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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 1721 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2009, 11:31:58 pm »

orders of the Mongol were imperative; he was required to appear at once, and to commit the defence of his territory to the Mongol officer who was the bearer of Hoolagoo's commands. Rukn-ed-deen hesitated. He sent again to make excuses and ask more time; and, as a proof of his obedience, he directed the governors of Kuhistan and Kirdkoh to repair to the Mongol camp. The banners of Hoolagoo were now floating at the foot of Demavend, close to the Ismaïlite territory, and once more orders came to Maimoondees, where Rukn-ed-deen and his family had taken refuge:--"The Ruler of the World is now arrived at Demavend, and it is no longer time to delay. If Rukn-ed-deen wishes to wait a few days he may in the mean time send his son." The affrighted chief declared his readiness to send his son, but, at the persuasion of his women and advisers, instead of his own, he sent the son of a slave, who was of the same age, requesting that his brother might be restored to him. Hoolagoo was soon informed of the imposition, but disdained to notice it otherwise than by sending back the child, saying he was too young, and requiring that his elder brother, if he had one, should be sent in place of Shahinshah. He at the same time dismissed Shahinshah with these words:--"Tell thy brother to demolish Maimoondees and come to me; if he does not come, the eternal God knows the consequences."

The Mongol troops now covered all the hills and valleys, and Hoolagoo in person appeared before Maimoondees. The Assassins fought bravely, but Rukn-ed-deen had not spirit to hold out. He sent his other brother, his son, his vizir Nasir-ed-deen, and the principal persons of the society, bearing rich presents to the Mongol prince. Nasir-ed-deen was directed to magnify the strength of the Ismaïlite fortresses in order to gain good terms for his master;

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but, instead of so doing, he told Hoolagoo not to regard them, assuring him that the conjunction of the stars announced the downfal of the Ismaïlites, and that the sun of their power was hastening to its setting. It was agreed that the castle should be surrendered on condition of free egress. Rukn-ed-deen, his ministers, and his friends, entered the Mongol camp on the first day of the month Zoo-l-Kaadeh. His wealth was divided among the Mongol troops. Hoolagoo took compassion on himself, and spoke kindly to him, and treated him as his guest. Nasir-ed-deen became the vizir of the conqueror, who after-. wards built for him the observatory of Meragha.

Mongol officers were now dispatched to all the castles of the Ismaïlites in Kuhistan, Roodbar, and even in Syria, with orders from Rukn-ed-deen to the governors to surrender or demolish them. The number of these strong castles was upwards of one hundred, of which there were forty demolished in Roodbar alone. Three of the strongest castles in this province, namely, Alamoot, Lamseer, and Kirdkoh, hesitated to submit, their governors replying to the summons that they would wait till Hoolagoo should appear in person before them. In a few days the Mongol prince and his captive were at the foot of Alamoot. Rukn-ed-deen was led under the walls, and he ordered the governor to surrender. His command was disregarded, and Hoolagoo, not to waste time, removed his camp to Lamseer, leaving a corps to blockade Alamoot. The people of Lamseer came forth immediately with their homage, and a few days afterwards envoys arrived from Alamoot entreating Rukn-ed-deen to intercede for the inhabitants with the brother of Mangoo. The conqueror was moderate; he allowed them free egress, and gave them three days to collect and remove their families and property. On the third day the Mongol

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troops received permission to enter and plunder the fortress. They rushed, eager for prey, into the hitherto invincible, now deserted, Vulture's Nest, and rifled it of all that remained in it. As they hurried through its subterrane recesses in search of treasure they frequently, to their amazement, found themselves immersed in honey, or swimming in wine; for there were large receptacles of wine, honey, and corn, hewn into the solid rock, the nature of which was such that, though, as we are told, they had been filled in the time of Hassan Sabah, the corn was perfectly sound, and the wine had not soured. This extraordinary circumstance was regarded by the Ismaïlites as a miracle wrought by that founder of their society.

When Alamoot fell into the hands of the Mongols Ata-Melek (King's father) Jowainee, a celebrated vizir and historian, craved permission of Hoolagoo to inspect the celebrated library of that place, which had been founded by Hassan Sabah and increased by his successors, and to select from it such works as might be worthy of a place in that of the khan. The permission was readily granted, and he commenced his survey of the books. But Ata-Melek was too orthodox a Mussulman, or too lazy an examiner, to make the best use of his opportunity; for all he did was to take the short method of selecting the Koran and a few other books which he deemed of value out of the collection, and to commit the remainder, with all the philosophical instruments, to the flames, as being impious and heretical. All the archives of the society were thus destroyed, and our only source of information respecting its doctrines, regulations, and history, is derived from what Ata-Melek has related in his Own history as the result of his search among the archives and books of the library of Alamoot, previous to his making an auto da fé of them.

The fate of the last of a dynasty, however worthless

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and insignificant his character may be, is always interesting from the circumstance alone of his being the last, and thus, as it were, embodying in himself the history of his predecessors. We shall therefore pause to relate the remainder of the story of the feeble Rukn-ed-deen.

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