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Old 08-26-2009, 12:37 PM   #1
Tuor in Gondolin
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1420! Trade and traderoutes in M-E

Drawing off a trend in the thread Elves and Gondor,
there seem to be a number of goods/resources calling for
significant trade, and even movement of traders which in a
way echoes the Silk Route across Asia to the Middle-east.
Specialist wines (and there seems to be no reason this would
be limited to the wine of Dorwinion). Consider also tobacco, fine horses
for both carrying goods and riding (a prime resource for Rohan, with
the Rohirrim probably not be averse to trading a surplus of horses to
allies and friendly peoples- including Beornings), dwarf armor and
non military equipment. There would seem to be the basis for significant
trade, and if the economic return was high enough there would
always be people willing to dare trade routes, even across
South Rhovannion. Not unlike the Italian city states, they could charge
exorbitant prices partly because of the danger and scarcity.

Recall that elves, certainly in Rivendell, used horses. Surely they'd want to
have the best available (in Rohan- perhaps using Gondor as a middle-man
given Rohan's rather insular outlook). The Greenway would seem ideal
for pack animals and fast scout horses. And surely fast and war horses would
have been needed by Gondor when guarding the eastern and southern
approaches to Mordor when they were guarding the area.

Given that Tolkien noted in Letters that people were requesting more
information on various topics, and that obviously not everything can, or
should, be included in an adventure tale how much of a believable
economics and geography of trade routes can be fairly constructed?

One, I think, could involve tobacco, apparently overwhelmingly the best
being grown in the Shire, but used by at least Northern men and dwarves.
There could be a rather thriving trade across the East-West Road (when
orc and other harassment was contained) of Dwarf iron creations, hobbit
tobacco and food, men's food, cloth, and perhaps wine (by Dunedain
in the angle and Laketown?). With perhaps Elrond cutting some nice
middle-man deals at Rivendell's Friendly Trading Imporium Outlet
(somewhere on the road, not in Rivendell, of course ). On this route
sturdy ponies like Tom Bombadil's would probably be most useful.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:06 PM   #2
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I don't think that there would have been much direct contact in latter days between Gondor and Rivendell. Faramir had clearly never seen an elf when he met Frodo and only Denethor had much of a clue where to find Imladris.

If there were any Elf/Gondor interaction my guess would be by ship between Dol Amroth and Lindon. I think the Elves would have had a tradition of horse breeding but I guess that Gondor would have traded extensively with Rohan in later days since they didn't have a strong tradition of using riding horses - I think UT refers to them lacking enough horses capable of carrying men of Numenorean stature.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:35 PM   #3
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Hi Tuor and Mith,

Agree that the East-West Dorwinion-Erebor-Lindon traderoute was significant, North-South there seems to be very little evidence, apart from Shire-Orthanc under Saruman, doesn't mean that it didn't happen however.

I think one plausible mechanism is one that's been proposed for bronze-age Europe, where occasional Greek artefacts turn up in Britain etc. This is the chain of trade, so for example an item made in the Shire could be sold by a hobbit in Bree, picked up as a curiosity by a trader at the Prancing Pony, stolen by the Dunlendings, given as tribute to Saruman, sold on to a Rohirric trader by one of Saruman's agents, who throws it in as a sweetener for a horse deal with a Gondorian, who sells it in the market at Minas Tirith to a noble who thinks its amusing, who notices the Steward looking at it and gifts it to the Steward as an outlandish curiosity.

Hey presto - Denethor with an Umbrella
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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Okay, as to what's been said about Elves - personally, I don't think the Elves in Rivendell actively participated in any trade that much, except maybe in some fine equipment. But the economy of the Elves, especially of the likes of Rivendell who seem to do nothing than wander around the woods and sing and yet they seem economically pretty self-sufficient, is an interesting question by itself (I've already been debating on that subject once with a fellow 'Downer).

***

Just for the sake of completion I will copypaste here what I said about the major trade routes on the abovementioned thread, concerning the possibilities of trade between Erebor and Gondor:

Quote:
...actually, curious, isn't it, just from the economic point of view: it would make sense for the Gondorians to actually maintain contact with Erebor, and the Northernmen in Dale and Lake-Town (as in old times anyway). It would be nice to have a route around the eastern borders of Mirkwood. But alas, such journey was probably impossible by the end of the Third Age, as the threat would be far too big. Easterlings and Dol Guldur - not a nice view. The only ones who would come to Erebor from south would be the messengers of Sauron... just as they did.

