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Arabic

Imam
Imam
or Grand Master

Hassan-i_Sabbah Rashid ad-Din Sinan

Parent organization

Nizari Shia Islam

Affiliations Nizari
Nizari
Ismaili state

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Alamut
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Masyaf
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Early Imāms

Ali Hasan Husayn as-Sajjad al-Baqir Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq Ismāʿīl ibn Jaʿfar al-Mubārak Muhammad
Muhammad
ibn Ismāʿīl ash-Shākir ʿAbadu l-Lāh (al-Wāfī Ahmad) Ahmad (al-Taqī Muhammad) Ḥusayn (ar-Raḍī ʿAbdillāh) ʿAbdu l-Lāh al-Mahdī bi l-Lāh al-Qāʾim al-Manṣūr al-Muʿizz al-ʿAzīz al-Ḥākim al-Ẓāhir al-Mustanṣir bi l-Lāh Nizār al-Muṣṭafā li-Dīn’il-Lāh / Aḥmadu l-Mustāʿlī bi l-Lāh Manṣūr al-Āmir bi-Aḥkām’il-Lāh Abu l-Qāsim al-Tayyib

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Order of Assassins
Assassins
or simply Assassins
Assassins
(Arabic: ٱلْحَشَاشِين‎ al-Ḥashāshīn, Persian: حشاشین‬‎ Hashâshīn) is the common name used to refer to an Islamic
Islamic
sect formally known as the Nizari
Nizari
Ismailis. Based on texts from Alamut, their grand master Hassan-i Sabbah
Hassan-i Sabbah
tended to call his disciples Asāsīyūn (أساسيون, meaning "people who are faithful to the foundation [of the faith]"), but some foreign travelers misunderstanded the derivation from the term hashish. Often described as a secret order led by a mysterious "Old Man of the Mountain", the Nizari
Nizari
Ismailis formed in the late 11th century after a split within Ismailism
Ismailism
– a branch of Shia Islam. The Nizaris posed a strategic threat to Sunni
Sunni
Seljuq authority by capturing and inhabiting several mountain fortresses throughout Persia and later Syria, under the leadership of Hassan-i Sabbah. Asymmetric warfare, psychological warfare, and surgical strikes were often an employed tactic of the assassins, drawing their opponents into submission rather than risk killing them.[1] While "Assassins" typically refers to the entire sect, only a group of acolytes known as the fida'i actually engaged in conflict. Lacking their own army, the Nizari
Nizari
relied on these warriors to carry out espionage and assassinations of key enemy figures, and over the course of 300 years successfully killed two caliphs, and many viziers, sultans, and Crusader leaders.[2] Under leadership of Imam
Imam
Rukn-ud-Din Khurshah, the Nizari
Nizari
state declined internally, and was eventually destroyed as the Imam surrendered the castles to the invading Mongols. Sources on the history and thought of the Ismailis in this period are therefore lacking and the majority extant are written by their detractors. Long after their near-eradication, mentions of Assassins
Assassins
were preserved within European sources – such as the writings of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
– where they are depicted as trained killers, responsible for the systematic elimination of opposing figures. The word "assassin" has been used ever since to describe a hired or professional killer, leading to the related term "assassination", which denotes any action involving murder of a high-profile target for political reasons. The Nizari
Nizari
were acknowledged and feared by the Crusaders. The stories of the Assassins
Assassins
were further embellished by Marco Polo. European orientalist historians in the 19th century – such as Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall – also referred to the Nizari
Nizari
in their works and tended to write about the Nizari
Nizari
based on accounts by medieval Sunni Arab and Persian authors.

Contents

1 Origins 2 Etymology 3 Military tactics

3.1 Assassination

4 Downfall and aftermath 5 Legends and folklore 6 Fortresses in Syria 7 In popular culture 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links

Origins[edit] Further information: Alamut

Artistic rendering of Hassan-i Sabbah.

