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Old 08-04-2001, 03:03 PM   #1
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Ring Tolkien's Knowlege Of Constellations

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While rereading The Fellowship of the Ring, I realize that Tolkien was remarkably knowledgeable about constellations. In chapter 3 (Three Is Company), Tolkien writes about Remmirath, the Netted Stars, Borgil, and Menelvagor with his shining belt. I am sure Remmirath is the Pleaides, Borgil is the star Betelguese, and Menelvagor is the constellation Orion. Furthermore,these celestial objects actually do rise in the fall as Tolkien describes in the chapter.

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Old 08-04-2001, 03:05 PM   #2
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<img src="" align=absmiddle> Re: Tolkien's Knowlege Of Constellations

Welcome to the Barrow-Downs Olorin61!
That is an interesting observation you've made!

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Old 08-04-2001, 03:35 PM   #3
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<img src="" align=absmiddle> Re: Tolkien's Knowlege Of Constellations

Tolkien's special awareness of details is what adds a great and mostly unrivalled depth to his works, and LOTR in particular.
Constellations, keeping an eye on the correct waning and waxing of the moon, researching how to stew coneys... few authors did or do that.

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Old 08-20-2001, 09:02 PM   #4
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<img src="" align=absmiddle> Re: Tolkien's Knowlege Of Constellations

Eudora Welty, an American Southern writer, died recently. I read a book of speeches she gave at a university. In one of them she recountns how a critic of one of her early works wrote, &quot;always get your moon in the right part of the sky. Tolkien apparently did.

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Old 09-08-2001, 10:04 PM   #5
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<img src="" align=absmiddle> Re: Tolkien's Knowlege Of Constellations

The webpage Mellonath Daeron - Astronomical objects in Middle-earth provides the most accurate listing of Tolkien's astronomical names that I've found:</a>

Note that Borgil, despite some references to the contrary in some sources commenting on Tolkien, must be Aldebaran, not Betelgeuse. In the chapter &quot;Three's Company&quot; the hobbits see the Netted Stars (The Pleiades) and Borgil beneath them above the mists. Then the mists clear, and they see the constellation Menelvagor (Orion) climbing the sky. Borgil is therefore between Orion and the Pleiades, right where Aldebaran is, not part of Orion as Betelgeuse is.

From The Book of Lost Tales 2, &quot;The Tale of Eärendel&quot;, Notebook C:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> ****Tuor and Idril some say sail now in Swanwing and may be seen going swift down the wind at dawn and dusk.<hr></blockquote>Is this possibly an equation of Tuor and Idril in Swanwing with Mercury, parallel to Eärendel their son in Wingilot as Venus? Mercury also appears only as a morning or evening star, never so far away from the Sun as is Venus, and much fainter. If Tolkien did intend this identification the concept does not seem to have stuck.

From a semi-scientific cosomology in Morgoth's Ring, Part Five Myths Transformed, II, Note 19, Christopher Tolkien states:<blockquote>Quote:<hr> In other scribbled notes (written at the same time as text II nd constituting a part of that manuscript) my father wrote that Varda gave the holy light received in gift from Ilúvatar (see p.*380) not only to the Sun and to the Two Trees but also to 'the significant Star'. The meaning of this is nowhere explained. Beside it he wrote Signifier, and many experimental Elvish names, as Taengyl, Tengyl, Tannacolli or Tankol, Tainacolli; also a verbal root tana 'show, indicate'; tanna 'sign'; and kolla 'borne, worn especially a vestment or cloak', with the note ' Sindikoll-o is masculinized'.<hr></blockquote>In these later writings the Quenta Silmarillion is treated as a Númenorean legend-cycle somewhat garbled in its cosmology. Presumably the identification of the planet Venus with Eärendil in his ship would be such garbling. Is it possible that this 'significant Star' is Venus, associated with Eärendil in the legends? Only this Star and Eärendil's Silmaril of objects unlost would still shine with the pure, unstained light at the end of the First Age, and Tolkien might have intended that they were metaphorically linked and then identified in Númenorean legend.

But JRRT was never able to satisfacatorily merge the old legends with a new scienfically based view of the earth and its relation to the stars and other planets.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=>jallanit e</A> at: 9/16/01 1:41:10 pm
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Old 09-09-2001, 12:06 PM   #6
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<img src="" align=absmiddle> Re: Tolkien's Knowlege Of Constellations

Just another astronomical note, I always liked the references to Durin's Day in THE HOBBIT and how Gandalf does NOT think it impossible to forecast the next one.

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