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The Assassins - An Apology

The Assassins - An Apology

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Crusader myth portrayed the Assassins of the Alamut Valley as mediaeval crackheads and murderous thugs. But what was the truth behind the myth?
Crusader myth portrayed the Assassins of the Alamut Valley as mediaeval crackheads and murderous thugs. But what was the truth behind the myth?

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Published by: Andrew Greenfield Lockhart on Apr 10, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/15/2012

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 The Lion, the Sunandthe Eternal Blue Sky 
 The Mongols and their World
The Assassins - An Apology
Andrew Greenfield Lockhart
 
Copyright 2010 Andrew Greenfield LockhartAll Rights ReservedAn electronic publicationbyMagda Green Books
 
1
In November of the year 1256, the Mongol armies of Prince Hulegu camped ona hillside in the Alburz Mountains of Iran. From all directions, the regimentsof the Mongol generals converged on the encampment overlooking the AlamutValley. Reinforced by an assortment of Muslim and Christian allies and aattery of powerful assault machinery, tens of thousands of the most efficientarchers and swordsmen in the world waited for the signal to launch theirattack. Across the valley, perched on a mountain crag, lay the castle ofMaymun-Diz, stronghold of Rukn ad-Din, Grand Master of the
Nizari Isma’ilis
,a branch of Islam regarded by the mainstream Sunni Muslims as heretics anddangerous fanatics. These people were the
 Assassins
of later Crusader myth,their Grand Master the so-called Old Man of the Mountains.Hulegu had demanded that Rukn ad-Din acknowledge him as hisoverlord and dismantle the castles. For days, Rukn had dissembled andprevaricated, evacuating castles with few or no defences and sending envoysto negotiate with the Mongol leader. Some 60 castles altogether may haveexisted in the 30-mile-long valley and many of these were quite small and of nostrategic importance. However, three especially were vital and regarded bytheir occupants as virtually impregnable. These were Alamut, Lamassar andMaymun-Diz itself.
The Assassins - An Apology

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