allens at yang.earlham.edu (Allen Smith) writes:
> Hello. I was considering the Hasashin (sp, I know), a group in the
>middle ages of assasins whose loyalty was insured through an interesting
>(and unethical) usage of drugs. The candidate was knocked out, placed in a
>lush garden-type setting with women (it was all-men), opiates, etc.
>available. They were then, after a fun time, knocked out again. They were
>told that if they died while completing a mission, they would be
>transported to this heaven forever.
The account comes from Marco Polo who wrote about the story that was
circulating some 70 years after Hassan's cult was wiped out. The
hashishim, according to more scholarly sources, derived their name
from the saying that material things were no more important than
grass. The arabic word for grass is "hashish". Actually, hashish
was a commonly used intoxicant in the Arabic world -- alcohol was
Given that Polo's account is heresay built upon heresay, coupled with
the fact that Hassan and his group were heretics during a time when
heretics were demonized -- but what else is new -- it is quite likely
that the stories were pure fabrications and myths that were used to
validate the widespread view that the Hassan cult was composed of
depraved and degraded people. Think of it as being similar to the
stories of Jews using the blood of gentile babies in their rituals
or the modern variant of "Satanists" -- so-called -- using the blood
of babies in theirs.
paul hager hagerp at moose.cs.indiana.edu
"Run 'em down, Fred! They don't belong here! Run 'em down!"
-- Bobby Fischer to Fred Cramer, who was driving him through a
a crowd of spectators after Fischer adjourned game 1 in his
1972 match with Spassky.