Tuesday, December 11, 2018

On the Language of Joseph Smith – Part I

How often do people reading the Book of Mormon consider what words meant to Joseph Smith that he used in translation. If you were to translate something, what words would you use? Would you know how a work might change over time in the future?
If you have been translating English in the past, would you have known that the word “nice,” which meant “silly, foolish, simple,” would be so far different in the future? And what about the word “silly” of the past, would you know the word, which meant things worthy or blessed, would later mean weak and vulnerable, and finally, as in our day, meaning those who are foolish?
    In that distant past, when you wrote “something was awful,” such as “the awful majesty of God,” meaning it was worthy of “awe,” would you know the word would eventually come to mean what it does today, just the opposite? And centuries ago, the word “clue” meant a ball of yarn, “naughty” meant “naught” or “nothing,” a “spinster” was merely a woman who spun, the word “merry” meant “short,” and the word “fine” meant being at the end, while “merry” meant “short.”
    For those who wonder how such opposite meanings came about, think of teenagers today using words like “that’s sick,” meaning excellent, outstanding; “bad” “wicked” and “nasty,” meaning awesome; “snatched” meaning looking good; “thirsty,” meaning needs attention, etc.
    Words in general change over time, such as “afford” once meaning to move forward, or “artificial” once meaning a messenger, or “desire” which once meant a person who studied the stars. Thus, an American dialect will therefore be formed." As the settlers (including a good proportion of Irish and Scots, with their own distinctive accents and usages of English) pushed westward, new terms were indeed introduced, and these pioneers were much less reticent to adopt native words or, indeed, to make up their own. The journals of Lewis and Clark, written as they explored routes to the west coast in 1804-6, contain over 500 native words (mainly animals, plants and food). The wild “outlands” west of the Mississippi River gave us the word outlandish to describe its idiosyncratic characters.
John Adams’ much-vaunted “plain English” took a back seat in the hands of colorful characters like Davy Crockett (who was himself of Scots-Irish decent) and others, who saw western expansion as an excuse to expand the language with new words and quirky Americanisms like skedaddle, bamboozle, shebang, riff-raff, hunky-dory, lickety-split, rambunctious, ripsnorter, humdinger, doozy, shenanigan, discombobulate, absquatulate, splendiferous, etc., not to mention evocative phrases like fly off the handle, a chip on the shoulder, no axe to grind, sitting on the fence, dodge the issue, knuckle down, make the fur fly, go the whole hog, kick the bucket, face the music, bite the dust, barking up the wrong tree, pass the buck, stack the deck, poker face, in cahoots, pull up stakes, horse sense, two cents’ worth, stake a claim, strike it rich, the real McCoy and even the phrase stiff upper lip (in regard to their more hidebound British cousins).
    From the deliberately misspelled and dialectical works of Artemus Ward and Josh Billings to popular novels like Harriet Beecher Stowe's “Uncle Tom's Cabin” (1852) and Mark Twain's “Huckleberry Finn” (1884), this American vernacular spread rapidly, and became in the process more publicly acceptable both in everyday speech and in literature.
    Many Spanish words also made their way into American English during the expansion and settlement of the Spanish-influenced American West, including words like armadillo, alligator, canyon, cannibal, guitar, mosquito, mustang, ranch, rodeo, stampede, tobacco, tornado and vigilante (some of which were also originally derived from native languages). To a lesser extent, French words, from the French presence in the Louisiana area and in Canada, contributed loanwords like gopher, prairie, depot, cache, cent and dime, as well as French-derived place names like Detroit, Illinois, Des Moines, etc.
    American English words made their way to the mother country of England should not be underestimated. They include commonly used word like commuter, bedrock, sag, snag, soggy, belittle, lengthy, striptease, gimmick, jeans, teenager, hangover, teetotal, fudge, publicity, joyride, blizzard, showdown, uplift, movie, obligate, stunt, notify, redneck, businessman, cocktail, skyscraper, bootleg, highfalutin, guesstimate, raincoat, cloudburst, nearby, worthwhile, smooch, genocide, hindsight and graveyard among many others.
    Even the word roundabout originally came from America, even though traffic circles hardly existed then. This word, by the way is used by Mormon to indicate the boundary of the Lamanite-occupied West and East wilderness where the Narrow Strip of Wilderness curved upward along both seashores. In addition, the quintessential Americanism is perhaps OK (okay), which has become one of the best known and most widespread terms throughout the entire world.
Its origins are somewhat obscure and still hotly debated, but it seems to have come into common usage in America in the early 1800s, during President Van Buren’s re-election campaign of 1840, from orl correct, then a humorous form of “all correct,” which, along with the initials of Van Buren’s nickname, Old Kinderhook, provided the initials of OK.
    Many of these Americanisms were met with a certain amount of snobbery in Britain, and many words thought to be American in origin were vilified as uncouth and inferior by the British intelligentsia (even though many of those denigrated actually turned out to be of older English provenance in the first place).
    Today, some 4,000 words are used differently in the USA and Britain (lift/elevator, tap/faucet, bath/tub, curtains/drapes, biscuit/cookie and boot/trunk are just some of the better known ones) and, increasingly, American usage is driving out traditional words and phrases back in Britain (e.g. truck for lorry, airplane for aeroplane, etc). American spelling is also becoming more commonplace in Britain (e.g. jail for gaol, wagon for waggon, reflection for reflexion, etc), although some Americanized spelling changes actually go back centuries (e.g. words like horror, terror, superior, emperor and governor were originally spelled as horrour, terrour, superiour, emperour and governour in Britain, even if other words like colour, humour and honour had resisted such changes).
    Just as important are the words common to the region in which one lives, for not all American English is the same any more than American and British English are the same, such as faucet in the north and spigot in the south; frying pan, north, but skillet in the south; or such other words as gutter or eves; pit or seed; teeter-totter or seesaw; firefly or lightning bug; pail or bucket, etc.
    Joseph Smith grew up in the New England area of Vermont, New Hampshire and north-western New York. If you have never traveled around this country you might not realize the huge difference in pronunciation from one area to another, though today it is nowhere near as pronounced as it was in Joseph Smith’s day. And if you are from the West, regional differences are far less pronounced than in the East and South. The point is, words meant one thing in New England when Joseph Smith was translating the plates, and often something entirely different today, 187 years later.
One of the great advantages we have, however, is that the Lord saw fit to provide us in order for us to know what Joseph’s words meant is the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, compiled by Noah Webster, a very religious man in his time, who claimed to have been inspired or motivated by the Holy Spirit to compile his dictionary, on which he spent many long years.
    That it so happened to be published, the only American dictionary in the land at the time and for decades later, at the time of the publication of the Book of Mormon should point out to all of us that the Lord does not leave us without knowledge in regard to understanding his written word. Some claim Joseph Smith would not have had such a dictionary, however, when the School of the Prophets was organized in 1833, records show that among the books used as reference material in the School was Webster’s 1828 dictionary.
    Consequently, it was with some amazement a local Sunday School teacher recently in teaching the Book of Mormon went so far to say to begin her class, “We’re going to look at words and their meanings today in the Book of Mormon, and we’re not going to use some old, out-of-date Webster dictionary, but a new modern, Oxford English Dictionary.” Needless to say, it was an astounding show of a lack of understanding about which she spoke. No doubt, if old Noah Webster, who struggled for years to bring about a dictionary of the meaning of American English, had been in earshot of such a remark that this woman was going to use a British-based dictionary of modern terminology to decide what words meant in 1829 America when Joseph Smith translated the plates, he probably would have had a few choice words in response.
(See the next post, “On the Language of Joseph Smith – Part II,” for more information on how theorists and others writing or talking about the Book of Mormon often mistake the meaning of a word or phrase which either clouds the issue, changes its meaning, or draws inaccurate conclusions)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Where Did the Phoenicians Sail? – Part III