The origins of the Assassins
Assassins
can be traced back to just before the First Crusade, around 1094 in Alamut, north of modern Iran, during a crisis of succession to the Fatimid
Fatimid
caliphate.[3] There has been great difficulty finding out much information about the origins of the Assassins
Assassins
because most early sources are written by enemies of the order, are based on legends, or both.[citation needed] Most sources dealing with the order's inner workings were destroyed with the capture of Alamut, the Assassins' headquarters, by the Mongols
Mongols
in 1256. However, it is possible to trace the beginnings of the cult back to its first Grandmaster, Hassan-i Sabbah
Hassan-i Sabbah
(1050s–1124). A passionate devotee of Isma'ili beliefs, Hassan-i Sabbah
Hassan-i Sabbah
was well-liked throughout Cairo, Syria
Syria
and most of the Middle East
Middle East
by other Isma'ili, which led to a number of people becoming his followers. Using his fame and popularity, Sabbah founded the Order of the Assassins. While his motives for founding this order are ultimately unknown, it was said to be all for his own political and personal gain and to also exact vengeance on his enemies. Because of the unrest in the Holy Land caused by the Crusades, Hassan-i Sabbah found himself not only fighting for power with other Muslims, but also with the invading Christian forces.[4] After creating the Order, Sabbah searched for a location that would be fit for a sturdy headquarters and decided on the fortress at Alamut
Alamut
in what is now northwestern Iran. It is still disputed whether Sabbah built the fortress himself or if it was already built at the time of his arrival. In either case, Sabbah adapted the fortress to suit his needs not only for defense from hostile forces, but also for indoctrination of his followers. After laying claim to the fortress at Alamut, Sabbah began expanding his influence outwards to nearby towns and districts, using his agents to gain political favour and to intimidate the local populations. Spending most of his days at Alamut
Alamut
producing religious works and developing doctrines for his Order, Sabbah would never leave his fortress again in his lifetime. He had established a secret society of deadly assassins, which was built on a hierarchical structure. Below Sabbah, the Grand Headmaster of the Order, were those known as "Greater Propagandists", followed by the normal "Propagandists", the Rafiqs ("Companions"), and the Lasiqs ("Adherents"). It was the Lasiqs who were trained to become some of the most feared assassins, or as they were called, "Fida'i" (self-sacrificing agent).[5] However, it is unknown how Hassan-i-Sabbah was able to get his "Fida'in" to perform with such fervent loyalty. One theory, possibly the best known but also the most criticized, comes from the reports of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
during his travels to the Orient. He recounts a story he heard, of the "Old Man of the Mountain" (Sabbah) who would drug his young followers with hashish, lead them to a "paradise", and then claim that only he had the means to allow for their return. Perceiving that Sabbah was either a prophet or magician, his disciples, believing that only he could return them to "paradise", were fully committed to his cause and willing to carry out his every request.[6] However, this story is disputed[by whom?] due to the fact that Sabbah died in 1124 and Sinan, who is frequently known as the "Old Man of the Mountain", died in 1192, whereas Marco Polo
Marco Polo
was not born until around 1254.[7][8] With his new weapons, Sabbah began to order assassinations, ranging from politicians to great generals. Assassins
Assassins
would rarely attack ordinary citizens though, and tended not to be hostile towards them. Although the "Fida'yin" were the lowest rank in Sabbah's order and were only used as expendable pawns to do the Grandmaster's bidding, much time and many resources were put into training them. The Assassins
Assassins
were generally young in age, giving them the physical strength and stamina which would be required to carry out these murders. However, physical prowess was not the only trait that was required to be a "Fida'i". To get to their targets, the Assassins
Assassins
had to be patient, cold, and calculating. They were generally intelligent and well-read because they were required to possess not only knowledge about their enemy, but his or her culture and their native language. They were trained by their masters to disguise themselves and sneak into enemy territory to perform the assassinations, instead of simply attacking their target outright.[5] Etymology[edit]

Masyaf
Masyaf
Castle, one of the most famous historical sites in Syria
Syria
and the most famous castle of the Syrian Assassins

