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Medieval Nizari Ismaili State, the Assamites, and the Ahl-i-Batin

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  • Medieval Nizari Ismaili State, the Assamites, and the Ahl-i-Batin

    So, what relationship existed there? Did the mortals Ismaili Muslims just model their society and traditions on these two supernatural societies of clandestine quiet mountain-dwellers in their midst (who by a giant coincidence have no direct relationship to each other)? Setting wise it's pretty topical in "Dark Ages" as the time-window of the setting starts in the immediate shadow of the Third Crusade and the Old Man of the Mountain (Rashid ad-Din Sinan)'s life.


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  • #2
    It would have to be something, wouldn't it? It's really going to be a complicated give and take. The core area and number of people is relatively small, so the usual explanation of "the two groups passed like ships in the night b/c they were tiny parts of a larger whole" doesn't wash.

    I guess it depends on what the history of the two is relative to the source material? The easiest explanation would be something like:

    - Asssamites, probably pre-Islamic Assamites controlled Alamut.
    - The Batini were working with the IIslamic Ismaili who took Alamut. (I don't see how they would not be integral to that group, since that is where the idea of "batin" was promulgated to the Masses).
    - In tandem with the way things worked out in history, the two groups managed to structure some kind of relationship that probably involved a lot of mutual avoidance and might have had something to do with the rapid spread of Islam through the Assamite Clan and probably occasioned an internal change similar to what happened between the older "Greek philosopher" Brujah and the later "rager" Brujah.

    But that's with just a little poking at the relevant materials and would undoubtedly fall apart with a comprehensive look at what's out there in various Vampire books. The Mage side isn't going to be as robust, though I think there was a NPC Batini who was identified as a hashishim in Darkening Skies?

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    • #3
      Obviously there is no canonical answer because everything contradicts themselves.

      I've never thought that the Ahl-i-Batin were exclusive to one sect - they are rather generic Muslim mystics. So I think they could be represented in all sects to some degree.

      The connection between the Assamites and the real life Assassins though is so strong that some explanation is needed. The person who wrote up the original Assamites pretty much took terms and ideas straight from the assassins. However, despite the terms being used, it is also obvious that they are not speaking about the same thing. When the Camarilla besieged the Assamite Alamut and when the Mongols destroyed the real world Alamut are centuries apart. Likewise, the Assamites pre-dated the real world assassins pretty extensively. They can't be the same.

      Simple answer is that the terms used for the Assamites came from historical knowledge of the Assassins because the vampires saw clear parallels between the two. They are entirely different Old Men of the Mountain and entirely different Alamuts.

      At the same time, if someone wanted a chronicle where the real world medieval assassins were created or hijacked by Assamite vampires as a kind of cult to recruit from, I'd be fine with that. It's just that at some point after the Mongols wiped out the mortal assassins on the real world Alamut, that either the Assamites moved location or there always were two separate "Alamuts". Or that while the mortal Alamut was historical, one of the other mountain fortresses of the sect was where the vampires took over. You can work out any kind of justification.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
        Obviously there is no canonical answer because everything contradicts themselves.

        I've never thought that the Ahl-i-Batin were exclusive to one sect - they are rather generic Muslim mystics. So I think they could be represented in all sects to some degree.
        I think that's pretty explicitly not the case if you looki at Batin paradigm in Lost Paths. There's a reason they're associated with a secret mountain stronghold and being subtle and unseen. MtA has separate groups of Ecastic Sufi Devishes and Chorister "Righteous Ghazi" (mainstream Muslim theurgists).


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        • #5
          Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post

          I think that's pretty explicitly not the case if you looki at Batin paradigm in Lost Paths. There's a reason they're associated with a secret mountain stronghold and being subtle and unseen. MtA has separate groups of Ecastic Sufi Devishes and Chorister "Righteous Ghazi" (mainstream Muslim theurgists).
          Exactly. And you can't get around the connection between the Ahl-i-BATIN and the importance of the concept of "batin" to the Ismaili over many other sects of Islam and Islamic mysticism. And the connection between the Ismaili and Alamut.

          "Alamut" seems to be the linchpin that holds the three together and that is where the difficulty in reconciliation of the three is most knotted up.

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