Friday, November 18, 2011

The Stature of the Jaredites – Part IV

Continuing from the last two posts in discussing the legends and myths of giants in the land in the area of Ecuador in Andean South America:

The objects of antiquity found on the coast of Ecuador, especially the remarkably sculptured stone seats of giants and other matters, attest to the advanced skill of some unknown people long before recorded history. Today, there is no knowledge obtainable of the earliest settlement of the Ecuadorian coast. According to Velasco, the native historian of Ecuador, writing in 1789, the first people of whom definite facts are known were the Caras, who were an immigrating or invading people, who came by sea on larger craft in a not very remote epoch, possibly during the 6th or 7th century A.D. They were superior in intelligence and culture to the natives, conquering all, and rapidly covered the territory of the barbarians of the district. The history of the Caras is however wrapped in speculation and obscurity, and their migration uncertain. We do know of the Manta Indians, an indigenous tribe of Indians with a knowledge of very remote times in Ecuador.

It is known that the territory of this land the giants occupied and later civilizations covered, ranged as far north as Colombia and as far south as Puruha near Moche, Ecuador. Later, the kings of Quito bearing the general title of Caran-Shiri (the distinguishing names of the first ten or eleven chiefs having been lost) extended their territory over this very considerable area.

In addition, we need to keep in mind that almost all societies have some types of legends and myths dating back into antiquity to which they place some to great value upon. In modern times we tend to treat such legends and myths as little more than fables of people and events that never existed or happened. Aesop, a Greek slave of the fifty-century B.C., wrote stories everyone knew were not true in order to make a moral point; on the other hand, the stories of the Brothers Grimm, such as Cinderella, are obviously make believe, yet the Legend of King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Lancelot may or may not be true—no one knows; however, all know that these people are placed in a real time amidst real history.
All may be called legends, or myths, or even fables, depending on who is telling the tale. In addition, folklore and literary invention also play a part in legends and myths, and may well have been taken from some obscure event(s) and handed down over the generations or centuries. Atheists and many scientists consider Bible creation a series of myths interwoven into a fanciful belief about how man came to be. On the other hand, evolutionists believe in the myth that a spontaneous generation of life happened strictly by chance.

The fact is, though, that legends and myths often have a beginning in reality, such as the Arthurian belief stemming from a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th to early 6th century, who battled at Mount Badon, and was later killed in the battle of Camlann. Some legends are about people who lived on the borderline of history and mythology, or were half-forgotten Celtic or Teutonic dieties, or normal people romanticized into bigger-than-life characters of a bygone age. One thing is certain, however, that any legend or myth becomes larger, greater, and more mystical with the retelling over the ages. In this sense, a natural disaster becomes the vengeance of a god, a good swordsman becomes a royal defender of his country, and taller than normal people become giants—there have always been taller people in any age and among any people.

Goliath was reported as being over eight feet tall, Guiness reports eight men in the 20th century over eight feet, with the tallest at a whopping 8’11”, and 14 men between 7’6” and 8’. With 13 athletes over 7’ tall, and three others at 6’ 11”. Since the average American is 5’9”, most people would tend to call these people giants.

But what of people whose history is not specifically recorded as is modern man’s, who lived in the shadows of antiquity, but whose reputations and stories survived by the telling and retelling around campfires and village meetings. Of these, with each retelling of the stories grew larger, as did that of the giants who grew taller. An interesting comment made in the The Evening and Morning Star, regarding the Jaredites is that “they were a very large race of men; whenever we hear that uncommonly large bones have been dug up from the earth, we may conclude that was the skeleton of a Jaredite” (“The Book of Ether,” Evening and Morning Star, August 1832, p 22).

In anqituity, the Phoenicians were not physically large, at least not according to any ancient accounts; Polybius said they were smaller than Romans, and Romans were described as small compared to Gauls and the even larger Germans. There were Philistine giants (such as Goliath), and giants are described as living in Canaan when the Israelites arrived there; however, Canaanites, Phoenicians and Punic are all directly related and called themselves "ki-na-ani" whether they lived in Gades (Spain) or Carthage or Sidon or Tyre. However, Claudius Aelianus (Aelian) also wrote of giants in the land, and fables and stories of giants have survived for thousands of years.

Were there giants in Ecuador around 2000 B.C.? The legends handed down through various indigenous tribes of that area suggest there were. And since this is the Jaredite area of the Land Northward in the Andean area, it seems quite likely.

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