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Lembas

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{{youmay|the food|[[Lembas (journal)|Lembas]], the journal of [[Unquendor]]}}
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{{disambig-two|the food|journal of [[Unquendor]]|[[Lembas (journal)|Lembas]]}}
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[[Image:John Howe - Lembas.jpg|thumb|"Lembas" by [[John Howe]]]]
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'''Lembas''', translated as '''waybread''' in the [[Westron|Common Speech]], was a special food made by the [[Elves]].
  
{{quote|Lembas, [[Elvish]] waybread. One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man.|[[Legolas of Mirkwood|Legolas]], ''[[Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring]]''}}
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==History==
[[Image:Lembas bread with Mallorn leaves.jpg|thumb|200px]]
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Lembas was made first by [[Yavanna]] from special [[corn]] that grew in [[Aman]], and [[Oromë]] gave it to the Elves of the [[Great Journey]]. For this reason, it was an Elven custom that only women should make lembas; they were called [[Yavannildi]] who knew the secret of its recipe. Also, the custom requested that only an Elven Queen should keep and distribute the lembas, for this reason she was called also [[massánië]] or [[besain]].<ref name="PM">{{PM|Lembas}}</ref>
'''Lembas''', also called '''coimas''', translated as '''waybread''' in the [[Common Speech]], is a special food made by the [[Elves]]. The cakes are very nutritious, stay fresh for months when wrapped in leaves, and are used for sustenance on long journeys. Lembas is a brownish colour on the outside and a cream colour on the inside.
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[[File:Elena Kukanova - The Light of Valinor.jpg|200px|thumb|left|"The Light of Valinor" by [[:Category:Images by Elena Kukanova|Elena Kukanova]]]]
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Only on rare occasions was it given to non-Elves, because it was believed that mortals who ate it would become wary of their mortality and would desire to live among the Elves.<ref name="PM"/>
  
Lembas was made first by [[Yavanna]] from special [[corn]] that grew in [[Aman]], and [[Oromë]] gave it to the Elves of the [[Great Journey]]. For this reason, it was an Elven custom that only women should make lembas; they were called [[Yavannildi]] (or by the Sindar the [[Ivonwin]]) who knew the secret of its recipe. Also, the custom requested that only an Elven Queen should keep and distribute the lembas, for this reason she was called also [[massánië]] or [[besain]].<ref name="PM">[[History of Middle-earth]], [[The Peoples of Middle-earth]]-[[Of Lembas]]</ref>
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The corn itself was an enduring plant that needed but a little sunlight to ripen and could be sown at any season and then sprouted and grew swiftly. Yet it was prone to north winds, while [[Morgoth]] dwelt there. The Eldar grew it in guarded lands and sunlit glades. The ears were harvested without scythe or sickle but each one was gathered by hands and the white stalks were drawn from the earth and used to weave baskets in which the grain was stored.<ref name="PM">{{PM|Lembas}}</ref>
  
Only on rare occasions is it given to non-Elves, because it was believed that mortals who ate it would become wary of their mortality and would desire to live among the Elves.<ref name="PM"/> Like other products of the Elves, it is offensive to evil creatures; [[Gollum]] refused outright to eat of it.<ref>[[The Two Towers]]</ref>
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[[Melian]], as the queen of [[Doriath]], was one who held this recipe from Yavanna. By giving lembas to [[Beleg]] for [[Túrin]]<ref>{{S|Turin}}</ref>, she showed great favor because never before lembas was given to a Man and seldom it was again. Later it was passed to [[Galadriel]] and other [[Elves]].
  
