Friday, May 26, 2017

Were There Two Towers? -– Part I

There appears to be some confusion regarding the tower(s) king Noah built as indicated in the Book of Mosiah. To help our readers better understand this and the towers Noah built, we need to outline the cities of Nephi, Shilom and Shemlon in relationship to the location of the two towers. Thus, to understand Mormon’s description better, we need to better understand the layout of the City of Nephi, Shilom, Shemlom, and Temple, and the resort on a hill, called a ‘small fort” by Mormon.
An overall aerial view of the Valley of Cuzo, the City of Nephi, and the City of Shilom and the settlement of Shemlon (Chaquillchaca), which was controlled by the Lamanites. Also note only three entrances existed into the Valley through the surrounding hills. Also note the hills all around the area, showing the wisdom of where Nephi settled when escaping from his brothers

The Qorikancha (shown above) is the location of present-day Church of Santo Domingo, built by the Spanish over the foundation ruins of the Temple probably the one built by Nephi that Garcilaso wrote about its great wealth. At the base of the hill upon which Sacsayhuaman was built, the city of Shilom was constructed.
    Overall, two towers existed, one on the hill overlooking the Valley (Sacsahuaman) and one at the temple site in the Valley, likely the foundation of what is called today the Church of Santo Domingo, and forms its base.
Aerial close-up of Sacsahuaman and the Tower built there by Noah. To the West is the Lamanite settlement of Shemlon, and to the south, beneath the hill is Shilom. Only the tower on Sacsayhuaman could have seen both locations. Note, that the wilderness Noah fled into would have been behind or north of Sacsahuaman

Shilom (shown above) extended to the northeast, at the base of the second hill or continuation of the hill upon which Sacsahuaman was built. Southeast of the city of Shilom is the Coricancha, which means in Quechua “the golden courtyard.” Modern archaeologists and anthropologists like to give credit of this construction site to Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the so-called 9th Inca ruler, however, he ruled from 1438 to 1471 actually making him the first of the Inca sovereigns. It is claimed he embarked on a general rebuilding program in Cuzco, however, archaeology of the city does not show evidence of pre-Inca structures. Or stated differently, archaeology does not show evidence of any earlier constructions than what is now found in Cuzco, suggesting either that the valley had no construction prior to the Inca, who came to power and began their ruling state in 1436, or that the site had been occupied from long before and the buildings now seen there, that are called Inca ruins, actually were built long ago in the distant past.
Today, the Church of Santo Domingo, built on top of the ancient ruins of the first temple, now called the Coricancha, which is the basement foundation of the present Spanish cathedral
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they were so awe-struck by these ancient constructions that they asked the Inca who built them, since the Spanish could not believe the lowly and backward Inca (even though they had built a powerful ruling state in the Andes) could have ever built such places. The Inca told the Spanish that they had been built long ago in the past by giants, long before the Inca.
    Within the city of Cuzco, the Spaniards found numerous public buildings, which they called temples, built with trapezoid doorways and windows, along walls that leaned slightly inwards as they rose in height. The light that entered from the unique windows and doorways allowed access and light to enter the interior spaces and a broad band of gold was added mid-way height around the walls. The interior buildings were of one story and doors were also covered in gold sheets, as were the interiors and exteriors of the various temples and the inner side of the perimeter wall was even said to have been studded with emeralds.
Part of the foundation structure under the Church of Santo Domingo. These ancient walls were part of the first temple and have weathered thousands of years of earthquakes without a single mishap

