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Teotihuacan and the Gadianton Robbers


Olavarria

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Mormon 8:12

12)And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.

In Helaman 3, we read the description of a group of people who migrate to a land that:

1)is an "exceedingly great distance" north of Nephite lands

2)a land of "large bodies of water and many rivers"

3)a place where people are expert in the use of cement.

4)a place that underwent deforestation.

5)a place which had people who hailed from south of the isthmus, Nephites and Ammonites.

6)and whose inhabitants "began to cover the face of the whole earth".

From about 200AD to 600 AD the only area in the Americas that possibly matches these six criteria is the city of Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan is:

1)north of the isthmus of Tehuantepec

2)is in the Teotihucan Valley, a side pocket of the Valley of Mexico. The Valley of Mexico was home to Lakes Xaltocan, Texcoco, Xochimilco and Chalco.

3)Teotihuacanos made extensive use of cement.

4)It has been proposed that the destruction of the surrounding forests nessecary for the burning of the lime which went into building Teotihuacan contributed to erosion and desiccation of the region.

5)There was a strong Southern(Mayan) presence at Teotihuacan

6)Teotihuacan influence extened into the Gulf Coast of Mexico, Oaxaca and as far south as Guatemala.

If the narrow neck of land is the strait of Tehuantepec then the only place that fits this description is Teotihuacan. However, Mormon's account seems anachronistic. Helaman ch. 3 does not describe the Teotihuacan of 50BC, it describes the Teotihuacan of 250AD and beyond. It does not describe the Teotihuacan of Helaman's day, but the Teotihuacan of Mormon's day, 400AD. It does not describe what Teotihuacan was like during the days of the actual migration recorded in Helaman 3; it describes what Teotihuacan was like when Mormon was alive and writing. Mormon "messed up".

The ancient Greek historian Xenophon made this same type of mistake. Xenophon incorrectly records that Cyrus the Great received and distributed gold darics.The daric did not exist until after the lifetime of Cyrus. The daric began to be used during the reign of Darius; the coin(daric) was named after him. Since the daric was used during Xenphon's time, we can see how this mistake was made. As ancient historians, both Mormon and Xenophon took the conditions of their day and incorrectly retrojected them into the past. Mormon may have made a mistake, but it was the kind of mistake other ancient historians made .

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Mormon takes the time and effort to describe a migration to what would eventually become Teotihuacan, because Teotihuacan was very much on his mind. The Teotihuacanos of Mormon's day were doing what the Gadianton Robbers of Helaman's day were doing; that is: they were usurping power and disrupting the social order.

Gadianton Robber Dates and Influence

At about 245AD, "the wicked part of the people began again to build up the secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton"(4 Nephi 1:42). "And it came to pass that the robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land; and there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus. And gold and silver did they lay up in store in abundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic"(4 Nephi 1:46).

By about 326AD, the Gadianton Robbers are among the Lamanites and "infest the land"(Mormon 1:18). By about 350AD, the Gadianton Robbers and the Lamanites are united in war against the Nephites. Nephites forced to enter a "treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided"(Mormon 2:26,27).

By 400AD, Moroni writes in Mormon 8:8-9:"And behold, it is the hand of the Lord which hath done it. And behold also, the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war. 9)And now, behold, I say no more concerning them, for there are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land.

Teotihuacan Dates and Influence

"Where these intruders warriors or traders? They may well have been both. By Aztec times in central Mexico there was a special caste of armed merchants called pochteca, who journeyed into distant countries in search of rare manufactures and raw materials not available in the homeland, all of which were destined for the king. From representations of the pochteca god at Teotihuacan, we know that the institution is at least as old as the Early Classic. Thus, Kaminaljuyu may have been a southeasterly outpost of long-distance traders from that great city, established for the purpose of exporting Maya riches for the Teotihuacan throne"(2).

"This was the mighty city that held dominion over large parts of Mexico in the Early Classic, as the center of a military and commercial empire that may have been greater than that of the much later Aztec(2). Shortly after AD 400, the highlands fell under Teotihuacan domination. An intrusive group of central Mexicans from that city might have seized Kaminaljuyu, where they built for themselves a miniature version of their capital. An elite class consisting both of Central Mexican foreigners and of a local nobility with whom they had marriage ties could have ruled over a captive population of largely Mayan descent(2).

"Mesoamerican "empires" such as Teotihuacan's were probably not organized along Roman lines, with total replacement of local administrations by imperial power; rather, they were "hegemonic," in the sense that conquered bureaucracies were pretty much left in place, but controlled through the constant threat of overwhelming military force which could have been unleashed against them at any time. Thus, we can expect a good deal of local cultural continuity even in those regions taken over by the great city; but in the case of the lowland Maya, we shall also see outright interference in dynastic matters, with profound implications for the course of Maya history"(2).