[[Melian]], as the queen of [[Doriath]], was one who held this recipe from Yavanna. By giving lembas to [[Beleg]] for [[Túrin]], she showed great favor because never before lembas was given to a Man and seldom it was again. Later it was passed to [[Galadriel]] and other [[Elves]].
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The [[Galadhrim]] had a large store of Lembas in [[Lothlórien]]. Galadriel gave some of it to the [[Fellowship of the Ring]] upon their departure. [[Frodo Baggins]] and [[Samwise Gamgee]] subsisted on it through the majority of their journey from there into [[Mordor]].<ref>{{HM|FR}}</ref>
  
Galadriel gaves a large store of it to the [[Fellowship of the Ring]] upon their departure from [[Lothl&oacute;rien]]. One of the elves comments that it is more strengthening than any food by Men, and it is more pleasant than [[Cram]]. [[Frodo Baggins]] and [[Samwise Gamgee]] subsist on it through the majority of their journey from there into [[Mordor]].
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==Description==
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The cakes were very nutritious, stayed fresh for months when wrapped in leaves, and were used for sustenance on long journeys. Lembas had a brownish colour on the outside and a cream colour on the inside.  
  
[[Image:John Howe - Lembas.jpg|thumb|left|''Lembas'' by [[John Howe]].]]
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According to [[Gimli]] it was similar to [[Cram]], although one of the [[Galadhrim|Elves of Lothlórien]] commented that it was more pleasant, and more strengthening than any food by [[Men]].<ref>{{FR|Farewell}}</ref>
==Inspiration==
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Tolkien most likely based lembas on bread known as ''hard tack'' that was used during long sea voyages and military campaigns as a primary foodstuff.  This very un-magical bread was little more than flour and water which had been baked hard and would keep for months as long as it was kept dry. However, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa wrote in his book ''Libri tres de occulta philosophia'' (Book 3, Chapter 13) of a herb from Scythia that allowed people to go for twelve days afterward without any need for food or water. It is also possible that Tolkien based lembas on this description in Agrippa's writings.
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== Portrayal in Adaptations ==
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Like other products of the Elves, it was offensive to evil creatures; [[Gollum]] refused outright to eat of it.<ref>{{HM|TT}}</ref> When Frodo was captured by [[orcs]] in Mordor, the orcs hated the look of the lembas even more than Gollum.
  
In [[Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings]], the term "lembas bread" is occasionally used. This is incorrect usage; but because the gift of lembas at Lothlórien is not included in the theatrical release of ''[[Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring|The Fellowship of the Ring]]'', the redundant term "lembas bread" was probably chosen in order to immediately identify the substance to filmgoers at the beginning of ''[[Peter Jackson's The Two Towers|The Two Towers]]''.
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==Etymology and names==
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'''Lembas''' is [[Sindarin]] and derived from the older ''lenn-mbass'' which means "journey-bread". As a rough translation of this term it was also often called ''Waybread''.<ref name="PM">{{PM|Lembas}}</ref>
  
==See also==
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The [[Quenya]] word for lembas is '''''coimas''''' which means ''life-bread''.<ref name="PM">{{PM|Lembas}}</ref>
* [[Lembas (journal)]]
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==Inspiration==
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The lembas has been compared with the Eucharist, even as being the most explicit symbol of Christianity in ''The Lord of the Rings''.<ref>[[Bradley J. Birzer]], ''[[J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth]]'', "Chapter 3: The Created Order", p. 63</ref> Tolkien himself mentions that the lembas are one of the few details from which can be deduced he is a Catholic writer.<ref>{{L|213}}, p. 288</ref> Although always avoiding any literal interpretation, he did highlighted the religious significance of the lembas in his answer to Forrest J. Ackerman, who had proposed the lembas as a 'food concentrate' in a possible adaptation of ''The Lord of the Rings''.<ref>{{L|210}}, pp. 274-275</ref>
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The name "Waybread" resembles in a way the [[Old English]] name for the herb [[Wikipedia:plantain|plantain]], which was ''wegbrade''.<ref>{{webcite|articleurl=http://www.tolkiensociety.org/ed/study_a_s_2.html|articlename=Tolkien Society Anglo-Saxon Study Pack 2|dated=2006|website=[http://www.tolkiensociety.org The Tolkien Society]}}</ref>
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==Portrayal in adaptations==
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'''2001-03: [[The Lord of the Rings (film series)|''The Lord of the Rings'' (film series)]]:'''
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:The redundant term "lembas bread" is occasionally used as the gift of lembas at Lothlórien is not included in the theatrical release of ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring|The Fellowship of the Ring]]''. The term "lembas bread" was probably chosen in order to immediately identify the substance to filmgoers at the beginning of ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers|The Two Towers]]''.
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{{quote|Lembas, [[Elvish]] waybread. One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man.|[[Legolas]], ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring]]''}}
 
