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Загадки острова ПасхиAbout Easter island we know a lot and at the same time almost nothing: his mysterious stone statues remain silent witnesses of an unknown culture. Who was cut down from the rocks, these monumental figures? Suppose it were Polynesians, who settled on the volcanic island in the period between IV and XII century When in 1774, arrived at the English Navigator James cook, most of the statues were already flushed with pedestals. A fierce civil war destroyed the ancient culture. To tell you about archaic cults and the value of the stone giants might unique hieroglyphic writings of Easter island, but they still decrypted only partially.

Geographers of antiquity and middle Ages assumed that in the vast Pacific area South of the equator must be huge and mysterious "southern continent inhabited by many millions of people, created a high culture and magnificent city. Faith in this southern Wonderland faded and in modern times. When the Dutch Admiral Jacob Roggeveen with three military ships owned by the Dutch West India company, in 1722 skirted the South American Cape horn, going from East to West, drove a conscious intention to reach the shores of this supposed continent. His employer, the largest and richest trading company of that time, looking for new sources of raw materials and new markets. Stepping out into the open sea to the West from the coast of Chile, the small flotilla Roggeveen went North, and April 6, his team suddenly found the ground lost in the vastness of the Pacific ocean. They decided that opened finally searched the continent. But it was early to celebrate. The earth was only island. Its opening was on the feast of the Passover, and Roggeveen named it Paasch-Eyland - Easter island.

Dutch ships three days in a row cruised along its Northern coast, because the strong surf was not allowed to disembark. Only 10 April Admiral managed to lower the boats, and 134 man led him step on the land of the green Isles. Among the companions of the Admiral was the German Karl-Friedrich Behrens, Sergeant of militia of Mecklenburg, distinguished observation. His impressions of the expedition to Easter island he later described in his book under the unusual name "Experienced a southerner or a Detailed description of a Journey around the world", published in Leipzig in 1738 Behrens had no idea that describes carriers of ancient culture, which after 40 years, almost nothing will be left. This, incidentally, is one of the proofs that this culture were killed in the period between 1771 and 1773, the Appearance on the island of Roggeveen people caused a conflict. "We went ashore in the name of God with a squad of up to 150 people, writes Behrens. - Local people surrounded us so closely that we could not make another step and had to make its way by force; and since many of them wanted to take our weapons, we had to open fire, why these residents were frightened and stepped away, but not more than ten paces, believing that further our bullets will not reach, and again gathered crowd. And we had again to shoot them... Then they came to pick up the dead, and came up to us with gifts, fruit and all kinds of plants, so we left them alone..."

Sculpture in the name of the gods

Further Behrens describes the luxurious vegetation of Easter island and large harvests of fruits and vegetables that they gathered. The people he writes: "Invariably cheerful, build better, with strong limbs, but without hudobina, very agile in the legs, friendly and pliable on the caress, but pretty scary: almost all of them, bringing their gifts, whether chickens or fruit, threw them on the ground and immediately ran away with all his speed as he could. Their skin tanned, like hispanas, but among them are black and some are very white; and yet there are among them red, as if burned by the sun. Ears as they have long, often to the point of the shoulders; and in many sections of the ear lobes inserted white wood as a special decoration.

The body they painted (tattooed) images of birds and different wonderful animals, one better than the other. Women usually on the face of the put red paint... and they are red and white vestments, and a little cap on her head, woven cane or straw; they gathered around us and sat down, and laughed, and were very friendly, others called for us people from their homes and were waving their hands."

Most mecklenburgische Sergeant of militia was amazed at the huge statues of gods or idols, "which all the banks have a fair amount; they (the islanders) fall before them down and make supplication. All these idols carved out of stone, such as people with long ears, topped by a crown, cut it all with such skill that we could only marvel. Next to these pagan idols or at some distance from them Packed large white stones in length from 20 to 30 steps. Part of the worshipper obviously served as priests of the idols, for they prayed longer and sincere other. From these other priests can be distinguished also by the fact that not only in the ears they hang large white wood, but also heads shaved, that is completely devoid of hair... They wear hats from the white and black feathers, reminiscent of the plumage of the stork".

