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Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma'ilis
     

Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma'ilis

by Farhad Daftary
 

ISBN-10: 1850439508

ISBN-13: 9781850439509

Pub. Date: 07/15/1995

Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited

For hundreds of years Westerners have been fascinated by stories of the Assassins, their mysterious leader and their remote mountain stronghold at Alamut in Northern Iran. The legends first emerged in the 12th and 13th centuries, when Crusaders in Syria came into contact with the Nazari Isma'ilis, one of the communities of Shi'ite Islam who, at the behest of their

Overview

For hundreds of years Westerners have been fascinated by stories of the Assassins, their mysterious leader and their remote mountain stronghold at Alamut in Northern Iran. The legends first emerged in the 12th and 13th centuries, when Crusaders in Syria came into contact with the Nazari Isma'ilis, one of the communities of Shi'ite Islam who, at the behest of their leader Hassan Sabaa (mythologized as the "Old Man of the Mountain"), engaged in dangerous missions to kill their enemies. Elaborated over the years, the tales culminated in Marco Polo's claim that the "Old Man" controlled the behaviour of his self-sacrificing devotees through the use of hashish and a secret garden of paradise. So influential were these tales that the word "assassin" entered European languages as a common noun meaning "murderer".

Daftary traces the origins and early development of the legends - as well as investigating the historical context in which they were fabricated and transmitted. As such, this book reveals an extraordinary programme of propaganda rooted in the medieval Muslim world and medieval Europe's ignorance of this world. This book also provides the first English translation of French orientalist Silvestre de Sacy's famous 19th-century "Memoire" on the Assassins.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781850439509
Publisher:
I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
Publication date:
07/15/1995
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.19(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.64(d)

Table of Contents

The Isma'ilis in history and in medieval Muslim writings; medieval Muslim perceptions of Islam and the Isma'ilis; origins and early formation of the legends.

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