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A Paradise for Killers: Marco Polo and the Garden of the Assassins

A Paradise for Killers: Marco Polo and the Garden of the Assassins

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter 2 A Paradise for Killers: Marco Polo and the Garden of the Assassins
Source:
Trade and Romance
Author(s):
Michael Murrin
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226071602.003.0003

One of the most popular stories in the Middle Ages was that of the Old Man of the Mountain, who trained very effective assassins, and the best known version of the story was Marco Polo’s. Polo had to rely on biased Sunni views, but for him and for the Mongols, the Assassins were a political, not a religious, problem. The power of the story depended upon a dialectic involving love and sensuality that did not fit Western norms, and for this reason made the tale fascinating.

Keywords:   assassins, Isma’ilis, Nizari, garden, dream, Alamut

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