The Assassins is a comprehensive, readable, and authoritative account of history's first terrorists. An offshoot of the Ismaili Shi'ite sect of Islam, the Assassins were the first group to make systematic use of murder as a political weapon. Established in Iran and Syria in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, they aimed to overthrow the existing Sunni order in Islam and replace it with their own. They terrorized their foes with a series of dramatic murders of Islamic leaders, as well as of some of the Crusaders, who brought their name and fame back to Europe.Professor Lewis traces the history of this radical group, studying its teachings and its influence on Muslim thought. Particularly insightful in light of the rise of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. and in Israel, this account of the Assassins whose name is now synonymous with politically motivated murderers places recent events in historical perspective and sheds new light on the fanatic mind.