{{references}}
 
{{references}}
 
[[Category:Food]]
 
[[Category:Food]]
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[[de:Lembas]]
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[[fr:encyclo/divers/lembas]]
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[[fi:Lembas]]

Revision as of 17:26, 13 December 2019

This article is about the food. For the journal of Unquendor, see Lembas.
"Lembas" by John Howe

Lembas, translated as waybread in the Common Speech, was a special food made by the Elves.

Contents

History

Lembas was made first by Yavanna from special corn that grew in Aman, and Oromë gave it to the Elves of the Great Journey. For this reason, it was an Elven custom that only women should make lembas; they were called Yavannildi who knew the secret of its recipe. Also, the custom requested that only an Elven Queen should keep and distribute the lembas, for this reason she was called also massánië or besain.[1]

"The Light of Valinor" by Elena Kukanova

Only on rare occasions was it given to non-Elves, because it was believed that mortals who ate it would become wary of their mortality and would desire to live among the Elves.[1]

The corn itself was an enduring plant that needed but a little sunlight to ripen and could be sown at any season and then sprouted and grew swiftly. Yet it was prone to north winds, while Morgoth dwelt there. The Eldar grew it in guarded lands and sunlit glades. The ears were harvested without scythe or sickle but each one was gathered by hands and the white stalks were drawn from the earth and used to weave baskets in which the grain was stored.[1]

Melian, as the queen of Doriath, was one who held this recipe from Yavanna. By giving lembas to Beleg for Túrin[2], she showed great favor because never before lembas was given to a Man and seldom it was again. Later it was passed to Galadriel and other Elves.

The Galadhrim had a large store of Lembas in Lothlórien. Galadriel gave some of it to the Fellowship of the Ring upon their departure. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee subsisted on it through the majority of their journey from there into Mordor.[3]

Description

The cakes were very nutritious, stayed fresh for months when wrapped in leaves, and were used for sustenance on long journeys. Lembas had a brownish colour on the outside and a cream colour on the inside.

According to Gimli it was similar to Cram, although one of the Elves of Lothlórien commented that it was more pleasant, and more strengthening than any food by Men.[4]

Like other products of the Elves, it was offensive to evil creatures; Gollum refused outright to eat of it.[5] When Frodo was captured by orcs in Mordor, the orcs hated the look of the lembas even more than Gollum.

Etymology and names

Lembas is Sindarin and derived from the older lenn-mbass which means "journey-bread". As a rough translation of this term it was also often called Waybread.[1]

The Quenya word for lembas is coimas which means life-bread.[1]

Inspiration

The lembas has been compared with the Eucharist, even as being the most explicit symbol of Christianity in The Lord of the Rings.[6] Tolkien himself mentions that the lembas are one of the few details from which can be deduced he is a Catholic writer.[7] Although always avoiding any literal interpretation, he did highlighted the religious significance of the lembas in his answer to Forrest J. Ackerman, who had proposed the lembas as a 'food concentrate' in a possible adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.[8]

The name "Waybread" resembles in a way the Old English name for the herb plantain, which was wegbrade.[9]

Portrayal in adaptations

2001-03: The Lord of the Rings (film series):

The redundant term "lembas bread" is occasionally used as the gift of lembas at Lothlórien is not included in the theatrical release of The Fellowship of the Ring. The term "lembas bread" was probably chosen in order to immediately identify the substance to filmgoers at the beginning of The Two Towers.
"Lembas, Elvish waybread. One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man."
Legolas, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Lembas"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Farewell to Lórien"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers
  6. Bradley J. Birzer, J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth, "Chapter 3: The Created Order", p. 63
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 213, (dated 25 October 1958), p. 288
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 210, (undated, written June 1958), pp. 274-275
  9. "Tolkien Society Anglo-Saxon Study Pack 2" dated 20 January 2006, The Tolkien Society (accessed 20 January 2020)