Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
Soconusco is a region in the southwest corner of the state of Chiapas in Mexico along its border with Guatemala. It is a narrow strip of land wedged between the Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountains and the Pacific Ocean, it is the southernmost part of the Chiapas coast extending south from the Ulapa River to the Suchiate River, distinguished by its history and economic production. Abundant moisture and volcanic soil has always made it rich for agriculture, contributing to the flowering of the Mokaya and Olmec cultures, that were based on Theobroma cacao and rubber of Castilla elastica. In the 19th century, the area was disputed between Mexico and Guatemala until a treaty signed in 1882 fixed the modern border, dividing the area's historical extension with most going to Mexico and a smaller portion east of the Suchiate to Guatemala. In 1890, Porfirio Díaz and Otto von Bismarck collaborated to take advantage of southern Mexico's agricultural potential by sending 450 German families to Soconusco near Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas.
Extensive coffee cultivation made Soconusco one of the most successful German colonies, between 1895 and 1900, 11.5 million kg of coffee had been harvested. Fincas were erected in the Chiapaneco jungle and given German names such as Hamburgo, Bremen, Lübeck, Bismarck and Hanover; this area has experienced a boom-and-bust economy with well-studied migration patterns of agricultural workers. After exporting cacao to central Mexico for thousands of years, the first modern crop for export was coffee. Since other crops such as tropical fruits and more have been introduced; the most recent addition is a southeast Asian fruit. Soconusco is geographically isolated from the political and economic center of Mexico, it is little known among the rest of the Mexican population. Geographically, it is part of the Chiapas coast, but it has had a distinct political and economic identity from the rest of Chiapas since Mesoamerican times and remains so to this day. Soconusco lies on the border between Mexico and Central America, but it has had connections with what is now central Mexico since the Mesoamerican period because of trade routes into Central America and its production of cacao and other products.
The name is derived from 3 words in Nahuatl Xococ + Nochtli + có “Xoconochco” means as noted in the Mendoza Codex. The Mayan name for the area was Zaklohpakab; the area was defined as far south as the Tilapa River in what is now Guatemala, but when the final border between Mexico and Guatemala was set in 1882, the Suchiate became the southern boundary. The earliest population of Soconusco region were the coastal Chantuto peoples, going back to 5500 BC; this was the oldest Mesoamerican culture discovered to date. In what is now the municipality of Mazatán, another culture arose; the culture is called Mokaya and it is dated to about 4,000 years ago when cacao and ballcourts appear. It is thought. A but important Mesoamerican culture, was centered on the site of Izapa, considered the most important on the Chiapas coast, it dates to about 1500 BC and is classified as Mixe-Zoque but it is considered to be the link between the older Olmec civilization and the Mayan ones. The site was important for about 1000 years as a religious structure.
While most of its ruins now consist of earthen mounds, its importance lies in the information, gathered from its steles and other sculpted stone works. Izapa is considered to be. Before the Aztecs, the area was a restless tribute region of Tehuantepec, with the dominant ethnicity being Mame. Tapachultec language was an old language in the area. In 1486, Aztec emperor Ahuitzotl conquered it. However, rebellions against the Aztecs continued with Moctezuma Xocoyotzin sending troops to pacify the area in 1502 and 1505; the first Spanish arrived in the area in 1522. According to chronicler Bernal Díaz del Castillo the area had a native population of about 15,000 inhabitants although other estimates have put that number as high as 75,000 in the 1520s. Pedro de Alvarado is credited with the conquest of the Soconusco as he headed down into Central America from the Spanish stronghold in southern Veracruz in 1524; the conquest caused a steady depopulation of the area with the disappearance of much of the native population either due to migration out of the area or death from the diseases the Europeans brought with them.
