Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Who Were They Afraid Of? – Part III

Continuing with the last post, why did the ancient Peruvians build such impregnable fortresses, lookout posts, and walled cities? What were they afraid of? And why didn’t the builders of ancient Mesoamerica build fortresses and fortified walled cities? What was so different in the Andean area than that of Central America?
To comprehend this, we need to understand the first settlers of Andean Peru, those who came to the area before the Inca, before the Moche, before the Nazca, before the Ayacucho, before the Tiahuanaco, Wari or Chimu, and back to the time of the so-called Paracas culture of 500 B.C. to 400 A.D. Who were these people who first settled in the Andean area? Anthropologists have given them several names, such as the Norte Chico, Caral-Supe, Paracas, Lambayeque, Chavin, etc.
Who were these people? Scientists are both perplexed and curious about them. They have found skulls, textiles, artifacts, ancient ruins, but still know next to nothing about them.
So who were they?
The Book of Mormon tells us exactly who they were. Arriving in the land about 587 B.C., Lehi, his family, and those who were with him, arrived in the southern part of the Andean chain, around what is now La Serena, Chile, drifting inland from the north-bound Peruvian (Humboldt) Current past Panul, La Herradura, and Coquimbo Point before entering the Bay of Coquimbo along the lessening of winds and currents at about the 30º South Latitude within the Tropic of Capricorn where winds and currents come to a standstill—the perfect environment for a deep water ship to reach shore.
The winds and currents took Lehi’s weather-driven ship that “sailed forth before the wind,” along the Southern Ocean and up the Humboldt Current to where the winds and currents died down in the Tropic of Capricorn, the 30º South Latitude, where they landed in the Bay of Coquimbo
The Colony, that is, Lehi’s family, set foot on shore and settled in the area of La Serena. Problems arose immediately, because Lehi’s two oldest sons, Laman and Lemuel, always felt that their younger brother, Nephi, was trying to usurp their authority. At the time of their growing up at Jerusalem, the Jews had a strict code of primogeniture. That is, the first born son, was entitled to a share of their father’s estate that was twice that of the other brothers. If there were four brothers, as in Lehi’s family at the time (Laman, Lemual, Sam and Nephi), the eldest son (Laman) would receive 40% of the inheritance and the other three would get 20% each.
In addition, the eldest son became the family leader once the father died, and it was his responsibility to control the family business, property, and wealth. So, to Laman, who was in line to inherit from his father, Lehi, Nephi the youngest son, had no rights whatsoever. However, when Nephi began to take the lead (1 Nephi 7:8) through his obedience to his father and the Lord (1 Nephi 3:7), Laman, and Lemuel who joined him in this family rebellion (1 Nephi 3:28; 7:6), took offense. Though Nephi made no attempt to take control (2 Nephi 25-27), Laman and Lemuel, and their descendants always held this against Nephi and his descendants. It was the underlying cause of all the bloodshed the Lamanites brought upon the Nephites, much like the attitude of the Arabs toward the Jews since their return to Palestine in 1948—the Arabs believed they held the birthright through the 12 sons of Ishmael, Abraham’s oldest son, while the Jews claimed the birthright through the 12 sons of Israel, the son of Jacob, the birthright son of Abraham.
Thus, even when Lehi was alive, Laman and Lemuel, who later teamed up with Ishmael’s sons, tried to kill Nephi (1 Nephi 17:48), and when Lehi died, planned to kill Nephi outright (2 Nephi 5:2), but he was led away by the Lord before that could happen (2 Nephi 5:5). From that time on, wars were fought for some 1000 years between the Lamanites and the Nephites, because Nephi had “stolen” the sacred records and taken away their father’s birthright (Mosiah 10:15-16; Alma 20:13; 54:17).
As a result, the Lamanites waged a continual war of annihilation against the Nephites (Enos 1:20,24; Mosiah 19:7; Alma 57:31), that was interrupted for about 250 years after the Lord visited the Land of Promise, but was renewed again in Mormon’s time and continued until the Nephites were no more. Living under such a threat of an enemy who sacrificed Nephite women and children to their idol gods (Mormon 4:14), and who burned their cities and towns (Mormon 5:5), and who were dedicated to the total annihilation of the Nephites for nearly a millennium was more than enough reason for the Nephites to have built numerous fortresses, walled cities, and garrisoned outpost resorts.
On the other hand, the Mesoamerican builders had no such inherent fear of being attacked. When they left in Hagoth’s ships and went north in the last century B.C., the wars in the Land of Promise had drawn to a close (Alma 62:42), and during this peaceful window before conflict was renewed (Alma 63:15), thousands of Nephites left the land of their inheritance and emigrated northward into Central America (Alma 63:5-7).
Nephite emigrants boarded Hagoth’s ships and sailed northward—to a land which was northward—beyond the Land of Promise
These emigrants left the Land of Zarahemla, and were called “Nephites” (Alma 63:6), with no mention of Lamanites. While we do not know if any Lamanites were included, it seems probable that the mix was all or mostly all Nephites and that whatever hatred might have once existed among any Lamanites who went north, was left behind in the Land of Promise, at least for a time, though we do not know this for certain, since we know nothing of what took place among these emigrants once they left in Hagoth’s ships.
The point is, the building in Central America did not follow the fortified structures found in the Andean area of Peru and likely were built by emigrated Nephites who no longer felt threatened by Lamanite attack. Regarding this, eminent scholar Linda Schele, who was widely known for her pioneering work in decoding inscriptions on Mayan monuments, stated about the Mayans: “They were also seen as a blissfully peaceful people, whose fabled cities lacked even rudimentary fortifications.”
Again, the point is that those in the Land of Promise, in Andean Peru, felt so threatened that they built fortified citadels, walled cities and outpost garrisons throughout the land. The Nephites always lived in constant fear, or at least great concern, of Lamanite attack. Moroni spent most of his life defending his people, and building up the fortifications of cities throughout the land (Alma 62:42).
As a result, any Land of Promise must show the result of this activity and threatened concern; of the many highways (3 Nephi 6:8) over which Moroni and later Moronihah moved Nephite armies, and most importantly, of Moroni’s walled cities (Alma 48:8), forts and resorts (Alma 48:8-9); of the obvious concern for defense against an attacking enemy from the south. A concern so great that vast amounts of manpower, resources, cost, and time went into building such fortresses and defenses.
Mesoamerica does not have such edifices. Andean Peru does!

1 comment:

  1. So awesome. So is there any chance that Bountiful could be in Central America?