Sunday, October 30, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XXI

Continuing with more of the scriptural record statements that lead us to a clearer understanding of the location of the Land of Promise, for there can be no question that any Land of Promise must have all these descriptions Mormon and Moroni left us, must be reachable by ship “driven forth before the wind” by an inexperienced crew, and qualify for an island as Jacob said, or existed at the time of the Nephites.
     In this particular article, we take a look at the warning towers that were built, perhaps as early as Nephi’s day, but certainly by king Noah’s time, for he “built a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about” (Mosiah 11:12).
On the hill at Sacsahuaman overlooking (white arrow) the city of Nephi (Cuzco), and the approaching (yellow arrow) entrances and valleys beyond, behind a remarkable (green arrow) three-tiered, zig-zagged defensive wall, someone atop a tower there could see for miles and observe the three approaches into the valley and city below (the temple and tower were located top right on the crest of the hill)

    The tower Noah built was big enough, and tall enough, and sturdy enough for him to climb up, looking for protection from Gideon who was chasing him with drawn sword (Mosiah 19:4).
    Now this tower was near the temple, and very high, “even so high he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also he land of Shemlon…and even all the land round about” (Mosiah 11:12).
    “And Gideon pursued after him and was about to get upon the tower to slay the king, and the king cast his eyes round about towards the land of Shemlon, and behold, the army of the Lamanites were within the borders of the land” (Mosiah 19:6). When the Spanish arrived in these mountains under the leadership of Pizzaro, and entered Cuzco (from the southeast), “their armor glistening in the sunlight, their plumes waving in the fresh morning air, their banners flying and flapping, and their trumpets sending clear, loud blasts among the hills, advanced with sturdy step into the streets of Cuzco, the streets were crowded with an immense crowd of Peruvians, attired in the most brilliant variety of color; their curious head-gear, indicating the province from which each came, especially attracting the attention of the Spaniards. The multitude seemed dazed at the appearance of the strangers, but not at all disposed to resent their entrance.”
Pizzaro’s entrance into Cuzco, with the young Inca Prince, Manco, carried in a litter at his side, and as he passed, the Prince was greeted with the shouts of the people, who hailed him as their sovereign

    Francisco Pizarro marched directly to the great public square in the center of the city. On the way, the Spaniards were exceedingly struck by the noble edifices, the towers and temples, the palaces and vast private residences, the well-built streets crossing each other at right angles, the blooming gardens, the brightly-painted walls, the sparkling river which ran directly through the city, spanned by handsome stone bridges, and, looming on a crag high above the houses, the frowning fortress of the Incas.
    The square itself was surrounded by a number of low buildings, and by several palaces. In these Pizarro lodged his officers; while the troops encamped in their tents in the broad open space, which they found to be neatly paved with small pebbles. From their positions throughout the city, they looked up on the north cliff facing the city and saw huge edifices, including three tall towers. All that stands today is the foundation since the Spanish tore down the towers, after an Inca rebellion used it for defensive purposes
Top: The drawing of the Spanish descriptions of what they saw as they entered Cuzco for the first time; White Arrow points to the tallest of three towers on the northwestern hill of Sacsahuaman; Bottom: Yellow arrow: outer ring of the actual tower; White arrow: Outer of two support foundation rings; Green arrow: Foundation of walled structure building around the base of the tower

    The main precinct of Sacsayhuaman is made up of three large terraces, whose plots were leveled and flattened. Several buildings and three big towers were erected on these terraces. To the east side was located the tower called Paucar Marca (Precious Precinct), in the middle was the tower Sallac Marca (Precinct with Water) and to the west was the main tower, shown here, Muyuq Marca (Round Precinct). The first two had rectangular floors. Today there are only a few slight vestiges of the first two towers, and only the foundations of the third tower survived. These remains indicate that it was a rectangular-floor construction of a round tower. This tower ended up in a triangular ceiling with great slant over a top lookout opening so the viewer could see 360º.
These towers were so impressive to the Spanish that the chronicler Garsilaso (left) wrote about them. Having been born in Cuzco, in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, to an Inca noblewoman or Princess named Palla Chimpu Ocllo and a Spanish Captain and conquistador named Sebastian Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas, he played among the buildings at Sacsayhuaman as a child, even within the labyrinth of tunnels and rooms beneath.
    Born in 1539 as Gómez Suárez de Figueroa and known as El Inca or Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Spanish, he was a chronicler who wrote that on the top of the three "walls" or "bulwarks" there were three strong towers disposed in a triangle. The main tower was in the middle and had a circular shape, it was named as Moyoc Marca (Muyuq Marka), the second one was named as Paucar Marca, and the third Sacllar Marca (Sallaq Marka); the last two were rectangular.”
    The tower of Muyuq Marca was also called the Tower of Chauide because the Inca Titu Cusi Huallpa, called Cahuide, jumped from its highest part in order to avoid being captured by the the Spanish during a rebellion at the end of the Inca period. It was first discovered in 1034 at the top of the Temple of Sacsahuaman, and consists of three concentric, circular stone walls connected by a series of radial walls. There are three channels constructed to bring water into what many scientists consider to be a reservoir. A web-like pattern of 34 lines intersects at the center and also there is a pattern of concentric circles that corresponded to the location of the circular walls. According to the chronicles and modern excavations, it was a building with 4 superposed floors. The first body had a square floor; the second and third were cylindrical shape, forming circular cultivation terraces with decreasing width, being the widest of 12-feet and the narrowest of 10 feet. The tower ended in a conic or cone shape and reached a total height of 65 feet (6-story building by today’s standards).
It was as amazing work that generated the admiration of several chroniclers, as befitting the comment about Noah building it “and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation of his people” (Mosiah 11:13), during a period of lavish remodeling and construction, described by Mormon as “building many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper; And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things” (Mosiah 11:8).
    Mormon also tells us that this tower was “a very high tower” (Mosiah 11:12), and indeed it must have been to see from its top floor into two entirely different far areas of “the land of Shilom and also the land of Shemlon” (Mosiah 11:12) situated beyond the area of the city of Nephi, and since it was built “next to the temple,” we can only conclude that it would have been built of stone, for there is no way a tower that high could have been built of wood or other perishable material.
    Thus, for theorists to claim that Nephite buildings would not have survived the ages because there are not such magnificent structures in the location of their models, other than Mesoamerica and Andean Peru, is simply a very weak argument and one that cannot be supported by reality, history, and observation.
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XXII,” for more of Mormon’s statements that lead us to a clearer understanding of the location of the Land of Promise)

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