Soconusco was declared a province by the Spanish Crown in 1526 with its original extension down into what is now Guatemala. Its first governor was Pedro de Sr. as part of Chiapas. This lasted only a short time and it was governed from Mexico City. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra solicited the right to govern Soconusco from the Spanish king in the late 16th century because of its cacao; the first evangelists came to the area in 1545, sent by Bartolomé de las Casas from San Cristóbal de las Casas. These monks were Dominicans. Soconusco was under the religious jurisdiction of Tlaxcala before it was moved to that to Guatemala. In 1538, the pope created the bishopric of Soconusco became part of that. In 1543, Chiapas became governed by the Audencia de los Confines (Real Audiencia of Guatemala, which included much of what is now southern Mexico and Central America, with its capital in Guatemala City. In 1564, the capital of this Audencia w
Francisco Javier Clavijero
Francisco Javier Clavijero Echegaray, was a Mexican Jesuit teacher and historian. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish colonies, he went to Italy, where he wrote a valuable work on the pre-Columbian history and civilizations of Mesoamerica and the central Mexican altiplano, he was born in Veracruz of a Criolla mother. His father worked for the Spanish crown, was transferred with his family from one town to another. Most of the father's posts were to locations with a strong indigenous presence, because of this Clavijero learned Nahuatl growing up; the family lived at various times in Teziutlán, Puebla and in Jamiltepec, in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca. Clavijero's biographer, Juan Luis Maneiro, wrote: From the time of his boyhood, he had occasion to deal intimately with the indigenous people, to learn their customs and nature, to investigate attentively the many special things the land produces, be they plants, animals or minerals. There was no high mountain, dark cave, pleasant valley, brook, or any other place that drew his curiosity to which the Indians did not take the boy to in order to please him.
He began his studies in Puebla, at the college of San Jerónimo for grammar, the Jesuit college of San Ignacio for philosophy and theology. Upon completion of these studies, he entered a seminary in Puebla, Puebla to study for the priesthood, but he soon decided to become a Jesuit instead. In February 1748 he transferred to a Jesuit college in State of Mexico. There he continued to study Latin and learned ancient Greek, Portuguese, Italian and English. In 1751 he was sent back to Puebla for further studies in philosophy. Here he was introduced to the works of such contemporary thinkers as Descartes and Leibniz. Next he was sent to Mexico City, to complete his theological and philosophical studies at the Colegio de San Pedro y Pablo. Here he joined with other students of stature, including José Rafael Campoy, Andrés Cavo, Francisco Javier Alegre, Juan Luis Maneiro and Pedro José Márquez, a group known today as the "Mexican humanists of the eighteenth century". While still a student, he began teaching, was made prefect of the Colegio de San Ildefonso.
He was appointed to the chair of rhetoric in the Seminario Mayor of the Jesuits, an exceptional appointment as he had yet to be ordained as a priest. In 1754, Clavijero was ordained a priest, he began to teach at the Colegio de San Gregorio, founded at the beginning of the colonial era to teach Indian youth. He spent five years there. Again, quoting from his biographer, Juan Luis Maneiro: In those five years he examined with great curiosity all the documents relating to the Mexican nation, collected in large numbers in the Colegio de San Pedro y San Pablo, with great determination extracted from them precious treasures that were published in the history he left for posterity, his time at San Gregorio was not without problems. In a letter dated April 3, 1761, Father Pedro Reales, vicar general of the Jesuits, rebuked him in a letter for having shaken off the yoke of obedience, responding with an "I don't want to" to those who assigned you duties, as occurred yesterday, or at the least this answer was given to the superior, who in truth did not know what path to take so that Your Reverence would fulfill and embrace your duty.
Relocating you is hardly a solution, Your Reverence's life and example have provided no satisfaction completely removing the unique purpose of those who live in this college, handing over to others jobs and studies that you fill. It seems clear that these "other jobs and studies" of Father Clavijero referred to the Aztec codices and the books of the period of the Conquest, given to the college of San Pedro and San Pablo by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. Clavijero followed Sigüenza as an example in his investigations, was pleased with Sigüenza's benevolence to and love of the Indians, he admired much of the culture of the Indians before their contact with Europeans. Clavijero never ceased to try to read the ideograms in the codices. Clavijero was transferred to the Colegio de San Javier in Puebla dedicated to the education of Indian youth, he taught there for three years. In 1764 he was transferred again, to Valladolid. More of a rationalist in philosophy than his predecessors, he was an innovator in the field.
