An astrolabe was found in the largest fortress of the Assassins

(ORDO NEWS) — Legends say that for all the 35 years that Hasan ibn Sabbah lived in Alamut, he never left the fortress and did not descend from the mountain. Iranian historians believe that this is not so: the Mountain Elder led a quite eventful life.

The history of the Assassins, they are the Hashishins, they are the Nizari Ismailis, almost entirely consists of legends.

Historical sources are stingy and in some places also look more like myths. It is believed that the inhabitants of Alamut left behind quite detailed chronicles of their deeds, but they have survived to this day only in the retelling of historians who served the Mongols.

Iranian archaeologists announced that in the castle of Lamasar, which was the largest fortress of the Assassins (Alamut was the residence of their leader, but it was much smaller in size), they found fragments of an astrolabe, an ancient astronomical instrument.

The astrolabe was located in a round tower, the floors and walls of which were lined with glazed ceramic tiles.

An astrolabe was found in the largest fortress of the Assassins 2
Findings in Lamasar have been dated according to typological features: such tiles were made in the middle Islamic period

The tile was attributed to the middle Islamic period (1000-1200 years), that is, to the time when Lamasar was in the hands of the Ismailis from Alamut, in other words, the Assassins.

Mass culture presents the Assassins as ruthless killers who do not fight, but deal with the enemy on a dark street. In fact, they are Islamic heretics.

The teachings of the Ismailis (Nizaris) appeared almost immediately after the formation of Islam. His adherents believed that the Umayyad dynasty should not rule the Muslims, since they did not rightfully gain power after the assassination of Ali ibn Abu Talib , the fourth righteous caliph.

According to the Ismailis, it was only necessary to return power to the heirs of Ali, with which the Umayyads categorically disagreed.

As is often the case, the struggle for power was a struggle for minds, that is, it took place in the religious sphere.

The teachers of the madrasah, who went over to the side of the Ismailis, propagated the new teaching among the students. One of these students was Hassan ibn Sabbah.

After graduating from the madrasah, he traveled for some time, and then decided that it was time to get down to business thoroughly. For the future residence Hasan ibn Sabbah chose the Alamut fortress.

After conducting preliminary preaching work, as well as bribing the commandant of the fortress, on September 9, 1090, ibn Sabbah captured Alamut.

Modern historians believe that Alamut was not very well fortified, but he did not need it. The fortress got its nickname “Eagle’s Nest” because of its location – on a cliff 200 meters high in the middle of a narrow valley with two passages.

In a fairly short time, the Ismailis under the leadership of ibn Sabbah captured a number of fortresses around Alamut. The most important and largest of them was the fortress of Lamasar: behind its walls were large reservoirs and granaries.

During the numerous attempts of the former rulers of this area to regain their lands, Alamut and Lamasar have always remained impregnable.

And if earlier it was believed that Hassan ibn Sabbah never left Alamut, now historians believe that Lamasar was the winter residence of all the rulers of the Assassins. That is, the Mountain Elder could well have been engaged in astronomical observations in Lamasar.

An astrolabe was found in the largest fortress of the Assassins 3
Alamut today: all that remains of the residence of the Mountain Elder. Lamasar is even more thoroughly destroyed

It was said above that mass culture presented us with the Assassins not as members of a religious sect, but as an order of assassins who do not care who to cut, as long as their leader points to him. But these legends, although they have very long roots, are of very dubious origin.

On April 28, 1192, in the streets of Jerusalem, two men in rags attacked the king of Jerusalem, Conrad of Montferrat, and killed him.

The piquancy of the situation lies in the fact that Conrad did not have time to be crowned: he was elected king just two days earlier.

In general, the showdown around the throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, from the point of view of our contemporary, looks like some kind of community of spiders in a jar.

It would seem that the Christians of Jerusalem live in a dense siege of Muslims. In the Battle of Hattin , Salah ad-Din utterly defeated the crusader army and at any moment could cut the rest.

And the Christian rulers and nobles, led by Richard the Lionheart (he led the Third Crusade, and his protégé was an opponent of Conrad) swear because of the throne, which is about to simply not be.

One of the killers was caught. Sources say that under torture, he called himself an assassin. But at the same time he named the customer of the murder: according to him, it was King Richard.

Such an accusation did not smile at Richard, he tried to shift the arrows to Salah ad-Din, who, as the head of the Muslims, could ask the head of the Assassins for help.

But we remember that the Assassins are heretics, according to righteous Muslims. Therefore, Richard’s version is not credible.

Nevertheless, it was she who formed the basis of the legend of the murderers from Alamut. And the religious differences that made this version dubious were almost forgotten.


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