Forgotten things, recalled to remembrance

Forgotten things, recalled to remembrance November 7, 2018


Cancun ruins and hotels
Zona Arqueológica Yamil Lu’um, templo del Alacrán (Temple of the Scorpion), Km 12, zona hotelera, Cancún    (Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)


In miscellaneous science news:


“Why the world should remember this forgotten Danish physicist: The little-known physicist Ludvig Lorenz ought to be better known, for he truly stands alongside the great figures in international science.”


“Discovery of ancient ramp may solve Egyptian pyramids mystery”


I found this article quite intriguing:


“The Hidden Coastal Culture of the Ancient Maya: For thousands of years, ancient Maya kings ruled a vast inland empire in Mexico and Belize. But just how inland was it, really?”


It was interesting generally, but, knowing something about my audience, I think I’ll highlight two specific passages regarding a pair of subordinate themes:


The first passage relates to something that I wrote in a review of a now long and deservedly forgotten anti-Mormon book back in 1989 or 1990:


The Book of Mormon speaks of terrible wars occurring among its peoples, as Bartley correctly points out. Yet the Maya “were on the whole a peaceful people. Their ceremonial centres had no fortifications, and were for the most part located in places incapable of defence” (p. 53). Bartley here assumes a simple equation of the Maya with the peoples of the Book of Mormon which may or may not be accurate—but, more importantly, he fails to mention Sorenson’s treatment of this issue.  Nor does he show the slightest awareness of the evidence now available on “the state of war that existed constantly among many Maya cities. The modern myth that the Maya were a peace-loving, gentle people who only tended their milpas and followed the stars has fallen with a thunderous crash.”  Yale Mayanist Michael D. Coe puts it simply: “The Maya were obsessed with war. The Annals of the Cakciquels and the Popol Vuh speak of little but intertribal conflict among the highlanders, while the sixteen states of Yucatan were constantly battling with each other over boundaries and lineage honour. To this sanguinary record we must add the testimony of the Classic monuments and their inscriptions.” A brief glance at the volume The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art is all that is needed to show clearly that the Maya were among the most bloodthirsty people in world history.


From the article:


“Modern scientists have found that the real ancient Maya were just as war-prone as Aztecs or Europeans. . . . Contrary to their reputation, the ancient Maya engaged in plenty of warfare.”


And this, as well:


“The presence of pirates of the ancient Caribbean might . . . explain the tall pyramid [at the coastal site of Vista Allegre, not far from Cancún near the point of the Yucatán Peninsula] that could serve dual functions: for religious ceremonies and as a lookout.”


It reminds me of the portion of the story of Gideon and King Noah recounted in Mosiah 19:5-6:


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.

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.


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