Continuing from the previous post regarding where the early Phoenician mariners sailed and traded. As earlier state, the Phoenician civilization was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean during the first millennium B.C.E. Though ancient boundaries of such city-centered cultures fluctuated, the city of Tyre seems to have been the southernmost. Sarepta between Sidon and Tyre, is the most thoroughly excavated city of the Phoenician homeland.
Based on the fourteenth century BC Amarna tablets, the Phoenicians called themselves Kenaani or Kinaani, meaning Canaanites. The name Phoenicia became common because of the Greeks who called the land Phoiniki, referring to the purple dye the Phoenicians created, which led to their initial trading in dyed cloth. Stories circulated by some current historians, based in part on Herodotus’ History in 440 BC, that the Phoenicians migrated into the Levant from the Erythraean Sea around the Horn of Africa, or from
Strabo who wrote that they came from Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, has recently been invalidated based on DNA comparisons.

    In terms of archeology, language, and religion, there is little to set the Phoenicians apart as markedly different from other local cultures of Canaan. However, they are unique in their remarkable seafaring achievements. Yet, as indicated in the previous post, the Phoenicians were not explorers or discoverers of other lands, nor were they adventurers—their interest was in trade and they were very successful merchant traders.
    Their involvement on the sea was to widen their trading enterprises and spread trade further through opening new trading areas and establishing new trading partners. In fact, they were not land-oriented at all, retaining their control no further inland that the villages and towns they settled and with whom they traded.
    Their homeland, considered to be the area of modern-day Lebanon in the Lavant of the eastern Mediterranean, extended no further than the coastal cities of Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, and Babylos along the western end of the Fertile Crescent. Nor did they make any attempt to control or interfere with the sovereignty of the cities and settlements with whom they traded.
    According to Amazing Bible timeline with World History (Bible Charts and Maps, Austin, Texas, 2018), the Phoenicians primarily sailed along the coastlines to various trading points that were situated on their routes. Even though they were a seafaring people, they did not take long extended voyages into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They might have sailed up to Gaul (modern day France) to trade in wine of which the Phoenicians were well known to produce, and to Britain for the all-important tin, but it’s highly unlikely that they would have ventured out beyond these points. If any Phoenician traders or sailors traveled out into the deep waters of the Atlantic Oceans, it should be noted that no historical records indicate that this ever happened.
    While there is speculation among some historians that the Phoenicians sailed beyond Spain to Britain to trade tin, because during the Bronze Age this particular metal substance was needed in the process of making copper, there is no substantive proof of such voyages. Strabo (Strabonis), an ancient Greek philosopher and historian from Asia Minor (Turkey), states in his Geographica that the Phoenicians had a lucrative trade with Britain for tin, and only tin and no other type of materials. Again, this tin might have reached the Mediterranean and the Phoenician traders overland across Gaul.
The Phoenicians, like most traders of antiquity, dealt in physical products that could be used by consumers, usually household items, having started their trade empire selling purple-dyed Tyrian cloth, the dye obtained from the Murex mollusk material unique to their homeland 

In fact, there is no real historic evidence that the Phoenicians ever traded (or sailed) outside the Mediterranean Sea. According to Professor Timothy Champion, of Oxford, and an Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton, as well as a former Editor of the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, and who also served as Vice-President and then President of the Prehistoric Society, in discussing the ancient very important tin trade, he claims the Phoenicians never sailed to or traded in Cornwall (Britain). He states that the Cornish tin trade was solely in the hands of the natives of Cornwall, and its transport to the Mediterranean was organized by local merchants, by sea and then over land through Gaul, well outside Phoenician control. This appears more in line with the trade of tin entering the Mediterranean across Gaul.
    According to George Rawlinson, Camden Professor of Ancient History at the University of Oxford and Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy of Turin, as late as 700 B.C., the Phoenicians were sailing in rowed boats with no sail at all, or just a small, close-reefed sail, having invented the double rowed vessel by placing the rowers on two different levels, one above the other, which the Greeks called “biremes.” This method of propulsion is found on both types of Phoenician vessels of the time, both their war-galley and transport ships (Georges Perrot and Charles Chipiez, History of Art in Phonenicia, vol.3, 34, in History of Phoenicia, Chapman and Hall, Library of Alexandria, 1885).
    The point is, history has no record that the Phoenicians sailed anywhere outside the Mediterranean and of the more than 100 cities, settlements and trading posts established by the Phoenicians, they are known to have settled only thirteen trading centers between 1000 and 200 B.C., beyond the Strait of Gibraltar: five in Spain, including Karteia, Gades/Cadiz, Onoba, Gadeira and Tartessus; with eight in Morocco, including Tingus, Silis or Zilil, Asilah, Lixus, Thamusida/Kenitra, Sala, Anfa, and Mugador/Essaouira, which was the furthest south.
Phoenician established settlements and trading posts between 1000 B.C. and 200 B.C. around the Strait of Gibraltar and along the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Morocco, which were the furthest penetration of the Phoenicians westward across the Mediterranean

In fact, there is some question as to the exact dates of Phoenician colonization; some claim it began in 1200 B.C. while others cite their expansion to be contemporary with Greek colonization in the 8th century B.C. Still others reference sailing vessels of Tyre in the 19th century B.C. from the Bible,where a 10th century source from Tyre to a colony not paying its tribute (likely Tuica or Cyprus). In addition, there is a unanimity of ancient writers that Phoenician colonization of the Mediterranean occurred before the Greeks.
   Thus, a compromise has been achieved among scholars which posits a period of “pre-colonial” trade centers established between the 12th to 8th centuries B.C., followed by the establishment of colonies proper between the 8th and 6th centuries B.C.  In this period then, lasting over 500 years, the Phoenicians controlled a network of stopping points which established them as one of the greatest trading powers in the ancient world. Between these colonies, Phoencia itself, and the great civilizations of the period, goods were shipped and exchanged all across the Mediterranean.
    With this in mind, then it is easy to see that the Phoenicians would not be out sailing the Atlantic before they established their trading centers in the western Mediterranean and along the Atlantic coats of Spain and Morocco (North Africa), which all but eliminates any speculation regarding their sailing far and wide prior to the time Lehi and Mulek left Jerusalem for the Land of Promise. In addition, the vast majority of knowledgeable historians have been far more conservative in their histories of the sailing routes of the ancient Phoenicians, limiting their efforts to the coastal shores of mostly the southern Mediterranean (North Africa) and the limited area along the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Morocco.
    After all, the Phoenicians were not explorers, but merchants involved in trade—their entire history is about trade and opening new settlements and outposts to further their trading enterprises. In fact, there is not even a consensus among historians that the Phoenicians ever even reached Britain, let alone sailed far into the Atlantic to the nearby islands, or to the Americas as some of our Land of Promise theorists like to claim. Phoenicia was no doubt a maritime power in the Mediterranean, dominating trade from 1200 to 800 BC, but by 539, when the Persian king Cyrus the Great conquered Phoenicia, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Phoenicians left the Mediterranean Sea, despite so many claims to the contrary by historians.
The naval siege of Tyre by the Macedonian Alexander the Great in 350 BC marked the end of Phoenicia’s maritime trading empire
 
