List of assassinations by the Assassins

List of assassination (attempt)s attributed to the Assassins (the Nizaris of Alamut), active in Western Asia, Central Asia, and Egypt, in the 11th through 13th centuries.

BackgroundEdit

The Assassins were a group of Nizari Ismaili Shia Muslims that, by capturing or building impregnable forts, established a "state" of their own inside the hostile territories of the Seljuk Empire, a Sunni Muslim government, first in Persia and later in Iraq and the Levant. Lacking a conventional army, in order to survive, they started using unconventional tactics such as assassination of prominent enemy figures and psychological warfare.

AssassinationEdit

The precise ideology that motivated the assassins are unclear. They gained access to the victims through betrayal of confidence and carried out the attack in a ritual manner. The names of the assassin and their victims were written in a roll of honor kept in Alamut Castle, recorded by later Muslim authors.[1][2]

Most of the assassinations by the Nizaris took place during the first decades of their struggle, which helped them to create a local political power. This tactic caused resentment against them, and there is a correlation between the assassinations and subsequent massacres of the Nizaris; this tactic gradually declined and the later attributed assassinations are probably of local origination. [3][2] It should be taken into account that medieval Arabic sources generally tend to attribute most of the assassinations of this period to the Ismailis.[4]

Those assassinated were usually the enemies of the Nizari Ismaili sect, but also sometimes people of political importance who are killed in exchange for money paid by some local ruler.[5]

 
Assassination of the Seljuq vizier Nizam al-Mulk

[The assassination of Nizam al-Mulk] was the first of a long series of such attacks which, in a calculated war of terror, brought sudden death to sovereigns, princes, generals, governors, and even divines who had condemned Ismaili doctrines and authorized the suppression of those who professed them.

Some of the assassins were sleeper cells, notably by befriending or being employed by the victim, sometimes remaining unrecognized for years.[7]