The Assassins
Assassins
were finally linked by the 19th-century orientalist scholar Silvestre de Sacy
Silvestre de Sacy
to the Arabic
Arabic
word hashish using their variant names assassin and assissini in the 19th century. Citing the example of one of the first written applications of the Arabic
Arabic
term hashish to the Ismailis by 13th-century historian Abu Shama, de Sacy demonstrated its connection to the name given to the Ismailis throughout Western scholarship.[9] The first known usage of the term hashishi has been traced back to 1122 when the Fatimid
Fatimid
caliph al-Āmir employed it in derogatory reference to the Syrian Nizaris.[9] Used figuratively, the term hashishi connoted meanings such as outcasts or rabble.[9] Without actually accusing the group of using the hashish drug, the Caliph
Caliph
used the term in a pejorative manner. This label was quickly adopted by anti-Ismaili historians and applied to the Ismailis of Syria
Syria
and Persia. The spread of the term was further facilitated through military encounters between the Nizaris and the Crusaders, whose chroniclers adopted the term and disseminated it across Europe. During the medieval period, Western scholarship on the Ismailis contributed to the popular view of the community as a radical sect of assassins, believed to be trained for the precise murder of their adversaries. By the 14th century, European scholarship on the topic had not advanced much beyond the work and tales from the Crusaders.[9] The origins of the word forgotten, across Europe the term Assassin had taken the meaning of "professional murderer".[9] In 1603, the first Western publication on the topic of the Assassins
Assassins
was authored by a court official for King Henry IV of France
Henry IV of France
and was mainly based on the narratives of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
from his visits to the Near East. While he assembled the accounts of many Western travellers, the author failed to explain the etymology of the term Assassin.[10] According to the Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf, based on texts from Alamut, Hassan-i Sabbah
Hassan-i Sabbah
tended to call his disciples Asāsīyūn (أساسيون, meaning "people who are faithful to the foundation [of the faith]"), and derivation from the term hashish is a misunderstanding by foreign travelers.[11] Another modern author, Edward Burman, states that:

Many scholars have argued, and demonstrated convincingly, that the attribution of the epithet "hashish eaters" or "hashish takers" is a misnomer derived from enemies of the Isma'ilis and was never used by Muslim chroniclers or sources. It was therefore used in a pejorative sense of "enemies" or "disreputable people". This sense of the term survived into modern times with the common Egyptian usage of the term Hashasheen in the 1930s to mean simply "noisy or riotous". It is unlikely that the austere Hassan-i Sabbah
Hassan-i Sabbah
indulged personally in drug taking ... there is no mention of that drug hashish in connection with the Persian Assassins
Assassins
– especially in the library of Alamut ("the secret archives").[12]

The name "Assassin" is often said to derive from the Arabic
Arabic
word Hashishin or "users of hashish",[13](which can be used as a derogatory term in Arabic
Arabic
and it is the equivalent of "drug addict", in this case, "hashish addict") was originally applied to the Nizari
Nizari
Ismaelis by the rival Mustali
Mustali
Ismailis during the fall of the Ismaili Fatimid Empire and the separation of the two Ismaili streams,[14] there is little evidence hashish was used to motivate the assassins, contrary to the beliefs of their medieval enemies.[15] It is possible that the term hashishiyya or hashishi in Arabic
Arabic
sources was used metaphorically in its abusive sense relating to use of hashish, which due to its effects on the mind state, is outlawed in Islam. Modern versions of this word include Mahashish used in the same derogatory sense, albeit less offensive nowadays, as the use of the substance is more widespread.[citation needed] Idries Shah, a sufi scholar using Arkon Daraul as a pen name, described them as 'druggers' that used hashish "in stupefying candidates for the ephemeral visit to paradise".[16] Military tactics[edit]

"They call him Shaykh-al-Hashishim. He is their Elder, and upon his command all of the men of the mountain come out or go in ... they are believers of the word of their elder and everyone everywhere fears them, because they even kill kings."

—Benjamin of Tudela

Remains of the Alamut
Alamut
castle in Qazvin, Iran

In pursuit of their religious and political goals, the Ismailis adopted various military strategies popular in the Middle Ages. One such method was that of assassination, the selective elimination of prominent rival figures. The murders of political adversaries were usually carried out in public spaces, creating resounding intimidation for other possible enemies.[17] Throughout history, many groups have resorted to assassination as a means of achieving political ends. In the Ismaili context, these assignments were performed by fida'is (devotees) of the Ismaili mission. The assassinations were committed against those whose elimination would most greatly reduce aggression against the Ismailis and, in particular, against those who had perpetrated massacres against the community. A single assassination was usually employed in contrast with the widespread bloodshed which generally resulted from factional combat. Hashashin are also said to be adept in furusiyya, or the Islamic
Islamic
warrior code, where they are trained in combat, disguises, and equestrianism.[citation needed] Codes of conduct are followed, and the hashashin are taught in the art of war, linguistics, and strategies. Hashashin never allowed their women to be at their fortresses during military campaigns, both for protection and secrecy. This is a tradition first made by Hassan when he sent his wife and daughters to Girdkuh
Girdkuh
when a famine was created during the Seljuk siege of Alamut.[18] For about two centuries, the hashashin specialized in assassinating their religious and political enemies.[19]

Rashid ad-Din Sinan
Rashid ad-Din Sinan
the Grand Master of the Assassins
Assassins
at Masyaf successfully kept Saladin
Saladin
off his territory.

