Greece.
It can be argued that the Peloponnesian War was an internal conflict between two factions of the cult. Some supported Athens and the Delian League, others supported Sparta and the Peloponnesian League, but members of the same cult were leaders on both sides. Their intention was to once again plunge the Greek world into chaos so that they could govern whatever emerged from it. Paradoxically, this was the final plot of the cultists, who, in setting up the conflict, lured the main character of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, a bounty hunter named Kassandra (according to the canon). Infiltrating structures and eliminating senior cultists was one of the main activities of players in the game, and no one was really surprised when, by the end of the war, the cult was completely shattered.
PERSIAN, SPARTAN, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
The real Peloponnesian War was a clash of hegemony in the Greek world, but that does not mean that it was a purely local conflict. The Persians, who could not allow the domination of Athens, were also involved. So, Darius II, ruler of the Achaemenid Empire, was willing to aid Spartans militarily, because they had contributed to the defeat of his grandfather Xerxes in an expedition to Greece several decades earlier. The fleet of the Peloponnesian League was largely financed by the Persian satrap Tissaphernes, and Darius II himself sent his son, Cyrus the Younger, to craft an alliance with Spartans.
In reality, Sparta and Athens didn't need a solid reason to start a war. In 431 BC, relations between the two powers were very tense after an earlier conflict that hadn't been resolved. Less than two decades of peace were actually spent on armaments... ci vis pacem para bellum, right? The ultimate reason for war was a local conflict between Corinth and Corkyra, supported by Sparta and Athens, respectively. The turmoil laster for twenty-five years, dominance of the Ancient Greece was ultimately achieved by Sparta and king Archidamus II.