Saturday, May 27, 2017

Were There Two Towers? – Part II

Continuing on the subject of the two towers that Noah built and their locations and which fits where in the scriptural record. 
    Now, from the last post, we see that there were two temples in Cuzco, or at least one temple that Nephi built and another temple or palace that Noah built on the hill overlooking Shilom, though the small fort was there when Mosiah led the Nephites who would follow him out of the city of Nephi and eventually to the area called Zarahemla. In this, Mormon tells us that Noah after Zeniff returned to reclaim the city and area that his son, king Noah: “caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land; and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation of his people” (Mosiah 11:13).
    In this we learn:
A 50-foot replica of the tower that once stood at Sacsayhuaman recently built in the city of Cuzco

1. Noah built a great tower on a hill north of Shilom;
2. This hill top area had been a Nephite resort at the time Mosiah left the city of Nephi and fled out of the land;
3. Noah built this tower out of tax money he collected from the Nephites
    We also learn from Alma 48:8, that Mormon considered a place of resort as a “small fort,” so when Mosiah left the city of Nephi with those who would follow him, the Nephites already had a small fort built upon the hill north of the city of Nephi that overlooked Shilom.
    As we discussed in the previous post, the purpose of Noah’s towers were to observe the Lamanites and use as a warning against any attack. We see this was its use later, when Noah’s son, Limhi, “discovered them from the tower even all their [Lamanite] preparations for war” (Mosiah 20:8).
    The question then arises, “Were there other towers in the Land of Nephi?” Actually, there were several, as we find when Moroni “caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites; and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites” (Alma 46:36, emphasis added). And Moroni built even more towers that overlooked the land, particularly in connection with works of timbers built up to the height of a man on top of heaps of piled high earth, and on top of the towers were places of security built to secure those on the tower from attack from below (Alma 50:4).
    Obviously, having towers in the Land of Promise built by the Nephites was no unusual thing for Mormon tells us there were many and evidently others were constantly being built. While some of these were built for defense, others, no doubt, were built as early warning posts where enemy activity could be seen from a distance.
    This is evidenced in Noah’s tower when Mormon tells us: “And it came to pass that 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).
The tower on the hill north of the city overlooking the area in the Valley of Cuzco, and tall enough for defense (it was where the last Inca made his last stand) as well as could see in all lands round about the hill, including not only the Valley of Cuzco, but also the various approaches to the valley. After the final rebellion of the Inca, it was the first thing the Spanish tore down

Of such a tower existing in Cuzco at the time of the Spanish conquest, we learn from chroniclers that the tower on the hill overlooking the city was between 60 and 80 feet high, depending upon which chronicler you read. We typically use the lower figure of 60-feet to describe it.
    Along this line, in Europe later on, towers were built alongside walls of castles and in America along walls of forts for greater view and defense. These walls in American forts were typically 12 to 15-feet tall, with the towers only about 20-feet high; but the walls of castles, were usually about 39-feet high, making the towers about 45-feet high. By way of comparison, the walls around the temple at Pachacamac in Peru are 25-feet high, making a tower for King Benjamin probably about 30-feet in height. Based on all of this, a tower built to 60-feet or more would be consider a “great tower,” a “very high tower” and “so high [it] overlooked [other] lands” (Mosiah 11:12).
    It might be wise at this point to mention that we are dealing with two types of towers. The first, is the one that King Benjamin had constructed within the temple grounds for the purpose of being heard by those coming to hear him speak (Mosiah 2:7), which was obviously not very large or high, since it was only meaning to raise him above the temple wall so he could he seen and therefore heard; however, the audience was so large, that “they could not all heard his words” so he had his message written down and extended to those beyond the hearing of his voice. Such a tower does not have to be particularly large or tall, and it is not so described as is King Noah’s towers, which served an entirely different purpose, i.e., to be high enough to see out over the land and the valley below for a warning line-of-site of Lamanites attacking. In fact, the tower that Noah built was described as “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 shalom, 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, emphasis added).
    Such a tower, of course, was for observation of an attacking force and as such, would have had to have been quite high, as it is described by Mormon to have been. However, a high tower, in and of itself, would not provide line-of-site to everywhere just by being high—it would have to be located where it could view those areas of most importance, which in this case, would have been the Lamanite settlement of Shemlon.
Tower on the hill

Now of this tower Noah climbed upon near the temple had to be the one on the hill overlooking the valley, since Noah could see into the Land of Shemlon, from which the Lamanites were moving in to attack the Nephites. As Mormon wrote of it: “And it came to pass that [Gideon] fought with the king; and when the king saw that he was about to overpower him, he fled and ran and got upon the tower which was near the temple” (Mosiah 19:5). As Gideon followed with drawn sword intending to kill the king, Noah “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).
    Now the borders of the Land of Nephi were not far from Sacsayhuaman, or the tower on the hill, but would have been some distance from the temple in the valley where the other tower is thought to have been erected. In addition, the line-of-site between the latter tower and the border with Shemlon would have been obstructed even upon a 60-foot tower. However the tower on the hill would have had direct line-of-site down into the Land of Shemlon.
    In addition, we find that after spotting the Lamanites approaching, “the king commanded the people that they should flee before the Lamanites, and he himself did go before them, and they did flee into the wilderness, with their women and their children” (Mosiah 19:9).
    Now, if this were the tower in the center of the Valley next to the temple there, the wilderness would have been some distance away—and their line of egress out of the city would have been in the opposite direction of the Lamanite approach, but still into one of three narrow entrances to the valley that, if overtaken by the Lamanites before reaching there, would have been annihilated. On the other hand, if on top of the hill, the wilderness would have been a very short distance, just beyond the fortress complex into the lands to the west, north and east, their chances of escape into the wilderness would have been assured.
With the Lamanites entering the border of the land (City of Nephi), they would have been between the Nephites in the Valley (in the city) and those on the hill above

So we have two events happening in this moment of crisis. Noah and his priests were evidently in one location, while the majority of the Nephites were in another—or at least their avenues of escape into the wilderness were different as would have been the case if Noah was on the hill overlooking the valley and the Nephites in general were in the Valley below, for as the Lamanites poured out of the entrance into the valley, they would have been between the hill and the valley, effectively cutting in between the two groups.
Lamanite attack would have cut through the two group’s locations if Noah was at the hill tower

(See the next post, “Yes, Noah Built Two Towers – Part II,” for more on the two towers that Noah built and their locations and which fits where in the scriptural record)


  1. Makes sense Del. Thank you.

  2. Now.. if Del one day reveals that in conjunction with everything else he has presented.. he has actually had a vision from God concerning these things... I would believe him!!!