This spectacular coin is the first one in the “Assassins” series. The given series is dedicated to the most dangerous assassins of all times.
The Nizaris are the largest segment of the Ismaili Shi'i Muslims, who are the second-largest branch of Shia Islam, second only to the largest, the Twelver. Nizari teachings emphasize human reasoning, or ijtihad—using educated, independent reasoning in solving legal questions; pluralism—the acceptance of racial, ethnic, cultural and inter-religious differences; and social justice. The Aga Khan, currently Aga Khan IV, is the spiritual leader and Imam of the Nizaris. The global seat of the Ismaili Imamate is in Lisbon, Portugal.
What better place to start than the people that gave us the word ‘assassin’ in the first place. The Nizari Ismaili of the time were a Shia Islamic sect based in Syria, who employed a small army of acolytes using asymmetrical warfare to fulfil their objectives. They did this by killing individual enemies, usually important people, and they often made the ‘hit’ as public as possible, just to instil fear. Until finally destroyed by the Mongol Horde, the Nizari Order kept more powerful enemies at bay for centuries.
The coin looks quite outstanding. The trio of fida’i (the group that carried out the attacks) look suitably menacing and the gilded finish to the swords is a neat touch. The fortress of Alamut in the Elbrus Mountains, the political centre of the sect from 1090-1256, is depicted in the background, and it all sits inside an attractive border. The obverse face has the usual Ian Rank Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II in the middle, but it’s placed in a Middle-Eastern style window, surrounded by Arabic-style tracery and a couple of period swords. The mintage is limited to 999 coins for global distribution.
Let’s delve into the shadowy world of the Assassins!
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