Tolkien Gateway

Middle-earth

(Difference between revisions)
m (Portrayal in adaptations)
m
 
(53 intermediate revisions by 19 users not shown)
Line 2: Line 2:
 
{{rewrite}}
 
{{rewrite}}
 
{{location
 
{{location
| image=[[File:All middle earth.png|250px]]
+
| image=[[File:John Howe - The Map of Middle-earth.jpg|250px]]
 
| name=Middle-earth
 
| name=Middle-earth
 
| type=Continent
 
| type=Continent
 
| location=[[Arda]], east of [[Belegaer]]
 
| location=[[Arda]], east of [[Belegaer]]
| inhabitants=[[Men]], [[Elves]], [[Dwarves]], [[Orcs]], others
+
| inhabitants=[[Men]], [[Elves]], [[Dwarves]], [[Orcs]], [[Hobbits]], [[Ents]], others
 
| realms= [[Rohan]], [[Gondor]], [[Mordor]], [[Arnor]], [[Rivendell]], [[Lothlórien]], others
 
| realms= [[Rohan]], [[Gondor]], [[Mordor]], [[Arnor]], [[Rivendell]], [[Lothlórien]], others
 
| description=A continent set between two oceans
 
| description=A continent set between two oceans
Line 14: Line 14:
 
| references=
 
| references=
 
|}}
 
|}}
'''Middle-earth''' ([[Quenya|Q.]] ''[[Endor]]'') was a large continent of [[Arda]], situated east of [[Aman]], across [[Belegaer]]. It is here that many of the epic tales of Arda were played out, for it was in the north of this realm that [[Morgoth]] dwelt, and here where he bitterly fought with [[Elves]], [[Men]], [[Maiar]] and [[Valar]].
+
{{quote|The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!|[[Aragorn]]<ref>{{TT|Riders}}</ref>}}
 +
'''Middle-earth''' ([[Quenya|Q.]] ''[[Endor]]'') was a large continent of [[Arda]], situated between [[Aman]] to the [[Uttermost West|West]] (across [[Belegaer]]), and the [[Uttermost East|Land of the Sun]] to the [[East]] (across the [[East Sea]]).  
 +
 
 +
It is here that most of the story of Arda takes place, and it was where the [[Children of Ilúvatar]]; the [[Elves]] and [[Men]], along with the [[Dwarves]], came into being.
  
 
==Geography==
 
==Geography==
 +
[[Image:Sage - Middle-earth.png|thumb|left|The entire north of Middle-earth as shown in Karen Wynn Fonstad's ''[[The Atlas of Middle-earth]]'']]
 
Middle-earth is a large continent, a mass of land that occupies the central regions of [[Arda]]. It lays between two continents; [[Aman]], the uttermost West from which it is separated by the ocean [[Belegaer]], and the [[Land of the Sun]], at the uttermost East which the [[East Sea]] separates.
 
Middle-earth is a large continent, a mass of land that occupies the central regions of [[Arda]]. It lays between two continents; [[Aman]], the uttermost West from which it is separated by the ocean [[Belegaer]], and the [[Land of the Sun]], at the uttermost East which the [[East Sea]] separates.
[[Image:John Howe - The Map of Middle-earth.jpg|thumb|left|The [[Westlands]] of Middle-earth]]
+
 
The [[Westlands]] are the most well-known regions of the continent, and the only which have been mapped. Of the Westlands, the western portion called '''[[Beleriand]]''' was drowned at the end of the [[First Age]] and survivors relocated to [[Lindon]] and '''[[Eriador]]''' from which it was separated by the [[Blue Mountains]]. Another region of the Westlands was '''[[Rhovanion (region)|Rhovanion]]''' separated by the [[Misty Mountains]].  
+
The [[Westlands]] are the most well-known regions of the continent, and the only which have been mapped in great detail. Of the Westlands, the western portion called '''[[Beleriand]]''' was drowned at the end of the [[First Age]] and survivors relocated to [[Lindon]] and '''[[Eriador]]''' from which it was separated by the [[Blue Mountains]]. Another region of the Westlands was ''' [[Rhovanion]]''' separated by the [[Misty Mountains]].  
  
 
The southern part of the Westlands was around [[Bay of Belfalas|a large bay]], including '''[[Belfalas]]''', the area of [[Gondor]], and [[Near Harad]] (Near South).
 
The southern part of the Westlands was around [[Bay of Belfalas|a large bay]], including '''[[Belfalas]]''', the area of [[Gondor]], and [[Near Harad]] (Near South).
  
[[Arnor]] and [[Gondor]] before their decline, dominated the Westlands during the [[Third Age]]. Huge mountain ranges like the [[Grey Mountains]] and [[White Mountains]] separated these regions.  
+
In the years before their decline, the kingdoms of [[Arnor]] and [[Gondor]] dominated the Westlands during the [[Third Age]]. These realms were separated by great mountain ranges such as the [[White Mountains]] and the Misty Mountains.  
  
