Sunday, October 22, 2017

There is No Mention of the River Sidon or its Head After the Destruction in 3 Nephi – Part IV

Continuing from the last post, and answering the question “What other river in the Book of Mormon land fits so well [as the Mantaro River]?”
     So far, it seems that the Mantaro river does not fit Mormon’s description, other than the rope bridge stanchions—but there are other such stanchions, in fact they existed wherever there were rope bridges in Peru—and though there is only one such bridge left today, these suspension bridges over canyons, gorges and rivers existed extensively, especially over a narrow river or gorge called a pongo (a corruption of the Quichua puncu and Aymara ponco, meaning door). Pongos such as Manseriche, Mainique and Aguirre where water gaps were cut by ancient rivers that offered practical routes for such road crossings. These were all an integral part of the extensive road system of the ancient Andes.
One of the many pongos found in the Andes of Peru where crossing was impossible because of the steepness of the canyons and gorges. Such pongos are found throughout the Andes, including along the Apurimac River, requiring suspension bridges to cross. In fact, this canyon, today marking the boundary between the regions of Apurimac and Cuzco, is one of the deepest in America, and possibly the world

The last rope bridge still standing is over the Apurimac River, with stanchions still located on either side of the river where they were anciently built, with uprights over which the corded ropes were looped and secured beyond. Though the Apurimac today is too far south, running west and for many miles south of Cuzco through narrow gorges twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, we have no way of knowing how that river ran before the mountains fell and others rose. To the north today, the Apurimac joins the Mantaro River and becomes the Ene River, then the Perené River, then the Tambo River and joins the Urubamba and finally the Ucayali, which is the main headstream of the Amazon (see map last post).
    Sometimes the complete river from its source to its junction with the Ucayali, including the rivers Ene and Tambo, is all called the "Apurímac River," with a total length of 660 miles, and suggests that in this area very possibly the same as anciently, where what is now referred to as several separately named rivers, though all joining, was called by one name, such as was probably the Sidon. Thus, in trying to search for the Sidon’s ancient course, it could have been this river with different headwater location and feeders—but that is simply speculation.
    In any event, the Q’iswa Chaka (Quechua: Q'iswa [rope of twisted dried maguey or ichhu] Chaka [bridge], meaning a “rope bridge,” also spelled Keshwa Chaca, Keswachaka, Q'eshwachaka, etc.) were built over canyons and gorges (pongos) and the greatest of these bridges were across the Apurimac Canyon along the main road north from Cusco. One spans the Apurimac River near Huichiri in Canas Province; another was out of Machu Picchu, crossing the Urubamba River southeast of Cuzco in the Pongo de Mainique. Unfortunately, almost all of these ancient rope bridges no longer exist, though many still show the stanchions that supported them and are easily seen traveling the area.
    The one in Keshwa Chaca, known as Q’eswachaka, across the Apurimac Canyon, no longer has a bridge attached, just the stanchions along the Apurimac River.
    The numerous rivers in Peru cut pongos through the Andes along the river beds sometimes reaching 2000 feet deep and as narrow as 100 feet, throughout the cordilleras. When viewed from the river, the precipices seem to almost close at the top. Some of the rivers, like the Marañón through the Manseriche rushes along at twelve or more miles an hour. Often, these pongos cut such a long path, that it was almost impossible to get from one side of the river to the other, which led to the development of the q’iswa chaka rope bridges suspended over the rivers.
    The point is, there were suspension bridges all over the Peruvian Andes, built by the ancients and in use long before the Inca, but utilized by the Inca in the control and administration of their Empire. While the original bridges would handle llamas and mules, even horses, and sometimes two abreast, but sometime after the Conquest, most were reduced to a single one-person bridge and today, there is only one left.
    In regard to the Apurimac River, the word “apurimac” means in the Quechua language:
“Great Spirit Speaker,” because of the roaring waters that flow through the dry canyon, enabling the sound to be heard for miles and fits the idea that the river Sidon was known throughout the scriptural record, at least in Alma—obviously, this river could be heard from miles away and one could head toward it when traveling overland through the mountains, canyons and pongos.

    Forty-five miles northeast of Abancay is the division or boundary between Apurimac and Cuzco where a suspension bridge crosses the Apurimac River (about due west of Ollantaytambo) and where the Apurimac Canyon is located. The deep ravine here is a Category II and IV for white water canoeing as the waters rush past in their 5,000 foot drop. Any bodies thrown into the river at this point would most assuredly flow out to the sea in the days of Alma as suggested in Mormon’s abridgement of these battles.
    In fact, the depth of the canyon makes throwing bodies into the river at this point more understandable. The simple process would only take pushing the dead off the suspension bridge where they would fall into the deep ravine and the Apurimac River below, making Mormon’s words much more realistic (Alma 44:23).
    In addition, where this battle also rages both into the waters of the Sidon as well as across a suspension bridge, we find this area has both the high mountains plateaus surrounding it. Elsewhere, there are also level valleys along the river, making the battle there very realistic to a location.
    It should also be noted in regard to “waters of Sidon,” that the term “great waters” or the waters they crossed (seas, ocean) never refers to a “river.” As an example, in "great waters" (1 Nephi 17:17, Omni 1:16, Ether 2:22; 6:3); "Irreantum" (1 Nephi 17:5); “many waters” (1 Nephi 1:10-13, 29); “deep” (Ether 3:3; 6:7; 10:2); "great deep" (2 Nephi 4:20; 2 Nephi 8:10; Helaman 12:16; Either 2:25; 7:27; 8:9). Consequently, just because one thinks of the word “Sidon” as a river, it does not necessarily mean that “waters of Sidon” is also a river, and more than the “waters of Mormon” is a river. We simply do not know.
    However, what we do know is the word “river” is not used, suggested or inferred in Mormon 1:10. Nor, does Mormon 1:10 suggest in any way that the river of Sidon was unchanged after the destruction in 3 Nephi. While it might have remained unchanged, we simply do not know that and cannot infer that from Mormon 1:10.

1 comment:

  1. The distance from Cuzco(Nephi) to Pachcamaca (Zarahemla) is about 350 miles. We know lots of things now about the area. We know where all the major rivers are, the line of defense of Helaman 4, and the narrow neck. We kinda know some of the other towns. Seems to me we can make an educated guess where Sidon was located. Even if it changed course during the destruction. Those rivers that were mentioned have something to do with the river Sidon because they are in the right area. We might not be able to pin it down perfectly but I think we can get it kinda close. There are a number of clues in the Bom that give us a hint. Of course absolute knowledge will always be missing until it is revealed.