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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


Or ASSASSINS; a famous heretical sect of murderers among the Mahometans, who settled in Persia about 1090. Their head and chief seems to have been Hassan Sabah, who made fanatical slaves of his subjects. Their religion was a compound of that of the Magi, the Jews, the Christians, and the Mahometans. They believed the Holy Ghost resided in their chief; that the orders proceeded from God himself, and were real declaration of his will. This chief, from his exalted residence on Mount Lebanon, was called the old man of the mountain; who, like a vindictive deity, with the thunderbolt in his hand, sent inevitable death to all quarters, so that even kings trembled at his sanguinary power. His subjects would prostrate themselves at the foot of his throne, requesting to die by his hand or order, as a favour by which they were sure of passing into paradise. "Are your subjects, " said the old man of the mountain to the son-in-law of Amoury, king of Jerusalem, "as ready in their submission as mine?" and without staying for an answer, made a sign with his hand, when ten young men in white, who were standing on an adjacent tower, instantly threw themselves down.

To one of his guards he said, "Draw your dagger, and plunge it into your breast;" which was no sooner said than obeyed. At the command of their chief, they made no difficulty of stabbing any prince, even on his throne; and for that purpose conformed to the dress and religion of the country that they might be less suspected. To animate them on such attempts, the Scheik previously indulged them with a foretaste of the delights of paradise. Delicious soporific drinks were given them; and while they lay asleep, they were carried into beautiful gardens, where, awaking as it were in paradise, and inflamed with views of perpetual enjoyments, they sallied forth to perform assassinations of the blackest dye. It is said, they once thought of embracing the Christian religion; and some have thought the Druses a remnant of this singular race of barbarians.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Batanists'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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