Sources

(1)The Gadianton Robbers in Mormon's Theological History:Their Structural Role and Plausible Identification, by Brant Gardner

(2)The Maya 7th Edition,by Michael Coe. Pg 90-92.

(3) "Tetitla and the Maya Presence at Teotihucan" by Karl A. Taube

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A Possibility...

No one looks at the ancient Pueblos as being those who became expert in the use of cement. "Adobe" can definately be described as "cement", especially in Joseph Smiths time. The BoM record says they built with cement and timbers shipped in. The adobe structures of the four corner region is exactly that- lots of cement with a few timbers shipped in. They became exceedingly crafty at building in this manner. Over a thousand+ years their structures still stand.

As for Teotihuacan, I have always felt it was the place where the kings dwelt in ancient Jaredite times.

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Mormon takes the time and effort to describe a migration to what would eventually become Teotihuacan, because Teotihuacan was very much on his mind. The Teotihuacanos of Mormon's day were doing what the Gadianton Robbers of Helaman's day were doing; that is: they were usurping power and disrupting the social order.

Gadianton Robber Dates and Influence

At about 245AD, "the wicked part of the people began again to build up the secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton"(4 Nephi 1:42). "And it came to pass that the robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land; and there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus. And gold and silver did they lay up in store in abundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic"(4 Nephi 1:46).

By about 326AD, the Gadianton Robbers are among the Lamanites and "infest the land"(Mormon 1:18). By about 350AD, the Gadianton Robbers and the Lamanites are united in war against the Nephites. Nephites forced to enter a "treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided"(Mormon 2:26,27).

By 400AD, Moroni writes in Mormon 8:8-9:"And behold, it is the hand of the Lord which hath done it. And behold also, the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war. 9)And now, behold, I say no more concerning them, for there are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land.

Teotihuacan Dates and Influence

"Where these intruders warriors or traders? They may well have been both. By Aztec times in central Mexico there was a special caste of armed merchants called pochteca, who journeyed into distant countries in search of rare manufactures and raw materials not available in the homeland, all of which were destined for the king. From representations of the pochteca god at Teotihuacan, we know that the institution is at least as old as the Early Classic. Thus, Kaminaljuyu may have been a southeasterly outpost of long-distance traders from that great city, established for the purpose of exporting Maya riches for the Teotihuacan throne"(2).

"This was the mighty city that held dominion over large parts of Mexico in the Early Classic, as the center of a military and commercial empire that may have been greater than that of the much later Aztec(2). Shortly after AD 400, the highlands fell under Teotihuacan domination. An intrusive group of central Mexicans from that city might have seized Kaminaljuyu, where they built for themselves a miniature version of their capital. An elite class consisting both of Central Mexican foreigners and of a local nobility with whom they had marriage ties could have ruled over a captive population of largely Mayan descent(2).

"Mesoamerican "empires" such as Teotihuacan's were probably not organized along Roman lines, with total replacement of local administrations by imperial power; rather, they were "hegemonic," in the sense that conquered bureaucracies were pretty much left in place, but controlled through the constant threat of overwhelming military force which could have been unleashed against them at any time. Thus, we can expect a good deal of local cultural continuity even in those regions taken over by the great city; but in the case of the lowland Maya, we shall also see outright interference in dynastic matters, with profound implications for the course of Maya history"(2).

Sources

(1)The Gadianton Robbers in Mormon's Theological History:Their Structural Role and Plausible Identification, by Brant Gardner

(2)The Maya 7th Edition,by Michael Coe. Pg 90-92.

(3) "Tetitla and the Maya Presence at Teotihucan" by Karl A. Taube

I think you nailed it. This matches my theory on BofM geography. This is also one reason Kim Goldsmith was attracted to the BofM before she was baptized. She and her husband (both are archeologist) were basically in charge of Teotihuacan.

The gadianton robbers also fits in with the Teotihuacan. Do I think Mormon might have messed up some? Yes, I think no one is perfect and if there be mistakes it would because of man. Perhaps Mormon used a bit of presentism when he wrote. No matter it is the message that counts and the geography is just theories.

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A Possibility...

No one looks at the ancient Pueblos as being those who became expert in the use of cement. "Adobe" can definately be described as "cement", especially in Joseph Smiths time. The BoM record says they built with cement and timbers shipped in. The adobe structures of the four corner region is exactly that- lots of cement with a few timbers shipped in. They became exceedingly crafty at building in this manner. Over a thousand+ years their structures still stand.

As for Teotihuacan, I have always felt it was the place where the kings dwelt in ancient Jaredite times.

I agree, but the arid desert climate helped with the preservation. The cement at Teotihuacan is a different mixture and they also survived over a thousand years and many of these are in rain forests, a climate which if the adobe homes were in would be washed away.

