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Siege of Masyaf

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This article is about the siege of 1176. You may be looking for the attack of 1191 or siege of 1257.

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Siege of Masyaf
Conflict

Saracen-Assassin conflict

Date

August 1176

Place

Masyaf, Syria

Outcome
Combatants

Assassins

Saracens

Commanders
Strength

Unspecified numbers of:

  • Assassins
  • 10,000 Saracen soldiers
Casualties
  • Umar Ibn-La'Ahad
  • Unknown number of soldiers
  • At least one nobleman
  • Unknown number of soldiers
Civilian casualties

Unknown numbers

The siege of Masyaf was an engagement between the Saracen armies of Salāḥ ad-Dīn and the Assassin Order, under the command of Rashid ad-Din Sinan.

BackgroundEdit

Sometime during the 1170s, the Assassins were at odds with the Saracens. Following two failed attempts on Salāḥ ad-Dīn's life, the Saracen warlord was unwilling to allow another, and so brought together a force of 10,000 Saracen warriors to descend upon the fortress of Masyaf.

Ignoring the other nine Assassin strongholds, the Saracens made their way through the village and up the gates of the fortress. Salāḥ ad-Dīn's uncle, Šihāb ad-Dīn, attempted to convince his nephew to ally himself with the Assassins, but Salāḥ ad-Dīn refused to listen.

The Saracens began the construction of siege engines while the Assassin began their discussion on how best to handle the situation. Although many of the Assassins wished to see Salāḥ ad-Dīn dead, Al Mualim chose a more subtle approach.

Umar's sacrificeEdit

The following night, Al Mualim ordered the Master Assassin, Umar Ibn-La'Ahad to infiltrate the Saracen camp and provide a warning to Saladin, utilizing information gathered by an Assassin spy already in the camp. Umar was successful, leaving a feather and dagger in the warlord's tent, though he was forced to kill a nobleman during his escape.

The following day, Salāḥ ad-Dīn left, although his uncle remained to negotiate the terms of peace. In the days that followed, Šihāb ad-Dīn informed the Assassins that they would leave once they had the head of the nobleman's killer, Umar, whose name had been learned from the captured spy, Ahmad Sofian.

The Saracen leader threatened that unless Umar was brought forward, they would kill Ahmad, and continue their siege. Although Al Mualim was reluctant to allow Umar to take Ahmad's place on the executioners' block, it was through Umar's insistence and the fact that if the siege continued, it would most likely end in their defeat, that he eventually relented.

Umar walked towards his death, and when his son, Altaïr, cried out to him, Umar asked Al Mualim to train his son to be an Assassin like himself. Following Umar's execution, the Saracens left Masyaf.

AftermathEdit

The siege ended, resulting in the deaths of several Assassins, as well as at least one Master Assassin: Umar Ibn-La'Ahad. Following the siege, the Assassin spy, Ahmad, was overcome with guilt. He came to Altaïr's room in the middle of the night and apologized, before committing suicide before the young boy's eyes. A shocked Altaïr brought the news to Al Mualim, who told him to keep it a secret, even from Ahmad's son, Abbas.

ReferenceEdit

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