ListEdit

Victim(s) Description Result Date Location Assassin(s) Method Notes
Nizam al-Mulk Seljuq vizier and de facto ruler killed 1092, October 14 Sahnah, Seljuq Empire assassin disguised as dervish; killed or fled or survived knife Their most famous action.[1][8]
Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Labbad (أحمد بن محمد اللباد) governor of Isfahan killed 1093 Isfahan, Seljuq Empire unknown unknown [1]
Unar Malikshahi (انر ملکشاهی) amir sipahdar killed 1096, January-February unknown Husayn Khwarezmi (حسین خوارزمی) unknown [9]
Abd al-Rahman Qazwini killed 490 AH unknown a Khurasani rafiq unknown [9]
Abu Muslim ra'is (prefect) of Ray killed 1095 unknown a friend unknown [1]
Abd al-Rahman al-Simirumi (عبد الرحمان السميرمي) vizier of Seljuq sultan Barkayaruq killed 1097 unknown Abu Tahir al-Arrani (أبو طاهر الأراني); fled unknown [1]
Arghush al-Nizami (أرغوش النظامي) amir sipahdar, mamluk of Nizam al-Mulk with close relation to Barkayaruq killed 1095 or 1097 Ray, Seljuq Empire Abd al-Rahman al-Khurasani (عبد الرحمان الخراساني); killed immediately unknown [1]
Bursuq the Elder senior commander (Amir Ispahsalar) under Barkiyaruq, newly appointed atabeg of Sanjar, shihna of Khurasan killed September 1097 near Sarakhs, Seljuq Empire a Quhistani rafiq (companion) unknown The Shiite Seljuk vizier Majd al-Mulk Balasani was murdered for being accused of involvement.[10][11][1]
unnamed qadi killed 1098 unknown his brother unknown [1]
Unar and Siyah (Siyahpush?) amir (senior commanders) killed 1099 near Sawa, Seljuq Empire team of 3; 2 killed, 1 survived [Husayn or Hasan Khwarezmi] knife [1]
kjmš (کجمش) deputy of Arghush al-Nizami killed Ibrahim Damawandi (ابراهیم دماوندی) Killed together with his son-in-law.[9]
Sarzan Malikshahi (سرزن ملکشاهی) amir spiahsalar killed Ibrahim Khurashani (ابراهیم خوراشانی) [9]
Hadi Kiya (هادی کیا) the Alavid Imam and missionary in Gilan killed Ibrahim and Muhammad Kuhi [9]
Abu al-Fath Durdanah Dihistani (ابوالفتح دردانه دهستانی) vizier of Barkiyaruq killed a Rus'(?) ghulam [9]
Iskandar Sufi Qazwini (اسکندر صوفی قزوینی) killed a Quhistani rafiq [9]
Sunqurche (سنقرچه) (or منعورحه) wali of Dihistan, Amul killed Muhammad Dihistani (محمد دهستانی) [9]
Balakabak Sarmuz (بلاكبك سرموز) or buklabk srmz (بیکلابک سرمز) senior commander (amir) killed 1099 entrance of Sultan Mahmud II's house in Isfahan, Seljuq Empire team of 2; 1 killed, 1 fled unknown [1][9]
Abu al-Muzaffar al-Khujandi (أبو المظفر الخجندي) chief preacher in Ray (mufti of Isfahan?) killed 1102/1103 Rayy, Seljuq Empire; coming down from minbar Abu al-Fath Sijzi (ابو الفتح سجزی); killed immediately unknown [1][9]
Abu 'Amid (ابو عمید) (or ابو نیم) mustawfi (accountant) of Rayy killed Rustam Damawandi (رستم دماوندی) [9]
Abu Ja'far Mashshati Razi (ابوجعقر مشاطی رازی) mufti of Rayy killed Muhammad Damawandi (محمد دماوندی) [9]
Abu al-Qasim Mufti Karaji Qazwini (ابو القاسم مفتی کرجی قزوینی) killed Hasan Damawandi (حسن دماوندی) [9]
Abu al-Hasan (ابوالحسن) ra'is of Bayhaq killed Fida'i (Haji?) Damawandi He was marching against (?) Maymun-Diz.[9]
Abu al-Faraj Qaratakin (ابو الفرج قراتکین) 17 Ramadan 472 AH killed Rayy, Seljuk Empire [9]
Abd al-Jalil al-Dihistani (أبو الجليل الدهستانی) vizier of Seljuq Sultan Barkayaruq died of wounds 1102/1103 Isfahan's gate, Seljuq Empire a youth unknown [1]
Janah ad-Dawla emir of Homs killed 1103, May Great Mosque of Homs, Emirate of Homs (Syria) team of 3 Apparently ordered by al-Hakim al-Munajjim
Abu Ja'far al-Mashatt (أبو جعفر المشط) Shafi'i leader in Ray killed 1104 Ray's mosque, Seljuq Empire unknown unknown [1]
Abu al-Ala Sa'id ibn Abi Muhammad al-Nisaburi (أبو العلاء سعيد بن أبي محمد النيسابوري) qadi of Isfahan killed 1105/1106 Isfahan's mosque, Seljuq Empire unknown unknown [1]