The first instance of murder in the effort to establish a Nizari Ismaili state in Persia
Persia
is widely considered to be the killing of Seljuq vizier, Nizam al-Mulk.[20] Carried out by a man dressed as a Sufi
Sufi
whose identity remains unclear, the vizier's murder in a Seljuq court is distinctive of exactly the type of visibility for which missions of the fida'is have been significantly exaggerated.[21] While the Seljuqs and Crusaders
Crusaders
both employed murder as a military means of disposing of factional enemies, during the Alamut
Alamut
period almost any murder of political significance in the Islamic
Islamic
lands was attributed to the Ismailis.[22] So inflated had this association grown that, in the work of orientalist scholars such as Bernard Lewis, the Ismailis were equated with the politically active fida'is and thus were regarded as a radical and heretical sect known as the Assassins.[23] The military approach of the Nizari
Nizari
Ismaili state was largely a defensive one, with strategically chosen sites that appeared to avoid confrontation wherever possible without the loss of life.[24] But the defining characteristic of the Nizari
Nizari
Ismaili state was that it was scattered geographically throughout Persia
Persia
and Syria. The Alamut castle therefore was only one of a nexus of strongholds throughout the regions where Ismailis could retreat to safety if necessary. West of Alamut
Alamut
in the Shahrud Valley, the major fortress of Lamasar served as just one example of such a retreat. In the context of their political uprising, the various spaces of Ismaili military presence took on the name dar al-hijra (دار الهجرة; land of migration, place of refuge). The notion of the dar al-hijra originates from the time of Muhammad, who migrated with his followers from alleged persecution to a safe haven in Yathrib (Medina).[25] In this way, the Fatimids found their dar al-hijra in North Africa. From 1101 to 1118, attacks and sieges were made on the fortresses, conducted by combined forces of Seljuk, Berkyaruq, and Sanjar. Although with the cost of lives and the capture and execution of assassin dai Ahmad ibn Hattash, the hashashin managed to hold their ground and repel the attacks until the Mongol invasion.[26] Likewise, during the revolt against the Seljuqs, several fortresses served as spaces of refuge for the Ismailis. Assassination[edit] Further information: Assassination, Asymmetrical warfare, Psychological warfare, and List of assassinations by the Assassins

14th-century painting of the successful assassination of Nizam al-Mulk, vizier of the Seljuq Empire, by an Assassin. It is often considered their most significant assassination.

At their peak, many of the assassinations of the day were often attributed to the hashashin. Even though the Crusaders
Crusaders
and the other factions employed personal assassins, the fact that the hashashin performed their assassinations in full view of the public, often in broad daylight, gave them the reputation assigned to them.[27] Psychological warfare, and attacking the enemy's psyche was another often employed tactic of the hashashin, who would sometimes attempt to draw their opponents into submission rather than risk killing them.[1] During the Seljuk invasion after the death of Muhammad
Muhammad
Tapar, a new Seljuk sultan emerged with the coronation of Tapar's son Sanjar. When Sanjar rebuffed the hashashin ambassadors who were sent by Hassan for peace negotiations, Hassan sent his hashashin to the sultan. Sanjar woke up one morning with a dagger stuck in the ground beside his bed. Alarmed, he kept the matter a secret. A messenger from Hassan arrived and stated, "Did I not wish the sultan well that the dagger which was struck in the hard ground would have been planted on your soft breast". For the next several decades there ensued a ceasefire between the Nizaris and the Seljuk. Sanjar himself pensioned the hashashin on taxes collected from the lands they owned, gave them grants and licenses, and even allowed them to collect tolls from travelers.[28] Downfall and aftermath[edit]

View of Alamut
Alamut
besieged. The last Grand Master of the Assassins
Assassins
at Alamut
Alamut
Imam
Imam
Rukn al-Din Khurshah (1255–1256) was executed by Hulagu Khan after a devastating siege

