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Old 09-09-2014, 02:24 AM   #41
shadowfax
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Well, that's true. Due to their shrinking population and having their dwelling-place protected by an aura of fear, they were pretty much unthreatened. I'd put them apart from Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Hobbits though.
Also, Ents don't seen concerned with genealogies, probably because their family trees (ha!) would only have had a branch or two, due to their longevity and slow rate of breeding.
And such things would have taken a long long time to recite.

As far as we know, Ents didn't write anything down. I suppose they didn't need to as their memories stretched back virtually to the dawn of time.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:58 AM   #42
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I don't think Ents would approve much of writing on paper, probably not think it was worth killing trees for... though you can, write on parchment which involves killing animals... maybe they could have used paper made from oliphaunt dung with a clear conscience ( I was givem some elephant dung stationery once).
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Old 09-09-2014, 01:32 PM   #43
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I don't think Ents would approve much of writing on paper, probably not think it was worth killing trees for... though you can, write on parchment which involves killing animals... maybe they could have used paper made from oliphaunt dung with a clear conscience ( I was givem some elephant dung stationery once).
The thought of dung-based stationery is an idea that honestly has never crossed my mind. Maybe that was the Mordor default, which could explain the foul stench of Orcs.

It seems Hobbits would have used wood pulp for their paper, though they no doubt practiced careful forestry to preserve wood used for that and other applications, as well as to enjoy the woods for natural beauty.
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:23 PM   #44
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The thought of dung-based stationery is an idea that honestly has never crossed my mind. Maybe that was the Mordor default, which could explain the foul stench of Orcs.

It seems Hobbits would have used wood pulp for their paper, though they no doubt practiced careful forestry to preserve wood used for that and other applications, as well as to enjoy the woods for natural beauty.
The highest quality of paper is not made from wood pulp (too acidic) but from cotton.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:12 AM   #45
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The thought of dung-based stationery is an idea that honestly has never crossed my mind. Maybe that was the Mordor default, which could explain the foul stench of Orcs.

It seems Hobbits would have used wood pulp for their paper, though they no doubt practiced careful forestry to preserve wood used for that and other applications, as well as to enjoy the woods for natural beauty.
Nor mine til my sister spent time at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. It didn't actually smell. I don't think they had cotton in Middle earth. Isn't it a plant of the new world? Ok they had spuds but , aybe they were brought from the west via Numenor. We do take cheap paper for granted.
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:37 PM   #46
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Actually cotton is an odd one, origin wise. Species were domesticated in the old and new worlds simultaneously. Most cotton TODAY comes from the New World species. But cotton existed in both Africa and Asia for millennia, and was known to the ancients. In fact many authorities on folklore believe that the origin of the mythical animal know as a barometz, or vegetable lamb of Tartary (basically a sheep that grew out of the ground and remained attached to a stalk through it's umbilicus) was the attempt of an ancient Hebrew writer to try and describe cotton, and using a word that could me either "apple" or "sheep" depending on the vowels (which as in modern Hebrew are often not written down) Certainly some bits of the barometz mythology certainly sound like they are talking of cotton (especially the bit about the wool of a barometz being makeable into a fabric equal to the finest wool, but unlike wool, being easily washable without shrinkage). So ME could have had cotton (maybe from the South or East, before the shadow ultimately consumed them.)
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Old 09-10-2014, 05:50 PM   #47
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I don't think Ents would approve much of writing on paper, probably not think it was worth killing trees for... though you can, write on parchment which involves killing animals... maybe they could have used paper made from oliphaunt dung with a clear conscience ( I was givem some elephant dung stationery once).
I believe Peter Jackson writes his scripts on elephant dung stationery.
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Old 09-11-2014, 03:12 AM   #48
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Nor mine til my sister spent time at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. It didn't actually smell. I don't think they had cotton in Middle earth. Isn't it a plant of the new world? Ok they had spuds but , aybe they were brought from the west via Numenor. We do take cheap paper for granted.
What did Rosie Cotton's name mean if they didn't know what cotton was?
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Old 09-15-2014, 01:40 PM   #49
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The Hobbits of The Shire lived in a society modelled on that of Nineteenth Century rural England. In such a system, a person's identity depended not so much on his character or abilities as on the relative importance of his family and his "class".

Geneology becomes very important to you if your position in society and your prospects in life depend on how closely related you are to the more powerful, land-owning families.

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I agree.

I will also say that, from personal experience, living in a very small town in the American South, that who you are related to matters to other people. I am not from this town or county - work brought me here and I am, thus, an outsider. People here are always asking me who my "kin people" are and where they (and I) are from. They care. Rural societies have not changed much in that regard.

Genealogy is how you keep track of that.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:33 PM   #50
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I will also say that, from personal experience, living in a very small town in the American South, that who you are related to matters to other people. I am not from this town or county - work brought me here and I am, thus, an outsider. People here are always asking me who my "kin people" are and where they (and I) are from. They care. Rural societies have not changed much in that regard.

Genealogy is how you keep track of that.
I live in the same area, though I was born here. I will confirm what you say, that rural living tends to keep family members in closer proximity, and relationships are indeed a means by which people recognize one. I have a very common surname, and I still get asked occasionally if I'm related to so-and-so.

The Shire Hobbits, being such a closed community, would naturally have been the same way. That's also evidenced in Bree, where the Underhills from Staddle were convinced Frodo was a relative, and took him to heart as such.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:18 PM   #51
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Not only that but in a small community, as the communities of The Shire no doubt were, the same families would have known one another, intermarried with each other, and done business with each other for generations.

We're talking hundreds of years here. In a society with few (if any) written laws, no real government, and relatively low populations, those family histories and relationships would matter A LOT.
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:48 AM   #52
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I live in the same area, though I was born here. I will confirm what you say, that rural living tends to keep family members in closer proximity, and relationships are indeed a means by which people recognize one. I have a very common surname, and I still get asked occasionally if I'm related to so-and-so.

The Shire Hobbits, being such a closed community, would naturally have been the same way. That's also evidenced in Bree, where the Underhills from Staddle were convinced Frodo was a relative, and took him to heart as such.
Surnames and the inevitable genealogical derivations and attendant assumptions regarding one's place in society were a long-standing issue in many insular communities.

An excellent example is the Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker character in Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake". Although his family has resided in the environs of Dublin for well over 1200 years, his surname is of Danish derivation and recalls the Viking invasion of Ireland; thus, Earwicker is accused of "Scandiknavery".
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:20 AM   #53
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What did Rosie Cotton's name mean if they didn't know what cotton was?
Well Shire names are "translated" and cotton was to pun with gamgee (for the encased cotton wool dressing Gamgee tissue) but maybe Alfirin's truly fascinating post explains that I was simply wrong about cotton.

The breadth and depth of knowledge round here never ceases to amaze me.

It may also be that in a relatively small and isolated community of the Shire it made sense to keep track of families so as to discourage too close intermarriage. Obviously they wouldnt' have known about genetics and I am not suggesting that but they may have observed problems when there was too much shared blood. I am not suggesting that they went in for hispanic Hapsburg style inbreeding but in small static communities the gene pool could get a bit murky.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:35 PM   #54
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As a parallel, look at the U.S. Short-lived as it is in comparison to European states, still there are organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution who are more than willing to overlook any number of cutthroats, drunkards and spendthrifts as long as they can number one of the Founding Fathers as their direct ancestor.

One signer of the Declaration of Independence moldering in his grave trumps a host of skeletons in the closest.
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