Assassin's Creed

The historical novel that inspired the first Assassin’s Creed

Alamut, by Vladimir Bartol

I recently exchanged a few interesting messages about this, so I figured I'd post about it (it's my very first post on Reddit, btw, so please correct me if I'm doing anything wrong).

Vladimir Bartol's Alamut) is a historical novel, written in 1938, which tells of the birth of the Asāsiyyūn, the Order of Assassins.

From Amazon:

Alamut takes place in 11th Century Persia, in the fortress of Alamut, where self-proclaimed prophet Hasan ibn Sabbah is setting up his mad but brilliant plan to rule the region with a handful of elite fighters who are to become his "living daggers." By creating a virtual paradise at Alamut, filled with beautiful women, lush gardens, wine and hashish, Sabbah is able to convince his young fighters that they can reach paradise if they follow his commands.

Assassin's Creed takes inspiration from this novel#Cultural_impact), which is a romanticized account of historical events. Alamut also explains the real meaning of the phrase "nothing is true; everything is permitted" (which, in its original form, was "nothing is an absolute reality; all is permitted").

As /u/TimTalksHistory says in this comment, research suggests that a good bit of its contents are fictionalized to be based around accounts from Marco Polo, which came to fascinate people with their legend. He has

in which he explores Marco Polo's account directly, rather than the novel itself. Thumbs up for his content, definitely follow him if you're interested in history.

Unfortunately, it seems it's still a bit difficult to find copies of the book, because its contents were considered too similar to the ideology of modern-day Islamic extremists (which, having read the book, I personally think is not true). If you can't find a physical copy, here's a link to the Kindle edition (in English).

Fun facts:

  • This is an oversimplification, but I'm adding links for anyone interested in researching the subject: The Aga Khan, a title held by the Imām of the Nizari Isma'ili Shias, may be considered the current leader of the Assassins, since the Asāsiyyūn were a Nizari Isma'ili sect of Shia Islam.
  • The novel was translated in English in 2004 (66 years after it was first published).
  • Some literary critics have interpreted Alamut as an allegory of the TIGR, an organization formed in order to fight the Fascist Italianization in the former Austrian Littoral. Allegedly, Vladimir Bartol had sympathised with said organisation.


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