Under Persian dominance, the Phoenicians flourished building fleets of ships for the Persian kings; however, in 350 BC an uprising was crushed by the Persiasn and in 332 BC, when Alexander the Great captured Tyre after a long siege, Phoenicia was ousted as a dominant shipbuilding and trading entity in the Eastern Mediterranean. In fact, Phoenician culture disappeared entirely in the homeland. Only Carthage remained.
    The idea that Phoenicia, during its successful trading enterprise, sailed the open seas and landed in the Americas is strictly fallacious, written by those interested in changing history. The Phoenicians lacked any vessels that could make such voyages, still depending mostly on oar power as late as 600 BC. Even during their circumnavigation of Africa for the Egyptian king Necho, which is questioned by many historians, the Phoenicians are recorded as setting into land every night, and twice during the three year voyage, planted and harvested grain in order to continue on their journey—not something that would be possible crossing the oceans.
    The only thing we know for certain about the Phoenicians, is their journeys along the coasts of the Mediterranean in the pursuit of trade, not exploration.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Where Did the Phoenicians Sail? – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding where the early Phoenician mariners sailed. We need to keep in mind that the Phoenicians were not explorers, discoverers, or adventurers—they were merchant traders. Their involvement on the sea was to widen their trading enterprises and spread trade further and further, opening new trading areas and establishing new trading partners.
    Knowledge of Phoenician trading is learned from recovered artifacts from Sidon found in throughout Mesopotamia to Rome and even the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Morocco. To expand in trading, the Phoenicians built settlements and outposts that later became great cities in their own right. The most famous of these outposts was Carthage (founded in 814 B.C. and located in modern-day Tunisia, North Africa) was begun under Pygmalion of Tyre.
Map of the Phoenician trading outposts and those of the Greek; in the latter half of the Phoenician trading period, the Greeks controlled the northern rim of the Mediterranean in the east and the Phoencians the south rim, and concentrated in the Western Mediterranean

In fact, under Pygmalion, Tyre shifted the heart of its early trading empire from the Middles East into the Mediterranean, establishing Carthage, term that can be traced to the Greek Qart-hadasht, meaning “New City,” showing it was a colony, and as history shows, the largest Phoenician outpost. They also settled other colonies such as Kition (Citium, Kittim) on Cypress, which Tyre    ruled beginning in 1000 BC, with the Tyranians rebuilding the city in 850 BC, and maintaining the outpost until 570 BC, when the Persians gained control. The Phoenicians also traded in Sardinia, an island just west of the Italian peninsula, in what is considered to be the beginning of the western Mediterranean.
    It might be noted that as late as 510 BC, Carthage invaded Sardinia and gained control of the west-central and southern part of the island, so they could have an anchorage for sailing further westward. The savage battles for this island suggests both the importance of and anchorage for further westward movement, and the fact that Phoenician had not yet achieved or reached the far western end of the Mediterranean. 262 years later, the Romans, as a result of the First Punic War, gained control of Corsica and Sardinia from Carthage, which they maintained for 694 years.
    Without this anchorage, from which westward movement could be undertaken within the Mediterranean, the great Carthage (Phoenician) dominance of the entire Mediterranean was on hold.
    It might also be of interest to know that from the beginning, the city of Byblos, which flourished long before any other Phoenician city, dates from before 1500 BC, this date being when other Levant Phoenician cities developed. However, these cities are located 2,325 miles from the Straits of Gibraltar (to better understand this, by commercial airliner today that is nearly a 4½-hour flight at about 550 mph—this of moving that distance in an ancient sailing ship covering 90 miles per day—or about twenty-six days steady sailing. While Columbus could maintain that speed, it was not how sailing vessels traveled in BC times for they would have sailed the Mediterranean only during daylight hours, then set in to land and made camp for the night making it at least a 52- to 55-day voyage, which is almost as long as it took Columbus to cross the entire Atlantic).
    In addition, Phoenician Carthage eventually became wealthy and powerful enough to challenge the Roman Republic.
The two major centers of power of the Phoenician commercial network was Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia and Carthage in Tunesia, North Africa. As Phoenician trade moved westward, the power base shifted from the Levant to Carthage

In fact, the Phoenicians were considered a thatlassocracy, or “sea power,” meaning a state with primarily maritime realsm, an empire at sea such as the Phoenician network of merchant cities. In addition, traditional thalassocracies seldom dominated land interiors, even in their home territories such as Tyre, Sidon and Carthaghe. Whereas an “empire,” though possibly linked principally or solely by sea lanes, always extended the state's territories into mainland interiors. The former was certainly the case with Phoenicia, who settled along the coasts and dealt strictly with coastal lands in their own area and that of the outposts and settlements with whom they traded. Their outward reach along the sea spread across the Mediterranean between 1500 and 300 BC.
    Actually, the Phoenician merchants acted as middlemen for their neighbors. They transported linen and papyrus from Egypt, copper from Cyprus, embroidered cloth from Mesopotamia, spices from Arabia, and ivory, gold, and slaves from Africa to destinations throughout the Mediterranean.
    However, in 572 B.C.E., the Phoenicians fell under the harsh rule of the Assyrians. They continued to trade, but encountered tough competition from Greece over trade routes. As the 4th century B.C. approached, the Phoenicians' two most important cities, Sidon and Tyre, were destroyed by the Persians and Alexander the Great. Many Phoenicians left the Mediterranean coast for their trading colonies, and Phoenicia people and ideas were soon assimilated into other cultures.
    The Phoenicians were among the greatest traders of their time and owed much of their prosperity to trade. At first, they traded mainly with the Greeks. As trading and colonizing spread over the Mediterranean, Phoenicians and Greeks seemed to have split that sea in two: the Phoenicians sailed along and eventually dominated the southern shore, while the Greeks were active along the northern shores. The two cultures rarely clashed, mainly in the Sicilian Wars, and eventually settled into two spheres of influence, the Phoenician in the west and the Greeks to the east.
    In the centuries after 1200 B.C., the Phoenicians were the major naval and trading power of the region. Phoenician trade was founded on the Tyrian purple dye, a violet-purple dye derived from the Murex sea-snail, once profusely available in coastal waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea but exploited to local extinction. The Phoenicians eventually established a second production center for the dye in Mogador, in present-day Morocco. 
    The Phoenicians have been referred to as the “middlemen” of culture due to the cultural transferrence which accompanied their trade. During the height of their influence and power, the Phoenicians set up colonies along various coastal areas where they began to expand their operations and trade goods with many nations, exchanging merchandise with past world powers such as Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Iberian Peninsula or Spain. They also traded with other empires and kingdoms that were located near their coastal cities. The Israelites, Babylonians and the Hittites were other groups of people that conducted business with the Phoenicians. They extended their seafaring power all the way to Spain near the Straits of Gibraltar. This particular landmark represented the extent of their empire in the west.
A relief found in Nineveh showing a Phoenician 700 BC ship, called a bireme (Greek διήρης) with two levels of oars and no sail

