Friday, September 4, 2009

Mesoamerican Custom of Retreating to a Tower

A recent article suggests that a small group of defenders in Mesoamerica would flee to the temple to make a last stand. This story reminded me of Gideon and his attempt to kill King Noah. In Mosiah 19 we read:

3 And the lesser part [of King Noah's people] began to breathe out threatenings against the king, and there began to be a great contention among them.
4 And now there was a man among them whose name was Gideon, and he being a strong man and an enemy to the king, therefore he drew his sword, and swore in his wrath that he would slay the king.
5 And it came to pass that he fought with the king; and when the king saw that he was about to overpower him, he fled and ran and got upon the tower which was near the temple.
6 And Gideon pursued after him and was about to get upon the tower to slay the king, and the king cast his eyes round about towards the land of Shemlon, and behold, the army of the Lamanites were within the borders of the land.
7 And now the king cried out in the anguish of his soul, saying: Gideon, spare me, for the Lamanites are upon us, and they will destroy us; yea, they will destroy my people.
8 And now the king was not so much concerned about his people as he was about his own life; nevertheless, Gideon did spare his life.

Jerry Ainsworth describes what the term "tower" probably meant in The Book of Mormon here. So when facing defeat Noah flees to a Pyramid to make his last stand, just as Mayans do in the linked article. When Moroni defeats the King Men he also plants the Title of Liberty on their towers(Alma 51:17-21). This would make even more sense if he just defeated them at their tower. Plus, in unpublished research I have suggested that "pull down their pride" and "level them to the earth" refer to defacing stone symbols of their power. This also has a match in the article, as the victors would put their "graffiti" and symbols of their god on the newly conquered tower.

Now the timing of this article puts it at 150 A.D, however the location corresponds to one of the dominant theories for Book of Mormon geography. Also, this could update our knowledge of Mesoamerican warfare; as I have shown, principles of warfare can generally be applied both forwards and backwards in time. Thus the location and principles both match up well with warfare in the Book of Mormon. Thanks to for the hat tip.

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