Episode #8 – Who Were the Hash Smoking Assassins?

When Marco Polo returned from his travels in Asia he brought back with him tales of lands previously unimagined by Europeans. One of his strangest stories was that of the so-called “old man of the mountain” and his band of devoted assassins. The story of a mysterious mystic who used visions of paradise and mind altering drugs to manipulate his followers fascinated westerners for generations. But was there really an “old man of the mountain”? Did the leaders of the Islamic world actually sleep wearing armour for fear of the “old man’s” deadly assassins? Tune in and find out how secret gardens, rivers of wine, the Great Khan of the Mongols, and a severed head who can speak all play a role in the story.

Works Cited

Burman, Edward. The Assassins: Holy Killers of Islam. S.l.: Crucible, 1987. Print.

Hodgson, Marshall G. S. The Secret Order of Assassins: The Struggle of the Early Nizârî Ismâʻîlîs against the Islamic World. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania, 2005. Print.

Polo, Marco, and Henry Yule. The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian: Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.

Waterson, James. The Ismaili Assassins: A History of Medieval Murder. London: Frontline, 2008. Print.

Willey, Peter. Eagle’s Nest: Ismaili Castles in Iran and Syria. London: I.B. Tauris, 2005. Print.