The Assassins
Assassins
were eradicated by the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
during the well-documented invasion of Khwarizm. They probably dispatched their assassins to kill Möngke Khan. Thus, a decree was handed over to the Mongol commander Kitbuqa
Kitbuqa
who began to assault several Hashashin fortresses in 1253 before Hulagu's advance in 1256. The Mongols besieged Alamut
Alamut
on December 15, 1256. The Assassins
Assassins
recaptured and held Alamut
Alamut
for a few months in 1275, but they were crushed and their political power was lost forever.[citation needed] The Syrian branch of the Assassins
Assassins
was taken over by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars
Baibars
in 1273. The Mamluks continued to use the services of the remaining Assassins: in the 14th century Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
reported their fixed rate of pay per murder. In exchange, they were allowed to exist. Eventually, they resorted to the act of Taqq'iya (dissimulation), hiding their true identities until their Imams would awaken them.[citation needed] According to the historian Yaqut al-Hamawi, the Böszörmény, (Izmaleita or Ismaili/Nizari) denomination of Muslims
Muslims
who lived in the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
from the 10th to the 13th centuries, were employed as mercenaries by the kings of Hungary. However, following the establishment of the Christian Kingdom of Hungary, their community was vanquished by the end of the 13th century due to the Inquisitions ordered by the Catholic Church during the reign of Coloman, King of Hungary. It is said that the Assassins
Assassins
are the ancestors of those given the surname Hajaly, derived from the word "hajal", a rare species of bird found in the mountains of Syria
Syria
near Masyaf. The hajal (bird) was often used as a symbol of the Assassin's order.[citation needed] Legends and folklore[edit] The legends of the Assassins
Assassins
had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari
Nizari
fida'is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries. Historians have contributed to the tales of fida'is being fed with hashish as part of their training.[29] Whether fida'is were actually trained or dispatched by Nizari
Nizari
leaders is unconfirmed, but scholars including Vladimir Ivanov purport that the assassinations of key figures including Saljuq vizier Nizam al-Mulk
Nizam al-Mulk
likely provided encouraging impetus to others in the community who sought to secure the Nizaris protection from political aggression.[29] Originally, a "local and popular term" first applied to the Ismailis of Syria, the label was orally transmitted to Western historians and thus found itself in their histories of the Nizaris.[25] The tales of the fida'is' training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalist writers were compounded and compiled in Marco Polo's account, in which he described a "secret garden of paradise".[30] After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said to be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fida'is would awaken. Here, they were told by an "old" man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari
Nizari
cause.[25] So went the tale of the "Old Man in the Mountain", assembled by Marco Polo
Marco Polo
and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, an 18th-century Austrian orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammer's retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.[31] Another one of Hassan's recorded methods includes causing the hashashin to be vilified by their contemporaries. One story goes that Hassan al-Sabah set up a trick to make it appear as if he had decapitated one of his hashashin and the "dead" hashashin's head lay at the foot of his throne. It was actually one of his men buried up to his neck covered with blood. He invited his hashashin to speak to it. He said that he used special powers to allow it to communicate. The supposed talking head would tell the hashashin about paradise after death if they gave all their hearts to the cause. After the trick was played, Hassan had the man killed and his head placed on a stake in order to cement the deception.[32] A well-known legend tells how Count Henry of Champagne, returning from Armenia, spoke with Grand Master Rashid ad-Din Sinan
Rashid ad-Din Sinan
at al-Kahf. The count claimed to have the most powerful army and at any moment he claimed he could defeat the Hashshashin, because his army was 10 times larger. Rashid replied that his army was instead the most powerful, and to prove it he told one of his men to jump off from the top of the castle in which they were staying. The man did. Surprised, the count immediately recognized that Rashid's army was indeed the strongest, because it did everything at his command, and Rashid further gained the count's respect.[33] Modern works on the Nizaris have elucidated their history and, in doing so, dispelled popular histories from the past as mere legends. In 1933, under the direction of the Imam
Imam
Sultan Muhammad
Muhammad
Shah, Aga Khan III, the Islamic
Islamic
Research Association was developed. Historian Vladimir Ivanov was central to both this institution and the 1946 Ismaili Society of Bombay. Cataloguing a number of Ismaili texts, Ivanov provided the ground for great strides in modern Ismaili scholarship.[34] In recent years, Peter Willey has provided interesting evidence that goes against the Assassin folklore of earlier scholars. Drawing on its established esoteric doctrine, Willey asserts that the Ismaili understanding of Paradise is a deeply symbolic one. While the Qur'anic description of Heaven includes natural imagery, Willey argues that no Nizari
Nizari
fida'i would seriously believe that he was witnessing Paradise simply by awakening in a beauteous garden.[35] The Nizaris' symbolic interpretation of the Qur'anic description of Paradise serves as evidence against the possibility of such an exotic garden used as motivation for the devotees to carry out their armed missions. Furthermore, Willey points out that a courtier of Hulagu Khan, Juvayni, surveyed the Alamut
Alamut
castle just before the Mongol invasion. In his reports about the fortress, there are elaborate descriptions of sophisticated storage facilities and the famous Alamut
Alamut
library. However, even this anti-Ismaili historian makes no mention of the gardens on the Alamut
Alamut
grounds.[36] Having destroyed a number of texts in the library's collection, deemed by Juvayni to be heretical, it would be expected that he would pay significant attention to the Nizari
Nizari
gardens, particularly if they were the site of drug use and temptation. Having not once mentioned such gardens, Willey concludes that there is no sound evidence in favour of these legends. These legends feature in certain works of fiction, including Vladimir Bartol's 1938 novel Alamut, and Simon Acland's[37] First Crusade novels The Waste Land and The Flowers of Evil. In the latter, the author suggests that the origin of the name Assassin is the Turkish word hashhash meaning opium, partly on the basis that this drug is more suitable for producing the effects suggested in the legends than hashish. Fortresses in Syria[edit]

