The Let's Play Archive

Assassin's Creed II

by Geop

Part 5: Episode 05: Wanted

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- It was mentioned that Verrocchio had a work that was being unveiled. This Verrocchio fella was Leonardo da Vinci's mentor, and, upon seeing how well Leonardo could paint, Verrocchio completely abandoned painting (some say he felt embarrassed compared to Leo's painting skills whereas others say he stepped aside and let him handle the painting work for the workshop) and stuck to sculptures. The painting that is on display is Tobias and the Angel (if you pause the video right before the cutscene inside Santa Croce's garden, you can see it).

- Originally, I had a segment on prostitution, but when it came down to doing the segment (pictures, etc), I decided to scrap it and summarize the main bits of info here in the post:


Due to the advent of more sophisticated economic structures, prostitution became rather accepted to some degree (compared to previously, when it was reserved for low-tier people in society, or even slaves). A social tier system arose inside of prostitution, the top of which being a courtesan. Ubisoft, I think (in an attempt to assign a euphemism to these ladies) did a bit of a blanket naming convention here. Courtesans were almost like geisha over in Japan; they were incredibly talented at a number of skills and very well cultured, in addition to being prostitutes. As a result of them carrying themselves so well in society, it was pretty common to mistake one of them for a noblewoman. Foreigners would breeze through, sleep with one of these ladies, and never find out they were, in fact, prostitutes. They'd go home and crow about "makin' it" with a noble. This grated on society enough to pass several laws over the years to make courtesans more apparent (ie: not allowed to wear jewelry, etc). The ones we see in-game aren't bottom-rung-looking trollops, per se, but they don't really fit how I see courtesans in paintings and such. Of course, Paola's joint is definitely rather fancy, so maybe I'm just trying to overly scrutinize or something.

The vast majority of mistresses that nobles and such ended up claiming were actually courtesans. That being said, the biggest concern for a courtesan was jealousy from her co-workers. If the bigshot painter in town made a girl his favorite, the others would definitely grow jealous to some degree. It was pretty common for them to spread rumors and lies in order to have the favorite lose her spot to one of the other ladies. You also had the church zipping in making almost gangster-like demands on cash, pushing brothels around, or just getting "serviced" (some regions cited 20% or more of their business were from the clergy). There were cases in some areas where the church actually *owned* the land these brothels were situated on. The church itself justified prostitution in public by saying "well, if this got stopped, you'd have sodomy and all sorts'a nasty stuff. Just let it be as a lesser of two evils." However, following a very gruesome syphilis outbreak and the protestant reformation, the Catholic church lost its ability to indirectly support it. The industry itself got put on a leash (and not the kinky sort) nearing the 16th century, and pricey licenses became the norm for brothels. Shortly thereafter, prostitutes had to have very short hair (if any at all) and/or wear veils in public in order to say "HEY BE CAREFUL IF YOU HIT THIS, DUDES".