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By Bernard Lewis

The background of an extremist Islamic sect within the 11th-12th centuries whose terrorist tools gave the English language a brand new note: assassin.

The note 'Assassin' was once introduced again from Syria via the Crusaders, and in time obtained the that means of assassin. initially it was once utilized to the contributors of a Muslim spiritual sect - a department of the Ismailis, and the fans of a pacesetter referred to as the outdated guy of the Mountain. Their ideals and their tools made them a by-word for either fanaticism and terrorism in Syria and Persia within the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and the topic of a luxuriant progress of delusion and legend.

In this booklet, Bernard Lewis starts off by means of tracing the advance of those legends in medieval and sleek Europe and the sluggish percolation of actual wisdom in regards to the Ismailis. He then examines the origins and actions of the sect, at the foundation of up to date Persian and Arabic assets, and opposed to the heritage of center japanese and Islamic background. In a last bankruptcy he discusses a few of the political, social and fiscal implications of the Ismailis, and examines the importance of the Assassins within the historical past of progressive and terrorist movements.

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Firstly he was once content material to levy tribute from the Assassins and depart them in ownership, yet in September of an analogous yr he lower back and blockaded the city into quit. Abu’l-Fath of Sarmin was once captured and positioned to demise through torture; Abu Tahir and his partners have been taken prisoner, and allowed to ransom themselves and go back to Aleppo. this primary come across of the Assassins with the Crusaders, and the disappointment in their rigorously laid plan by means of a crusading prince, doesn't appear to have ended in any diversion of murderer cognizance from Muslim to Christian targets. Their major fight used to be nonetheless opposed to the masters, now not the enemies of Islam. Their rapid target was once to grab a base, from no matter what vendors; their higher goal used to be to strike on the Seljuq strength, at any place it will possibly seem. In 1113 they accomplished their so much formidable coup thus far – the homicide in Damascus of Mawdud, the Seljuq emir of Mosul, commander of an jap expeditionary strength that had come to Syria ostensibly to assist the Syrian Muslims of their struggle opposed to the Crusaders. To the Assassins, such an excursion represented an visible risk. They weren't on my own of their fears. In 1111, whilst Mawdud and his military reached Aleppo, Ridwan had closed the gates of the town opposed to them, and the Assassins had rallied to his aid. modern gossip, as recorded via either Christian and Muslim assets, means that the homicide of Mawdud used to be inspired by means of the Muslim regent of Damascus. the chance to the Assassins of jap Seljuq effect grew to become transparent after the dying in their consumer Ridwan on 10 December 1113. murderer actions in Aleppo had made them more and more unpopular with the townspeople, and in 1111 an unsuccessful test at the lifetime of a Persian from the East, a guy of wealth and an avowed anti-Ismaili, had resulted in a well-liked outburst opposed to them. After Ridwan’s loss of life, his son Alp Arslan firstly his father’s coverage, or even ceded them a fortress at the street to Baghdad. yet a response quickly got here. A letter from the Seljuq nice Sultan Muhammad to Alp Arslan warned him opposed to the Ismaili risk and prompt him to smash them. within the urban, Ibn Badi’, the chief of the townsfolk and commander of the military, took the initiative, and persuaded the ruler to sanction powerful measures. ‘He arrested Abu Tahir the goldsmith and killed him, and he killed Isma‘il the da‘i, and the brother of the physician-astrologer, and the leaders of this sect in Aleppo. He arrested approximately two hundred of them, and imprisoned a few of them and confiscated their estate. a few have been interceded for, a few published, a few thrown from the pinnacle of the castle, a few killed. a few of them escaped, and scattered in the course of the land. ’2 regardless of this setback, and their failure to safe an everlasting castle-stronghold to date, the Persian Ismaili undertaking had now not performed too badly throughout the tenure of workplace of Abu Tahir. that they had made contacts with neighborhood sympathizers, successful to the murderer allegiance Ismailis of alternative branches and extremist Shi‘ites of a few of the neighborhood Syrian sects.

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