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New light shed on underworld of Assassins at Alamut Castle

TEHRAN, Dec. 19 (Mehr News Agency) -- A team of archaeologists has stumbled upon two cellars in the Alamut Castle, which was built near the northern Iranian city of Qazvin during the Seljuk era.

The cellars date back to the period of the Ismailites, a Shia sect that was most active as a religio-political movement from the 9th to 13th centuries through its subsects, the Fatimids, the Qaramitah, and the Assassins.

The discovery was made during the latest excavations by the team tasked with studying the Safavid era strata of the castle, Alamut Research Center Director Hamideh Chubak told the Persian service of CHN on Wednesday.

"The cellars were most likely used as private rooms. However, it is believed that they were also utilized as storerooms for foodstuffs," she added.

The castle was used by Hassan Sabbah, the founder of the order known as the Assassins, as a headquarters to command a chain of strongholds all over Iran and Iraq, a network of propagandists, a corps of devoted terrorists, and an unknown number of agents in enemy camps and cities, after he and his allies captured it in 1090.

Hassan Sabbah led an ascetic existence and imposed a puritanical regime at Alamut -- when one of his sons was accused of murder and the other of drunkenness, he had them both executed. He also wrote a number of cogent theological treatises, stressing in particular the need to accept absolute authority in matters of religious faith.

... Payvand News - 12/20/07 ... --

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