Khalaf ibn Mula'ib Fatimid emir of Afamiyya killed 1106, February 3 inside Qalaat al-Madiq (Afamiyya), Emirate of Apamea (under Fatimid Caliphate) team; fled dagger, struck in the abdomen; harba (حربة, "spear") per one source [1] Planned by Abu Tahir al-Sa'igh, Ridwan, and a certain Abu'l Fath of Sarmin
unnamed lieutenant (amir) of Seljuq Sultan Muhammad I Tapar wounded 1107 Shahdiz, Seljuq Empire a fida'i After a failed negotiation during the Siege of Shahdiz. The victim was a particularly anti-Nizari commander in the Seljuq camp.
Abu al-Fath Fakhr al-Mulk ibn Nizam al-Mulk vizier of Seljuq sultan Barkiyaruq (Sanjar?) killed 1106/1107 Nishapur, Seljuk Empire dynmyn(?) Damghani (دینمین[?] دامغانی), a petitioner; arrested, tried, executed knife [1][9]
Abu Ahmad Kaysan (Dawlatshahi?) Qazwini killed a Quhistani rafiq, accompanied by 10 other rafiqs [9]
Abdullah Isfahani qadi killed Safar 493 AH Abu al-Abbas Naqib Mashhadi (ابو العباس نقیب مشهدی) [9]
Abu al-Ala' (ابو العلاء) scholar and mufti of Isfahan killed 495 AH Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, Isfahan, Seljuk Empire a rafiq [9]
Sultan al-Ulama' Abu al-Qasim Asfazari (سلطان العلماء ابو القاسم اسفزازی) ra'is of Bayhaq killed Shawwal 495 AH Muhammad Biyari (محمد بیاری) [9]
Mahmashad (محمشاد) Karramiyya leader killed 496 AH Great Mosque of Nishapur, Seljuk Empire Abd al-mlk Razi (عبد الملک رازی) [9]
Sabbak al-Jurjani (سباک جرجانی) scholar killed 496 AH Hassan Siraj (حسن سراج) For insulting the Shia Imam, Ali.[9]
Abu al-Ala' (ابوالعلاء) scholar in service of sultan Muhammad I Tapar killed Muhammad Sayyad (محمد صیاد) For insulting the Shia Imam, Ali.[9]
Ubayd Allah ibn Ali al-Khatibi (عبيد الله بن علي الخطيبي) qadi of Isfahan, leader of the anti-Ismaili reaction there killed 1108/1109, during Friday prayers Hamadan's mosque 1 assassin, got between him and his bodyguard knife [1][12][6]
Abu al-Mahasin Abd al-Wahid al-Ruwayni (أبو المحاسن عبد الوحيد الرويني) Shafi'i leader killed 1108/1109 Amol's mosque unknown knife Attributed only by some sources to the Nizaris.[1]
Sa'id ibn Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman (سعيد بن محمد بن عبد الرحمان) qadi of Nishapur killed 1108/1109, on Eid al-Fitr killed unknown [1]
Ahmad ibn Nizam al-Mulk vizier of Seljuq Sultan Barkayaruq wounded 1109/1110 Baghdad Husayn Quhistani (حسین قهستانی); assassin arrested, confessed, his companions killed knives For his expedition against Alamut.[1][6][9]
Abu Harb Isa ibn Zayd a wealthy Persian merchant mission failed 1111 Aleppo, Emirate of Aleppo [13]
Sharaf al-Din Mawdud ibn Altuntash atabeg of Mosul, amir ispahsalar, governor of Diyar Bakr and the Levant killed 1111/1112 or 1113 (Jumada al-Thani 492 AH) Damascus, Emirate of Damascus a fida'i unknown Both Sunni rulers Tughtigin and Ridwan may have been involved.[14][1][9]
Ahmadil ibn Ibrahim al-Kurdi emir of Maragheh killed 1114 or 1116 (Muharram 510 AH) in a large assembly in presence of Sultan Muhammad I team of 3. 2 killed, the third's fate unknown (or Abd al-Malik Razi [عبدالملک رازی] or 4 Aleppine rafiqs) knives [1][9]
Muntahi Alawi (منتهی علوی) mufti of Jurjan killed 494 AH Hasan Daranbari (حسن دارانباری) [9]
Ahmad Sanjar Seljuq sultan threatened knife [15]
al-Afdal Shahanshah Fatimid vizier killed 1121, December 13 Cairo, Fatimid Caliphate team of 3 Aleppine rafiqs; fate unknown knives [1][9]
Al-Amir bi-Ahkam Allah and Al-Ma'mun al-Bata'ihi Fatimid caliph and his vizier plot discovered Cairo, Fatimid Caliphate Directed from Alamut.[6] Al-Amir was assassinated later (see below).
Kamal al-Mulk Abu Talib al-Simirumi vizier of Seljuq Sultan Mahmud II killed 1122 a procession in Baghdad, Seljuq Empire team of 4; one escaped, others killed knives For pillaging the shrine of Ali.[1][9]
Garshasaf Jurbadaqani (گرشاسف جربادقانی) (or Karshasb [کرشاسب]) killed November-December 1121 a fida'i [9]
