Friday, 30 June 2017


At the height of their power the Assassins held sway from Anatolia to Bombay and could bring down princes and Shahs alike. The Assassins were the most feared secret organisation of them all. Founded by Hassan I Sabbah in the 11th century, they were fanatical followers of Ismailis Islam which taught all actions were morally ambivalent, they originally formed in Cairo but when Hassan fell out with the Ismails sect leaders they headed for Persia and in 1090 captured the fortress Alamut.
The sect sought political power by assassination. A favourite method of doing this was using deep sleepers who would infiltrate the target for several years and befriend him before the assassination. The power of the movement rapidly spread west and in Syria they assassinated two Kalifs.
In 1163 the then Assassin ruler Mohammed II entered into negations with the crusaders and tried to end Islam in the Assassin’s lands. Shortly after 3 assassins were dispatched to kill Saladin. The failure of the attempt was to make them a mortal and powerful enemy and in 1176 Saladin retaliated invading their lands and decimating them. The Assassins on the back foot came to a truce with Saladin and agreed to stop trying to assassinate him.
The Assassins continued as a potent force in Persia and Syria but a series of weak leaders stemmed any possibility of further expansion until the Mongol invasion when the Mongols kidnapped and killed there leader and took their lands.
In 1260 the Malmuks repulsed the Mongols and they revived the remains of the order under Egyptian control as the ‘Arrows of the Sultan’ where they continued to survive in neutered form for a few centuries.

Friday, 23 June 2017

The Biggest Blag in History

It was the largest bullion heist in world history, one hundred thousand pounds, the equivalent of a years tax revenue for England.
While Edward I was away fighting in Scotland, unemployed clerk Richard of Pudlicott took it upon himself the raid the royal treasury. Assembling a crack gang of villains and having inside monks in Westminster Abbey where the haul was stashed. Richard gained entry to the secure abbey and in one night stole as much of the loot as they could carry, supposedly leaving more than half behind.
The job was so successful that it left authorities clueless as to who did it and Longshanks himself had to return from Scotland.
Having blagged the modern equivalent of a few hundred billion it was what to do with so much money that eventually brought the raiders down. Wads of cash, diamonds and royal gold began surfacing in brothels, boozers and gambling dens across London as the gang splashed out their new found wealth about.
Longshanks set his constables about arresting anyone found with the goods, which eventually led back to the fences and finally Richard of Pudlicott.
Tortured and imprisoned Richard refused to name his accomplices and went on to be tried in the most high profile trial of the middle ages. Richard of Pudlicott was hung and much of the loot recovered, but the monks who helped him and his gang got clean away.