Thursday, March 26, 2020

What was Mulek’s Course to the Land of Promise? – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding how Mulek and those with him reached the Land of Promise and what route they took and what routes they did not take that are popular among theorists.
    In the previous post, the first suggestion of sailing out of the Mediterranean was discussed about how difficult it would have been for anyone of the royal family to have made their way out of Jerusalem and survived the Babylonian siege. It should be remembered that after Jerusalem fell, Nebuchadnezzar killed all of king Zedekiah’s sons right before his eyes, then had his eyes put out before taking him to Babylon and putting him in prison. To prevent anyone of royalty from surviving, Nebuchadnezzar killed off all who could eventually rise to take power in Judea.  Thus, because of the political environment of the time, such an event of Mulek’s escape to the west and the shores of the Mediterranean would have been.
    Below, we continue with this Mediterranean route to show how even if Mulek could have reached the sea and secured a ship, how impossible it would have been for them to avoid detection and capture.
The route Lehi would have had to take across the Mediterranean, first through the Eastern Mediterranean, and then the Western Mediterranean—both of which were heavily controlled by jealous traders at the time

Anyone crossing the Mediterranean Sea around 600 BC would have caused some interest by the traders who guarded their sea lane routes to not only trading settlements but to specific areas, such as the highly sought after tin. These ships in 600 BC were ships with square sails and oars—a condition of ships on the Mediterranean between 500 BC to 100 BC. Those who sailed on the Mediterranean during the trade markets were strictly middle men between trading parties of Asia and Europe, and connecting the people, empires and civilizations of North Africa. In fact, most of the western population was centered around this trade route, which provided a rivalry for power and dominance. Obviously, any passage of a ship not involved in trading, as well as any through this area would have drawn a lot of attention, because the entire Mediterranean was involved in conflict, trading, and protection of trading routes.
    Situated on the southwestern shore of Spain, Tartessia at the time of Mulek dominated the Mediterranean trade with their direct route overland to “las islas Casitérides,” the British Isles, and the trade in tin. Often referred to as “La ruta del estaño,” the Tin Route, the valuable trade in tin was a commodity, when mixed with copper, that created bronze. Huge profits were realized by shipping bronze into the eastern interior, along Mesopotamia, Persia, and China. This control of the tin trade enabled Tartessia to reap great profits and grow to a major power in the Western Mediterranean.
    Both suspicious and overly protective of their dominance in the Western Mediterranean, and their control of the tin trade from Pretainia (Britain), the Tartessia allowed no shipping to move up the western coast of Spain and France and to England and back. In fact, any vessel leaving the Mediterranean would have been under their direct observation and, obviously, followed to see where it went.
The Pillars of Hercules, two promontories at the eastern end of the Straqit of Gibraltar: The Rock of Gibraltar and mount Jebel Moussa (Musa), in Morocco, near the city of Ceuta (the Spanish exclave on the Moroccan coast)

Now what many Mesoamerica scholars and theorists forget is that in leaving the Mediterranean Sea and heading out into the Atlantic, a ship had to pass through the Pillars of Hercules, what is today the Straits of Gibraltar. Not only does this mean passing by the observation from the island of Malta, passing between the narrow waters between Sicily and Tunisia, and also between Sardinia and Algeria, as well as passing through by the Balearic Islands, a ship then headed down the straits toward Gibraltar. Passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, which runs about ten miles before reaching the end of the strait between Tarifa and Ksar es Srhir and entering into the Atlantic, the ship would pass through a narrow strait barely nine miles wide where a person, ship or lookout on one shore could easily see across to the other shore, thus seeing any ship passing through the Strait and out into the Atlantic. This creates three very important problems:
1) Any ship large enough to breach the Atlantic would have been noticed more than once by those sailing the Mediterranean at the time—either to see where merchant traders might be going, or to keep ships from making contact with other powers that might prove a problem for Greece or Egypt. In addition, such a ship would certainly have been detected by the Tartessians who would have stopped any Phoenician ship passage through the straits and into the Atlantic because of their fierce competitive dominance and control of merchant trade routes.
2) Between 1000 BC and 600 BC, the Mediterranean was filled with pirates that were stopping every ship they saw. This was true in both the east and the west, where the rocky coast, which had been unsuitable for agriculture, was perfectly suited to piracy, outfitted with hidden inlets that allowed quick access points to trade routes.
The palace of King Minos in Knossos, on the island of Crete. From here he ruled the Mediterranean