Of the [[East]] and [[South]] of Middle-earth not much is known, other than the names of '''[[Rhûn]]''' and '''[[Khand]]''', east of '''[[Mordor]]''', and the '''[[Far Harad]]''' (Far South); but how far they extended is unknown.
+
Of the [[East]] and South of Middle-earth not much is known, other than the names of '''[[Rhûn]]''' and '''[[Khand]]''', east of '''[[Mordor]]''', and the '''[[Far Harad]]''' (Far South); but how far they extended is unknown.
  
In the [[Elder Days]], the East was occupied by the two large inland seas of [[Sea of Helcar|Helcar]] and [[Sea of Ringil|Ringil]] created by the demise of the [[Two Lamps]]; and of course '''[[Cuiviénen]] and [[Hildórien]]''', the cradle of [[Elves]] and [[Men]].
+
In the [[Elder Days]], the two large inland seas of [[Sea of Helcar|Helcar]] and [[Sea of Ringil|Ringil]], created by the demise of the [[Two Lamps]], stood in the center of Middle-earth to the north and south.
  
Another known name of the East was the '''[[Empty Lands]]'''. The eastern land-mass was encircled by ranges of mountains, the [[Red Mountains|Red]] and the [[Yellow Mountains]] which mirrored the [[Ered Luin|Blue]] and the [[Grey Mountains (ancient)|Grey]] of the West respectively. There was also a mythical [[Last Desert]]; but its status or existence in the later years was unknown.
+
Another known name of the East was the '''[[Empty Lands]]'''. Through the north-east of Middle-earth ran the [[Orocarni|Red Mountains]], and to the south-east the [[Yellow Mountains]], which mirrored the Blue Mountains and the [[Grey Mountains (ancient)|Grey Mountains]] of the north-west and south-west respectively. On the shores of the Sea of Helcar near to the Red Mountains was '''[[Cuiviénen]]''', the cradle of the [[Elves]]. In the far east between the Red Mountains and the Yellow Mountains there were the [[Mountains of the Wind]], and between these mountains and the easternmost shores of Middle-earth there stood '''[[Hildórien]]''', the cradle of [[Men]]. There was also a mythical [[Last Desert]] in the "East of East", but its status or existence in the later years was unknown.
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
 
:''This is the geographical history. For events happening in Middle-earth, see [[Timeline]].''
 
:''This is the geographical history. For events happening in Middle-earth, see [[Timeline]].''
[[File:Beleriand-eriador-fonstad.png|thumb|Western Middle-earth with deluged Beleriand]]
+
[[File:Steven White Jr. - Early Arda.jpg|thumb|left|Early Arda]]
During the [[First Age]] and the ages preceding, the western side of Middle-earth was called [[Beleriand]], stretching from the [[Ered Luin]] to the great ocean of Belegaer.  On the northern edge of Beleriand were the fierce [[Ered Engrin]], the Iron Mountains.  Even further north was the freezing [[Dor Daidelos]].  Just southwest of the Ered Engrin was [[Hithlum]], which was separated from the coast of [[Lammoth]] and Belegaer by the [[Ered Lómin]], and from the rest of Beleriand to the south by the [[Ered Wethrin]]. The woven wood of [[Doriath]] rested directly south of the [[Thangorodrim]] and [[Dorthonion]], southeast of Hithlum. To the West of Doriath were [[Taur-en-Faroth]] and the [[Falas]], while to the east were [[Nan Elmoth]] and [[Thargelion]] before reaching the [[Ered Luin]]. To the south of Doriath were first the [[Andram]], then [[Arvernien]] and the [[Bay of Balar]].  East of the Bay of Balar and extending ever further south into the unknown lands were the [[Taur-im-Duinath]] and [[Ossiriand]].
+
Arda was initially a flat, symmetric shape, until the [[Valar]] (and [[Morgoth]]) created several seas and mountains. Two seas, [[Belegaer]] to the west and the [[East Sea]], formed a central landmass in the centre of Arda, the earliest shape of what would be the [[Great Lands]] of Middle-earth. Major features of that landmass were two inland seas, the Sea of Helcar and the Sea of Ringil. Around them, massive mountain chains were formed, the Blue Mountains and Red Mountains to the north, and the Grey Mountains and Yellow Mountains to the south. The Mountains of the Wind were a smaller chain in the [[East]], standing south of the Red Mountains and north of the Yellow Mountains.<ref>{{SM|Ambar}}</ref>
  