But it makes a lot more sense, in the light of this, that there were basically only two major trade routes in M-E, that is the west-east one from let's say Lindon to Erebor and the other NW-SE from Lindon as far as Gondor. And now it is clear to me at last why they form this sort of "incomplete triangle": as the third part of the triangle, i.e. Gondor-Erebor, just wouldn't work now.
Adding to this: I believe most of the prized goods were consumed in the close parts, though of course the important things continued further (with exceeding prices). By the time of Bilbo's journey, Thranduil's halls were probably the furthest stop for Dorwinion wine. After the fall of the Dragon, it could have become a more spread commodity.

That brings me to think, by the way, once again how important economically the year of the Dragon's fall was. The Kingdom under the Mountain was reestablished, the goblins were diminished, the path through all the Mirkwood was renewed and the way to Eriador was open, which was just something tremendous. Actually, at that time the East (Dale and Erebor) was far more economically prosperring than the West, which suddenly fell in the rank as total wilderness (if Arnor had been there still, things would have been different).
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:11 PM   #5
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I think that it should be remembered that the elvish communities were fairly small at the end of the third age. I think Tolkien said that there were more sindarin speakers in Gondor - though I think that excluded Mirkwood. After the Last Alliance most of the Noldor removed to Rivendell which was a household not a realm - Elrond is Master of the household not a King (though technically he would be one, I imagine the population was small enough to make using the title ridiculous). Obviously a household is a larger entity in this sense than modern usage (cf Eomer's eored being men of his own household) but I think we are talking hundreds and possible not many of them. Nevertheless the small and steep landscape of Rivendell would be hard pressed to support even this amount completely. It is possible that the small surviving Dunedain community farmed in the Angle and were able to supply some of Rivendell's wants.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rumil View Post
Hi Tuor and Mith,

Agree that the East-West Dorwinion-Erebor-Lindon traderoute was significant, North-South there seems to be very little evidence, apart from Shire-Orthanc under Saruman, doesn't mean that it didn't happen however.

I think one plausible mechanism is one that's been proposed for bronze-age Europe, where occasional Greek artefacts turn up in Britain etc. This is the chain of trade, so for example an item made in the Shire could be sold by a hobbit in Bree, picked up as a curiosity by a trader at the Prancing Pony, stolen by the Dunlendings, given as tribute to Saruman, sold on to a Rohirric trader by one of Saruman's agents, who throws it in as a sweetener for a horse deal with a Gondorian, who sells it in the market at Minas Tirith to a noble who thinks its amusing, who notices the Steward looking at it and gifts it to the Steward as an outlandish curiosity.

Hey presto - Denethor with an Umbrella
Quite possible. It suprising how far those trade chains (often more like a web than a single chain) can reach. To use an example I am familar with from history (please forgive my little digression). One of the hot items in Alexandria, Egypt from the late Hellenistic to early Roman periods (say about 100BC to AD100) were glass mosaic picture canes and beads made thereof (what we now usually call "millefiori") of great complexity (so complex in fact, that it is only in this century that glassmakers (and then only those who do one of a kind "art glass work" of the kind that can fetch several hundred dollars a bead) have been able to replicate what appaer to have been basic "meat and potatoes" level" canes of the period). As these were really popular as a trade item (durable, took up little space and had an enormous size to value ratio) they tended to go really far in trade to the point where it is possilbe to find beads or raw cane chunks (both were trade items) taken from the same cane, not the same design the same ACTUAL cane (Without getting too, technical a mosaic cane is a bit like a a stick of "cut rock" candy or slice and bake cookies the design runs through the whole thing and so if you take slices or chunks off of it the degin is on each one ) from as far apart as a Frankish burial site and a tomb in the middle of India.
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:41 PM   #7
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Remember Aragorn's assertion that boats used to travel south out of Wilderland down to Osgiliath, until only a few years before the War of the Ring. They must have been used for trade between Gondor and at least the men of the Anduin vale above the Gladden Fields - the Woodmen and the Beornings.