It should be noted here, that the Phoenicians were not a true seafaring nation; that is, they were not an exploring people going into seas and areas beyond the Mediterranean. They were a sea power, but only as it allowed them to establish and maintain trading centers, trading outposts, and open up trade in the cities and areas around the Mediterranean. Their involvement with Gaul, was along the northern rim of the Mediterranean, with ports like Marsillia (Marseille), Aqua Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence), and Arelate (Aries) along Gaul’s southern coast. Whether or not the Phoenicians actually sailed to Britain is in question, however, their trade in Cornwall tin might well have occurred overland through Gaul to the Mediterranean as many historians claim.
    In fact, the Phoenicians are considered today to have been among one of the world’s leading trading civilizations. At first, they traded mostly with the Greeks, but eventually widened their trading interests to eventually cover most of the Mediterranean. However, when it comes to where they sailed, that question has never been completely answered, partly because of the myths that have been fostered by so-called historians.
(See the next post, “Where Did the Phoenicians Sail? – Part III,” to better understand the range and scope of the Phoenician commercial trading network, and as a result, where the Phoenicians sailed)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Where Did the Phoenicians Sail? – Part I

There is much written about the ancient Phoenicians by careless and unknowing writers, even historians, who fail to spend the effort to both search out the authentic historical facts and unbiasedly apply that information with the true reality of the times. Some have been so enamored by the romance of the Phoenician maritime traders, they have given the ancients talents and abilities far beyond their capability and their Age, suggesting they sailed far and wide across deep oceans, even to the Americas in the prehistoric B.C. era.
1898 Map of Cape Verde Islands, 33 years after they were first discovered, which was by Genoa-born António de Noli in 1856, who was afterward appointed governor of Cape Verde by Portuguese king Afonso V

However, sailing beyond the sight of land along the eastern Atlantic in such a time  was unknown and the many islands off the coast undiscovered, such as Cape Verde off the coast of Africa (1456 AD), Sao Tome and Principe off the coast of Africa (1400s AD), Madeira off the coast of Portugal (1419), Selvagens 175 miles north of Madeira (1438), Bioko Island 60 miles off coast of Nigeria (1472), the Canaries (Fortunate Isles) 62 miles off Morocco (discovered by the Romans in 1st century AD), had not yet been discovered in B.C. times.
It should be noted that the island-peninsula of Ceuta in the Strait of Gibraltar was not discovered until the 5th century B.C. by Carthaginians who called it Abyla, forming one of the famous Pillars of Hercules. This island is on the direct route out of the Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic, where it became a commercial trade and military way-point thereafter. Only 15 miles across the Strait from Gibraltar, it would have been impossible for any vessel to have sailed past this all-important location without notice, or interest. And for a trading state such as Sidon or Tyre who guarded their routes judiciously not to have secured this most critical way-point and guard post in the Strait of Gibraltar until the 5th century B.C. can only suggest that passing through the Strait into the Atlantic was simply not done until after this period of time and settlement of Cueta by the Phoenicians from Carthage.
    Thus, as history has so readily shown, sailing beyond Gibraltar into the Atlantic Ocean for the Phoenicians as early as some writers want to claim, was beyond their ancient scope.
    To understand this better, Phoenicia is the area of present day Lebanon, just north of Israel, along the northeastern Mediterranean coast. The later Phoenicians that became so powerful and controlled maritime trade in the Mediterranean from about 1200 B.C. to about 600 B.C., were the survivors of the Canannites of the Bronze Age that preceded them, though there was continuity in their population
    With the port cities of ancient Byblos, which became the predominant center from where the Phoenicians dominated the Mediterranean and Erythraean (Red) Sea routes, as well as Sidon and Tyre, early Phoenician sailors opened up a trade monopoly that eventually grew into a maritime empire within the confines of the Mediterranean Sea, and over the latter centuries B.C., Byblos and other Phoenician states such as Sidon, Tyre, Arvad, and Beirut created an important niche for themselves by transporting luxury goods and bulk raw materials from overseas markets around the Mediterranean back to the Near East (an ancient term for what is now called the Middle East, i.e., Southwest Asia, particularly Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other nations of the Arabian Peninsula ).
    The popularity of Phoenicians as the merchants of the Levant is attested to by recent artifacts found that were manufactured at Sidon and have been found ranging from Egypt to Babylonia. In fact, according to Herodotus, the 4th century BC Greek historian) Phoenicians also conducted an important transit trade, which moved goods around the Mediterranean, especially in the manufactured goods of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Their exports as a whole included cedar and pine wood, fine linen from Tyre, Byblos, and Berytos, cloths dyed with the famous Tyrian purple, embroideries from Sidon, metalwork and glass, glazed faience, wine, salt, and dried fish. They received in return raw materials, such as papyrus, ivory, ebony, silk, amber, ostrich eggs, spices, incense, horses, gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, jewels, and precious stones.
    A fresco in an Egyptian tomb of the 18th dynasty (around 1100 B.C.) depicted seven Phoenician merchant ships that had just put in at an Egyptian port to sell their goods, including the distinctive Canaanite wine jars in which wine, a drink foreign to the Egyptians, was imported. The Story of Wen-Amon, an Egyptian temple priest of Amun at Karnak of Ipet-isut in Thebes recounts the tale of a Phoenician merchant, Werket-el of Tanis in the Nile Delta, who was the owner of "50 ships" that sailed between Tanis and Sidon. The Sidonians are also famous in the poems of Homer as craftsmen, traders, pirates, and slave dealers. The prophet Ezekiel (chapters 27 and 28), in a famous denunciation of the city of Tyre, catalogs the vast extent of its commerce, covering most of the then-known world, which was that within the Mediterranean Sea.
    From the lands of the Euphrates and Tigris regular trade routes led to the Mediterranean. In Egypt the Phoenician merchants soon gained a foothold; they alone were able to maintain a profitable trade in the anarchic times of the 22nd and 23rd dynasties (945 to 730 B.C). Though there were never any regular colonies of Phoenicians in Egypt, the Tyrians had a quarter of their own in Memphis, and the Arabian caravan trade in perfume, spices, and incense passed through Phoenician hands on its way to Greece and the West.
    Beginning anciently with Beirut (Canaanite be’erot, meaning “wells” for the underground water table of the area) and Byblos, the latter considered to be the first city in Phoenicia and one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world, it is first mentioned in the ancient Egyptian Tell el Amarna letters dating from the 15th century B.C. Called Jaibel or Gubla, artifacts have been found that archaeologists claim show the city dates back to the pre-Bronze Age. Excavations in the downtown city today have unearthed layers of Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader and Ottoman remains, making it a truly cosmopolitan area of the Mediterranean.
To the east of Beirut is the Beqaa Valley, situated at the northeastern most extension of the Great Rift Valley that stretches from Syria to the Red Sea, where the area was the source of grain since Roman times. Just east of Beqaa, the ancient ruins of Baalbek, a prehistoric city named for the Canaanite god Baal. The Romans renamed Baalbek “Heliopolis” and built an impressive temple complex, including temples to Baachus, Jupiter, Venus, and the Sun.
    To the south of Byblos and Beirut is located the ancient city of Sidon, which benefited greatly from the development of ships whose curved hulls were able to meet the challenges of the sea, and enabled the Phoenicians to deliver cargoes of Cedar wood to Egypt, beginning their involvement in maritime trade—an endeavor that helped Sidon grow in wealth as they extended their navigation skills across the wide expanse of the Mediterranean Sea.
    It should be kept in mind that the Phoenicians were not united. Their civilization was organized in city-states, similar to those of ancient Greece, with each city-state a politically independent unit, and it is uncertain to what extent the Phoenicians viewed themselves as a single nationality. In terms of archaeology, language, lifestyle, and religion there was little to set the Phoenicians apart as markedly different from other residents of the Levant.
    However, these city-states were often in conflict with each other for domination of the region and its trade. Because of this lack of cooperation, the Phoenicians were conquered and forced to pay tribute to virtually every empire in the region, including the Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks.
(See the next post, “Where Did the Phoenicians Sail? – Part II,” to better understand the range and scope of the Phoenician commercial trading network, and as a result, where the Phoenicians sailed)

