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Essë

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Essë is the Quenya word for "name", as well as the 31st tengwa letter. In Tolkien's legendarium, Elves are given three names in their lives, the father-name, the amilessë (mother-name), and the epessë (nickname or honorary title).

  • Father-name: given by the father and often based on the father's own name or derived from old legends. Given at or near birth.
  • Amilessë: given by the mother and was often prophetic in nature. Given at or near birth.
  • Epessë: often chosen by the Elf himself or herself as an honorific later in life.

The father-name and amilessë were private names only used by family and close friends. The epessë is the name an Elf uses in public.

Examples

  • Maglor: The son of Fëanor of the House of Finwë, was given the father-name Canafinwë ("Strong-voiced [of] Finwë"). His amilessë was Makalaurë ("Forging Gold" in the poetic sense). The name Maglor is the Sindarin version of his amilessë.
  • Finrod Felagund: The son of Finarfin was given the father-name of Findaráto ("Hair-champion"). Finrod is the Sindarin version of Findaráto. He is usually referred to as Felagund ("Hewer of Caves"), originally a derogatory nickname given to him because of his dwelling at Nargothrond. Finrod adopted the name as his epessë and made it a title of honour.
  • Galadriel: The only daughter of Finarfin was given the father-name of Artanis ("Noble Woman")and the mother-name of Nerwen ("Man-Maiden"). Her epessë, Alatáriel ("Maiden Crowned with a Radiant Garland"), was given to her by her husband, Celeborn. The name Galadriel is the Sindarin version of her epessë.