On the surface of it, the choice of the Knight Templar for the second ‘Assassins’ coin might seem a bit of a stretch. The Order was better known as the heavy shock troops of the Crusades, rather than the sneaking around and throat-cutting most often associated with the Nizari Ismailis that gave Assassins their name. However, the interplay between the two was much more than that.
In 1163, Amalric, the Christian King of Jerusalem, invaded Egypt in a campaign that did not go well, causing the deaths of many Templars. Actually an independent organisation answerable only to the Pope, the Templars decided to sit it out when Amalric went back for more. The bad relationship continued when the Templars discovered Amalric was talking to the Assassin’s leader. Fanatical Ismailis, they attacked Christians and Sunni Muslims alike, but they feared the Templars, even paying them a tribute of 2,000 Bezants to leave them alone!
A hedonistic cult despised by Christian and Muslim alike, the Ismaili leader Sinan, told Amalric that they wanted to convert to Christianity, and sent an envoy, but on his return journey, the envoy was attacked by Templars. It’s postulated that the Templars understood Sinan’s true nature, and wanted to prevent him getting a foothold in Christian land, or maybe they didn’t want to lose the annual tribute paid to them by the Assassins, but the two groups did clash, and it seems like the Knights Templar held the upper hand.