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Old 01-11-2007, 04:26 AM   #1
Wayland
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Riders Of Rohan - Anglo Saxons?

Are the Riders of Rohan Tolkein's answer to the Anglo Saxons in Lotr? The names, portrayal etc. all seem to suggest that the historical A.S. where a great inspiration at least.
Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere.
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:58 AM   #2
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Their language, too.

Tolkien mentioned in one of the appendices--I believe in the "languages" appendix(I'm at work now, and can't check up on it--hell, I'd be too lazy to do it anyway-- that he didn't mean to imply that they were similiar to " the Anglo-Saxons" otherwise and that the chief similiarity was that they were a more primitive tribe inhabiting the former lands of an older and higher culture.

He claims that he has "translated" their langauge into Old English in order to represent the fact that the language that they spoke was an archaic language related to Adunaic--WEstron, which he has translated into "modern English".

However, translator's conceit aside, they are clearly a north Germanic- like tribe((other t han the fact that they fight mainly on horseback, which isn't really like the Anglo-Saxons).

It has engaged me at times to think about who the other tribes of "good Northmen" might correlate to...Beornings, Bardings=Scandinavians, Germans, etc? Haradrim=Arabs?
I've spent long minutes pondering these things.
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Old 01-11-2007, 08:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricho
I've spent long minutes pondering these things.
Thanks Bricho, me too I thought I spotted representations of Picts and Celts as well. I guess we could also equate Gondor with Rome and Mordor with Attila's mighty army!
Or is that taking things a bit too far?
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:53 AM   #4
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Yes, I do believe that this is what Tolkien implies
We can for example see that the names of the Kings of Rhovanion are Gothic in origin

Quote:
It is an interesting fact, not referred to I believe in any of my father's writings, that the names of the early kings and princes of the Northmen and the Éothéod are Gothic in form, not Old English (Anglo-Saxon) as in the case of Léod, Eorl, and the later Rohirrim. Vidugavia is Latinized in spelling, representing Gothic Widugauja ("wood-dweller"), a recorded Gothic name, and similarly Vidumavi Gothic Widumawi ("wood-maiden"). Marhwini and Marhari contain the Gothic word marh "horse," corresponding to Old English mearh, plural mearas, the word used in The Lord of the Rings for the horses of Rohan; wini "friend" corresponds to Old English winë, seen in the names of several of the Kings of the Mark. Since, as is explained in Appendix F (II), the language of Rohan was "made to resemble ancient English," the names of the ancestors of the Rohirrim are cast into the forms of the earliest recorded Germanic language. ~ UT, Cirion and Eorl, note 6
So we do see that as far as languages are concerned, the Rohirrim clearly would represent the Anglo-Saxons. The Beornings and the Woodmen of Mirkwood are said to have also been related to the people of the Eotheod, so they also must represent some people related to the Anglo-Saxons, probably also originating from the Goths.

Picts and Celts had different ancestors. The Beornings are inspired by berserkers from Norse mythology, so its pretty hard to find them a corespondent in real history, perhaps some Norse tribe. The Woodmen would in my opinion rather be Jutes or Frisians.



As far as their
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:31 AM   #5
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Tolkien In addition...

Indeed it is plain that a great many names throughout the races of Middle-earth were derived from Anglo-Saxon though I could not find an exact quote from Appendix F that stated he did not mean for them to appear similar to Anglo-Saxon, however Břicho has correctly said that the language was derived from the Westron.

“The Westron was a Mannish speech, though enriched and softened under Elvish influence.” (Appendix F, Of Men)

This is reflected in the word “Rohan” which was a softened form of “Rochand”,

“Rohan. I cannot understand why the name of a country (stated to be Elvish) should be associated with anything Germanic; still less with the only remotely similar O.N. rann 'house', which is incidentally not at all appropriate to a still partly mobile and nomadic people of horse-breeders! In their language (as represented) rann in any case would have the A-S form ræn (<rænn <ræzn <razn; cf. Gothic razn 'house'). The name of [the] country obviously cannot be separated from the Sindarin name of the Eorlingas: Rohirrim. Rohan is stated (III 391,394) to be a later softened form of Rochand. It is derived from Elvish *rokkō 'swift horse for riding' (Q. rokko, S. roch) + a suffix frequent in names of lands.” - (Letter #297)

Of note from this passage is that Tolkien clearly states that Anglo-Saxon can be the only language from which he has derived the archaic language of the Rohirrim, more befitting to the ‘still partly mobile and nomadic people’, Westron was the language of the ‘Father’s of Men’, the Rohirric language was a derivation,

“The language of Rohan I have accordingly made to resemble ancient English, since it was related both (more distantly) to the Common Speech, and (very closely) to the former tongue of the northern Hobbits, and was in comparison with the Westron archaic. “ - (Appendix F, On Translation)

The languages appear “tiered” in development.