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Sea That Divides the Land

The Gulf of Guayaquil is a large body of water of the Pacific Ocean that cuts into the shore and land along the western coast of South America. Its northern limit is the city of Salinas on the Santa Elena Peninsula in Ecuador, and its southern limit is Punta Pariñas in Peru. As the Land of Promise, this Gulf separates or divides the Land Northward from the Land Southward, and was called the “sea that divides the land” by Moroni (Ether 10:20).
The Bay of Quayaquil, showing its mouth from Salinas to Punta Pariñas, the the channels around Puná Island, as well as the main rivers

Both Ecuadorean and Peruvian rivers empty into the Gulf of Guayaquil, such as the Guayas, Jubones, Zarumilla and the Tumbes rivers, the former being the most important river in all of South America that does not flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Its total length, including the Daule River, is 242 miles, and is the natonal river of Ecuador.
    The Gulf represents 3,000-square-miles of watershed, and has a depth ranging from 600 feet along the shelf to 59 feet along the inner shoals. The depth of the Morro and Jambeli channels at the inner boundary of the Gulf is 184 feet and 72 feet respectively.
    Between the East and West Cordilleras of the Andes is the intra-andine depression running north and south above Guayaqui, the northern end is filled with lava, truffs and agglomerates derived from recent volcanoes which are the most striking feature of the Ecuadorean Andes. These volcanoes are mostly found in the northern half of Ecuador.
    The Gulf of Guayaquil separates the humid, forest-covered coastal plain of Ecuador from the arid, barren coast of Peru, these two areas being widely dissimilar. On the north side, a great many shallow tidewater channels, along with swamps and estuaries, between the Gulf and Guayaquil. Near the Gulf are some low, swampy islands or mud flats covered with mangrove thickets in the lower Guayas river.
   At the north end of the Gulf, is the Morro Channel between Puná Island and the mainland to the north. It is filled with shoals and dangerous for shipping, forcing most vessels around the south end of the island and up along the eastern Jambeli channel.
    North of Guayaquil, from Santa Elena northward is the 18-mile-wide, 330-mile-long Cordillera Costañera, which reaches from Esmeraldas in the north to Guayaquil in the south, at which point they lose the character as a mountain chain and become a series of hills and small mountains. Where it moves from Manabí to Guayaquil, it is known as the Chongón-Colonche Cordillera.
The present location of Guayaquil and surrounding area, including Santa Elena Peninsula, the Chóngon-Colonche Mountain Range and the Jambeli Channel and Island

This narrow coastal plain is but nine to twelve miles wide, and does not exceed 650 feet in elevation, while the sharp rising coastal mountain chain, known as the Cordillera Costañera, rises to 3,280 feet in height. This chain divides the region into the Costa Externa, next to the coast, and the Costa Internal, next to the Andes. South of Manabí, the Cordillera Costañera trange loses its character as a mountain chain and becomes a series of hills and small mountains and widens out into savannahs.
    East of the Gulf itself, are the Cordillera Occidental (Western Chain) and the Cordillera Oriental (Eastern Chain), the latter being wider and generally higher, with peaks averaging over 13,123 feet, including the highest point in Ecuador, Mount Chimborazo at 20,561 feet. In between these two cordilleras, lies the intermontane basin or plateau, filled partly with alluvium from river or delta deposits, creating very fertile soil.
    Several transversal mountain spurs, known as nudos, cut across the plateau. Near Girón in the east, the Nudo del Azuay, at 14,763 feet the highest of these transversal spurs, divides the Sierra into two subregions—the area of modern volcanism to the north and the area of ancient volcanism to the south. The former area consists of newer, higher mountains than those in the ancient volcanism section, which with time have eroded to lower levels.
The mangrove swamps o forest that covers much of the Jambeli Archipelago and the southern mainland north of Tumbes. A never-ending supply of wood for building ships

Along the littoral of the eastern shore of the Gulf of Guayaquil, are Mangroves, swamps and hills, with cacao trees, which are native to deep tropical regions. Along the littoral shore are manglars or mangrove trees living along the intertidal shores. These forests are noted by their dense tangle of prop roots that make the trees appear to be standing on stilts above the water. This root tangle allows the trees to handle the daily rise and fall of tides, which means that most mangroves get flooded at least twice per day. 
    These forests stabilize the coastline, reducing erosion from storm surges, currents, waves, and tides, with the intricate root system of mangroves also making these forests attractive to fish and other organisms seeking food and shelter from predators, such as shrimp and oysters. The roots themselves also slow the movement of tidal waters, causing sediments to settle out of the water and build up the muddy bottom.
    Beyond the mangroves moving inland are salitral and sartenjal, or saltpeter deposits, and then sabanas, or grass-covered savannahs or plains before the sharp rise of the Cordillera Occidental or Western Andes. That distance varies slightly along the littoral of this coastal Gulf, but is about twenty-five miles in width between where the narrow littoral terminates and the plain widens considerably.
    It might be of interest to know that along the Santa Elena Peninsula, where much of the mangrove swamps and salt marches are located, is where the Jaredites landed in their barges, swept into shore by the coastal current that brings much in the way of floating flotsam and debris into land. Just offshore there is where the main (Humboldt or Peruvian) current bends westward to eventually head back across the Pacific toward Indonesia and Australia; however, in the bend, the side current continues northward and heads into the peninsula—the furthest westward land mass along the western shores.
    Anciently, along this shore and around the Gulf of Guayaquil, mangrove swamps and forests dominated the shoreline. Currently, mucho f what is left of this is found along the Jambeli Island and channel on the western and southwestern shore of the Gulf.
    To the north of Puná Island is the Morro Channel and filled with shoals and dangerous for shipping. The 330-square-mile Puná Island is a low-lying swampy and muddy island except for a ridge that runs through it called the Zamba Palo, with the eastern shore having some high bluffs. Its shores, except for the eastern shore, is filled with mud banks (when Pizzaro attacked the area in 1531, it took him six months to subdue the large concentration of natives on the island).
At the South end of the Jambeli Channel (or the beginning of the channel) in the Gulf of Guayaquil is the Jambeli Archipelago, a detached area along the Ecuadorean coast between Tumbes and Machala

At the south end of the Gulf the Jambeli Channel runs between Puná Island and the mainland to the east. The Jambeli archipelago is a series of islands, channels and rivers far too numerous to illustrate on the map, but which provide a large, protected area for shipping. Along the inner channel or river today are two major ports: 1) Bolivar, which is a part of Machala and the world’s largest banana shipment point, along with copper, shrimp, and cargo containers; and 2) Pitahaya, a port named after a fruit (also called Dragon Fruit) grown in the area, and is a fruit and vegetable exporting facility along the mainland in the middle of the Jambeli Archipelago. Obviously, this area is and always was an ideal place for shipping. This area is also thought to be the location of Hagoth’s shipyard, amidst forests of trees, rivers and channels well protected from the winds and currents of the seacoast.
    The Gulf of Guayaquil of the coastal province is the largest gulf on the Pacific coast of South America between Panama and Chiloe in southern Chile, and the largest estuarine ecosystem on the coast at 40,000 square miles. The Gulf has historically been defined by an outer and an inner estuary. The outer estuary, referred to as the Gulf of Guayaquil, has a shelf boundary a distance of about 127 miles from the mouth of the gulf running inland to Puná Island at the mouths of Morro and Jambeli channels. The inner estuary, referred to as the Guayas River estuary, can be classified as a tectonic estuary, which extends about 45 miles from its mouth at the northern shore of Puná Island to the tidal signature of the Guayas River
    To the northwest, a relatively large sub-estuary, known as the Salado, has freshwater input restricted to wastewater from the city of Guayaquil  and to the southeast, the Churute sub-estuary is influenced by the Churute and Taura Rivers, the latter being near the Zarumilla River. More than 20 rivers, with a total watershed of 31,889-square miles, discharge into the Gulf.
    This Gulf that cuts into the land, separating the northern Ecuadorian  land from the southern portion and Peru, is effectively a sea that divides the land, as Moroni described it.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Were There Two Passes into the Land Northward? Part IV