Me personally, I like the Chiapas and the Oaxaca areas for the place of the Jaradites

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A Possibility...

No one looks at the ancient Pueblos as being those who became expert in the use of cement. "Adobe" can definately be described as "cement", especially in Joseph Smiths time. The BoM record says they built with cement and timbers shipped in. The adobe structures of the four corner region is exactly that- lots of cement with a few timbers shipped in. They became exceedingly crafty at building in this manner. Over a thousand+ years their structures still stand.

As for Teotihuacan, I have always felt it was the place where the kings dwelt in ancient Jaredite times.

I really can't see adobe a cement. the composition of such is different. Plus Adobe homes consited of bricks and plastered. Whereas cement was used in the dwelling structures as mortar for the shaped rocks.

Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, horse manure and water, with some kind of fibrous or organic material (sticks and/or straw,), which is shaped into bricks using frames and dried in the sun. It is similar to cob and mudbrick.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe

In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance which sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term "opus caementicium" to describe masonry which resembled concrete and was made from crushed rock with burnt lime as binder. The volcanic ash and pulverized brick additives which were added to the burnt lime to obtain a hydraulic binder were later referred to as cementum, cimentum, c

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Mormon takes the time and effort to describe a migration to what would eventually become Teotihuacan, because Teotihuacan was very much on his mind. The Teotihuacanos of Mormon's day were doing what the Gadianton Robbers of Helaman's day were doing; that is: they were usurping power and disrupting the social order.

And this was written as a warning for our day. The Gadianton Robbers were doing exactly what they are doing in our day; they were usurping power and disrupting the social order. Very much in current affairs.

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And this was written as a warning for our day. The Gadianton Robbers were doing exactly what they are doing in our day; they were usurping power and disrupting the social order. Very much in current affairs.

So true. As interesting as identifying the Gadianton Robbers in 400ad might be,identifying who they are today is more important.

Ps.

Aren't adobe and cement two different materials? On my mission, I lived in houses made by both.

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So true. As interesting as identifying the Gadianton Robbers in 400ad might be,identifying who they are today is more important.

Ps.

Aren't adobe and cement two different materials? On my mission, I lived in houses made by both.

Yes they are two different things. Adobe is mearly mud bricks. Cement is a substance that when water is added causes a chemical reaction that causes it to harden and bing gravel agragate into a hardened substance.

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Yes they are two different things. Adobe is mearly mud bricks. Cement is a substance that when water is added causes a chemical reaction that causes it to harden and bing gravel agragate into a hardened substance.

May be a question of semantics but the adobe buildings of the 4 corners area were made by "cementing" different particles together.

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May be a question of semantics but the adobe buildings of the 4 corners area were made by "cementing" different particles together.

"Cementing" as in bonding or as in actual cement used? I would be curuious as to what article demonstrates such technique.

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"Cementing" as in bonding or as in actual cement used? I would be curuious as to what article demonstrates such technique.

Do a search of the "Casa Grande" ruins. They built a city where their structures were built with a type of adobe containing "caliche", a clacium carbonate that when exposed to water turned very hard. They used this mortar to cement together their buildings and also to form canals using this cementing process.

The earliest Spanish explorers and missionaries described the ruins at Casa Grande as being constructed of "cement". Certainly then, the use of the word "cement" at the time of Joseph Smith was used to describe a stucture or building process that included a type of mortar. Adobe structures at the time of the late 1700's and early 1800's were defined by the lerned sometimes as "cement".

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Do a search of the "Casa Grande" ruins. They built a city where their structures were built with a type of adobe containing "caliche", a calcium carbonate that when exposed to water turned very hard. They used this mortar to cement together their buildings and also to form canals using this cementing process.

The earliest Spanish explorers and missionaries described the ruins at Casa Grande as being constructed of "cement". Certainly then, the use of the word "cement" at the time of Joseph Smith was used to describe a structure or building process that included a type of mortar. Adobe structures at the time of the late 1700's and early 1800's were defined by the learned sometimes as "cement".

Mahalo for that info. I looked it up. I never made it that far south in Arizona. It's on my bucket list now. Too bad It's only external pics. I would like to see the inside. I read up and found the structure made of "Caliche". Cement from calcium carbonate and clay or sand. I can see where you are coming from on the adobe end. I love adobe homes anyway. If I didn't live Hawaii it would be Santa Fe or Sedona areas.

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"Cementing" as in bonding or as in actual cement used? I would be curuious as to what article demonstrates such technique.

There is an actual cement. It is not just the bonding together. Portland Cement is a fine powder manufactured by grinding together clinker and calcium sulfate. The major component of clinker is usually limestone.