Map of the crusader states, showing the area controlled by the Assassins
Assassins
around Masyaf, slightly above the center, in white.

During the mid-12th century the Assassins
Assassins
captured or acquired several fortresses in the Nusayriyah Mountain Range in coastal Syria, including Masyaf, Rusafa, al-Kahf, al-Qadmus, Khawabi, Sarmin, Quliya, Ulayqa, Maniqa, Abu Qubays
Abu Qubays
and Jabal al-Summaq. For the most part, the Assassins
Assassins
maintained full control over these fortresses until 1270–73 when the Mamluk sultan Baibars
Baibars
annexed them. Most were dismantled afterwards, while those at Masyaf
Masyaf
and Ulayqa were later rebuilt.[38] From then on, the Ismailis maintained limited autonomy over those former strongholds as loyal subjects of the Mamluks.[39] In popular culture[edit] Further information: Assassins
Assassins
in popular culture The Hashashin were part of Medieval
Medieval
culture, and they were either demonized or romanticized. The Hashashin appeared frequently in the art and literature of the Middle Ages, sometimes illustrated as one of the knight's archenemies and as a quintessential villain during the crusades.[40] The word Assassin, in variant forms, had already passed into European usage in this general sense as a term for a hired professional murderer. The Florentine chronicler Giovanni Villani, who died in 1348, tells how the lord of Lucca sent 'his assassins' (i suoi assassini) to Pisa to kill a troublesome enemy there. Even earlier, Dante, in a passing reference in the 19th canto of the Inferno, speaks of 'the treacherous assassin' (lo perfido assassin); his fourteenth-century commentator Francesco da Buti, explaining a term which for some readers at the time may still have been strange and obscure, remarks: 'Assassino è colui che uccide altrui per danari' (An assassin is one who kills others for money).[41] The Assassins
Assassins
appear in many role-playing games and video games, especially in massively multiplayer online games. The assassin character class is a common feature of many such games, usually specializing in single combat and stealth skills, often combined in order to defeat an opponent without exposing the assassin to counter-attack. The Exile series of action role-playing games revolves around a time-travelling Syrian Assassin who assassinates various religious historical figures and modern world leaders.[42][43] The Assassin's Creed
Assassin's Creed
video game series portrays a heavily fictionalised Ḥashshāshīn order, which has expanded beyond its Levantine confines and is depicted to have existed throughout recorded history (along with their nemesis, the Knights Templar).[44] Both orders are presented as fundamentally philosophical, rather than as religious, in nature, and are expressly said to predate the faiths that their real-life counterparts arose from, thus allowing for the expansion of their respective "histories" both before and after their factual time-frames. However, Assassin's Creed
Assassin's Creed
draws much of its content from historical facts, and even incorporates as the creed itself the purported last words from Hassan i Sabbah: "Nothing is true; everything is permitted" (though the sources for that quote are largely unreliable). The series has since developed into a franchise, comprising novels, comic books, and a film. In the Sword of Islam DLC for Paradox Interactive's grand strategy game Crusader Kings II, the Hashashin are a holy order associated with Shi'a Islam. Once established, Shi'ite rulers may hire the Hashashin to fight against non-Shi'a realms, and can potentially vassalize them. The Monks and Mystics DLC expands their role, making the Assassins
Assassins
a unique secret society that Shi'a characters may join. In the Netflix
Netflix
series Marco Polo, the emperor Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
is attacked by a group of assassins, which is said to be the work of the Hashshashin who are led by the Old Man of the Mountain according to the Taoist Monk, Hundred Eyes, in the King's court. The Old Man of the Mountain is then pursued by Marco Polo
Marco Polo
and Byamba. The show shows how the Old Man leads Marco Polo
Marco Polo
into a hallucination state.[45] Louis L'Amour, in his book The Walking Drum, used the assassins and the stronghold of Alamut
Alamut
as the location of his main character's enslaved father. Mathurin Kerbouchard, who initially seeks for his father in the 12th century moor-controlled Spain then throughout Europe, must ultimately travel to the Stronghold of Alamut
Alamut
in order to rescue Jean Kerbouchard.[46] See also[edit]

