In their time they held their enemies and opponents in a constant state of paranoia by threat of public assassination. They would assassinate their victims in broad daylight in very public places, such as mosques, to increase the political impact of their actions. The Assassin Order killed sultans , kings, viziers, advisers, caliphs, judges, patriarchs, counts, and anyone else who threatened their way of life. Contents [ show ] Founder and Foundation "their numbers are not to be counted; for they dwell in the kingdoms of Jerusalem, Egypt, and throughout all the lands of the Saracens and infidels". There has been great difficulty finding out much information about the origins of the Hashashin because most early sources are written by enemies of the order, are based on legends, or both.
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The Seljuq amirs independent rulers usually held full jurisdiction and control over the districts they administered. The castle had never before been captured by military means and thus Hassan planned meticulously.
He remained at Andej disguised as a schoolteacher named Dehkhoda until he was certain that a number of his supporters had settled directly below the castle in the village of Gazorkhan or had gained employment at the fortress itself. Upon his return to the Alamut fortress, Mahdi noticed several new servants and guards employed there.
Worried about the associations of these workers, Mahdi ordered his deputy to arrest anyone with connections to the Ismailis.
Astounded, he realized he had been tricked and was allowed to exit the castle freely. With Alamut now in his possession, Hassan swiftly embarked on a complete re-fortification of the complex.
By enhancing the walls and structure of a series of storage facilities, the fortress was to act as a self-sustaining stronghold during major confrontations. The perimeters of the rooms were lined with limestone, so as to preserve provisions to be used in times of crisis. Indeed, when the Mongols invaded the fortress, Juwayni was astonished to see stored countless supplies in perfect condition to withstand a possible siege. In times of need the surrounding villages were well equipped to furnish the castle with ample supplies.
In addition to the rich literature they had already produced in Arabic, the relocation of the Ismaili center to Iran now prompted a surge in Persian Ismaili literature. With the permission of Hulegu, Juvayni explored the library and selected a few works he deemed worthy of salvaging, before the remainder was set aflame. From his tour and survey of the castle, Juvayni compiled a description of Alamut that he incorporated into his chronicle of the Mongol invasions, entitled Tarikh-i Jahangushay-i Juvaini "The History of the World Conqueror".
According to Juwayni , he was stabbed in the Ismaili castle of Lambasar by his brother in law, Hasan Namwar.
Ismaili version of the Alamut history[ edit ] What little we know about the Imamate at Alamut is narrated to us by one of the greatest detractors of the Ismailis, Juwayni. These living and visible proofs of the existence of the concealed Imams are known in Ismaili doctrine as hujjat proof.
Imam Jalal al-Din Hasan invited Sunni scholars and jurists from across Khurasan and Iraq to visit Alamut, and even invited them to inspect the library and remove any books they found to be objectionable. An alliance with the caliph of Baghdad meant greater resources for the self-defence of not only the Nizari Ismaili state, but also the broader Muslim world.
The Nizari libraries were invigorated with scholars from across Asia, fleeing from the invading Mongols. Following his two major ethical works, al-Tusi studied under the patronage of the Ismaili Imam at the Alamut library until it capitulated to the Mongols in The expansion of Mongol power across Western Asia depended upon the conquest of the Islamic lands, the complete seizure of which would be impossible without dismantling the ardent Nizari Ismaili state.
Only after their destruction could the invading Mongols proceed to remove the Abbasid caliph from Baghdad and advance their conquest westward. By May, the Mongol troops had proceeded to the fortress of Girdkuh where Ismaili forces held ground for several months. In December, a cholera outbreak within the castle weakened the Ismaili defences. From a lavish tent erected for him at Tus, Hulegu summoned the Ismaili governor at Quhistan, Nasir al-Din Muhtasham and demanded the surrender of all fortresses in his province.
In a show of his compliance and at the demand of Hulegu, Rukn al-Din began the dismantling process at Alamut, Maymundiz and Lamasar , removing towers and battlements. After four days of preliminary bombardment with significant casualties for both sides, the Mongols assembled their mangonels around the castle in preparation for a direct siege.
After another bombardment, Rukn al-Din descended from Maymundiz on 19 November. In the hands of Hulegu, Rukn al-Din was forced to send the message of surrender to all the castles in the Alamut valley. At the Alamut fortress, the Mongol Prince Balaghai led his troops to the base of the castle, calling for the surrender of the commander of Alamut, Muqaddam al-Din.
It was decreed that should he surrender and pledge his allegiance to the Great Khan within one day, the lives of those at Alamut would be spared. However, the castle was relatively small in size and was easily surrounded by the Mongols.