East of the Ered Luin was a land encircled by four mountain ranges: the [[Ered Luin]] to the West, the [[Ered Engrin]] to the North, the [[Misty Mountains|Hithaeglir (Misty Mountains)]] to the East, and some of the [[White Mountains]] to the South. Passing even further East, over the Hithaeglir, you would come to [[Anduin]] (the Great River) and eventually [[Palisor]], the [[Sea of Helcar|Inland Sea of Helcar]], the [[Orocarni]], and the [[East Sea]].
+
Eventually the Valar left the Great Lands for the [[Uttermost West]], leaving Morgoth and his creatures from his fortress at [[Utumno]] behind the [[Iron Mountains]]. He would also erect the [[Misty Mountains]] between the Blue Mountains and Red Mountains to hinder the Vala [[Orome]] who hunted his creatures.<ref>{{HM|Guide}}, entry "Misty Mountains"</ref> In later days during the [[War for the Sake of the Elves]], the Yellow Mountains and the Mountains of the Wind would be lost, and the Sea of Ringil would merge with the East Sea, separating Middle-earth from the new continent known as the [[Dark Lands]]. To the west the shores of the Great Sea advanced upon the land as well, forming the [[Great Gulf]] between the lands of [[Beleriand]] and the lands of the south. The [[Straits of the World]] linked the Great Gulf with the Inland Sea of Helcar, serving as a boundary of sorts for the northern and southern lands of Middle-earth.<ref>{{SM|Ambar}}</ref>
 +
[[File:Sage - Beleriand and Eriador collage.png|thumb|Western Middle-earth with deluged Beleriand]]
 +
During the [[First Age]] and the ages preceding, the western side of Middle-earth was called Beleriand, stretching from the Ered Luin to the great ocean of Belegaer. On the northern edge of Beleriand were the fierce Ered Engrin, the Iron Mountains. Even further north was the freezing [[Dor Daedeloth]]. Just southwest of the Ered Engrin was [[Hithlum]], which was separated from the coast of [[Lammoth]] and Belegaer by the [[Ered Lómin]], and from the rest of Beleriand to the south by the [[Ered Wethrin]]. The woven wood of [[Doriath]] rested directly south of the [[Thangorodrim]] and [[Dorthonion]], southeast of Hithlum. To the West of Doriath were [[Taur-en-Faroth]] and the [[Falas]], while to the east were [[Nan Elmoth]] and [[Thargelion]] before reaching the [[Ered Luin]]. To the south of Doriath were first the [[Andram]], then [[Arvernien]] and the [[Bay of Balar]]. East of the Bay of Balar and extending ever further south into the unknown lands were the [[Taur-im-Duinath]] and [[Ossiriand]].
  
After the end of the First Age and the drowning of Beleriand, the geography east of the Ered Luin shifted. The Ered Luin themselves, now broken up and disfigured, marked the western border of [[Eriador]], and thence [[Lindon]] and Belegaer itself. Eriador, now the Westernmost part of Middle-earth, was bordered on the East by the Hithaeglir, the Misty Mountains, which stretched down south to the [[White Mountains]] and the [[Bay of Belfalas]]. Across the Misty Mountains from Eriador was [[Rhovanion (region)|Rhovanion]], which extended east to the [[Sea of Rhûn]] and the vast [[Rhûn|lands]] beyond. Within Rhovanion were the great forest of [[Mirkwood]], the forest of [[Fangorn Forest|Fangorn]], and the many-rivered area that would become known as [[Gondor]]. To the east was the region of [[Mordor]], encircled on three sides by mountains. To the far north of Rhovanion was the icy [[Forodwaith (lands)|Forodwaith]].
+
East of the Ered Luin was a land encircled by four mountain ranges: the Ered Luin to the West, the Ered Engrin to the North, the Misty Mountains to the East, and some of the [[White Mountains]] to the South. Passing even further East, over the Hithaeglir, you would come to the Great River [[Anduin]] and eventually [[Palisor]], the Inland Sea of Helcar, the Orocarni, and the East Sea.
 +
 
 +
After the end of the First Age and the drowning of Beleriand, the geography east of the Ered Luin shifted. The Sea of Helcar drained into the Great Gulf through the Straits of the World, and was lost forever. The Ered Luin themselves, now broken up and disfigured, marked the western border of [[Eriador]], and thence [[Lindon]] and Belegaer itself. Eriador, now the Westernmost part of Middle-earth, was bordered on the East by the Misty Mountains, which stretched down south to the White Mountains and the newly formed [[Bay of Belfalas]], the remnants of the Great Gulf. Across the Misty Mountains from Eriador was Rhovanion, which extended east to the [[Sea of Rhûn]] and the vast lands of Rhûn beyond. Within Rhovanion were the great forest of [[Mirkwood]], the forest of [[Fangorn Forest|Fangorn]], and the many-rivered area that would become known as [[Gondor]]. To the east was the region of [[Mordor]], encircled on three sides by mountains. To the far north of Rhovanion was the icy [[Forodwaith (lands)|Forodwaith]], and where the Great Sea had advanced at its most there was the [[Icebay of Forochel]].
 +
 