And it's certain that this North/South trade would cross over the Lindon - Bree - Beornings - Woodland Realm - Erebor - Esgaroth - Iron Hills - Dorwinion trade route.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:04 PM   #8
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Hi Mouth,

interesting that, as you might think Dol Guldur controlled the river, or at least dsisputed it with Galadriel.

However it does fit that after the White Council booted Sauron out (seemingly), the evil activities would die down until a few years before LoTR, when big S re-occupied with sevenfold strength, and presumably by then didn't care who knew it!

So there's some boating connection between Rohan and Gondor on the one hand and Beornings and Woodmen on the other in between the 2940s and the 3010s. Possibly beforehand as well depending on how secretive Sauron was feeling? Agree that its likely to tie into the East West trade via this route as well.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:50 PM   #9
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About the third leg of the trade routes (Fornost to
Gondor/Calenardhon), until c. 2000 of the Third
Age it would seem to have had the potential of being
not only a sort of Royal Road (like the Persian road from
their capitals through Asia Minor) but also a path of
commerce. Indeed into the Second Age also the Noldor in
Hollin and Moria dwarves would probably participate in
some form in trade and travel.

And continuing trade and travel potential is seen in Butterbur
observations after the War of the Ring.
Quote:
It all comes from those newcomers and gangrels that
began coming up the Greenway last year, as you may remember;
but more came later. Some were just poor bodies running away
from trouble; but most were bad men, full o'thievery and mischief.
and Gandalf's prediction:
Quote:
...the Greenway will be opened again, and his messengers
will come north, and there will be comings and goings, and the evil
things will be drivenout of the waste-lands. Indeed the waste in time
will be waste no longer, and there will be people and fields where once
there was wilderness.
There are several things here. One, who were these refugees and where
did they come from? Dunland? Perhaps a few. Rohan, maybe a handful of
Wormtongish- but doubtful. Perhaps people from some areas of South
Gondor going through Anfalas?
Two, Gandalf's comments suggest not a naturally barren land in Minhiriath
and Enedwaith but one almost unnaturally depopulated (shades of the
Dust Bowl?) Perhaps some New Deal CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp)
replantings and soil management was called for

The point is the basis for a trade route is there for a good bit of the Second
and Third Ages, and even in a form of Dark Ages for the region (including not
seeing to upkeep of fords) you'd think it would be marginally kept open by
entrepreneurs. Btw, had tobacco use spread to Gondor (perhaps Thorongil
brought the vice there ).

And then there's that potential sea route, Forlindon to Pelargir...
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:52 AM   #10
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I think I remember reading somewhere that Tharbad had a garrison of soldiers and engineers from Gondor until about a century before the War of the Ring. That would suggest that the maintenance of the bridge there was considered vital for North/South trade.
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuor in Gondolin View Post
There are several things here. One, who were these refugees and where
did they come from? Dunland? Perhaps a few. Rohan, maybe a handful of
Wormtongish- but doubtful. Perhaps people from some areas of South
Gondor going through Anfalas?
Two, Gandalf's comments suggest not a naturally barren land in Minhiriath
and Enedwaith but one almost unnaturally depopulated (shades of the
Dust Bowl?) Perhaps some New Deal CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp)
replantings and soil management was called for
You basically answer yourself with the second remark: I always believed that apart from a few Dunlendings, these men were mainly from Enedwaith or Minhiriath, exactly those bits of "depopulated" people. Mainly, remember that Barliman says that at first mostly they were poor guys running away from trouble. What trouble, one must ask? The Dunlendings had no reason to run away from trouble, unless they were persecuted in their homeland because they disliked the alliances with Saruman. But I could imagine that the Dunlendings on the rise, supported by Saruman, could become a threat to the neighbouring peoples - and that includes the primitive and simple folk of fishermen and hunters (as said in the UT) in Enedwaith/Minhiriath (I never remember which one is which).

Quote:
And then there's that potential sea route, Forlindon to Pelargir...
Yes, but in late TA nobody used it, probably since the fall of Arnor. There was this big army of Gondor coming to defeat the Witch-King, and they sailed to Lindon, but there did not seem to be any more contact reported later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mouth of Sauron View Post
I think I remember reading somewhere that Tharbad had a garrison of soldiers and engineers from Gondor until about a century before the War of the Ring. That would suggest that the maintenance of the bridge there was considered vital for North/South trade.
I don't think was that way by then. It's in the UT, but I don't think there was any powerful garrison there by that time. It was just some population remaining there, and after the great floods (2912 TA) the city was completely deserted.

