-10. FROM HASHSHASHIN TO ASSASSIN
The adoption of assassination as a political weapon derives from the Islamic world of the 11th century. A secret order of Muslims was founded in Persia in about 1090 by a man named Hasan-e Sabbah. After gaining control of a mountain fortress near the Caspian Sea, Hasan founded a sect to fight his political enemies by means of murder. Hasan and his followers were known as Nizaris and belonged to the Isma'ili branch of Islam. For two centuries this secret organisation terrorised the Middle East. Hasan, who gained the nickname Old Man of the Mountains from his fortress hideaway, is said to have given his followers a vision-inducing drug called hashish, made from Indian hemp. The visions of Islamic paradise brought on by the drug persuaded his disciples that they would have a glorious afterlife if they followed Hasan's orders and killed his enemies. The killers were called Hashshashin, the plural of a word meaning "one who smokes hashish." This name was eventually corrupted into its present form, Assassins.
The passage describes how Hasan-e Sabbah ......... .
sold the drug made from Indian hemp called hashish
founded the Isma'ili branch of Islam
fought against Persian terrorists
was eventually killed by one of his enemies
established a group of Muslims called Nizaris
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