A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon/Coriantumr (II)

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CORIANTUMR. The last of the Jaredites. We are first introduced to him as king of the whole land. In his day the prophet Ether raised his warning voice, but all his words of exhortation and reproof were rejected by that rapidly decaying race. They cast him out from their midst, and he spent his days in a mountain cave; while thus hidden he wrote the history of his times. Troublous and terrible times they were, for the war that commenced in the first year of Ether's concealment lasted until the nation was destroyed. This war became one of the most bloodthirsty, cruel and vindictive that ever cursed our fair planet. It was not the work of a day, it was the outgrowth of centuries of dishonor, crime and iniquity. Men's most savage passions were worked up to such an extent that every better feeling of humanity was crushed out. The women and children armed themselves for the fray with the same fiendish activity, and fought with the same intense hate, as the men. It was not a conflict of armies alone; it was the crushing together of a divided house that had long tottered because of internal weakness, but now fell in upon itself.

Coriantumr himself was a mighty prince, well versed in the art of war, cunning, diplomatic and learned; but exceedingly corrupt. Like his people, he gave no heed to the prophecies of Ether. The war commenced in a powerful revolution against him, led by some of the most influential men in the kingdom, who acted as leaders of the secret, Gadianton-like bands that overspread the nation. In the first year of the war much blood was spilt; Coriantumr's own sons being among the foremost in the defense of their father's rights. In the second year Ether again appeared and declared that if the people repented not they should every one be slain, except Coriantumr. They heeded not his voice, but sought to slay him, and he again retired to his place of concealment. In the third year, Shared, a leader of the revolutionists, defeated Coriantumr, and held him a prisoner. In the fourth year, the sons of Coriantumr released their father and placed him again on the throne. Then war extended over all the continent, every man, with his band, fighting for that which he desired. It was a reign of anarchy and crime; men's hatreds and evil passions growing more intense as the bloodshed spread. At last the vast armies of Coriantumr and Shared met in the valley of Gilgal and fought for three days. The king was victorious and he pursued his foe to the plains of Heshlon. There Shared turned upon the victorious army and drove them back to the valley of Gilgal. Another desperate battle took place in this valley, in which Shared's forces were beaten, he himself was slain, and Coriantumr so severely wounded that he did not go to battle again for two years, during which time the people in all the land were shedding blood, and there was none to restrain them.

Two years after Shared's death, his brother uprose, to take his place. But he was defeated by Coriantumr and his forces driven into the wilderness of Akish, where another exceedingly bloody battle was fought. After a time, the armies of Gilead, the brother of Shared, made a night attack on a portion of Coriantumr's hosts. They being drunken were easily overcome, and the conqueror marched to the land of Moron and placed himself upon the throne, where he was slain by his high priest, shortly afterward,

Coriantumr continued in the wilderness two years, during which time he gained many accessions to his forces. When strong enough, he attacked the giant Lib, who had assumed the kingly authority. In the first battle Coriantumr was victorious, though wounded. He pursued Lib to the sea shore, where they fought again, and Coriantumr's armies were forced back into the wilderness of Akish, and yet farther, even to the plains of Agosh. Coriantumr gathered up all the people as he retreated. Another horrible conflict ensued. Lib was killed, but his brother Shiz assumed the command, and utterly routed the forces of Coriantumr. The horrors of war now grew apace; the whole country was ravaged, its entire face was covered with the bodies of the dead, for neither women nor children were spared by the ruthless warriors. The pursuit did not stop until Coriantumr was forced back across the continent to the sea shore. There they fought for three days, when Coriantumr's star was again in the ascendant, and he drove Shiz back to the land of Corihor. As Shiz retreated, he swept off all the inhabitants of the lands through which he passed who would not join him. Shiz and his forces halted in the valley of Corihor, and Coriantumr established himself in the valley of Shurr, and from the neighboring hill of Comnor challenged Shiz. The latter made two unsuccessful attacks upon Coriantumr, but after a third desperate battle he was victorious, for Coriantumr was terribly wounded and fainted from loss of blood. But the loss of men, women and children was so great on both sides that Shiz was not strong enough to take advantage of his victory. At this time, some four or more years before the final battles around and near the hill Ramah (otherwise Cumorah), two millions of warriors had been slain, besides their wives and children. How many millions actually fell before the last terrible struggle ended, when Coriantumr stood alone, the sole representative of his race, it is impossible to tell from the record that has been handed down to us, but we think we are justified in believing that for bloodshed and desolation no such war ever took place before, or ever occurred since in the history of this world; if the annals of any nation have the record of its equal, it is not known to us.

When Coriantumr sensed how great was the slaughter of the people, he wrote to Shiz, offering to withdraw from the conflict that bloodshed might cease. But Shiz refused, unless Coriantumr surrendered, that Shiz might have the gratification of slaying him himself. So the war was renewed with intensified bitterness. Shiz was victorious and the defeated army fled as far as the waters of Ripliancum, supposed to be Lake Ontario. In this region another hotly contested battle was fought, in which Coriantumr was once again severely wounded, but his troops were the victors, and drove the enemy to the neighborhood of the hill Ramah. Here they rested at bay four years, both parties scouring the country for recruits, until every man, woman and child on the continent had been enlisted on one side or the other. There, filled with the spirits of demons, they confronted each other, and when the fight began it continued day after day, until every soul was slain except Coriantumr; the last man slain being Shiz, whose head was smitten off by Coriantumr; while the latter fainted from the loss of blood, by reason of the wounds he had received in the conflict.

Coriantumr, when he regained consciousness, wandered forth, aimlessly and alone, the last of his race. A whole continent lay around about him, but there was nothing, in any place, to invite him either to tarry or depart. Weak from loss of blood, he staggered on, placing as great a distance as his failing powers would permit between himself and the horrors of the last battle ground. He passed onward through each deserted valley, each tenantless town; in neither was there any human voice to greet or to chide him; the homes of his own people and those of his enemies were alike — a silent desolation; all the land was a wilderness.

How long he thus wandered to and fro, wretched, comfortless and forlorn, we know not; but at last he reached the southern portion of the northern continent, thousands of miles from Ramah, and there, to the great astonishment of both, he found the people of Mulek, who had been led by the hand of the Lord from Jerusalem. With them he spent his few remaining days, and when nine moons had grown and waned he passed away to join the hosts of his people in the unknown world of spirits.