The Secret Order of Assassins: The Struggle of the Early Nizari Isma'ilis Against the Islamic World

The Secret Order of Assassins: The Struggle of the Early Nizari Isma'ilis Against the Islamic World

Marshall G.S. Hodgson / Jul 21, 2019

The Secret Order of Assassins The Struggle of the Early Nizari Isma ilis Against the Islamic World The sect known as the Assassins a corruption of an Arabic word that means hashish smoker is familiar to the West as a mystical cult of killers led by the Man in the Mountain encountered by the Crusa

  • Title: The Secret Order of Assassins: The Struggle of the Early Nizari Isma'ilis Against the Islamic World
  • Author: Marshall G.S. Hodgson
  • ISBN: 9780812219166
  • Page: 115
  • Format: Paperback
  • The sect known as the Assassins, a corruption of an Arabic word that means hashish smoker, is familiar to the West as a mystical cult of killers led by the Man in the Mountain encountered by the Crusaders But it was not defeat at the hands of Christians that ended than a century of Assassin rule it was the massive and brutal invasion of Mongols from the East whoThe sect known as the Assassins, a corruption of an Arabic word that means hashish smoker, is familiar to the West as a mystical cult of killers led by the Man in the Mountain encountered by the Crusaders But it was not defeat at the hands of Christians that ended than a century of Assassin rule it was the massive and brutal invasion of Mongols from the East who conquered Assassin strong points and mountain fortifications one by one, crushing nearly all traces of this once fearsome sect For nearly two centuries the Fatimids, Shi ite Muslims who believed Mohammed s daughter Fatimah was his successor, attempted to control the Islamic world from their seat in Cairo.Following the death of the Fatimid caliphate al Mustansir in 1094, members of a faction in Persia that supported a deposed claimant to the caliphate, Nizar, believed they now represented Fatimid interests These Nizari Ismai lis ended up separating themselves from mainstream Islam and creating their own state in parts of present day Syria, Iraq, and Iran In order to establish and maintain regional control, the Nizari Ismai lis used political murders and spies to subjugate or influence rival caliphates and the dominant Saljuqs.Marshall Hodgson s first major book, The Secret Order of the Assassins remains the most complete history of the Assassins Beginning the story with the separation of Sunnis and Shi ites and the rise of Ismai lism, an offshoot of Shi ism, Hodgson traces the long and complex history of power struggles within Islam that led ultimately to the separation of the Nizari Ismai lis and their direct challenge to Muslim leadership Hodgson goes on to explain the principles of the movement, provides an examination of their sacred texts, and follows the history of the group from the pinnacle of power in the mid eleventh century to its legacy in the form of small pockets of followers in parts of contemporary Syria and India Long out of print and appearing for the first time in paperback, this book is an illuminating study in the history of Islam.

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    About "Marshall G.S. Hodgson"

      • Marshall G.S. Hodgson

        Marshall Goodwin Simms Hodgson was an Islamic studies academic and a world historian at the University of Chicago He was chairman of the interdisciplinary Committee on Social Thought in Chicago.


    620 Comments

    1. For some reason, I thought Hodgson might abandon the dense prose of the Venture of Islam, and make this more accessible. He didn't.


    2. Anyone who has read about the Crusades, or has read Marco Polo's Travels, has heard of the Old Man of the Mountain and his stronghold of fanatical Muslim assassins. The truth about this sect is just as interesting as the legend. Hodgson's scholarly book, originally published in 1955, is a classic and is just as relevant today as it was when he wrote it. He does a remarkable job of explaining the difference between the Shiites and the Sunnis, and the various subgroups that were involved in all so [...]


    3. Marshal Hodgson stands on a pedestal among a select group of historians. The breadth and depth of his work speaks for itself.This book recounts the Nizaris' history from the beginning of their career to 1955. It kicks off with their split from the Fatimid Caliphate and conveys a story which pits the Nizaris against the Ayyubids and Seljuk Turks for supremacy over the Muslim world; Crusaders for fortresses on the mountains of Western Syria; and the Mongols for their survival.Hodgson even conveys [...]


    4. Very interesting study, which demystifies the legend of the Assasins, the Nizaris, the Ismalites, the myth of the Old Man of the Mountains, as Marco Polo and de Sacy told about. Very elaborative are not only the historical description of the real facts, but also of the ideological currents that shaped the Islamic reality of this period (12th and 13th centuries). Especially, the analysis of Hassan-i Sabbah's treatise under the title Four Chapters seems very accurate and it illuminates his role in [...]


    5. The Assassins are a topic (like the Templars) about which huge amounts of nonsense have been written. Hodgson looks at the Assassns as a serious movement within medieval Islam, explores their doctrines, and discusses how they were demonised by both Islam and Christendom. "The Secret Order of Assassins" doesn't pay as much attention to the development of the Assassin legend as Bernard Lewis' "The Assassins", but it gives a clear and thorough account of politics and heresy in a splintered Muslim w [...]


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