History Of Assassins: When Human Hunter-Killers Began Hunting Humans

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An agent of the Assassins (left, in white turban) fatally stabs Nizam al-Mulk, a Seljuk vizier, in 1092 AD. (14th-century AD manuscript) Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul (Public Domain)

History Of Assassins: When Human Hunter-Killers Began Hunting Humans

For at least 200,000 years Homo sapiens were hunter-gatherer-fishers and at the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, they flipped from being the number one prey food on the planet to being the apex predator. One would expect that having dominated every animal on the planet, the global overlords would have evolved from their hyper-violent past, but this is not the case. Rather than working together as hunting teams trying to fell huge megafauna, since the dawn of ‘civilization’ about 3,000 years ago, history is replete with endless records of highly-trained factions of human hunter-killers.

Thuggees strangling a traveler on a highway in India in the early 19th century. ( Public Domain )

Thuggees strangling a traveler on a highway in India in the early 19th century. ( Public Domain )

Assassins, and gangs of them, have appeared throughout history in many formats from inspired political activists to gold-hungry, cold-hearted killers. Killing their targets for a host of reasons, but most having a financial benefit, most of history's renowned specialized killers had deep political affiliations and military allegiances. What they all had in common was the practice of recruiting young members and brainwashing them into the ways of the skilled-murderer. In remote hilltop forts, new recruits were taught the arts of deceit and misdirection so as to become professional manhunters, and in some cases, womanhunters.


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