Okay, I actually found the quotes. As for the population of the regions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix D
Since the Great Plague of the year 1636 of the Third Age Minhiriath had been almost entirely deserted, though a few secretive hunter-folk lived in the woods. In Enedwaith the remnants of the Dunlendings lived in the east in the foothills of the Misty Mountains; and a fairly numerous but barbarous fisher-folk dwelt between the mouths of the Gwathló and the Angren (Isen).
And here is the one about Tharbad and its garrison:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, Appendix D
A considerable garrison of soldiers, mariners and engineers had been kept there until the seven*teenth century of the Third Age. But from then onwards the region fell quickly into decay; and long before the time of The Lord of the Rings had gone back into wild fenlands.
Seventeenth century of the Third Age - that's actually quite a long time ago and Gondor was at its heights still back then. After the demise of the Northern Kingdom, it gradually lost its importance to keep a big garrison in Tharbad.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:24 AM   #12
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Pipe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuor
Btw, had tobacco use spread to Gondor (perhaps Thorongil
brought the vice there).
It doesn't look like pipeweed was ever exported any farther south-east than Isengard. Théoden's bafflement at the sight of Merry and Pippin smoking clearly indicates that he was unfamiliar with the custom (LotR Book III, The Road to Isengard):
Quote:
'For one thing', said Théoden, 'I had not heard that they [=halflings] spouted smoke from their mouths.'
As for Gondor, the Prologue quotes Merry's Herblore of the Shire as saying,
Quote:
The Men of Gondor call it sweet galenas, and esteem it only for the fragrance of its flowers.
Confirmed by Aragorn in LotR Book V, The Houses of Healing:
Quote:
If your pack has not been found, then you must send for the herb-master of this House. And he will tell you that he did not know that the herb you desire had any virtues
Anyway, even if the Gondorians had picked up the habit of smoking, they would have had no need to import tobacco from the Shire. Again from Merry's Herblore in the Prologue:
Quote:
It grows abundantly in Gondor, and there is richer and larger than in the North
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
That brings me to think, by the way, once again how important economically the year of the Dragon's fall was. The Kingdom under the Mountain was reestablished, the goblins were diminished, the path through all the Mirkwood was renewed and the way to Eriador was open, which was just something tremendous. Actually, at that time the East (Dale and Erebor) was far more economically prosperring than the West, which suddenly fell in the rank as total wilderness (if Arnor had been there still, things would have been different).
Lots of good points made on this interesting topic.
Overall, it seems to me that at the Time of the War of the Ring, it was indeed the lands east of the Misty Mountains which saw the most commercial trade among different communities, but it seems that the trading partners were mostly geographically fairly near one another.
The Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, Men of Dale, and Elves of Mirkwood certainly had a thriving commerce together, and the Dwarves of the Iron Hills were probably in on it as well.
Lórien appears to be almost entirely self-sufficient, with what trade they did have most likely being with Rivendell.
Gondor and Rohan would have mainly conducted trade business with one another, as has been said, with the Rohirrim trading horses for things such as weapons and armour.
In Eridaor, the only likely permanent trade partners would have been the Shire and Bree.
Travellers through those areas using the East-West Road would have bought food and pipe-weed there, but no active exportation by the hobbits seems to have been conducted beyond that, not even with the Rangers or Dwarves of the Blue Mountains. Merry was quite surprised at the sight of the Hornblower pipe-weed at Isengard, saying he hadn't known it 'went so far abroad'.
Knowing the Rangers, they might have grown some pipe-weed themselves for their own uses, and probably knew places where it grew in the wild.
Arnor seems to have been the centre of any large scale trade between Eriador and the South. Once it was no more, commercial intercourse between the regions appears to have been almost nil.
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:42 AM   #14
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Another trade route to consider, though it's largely speculative,
would be from Pelargir or Osgiliath south. This is the sort of trade
which (at least minimully) might be kept open all through the Third
Age, and be especially important at the height of Gondor's influence
in the Third and Fourth Ages. The basic trade routes might be The
Harad Road and by sea (especially when South Gondor was under
Gondor control but even at times of relative peace by the Corsairs).
Perusing Karen Fonstad's Atlas it's at least interesting as an
insight into Tolkien's thinking that (see pps. 38-39 and 52-53)
that Far Harad and south bear a similarity to Africa. Since oliphaunts
were thriving there why not other exotic animals that an imperial
Gondor, not unlike imperial Rome, would be interested in.
Wonder what Sam would think of a giraffe or even a saber-toothed
tiger ).
Southrons and such might be interested in turn in fine armor,
tobacco, and rare wines.

