Friday, October 05, 2007

Fortress of the Assassins

"...Only conjecture and myth remain to explain the origins of the Assassins' name. Some theories link the name to the drug hashish, supposedly taken before battle or as initiation into the cult. A more probable competing theory is that the name is derived from the name of their leader Hassan-i-Sabah, since "Hashshashin" literally means "followers of Hassan." The name itself was a derogatory term used by Europeans to describe the supposedly hashish-using sect. The term "assassin" most likely comes from a pet name Hassan had for his followers: Assassiyun, or “people who are faithful to the foundation of the faith.” The Assassins preferred to call themselves fedayeen. The word, Arabic for “one who is ready to sacrifice themselves for a cause,” was co-opted by groups in Palestine, Armenia, Iraq and Iran for their own organizations during numerous conflicts in the 20th century..."

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