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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 329



in that country, under the name of the Ismailiyeh. They were propagated by official agents, of whom the chief was named dai ed doai, "missionary of missionaries," and cadhi el codhai, " judge of judges." In the year 1004, they held public assemblies in Cairo under the presidency of the last-mentioned officer. These meetings were called mejalis el hikmeh, or "scientific meetings," and were devoted to instructing those present in the mathematical and other sciences ; but such as were considered worthy, were admitted to a more intimate participation m their mysteries, and were taught the secret doctrines of the sect, consisting of a strange mélange of Persian and Gnostic ideas. We have already seen how this institution was made to subserve the interests and pander to the mad fanaticism of El Hâkem bi amri 'llah, and indirectly gave birth to the powerful sect of the Druzes. During the last half of the eleventh century one of the Ismaelite missionaries, Hassan ibn Subah el Homairi, became the founder of the new sect of the Ismaélites of the East, or Assassins. Hassan was born in Khorassan ; in his youth he contracted an intimate friendship with Nizâm el Mulk and 'Omar el Kheiyam, and the three associates took a solemn oath mutually to advance each other's prospects . in alter life. 'Omar el Kheiyam became celebrated as an astronomer and poet ;* and Nizâm el Mulk attained to the office of grand vizier, under the Seljukian Sultan Melik shah. Hassan es Subah sought and obtained the assistance of his former companion, and was promoted to high office in the court. Prompted, however, by ambition, he endeavoured to supplant his benefactor, but Nizam el Mulk discovered and counteracted his designs, and Hassan was driven in disgrace from the king's presence. Not long afterwards he founded the order of Assassins, and Melik * His 'Quatrains,' stanzas of exquisite polish, but breathing the most sensual and atheistic philosophy, Lave been recently published by M. isicholas, Paris, 1867.


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