Berserker Crusades Nizari
Nizari
Ismaili state History of Nizari
Nizari
Ismailism List of assassinations by the Assassins Imamah ( Nizari
Nizari
Ismaili doctrine) Ninja Sicarii

Notes[edit]

^ a b Lane-Poole, Stanley (1906). Saladin
Saladin
and the Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Heroes of the Nations. London: G. P. Putnam's Sons.  ^ Acosta, Benjamin (2012). "Assassins". In Stanton, Andrea L.; Ramsamy, Edward. Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa: An Encyclopedia. Sage. p. 21. Retrieved October 13, 2015.  ^ Eddé, Anne-Marie (2003). Vauchez, André, ed. "Assassins". Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. Oxford. ISBN 9780227679319.  Missing or empty url= (help) ^ Lockhart, Laurence (1930). Hasan-i-Sabbah and the Assassins. London: University of London.  ^ a b Nowell, Charles E. (1947). "The Old Man of the Mountain". Speculum. 22 (4).  ^ Frampton, John (1929). The Most Noble and Famous Travels of Marco Polo.  ^ Italiani nel sistema solare di Michele T. Mazzucato ^ Many sources state "around 1254"; Britannica 2002, p. 571 states, "born in or around 1254". ^ a b c d e Daftary 1998, p. 14 ^ Daftary 1998, p. 15 ^ Maalouf, Amin (1998). Samarkand. New York: Interlink Publishing Group.  ^ Burman, Edward (1987). The Assassins
Assassins
– Holy Killers of Islam. Wellingborough: Crucible.  p.70. ^ Lewis, Bernard (1967), The Assassins: a Radical Sect
Sect
of Islam, pp 30-31, Oxford University Press ^ Daftary, Farhad (1990). The Ismailis: Their history and doctrines. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Page 12. ^ Daftary, Farhad (1990). The Ismailis: Their history and doctrines. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Page 13. quote=[p.13]"the tale of how the Nizari
Nizari
chiefs secretly administered hashish to the fadaeen in order to control and motivate them has been accepted by many scholars since Arnold of Lueback. But the fact remains that neither the Isma'ili texts which have come to light in modern times nor any serious ..." [p.353] "However, contrary to the medieval legends fabricated by uninformed writers and the enemies of the sect, there is no evidence that hashish was used in any way for motivating the fidaeen who displayed an intensive groups sentiment and solidarity." ^ Daraul, Arkon (1961). A History of Secret Societies. Citadel Press.  p. 13, p. 29. ^ Daftary 1998, p. 129 ^ Wasserman, p. 102 ^ Wasserman, p. 102 ^ Willey, p. 29 ^ Willey p. 29 ^ Daftary 1998, p. 129 ^ Lewis, Bernard (2003). The Assassins: A Radical Sect
Sect
in Islam. Phoenix. ISBN 978-1-84212-451-2. Retrieved September 15, 2010.  ^ Willey, p. 58 ^ a b c Hodgson, Marshall G. S. (2005). The Secret Order of Assassins: The Struggle of the Early Nizârî Ismâʻîlîs Against the Islamic World. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1916-6. Retrieved September 15, 2010.  ^ Wasserman, p. 104 ^ Wasserman, p. 109 ^ Wasserman, p. 105 ^ a b Ivanov, Vladimir (1960). Alamut
Alamut
and Lamasar: two mediaeval Ismaili strongholds in Iran, an archaeological study. Tehran, Iran: Ismaili Society. p. 21. Retrieved September 15, 2010.  ^ Daftary 1998, p. 16 ^ Daftary 1998, p. 16 ^ Daftary 1998, p. 17 ^ The Assassins: A Radical Sect
Sect
in Islam, p. 25 ^ Daftary 1998, p. 17 ^ Willey, p. 55 ^ Willey, p. 55 ^ Cookie Dude Web Design (June 1, 2012). "simonacland.com". simonacland.com. Retrieved April 11, 2013.  ^ Raphael, 2011, p. 106. ^ Daftary, 2007, p. 402. ^ The Assassins: A Radical Sect
Sect
in Islam p.18 ^ The Assassins: A Radical Sect
Sect
in Islam p.20 ^ Szczepaniak, John (April 11, 2009). "Hardcore Gaming 101: Exile / XZR". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved August 10, 2009.  ^ Leo Chan, Sunsoft scores Telenet Japan franchises, Neoseeker, December 10, 2009 ^ The History of Assassin's Creed
Assassin's Creed
by IGN ^ "Marco Polo" Hashshashin (TV Episode 2014) - Plot Summary - IMDb ^ L'Amour, Louis (1984). The walking drum. Toronto: Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553249231. OCLC 12268583. 