Good work in Valladolid got. It was in Guadalajara that he finished his treatise Physica Particularis, together with Cursus Philosophicus, sets out his scientific and philosophical thought; as part of the Bourbon Reforms in Spanish America and the general suppression of the Jesuits by European monarchs in the late eighteenth century, the Jesuits were expelled from all the Spanish dominations on June 25, 1767, on orders of King Charles III. When Clavijero left the colony, he went first to Ferrara, but soon relocated to Bologna, where he lived the rest of his life. In Italy he devoted his time to his historical investigations. Although he no longer had access to the Aztec codices, the reference works, the accounts of the first Spanish conquistadors, he retained in his memory the information from his earlier studies, he was able to write the work. In Italy a work by the Prussian Cornelius de Pauw came to his attention, it was entitled Philosophical Investigations Concerning the Americans. This work revealed to Clavijero the extent of European ignorance about the nature and
The Pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continent, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during the Early Modern period. While the phrase "pre-Columbian era" refers only to the time preceding Christopher Columbus's voyages of 1492, in practice the phrase is used to denote the entire history of indigenous Americas cultures until those cultures were exterminated, diminished, or extensively altered by Europeans if this happened decades or centuries after Columbus's first landing. For this reason the alternative terms of Precontact Americas, Pre-Colonial Americas or Prehistoric Americas are in use. In areas of Latin America the term used is Pre-Hispanic. Many pre-Columbian civilizations established hallmarks which included permanent settlements, agriculture and monumental architecture, major earthworks, complex societal hierarchies.
Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European colonies and the arrival of enslaved Africans, are known only through archaeological investigations and oral history. Other civilizations were contemporary with the colonial period and were described in European historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya civilization, had their own written records; because many Christian Europeans of the time viewed such texts as heretical, men like Diego de Landa destroyed many texts in pyres while seeking to preserve native histories. Only a few hidden documents have survived in their original languages, while others were transcribed or dictated into Spanish, giving modern historians glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge. Indigenous American cultures continue to evolve after the pre-Columbian era. Many of these peoples and their descendants continue traditional practices while evolving and adapting new cultural practices and technologies into their lives.
Before the development of archaeology in the 19th century, historians of the pre-Columbian period interpreted the records of the European conquerors and the accounts of early European travelers and antiquaries. It was not until the nineteenth century that the work of men such as John Lloyd Stephens, Eduard Seler and Alfred P. Maudslay, of institutions such as the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University, led to the reconsideration and criticism of the European sources. Now, the scholarly study of pre-Columbian cultures is most based on scientific and multidisciplinary methodologies. Asian nomads are thought to have entered the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge, now the Bering Strait and along the coast. Genetic evidence found in Amerindians' maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA supports the theory of multiple genetic populations migrating from Asia. Over the course of millennia, Paleo-Indians spread throughout South America; when the first group of people migrated into the Americas is the subject of much debate.
One of the earliest identifiable cultures was the Clovis culture, with sites dating from some 13,000 years ago. However, older sites dating back to 20,000 years ago have been claimed; some genetic studies estimate the colonization of the Americas dates from between 40,000 and 13,000 years ago. The chronology of migration models is divided into two general approaches; the first is the short chronology theory with the first movement beyond Alaska into the Americas occurring no earlier than 14,000–17,000 years ago, followed by successive waves of immigrants. The second belief is the long chronology theory, which proposes that the first group of people entered the hemisphere at a much earlier date 50,000–40,000 years ago or earlier. Artifacts have been found in both North and South America which have been dated to 14,000 years ago, accordingly humans have been proposed to have reached Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America by this time. In that case, the Eskimo peoples would have arrived separately and at a much date no more than 2,000 years ago, moving across the ice from Siberia into Alaska.
The North American climate was unstable. It stabilized by about 10,000 years ago. Within this time frame pertaining to the Archaic Period, numerous archaeological cultures have been identified; the unstable climate led to widespread migration, with early Paleo-Indians soon spreading throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct tribes. The Paleo-Indians were hunter-gatherers characterized by small, mobile bands consisting of 20 to 50 members of an extended family; these groups moved from place to place as preferred resources were depleted and new supplies were sought. During much of the Paleo-Indian period, bands are thought to have subsisted through hunting now-extinct giant land animals such as mastodon and ancient bison. Paleo-Indian groups carried a variety of tools; these included distinctive projectile points and knives, as well as less distinctive implements used for butchering and hide processing. The vastness of the North American continent, the variety of its climates, vegetation and landforms, led ancient peoples to coalesce into many distinct linguistic and cultural groups.
