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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 332



" Sheikh of the Mountain." The Crusaders, misinterpreting the title, always spoke of him as the " Old Man of the Mountain." There is little doubt but that the order of Knights Templars, who figure so largely in the history of the Crusades, were a society closely akin to the Assassins. The different grades of rank amongst them correspond exactly with the several degrees of the Ismaelite fraternity. Their dress, white with a red cross, symbolizing innocence and blood, is almost identical with the garb of the Fedawis, while the irreligious practices and secret murders, which are clearly proved against them, all tend to establish the conviction that they were rather Knights of the Dagger than of the Cross. But to return to our history. Amaury, the poor harassed king, all whose projects failed, and none of them through his own fault, fell into a fit of rage which nearly killed him, when he heard the news of the murder of the ambassadors of the " Old Man of the Mountain." What was to be done ? what revenge could be taken for a mischief which was irremediable ? He called his barons, and poured the whole story into their indignant ears. They chose two of their own body, and sent them to Odo de St. Amand, Grand Master of the Templars, to demand satisfaction in the name of the king and the realm for a crime so extravagant. One Walter du Mesnil was suspected, a stupid man, likely to do whatever others told him without inquiry or doubt. And here appears the pride of the Templars. Odo coldly sent back word that he had " imposed a penance " on the criminal, and that he should send him to the pope. The king went to Sidon himself, seized the suspected man by force, and threw him into prison, in spite of the protestations and fury of Odo. Then followed protest, appeal, and protest a?ain. Amaury succeeded in making the sheikh himself beheve in his own innocence, but the sheikh's enthusiasm


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