The people that died for half a century

It was in 1722 When about half a century later, Easter island was visited by the Englishman James cook and the Frenchman La Perouse, the picture changed dramatically. The majority of fields have been abandoned. The islanders, once the stall, lived in poverty. A majestic statue almost all were overturned and were lying on the ground. Ancient cult was forgotten. From the famous "long-eared" there are only a few people. Race "short-eared"obviously cut out rivals under root, and destroying their culture. So on Easter island came to the end of a whole epoch, which lasted for many centuries, and can be, and millennia. What was that age, remained a mystery for Western travelers. Roggeveen and his team did not know almost nothing about it. Captain cook, La Perouse, and the Spaniards, who have discovered the island in the late eighteenth century, the antiquities were not interested. They sought only the new territories that it was possible to win and to use as colonies. Later, when the European ethnologists awakened interest in the cultures of other peoples, on Easter island was only silent witnesses of his great past - stone giants, thrown off their pedestals, abandoned pagan temple on the edge of the crater low volcano, and a few wooden tables with mysterious letters.

The number of islanders were reduced not only civil war. In 1862, on the island was invaded by the Peruvian slave traders who took captive and led 900 people, including the recent "ariki" (king). Prisoners sent to get guano in the Atacama desert. Later, another 300 inhabitants of the island were taken prisoner and sent to Tahiti for work on plantations. When, finally, Ducru-Borne for one French recruitment firm arranged on the island whole "indicative war", from the island fled, and many of the natives and missionaries who lived there: they moved to the archipelago gamble lying further to the West. Thus, the population of the island in the period between 1862 and 1877, was reduced from 2,500 to 111 people! Those few who remained, did not remember anything about the traditions of their ancestors.

The strike, which destroyed the culture

Archaeologists and anthropologists spent a lot of energy, pieces of reconstructing the culture of the inhabitants of Easter. But the picture is incomplete. Scientists have found out, that in this small (with an area of only 118 km2) island there were two centers of culture: stone quarries Rano Raraku and the temple Orongo on the edge of the crater of the volcano Rano KAU. Rano Raraku is also volcanic crater, on the southern slope of which is still preserved ancient quarry. It is in them from porous weathered rock was cut out huge sacred statues.

This mountain and today bears traces of the terrible fratricidal war. Many statues were left unfinished, at different stages of readiness. Some are intended only contours, the other is not enough only a few strokes chisels, so they can be separated from the rock, and send in the path. Still others standing or lying down, ready to be uploaded. The largest of the finished statues Rano Raraku is a height of 22 meters! At the foot of the volcano is a huge terrace of basalt blocks; the other is the same terrace is even lower, right on the sea. Its length is 50 meters On this lower terrace there was a whole 15 statues. Today all of them, except one, lying on the ground. "Short-eared", utterly broke "long-eared", bearers of this culture were dumped their statues, simply broke the stones of the Foundation.

The biggest idols weigh up to 50 tons For their manufacture was used stone hammer, stone axes and stone chisel, for the ancient inhabitants of the Rapanui did not know of the tools made of metal. Amazing how these stone giants were taken from the volcano to the terraces-AHU, located at its foot, and especially away from it. After all, Easter island is not Egypt, there was simply nowhere to score so many people for forced labor. It must be assumed that the statue was transported to the relatively small group of people with strong ropes from the reed or other vegetable fibers, wooden rollers and levers, and then installed vertically through the gradual supply them under a stone embankment. But that's not all.

Of course, these statues were not only tombstones. Evidence of their religious mission found, for example, on scalesthe fact plateau Orongo, located at the foot of the Rano KAU in the South-Western corner" Easter island shaped like a triangle. There, near a volcano crater, the crowd of strange "home" without Windows, built of stone blocks. On the rocks around them embossed many mysterious drawings. Legends say that in the old days the priests once a year asked the gods and their advice was chosen as the next of it. He had to gather a group of young men and go with them in stone "at home" and caves Rano KAU. There they waited (sometimes for several months), while seagulls on the bare rock a few hundred feet from the shore will not lay eggs. Then the young men went swimming at Motunui, as they called it rock; came first had to find an egg wash and delivered to the island. There he was proudly presented egg his leader, which officially gained the rank of it. Holding the egg in his hand, the leader of veriplast bypassed all the South coast of the island, until reaching the Rano Raraku, where and had to live then spent a year in society stone inhabitants of this largest moai on the Rapanui.

