Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More Comments From Readers – Part III

Here are some additional comments and questions from readers of this blog:
    Comment #1: “It seems there are several negative comments in the Book of Mormon about people wearing silk and fine-twined linen. Why did the Nephites have such an attitude about people who wanted to dress well?” Kathy Lee N.
Top: The common tunic. Women's tunics were to the ankle; Bottom: Nicer dress worn by the upper class and wealthy
    Response: First, it was not the Nephites listed as being opposed to fine clothing, but the prophets who saw in that an attitude inconsistent with humility and righteousness. In the Andes, as an example, the common man (puric), usually seen as “a man of the people,” dressed simply and unpretentiously, in a simple tunic or poncho (onka) something like a shorter version of a Victorian nightgown made by folding a piece of cloth down the middle and cutting  a slip for the head and sewing up the edges leaving a gap in the folds for the arms, usually from the wool of the alpaca; over his shoulders at night he placed a sort of woolen cape garment (yacolca), and wore a breechcloth—as all Lamanites did (Enos 1:20; Alma 3:5; 43:20), though the Nephites did not—that passed between the legs and was held in place by a colorful woolen chumpi belt On festive occasions, he wore a larger tunic that reached to his ankles and went shod in sandals (usta).
    Now it is important to know that the more wealthy people, the governing elite, merchants, etc., dressed as did the puric, or common man, except that the quality of the material he wore was both expensive and very attractive, such as their tunics being spun from the finest vicuna wool, and also from silk, and fine-twined linen (byssus), much like the Egyptians wore; and we find in Exodus that some wore skillfully woven waistbands, and gold and blue and purple and scarlet yard of fine-twined linen (Exodus 28:8). Josephus spoke of a girdle dyed of many hues, with gold interwoven in it. The ancient Jews of means wore very fine clothing, some dyed twice and finely woven, making them very expensive. Anciently, there were over 250 different type fabrics, mostly different in not so much various cloths, but in how they were woven. As an example, “aba” was a garment of camel or goat hair, such as prophets in the wilderness might wear; “armure,” twilled woolen or silk fabric; “baft,” cheap cotton fabric; “brilliantine,” light lustrous cotton fabric; “amaca,” fine silk fabric; “charmeuse,” soft and satiny silk fabric,” etc.
    In addition, the Jews were familiar with the linen of Egypt, which was cloth made from flax, and which was the great center of the linen trade. Some linen, made from the Egyptian byssus, a flax that grew on the banks of the Nile, was exceedingly soft and of dazzling whiteness, and its linen products sold for twice their weight in gold. In the Bible, “linen,” “find linen,” and “silk” were all called pishtah (pishet), shesh, and butz, and bad. Linen, to the Jews, was a “mark of luxury.”
    The prophets were not against dressing nicely and have a nice appearance, they were against the Nephite men and women who were then setting themselves apart as they became wealthier from the “common” man or women by the quality of the fabric their clothes were made from and the appearance of it. Silk, of course was more expensive than common wool, cotton or linen, and the finer “twined” or twisted strands (smooth) making up linen more expensive than a single twine (coarse), etc. 
    Comment #2: “Couldn’t the roads in Peru, Ecuador and Chile have been built by the Inca? They are even called “The Inca Roads,” you know” Susan J.
Response: According to the Inca’s own history, they came to power around the 12th century in southern Peru; however, the reality is they did not become a people of which anyone even took note, let alone feared, before the 15th century, when Pachakuti took control of the ayulla (community) and surprised the attacking Chanca kingdom who thought to easily overrun Cuzco valley (so easily, that the Ayarmaca divided their attacking army into two parts, sending only one-third into Cuzco while sending two-thirds further south.
    Not even the other cultures, tribes and groups in the area of the Inca were willing to support them, let alone fight with them against this invading army that was feared by the regions round about.
    Piror to 1438, we know very little of what is today called the Inca, and nothing in comparison of what we know about the Kotosh, Chavin, Paracas, Chankillo, Moche, Tiwanaku, Wari, Chimu, etc., knowing only at the moment Cusi Yupanqui (who later would proclaim himself Pachacutec) bravely led the resistance, after his father and brother who had ruled in the ayulla had fled Cuzco. He defeated the Hanin Chanka, who had ruled the overall region after the decline and eventual fall of the War, between 1200 and 1438 when they attacked the small group in the Cuzco valley—which it was assumed at the time that the capture of the City of Cuzco and defeat of those who defended it would be a simple matter. But Cusi Yupanqui dressed stones to look like soldiers in such numbers as to frighten the advancing Chanka and in the confusion, the 40,000 warriors of the Chanka were whittled down to 20,000 before they realized what they faced. By then it was too late.
    The young leader who defended Cusco took up sovereign power after 1438 and founded a new dynasty, referred to himself as The Inka (which means "master"), which eventually was expanded to include all the Royal Family, and much later, those who governed (not until the Spaniards came did the term erringly become applied to all the native people), according to the Commentarios Reales de los Incas by Garcilaso de la Vega.
    The People then began their meteoritic rise to power under the name later given to them as the Inca, quickly bringing the other groups in the valley under their control by suddenly creating pantheons of Inca rulers and history back through time and boasting of all they had done and that they were the superior power in the land. In reality, the four main expansions of the Inca began with Pachacutec who expanded his territory mostly northward between the central valley and the Peruvian jungles from 1438 to 1463; followed by Tupac Yupanqui, who expanded further northward from the central valley to the coast of northern Peru and a little of southern Ecuador from 1463-1471; followed by Thupa Inka who expanded into the rest of coastal Peru and far southward into Chile and Argentina from 1471-1493; followed by Huaina Capac who expended into Tiahuanaco in the south and Ecuador and Colombia in the north in 1493-1525.
If we disregard the fictitious Inca rulers that were created backward from 1438 in order to give the Inca legitimacy in all their claims, we find only four actual emperors who ruled: 1) Pachacuti-Inca-Yupanqui (known also as Pachacutec; 2) Topa Inca Yupanqui; and 3) Huayna Capac—who died in 1527, leaving two sons, Huascar, who received most of the empire, and Atahuallpa, who received the northern parts, including Quito. Atahuallpa defeated his brother in a war Huascar began, and took over sole leadership as emperor in 1532, providing the 4th legitimate emperor; however, in less than a year, the Spanish arrived and executed him.
    As you can see, the Inca were heavily involved in fighting battles and wars as they expanded from about 150 square miles in Cuzco Valley beginning in 1438, to around 300,000 square miles by the time the Spaniards arrived in 1532, less than 100 years later—which is conquering through battle almost 3200 square miles per year. Does anyone think that they would, at the same time, have had time to build about 25,000 miles of roads, most rock faced, with rock walls, carved steps up granite-faced hills and mountains, suspension bridges over deep ravines, and raised highways across valleys, etc.—that is over 287 miles per year of roads being built while fighting through deep valleys and over mountains, through piles of snow, quagmires, living rock, along turbulent rivers; in some places the roads ran smooth and paved, carefully laid out; in others over sierras, cut through the rock, with walls skirting the rivers, and steps and rests through the snow; everywhere it was clean swept and kept free of rubbish, with lodgings, storehouses, temples to the sun, and posts along the way. 
    Besides, archaeologists claim the roads were built long before the Inca came to power and expanded their small ayulla community beyond Cuzco Valley.

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