Continued from the previous post, regarding the location of the later mountain road as well as the narrow pass Mormon describes. As indicated in the title of these articles, were there two passes, or two narrow necks, leading from the Land Southward into the Land Northward in the Land of Promise? Or, was there a narrow neck in one place and a narrow Pass in another location? These are the type of claims made by many theorists in order to justify their own personal models. However, Mormon seems quite specific in his descriptions that leaves little to speculate upon.
Red Numbers: Air distance; Black Numbers: Road distance

In addition, it is also suggested that the river Jubones marked the northern border of the Land of Bountiful, and the land of Desolation’s southern termination. The distance by passable route between these two places (Cajamarca and the Jubones River) is about 530 miles, which seems a very long distance. Frankly, the scriptural record does not seem to give the impression that Bountiful was that significant—Mormon often bypasses and ignores that land when mentioning coming from the Land Northward into the Land Southward. In fact, Mormon doesn’t mention the Land of Bountiful or the city of Bountiful anywhere in his book (Mormon), and neither does Moroni, either in his father’s final chapters or in his own book (Moroni).
    Now that may not be significant, since Mormon tells us that the Land of Bountiful, “the land on the southward was called Bountiful (Alma 22:31), that is, the Land of Bountiful extended southward from the narrow neck of land, but how far below the city of Bountiful the actual southern border extended is not stated. Still, this makes the Land of Bountiful somewhere between 340 and 350 miles on a direct line of sight from south to north (about 580 to 600 travel miles). Consequently, it seems that Mormon would have made some mention of a land that large and significant as the entire northern land area of the Land Southward.
    In addition, when it is mentioned that nothing grew in the area of this Land of Desolaton, and that it was “destitute of anything of value growing, that is why it is called Desolation,” there are two problems with that:
1. This area along the ancient inland route from Loja to Ingapirca is quite vegetaceous, especially around Cuenca. In fact, from Loja to Ingapirca is a green belt between two ridges, which is born out by satellite imagry. However, in between Loja and Cuenca is a small area from Ona to a little beyond Nabon Canton, and west to Abañin (following a deep canyon cut by the Leon River) that is mountainous and lacks much vegetation.
In biblical times, when a city was destroyed, especially because of its evil nature and practices, the area was referred to as devastation. A land of devastation was one in which the curse of defeat, destruction and punishment hung over the area for some time

2. The land was not called Desolation because it lacked the growth of vegetation (other than trees), it was called Desolation because of the destruction of people. As Mormon wrote of this: “No part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber, but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate (Helaman 3:5). This is also born out after the great destruction of the city of Ammonihah and the people within— “after many days their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering. And now so great was the scent thereof that the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah for many years. And it was called Desolation of Nehors; for they were of the profession of Nehor, who were slain; and their lands remained desolate” (Alma 16:11).
    It is a common mistake many make regarding the use of the term “Desolation” to name an area and its flora growth, instead of its intent of being physically destroyed. This is true in Biblical times as well, where the Hebrew term for desolate in the Old Testament was shamem, meaning “left lonely,” “forlorn,” “laid waste,” “destitute of inhabitants,” and “make land desolate and cities be laid waste, without inhabitant.” Similar words in the New Testament were eremos, eremoo, and monoo, all meaning the same thing: “waste,” “desolate,” “wilderness;” “to lay waste,” “to make waste,” “desolate.” In fact, the definition of the use of “desolate” in the Bible is: “Destitute or deprived of inhabitants; uninhabited; denoting either stripped of inhabitants, or never having been inhabited; as a desolate isle; a desolate wilderness.”
Today, there are two possible routes from the Land Southward into the Land Northward. Again, the coastal road was and is definitely a means to get between these two lands, and with the sea on the east before 3 Nephi and the sheer cliffs of the Mountains on the east after 3 Nephi, meets the descriptions in the scriptural record

Returning to a claimed Pass through the mountains in the middle of the narrow neck of land, we know from Mormon’s writing that at the northern boundary of the narrow passage was a city. As he states: “And it came to pass that I did cause my people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land” and “it came to pass that in the three hundred and sixty and first year the Lamanites did come down to the city of Desolation to battle against us; and it came to pass that in that year we did beat them, insomuch that they did return to their own lands again (Mormon 3:5,7).
    Now, in looking this inland terrain, the ancient road the Inca called “The Royal Road,” today passes through Saraguro, Susudel, Giron, Cuenca, and Ingapirca.
1. Saraguro. This 8,258-feet elevation area was first settled by either the 16th-century Palta or the earlier Cañari (after 500 AD). There is little evidence of anything substantial in ruins, major settlement, etc., before Tomebamba (Tumipampa).
2. Susudel. Actually, the town of Oña (11 miles south of Susudel; but 5 miles as the crow flies) is much older than Susudel, both around 9,800-feet elevation. Actually, Oña was a nascent, or new town, just coming into existence in the later stages of the Cañari period, with its ruins of mud buildings.
    There is a nearby archaeological site named Cubilán at 7,874-feet along the Oña River, which is a tributary of the Jubones River. The ruins are currently undated, but believed to be a very rudimentary area occupied in late BC times. No buildings or ruins have been found, though some lithic (stone) tools have been obtained. Another archaeological site is Putushío, believed to have first been occupied in the last millennia BC, and vacated around the 17th century AD. However, the only actual installations and terraces of this area date from about 450 AD forward.
3. Girón. This settlement at 7,090-feet, was initially occupied by the Leoquina culture, of whom absolutely nothing is known. Since these people were overrun by the Inca, at which time the area became known as Pacaibamba, it would appear they were a later culture in the area.
4. Cuenca. Ruins of this area at 8,400 feet elevation do not date back before the Cañari city of Guapondeleg in 500 AD. It was eventually replaced by the Inca city of Tomebamba. There is very little to suggest any archaeological remains before 2000 BC, and from then to 500 AD, there is not much to suggest anything at all of any real development. The history of this area, and dated relics, are from 500 AD forward.
5. Ingapirca. Originally known as Hatun Cañar, and situated on the north side of the Cañar River at 10,433-feet, this is one of the largest archaeological sites and ruins in all of Ecuador. It is considered a Cañari site, meaning it dates from 500 AD forward.
    The point of all of this is to show that there was no major city, ruins, or record of any such site in this mountainous middle region in antiquity as the one Mormon describes being at the northern entrance to the narrow passage, which he called the city of Desolation: “And it came to pass that I did cause my people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward… the Lamanites did come down to the city of Desolation to battle against us” (Mormon 3:5,7).
The coastal road or passage between the Gulf of Guayaquil and the sheer rise of mountains would have been the narrow passage of which Mormon wrote