Still, the most significant factor in determining the defeat of the Ismailis at Alamut was the command by the Imam for the surrender of the castles in the valley. However, it was depicted by Juwayni as a "matter of divine punishment upon the heretics [at] the nest of Satan". When Rukn al-Din arrived in Mongolia with promises to persuade the prevailing Ismaili fortresses to surrender, the Great Khan Mongke no longer believed the Imam to be of use. En route back to his homeland, Rukn al-Din was put to death.
While some escaped to neighbouring regions, the Ismailis who perished in the massacres following the capture of the Ismaili garrisons numbered nearly , They could fire a distance around 2, paces. Positioned atop a narrow rock base approximately m above ground level, the fortress could not be taken by direct military force. Known as the Shirkuh , the gorge sits at the intersection of three rivers: the Taliqan , Shahrud and Alamut River. For much of the year, the raging waters of the river made this entrance nearly inaccessible.
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 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 place of refuge. The notion of the dar al-hijra originates from the time of the Prophet Muhammad , who fled with his supporters from intense persecution to safe haven in Yathrib.
Likewise during the revolt against the Seljuqs, several fortresses served as spaces of refuge for the Ismailis. View from Alamut Castle. 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. They were unique in that civilians were never targeted.
The assassinations were against those whose elimination would most greatly reduce aggression against the Ismailis and, in particular, against those who had perpetrated massacres against the community. The first instance of assassination in the effort to establish an Nizari Ismaili state in Persia is widely considered to be the murder of Seljuq vizier, Nizam al-Mulk.
Legend and folklore[ edit ] 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 AD, European scholarship on the topic had not advanced much beyond the work and tales from the Crusaders.
While he assembled the accounts of many Western travelers, the author failed to explain the etymology of the term Assassin. Citing the example of one of the first written applications of the Arabic term hashishi to the Ismailis by historian Abu Shams d.
This label was quickly applied by anti-Ismaili historians to the Ismailis of Syria and Persia. Yet during the Alamut period almost any murder of political significance in the Islamic lands became attributed to the Ismailis.
Thus the Nizari Ismaili community was regarded as a radical and heretical sect known as the Assassins. 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 cause.
Prominent historian Wladimir Ivanow, was central to both this institution and the Ismaili Society of Bombay. Cataloguing a number of Ismaili texts, Ivanow provided the ground for great strides in modern Ismaili scholarship. Drawing on its established esoteric doctrine, Willey asserts that the Ismaili understanding of Paradise is a deeply symbolic one.
Furthermore, Willey points out that Juwayni the courtier of the Great Mongke, surveyed the Alamut castle just before the Mongol invasion.
In his reports about of the fortress, there are elaborate descriptions of sophisticated storage facilities and the famous Alamut library. However, even this anti-Ismaili historian makes no mention of the folkloric gardens on the Alamut grounds.
Juwayni not having once mentioned such gardens, Willey concludes that there is no sound evidence in favour of these fictitious legends. Please improve the article by adding more descriptive text and removing.
10 Amazing Facts About The Ismaili Assassins
They were a covert operation of killer conspirators who gained power through spying, and assassination. This is a list of 10 amazing facts about the ismaili assassins. What Were They? The word assassin comes from, the hashishiyyin or ismaili assassins, who were a group of Islamic assassins. They lived in the mountains, and had such a reputation that hearing their name made many go white with fear. They would have had countless opportunities to kill their targets, but the ismaili assassins had a trademark method for murder.
The state was formed in after the capture of Alamut Castle in modern Iran, a site to be the headquarters of the Assassins. The Western world was introduced to the Assassins by the works of Marco Polo  who understood the name as deriving from the term hashish. Lacking their own army, the Nizari relied on these warriors to carry out espionage and assassinations of key enemy figures. The preferred method of killing was by dagger, never poison or arrows. Saladin , a major foe of the Assassins, escaped assassination twice Khurshah died in and, by the Mongols had destroyed and eliminated the order of Assassins.
Dubbed the "Assassins" by their enemies, the Nizari held power for just years, but their impact would last for centuries. Related to eagles, the name Alamut conveys its majestic height and impregnability. Making his way down a narrow street of the city, he was attacked by two men disguised as monks, who stabbed him to death. Although historians still speculate who ordered the attack, there is little doubt as to the identity of the killers. They were not monks, but members of a secretive Muslim sect with strongholds seated high in the mountains of Persia and Syria. Headquartered in an impenetrable Persian castle, Alamut, these agents specialized in targeted killings and espionage.