Assassins – the sect of killers

 Europeans who arrived during the Crusades to the Holy Land , they could hear a lot of amazing history. Among them were tales of a mysterious group of followers of Islam. Apparently, appeared out of nowhere and insidiously kill their enemies. In many languages, including English and French, the name of the Assassins was established to determine assassins , assassins .

In 1099 years the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem . For developed countries in the Middle East by the ” Franks “, as they called Europeans Arabs moved knights , merchants, settlers and adventurers . There they encountered the mysterious people that called assassins . According to the legends circulating They apparently lived in the mountain strongholds in Syria and engaged in an insidious killing their opponents. Able over the years to stay in the victim’s neighborhood , pretending to be best friends, that at the right moment to sink a knife into her body. They were subjects of mystical ruler , called the Old Man of the Mountain , ready for one of his gesture to throw himself into a deep abyss. Entrusting killer mission first old man intoxicated him hashish , and then ran to the ” garden of delights “, where it took over the care of a beautiful woman. Then I explained to him that the same awaits him after death, when fulfilled its task. After the encouragement of assassins did not try to escape from the place of murder , believing that this will ensure a place in paradise.

One might ask , how in this fascinating story is the truth? In the case of secret groups , such as Assassins , very difficult to separate the facts from the myths. Although the nineteenth and twentieth -century historians are at pains to reproduce complicated history of the sect , many issues remain unclear so far .

In the seventh century in the Arabian Peninsula appeared Islam . At first there was one , covering the entire area of ​​the state, called the caliphate , which quickly broke up into many smaller , warring with each other organisms . Shortly after the founding of Islam split into two factions : Sunnis and Shiites , from which emerged the next sect, more or less radical. One of them were Ismailis , a faction arose in the early ninth century, whose name comes from the Imam ( spiritual leader ) Ismail . In turn, one in the eleventh century have identified the Nizari , called so from Imam Nizar . In Europe, they have gained notoriety as assassins .

There were two factions Nizari : Persian and Syriac . Assassins recognize Syrian sovereignty in Klamut Hasan successors , though sometimes only formally . One of their most famous leaders were living in the middle of the twelfth century, Rashid ad-Din as- Sinam , called the ” Franks ” Old Man of the Mountain . In time, the form of the Old Man broke away in the stories and legends of its historical prototype and started to live its own life , becoming a figure of almost mythical .

Nizari believed that the end justifies the means . They used , among others, the strategy of taqiyya – hid his faith , to gain the confidence of enemies or avoid persecution . They had nothing against killing their opponents and often they did . Contrary to legend , however, was not their only or even the most common method of operation – also favored peaceful proselytizing . Nizari – killers called Fedayeen. In Persia every member of the sect was a potential Fedayeen, while in Syria , they formed a separate group . It is not known how many murders have made assassins , because at some point people began to attribute to them all the murders of famous people in the Middle East , regardless of who was actually behind them .

One of the events that created the legend of the Assassins as elusive killers , the death of Count Raymond II of Tripoli . When one day he came back 1152 years from Jerusalem to the house , the gate was attacked by people looking for Arabs. One of them mortally wounded him with a knife. The attackers disappeared into the crowd and were never found , but all were convinced that the assassins did it . Nobody was able to explain why they would want the death count. Assassins do not kill bystanders. We carefully chose his victim and believed that the attack no one else was hurt .

Several years later he began the next mysterious episode in the history of the Assassins : the struggle of Saladin , one of the greatest rulers in the Middle East. He relayed the Egyptian Fatimid dynasty and in 1775 proclaimed himself sultan. He fought a winning fight against the crusaders and other Arab rulers . Legend has it that Saladin once woke up in his tent with pillows lying next to a poisoned dagger and the referee with threats . He understood that the assassins may at any time to get to him, to deprive him of life and quietly disappear. Terrified ruler as- Sinan apologized and made peace with them . It is difficult to believe that the Fedayeen did not take advantage of the opportunity to finish the job .

The most common target of assassins were not Christians , but followers of other sects of Islam. With Christians sometimes they entered into alliances , although treat them instrumentally and often broke . Apparently, for an alliance with the king of Jerusalem Amarylec. And they were even willing to convert to Christianity . It seems , however, that , in fact, treated the proposal as a form of taqiyya . The system of Amarylec I did not come to fruition because of the dissatisfaction of the Knights Templar . Nizari paid them tribute , which were to be released now . Knights attacked so for deputies assassins and killed them. Of course , further discussions were excluded , although the king apologized as- Sinan and punish the perpetrators of the attack . Nizari religious movement exists today , and their successive leaders of the nineteenth century bear the title of Aga Khan. Modern Nizari live mainly in Syria , Iran, India and the U.S. , and are not similar to their medieval predecessors.

Julia Thompson