William Pitt the Younger riding on the back of George III while surveying the French squadron, 1803. © Musee de la Ville de Paris, Musee Carnavalet, Paris / Bridgeman Images.


Volume IX, Number 1 | winter 2016


A sect of violent Islamic agents founded in eleventh-century Persia to fight the Fatimid caliph in Egypt became known as the Hashshashin, which translates as “eaters of hashish”; their grand master supposedly administered the drug to demonstrate the paradise that would follow agents’ service. From the name Hashshashin, Christian Crusaders derived the word assassin.

If the world were good for nothing else, it is a fine subject for speculation.

—William Hazlitt, 1823