Thus, it seems only prudent and consistent with the scriptural record to place this passage along the coastal path from Machala to Guayaquil, since matches Mormon’s descriptions more than an inland route over the mountains along the Inca road. By the time that road was built, whenever that was, it must have been after the time of the Nephites. It’s existence is only known in connection with the Inca and later the Spanish who used it to invade northern Ecuador and Peru. After all, a “narrow passage” could well have referred to the narrow land bridge along the eastern shore of the Gulf or Bay or Guayaquil, abutted by the water to the west and the mountain cliffs to the east through there.
   There seems no question that in the last century BC, there was only one passage into the Land Northward from the Land Southward, and this appears verified by Mormon’s statement regarding Moroni’s message to Teancum after his earlier defeat of Morianton at the Pass: “And he also sent orders unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass which led into the land northward, lest the Lamanites should obtain that point and should have power to harass them on every side” (Alma 52:9). If there were two ways into the Land Northward, then Alma’s mention of a singular narrow pass does not make much sense, since he was concerned about the Lamanites obtaining access to the Land Northward, where they could harass the Nephites from both the south and the north.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Were There Two Passes into the Land Northward? Part III

Continued from the previous post, regarding the location of the later mountain road as well as the narrow pass Mormon describes. As indicated in the title of these articles, were there two passes, or two narrow necks, leading from the Land Southward into the Land Northward in the Land of Promise? Or, was there a narrow neck in one place and a narrow Pass in another location? These are the type of claims made by many theorists in order to justify their own personal models. However, Mormon seems quite specific in his descriptions that leaves little to speculate upon.
    In the Land of Promise Mormon tells us there was a “narrow neck” of land that “led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5). He also tells us that this narrow neck was a “small neck” (Alma 22:32), and in addition, he tells us that this neck of land separated the Land Northward from the Land Southward by explaining that the Land Southward was “nearly surrounded by water” except for this “neck of land between the land northward and their land southward” (Alma 22:32). Thus we see there was only one piece of land between the land to the north and the land to the south, and he called it a “small neck” and also a “narrow neck.”
Left: The Narrow Neck and the Narrow Passage, along with the division of the land by treaty, the Sea that Divides the Land, and the Jaredite City by the sea; Right: including the full extent to the Narrow Pass or Passage and modern named areas for reference

Mormon also makes it clear that within or through this small or narrow neck of land was a Pass or Passage. As he states: “the narrow passage which led into the land southward” (Mormon 2:29); and also “by the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5, emphasis added in both quotes). In addition, Moroni, in his abridgement of the works of the last Jaredite prophet, Ether, states: “And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20, emphasis added).
    As we have stated before, this narrow neck or narrow passage within this narrow neck, was the dividing line of the treaty between the Nephites and the Lamanites agreed upon in 350 AD. As Mormon states the agreement: “And in the three hundred and fiftieth year we made a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided. And the Lamanites did give unto us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward” (Mormon 2:28-29).
    Finally, when the Lamanites later wanted to invade the Land Northward, then held by the Nephites by treaty, they came through this narrow pass directly into the heavily defended passage—a battle in which they were defeated not just once (Mormon 3:7), but were defeated a second time in this same passage in a devastating manner (Mormon 3:8). In addition, the Lamanites had taken ten years before this first attack, giving them plenty of time to search for another way into the Land Northward had there been one (Mormon 3:4-5).
    Obviously, there was not another way into the Land Northward except through this narrow pass within the narrow neck of land, forcing the Lamanites to attack a heavily fortified Nephite position where, because of its narrowness and terrain, they had been able to “place their armies that they might stop the armies of the Lamanites…therefore they did fortify against them with all their force” (Mormon 3:6).
    Just as obviously, had there been another way into the Land Northward, surely the Lamanites with their massive armies, could have sent some of their warriors via another entrance or pass or way into the land and came upon the Nephites holding this narrow passage from the rear, bottling them up and destroying them, thus effecting a final battle 35 years earlier than the one at Cumorah in 385 AD.
    Now, inland, there is a road some want to indicate is the narrow passage Mormon describes. This road is what the Inca called Qhapac Ñan [Kapak Ñan], that stretched from Cuzco through Cajamarca to Tumebamba and onward to Quito.
(White Line) The Main Road from Cusco northward to Quito and into southern Colombia, which the Inca later called the Qhapac Nan, or Royal Road; (Green Line) A later road through Girón, Lentag, Santa Isabel, then west along the Jubones River to Cascay La Peana, El Cambo and Machala ending at Port Bolivar

There is a pass or passage along this road (the current E35 highway) that falls between Saraguro and Susudel around 8,000 feet elevation. This Pass is far from either the West Sea or the East Sea, and it is unlikely the Nephites carried that “great number” of bodies very far, nor did they deposit them into a river, for Mormon’s statement is quite clear “and their dead were cast into the sea” (Mormon 3:8).
    To the south of this road in Ecuador, the city of Loja, a land of many gold mines and even, ideal year-round Spring climate, is nestled in the Cuxibamba (Smiley) Valley at about 6,889 feet, and surrounded by the Zamora and Malacatos rivers. This mountain valley is covered in lush, emerald green verdure within a hilly, mountains region of páramos and cloud forest. To the north is Saraguro at 8,267 feet, followed by Ona and Susudel, with Jima and Cumbe in the northern end of the narrow Cuxibamba Valley.
Girón is off the main road and lies on the west side of a mountain range and would not have been involved in the original roadway through the mountains
    West of the road and a little north, beyond a range of mountains in the Yunguilla Valley, is the town of Girón at 7,087 feet. It sits on a later road which ran down the valley almost all the way to Machala, and is separated from Susudel and Oña along the main road by a range of mountains that surround the valley. Beyond Susudel on this ancient road is the city of Cuenca at 8,399 feet, 77 miles north of Loja along the Tomebamba River, with three other nearby rivers. 80 miles north of Cuenca is the settlement of Ingapirca at 10,498 feet. Guayaquil to the south where the Guayas River widens south of the city and flows through a deltaic network of small islands and channels.
    The problem with this is that it introduces two Passes or two passages from south to north, while the scriptural record mentions only one.
If there were two ways into the Land Northward, then what would stop the Lamanites from using one of them while the Nephites guarded the other; and what would cause Teancum to know which egress Morianton would have chosen in order to cut him off just in time?