Unar (انر) amir of Khurasan killed December 1121 - January 1122 Marw, Seljuk Empire Abu al-Hayyan (ابو الحیان) or Isfandiyar Damawandi (اسفندیار دماوندی) [9]
Tughrul Mahalli(?) (طغرل محلی) wali of Damghan killed Isfandiyar Damawandi (اسفندیار دماوندی) [9]
Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Nasr ibn Mansur al-Harawi (آبو نصر محمد بن نصر بن منصور الهروي) Hanafi qadi of Hamadan killed 1125 Hamadan's mosque, Seljuq Empire Muhammad Razi (محمد رازی) and Umar Damghani (عمر دامغانی) unknown [1][9]
Ibn al-Khashshab qadi and rais of Aleppo killed 1125, at night near his house in al-Zajjajin quarter, Aleppo, while leaving the Great Mosque unknown stabbed After a massacre of the Nizaris.[16][17][18]
Aqsunqur al-Bursuqi atabeg of Aleppo killed 1127 (or November 26, 1126) Mosul's Great Mosque, Seljuq Empire team of 10; fate unknown, he wounded 3 knives [1][18]
Mu'in al-Mulk Abu Nasr ibn Fazl Seljuq vizier of Ahmad Sanjar killed 1127, March 20 Seljuq Empire his horseman, betrayed; fate unknown unknown [1]
Mu'in al-Din al-Kashi (معین الدین مختص الملوک ابونصر احمد الکاشانی) Seljuq vizier of Ahmad Sanjar killed 1127, March 20 or 16 or Rabi' I 525 AH Marw, Seljuq Empire, en route from the Sultan's palace to the mosque by 2 fida'is who had gained his confidence (Muhammad Kuhaj [محمد کوهج] named) knives [1][6][9]
Abd al-Latif al-Khujandi (عبد اللطيف الخجندي) Shafi'i leader in Isfahan killed 1129 Isfahan, Seljuk Empire a fida'i unknown Killed by treachery.[1][9]
Al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah Fatimid Caliph in Cairo killed October 7, 1130 Cairo, Fatimid Caliphate team of 7 rafiqs
Sayyid Abu Hashim Zaydi Zaydi Imam in Tabaristan killed Jamadi II 526 AH [9]
Taj al-Muluk Buri atabeg of Damascus died of wounds a year later May 7, 1131 (died June 9, 1132) Damascus, Emirate of Damascus (Syria) two of his guards who were secretly fida'is probably from Alamut; both killed knives, wounding him in two places [1][19]
Sayyid Dawlatshah Alawi (سید دولتشاه علوی) prefect (either ra'is or naqib) of Isfahan killed Jamadi I 525 AH Abu Abdallah Mughani (ابو عبدالله موغانی) [6][9]
Aqsunqur Ahmadili governor of Maragha killed Dhil-Qa'da 525 AH Ali (علی) and Abu Ubaydah Muhammad Dihistani (ابو عبیده محمد دهستانی) [6][9]
Shams Tabrizi ra'is (prefect) of Tabriz killed Dhilhajja 525 AH Abu Sa'id Qa'ini (ابو سعید قائنی) and ابو الحسن قرمانی or فراهانی [6][9]
Al-Mustarshid Abbasid caliph killed 1135 or 1134 in royal tentage at Maragheh's gates or near Hamadan, Seljuq Empire team of 14 or 17 or 24; fled or killed by the guards knives, stabbed many times Some sources suspect that the Seljuq Sultan Mas'ud was involved. Some attendants were killed, too.[1][20][21][22][23][24]
Hasan ibn Abi al-Qasim Karkhi (Karaji?) (حسن بن ابي القاسم كرخي) mufti of Qazvin killed Dhilhajja 529 AH Muhmmad Karkhi (Karaji?) (محمد کرخی) and Sulayman Qazwini (سليمان قزوینی) knives, stabbed [6][9]
Al-Rashid Abbasid caliph killed 1135/1136 or June 1138 Mosul or Isfahan, Seljuq Empire team of 2 or 4 (Balqāsim Darikī named) of Khurasanis in his service; fate unknown knives, by stabbing [25][1][6][24]
Muqarrab al-Din Jawhar (مقرب الدين جوهر) chamberlain, master of the Seljuq governor of Ray, Abbas killed 1139/1140 Sultan Sanjar's camp in Marw petitioners in women's garb knives Many Nizaris were killed in revenge by Abbas.[25][1]
Girdbazu (گردبازو) heir of Bavandid ruler Shah Ghazi Rustam killed 1142 Sarakhs, Seljuq Empire Many Nizaris were killed in revenge by Shah Ghazi Rustam.[25]
Da'ud, son of Mahmud II Seljuq sultan killed 1143 Tabriz, Seljuq Empire team of 4 Syrian 'rafiqs ambushed He had persecuted the Nizaris of Adharbayjan.[1][25][26]
unnamed vizier of Seljuq sultan Toghrul II killed unknown unknown unknown knives, ambushed [1]
unnamed mamluk lord of Masyaf killed unknown team unknown Killed by treachery.[1]