About the Legate's comments. You might be underestimating the
importance of the dwarves in the Blue Mountains. Wasn't it said they
regularly traversed the Shire? Who were they trading with?
But the areas east of the Misty Mountains do seem to be increasing in
population and importance. The Beornings and the woodsmen were
growing and spreading even in The Hobbit.
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:43 AM   #15
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Oops. Double posted.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuor in Gondolin View Post
About the Legate's comments. You might be underestimating the
importance of the dwarves in the Blue Mountains. Wasn't it said they
regularly traversed the Shire? Who were they trading with?
Would the occasional party of Dwarves passing through the Shire really constitute a trade presence? Looks to me more likely the Dwarves only bought whatever provisions they needed for their journeys, as the Shire and Bree didn't seem to have much need or want for what the Dwarves could offer in trade: arms, armour, and precious stones.
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Would the occasional party of Dwarves passing through the Shire really constitute a trade presence? Looks to me more likely the Dwarves only bought whatever provisions they needed for their journeys, as the Shire and Bree didn't seem to have much need or want for what the Dwarves could offer in trade: arms, armour, and precious stones.
Yep, but I agree with Tuor on that at least some basic trade would go on between the people of the Shire and the Dwarves of Blue Mountains (and later also those in the East). Raw iron, for instance, if nothing else, in exchange for maybe some food and pipeweed. The Dwarves did smoke, after all. I also wonder about the rather sophisticated items such as Bilbo's clock, which the Hobbits would certainly not be able of making. A few specialities for the rich Hobbits would come handy, and so even some small trade in these classes probably existed.
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Yep, but I agree with Tuor on that at least some basic trade would go on between the people of the Shire and the Dwarves of Blue Mountains (and later also those in the East). Raw iron, for instance, if nothing else, in exchange for maybe some food and pipeweed. The Dwarves did smoke, after all. I also wonder about the rather sophisticated items such as Bilbo's clock, which the Hobbits would certainly not be able of making.
Somehow I just never pictured Dwarves as making things like clocks. Thranduil's Elves, on the other hand....well, I can imagine Mirkwood Forest Cuckoo Clocks being all the rage in Dale.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:13 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Somehow I just never pictured Dwarves as making things like clocks. Thranduil's Elves, on the other hand....well, I can imagine Mirkwood Forest Cuckoo Clocks being all the rage in Dale.
Wood Elves? No way. They could not even make a wok pan, the more something as complicated as clock. I agree that clock feels a bit too fine on first sight, but then, Dwarves were the master craftsmen, and their honed gems were a work of fine art, for one. Nay, the Dwarves were the ones making the clock... only by the time the West-East route was reestablished, they began to import cuckoos from Mirkwood into their clock, but that's all
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:38 PM   #20
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It wouldn't be at all surprising that dwarves were the Swiss
of Middle-earth in clockmaking.
Quote:
Kings used to snd for our smiths, and reward even the
least skillful most richly. Fathers would beg us to take their sons as
apprentices, and pay us handsomely, especially in food-supplies...
the poorest of us had money to spend and to lend, and leisure to make
beautiful things just for the fun of it, not to speak of the most
marvellous and magical toys, the like of which is not to be found in the
world now-a-days...and the toy market of Dale was the wonder of the
North.
Of course, it also brings to mind Harry Lime's observation about cuckoo
clocks and the Swiss:
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"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Wood Elves? No way. They could not even make a wok pan, the more something as complicated as clock. I agree that clock feels a bit too fine on first sight, but then, Dwarves were the master craftsmen, and their honed gems were a work of fine art, for one. Nay, the Dwarves were the ones making the clock... only by the time the West-East route was reestablished, they began to import cuckoos from Mirkwood into their clock, but that's all
The bit about the Mirkwood Elves was tongue-in-cheek: a reference to Bored of the Rings.
I still wonder about the Dwarves trading much with hobbits.

