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Old 07-20-2016, 07:55 AM   #34
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 144
Marwhini has just left Hobbiton.
Originally Posted by denethorthefirst View Post
Well Marxism-Leninism and National-Socialism are political religions insofar as that they are structured and function very much like religions ... you have holy scriptures, a "church", a messias, a paradise that awaits after the worldly struggles, heretics, orthodoxy, etc. In that sense the blending of religion and politics in Mordor makes sense and could also be read as a critique of the totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century. Mordor is a totalitarian dictatorship: the "state" invades every space of the individual and there is no privacy or individualism left. Sauron is King and God for his subjects.
Exactly so (National Socialism/Fascism and Stalinist-Leninist Communism).

Hannah Arendt, Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Joseph Campbell, David ben Gurion, and many others, Academics and Politicians (or both) have made those observations about National Socialism (and Fascism in general), and Stalinism. I would need to ask around to find the names, but there are even Chinese Authors who have been publishing in the last 20 years or so (living now in Taiwan) about how Maoism related to a religious ideology (and how the Chinese are finally beginning to "Secularize" - so to speak).

[QUOTEdenethorthefirst;704876]About the "modernity" of Mordor: its obvious that it has extensive infrastructure and industry. That would be necessary for the war effort and you would need an effective bureaucracy to manage and oversee the whole thing. I guess this class of bureaucrats would consist mostly of black Numenoreans and elite, long-living Orcs (orcs that have retained some elvish-blood or maybe even are descended from Boldogs) - the official language would be the black speech - there would probably be some kind of "privileged housing" and educational institutions to maintain that bureaucracy.
The Problem is that a lot of Mordor is left unexplained by Tolkien. For example: where do the Orcs live? Are there any large Cities? Is Barad-Dur itself a monstrous City-Complex (very like i.m.o.)? How extensive is the Industry? And how "magical" is Mordor?
I guess the decline that the People and Cultures of Arda experienced from the second to the third Age also affected Mordor (and Sauron), so there is probably a substantial difference between the Mordor of the Second and the Mordor of the Third Age. I always imagined the Mordor of the Second Age to be like a Dark Numenor, an almost futuristic Place, considering that Sauron was a pupil of Aule and probably very knowledgeable and interested in Technology (of course i am talking about the infrastructure and technology here, the life of the majority of orcs and men in Mordor was probably still of very low quality) - but during the Third Age, after the loss of a lot of his power, after giving up every pretense, i guess that the Mordor of the Third Age was a lot more "medieval", primitive and run down. Maybe because Sauron lacked the power to re-build the lost technology or maybe because he no longer deemed it necessary against his reduced enemies.[/QUOTE]

I've done a lot of work on this specifically.

Tolkien mentions that the lands in the south of Mordor, around Lake Núrnen, are very fertile, and are kept by vast plantations of slaves to provide food for his armies:

His essays on Orcs, which it looks like you have read, suggest that they breed just like anyone else, and he states that the breed to great numbers quickly (this could mean a very fast maturation, similar to lower Primates, who can reach adolescence in only a few years).

That would make breeding armies much easier, logistically, and could explain a great many other things that Tolkien does not touch directly upon.

But ultimately this just gives us a number of typical mouths he would need to feed.

But Mordor does contain more than enough land area around Núrnen to support an Army of a couple of million (Republican Roman Italy supported a population of approximately 5 million before it began to require the importation of Grains from Egypt and Northern Africa - And Italy contains roughly the same land-area as the area around Lake Núrnen).

As to the "Magic..." Well... One needs to ask a few questions about what the "Magic" is, and is expected to do. But it does not seem that Mordor has anything "Magical" that would help support the population that isn't also available to the rest of Middle-earth. There is one aspect even where Mordor's methods might actually hurt its ability to produce food, depending upon how what we call "Magic" works.

But for all of Middle-earth... It is actually Tolkien's given estimates for the sizes of Armies that allow us to get an idea of what the general population would be, given that we have ample records of what it takes human populations to support armies, or militaries of a given size.

And we have a few tangential references by Tolkien to human cultures that are "comparable" to those within Middle-earth (I would be very hesitant to draw direct parallels to them, but we get a rough idea). And it seems to be overall a roughly 7th - 11th Century world (save for the Shire), that has one or two Anachronisms floating through it.

For basic Infrastructure.... That is pretty much where you would need to start.

But most of these questions can be answered by looking at what has been said about Middle-earth, and then looking for the things that would need to be True for those existing references to be True.

You can get a pretty long way toward figuring out things like Infrastructure, and population that way.

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