به اَموی qadi of Quhistan killed 1138/1139 Sultan Sanjar's camp Ibrahim Hanafiyyah al-Damghani (إبراهيم حنفية الدامغاني); fate unknown unknown For authorizing the execution of Nizaris.[25][1][27]
qadi of Tiflis killed 1138/1139 Ibrahim Buyah Damghani (ابراهیم بویه دامغانی) unknown For issuing fatwa regarding the execution of Nizaris.[25][1][28]
Unnamed qadi of Hamadan killed 1139/1140 Hamadan's mosque, Seljuq Empire Ismail al-Khwarazmi (إسمعيل الخوارزمي), several of whose companions had been killed and burned unknown For authorizing the execution of Nizaris.[25][1][29]
Yamin al-Dawla Khwarazmshah (يمين الدولة خوارزمشاه) (Ayn al-Dawla?) Seljuq vizier killed 1139/1140 an army camp of Sultan Sanjar in Khwarezmia unknown unknown [1][30]
Nasir al-Dawla ibn al-Muhalhil (ناصر الدولة بن المهلهل) Seljuq vizier killed 1140/1141 Kerman, Seljuq Empire al-Husayn al-Kirmani (الحسين الكرماني) unknown [1][31]
Garshasaf senior commander (emir) (a ruler in Georgia) killed 1143, June-July unknown a soldier unknown [1][25] (Killed in action?[9])
Aqsunqur (آق سنقر) mamluk of Sultan Sanjar and governor of Turshiz killed 1146 team of 2 rafiqs: Sulayman and Yusuf unknown Killed as a rebel against the sultan.[1][32]
Abbas (امیر پیر عباس) shihna (governor) of Rayy killed 1147 Ray or Baghdad, Seljuq Empire unknown unknown Killed with armor on.[1]
Raymond II Count of Tripoli killed 1152 Tripoli's southern city gate, County of Tripoli Motivation uncertain. Killed along with two of his knights (including Ralph of Merle).
Saladin Ayyubid sultan mission failed 1175, May 11 Saladin's camp 13
Saladin Ayyubid sultan threatened only 1176 near Masyaf Castle knife According to some traditions.[33]
Adud al-Din Abu al-Faraj Muhmmad ibn Abdallah vizier of the Abbasid caliph al-Mustadi killed 1177/1178 leaving Baghdad for pilgrimage to Mecca fida'is from Jabal al-Summaq, Syria [24]
Conrad of Montferrat de facto King of Jerusalem killed 1192, April 28 en route to his house in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem team of 2; 1 killed, 1 captured stabbed at least twice in the side and back It is uncertain who actually instigated the attack.
Muhammad of Ghor Ghurid sultan killed 1206, March 15 Dhamiak, near Sohawa, Ghurid Empire One source attributes it to the Assassins.
Möngke Khan Mongol khagan plot or rumor 1253 Karakorum, Mongol Empire team of 40+ Alleged mission ordered by Imam Ala' al-Din Muhammad.[6][34][35][36]
Raymond, son of Bohemond IV of Antioch heir to the throne of Antioch and Tripoli killed 1213 outside the door of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa, Tortosa (Tartus), County of Tripoli Bohemond IV unsuccessfuly besieged Khawabi in response.[37][33][38]
Orkhan/Orghan senior commander of Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu killed Ganja, Khwarezmian Empire a team of petitioners; fled / 3 assassins, killed concealed swords, stabbed [39] As a reprisal for raids against Quhistan.[6]
Chagatai the Elder Mongol noyan (commander) killed ~1249? knife Nizaris were massacred by his daughter Bulghan Khatun or his son Bulghan or Qara-Bulghan after the fall of the Nizari state.[40]
Philip of Montfort Lord of Tyre killed 1270, March 17 or August 17 in his church in Tyre, Lordship of Tyre, Kingdom of Jerusalem assassin disguised as a Christian; captured dagger [41]
Ata-Malik Juvayni Ilkhanate elite survived 1270 Ilkhanate Unsuccessful assassination attempt attributed to the Nizaris.[42]
Lord Edward Duke of Gascony wounded 1271 Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem a Syrian Assassin; killed dagger, possibly poisoned; struck in the arm Supposedly by a Syrian Assassin under Baibars during the Ninth Crusade.[43] Edward abandoned further campaigns afterwards.

ReferencesEdit

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