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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bizarre and Nasty Punishments

As you know, I'm interested in tidbits from every part of the world and every period in its history. While reading about medieval secret societies, I found this interesting story. There is an Eastern and somewhat middle Eastern secret society known as the Assassins. A man named Hasan is generally believed to be their founder. After his death, his son Muhammad took over. When many people became disillusioned with his leadership, many of them turned to his son, also called Hasan. Hasan was charismatic and rumored to be a rebel, even drinking wine, which is forbidden in Islam. Hasan's father adamantly opposed the factions that believed his son was the "Imam" or spiritual leader of the band.

To punish his son's followers, he did something rather twisted. He killed 250 of Hasan's devotees, then tied their corpses to the backs of 250 more. He then banished them from their home city of Alamut.

I'm assuming they had to leave the city, carrying their dead compatriots on their backs. I can't help but wonder what was going through Mohammad's mind at the time. What was the purpose of this? If it was just to degrade and demoralize them, I'm sure it worked. But was there some other symbolic meaning? To carry the weight of the dead? To flee with blood on their hands (or in this case backs?) I don't know, but it's interesting to think about. I also wonder how far they walked before relinquishing the corpses. And did they bury them at that time? One would think so, but it's hard to know for sure. I haven't found any historical records that say.

I'm not one who's usually drawn to stories about Eastern societies, but this would make fascinating story material. What do you think? Sorry if I've given everyone a mildly unpleasant mental picture, but if you're gonna continue to read this blog, you may want to get used to that.

Anyone got any bizarre or nasty punishment stories that trump this one?

Remember, knowledge of our past is our inheritance; what we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies.

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