The Assassins of Alamut
eBook (PDF), 142 Pages
The Assassins were a heretical Muslim sect.We think of them mostly in connection with political murder (their founder, Hasan-i-Sabbah, has been compared to Osama bin Laden), but there is much more to them than this. They had a remarkable esoteric philosophical system and their ideas were influential in Islam and even outside it. In this book I tell their story, from their foundation at the end of the eleventh century to their downfall 150 years later at the hands of the Mongols. Even that was not the end of them, for the Aga Khan is a lineal descendant of the Assassin Grand Masters.
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Nov 16, 2011Now I understand why my attempts to purchase from my excellent local bookshop were doomed, but least should have been told why. It's a pdf and only came out a few days ago. I'll write more when I've read it. Apart from my poetry and other activities, as an ACE-funded publisher (twice over) I'm exploring this relatively painless mode of transmission, and surprised by the low cost. Other pdf books, for instance Mary Nelson's on theatrical advice, runs to £14.99. Others on charity fund-raising weigh in at an average of £6.99 at a launch I've just attended. Lulu's ethos helps here. Anything investigating Islam before the closing of the Gates of Enquiry is worth reading - this latter being roughly contemporaneous with Christianity's suppression of the Cathars by 1307 and the stirrings of the Dominican Order, so happily transmitted by the incumbent Pope, despite his order. Rather more importantly, as this blurb (modestly) doesn't make clear, is that Campbell is a superb linguist... More > and lectured in Parsee on anatomy to a Tehran University in the 1960s. He can read many of his sources in the original and has been steeped in the culture most of his life. Forget a five-year investigative fascination or Book of the Week. Doubtless it took Campbell less time than that, and clearly isn't the point. Which is that anything written by Anthony Campbell is doubly worth reading. And he has the gift of narrative (thus understanding the narratives of religion he elsewhere highlights, rather well) as well as an excoriating power of analysis. But he owns other writing gifts and this might persuade potential readers. My father, Dr Paul Jenner, and admittedly a close friend of Campbell's till his death in 1989, always praised Campbell's (then)very few books - so many more came out much later. One making an early impression was the novel The Sacred Malady (1967), which promulgates views Campbell would now disown. Its variation on what he might dismiss as late Huxley themes is no less remarkable for that. However one register of greatness is development, to ask, as Rilke does in a series of Jesuitical riddles: 'Is it possible... that everything I have ever thought is wrong? Yes, it is possible.' Or Rochester's ‘Satire against Reason and Mankind’ 'that all his life he has been in the wrong'. Both seem harsh self-judgements that neither poet actually visited on themselves. Yet Campbell, in an evolutionary if not revolutionary manner, does just this, repudiating or at least casting doubt on several of his earlier selves, including the professional one rendering homeopathy so persuasive through his advocacy. It's an act of courage that would have lost him friends and dismayed many. It's a sober Falstaff turning on Hal, rather than late Auden pruning the early, still less the demonstration-frighted don Ratzinger turning on his progressive self after 1968. It's not a reactionary gesture but a late bargain of the brain with oblivion, just as many in their 60s and 70s are moving in the opposite direction. Yet the evidence of Campbell's book summaries evince empathy and an inner knowledge of spiritualist states, or workings-up. Campbell has trekked from what he'd witness as fuzzy progress and the curiously lateral domains of religion that argues either teleologically, or vertically in hierarchies and traditions, or experientially, but will not stand up to either his own sympathetic experience or scrutiny. I say this as the son of (as Campbell will know) a man who terrified a poltergeist by hurling his tin leg at it in 1953. To construct an aluminum Shintoism to the eruptive behaviour of ancestors is not my brief, nor would it garner favour outside my family and some readers, who fondly adhere to it. Though I do feed my ghosts. This journey (as evangelists of all castes would put it)gives Campbell a strength few possess: that of informed, and passionate disenchantment. More than that it allows him to understand more completely than most the forms of religious or mystic exaltation, and related natural - and induced - chemical states from a medical perspective, that can follow such immersion. Finally, Campbell is culturally - and diversely - infused enough with various systems to properly trace the DNA of this one, and to elucidate its qualities with sympathy, erudition and tact. Don't expect him to conclude the whole was illusion in the fullest sense. The Assassins, he implies, have much to teach us. It should prove a book of authority, whose very conclusiveness will leave questions for the reader. Simon Jenner 'firstname.lastname@example.org' 'email@example.com'< Less
Oct 15, 2009"Great text on the Nizari Ismailis during the Alamut Period" I read the original pdf file a few years ago and found the text quite accurate and fair. As a pro-ismaili reseacher, I can highly recommend this book. There is alot of sensational crap about the Assassins out there but this book is not one of them. It would be great if the author would eventually get the book placed on Amazon.com jim davis
Jul 18, 2009"Thanks" In this book I tell their story, from their foundation at the end of the eleventh century to their downfall 150 years later at the hands of the Mongols. Business degree | Arts school
Jul 16, 2009This book is very interest. (price cheap sale)
Dec 31, 1969"Re: Great text on the Nizari Ismailis during the Alamut Period" Thanks for your kind comment, Jim. The book will be on Amazon etc. shortly; I'm just checking it for typos etc. before approving it. Best wishes, Anthony
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- Anthony Campbell (Standard Copyright License)
- Anthony Campbell
- November 2, 2011
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