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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 4684 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2009, 10:58:00 pm »

door, carried him on his shoulders into the gallery at coolness, which was in the garden, and thence into the kiosk, where he committed him to the care of the male and female slaves, directing them to comply with all the desires of the candidate, on whom they flung vinegar till he awoke. When he was come to himself the youths and maidens said to him, 'We are only waiting for thy death, for this place is destined for thee. This is one of the pavilions of paradise, and we are the hoories and the children of paradise. If thou wert dead thou wouldest be for ever with us, but thou art only dreaming, and wilt soon awake.' Meanwhile the chief Ismaïl had returned to the company as soon as he had witnessed the awakening of the candidate, who now perceived nothing but youths and maidens of the greatest beauty, and adorned in the most magnificent manner.

"He looked round the place, inhaled the fragrance of musk and frankincense, and drew near to the garden, where he saw the beasts and the birds, the running water, and the trees. He gazed on the beauty of the kiosk, and the vases of gold and silver, while the youths and maidens kept him in converse. In this way he remained confounded, not knowing whether he was awake or only dreaming. When two hours of the night had gone by, the chief Ismaïl returned to the dormitory, closed to the door, and thence proceeded to the garden, where his slaves came around him and rose before him. When the candidate perceived him he said unto him, 'O chief Ismaïl, do I dream, or am I awake?' The chief Ismaïl then made answer to him, 'O such-a-one, beware of relating this vision to any one who is a stranger to this place! Know that the Lord Ali has shown thee the place which is destined for thee in paradise. Know that at this moment the Lord Ali and I have been sitting together in the regions of the empyrean.

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[paragraph continues] So do not hesitate a moment in the service of the imam who has given thee to know his felicity.' Then the chief Ismaïl ordered supper to be served. It was brought in vessels of gold and of silver, and consisted of boiled meats and roast meats, with other dishes. While the candidate ate he was sprinkled with rose-water; when he called for drink there were brought to him vessels of gold and silver filled with delicious liquors, in which also had been mingled some benjeh. When he had fallen asleep, Ismaïl carried him through the gallery back to the dormitory, and, leaving him there, returned to his company. After a little time he went, back, threw vinegar on his face, and then, bringing him out, ordered one of the Mamlooks to shake him. On awaking, and finding himself in the same place among the guests, he said, 'There is no god but God, and Mohammed is the Prophet of God!' The chief Ismaïl then drew near and caressed him, and he remained, as it were, immersed in intoxication, wholly devoted to the service of the chief, who then said unto him, 'O such-a-one, know that what thou hast seen was not a dream, but one of the miracles of the imam Ali. Know that he has written thy name among those of his friends. If thou keep the secret thou art certain of thy felicity, but if thou speak of it thou wilt incur the resentment of the imam. If thou die thou art a martyr; but beware of relating this to any person whatever. Thou hast entered by one of the gates to the friendship of the imam, and art become one of his family; but if thou betray the secret, thou wilt become one of his enemies, and be driven from his house.' Thus this man became one of the servants of the chief Ismaïl, who in this manner surrounded himself with trusty men, until his reputation was established. This is what is related of the chief Ismaïl and his Devoted."

To these romantic tales of the paradise of the Old

p. 79

[paragraph continues] Man of the Mountain, we must add a third of a still more juggling character, furnished by the learned and venerable Sheikh Abd-ur-Rahman (Servant of the Compassionate, i.e., of God) Ben Ebubekr Al-Jeriri of Damascus, in the twenty-fourth chapter of his work entitled "A Choice Book for discovering the Secrets of the Art of Imposture *."

After giving some account of Sinan, the chief of the Syrian Assassins, whom we shall presently have occasion to mention, the sheikh proceeds to narrate the artifice which he employed to deceive his followers:--

"There was near the sofa on which he sat a hole in the ground sufficiently deep for a man to sit down in it. This he covered with a thin piece of wood, leaving only so much of it open as would contain the neck of a man. He placed on this cover of wood a disk of bronze with a hole in the middle of it, and put in it two doors. Then taking one of his disciples, to whom he had given a considerable sum of money to obtain his consent, he placed the perforated disk round his neck, and kept it down by weights, so that nothing appeared but the neck of the man; and he put warm blood upon it, so that it looked as if he had just cut off his head. He then called in his companions, and showed them the plate, on which they beheld the head of their comrade. 'Tell thy comrades,' said the master to the head, 'what thou hast seen, and what has been said unto thee.' The man then answered as he had been previously instructed. 'Which wouldest thou prefer,' said the master, 'to return to the world and thy friends, or to dwell in paradise?' 'What need have I,' replied the head, 'to return to the world after having seen my pavilion in paradise, and the hoories, and al; that God has prepared for me? Comrades, salute

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my family, and take care not to disobey this prophet, who is the lord of the prophets in the state of time, as God has said unto me. Farewell.' These words strengthened the faith of the others; but when they were gone the master took the man up out of the hole, and cut off his head in right earnest. It was by such means as this that he made himself obeyed by his people."

The preceding accounts, whatever may be thought of their truth, serve to testify a general belief throughout the East of some extraordinary means being employed by the mountain chief to acquire the power which he was known to possess over the minds of his Fedavee. And, in fact, there is no great improbability in the supposition of some artifice of that nature having been occasionally employed by him; for, when we recollect that an Asiatic imagination is coarse, especially among the lower orders, and that in the East men rarely see any females but those of their own family, the chief might find no great difficulty in persuading a youth, whom he had transported in a state of stupor into an apartment filled with young girls, of his having been in the actual paradise promised to the faithful.

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