That almost exausts my knowledge of cement manufacturing. Cement is a manufactured product where limestone alumium oxide and other things is heated to about 1400 degrees to produce clinkers which is then ground with calcium sulfate to a fine powder. This is cement and is used as to bind agragate (gravels) into concrete. If mixed with fine agragate (sand) it becomes morter for bricks. If mixed with courser agragates it becomes concrete for patios, sidewalks, highways and bulding walls. Cement is more than bricks made of mud.

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There is an actual cement. It is not just the bonding together. Portland Cement is a fine powder manufactured by grinding together clinker and calcium sulfate. The major component of clinker is usually limestone.

That almost exausts my knowledge of cement manufacturing. Cement is a manufactured product where limestone alumium oxide and other things is heated to about 1400 degrees to produce clinkers which is then ground with calcium sulfate to a fine powder. This is cement and is used as to bind agragate (gravels) into concrete. If mixed with fine agragate (sand) it becomes morter for bricks. If mixed with courser agragates it becomes concrete for patios, sidewalks, highways and bulding walls. Cement is more than bricks made of mud.

I agree that by todays standards and definitions "cement" is different than "adobe". In todays society the use of portland cement is extensive- used in over 98% of mixed cement compounds. However, I argue that in Joseph Smiths day the word "cement" was probably used more extensively to describe any building material that was "cemented" together. I am not sure if the word "adobe" was readily used in his time or not but I do know that the word "cement" was. The pueblo ruins of the 4 corner area was probably not widely publisized in Joseph Smiths time. Joseph Smith could have easily used a word like cement to describe the process and/or the materials the pueblo Indians used to build their adobe style structures.

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I'm wondering whether we're being too literal here.

When I was a kid, the usage demanded near identity of concrete and cement.

A block of concrete was called "a block of cement" as often as not.

Let's be cautious in our studies.

Did folks on the USmerican frontier in 1825-30 have a clear and unambiguous and unchanging way of viewing and naming these here things?

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Mormon 8:12

12)And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.

In Helaman 3, we read the description of a group of people who migrate to a land that:

1)is an "exceedingly great distance" north of Nephite lands

2)a land of "large bodies of water and many rivers"

3)a place where people are expert in the use of cement.

4)a place that underwent deforestation.

5)a place which had people who hailed from south of the isthmus, Nephites and Ammonites.

6)and whose inhabitants "began to cover the face of the whole earth".

From about 200AD to 600 AD the only area in the Americas that possibly matches these six criteria is the city of Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan is:

1)north of the isthmus of Tehuantepec

2)is in the Teotihucan Valley, a side pocket of the Valley of Mexico. The Valley of Mexico was home to Lakes Xaltocan, Texcoco, Xochimilco and Chalco.

3)Teotihuacanos made extensive use of cement.

4)It has been proposed that the destruction of the surrounding forests nessecary for the burning of the lime which went into building Teotihuacan contributed to erosion and desiccation of the region.

5)There was a strong Southern(Mayan) presence at Teotihuacan

6)Teotihuacan influence extened into the Gulf Coast of Mexico, Oaxaca and as far south as Guatemala.

If the narrow neck of land is the strait of Tehuantepec then the only place that fits this description is Teotihuacan. However, Mormon's account seems anachronistic. Helaman ch. 3 does not describe the Teotihuacan of 50BC, it describes the Teotihuacan of 250AD and beyond. It does not describe the Teotihuacan of Helaman's day, but the Teotihuacan of Mormon's day, 400AD. It does not describe what Teotihuacan was like during the days of the actual migration recorded in Helaman 3; it describes what Teotihuacan was like when Mormon was alive and writing. Mormon "messed up".

The ancient Greek historian Xenophon made this same type of mistake. Xenophon incorrectly records that Cyrus the Great received and distributed gold darics.The daric did not exist until after the lifetime of Cyrus. The daric began to be used during the reign of Darius; the coin(daric) was named after him. Since the daric was used during Xenphon's time, we can see how this mistake was made. As ancient historians, both Mormon and Xenophon took the conditions of their day and incorrectly retrojected them into the past. Mormon may have made a mistake, but it was the kind of mistake other ancient historians made .

As an argument for historicity I personally am not that impressed with the parallels between the BOM and Tehuantepec. The argument used is tightly circular. In order to make the parallels between the BOM and Tehuantepec fit the correct time frame the argument assumes Mormon was an authentic ancient author who "screwed up" and hence by extension one of the argument's assumptions is that the BOM is an authentic ancient text. However this is exactly what is trying to be demonstrated through the use of the purported parallels between the BOM and Tehuantepec hence the argument based on parallels is clearly and tightly circular it assumes i.e.(Mormon was an ancient author) what it is trying to prove. There are much better arguments than this for BOM historicity.

All the Best,

Uncertain

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