Monday, January 2, 2017

Is the Ripliancum a River?

All we know about the Waters of Ripliancum is that it was a large body of water, in fact, it was so large it exceeded all; however, what that means is uncertain. Exceeded all of what? Exceeded that of a lake? An Ocean? Being an island (2 Nephi 10:20), it could be suggested that this body of water was merely the name applied by the Jaredites to the northern area of the ocean surrounding their homeland. 
    These waters were far to the north in the Land Northward, and when Shiz chased Coriantumr to this area in a running battle that lasted over several days. It must have been in the late afternoon or early evening by the time they reached the waters, for Coriantumr’s army pitched their tents, as did Shiz’s army, to await the morning to do battle (Ether 15:8).
The question could always be asked, why did they stop at the Waters of Ripliancum?
Evidently Coriantumr had been running with Shiz in hot pursuit for much of the day, or that portion of the day that still remained following the battle that took place earlier between these two groups (Ether 15:6). It might be that they could have gone further. If Ripliancum was a river, one wonders why Coriantumr did not cross over the river and camp on the other side, keeping his army from allowing Shiz to cross over as well. A river could be a natural barrier between armies and still allow both sides to benefit from the water for drinking, cooking, and refreshing. However, none of this is mentioned.
     It might be that this was a river, but not passable, at least at this point, such as a deep canyon with no bridge over the river.
    Now on the following morning, the two forces engaged in fighting once again, with the battle going strongly for some time, in which Coriantumr was wounded, and Shiz’ army beaten so badly, that Shiz fled with his men to the south.
After a day of battle, both armies retire into the night, pitch their tents and rest up for the next day's battle 

    One could also ask why, since the two armies had been traveling north the day before, now why all of a sudden are they turning and fleeing back south? It could be that this river, as mentioned, as impassable at this point and such a barrier, that they retreated from it. Or, it could be that these waters were an ocean blocking any and all northern progress.
    In heading south again, Shiz eventually stopped running and had his army set up camp in a place called Ogath. While we know a little about the lands to the south of Ripliancum, we know nothing to the north as though there was nothing there, or perhaps it was because there was no way to access a northern area at this time or in this place.
    Either way it would be understood that first, Coriantumr decided to stop running at this shore, either because it was an impassable river or because it was the coast. Either one would provide him with a place to cover his back and allow him to stop the pending battle from renewing, at least for a time—no doubt, over night while the two groups could eat, rest, and get prepared for battle again the next day.
    At Ogath, the army of Coriantumr pitched their tents by a hill called Ramah, which was the same hill where Mormon later hid the sacred records, called Cumorah, which in New York from Lake Ontario to the hill Cumorah would have been a distance of about 35 miles for both armies to cover in a matter of a few hours before dark following a heavy battle—not likely a fatigued army is going to cover some 30 miles in a matter of a handful of hours, especially when there seems no reason to keep going.
The Mira River, located between Ecuador and Colombia runs between a dry and warm interandean valley, with a two-hour runs of Class III and IV rapids 

   In fact, some writers knowledgeable of the South American setting in Ecuador have suggested that Ripliancum could have been a river. In this area, the bloated Mira River, particularly when the snows melted filling the three rivers of the Ambi, Chorlavi and Taguando to over flowing which creates even today a river junction that is large, or to exceed all as far as rivers go.
The flood plain (light blue) when filled from the melting snow gives these rivers a huge area, and as far as rivers go, very large, or to exceed all. In addition, within this limited area, there are nine significant lakes, and numerous small ones giving it the name of the “lake district” 

    This river junction, coupled with seasonal flooding could have stopped the movement of  both armies if Ripliancum was not the north coast. The southern part of this northern central plateau is arid, with very light rain fall and there are no streams except the runoff from melting snow; however, further north the rain fall is heavy, giving rise to a number of small streams that feed these three westward flowing great rivers—the Guayan (part of the Guayaquil estuary), the Esmeraldas (Guaillabamba is its largest tributary) and the Mira, which is north of Quito and near the border with Colombia.
 The “lake district” in northern Ecuador in which the “Land of Many Waters” is located and the Hill Cumorah 

    This area, which lies between the Cordilera Occidental to the west and the Cordillera Oriental to the east, is about 10 ½ miles to the north of the hill Imbabura (hill Cumorah), which then spreads northward over a very large area to encompass the flood plain area of these three rivers—an even larger area all about this part of Ecuador referred to as the “lake district,” with the area of Ogath directly south of these lowlands that sits southwest of Imbabura, the probable hill Cumorah.
 The area north of the “Lake District” where cactus-like plants grow in empty fields of barren growth and the fertile green of the lake district is seldom, if ever, seen 

    Today the highway which leads from Ecuador into Colombia passes directly through the lowlands area. It was through this area that the Spanish conquistadores came. North of this route, beyond the lowlands the earth appears to be utter desolation, a no-man’s land where small cactus-like plants grow, but not much else. This barren land continues to the border town of Tulcan (over 9000 feet elevation). To the east of the lowlands are the high Cordillera Oriental Eastern Mountains) source of the Mira River, entrance into the amazon basin.
The waters in dry season flood over these lowlands in the north creating a huge river junction of three branches 

    It was here, likely, that Coriantumr and his army fought a fierce battle at the Waters of Ripliancum and caused the armies of Shiz to flee  before them, southward, where they eventually pitched their tents in Ogath (Ether 15:10).
    Today, directly south of these lowlands is a small town called Otavalo, known for its weavers of wool. The town Otavalo sits southwest of a great hill called Cerro Imbabura, an Otavalo may well have been the Ogath of the Jaredite record.
    Coriantumr’s army follow Shiz as he fled “and they did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah, and it was the same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred” (Ether 15:11). If the cerro (hill) Imbabura was the hill Ramah/Cumorah, Coriantumr presumably camped at the northern foot while Shiz probably camped a short distance from its south western foot.

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