Previously I brought up the correlation between the Nephite population, the Lamanites, the Romano British and the Anglo Saxons.
In the year of our Lord, 449… In [this] time the Angles or Saxons came to Britain at the invitation of King Vortigern in three long ships, and were granted lands in the eastern part of the island on the condition that they protected the country: nevertheless, their real intention was to subdue it.1
This is Bede’s description, 200 years later, of how the Germanic tribe came to Britain to defeat the “cowardly” Britains.
When the Lehites arrived to the land of promise there appears to be an equivilent population, or even a little less than what is described by Bede.
Of the people who reproduced in the land:
Nephi, Sam, Zoram, Jacob, Joseph and three daughters of Ishmael (I would suspect are married to Nephi, Sam and Zoram) made up the Nephite male contingent.
Laman, Lemuel, and two sons and two daughters of Ishmael made up the Lamanite contingent.
Ishmael’s sons and daughters in 1st Nephi 7:7 it notes the population of his family as being 5 girls and 2 boys. And of course their is no mention of any daughters of Lehi until 2nd Nephi 5:6 which talks of the escape of the Nephites from Laman and his people.
Wherefore it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, my elder brother, and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brotheren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me.
Interestingly when Lehi blesses all of his decendents in Chapter 4 there is no mention of Zoram or Sam having children yet each of them in 1st Nephi 16:7 taking daughters of Ishmael for wives. In 1 Nephi 18:19 it mentions that Nephi had children.
So you are talking a population of at a generous maximum of 50 people at their arrival figuring that each of the four adult sons and Zoram were married, and had kids.
So already you can see the group of origin was too small to realistically have proper wars in Nephi’s lifetime. Yet this culture would rise up quickly in the face of the cultural groups of those who lived in the area at the time. At least as far as the Nephite record portrays it. One wonders if the Lamanites, with a smaller male group became bigger and stronger and “cursed” because they quickly merged with the groups they joined. Their when in Rome living and lack of other records, meant that their cultural intergrity slipped quickly in the overwhelming mass they became a part of.
Keep in mind at no time after 2nd Nephi 5 do you hear again the voices of Laman or Lemuel or any of their actions as individuals. This is their effectual end from the record, though you get echos later on as various groups continue the old line of Nephi rebelling against HIS brothers.
So what does this have to do with the Saxons?
Well if you go back to the Roman invasion of Britain it came with four legions, roughly 20,000 armed forces, along with retinue. This was a force of a take over, they were highly determined, highly mobile, and prepared to stay.
Claudius’ troops were not alone. Within a few years colonists started to come from Europe to settle in the land, also influenced by the legionary 25th year retirements, when a member of the Roman military met retirement age. Ususally they settled in the newly conquered land.
In other words it makes sense that Romans would have simply over 50-100 year period overwhelmed the local celts with their successful cultural patterns and impressed the others. Much of the celtic culture and lifestyle appeared overwhelmed. Yet even as the legions left there was a slow decline in Roman influence.
However, one question that come to mind with the Saxons is did they really come with three longships? Did they act as the Lamanites to the Celtic Nephites? Certainly Archeology is confused on the matter, the history does not equal the archeology.
Some claim 10,000 – 100,000 Anglo Saxons arrived during the years of invasion leading to a cultural, economic and eventually a genetic apartheid.
The point as Dr. Mark Thomas argues:
“An initially small invading Anglo-Saxon elite could have quickly established themselves by having more children who survived to adulthood, thanks to their military power and economic advantage. We believe that they also prevented the native British genes getting into the Anglo-Saxon population by restricting intermarriage in a system of apartheid that left the country culturally and genetically Germanised. This is exactly what we see today – a population of largely Germanic genetic origin, speaking a principally German language.”
So quickly even though you have a relatively small amount of one group they could have great influence very quickly because they were organized and had the power.
So why do the Nephites grow, as they tried to keep their cultural distinctiveness enough to split up into a city like group able to build a temple before the death of Nephi? Because one could guess that the Nephites seemed to enter a land where the existing power, the Olmecs are in decline and within 100 years later cease to exist (if you believe in the limited Geography theory and place it in the Yucatan, which I do).
So outlying groups, dependent on the Olmecs may have looked at the Nephites as some sort of stable force, spread by their ability to reproduce, their use of metal weaponry (sword of Laban) may have seen them treated in a position similar to the Spanish. As people who may have been worthy or respect. Maybe even worship for sympathetic locals.
Anyway there is my very long thoughts for today.
1. Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Leo Shirley-Price (trans.), (London: Penguin Books), 1990.