Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles [music] >> Leonardo da Vinci was born April 15th, 1452 in Anchiano, a small Hamlet north of Vinci, as the illegitimate son of Ser Piero da Vinci and Caterina. He died in exile at the Château du Clos, in Amboise, France in May of 1519. [pause] He was an accomplished Engineer, Architect, Botanist, Anatomist, Geographer, Mathematician, Artist and Writer. Although best known for his paintings “The Last Supper” and “The Mona Lisa”, Leo also conducted and documented over 30 dissections of the human body. In addition, he invented machines that were put into use in the manufacturing of day-to-day items, such as ropes and needles, as well as pulley systems for building sites and watering and well mechanisms. [pause] In this video, we'll be taking a look at one such invention, the Glider, and attempting to separate the fiction from the reality using his appearance and portrayal in the Assassin's Creed games as a primary reference and comparison tool. [pause] The Flying Machine was a glider-like vehicle designed and built by Leonardo da Vinci. It was first tested by the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Venice in 1485. Some time after arriving in Venice, Ezio and Antonio de Magianis attempted to find a way into the Palazzo Ducale, so as to save Doge Giovanni from assassination by the Templar Carlo Grimaldi. Upon stating with frustration that only birds could enter the heavily-guarded palazzo, Ezio remembered Leonardo's invention, and promptly left for his friend's workshop. [cutscene] >> Leonardo’s fascination with flight can be traced back to his childhood. He once states in his notebooks that flight was his destiny, recounting a memory from when he was very young of a kite coming to him in his cradle, touching his lips with its tail feathers. Childhood memory or not, without a doubt Leonardo took a major cue from toy kites and the Greek legend of Icarus, which was more than likely known to him. Another inspiration were insects and bats, specifically for the overall design of the wings. And last but not least, it was a form of escapism, a dream of total freedom, of getting away from everything that held him back and pulled him down. [pause] The first wing contraptions are randomly doodled onto folios that can now be found in the Codex Atlanticus. However, the first serious thoughts on manned flight didn’t find their way onto paper until he was in his early 30’s, around 1485. While Leo toyed with various ideas for flying machines, including ones where the pilot would have to paddle with his arms and legs to flap the wings, and upright models whose wings are reminiscent of a dragonfly’s, it was the batwing glider design which features in the games that he always came back to and refined over the years. Some models have completely rigid wings, others sport jointed wings, but all are based on extensive studies on the flight of birds, their centre of gravity, and their manoeuvrability. [pause] We know that he even tested at least one of his glider designs, making note of it in one of his notebooks that it failed. It is unlikely that it was due to the lift needed to keep it airborne, as suggested in Assassin’s Creed, but rather due to too heavy materials and general construction flaws. [pause] In a further note he recounts the dangers of crashing, and what to do when it happens. He particularly points out to take care of the iron hinges and bolts, which would cause injury, as well as fragments of the wood frame should it break up. He also notes that banking too sharply will cause the glider to lose its balance, causing a tumbling and most probably fatal crash. [cutscene] >> In Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Leonardo would go on to improve the flying Machine's design by adding an incendiary cannon onto its back, which could both be used to attack as well as start fires to keep the machine aloft. This Bomber was manufactured in bulk by Borgia forces. [pause] In reality, The Bomber featured in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood as an evolution of the Glider is an invention of the Ubisoft team. While it has been suggested that the onboard flame thrower may well be after a design by Leonardo, let it be said that it is not, or at least not close enough to be compared to the bomber's firing mechanism. [pause] Despite all the adjustments made to the glider by Leo over the years, and designing a take-off and landing ramp which also features in Assassin’s Creed, he never managed to fully get it off the ground. It took until the rise of carbon fibre and parachute silk in recent years, plus a slight modification of adding a tail, that a successful model of the original glider could be built and flown. And so Leonardo’s lifelong wish to take to the sky was finally fulfilled, just as he promised some 430 years before... [pause] >> The great bird will take its first flight over the rise of the great Swan, filling the universe with wonders, filling all writings with its fame, and bringing eternal glory to the nest where it was born.