Originally posted by Břicho
Quote:
“…the chief similiarity was that they were a more primitive tribe inhabiting the former lands of an older and higher culture.”
The derivations are an illustration of this; Westron was the purest form, from which all the others sprouted. And consequently the most wide spread,

“In the course of that age it had become the native language of nearly all the speaking-peoples (save the Elves) who dwelt within the bounds of the old kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor; that is along all the coasts from Umbar northwards to the Bay of Forochel, and inland as far as the Misty Mountains and the Ephel Dúath.” - (Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age.)

Tolkien states later in one of his letters the reasons why he used Anglo-Saxon, and further supports my point that for him it was the only ‘base’ for its languages,

“The reason for using 'Anglo-Saxon' in the nomenclature and occasional glimpses of the language of the Eorlingas – as a device of 'translation' – is given in Appendix F. From which it follows that 'Anglo-Saxon' is not only a 'fertile field', but the sole field in which to look for the origin and meaning of words or names belonging to the speech of the Mark;...” - (letter #297)

Interestingly being Old English or Anglo-Saxon and Germanic is one of the same, being western Germanic in origin consequently similar to Old Frisian and Old Saxon from which the language is derived. To all accounts it too is similar to Old Norse. Evidence for similarities between a Nordic culture and that of the Rohirrim is plain in the adornments of their housing, notably figureheads.

Amongst the letters is also a reference to the origins of the language of the men of Dale had it been shown in the trilogy,

“The language of Dale and the Long Lake would, if it appeared, be represented as more or less Scandinavian in character;…” (Letter #144)
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Old 01-11-2007, 12:27 PM   #6
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Tolkien

Quick question, how does one pronounce

"Vidugavia"?
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:09 PM   #7
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I guess that the accent was on the first sylable "vee" like in Vinyamar...
But I am not sure since there isn't much information on the language spoken by the people of Rhovanion except what we are told in the quote I already gave...
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:37 PM   #8
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Tolkien

There is the table of Westron in the Appendix, which gives some idea on the prouncing of vowels and consanants, for the Rohirric language is a derivative of Westron albeit an archaic form. There are also a few passages in the letters, mostly from those that I quoted in my previous post.

In the table it states that an "I" before a vowel is typically pronounced with the consanant sound of "y" as in you, yore. Although whether this was adopted in the more archaic speech of the Rohirrim I do not no. One thing is for sure being Old English, words of that ilk are usually pronounced how they are spelt.

Vid-Ugav-ia

Or

Implementing the rule with "I". Perhaps,

Vid-Ugav-ya

Do not quote me, I am no expert, having only just started to embrace Tolkiens languages.
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Old 01-11-2007, 01:52 PM   #9
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They are like but also not like.

Shippey goes into this topic so it's worth getting hold of his books. One of the major differences is that the Rohirrim are great equestrians but he Anglo-Saxons were not. They revered horses, but they were not known for their skills in riding or driving them, unlike the Celts who were. I think that Tolkien naturally loved early English and loved the literature which it threw up and then went on to create an idealised view of the Anglo-Saxons with other influences thrown into the cultural mix.

For one, the Anglo-Saxons were by no means an ideal people as they practised apartheid, however maybe the Rohirrim also did this? There is obvious evidence in LotR that they had slaughtered the indigenous Woses, and it seems they may have also tried expansionism into the lands of the Dunlendings. Why, they even rename them! They are the Enedwaith, whereas Dunlendings is a Rohirric imposition.

So, a bit of reality brought into the mix there? I just love how Tolkien gives all his races these darkened histories and makes them less perfect. Sometimes it feels like he was a kind of iconoclast against his own creations.
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:05 PM   #10
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Thanls Manwe, you helped me find a nice quote

I was looking through the Appendices after reading your post, when I found this:

Quote:
The linguistic procedure does not imply that the Rohirrim closely resembled the ancient English otherwise, in culture or art, in weapons or modes of warfare, except in a general way due to their circumstances: a simpler and more primitive people living in contact with a higher and more venerable culture, and occupying lands that once had been part of its domain. ~ The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, On Translation, note 1
And personally I must say I agree on this one. Other then the linguistic similarity, and also the fact the ancestors of both these people used a Gothic language, I can't think of much.
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:21 PM   #11
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The linguistic procedure does not imply that the Rohirrim closely resembled the ancient English otherwise, in culture or art, in weapons or modes of warfare, except in a general way due to their circumstances: a simpler and more primitive people living in contact with a higher and more venerable culture, and occupying lands that once had been part of its domain. ~ The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, On Translation, note 1
What is the 'higher and more venerable culture'? The Romano-Britons? The Celts?
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:22 PM   #12
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Well, I suppose their sort of joy in battle (or bloodlust) and subsequent reverence of warfare as a glorious thing--unlike the more civilized Dunedain, maybe--is something that I, perhaps incorrectly, associate with ancient Germanic tribes in general, be they Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, etc...

crossposted...

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Old 01-11-2007, 02:26 PM   #13
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The Romans for sure.

