The mysterious land of Ophir

Where is she, the country of Ophir, older sister and grandmother Eldorado Klondike? The answer is too much … And really, unfortunately, no one knows anything.

In three years time …

For those who have forgotten, let me remind the Bible mentions Ophir as a source of immense wealth of King Solomon, who lived in the X century BC. e., as a sort of secret vault, where the great ruler took the money to build the house, and many other expenses, and costs considerable. Because, among other things, "he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines." And this, to use Comrade Sukhov, a group of comrades from fraternal East must be regularly fed.

The Bible also known to have inhabited Ophir descendants of Shem, or simply Semites. But the location of the country, even approximate, not specified. Said only that "King Solomon made a ship in Eziongeber that beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom … And Hiram sent (the king of Tyre and biblsky.. — Ed.) In the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon, and they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon. And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of red wood and precious stones. "

Translated into modern language, this means that on the Red Sea, not far from Eilat (Israel), Solomon had his shipyard, where he built an ocean liner. Command for a manned in Lebanon, where the rules of his ally King Hiram. But passengers were Israelis, themselves, probably not vodivshie ships. That knowledge of the sea hired Phoenicians.

Next, from the biblical text that should be supplied from Ophir became regular, "In three years time", and included, in addition to gold, precious stones and wood (2 times) ivory, and apes, and peacocks. "

Gold Country.

Eziongaber ruins in what is now Jordan in 1937 found an American archaeologist Nelson Glueck. So the place where the biblical vessel, as opposed to its port of destination, it is known exactly. But where they were sent Phoenician sailors, coming from an Israeli harbor? This is a task with many unknowns. King Solomon's Mines searched and found everywhere throughout the ages Ophir alternately declared all the major gold mines from India to Peru.

According to one of the most popular versions, Phoenicians, passed the Red Sea, took a course in the south-east, skirting the Indian subcontinent and moored somewhere off the eastern coast of India. By the way, the word "Ophir" in Arabic means "wealth" — that the Egyptians called India. This opinion is shared Josephus, which confirms its retelling of the events described above is: "Solomon received respectively a gift from King Hiram of Tyre, who sent him to an experienced and capable in seamanship helmsmen and sailors. These people, he ordered complete with its own authorized to sail in the country, which in ancient times was called SOFIREM, now called the Gold Country (located in India), and bring him out of gold. Sent really gathered there about four hundred talents (gold) and return them to the king. "

Indian version.

India was indeed a great raw power. Another fifteen hundred years before Christ there knew the secrets of casting gold. But the famous German historian Richard Hennig said Indian version is quite doubtful, since thence rulers "unlikely to be allowed to any foreign sailors develop deposits and simply out of the country's richest treasures." Power scenario too unreal — this would require a fleet, not just one or two ships.

Many researchers in the matter of Ophir adhere African hypothesis. Indeed, it is likely that their way to the gold country ships, reaching the vast Indian Ocean, do not turn to the east, towards India, and continued on their way south along the African coast. They crossed the equator, of course, without knowing it, and about the place of what is now the Mozambican port of Sofala (20 ° S), moored to the shore is where native tribes could arrange an international fair, where gold and precious stones exported in the interior of the continent — presumably in what is now Zimbabwe — were exchanged for something of interest to the local consumer. And gold was mined in Zimbabwe long, there have been the largest in Africa deposits of the precious metal.

In the XVI century AD already rumors of gold mines in Zimbabwe reached the Portuguese traders, and after half a century in search of gold into the country went missionary Giovanni dos Santos. He was confident that the search mentioned in the Bible Ophir mines of King Solomon. While success is not achieved Portuguese expedition was publicly announced that "the biblical land of Ophir found."

Ethiopian legend.

Later, in the XVII century, a futile search for the mines began Dutch. It was only in 1867, the German geologist Karl Mauh stumbled upon the ruins of Great Zimbabwe — the ancient complex of stone buildings whose purpose is not clear so far.

In his report Mauh called the ruins of the palace of the Queen of Sheba. According to the Ethiopian legend, the queen was a native of Ophir, and only at age fifteen moved to the Sabaean kingdom, where she became the ruler. And the name of the Queen of Sheba, as evidenced by the Bible, is closely connected with the biography of King Solomon: "And she came to Jerusalem with a very great camels were loaded with spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she came to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. "

In 1889, not far from the ruins were discovered large sculptures of birds that had some similarity with the images on the Phoenician coins. This gave reason to believe that the discovered ruins are, if not a palace of Queen of Sheba, then at least a Phoenician colony, which in ancient times, gold was extracted. However, in 1929 the British explorer Gertrude Caton-Thompson proved that the city of Zimbabwe is not as old as believed. It was built from II to XIII century, and in the XVI century, was abandoned and, therefore, the country of Ophir could not be in any way.

"African footprint."

Still, "African trace" should not be neglected far too much to take — though mostly indirect — pushing us in that direction. For example, part of the north-east coast of Africa — Eritrea with adjoining it Dahlak archipelago — the country formerly known scam, and its inhabitants — the frauds or Afar. Even the word "Africa" and "Ophir" very much in tune.

And another indirect argument long before Solomon's ancient Egyptians for its least ancient spades somewhere rowing gold. From? Apparently, all of the same Ophir, is somewhere within reach. As it was, the economic reason of Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled in the first half of the XIII century BC, to lay the channel from the main branch of the Nile to the Red Sea.

In general, a lot of guesswork. But with all the abundance of hypotheses with certainty we can say one thing: there Ophir Mars. So named one of there the canyon in the Valley Marie inequality. Perhaps that's where the historically foreseeable future reach for us string spacecraft, a loaded gold. Wait and see?

J. Sheinberg

Category: Mystery stories

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