If we’re going to talk about the end of the Assassin order, we should probably talk about who they were first. You may already know something about them–of all the topics one can cover in Islamic history, they’re one of the most provocative and interesting to Western audiences. There’s even a whole video game series about the Assassins, or about very fictionalized version of them, anyway. The truth is a little drier than some of the stories you may have heard, but isn’t that always the way?
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2 thoughts on “Today in Middle Eastern history: the Assassin imam surrenders to the Mongols (1256)”
Informative post, thanks!
Considering this information about the Ismailis’ battle against the Mongols, do you know why there’s a conspiracy theory that “Ismaili heretics” collaborated with the Mongols? There are also popular conspiracies about how Alawites, Shias, and Arab Christians all worked with the Mongols to ruin the region. As far as I know, there’s no actual evidence of any of this and it’s a Sunni Islamist excuse that was used by nutjobs like Ibn Tammiyah to justify oppressing their non-Sunni neighbours.
I think the fact that there are conspiracy theories about all of these non-Sunni groups tells you why they’ve come to exist. But the basis for them is that minorities sometimes tended to fare better under the Mongols than they had under previous authorities. Or at least that the previous authorities tended to fare worse, so it looked like the minorities were doing better by comparison.