In addition, if the narrow passage Mormon mentions was through those mountains, as some have indicated, what would keep the Lamanites from coming up the coastal route of the narrow neck, along the Bay of Guayaquil through Machala to Guayaquil?
    After all, this lowland, near sea-level narrow stretch between the Gulf and the sheer mountains, is wide open from Machala to Guayaquil. Nor would the idea work that some have suggested that “If one had spies to tell which road was being used at the time,” since we know of no spies or other military presence in the north country or around the narrow neck of land.  
    As an example, at the time of Morianton, we are unaware of anyone in the Land Northward or around the narrow neck to speak of, and Moroni certainly did not have an outpost there since when he sent Teancum to head off Morianton, it was a matter of getting to Morianton and his rebels before they reached the Land Northward (Alma 50:32).
    Evidently, Moroni was worried about the people of Bountiful becoming involved, which should suggest there was no real patriotic settlement that far north that Moroni could count on, let alone a military presence, or even spies. As Mormon states: “And it came to pass that they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east” (Alma 50:32). Obviously, Teancum’s effort was without help or aid from anyone in the north. Also evidently, Teancum knew exactly where to go and make his stand to head off Morianton since the scriptural account is quite simple and direct, suggesting that there was only one way through the narrow neck and into the Land Northward.
(See the next post, “Were There Two Passes into the Land Northward? Part III,” to see the location of the later mountain road as well as the narrow pass Mormon describes)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Were There Two Passes into the Land Northward? Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding the location of the later mountain road as well as the narrow pass Mormon describes.
    In the time of the Jaredites, there was an area considered as “the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20), the was adjacent to the “narrow neck of land,” or at least that is how Moroni recorded it. In any event, this place of a sea dividing the land has met with uncommonly odd examples by theorists trying to substantiate their models of the Land of Promise.
    We should understand that when a sea “divides the land,” that part of a sea or ocean encroaches into the land, creating a bay or gulf that narrows the contiguous land mass, creating large land masses to one side and the other of the encroached sea. In addition, land, of course, can be “divided” by such topographical factors as “ridges that extend down toward the sea dividing the land into a series of wooded valleys; a large, extended mountain range can divide one side of the land form the other, or it can be divided by other, impassable terrain, such as deep canyons, sheer cliffs, or very wide and deep rivers.
    However, Moroni was very specific. In the case of the Jaredite land area, which he said was “divided by a sea.” But not only divided, but one that was so noticeable it was considered a location, i.e., “where the sea divides the land.” Such an obvious and noticeable sea dividing land does not seem to be located in any of the suggested theorists’ models.
Left: Overall view of coastline, showing how the inundation of a large Bay or Gulf distinctively divides the land above it from that below it; Right: Close-up of the Gulf of Quayaquil in Ecuador where the sea effectively divides the land of Ecuador from that of Peru

Now in South America, “the place where the sea divides the land” that Moroni mentioned (Ether 10:20), would be where the Gulf of Guayaquil cuts into the land about 70 miles from west to east in southwest Ecuador, creating a large 7,500-square mile bay or gulf, that separates (or divides) the land from the north to the south. Stretching about 100 miles north to south, this Gulf of Guayaquil obvious not only separates the land of Ecuador along a north-south basis, but establishes a narrow neck of land to the east of the bay about 25 miles in width, which was the only connection between the land to the north and the land in the south.
The Pacific Ocean cuts in the land to form the Gulf of Guayaquil, basically separating the land in the north from that in the south, creating a 25-mile-wide strip of land between the sea and the sharp rising mountains

This separation can be more easily understood when considering that the land just north of this Gulf is 145 miles from sea to mountains, and south of the Gulf, the land is 160 miles from the sea to the mountains. This obviously establishes the narrow neck of land that stretches across about 25 miles from the sea (eastern shore of the Gulf) to the mountains. Just as obviously, this Gulf is where the sea intrudes into the land, dividing it quite effectively and very clearly, making it an extremely noticeable landmark. There is no explanation needed to support this being “the sea that divides the land.”
    Today, along this eastern or northeastern seashore of the Gulf, beginning somewhere around Machala and ending just south of Guayaquil, is a sea-level passage between the Gulf to the west and the sheer mountains to the east. This seashore route, along what would have been called the West Sea, is effectively a “narrow neck of land,” though not separated by an East Sea at this point, though it was in BC times and up to when the destruction at the time of the crucifixion altered and changed “the whole face of the land” (3 Nephi 8:12).
    For those who have a hard time with South America being an island at one time, then the entire continent east of what is now the Andes Mountains rose out of the water, this is not unusual for the Earth’s history. Though on a smaller scale, just east of the New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, in a large group of islands just north of New Caledonia, is located the Pentecost (Pentecôte or Bislama) Island. Known originally by the indigenous Araga or Raga people as Vanu Aroaroa, it is a lush, mountainous 190-square mile island which stretches north to south over some 37 miles. While this is not a huge continent by any means, of course, it might be of interest to know that in their history, the entire island rose out of the water. According to their history, “there was a specific seismic jolt known to have taken place which caused the entire emergence of the island from under the sea” (Thomas Reuter, Sharing the Earth, Dividing the Land, ANU E Press, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 2006, John P. Taylor, Ch.13, p299).
The Kvarken Archipelago is a cluster of islands that are rising from the sea in the Bothnan Coast, between Finland and Sweden, the first of which arose thousands of years ago, but others have been rising ever since, and it is believed at some point, they will form a fully connected land bridge between the two countries across the Kvarken

As we have reported here in earlier articles, there are numerous such instances of where entire islands, small and large, have emerged out of the sea, and where the subsidence of others have occurred. The Earth’s land masses are not always as stable as one would believe and in innumerable places changes, sometimes drastic, take place. In fact, since 1927, 26 islands have risen around the world, with 4 in both Japan and Tonga; two in Indonesia, Iceland, Pakistan, and Yemen, and one each in Angola, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greenland, Portugal, Russia, Solomons, United States and Vanuatu. Plus there have been several landmasses rise adjacent to existing lands and islands. Almost all of these have been connected to massive eruptions, either earthquakes or volcano eruptions.
    The point is, that the Land of Promise was monumentally altered, with cities sinking into the ground and under the sea, as well as being covered by towering mountains rising up out of the earth. In addition, huge slabs of substantially-sized slabs of rock within the earth were cracked, divided and shattered into seams and cracks; mountains collapsed and became valleys, and valleys rose to tall mountains, “whose height was great.”

• Most earthquakes last from 10 to 30 seconds; 6.0 quakes last about 30-40 seconds; largest earthquakes are rarely over 5 minutes; no recorded quake has lasted over 10 minutes
• A 10.0 earthquake would be 30 times greater than a 9.0 earthquake
• There has never been a registered 10.0 earthquake
• It is believed that a 10.0 earthquake would cause ground motions for up to an hour, with a tsunami hitting while the shaking was still going on and last for several days
    For anyone who has withstood a handful of minutes in a devastating earthquake, consider that the one that hit the Land of Promise at the time of the crucifixion lasted longer than any every recorded. Consider that the longest earthquake ever recorded in Earth’s history was the Sumatra, Indonesia, quake that lasted a whopping 8.3 to 10 minutes in length, and the most devastating quake recorded was the one in Valdivia, Chile in 1960, reaching 9.5 on the Richter Scale. And lasted three hours! Three hours! Consider the damage to earth and terrain in three hours of shaking of at least a 9.5 earthquake!
    Mormon, translating the disciple Nephi’s writings, including both Samuel the Lamanite’s prophecies and Nephi’s vision of the great calamities that occurred at that time, states that the entire land was changed during the destruction we find recorded in 3 Nephi 8. What damage would occur when mountains disappear completely, collapsing into valleys; and valleys disappear, becoming sheer mountains “whose height is great.”
    What might have happened to mountain passes when the mountain disappeared, or to roads where mountains rose from valleys. And this destruction occurred throughout the Land of Promise, especially in the Land Northward. Thus, whatever routes, rivers, passes, shorelines, and necks of land that might have existed before this destruction, how much of it would have disappeared or been altered, perhaps even beyond recognition, when mountains grow up suddenly or disappear completely.
    Let us then consider, that when Mormon wrote his own book (Mormon) and abridged the writings of the other prophets from Mosiah onward, what we find within his knowledge and purview might well have been different than what existed before the crucifixion. It is interesting that many theorists claim the damage must have been minimal since both Mormon and Moroni were still able to identify the areas of which they wrote. What an odd comment when both these great men, prophets of the Lord, were writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Mormon 3:16,20; Ether 12:2).
(See the next post, “Were There Two Passes into the Land Northward? Part III,” to see the location of the later mountain road as well as the narrow pass Mormon describes)