This is reflected in the oral histories of the indigenous peoples, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories which say that a given people have been living in a certain territory since the creation of the world. Over the course of thousands of years, paleo-Indian
Quetzalcoatl is a deity in Mesoamerican culture and literature whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means "feathered serpent" or "Quetzal-feathered Serpent". The worship of a Feathered Serpent is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BC or first century AD; that period lies within the Late Preclassic to Early Classic period of Mesoamerican chronology, veneration of the figure appears to have spread throughout Mesoamerica by the Late Classic period. In the Postclassic period, the worship of the feathered serpent deity was based in the primary Mexican religious center of Cholula, it is in this period that the deity is known to have been named "Quetzalcoatl" by his Nahua followers. In the Maya area, he was equivalent to Kukulkan and Gukumatz, names that roughly translate as "feathered serpent" in different Mayan languages. Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind and learning, wears around his neck the "wind breastplate" ehecailacocozcatl, "the spirally voluted wind jewel" made of a conch shell.
This talisman was a conch shell cut at the cross-section and was worn as a necklace by religious rulers, as they have been discovered in burials in archaeological sites throughout Mesoamerica, symbolized patterns witnessed in hurricanes, dust devils and whirlpools, which were elemental forces that had significance in Aztec mythology. In codex drawings and Xolotl were both pictured as wearing an ehecailacocozcatl around each of their necks. There has additionally been at least one major cache of offerings with knives and idols adorned with the symbols of more than one god, some of which were adorned with wind jewels. In the era following the 16th-century Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, a number of sources were written that conflate Quetzalcoatl with Ce Acatl Topiltzin, a ruler of the mythico-historic city of Tollan, it is a matter of much debate among historians to which degree, or whether at all, these narratives about this legendary Toltec ruler describe historical events. Furthermore, early Spanish sources written by clerics tend to identify the god-ruler Quetzalcoatl of these narratives with either Hernán Cortés or Thomas the Apostle—an identification, a source of a diversity of opinions about the nature of Quetzalcoatl.
Among the Aztecs, whose beliefs are the best-documented in the historical sources, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of the planet Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts and knowledge. He was the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. Quetzalcoatl was one of several important gods in the Aztec pantheon, along with the gods Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. Two other gods represented by the planet Venus are Quetzalcoatl's ally Tlaloc, the god of rain, Quetzalcoatl's twin and psychopomp, named Xolotl. Animals thought to represent Quetzalcoatl include resplendent quetzals, rattlesnakes and macaws. In his form as Ehecatl he is the wind, is represented by spider monkeys and the wind itself. In his form as the morning star, Venus, he is depicted as a harpy eagle. In Mazatec legends, the astrologer deity Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, represented by Venus, bears a close relationship with Quetzalcoatl. A feathered serpent deity has been worshiped by many different ethnopolitical groups in Mesoamerican history.
The existence of such worship can be seen through studies of the iconography of different Mesoamerican cultures, in which serpent motifs are frequent. On the basis of the different symbolic systems used in portrayals of the feathered serpent deity in different cultures and periods, scholars have interpreted the religious and symbolic meaning of the feathered serpent deity in Mesoamerican cultures; the earliest iconographic depiction of the deity is believed to be found on Stela 19 at the Olmec site of La Venta, depicting a serpent rising up behind a person engaged in a shamanic ritual. This depiction is believed to have been made around 900 BC. Although not a depiction of the same feathered serpent deity worshipped in classic and post-classic periods, it shows the continuity of symbolism of feathered snakes in Mesoamerica from the formative period and on, for example in comparison to the Mayan Vision Serpent shown below; the first culture to use the symbol of a feathered serpent as an important religious and political symbol was Teotihuacan.
At temples such as the aptly named "Quetzalcoatl temple" in the Ciudadela complex, feathered serpents figure prominently and alternate with a different kind of serpent head. The earliest depictions of the feathered serpent deity were zoomorphic, depicting the serpent as an actual snake, but among the Classic Maya, the deity began acquiring human features. In the iconography of the classic period, Maya serpent imagery is prevalent: a snake is seen as the embodiment of the sky itself, a vision serpent is a shamanic helper presenting Maya kings with visions of the underworld; the archaeological record shows that after the fall of Teotihuacan that marked the beginning of the epi-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology around 600 AD, the cult of the feathered serpent spread to the new religious and political centers in central Mexico, centers such as Xochicalco and Cholula. Feathered serpent iconography is prominent at all of these sites. Cholula is known to have remained the most important center of worship to Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec/Nahua version of the feathered serpent deity, in the post-classic period.
