One of the most unique things about the Assassin’s Creed franchise is the way it integrates real-world historical regions and locations with its plot. In the newest title, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, players can explore the lush, open-world city of Baghdad. But what connects Baghdad to the assassins? And what historical events are happening during Basim’s time as an assassin under the Abbasid Caliphate?
What is the setting for Assassin’s Creed Mirage?
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is set in 9th-century Baghdad. During this time period, this region lived through the anarchy at Samarra. The anarchy at Samarra marked extreme cultural instability for the Abbasid Caliphate. During this time, four different caliphs violently succeeded one another. Each of them was a puppet for different violent military groups. These caliphs included Al-Muntasir (861-862), Al-Musta’in (862–866), Al-Mu’tazz (866–869), and Al-Muhtadi (869–870).
After the anarchy at Samarra, the political unrest in Baghdad broke out into the Zanj Rebellion, which included thousands of slaves and freemen rising up against the caliphate. The rebellion lasted 14 years and historians estimate anywhere from 500,000 to 1.5 million people could have died in the highly bloody conflict.
How does this time period affect the plot?
In Assassin’s Creed Mirage, the military group pushing the puppet caliphates is the Order of The Ancients, AKA the enemy of the Assassin’s Brotherhood. During this time period, the Assassin’s Brotherhood was known as The Hidden Ones. Their entire mission is to thwart the Order of the Ancients. During their time in Baghdad, The Order of The Ancients is looking for secret knowledge hidden in this region.
Once Assassin’s Creed Mirage’s protagonist Basim becomes a Hidden One, he works to dissolve the Order’s influence over Baghdad’s caliphate. Along the way, he meets, clashes, and works with several real historical figures like Abbasid official Al-Fath ibn Khaqan, caliph al-Mu’tazz (Abu’Abdallah) and his mother Qabiha, and Ali ibn Muhammad—leader of the Zanj Rebellion.