ASSASSINS (σικάριος, G4974, Lat. sicarius, meaning dagger men, murderers). A name given to and borne by fanatical Jewish nationalists who stood in the Maccabean tradition. Members of the band carried, hidden in their cloak, a dagger about the size of a Pers. scimitar and curved like a Rom. sica. Bold, courageous, and unscrupulous, bitterly opposed to the Rom. overlords and to all collaborators with them, they mingled in the crowds (esp. on feast days), watched for an opportunity to wield their concealed weapons, and did not hesitate to kill even in open daylight. Roman rulers in Pal. had a healthy respect for them, and their bodyguards had to be on the constant alert against them. The very name, Sicarii, inspired terror in the countryside.