During the epi-classic
According to Latter Day Saint belief, the golden plates are the source from which Joseph Smith claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon, a sacred text of the faith. Some witnesses described the plates as weighing from 30 to 60 pounds, golden in color, composed of thin metallic pages engraved on both sides and bound with three D-shaped rings. Smith said that he found the plates on September 22, 1823 on a hill, near his home in Manchester, New York, after the angel Moroni directed him to a buried stone box, he said that the angel prevented him from taking the plates but instructed him to return to the same location in a year. He returned to that site every year, but it was not until September 1827 that he recovered the plates on his fourth annual attempt to retrieve them, he returned home with a heavy object wrapped in a frock, which he put in a box. He allowed others to heft the box but said that the angel had forbidden him to show the plates to anyone until they had been translated from their original "reformed Egyptian" language.
Smith dictated the text of the Book of Mormon. The only eyewitnesses to the process said Smith translated the plates, not by looking at them, but by looking at a seer stone in the bottom of his hat. Smith published the translation in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. Smith obtained testimonies from 11 men who said that they had seen the plates, known as the Book of Mormon witnesses. After the translation was complete, Smith said that he returned the plates to the angel Moroni, so they could never be examined. Latter Day Saints believe the account of the golden plates as a matter of faith, critics assert that either Smith manufactured them himself or that the Book of Mormon witnesses based their testimony on visions rather than physical experience. In the words of Mormon historian Richard Bushman, "For most modern readers, the plates are beyond belief, a phantasm, yet the Mormon sources accept them as fact." Smith said that he returned the plates to the angel Moroni after he finished translating them, their authenticity cannot be determined by physical examination.
They were shown to several close associates of Smith. Mormon scholars have formed collaborations such as Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies to provide apologetic answers to critical research about the golden plates and topics in the field of Mormon studies; the credibility of the plates has been a "troublesome item", according to Bushman. The Book of Mormon itself portrays the golden plates as a historical record, engraved by two pre-Columbian prophet-historians from around the year AD 400: Mormon and his son Moroni. Mormon and Moroni, the book says, had abridged earlier historical records from other sets of metal plates, their script, according to the book, was described as "reformed Egyptian", a language unknown to linguists or Egyptologists. Scholarly reference works on languages do not acknowledge the existence of either a "reformed Egyptian" language or "reformed Egyptian" script as it has been described in Mormon belief, there is no archaeological, linguistic, or other evidence of the use of Egyptian writing in ancient America.
Latter Day Saint movement denominations have taught that the Book of Mormon's description of the plates' origin is accurate, that the Book of Mormon is a translation of the plates. The Community of Christ, accepts the Book of Mormon as scripture but no longer takes an official position on the historicity of the golden plates; some adherents accept the Book of Mormon as inspired scripture but do not believe that it is a literal translation of a physical historical record in the more theologically conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Non-believers and some liberal Mormons have advanced naturalistic explanations for the story of the plates. For example, it has been theorized that the plates were fashioned by Smith or one of his associates, that Smith had the ability to convince others of their existence through illusions or hypnosis, or that witnesses were having ecstatic visions; the story of the golden plates consists of how, according to Joseph Smith and his contemporaries, the plates were found, received from the angel Moroni and returned to the angel before the publication of the Book of Mormon.
Smith is the only source for a great deal of the story because much of it occurred while he was the only human witness. Smith told the story to his family and acquaintances, many of them provided second-hand accounts. Other parts of the story are derived from the statements of those who knew Smith, including several witnesses who said that they saw the golden plates; the best-known elements of the golden plates story are found in an account told by Smith in 1838 and incorporated into the official church histories of some Latter Day Saint movement denominations. The LDS Church has canonized part of this 1838 account as part of its scripture, the Pearl of Great Price. During the Second Great Awakening, Joseph Smith lived on his parents' farm near New York. At the time, churches in the region contended so vigorously for souls that western New York became known as the "burned-over district" because the fires of religious revivals had burned over it so often. Western New York was noted for its participation in a "craze for treasure hunting".
