Original Research - Special Collection: Marianne Dircksen Festschrift

History, design and archaeology: The reception of Julius Caesar and the representation of gender and agency in Assassin’s Creed Origins

Nelson Bondioli, Marcio Texeira-Bastos, Luciano C. Carneiro
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 2 | a2431 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i2.2431 | © 2019 Nelson Bondioli, Marcio Texeira-Bastos, Luciano C. Carneiro | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 November 2018 | Published: 31 October 2019

About the author(s)

Nelson Bondioli, Department of History, State University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Marcio Texeira-Bastos, Department of History, State University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Luciano C. Carneiro, Department of History, State University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil


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Abstract

In 2017,s Ubisoft Montreal launched the game, Assassin’s Creed Origins, with its historical background placed in Egypt by the time of the arrival of Julius Caesar. It is focusing on his involvement in Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII’s struggle for the throne, with the plot culminating with his assassination in 44 BCE. The main goal of this article is to make an in-depth analysis of the reception of Julius Caesar in Assassin’s Creed Origins – a venture that, as is demonstrated throughout the article, necessarily passes through an examination of Caesar’s in-game relations and attitudes towards the other historical and fictional characters around him, especially Cleopatra, Bayek and Aya. The analysis of the relationships between Caesar and these other characters reveals several decisions of the game developers that can be better understood through a gender-based examination. It is proposed here that there is in the game a clear-cut representation of men and women’s activities and roles that are, in large part, structured the way they are due to current discourses and issues concerning female agency in the contemporary world.

Keywords

Julius Caesar; Cleopatra; Gender in Antiquity; archaeology; ancient history; videogames; pop culture; Assassins; creed history; Roman past; classical reception; popular culture.

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