The it and his disciples

He lived there in solitude, spending time in prayer and meditation; for all other paskalchev this place was taboo, because it was the residence of their Supreme ruler.

The main goal of this amazing natural religion was the Mac-Mac, totally unlike any of our Creator God, neither benevolent Father of the Universe: he and his comrade - God - the Lord of the gulls and three's patron deity of eggs and offspring demanded human sacrifice. It is not excluded that the island had been practiced cannibalism. Maybe that's why pashaly so warmly received Admiral Roggeveen that shot them at close range?

The relationship between a cult of it and enormous stone statues confirm the pictures carved on the backs of many of the statues. These pictures show skeletons, ghosts, gods, but most often it make-make. In 1722 the cult of it, and stone statues was still in full swing, but soon after that date on the Rapanui landed "short-eared". The legend tells about the two big boats that arrived three hundred men and, apparently, the same women. Guess they fled from the Islands of Rapiti or Manga-Reva (archipelago gamble) as a result of devastating civil war or drought.

He led a "short-eared" the leader of the Haute the Matua island. At first they peacefully coexisted with "long-eared", partly adopting their traditions. When the Hoth of Matua died before the age of very old age, was the leader of his son tuma the heck. His assistant and ally became energetic ViDi-and-ViDi. Their reign was present era "iconoclasm": it ViDi-and-ViDi ordered to remove the statues that eventually led to the war 1771-1773, during which it lost most of the "long-eared".

However, their culture did not die with them. Along with the cult of it, and stone statues "long-eared" was owned by another letter. "Short-eared" managed to learn it. In the beginning of XIX century the island of rules last of the competent ariki, Ngara, the white people of small stature. He has collected a library of religious tablets with inscriptions and led the school for the study of writing rongo-rongo was the title of this sacred letter. Taught him only a chosen few. For other inhabitants of the island, it was taboo. They had no right even to touch these tablets. Those who were admitted to the study of the ABC of rongo-rongo, which consisted of several hundred characters, waited another test: they must first learn to knit rope knots and figures, corresponding to the characters. About this rope figures in Chapter "Vedminy nodules and belief in spirits."

ViDi-and-ViDi, winner of the "long-eared"

Each rope figure corresponded to his own songs, which were memorized, as well as its symbol-the picture. These characters were not letters or syllabic characters, and expressed the whole concept or idea. They beat out a chisel on the tiles of volcanic glass-obsidian or cut shark tooth on the wooden plates, line by line, from the bottom up. The first, the bottom line was written from left to right, the next one is from right to left, etc. in Addition, in each even-numbered line characters were written "upside down". This unusual way of reading and writing scientists call "boustrophedon", from the Greek expression "the progress of the bull" (the leading furrow on the field). In world writing systems it is very rare.

It ideographic letter was kept in the strictest secrecy, so the Europeans for a long time about it knew nothing. The first reports about it only appeared in 1817 when they started Bishop Tepano House. He was very surprised to find that few educated natives do not read their signs and retell the content in your own words, using the symbols only as a hint. The texts of the same, related to one or another clue, they just remembered by heart. However, remember them in your own way...


This explains why scientists are still unable to decipher these records, is more symbolic than alphabetical, besides preserved not completely. These long-forgotten characters describe the practical details and mystical background even more ancient forgotten cult. Today there are about 20 such surviving records. They are stored in the museums of Berlin, Braine-Le-Comte, Belgium, Concepcion and Santiago (Chile), Honolulu, St. Petersburg, London, Washington and Vienna.

Except for the "dictionary" of Hausen, which provides the interpretation of about 500 symbols, the meaning of the signs of rongo-rongo still remains a mystery. Though they bring up an interesting point. Similar writing there were, for example, the residents of the North-West of India in the fourth Millennium BC, the culture which then also gone. Some historians assume that the elements of this culture, including the writing, not later than the second Millennium BC have got to Polynesia. Then Polynesian "long-eared" brought them to the Eastern part of the Pacific ocean, on the island of Rapanui, where they remained for centuries, if not millennia, until the death of the priests and generally educated people are not turned ancient writings in an insoluble riddle for modern scientists.
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