were intoxicated with the hashīsh. When in this state they were introduced into the splendid gardens of the sheik, and surrounded with every sensual pleasure. Such a foretaste of paradise, only to be granted by their supreme ruler, made them eager to obey his slightest command; their lives they counted as nothing, and would resign them at a word from him. Finally, the sixth and seventh orders were the Lāsiqs, or novices, and the common people. Hassan well knew the efficacy of established law and custom in securing the obedience of a mass of people; accordingly, upon all but the initiated, the observances of Islam were rigidly enforced. As for the initiated, they knew the worthlessness of positive religion and morality; they believed in nothing, and scoffed at the practices of the faithful.
The Assassins soon began to make their power felt. One of their first victims was Hassan’s former friend, Nizam-ul-Mulk, whose son also died under the dagger of a secret murderer. The death by poison of the sultan Malik-Shah was likewise ascribed to this dreaded society, and contributed to increase their evil fame. Sultan Sinjar, his successor, made war upon them, but he was soon glad to come to terms with enemies against whose operations no precaution seemed available. After a long and prosperous rule Hassan died at an advanced age in 1124. He had previously slain both his sons, one on suspicion of having been concerned in the murder of a dā‘i at Kuhistan, the other for drinking wine, and he was therefore compelled to name as his successor his chief dā‘i, Kia-Busurg-Omid.
During the fourteen years’ reign of this second leader, the Assassins were frequently unfortunate in the open field, and their castles were taken and plundered; but they acquired a stronghold in Syria, while their numerous murders made them an object of dread to the neighbouring princes, and spread abroad their evil renown. A long series of distinguished men perished under the daggers of the fedais; even the most sacred dignity was not spared. The caliph Mostarshid was assassinated in his tent, and not long after, the caliph Rāshid suffered a similar fate. Busurg-Omid was succeeded by his son Mahommed I., who, during the long period of twenty-five years, ruthlessly carried out his predecessor’s principles. In his time Massiat became the chief seat of the Syrian branch of the society. Mahommed’s abilities were not great, and the affections of the people were drawn towards his son Hassan, a youth of great learning, skilled in all the wisdom of the initiated, and popularly believed to be the promised Imam become visible on earth. The old sheik prevented any attempt at insurrection by slaying 250 of Hassan’s adherents, and the son was glad to make submission. When, however, he attained the throne, he began to put his views into effect. On the 17th of the month Ramadan, 1164, he assembled the people and disclosed to them the secret doctrines of the initiated; he announced that the doctrines of Islam were now abolished, that the people might give themselves up to feasting and joy. Soon after, he announced that he was the promised Imam, the caliph of God upon earth. To substantiate these claims he gave out that he was not the son of Mahommed, but was descended from Nizār, son of the Egyptian caliph Mostansir, and a lineal descendant of Isma‘īl. After a short reign of four years Hassan was assassinated by his brother-in-law, and his son Mahommed II. succeeded. One of his first acts was to slay his father’s murderer, with all his family and relatives; and his long rule, extending over a period of forty-six years, was marked by many similar deeds of cruelty. He had to contend with many powerful enemies, especially with the great Atabeg sultan Nureddīn, and his more celebrated successor, Saladin, who had gained possession of Egypt after the death of the last Fatimite caliph, and against whom even secret assassination seemed powerless. During his reign, also, the Syrian branch of the society, under their dā‘i, Sinan, made themselves independent, and remained so ever afterwards. It was with this Syrian branch that the Crusaders made acquaintance; and it appears to have been their emissaries who slew Count Raymund of Tripoli and Conrad of Montferrat.
Mahommed II. died from the effects of poison, administered, it is believed, by his son, Jelaleddīn Hassan III., who succeeded. He restored the old form of doctrine—secret principles for the initiated, and Islam for the people—and his general piety and orthodoxy procured for him the name of the new Mussulman. During his reign of twelve years no assassinations occurred, and he obtained a high reputation among the neighbouring princes. Like his father, he was removed by poison, and his son, ‘Ala-ed-dīn Mahommed III., a child of nine years of age, weak in mind and body, was placed on the throne. Under his rule the mild principles of his father were deserted, and a fresh course of assassination entered on. In 1255, after a reign of thirty years, ‘Ala-ed-dīn was slain, with the connivance of his son, Rukneddīn, the last ruler of the Assassins. In the following year Hulaku (Hulagu), brother of the Tatar, Mangu Khan, invaded the hill country of Persia, took Alamūt and many other castles, and captured Rukneddīn (see Mongols). He treated him kindly, and, at his own request, sent him under escort to Mangu. On the way, Rukneddīn treacherously incited the inhabitants of Kirdkuh to resist the Tatars. This breach of good faith was severely punished by the khan, who ordered Rukneddīn to be put to death, and sent a messenger to Hulaku (Hulagu) commanding him to slay all his captives. About 12,000 of the Assassins were massacred, and their power in Persia was completely broken. The Syrian branch flourished for some years longer, till Bibars, the Mamelūke sultan of Egypt, ravaged their country and nearly extirpated them. Small bodies of them lingered about the mountains of Syria, and are believed still to exist there. Doctrines somewhat similar to theirs are still to be met with in north Syria.
(G. W. T.)
ASSAULT (from Lat. ad, to or on, and saltare, to leap), in English law, “an attempt or offer with force or violence to do corporal hurt to another, as by striking at another with a stick or other weapon, or without a weapon, though the party misses his aim.” Notwithstanding ancient opinions to the contrary, it is now settled that mere words, be they ever so provoking, will not constitute an assault. Coupled with the attempt or threat to inflict corporal injury, there must in all cases be the means of carrying the threat into effect. A battery is more than a threat or attempt to injure the person of another; the injury must have been inflicted, but it makes no difference however small it may be, as the law does not “draw the line between degrees of violence,” but “totally prohibits the first and lowest stage of it.” Every battery includes an assault. A common assault is a misdemeanour, and is punishable by imprisonment with or without hard labour to the extent of one year, and if it occasions bodily harm, with penal servitude for three years, or imprisonment to the extent of two years, with or without hard labour. There are various different kinds of assaults which are provided against by particular enactments of parliament, such as the Offences against the Person Act 1861, the Prevention of Crimes Act 1871, &c.; and there are also certain aggravated assaults for which the punishment is severer than for common assault, as an assault with intent to murder, with intent to commit a rape, &c. In certain cases an assault and battery is sometimes justifiable, as in the case where a person in authority, as a parent or schoolmaster, inflicts moderate punishment upon a child, or in certain cases of self-defence, or in defence of one’s goods and chattels. An assault may be both a tort and a crime, giving a civil action for damages to the person injured, as well as being the subject of a criminal prosecution.
United States.—The general principles applicable throughout the United States are the same as in England. Riding a horse threateningly near a person; or riding a bicycle against another (Mercer v. Corbin, 117 Indiana Rep. 450); waking one from sleep to present a milk bill (Richmond v. Fiske, 160 Mass. 34), are assaults. A minor is liable for damages for an assault (Hildreth v. Hancock, 156 Illinois Rep. 618). In Texas it has