This ancient piracy began before 1400 BC, when King Minos of Crete created a navy to safeguard trade routes against devastating attacks by pirates in the Eastern Mediterranean. Egyptians attacked pirates in 1350 BC who had been preying on Egypt’s shipping in the Nile Delta, 750 years before Lehi and later Mulek left Jerusalem.
    "Pirate enclaves grew up along rocky shores of the Mediterranean that provided shelter and kept them hidden from view until it was too late for their victims to escape” (Cindy Vallar, "Ancient Piracy," Pirates and Privateers: the History of Maritime Piracy, Thistless & Pirates, 2009).
    To fight off pirates, who were harassing the merchant trading ships of the Phoenicians, they designed special warships to accompany their trading fleets for protection—considering any ship a possible pirate, even capturing other Phoenician ships.
3) At the time, Phoenicians, who called themselves Kana’anīm, meaning Canaanites, and founded the city-states of Byblos, Sidon and Tyre, which was ancient Canaan, were merchants. They acted as middlemen for their neighbors, transporting from their lands in the east to settlements in the west clear to the Pillars of Hercules, 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.
    While the Phoenicians traded along northern Africa from the Lavant to Morocco and up into portions of Spain and the islands in the northern Mediterranean, the Minoans traded in the northeast Mediterranean. These were later replaced by the Greeks, who settled and traded all along the northern coast of the Mediterranean from Anatolia (Turkey) all the way to northern Spain, and inland into Europe.
Two distinct and jealously-guarded trade routes in the Mediterranean, both highly suspicious of any ship sailing in the Mediterranean. Blue: Minoans and Greeks; Red: Phoenicians

Each trading network was jealously guarded by either the Greek warships, or armed Phoenician vessels. Any ship sailing the Mediterranean was constantly under such guard and open to attack until the Romans came to power and subdued the Mediterranean around 200 BC.
4) In the time of Lehi and Mulek, such a passage of a ship across and out of the Mediterranean into the Atlantic would have aroused the curiosity of the other powers within the Mediterranean. Any ship large enough and designed for deep ocean sailing would certainly have brought the attention of other nations out to see where such a ship would be sailing. Certainly, once it left the Straits and headed out to sea, would have caused others to see where it might be going.
5) Other nations sailing the Mediterranean would have followed such a ship as mentioned above simply for their protective and security concerns. Ships did not simply sail the Mediterranean unobserved, nor did they sail without other shipping and ports becoming very curious because any oddity could signal war, an invasion, or attack. From about 1100 B.C. until the Romans completely dominated the Mediterranean, which they called Mare Nostrum (“Our Sea”) and inland areas, this entire area was one of constant uprisings, unsettlement, and attacks.
6) During the time of Lehi, the Phoenicians were in decline, and fell under Assyrian rule, though they continued to trade, but encountered tough competition from Greece over trade routes. They were particular, as were the Greeks, that no ship other than their own could sail across the Mediterranean, let along out through Gibraltar.
    To think that any ship could sail out through the narrow Pillars of Hercules without raising such concerns is simply without merit. In addition, for other nations to notice such a ship would run contrary to the Lord’s promise to Lehi that his Land of Promise would be kept from the knowledge of other nations. Thus, such a course would not have been the way Mulek reached the Land of Promise. It might also be noted that the Phoenicians were in sharp decline in 600 BC, had a little capability to sail on any long voyage.
    As we wrote in the last post, even if Mulek could have secured a large enough ship to sail from the east shores of the Mediterranean, if is highly unlikely in 600 BC, they would never have gained the Atlantic Ocean because of the suspicion inherent in the Western Mediterranean at the time.
(See the next post, “How Did Mulek Get to the Land of Promise? – Part III” for the second course suggestion as to how Mulek could have reached the Land of Promise)

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