Beginning as a youth in the early 1820s, Smith was periodically hired, for about $14 per month, as a scryer, using what were termed "seer stones" in attempts to locate lost items and buried treasure. Smith's contemporaries described his method for seeking treasure as putting the stone in a white stovepipe hat, putti
Alexander von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was a Prussian polymath, naturalist and influential proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. He was the younger brother of the Prussian minister and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt. Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography laid the foundation for the field of biogeography. Humboldt's advocacy of long-term systematic geophysical measurement laid the foundation for modern geomagnetic and meteorological monitoring. Between 1799 and 1804, Humboldt travelled extensively in the Americas and describing them for the first time from a modern scientific point of view, his description of the journey was written up and published in an enormous set of volumes over 21 years. Humboldt was one of the first people to propose that the lands bordering the Atlantic Ocean were once joined. Humboldt resurrected the use of the word cosmos from the ancient Greek and assigned it to his multivolume treatise, Kosmos, in which he sought to unify diverse branches of scientific knowledge and culture.
This important work motivated a holistic perception of the universe as one interacting entity. He was the first person to describe the phenomenon and cause of human-induced climate change, in 1800 and again in 1831, based on observations generated during his travels. Alexander von Humboldt was born in Berlin in Prussia on 14 September 1769, he was baptized with the Duke of Brunswick serving as godfather. Humboldt's father, Alexander Georg von Humboldt, belonged to a prominent Pomeranian family, although not one of the titled gentry, a major in the Prussian Army, who had served with the Duke of Brunswick. At age 42, Alexander Georg was rewarded for his services in the Seven Years' War with the post of royal chamberlain, he profited from the contract to lease state lotteries and tobacco sales. He first married the daughter of Prussian General Adjutant Schweder. In 1766, Alexander Georg married Maria Elisabeth Colomb, a well-educated woman and widow of Baron Hollwede, with whom she had a son. Alexander Georg and Maria Elisabeth had three children, a daughter, who died young, two sons and Alexander.
Her first-born son and Alexander's half-brother, was something of a ne'er do well, not mentioned in the family history. Alexander Georg died in 1779, leaving the brothers Humboldt in the care of their distant mother, she did have high ambitions for Alexander and his older brother Wilhelm, hiring excellent tutors, who were Enlightenment thinkers, including Kantian physician Marcus Herz and botanist Karl Ludwig Willdenow, who became one of the most important botanists in Germany. Humboldt's mother expected them to become civil servants of the Prussian state; the money Baron Holwede left to Alexander's mother became, after her death, instrumental in funding Alexander's explorations, contributing more than 70% of his private income. Due to his youthful penchant for collecting and labeling plants and insects, Alexander received the playful title of "the little apothecary". Marked for a political career, Alexander studied finance for six months in 1787 at the University of Frankfurt, which his mother might have chosen less for its academic excellence than its closeness to their home in Berlin.
On 25 April 1789, he matriculated at Göttingen known for the lectures of C. G. Heyne and anatomist J. F. Blumenbach, his brother Wilhelm was a student at Göttingen, but they did not interact much, since their intellectual interests were quite different. His vast and varied interests were by this time developed. At Gottingen, he met Georg Forster, a naturalist, with Captain James Cook on his second voyage. Humboldt traveled with Forster in Europe; the two traveled to England, Humboldt's first sea voyage, the Netherlands, France. In England, he met Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society, who had traveled with Captain Cook; the scientific friendship between Banks and Humboldt lasted until Banks's death in 1820, the two shared botanical specimens for study. Banks mobilized his scientific contacts in years to aid Humboldt's work. Humboldt's scientific excursion up the Rhine resulted in his 1790 treatise Mineralogische Beobachtungen über einige Basalte am Rhein. Humboldt's passion for travel was of long standing.
Humboldt's talents were devoted to the purpose of preparing himself as a scientific explorer. With this emphasis, he studied commerce and foreign languages at Hamburg, geology at Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg in 1791 under A. G. Werner, leader of the Neptunist school of geology. C. Loder. X. von Zach and J. G. Köhler. At Freiberg, he met a number of men who were to prove important to him in his career, including Spaniard Manuel del Rio, who became director of the School of Mines the crown established in Mexico. During this period, his brother Wilhelm married. Humboldt graduated from the Freiberg School of Mines in 1792 and was appointed to a Prussian government position in the Department of Mines as an inspector in Bayreuth and the Fichtel mountains. Humboldt was excellent at his job, with production of gold ore in his first year outstripping the previous eight years. During his period as a mine inspector, Humbo