At the time of the Spanish conquest, the most important temple in Cuzco was the Temple of the Sun, at the time dedicated to the sun god Inti. However, before the Inca, this temple was dedicated to Viracocha (Wiracocha, Wiraqoca, or Con-Tici), the great, all-knowing, powerful Creator God, sometimes called Pachacamac within the Andes. He was the creator of all things, including the universe, the sun, moon, and stars as well as time itself and all mankind. He was originally worshipped as god of the sun and of storms, of the sea and oceans, and wore the sun for a crown, with thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from his eyes as rain.
    The Spanish chronicler Pedrso Sarmiento de Gamboa wrote that Viracocha was described as "a man of medium height, white and dressed in a white robe like an alb (similar to the long, white linen tunic worn by the Romans) and secured round the waist; he carried a staff and a book in his hands. In legend, Viracocha had one son, called Inti, and at one time destroyed all his creations by Flood, saving two. Manco Capac was the son of Inti, which name means splendid foundation.”
    It seems obvious, that over time, and given the nature of the ungodly to attribute all things of God to man and nature, Viracocha became one of a pantheon of gods and Inti, a god of the Sun or Sun God.
    The original temple, built to Viracocha and dedicated to the Creator God, had both interior and exterior walls covered in gold—called the “sweat of the sun”—which was beaten into sheet plates. There were, reportedly, 700 of these half-meter square sheets, each weighing 9 pounds. Inside the temple now called Coricancha in the center of Cuzco, besides golden artifacts relevant to the god's worship, was a gold statue of Inti encrusted with jewels. The statue represented Inti as a small seated boy called Punchao (Day or Midday Sun). From his head and shoulders the sun's rays shone, he wore a royal headband and had snakes and lions coming out of his body. The stomach of the statue was hollow and used to store the ashes of the vital organs of previous Inca rulers. Everyday this statue was brought out into the open air and returned to the shrine each night. One can easily see the point of worship and religion changing over time by these legends.
The Gold Sun Mask with the sacred ceque (zeq’e) lines, physical and cosmic roads of which there were 41 which led to an impressive 328 sacred sites

Another important representation of the god—a giant mask with zig-zag rays bursting from the head—was hung from the wall of a specially dedicated chamber within the temple.
    According to some of the chroniclers, all the Natives of this land affirmed that in the beginning, and before this world was created, there was a being called Viracocha. He created a dark world without sun, moon or stars, and owing to this creation he was named Viracocha Pachayachachi, which means "Creator of all things." To him, all things were made and for him, all things of man were dedicated. As an example, even during Inca times, in the outside garden of “his” temple, was a wonderfully conceived homage to Inti. Just as land—sometimes even entire regions—were dedicated to the god, so too, this garden was constructed in honor of the great sun god. Everything in it was made of gold and silver. A large field of corn and life-size models of shepherds, llamas, jaguars, guinea pigs, monkeys, birds and even butterflies and insects were all crafted in precious metals. And if that wasn't enough there were also a large number of gold and silver jars all encrusted with precious stones. All that survives the Spanish greed of the conquest that took and melted down all these metals and shipped it back to Spain, are a few golden corn stalks, a convincing, if silent, testimony to the lost treasures of Coricancha.
The walls were covered with sheets of gold, the pillars and the ceiling were covered in gold, all of which the Spanish stripped, melted down into gold ingots and shipped back to the Crown in Spain

Five other temples or wasi were placed around the main square courtyard of Coricancha. In order of hierarchy, one temple was dedicated to the creator god Viracocha (more or less equal to Inti), one to Quilla the goddess of the moon, one to Chaska-Qoylor, one to the god of thunder Illapa, and finally one for Cuichu the rainbow god. Just as Inti's temple was covered in gold, Quilla's temple was covered in silver, a metal thought to be the tears of the moon. Each wasi contained a cult statue of that particular god and precious art and religious objects connected to them.
    There was also a dedicated space for the mummified remains of former Inca emperors and their wives, known as mallquis. These were brought out of storage during special ceremonies such as those celebrating the solstices. Offerings were made to these mummies dressed in fine clothes, and the great achievements they had made during their reigns were read out for all to hear. There were also living quarters for priests and priestesses and still other rooms of the complex were used as art and religious treasuries stuffed with artifacts taken from conquered peoples. These may well have been kept in order to guarantee compliance to Inca rule, just as conquered rulers were sometimes held hostage at Cuzco for periods of a year. Yet another interesting feature of the site was an underground channel through which sacred water flowed to the surrounding squares outside the complex.
    Other important functions of Coricancha included the taking of astronomical observations, especially of the Milky Way (Mayu). There was, for example, a pair of towers which marked the Summer solstice and sightings were taken from the sacred ushnu stone against man-made and natural landmarks on the horizon to track the sun. Sacrificial victims (capacochas) were also made ready for their great moment in the precinct's courtyard and then marched along the ceque lines to be sacrificed in the various provinces in honor of Inti and his living incarnation, the Inca emperor.
(See the next post, “Were Thre Two Towers? – Part II,” for more on the two towers that Noah built and their locations and which fits where in the scriptural record)

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