References[edit]

Burman, Edward (1987). The Assassins. Wellingborough: Crucible. ISBN 1-85274-027-2.  Daftary, Farhad (1998). A Short History of the Ismailis: Traditions of a Muslim Community. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-1-84511-717-7. Retrieved September 15, 2010.  Daftary, Farhad (2007). The Isma'ilis: Their History and Doctrines. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-85084-3.  Hodgson, Marshall G. S. (2005). The Secret Order of Assassins: The Struggle of the Early Nizârî Ismâʻîlîs Against the Islamic World. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1916-6. Retrieved September 15, 2010.  Ivanov, Vladimir (1960). Alamut
Alamut
and Lamasar: two mediaeval Ismaili strongholds in Iran, an archaeological study. Tehran, Iran: Ismaili Society. p. 21. Retrieved September 15, 2010.  Lewis, Bernard (2003). The Assassins: A Radical Sect
Sect
in Islam. Phoenix. ISBN 978-1-84212-451-2. Retrieved September 15, 2010.  Lockhart, Laurence (1930). Hasan-i-Sabbah and the Assassins. London: University of London.  Maalouf, Amin (1998). Samarkand. New York: Interlink Publishing Group.  Nowell, Charles E. (1947). "The Old Man of the Mountain". Speculum. 22 (4).  Raphael, Kate (2011). Muslim Fortresses in the Levant: Between Crusaders
Crusaders
and Mongols. Taylor & Francis US. ISBN 0-415-56925-7.  Wasserman, James (2001). The Templars and the Assassins. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International. ISBN 978-1-59477-873-5. Retrieved July 8, 2012.  Willey, Peter (2005). Eagle's Nest: Ismaili Castles in Iran
Iran
and Syria. New York: I.B. Tauris Publishers. ISBN 1-85043-464-6. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

Daftary, Farhad (1990). The Isma'ilis, Their History and Doctrines. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37019-1.  Daftary, Farhad (1995). The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Ismailis. London: I.B. Tauris. pp. 88–127. ISBN 1-85043-950-8. Review  Franzius, Enno (1969). History of the Order of Assassins. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.  Maalouf, Amin (1989). The Crusades
Crusades
Through Arab Eyes (translated by Jon Rothschild ed.). New York: Schocken Books. ISBN 0-8052-0898-4.  Polo, Marco (1903). H. Cordier, ed. The Book of Ser Marco Polo, volume 1 (3rd revised translated by H. Yule ed.). London: J. Murray. pp. 139–146.  Rzewuski, Venceslas (1813). Fundgruben des Orients. Wien: Anton Schmid, K. K. Buchdrucker. pp. 201–207.  Silvestre de Sacy, Antoine Isaac (1818). "Mémoire sur La Dynastie des Assassins, et sur L'Etymologie de leur Nom". Memoires de sins, et sur l'Institut Royal de France. 4: 1–84. English translation in F. Daftary, The Assassin Legends, 136–188.  Stark, Freya (2001). The Valleys of the Assassins
Assassins
and Other Persian Travels. New York: Modern Library. ISBN 0-375-75753-8.  Willey, Peter (1963). The Castles of the Assassins. London: George G. Harrap.   "Assassins". New International Encyclopedia. 1905. 

External links[edit]

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