15-Mar-2010 – Excerpt
But just before the burning he allowed his historian Junayvi (who was writing a biography of the Mongol prince) to enter the library and bring out a few of the books, enough as would fit into a small wheelbarrow. No time was allowed to consider the matter. Junayvi hurriedly saved a few Qurans, a chronicle of Alamut and a biography of Hasan Sabbah. Everything else perished in the flames. The vast library filled with tens hundreds of thousands of manuscripts burned for seven days and seven nights bringing to an end the history of the Ismailis of Alamut. Over the years, knowledge of the Ismailis degenerated into misunderstandings, romances and other fanciful nonsenses such as those popularised by the explorer Marco Polo.
Or so it was believed. But later, as I sat sipping chai in the shade of the cherry trees below the famous rock, I started to doubt the commonly-held view.