There is some doubt about the scale of Germanic peoples' presence in Britain before the abandonment of the island by Rome. It is known, however, that Germanic auxiliary troops had been used for centuries by Rome.
So it is pretty clear that Tolkien meant the Romans in this context.
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Old 01-11-2007, 03:32 PM   #14
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I'm not sure its the Romans. Tolkien says "occupying lands that once had been part of its domain", which would suggest a culture that had retreated and might suggest Britain after the Romans had left. But he also says "living in contact with", which would not suggest The Romans. Not only had they left by that time, but the Anglo-Saxons pointedly avoided anything which remained of the Romans; they were deeply superstitious of what remained and would simply not contemplate living in the old villas (as the Britons were quite happy to do. Anglo-Saxon culture seemed to wholly deny that the Romans had even existed. So I don't think it was the Romans.

But it could have been the Romano-British. The Saxons took over land that had belonged to these people, pushing them back to the edges - 'lands that had once been its domain' and they lived 'in contact with' them by marrying their women (the Anglo-Saxons forbade British men from marrying during the early days at least).
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Old 01-11-2007, 05:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I'm not sure its the Romans. Tolkien says "occupying lands that once had been part of its domain", which would suggest a culture that had retreated and might suggest Britain after the Romans had left. But he also says "living in contact with", which would not suggest The Romans. Not only had they left by that time, but the Anglo-Saxons pointedly avoided anything which remained of the Romans; they were deeply superstitious of what remained and would simply not contemplate living in the old villas (as the Britons were quite happy to do. Anglo-Saxon culture seemed to wholly deny that the Romans had even existed. So I don't think it was the Romans.

But it could have been the Romano-British. The Saxons took over land that had belonged to these people, pushing them back to the edges - 'lands that had once been its domain' and they lived 'in contact with' them by marrying their women (the Anglo-Saxons forbade British men from marrying during the early days at least).
The 'Romans' didn't leave Britain, in fact. The LEGIONS were recalled. Romano-Brits had been declared Roman citizens in 212 by Caracalla (along with all other free men & their households throughout the Empire). So by 410, when Constantine II marched out to try to become Emperor, the civilians running the show were all Romans.
The Angles, Jutes & Saxons have been shown archeologically to have lived side by side with the Britons for a long time (at least a century) with only fitful raiding on both sides. The Britons were busy fighting each other for the High Kingship (or whatever) & trying to reestablish the glory of Empire, while the Germanic tribes were basically farmers.
I am very sure Tolkien stated he wanted to have an idealized form of Anglo-Saxons, complete with horses, etc - I'm probably remembering Shippey but I don't have the book here with me.
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:39 PM   #16
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Mucho thanks to you both!
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:29 AM   #17
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Some very informed replies there - much for me to ponder. I think someone once told me that Tolkein was a professor of Anglo Saxon, so I guess that got me looking out for hints of it in his work.
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Old 01-12-2007, 03:43 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by teleriferchnyfain
The 'Romans' didn't leave Britain, in fact. The LEGIONS were recalled. Romano-Brits had been declared Roman citizens in 212 by Caracalla (along with all other free men & their households throughout the Empire). So by 410, when Constantine II marched out to try to become Emperor, the civilians running the show were all Romans.
The Angles, Jutes & Saxons have been shown archeologically to have lived side by side with the Britons for a long time (at least a century) with only fitful raiding on both sides. The Britons were busy fighting each other for the High Kingship (or whatever) & trying to reestablish the glory of Empire, while the Germanic tribes were basically farmers.
I am very sure Tolkien stated he wanted to have an idealized form of Anglo-Saxons, complete with horses, etc - I'm probably remembering Shippey but I don't have the book here with me.
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They may well have legally been Romans (well, most of them were) but they were still Romano-British. This moniker refers to the fact that the wealthier Britons took on some 'Roman ways' and many actual Romans stationed here took on British wives. It was a distinctive culture. Just calling them Romans denies that - hence modern day cultural monikers such as French-Canadian, African-American - such names identify distinct cultures. It also acknowledges that some were more Romanised than others.

The very first Saxons to come here were farmers, but this didn't last very long at all and they were very sparse in number. After the Jutes were asked to help fight against the Picts they demanded land and were refused it so they turned on the Britons. The Anglo-Saxons were brutal and ruthless fighters - an account (a very polemical account and it attacks everyone seemingly, but is a good source for the reality of Anglo-Saxon behaviour) is given in St Gildas De Excidio Britanniae - On The Ruin Of Britain.

Indeed, the Britons were no angels (though a lot of them ended up as Saints ) but then they were defending their land - it was rather like inviting a guest into your home who then decides he is going to take over, take your wife, kill your children and finally demolish your house and go off to live in the shed. And then write Beowulf.
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Old 01-13-2007, 11:44 PM   #19
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short anwser

read Lord of the Rings, read beowulf, note very many silmarilities with characters, then note that Beowulf was an Anglo-Saxon story

so The Rohirrim were taken from Beowulf.
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