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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 1695 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2009, 11:28:53 pm »

p. 151

[paragraph continues] Khan, had appointed the emir Arkhan governor of Nishaboor, which bordered closely on the Ismaïlite territory of Kuhistan. Arkhan being obliged to attend the sultan, the deputy whom he left in his stead made several destructive incursions into Kuhistan, and laid waste the Ismaïlite districts of Teem and Kaïn. The Ismaïlites sent to demand satisfaction, but the only reply made to their complaints and menaces by the deputy-governor was one of those symbolical proceedings so common in the east. He came to receive the Ismaïlite envoy with his girdle stuck full of daggers, which he flung on the ground before him, to signify either his disregard for the daggers of the society, or to intimate that he could play at that game as well as they. The Ismaïlites were not, however, persons to be provoked with impunity, and shortly afterwards three Fedavees were despatched to Kunja, where Arkhan was residing at the court of the sultan. They watched till the emir came without the walls of the town, and then fell upon and murdered him. They then hastened to the house of Sheref-al-Moolk (Nobleness of the Realm), the vizir, and penetrated into his divan. Fortunately he was at that time engaged with the sultan, and they missed him; but they wounded severely one of his servants, and then, sallying forth, paraded the streets, proclaiming aloud that they were Assassins. They did not however escape the penalty of their temerity, for the people assembled and stoned them to death.

An envoy of the Ismaïlites, named Bedr-ed-deen (Full Moon of Religion) Ahmed, was meantime on his way to the court of the sultan. He stopped short on hearing what had occurred, and sent to the vizir to know whether he should go on or return. Sheref-al-Moolk, who feared to irritate the Assassins, directed him to continue his journey, and, when he was

p. 132

arrived, showed him every mark of honour. The object of Bedr-ed-deen's mission was to obtain satisfaction for the ravages committed on the Ismaïlite territory and the cession of the fortress of Damaghan. The vizir promised the former demand without a moment's hesitation, and he made as little difficulty with regard to the second. An instrument was drawn out assigning to the Ismaïlites the fortress which they craved, on condition of their remitting annually to the royal treasury the sum of 30,000 pieces of gold.

When this affair was arranged the sultan set out for Azerbeijan, and the Ismaïlite ambassador remained the guest of the vizir. One day, after a splendid banquet, when the wine, which they had been drinking in violation of the law, had mounted into their heads, the ambassador told the vizir, by way of confidence, that there were several Ismaïlites among the pages, grooms, guards, and other persons who were immediately about the sultan. The vizir, dismayed, and at the same time curious to know who these dangerous attendants were, besought the ambassador to point them out to him, giving him his napkin as a pledge that nothing evil should happen to them. Instantly, at a sign from the envoy, five of the persons who were attendants of the chamber stepped forth, avowing themselves to be concealed Assassins. "On such a day, and at such an hour," said one of them, an Indian, to the vizir, "I might have slain thee without being seen or punished; and, if I did not do so, it was only because I had no orders from my superiors." The vizir, timid by nature, and rendered still more so by the effects of the wine, stripped himself to his shirt, and, sitting down before the five Assassins, conjured them by their lives to spare him, protesting that he was as devotedly the slave of the sheikh Ala-ed-deen as of the sultan Jellal-ed-deen.

p. 153

As soon as the sultan heard of the meanness and cowardice of his vizir, he sent a messenger to him with the keenest reproaches, and an order to burn alive the five Ismaïlites without an instant's delay. The vizir, though loth, was obliged to comply, and, in violation of his promise, the five chamberlains were cast on the flaming pyre, where they died exulting at being found worthy to suffer in the service of the great Sheikh-al-Jebal. The master of the pages was also put to death for having admitted Ismaïlites among them. The sultan then set out for Irak, leaving the vizir in Azerbeijan. While he was there an envoy arrived from Alamoot, who, on being admitted to an audience, thus spake, "Thou hast given five Ismaïlites to the flames; to redeem thy head, pay 10,000 pieces of gold for each of these unfortunate men." The vizir heaped honours on the envoy, and directed his secretary to draw out a deed in the usual forms, by which he bound himself to pay the Ismaïlites the 'annual sum of 10,000 pieces of gold, besides paying for them the 30,000 which went to the treasury of the sultan. Sheref-al-Moolk was then assured that he had nothing to apprehend.

The preceding very characteristic anecdote rests on good authority, for it is related by Aboo-’l-Fetah Nissavee, the vizir's secretary, in his life of sultan Jellal-ed-deen.

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