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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 330



Shah and his vizier were among the first of his victims. In 1090, he made himself master of the fortress of Alamut, built on the summit of a lofty mountain, with steep escarpments, a little distance from Casbin in tbe Persian province of 'Irak. This castle he fortitied and supplied with water, partly from artificial and partly from natural springs, and, by compelling the inhabitants to cultivate the surrounding land and store the produce in the subterranean granaries of the castle, he rendered it capable of sustaining a protracted siege. Although the secret doctrines of the Ismaélites were taught in nine degrees, there were but two ranks in the t order, namely the refik, or "companion," and dai, or " missionary." Hassan instituted a third class, that of the fedawi, or " devoted one." For them the secrets of the order were always covered with an impenetrable veil, and they were but the blind instruments of vengeance or aggression in the hands of their superior. They composed the body-guard of the grand master, and were never for a single moment without their daggers, so as to be ever ready to perpetrate murders at his command. Marco Polo gives us a substantial, and doubtless exact, account of the ceremonies which took place upon the initiation of afedawi into the order. Within the precincts of their impregnable fortresses were gardens furnished with all that could delight the eye or appeal to the sensual taste of the voluptuary. Here the neophyte was led, delicious meats and wine of exquisite flavour were set before him, girls as beautiful as the houris of the prophet's paradise ministered to his pleasures, enchanting music ravished bis ears, his every wish was gratified almost before it was uttered, and, intoxicated with delight, he fancied that he had really entered upon the joys of the blessed. An intoxicating drug had in the meanwhile been mixed with the wine, and, by producing a sort of delirium, for a time enhanced his enjoyment, but as the satiety and languor consequent upon


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