Tolkien Gateway

Circles of the World

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[[Aragorn]]'s refers to the Circles of the World to [[Arwen|Arwen Undómiel]] at his death, saying that they were not bound forever to the Circles of the World, and would meet again.  A similar phrase occurs in the story of [[Beren|Beren Erchamion]] and [[Lúthien|Lúthien Tinúviel]], where it is said their paths "led together beyond the confines of the world".
 
[[Aragorn]]'s refers to the Circles of the World to [[Arwen|Arwen Undómiel]] at his death, saying that they were not bound forever to the Circles of the World, and would meet again.  A similar phrase occurs in the story of [[Beren|Beren Erchamion]] and [[Lúthien|Lúthien Tinúviel]], where it is said their paths "led together beyond the confines of the world".
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== Inspiration ==
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[[Jason Fisher]] identifies possible sources for this phrase in the Norse ''kringla heimsins'' ("circle of the world" in the ''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimskringla Heimskringla]''), the Latin ''orbis terrarum'' (notably found in the Vulgate, and particularly in the Book of Wisdom), and the design of medieval T-O maps such as the ''mappa mundi'' of Hereford (where the circular world-map is surrounded by the letters M, O, R and S, spelling out "death").<ref>[[Jason Fisher]], "Sourcing Tolkien’s “Circles of the World”: Speculations on the ''Heimskringla'', the Latin Vulgate Bible, and the Hereford Mappa Mundi" in ''Middle-earth and Beyond: Essays on the World of J. R. R. Tolkien'', Kathleen Dubs and Janka Kaščáková (editors), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010</ref>
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{{cosmology}}
 
{{cosmology}}
 
[[Category: Cosmology]]
 
[[Category: Cosmology]]

Revision as of 10:14, 20 March 2014

"Circles of the World" was a general term that seems to refer to the boundaries between the World and the Outer Void, though its usage is vague and does not seem to be completely consistent. In its earlier uses, it appears to be a completely inclusive term, describing the entirety of the World and its surrounding seas and airs, and explicitly including the Undying Lands of Aman. The region beyond the Circles is the place where Ilúvatar dwells (presumably with those of the Ainur who did not descend into Arda), and it is the fate of Men to pass out of the Circles of the World after death.

After the Downfall of Númenor, the term becomes more narrow in meaning. After the Bending of the World, and the taking away of Aman, the lands of the Uttermost West are said to be no longer within the Circles of the World, though they are clearly still part of the World in some sense. After this point, it seems that the Circles of the World are simply the boundaries of the Mortal Lands of Middle-earth.

Aragorn's refers to the Circles of the World to Arwen Undómiel at his death, saying that they were not bound forever to the Circles of the World, and would meet again. A similar phrase occurs in the story of Beren Erchamion and Lúthien Tinúviel, where it is said their paths "led together beyond the confines of the world".

Inspiration

Jason Fisher identifies possible sources for this phrase in the Norse kringla heimsins ("circle of the world" in the Heimskringla), the Latin orbis terrarum (notably found in the Vulgate, and particularly in the Book of Wisdom), and the design of medieval T-O maps such as the mappa mundi of Hereford (where the circular world-map is surrounded by the letters M, O, R and S, spelling out "death").[1]

References

  1. Jason Fisher, "Sourcing Tolkien’s “Circles of the World”: Speculations on the Heimskringla, the Latin Vulgate Bible, and the Hereford Mappa Mundi" in Middle-earth and Beyond: Essays on the World of J. R. R. Tolkien, Kathleen Dubs and Janka Kaščáková (editors), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010
Middle-earth Cosmology
 Constellations  Anarríma · Durin's Crown · Menelmacar · Remmirath · Soronúmë · Telumendil · Valacirca · Wilwarin
Stars  Alcarinquë · Borgil · Carnil · Elemmírë · Helluin · Luinil · Lumbar · Morwinyon · Nénar · Star of Eärendil · Til 
The Airs  Aiwenórë · Fanyamar · Ilmen · Menel · Vaiya · Veil of Arda · Vista
Narsilion  Arien · Moon (Isil, Ithil, Rána) · Sun (Anar, Anor, Vása) · Tilion
See Also  Abyss · Arda · Circles of the World · · Timeless Halls · Two Lamps · Two Trees · Void