Quote:
'And look at the outlandish folk that visit [Bilbo]: dwarves coming at night, and that old wandering conjuror Gandalf, and all.'
Quote:
An odd-looking waggon laden with odd-looking packages rolled into Hobbiton one evening. The startled hobbits peered out of lamplit doors to gape at it. It was driven by outlandish folk, singing strange songs: dwarves with long beards and deep hoods.
FOTR A Long-Expected Party

If hobbits were accustomed to trade with dwarves, why were they 'startled', and thinking the dwarves 'outlandish'?

Quote:
'[Bilbo] was already growing a bit queer, they said, and went off for days by himself. He could be seen talking to strangers, even Dwarves.'
UT The Quest of Erebor

'Even Dwarves'? Hobbits don't seem to have thought much of Dwarves; just odd people who used the Road through the Shire.
In fact, the Shire-folk seemed extremely insular, regarding even distant relatives living in Bree with distrust.
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:57 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
If hobbits were accustomed to trade with dwarves, why were they 'startled', and thinking the dwarves 'outlandish'?
You just say it yourself:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
In fact, the Shire-folk seemed extremely insular, regarding even distant relatives living in Bree with distrust.
That's it. For the Hobbits, anybody from the outside was queer. Hey, even farmer Maggot was queer for people from Hobbitton, and vice versa! I think just a person who had regular contact with Dwarves, like Bilbo, would be considered weird - but there had to be some trade between the Dwarves and Hobbits, it may not have been anything long-time established, but just those guys who would journey through the Shire would sell their goods, and there will be a few "a bit queer" Hobbits having long-time trade relations with the Dwarves, and those would make their goods available further in the Shire.
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Old 08-30-2009, 03:40 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
That's it. For the Hobbits, anybody from the outside was queer. Hey, even farmer Maggot was queer for people from Hobbitton, and vice versa! I think just a person who had regular contact with Dwarves, like Bilbo, would be considered weird - but there had to be some trade between the Dwarves and Hobbits, it may not have been anything long-time established, but just those guys who would journey through the Shire would sell their goods, and there will be a few "a bit queer" Hobbits having long-time trade relations with the Dwarves, and those would make their goods available further in the Shire.
Exactly. I would assume that it's mostly the old and rich families, like the Tooks and Brandybucks, who had such things. Maybe from days in the past, when the Shire was more open with the rest of the world, as well as at that time, when such families were known to do very weird things (for Hobbiton folk at least).
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:09 AM   #24
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Although it's hardly an indication of a widely used trade-route, it's interesting to note that Bilbo gave away plenty of toys out of Dale for his birthday party. The Dwarves (supposedly) who delivered them might have been party-guests too but I find it a little hard to believe that they would make such a journey for pleasure only.

Actually I think that trade between Dwarves and Hobbits of the Shire must have been rather commonplace, although most Shire-folk had little of no direct contact with Dwarves. I don't see the Dwarves of the Blue Mountain being much for farming but they would still be in need of agricultural produce. If they don't grow crops themselves that only leaves the Elves of Lindon and the Hobbits of the Shire as realistic trade partners. With an eye for profit, wouldn't the Dwarves get a better deal in the Shire than in the Gray Havens, seeing that their exclusive goods (like clocks) must have been be more fancy and luxurious for the lowly Hobbits than for the lofty Elves.
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:52 PM   #25
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During my re-reading of The Hobbit I found something that might bear on this subject.

Quote:
There stood barrels, and barrels, and barrels; for the Wood-elves, and especially their king, were very fond of wine, though no vines grew in those parts. The wine, and other goods, were brought from far away, from their kinsfolk in the South, or from the vineyards of Men in distant lands.
The Hobbit Barrels Out of Bond (emphasis added)

Granted, it is The Hobbit, so a small pinch of salt might be in order.
But still, who could the 'kinsfolk in the South' possibly be? The Lórien Elves were to the Southwest, but Celeborn's words to Legolas,

Quote:
Welcome son of Thranduil! Too seldom do my kindred journey hither from the North.
would seem to indicate there wasn't much contact between the two realms.
At any rate, the Forest River and the R. Celduin would not seem to be viable trade routes for any commerce between Thranduil's people and other Elves.
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