Assassin: A History.
The word assassin is one of the coolest words in the English language. Not that assassinations are cool or anything. but simply the world. I mean, it would look bad ass as a tattoo written in Old English characters. And it evokes such cunning daring maneuvering. Assassins have to plan and take precaution, and move quickly.
It is the most romantic form of Warcraft. The courages manner of leading ‘an army of one’. And the video game Assassin’s Creed isn’t bad either.
But what does assassin really mean. Beyond simply the historic idea of an assassin of the Lee Harvey Oswald kind, the word has an interesting history.
In the 11th century, a group of rebel Ismailis (a Shii sect in Islam) undertook an underground rebellion to overthrow the rival Sunni state of the Seljuk Turks and destroy Sunni Islam. From 1090 the Ismaili rebels established a foothold in the Iranian mountain range of Alamut. They launched raids and killed many amirs. The rebels became to be known as hashishin. This Arabic word gives us the English Assassin. Hashishin = Assassin. But why Hashishin? Because the rebels were believed to use hashish (marijuana) in order to summon the courage to conduct their raids which were very dangerous and often resulted in death.
It makes sense: you need pot to go on a daring mission where you’ll likely die. It is very logical. Smoke a bit, before you continue the revolution. I think there’s an American contemporary to this.
Cool story. But, alas, it is a legend of the Ismaili rebels. A myth. History holds no assassin band that conduct semi-conscious raids in a cloud of smoke. Such a raid would be more humorous, but a lot slower.
Anyhow, there’s where the word derives from.