Sunday, July 31, 2016

More Comments Regarding Cuzco Sacsahuaman – Part IV


Here are more comments from the readers of this blog regarding the ancient city of Cuzco and the Fortress of Sacsahuaman.
    Comment #1: “I don’t think you achieve anything by making up distance words and claiming they mean something to try and confuse the reader” Margaret M.
    Response: OK. The word “topo,” pronounced “tupu,” is a Quechua word used in the Andean area centuries before the Spanish arrived as a distance of measurement. What if Mormon wrote: “The distance across the narrow neck of land was 29 topo.” Does that help with the understanding any? The point is not to confuse a reader, but to show that Mormon had a difficult problem in trying to come up with a way to show a distance knowing that a future people, with a different language, would be reading his abridgement and was trying to convey to that future people a measurement of distance they would understandso he chose how far a normal man (Nephite) could walk on a journey in a day-and-a-half, to make that distance reasonably understood. All we have to do to understand that distance today is to consider how far a normal man (not an athlete, a marathon runner, Indian, or military man could cover in a day-and-a-half if he was to try and rush or set a world record. It is as simple as that.
    Comment #2: “I find it interesting that all this argument over the names of animals seems mute in light of the following comment I ran across recently: “Reynolds and Sjodahl give a well-known example. When the Spanish arrived in the Americas they were introduced to a new food crop for which they had no name. They called it corn. This was the old world name of the food which they found to bare the closest relationship — wheat. Today, when we come across a reference to corn in the Bible, we're sometimes confused. The description just doesn't sound like corn at all. And, of course, it isn't. Today, in popular language, corn almost universally has that new meaning given by those explorers who were stuck for a name to identify an unfamiliar food crop” Carmichael T.
Response: First of all, the generic word “corn” in Europe stood for grain crops in general. It wasn’t that corn resembled wheat, which it does not, but that it resembled a grain crop the way it initially grows, thus it was called “corn,” meaning a grain. Secondly, the early Spanish, seeing something for the first time did not have the advantage of Joseph Smith—there was no Spirit involved in the Spaniards’ translation. This is the issue so many so-called “professionals” seem to neglect in their thinking and that is knowledge of the words they are using as well as the method of translating the Book of Mormon—the spirit placed the words on the seer stone and Jospeh, bending his faculties to the task, read them off. I can just see the Spirit placing the word “corn” when he knew it was “maize,” or “cow” when he knew it was a “deer.” In such cases where Joseph did not know what the plant, metal or animals were and there was no word he would have known the item or animal by, we ended up with the words Joseph didn’t have a translation for, such as neas, sheum, ziff, cumoms and cureloms. 
    This leads to another question along this same line: 
    Comment #3: “Nephi gives us a rather succinct list (1 Nephi 18:25). They found cows, oxen, burros, horses, goats, and wild goats. While there are several items in this list that bare discussion, let's first consider what Nephi is doing here. Experts point out that when Nephi and his family arrived in this new world, wherever they landed, they were greeted by animals that they had never seen before. What was Nephi to call them. The only names he had were those for similar animals in the old country. He did what travelers throughout history have always done, he named these new animals according to their resemblance to that which was familiar” Jason S.
Response: First of all, there is no reason to think that all the animals encountered had never been seen before and that Nephi just made up names—if that were the case, we would not have the names of cumons or cureloms. That is just a “dodge” by a so-called “expert” who doesn’t have the foggiest idea how to handle such a problem as he sees it within the scriptural record. The animals were as Nephi labeled them, given to him by the Spirit and he, being a farmer from several generations of farmers, knew what most of the animals were. To claim otherwise is to suggest that the Jaredites, who brought the animals with them, had numerous animals in Mesopotamia that no one had ever heard of, to which no archaeological record bears agreement. Secondly, in “what was Nephi to call them,” he called them the names given him by the Spirit on the seer stone.
The two he did not know, the cumoms and the cureloms he spelled out so the scribe would get the spelling correct. To claim anything else is to ignore or even disregard the testimony of all those involved in the translation of the plates who have written about how it took place.
    Third, as to what Nephi is doing, he states it quite clearly, giving us a record of what took place: “And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forest of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men” (1 Nephi 18:25). How much clearer could he make it? 
    Comment #4: “Is there really a secret pass behind Sacsahuaman that would match the comments made by Gideon saying there was one behind the City of Nephi? I always thought that sounded like an adventure story” Walter S. 
    Response: I believe it was Lucian Bane who said, “Fiction is just a mirror of reality for the most part,” but then, while literature was always considered a mirror of reality in the past, the prolific Polish historian and author of 30 books and member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Jerzy Topolski claims that “literature as a mirror of reality has lost its plausibility.” Whatever is the case, I remember that my first reaction to reading Gideon’s comment as an adult was that it reminded me of the stories I grew up on with Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy, Captain Midnight, and The Shadow.
    However, in this case, there really is a “secret passage” behind the City of Nephi or Sacsahuaman, though the word “secret” might just refer to the fact that the Lamanties, evidently not a curious people, did not know of its existence.
Top: The mass of rocks behind Sacsahuaman known as the hill of Rodadero; Bottom Left: The scattering of rocks all about leading to a labyrinth of openings; Bottom Right: The main passage leading through the “secret” pass Gideon described 
    As Gideon stated to king Limhi: “Behold the back pass, through the back wall, on the back side of the city. The Lamanites, or the guards of the Lamanites, by night are drunken; therefore let us send a proclamation among all this people that they gather together their flocks and herds, that they may drive them into the wilderness by night. And I will go according to thy command and pay the last tribute of wine to the Lamanites, and they will be drunken; and we will pass through the secret pass on the left of their camp when they are drunken and asleep” (Mosiah 22:6-7). As the Captain of the Guard (equivalent to the chief captain of the army except that the Nephites had no army while among the Lamanites in the City of Nephi), he would have known all the areas of defense, attack and escape around the city walls.
Looking southeast over Rodadera Hill behind Sacsahuaman; Yellow Arrow: Hill where Ammon camped overnight; White Arrow: cities of Shilom and Nephi in the valley below the hills; Green Arrow: Sacsahuaman hill; Red Arrow: the Esplanade or plain between Sacsahuaman walls and Rodadero Hill 
    To understand the lack of knowledge on the part of the Lamanites might be explained by the fact that there are numerous openings in the rocks within and to the rear of the complex at Sacsahuaman, called the Hill of Rodadero—a place of retaining walls, curiously polished rocks, and a finely carved series of stone benches known today as "the throne of the Inca"—it is also full of small labyrinths that generally lead nowhere, tunnels and vaulted niches in the rocks seemingly without purpose. 
Secret Pass: LtoR and Top to Bottom: Steps leading out of the city; the first opening not very noticeable, pass through into a mass of rocks called the Rodadero; through a corridor of almost sheer stone sides, and through the hill to the rear of the pass and into the opening well behind the city 
    Most of these tunnels or labyrinth of openings and niches lead nowhere, although some within the complex are said to lead into the maze of tunnels beneath the fortress with some ending up down in the city. In addition there are all sorts of rock formations with carvings on them laying about that seem to have no purpose whatever, so it should not be surprising that this particular “back pass” might have been “secret,” that is, of no interest to the Lamanites, and the particular pass Gideon suggested being unknown to others.

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