 +
The coasts of Middle-earth were changed once more in the cataclysm of the [[Downfall of Númenor]]. In many places the Great Sea advanced upon the land, and in some places it shrank back. Lindon especially suffered great loss of land at this time, while to the south the eastern and southern shores of the Bay of Belfalas shrank back, putting the city of [[Pelargir]] much farther inland than it had once been. The Anduin river found new paths to the sea afterwards, forming the [[Ethir Anduin]].<ref>{{PM|Second}} p. 183</ref>
  
 
==Names==
 
==Names==
The peoples called Middle-earth by several names. The Elves called the continent [[Endóre]] or [[Endor]] in [[Quenya]] meaning "middle land"; the [[Sindarin]] form was [[Ennor]], also used in the plural ''ennorath'' "middle lands, lands of Middle-earth".
+
The peoples called Middle-earth by several names. The Elves called the continent [[Endóre]] or [[Endor]] in [[Quenya]] meaning "middle land"; the [[Sindarin]] form was [[Ennor]], also used in the plural ''ennorath'' "middle lands, lands of Middle-earth".=
  
Other epithets of the continent were '''Hither Shores''' or '''[[Hither Lands]]''' contrasted to [[Aman]] beyond the sea. The [[Hobbits]] envisioned Middle-earth as the '''Wide World'''<ref>{{H|8}}</ref> and the '''Outer Lands'''<ref>{{S|Days}}</ref> or '''[[Great Lands]]'''<ref>{{S|Akallabeth}}</ref>.
+
Other epithets of the continent were '''Hither Shores''' or '''[[Hither Lands]]''' contrasted to [[Aman]] beyond the sea. The [[Hobbits]] envisioned Middle-earth as the '''Wide World'''<ref>{{H|8}}</ref> and the '''Outer Lands'''<ref>{{S|Days}}</ref> or '''Great Lands''', since it was so much larger than the continent of Aman.<ref>{{S|Akallabeth}}</ref>.
  
 
==Inspiration==
 
==Inspiration==
[[J.R.R. Tolkien|Tolkien]] created Arda, including and especially Middle-earth, for his languages [[Quenya]] and [[Sindarin]], especially the latter as it turned out. To Tolkien, a scholar of the [[Old English|Anglo-Saxon]] language, Middle-earth was the English translation of the Old English word ''middanġeard''. This word was transformed in the [[Middle English]] ''midden-erd'' or ''middel-erd'', and the [[Old Norse]] ''Midgard''. This is English for what the Greeks called the &omicron;&iota;&kappa;&omicron;&upsilon;&mu;&#941;&nu;&eta; (''oikoumen&#x113;'') or "the abiding place of men", the physical world as opposed to the unseen worlds.<ref>{{L|151}}</ref>
+
[[J.R.R. Tolkien|Tolkien]] created Arda, including and especially Middle-earth, for his languages [[Quenya]] and [[Sindarin]], especially the latter as it turned out. To Tolkien, a scholar of the [[Old English|Anglo-Saxon]] language, Middle-earth was the English translation of the Old English word ''middanġeard''. This word was transformed in the [[Middle English]] ''midden-erd'' or ''middel-erd'', and the [[Old Norse]] ''Midgard''. This is English for what the Greeks called the &omicron;&iota;&kappa;&omicron;&upsilon;&mu;&#941;&nu;&eta; (''oikoumen&#x113;'') or "the abiding place of men", the physical world as opposed to the unseen worlds.<ref>{{L|151}}</ref>=
  
 
The ancient peoples called the world "middle-earth" since it was imagined to be between the realm of the Giants below and the realm of the gods above. However in Tolkien's cosmology the name Middle-earth refers only to a continent, which (in the First and Second Ages) is set between two seas, [[Belegaer]] and the [[East Sea]].
 
The ancient peoples called the world "middle-earth" since it was imagined to be between the realm of the Giants below and the realm of the gods above. However in Tolkien's cosmology the name Middle-earth refers only to a continent, which (in the First and Second Ages) is set between two seas, [[Belegaer]] and the [[East Sea]].
Line 52: Line 62:
 
[[Henry Resnick]] quoted Tolkien saying that "Middle-earth is Europe".<ref>[[Tolkien Journal]] II, 2 p. 1</ref>
 
[[Henry Resnick]] quoted Tolkien saying that "Middle-earth is Europe".<ref>[[Tolkien Journal]] II, 2 p. 1</ref>
  
==Portrayal in adaptations==
+
==Appendix==
 +
===Terminology===
 +
The ''continent'' of Middle-earth is the main setting of most of the stories of the [[legendarium]]. There are a few stories that take place in [[Aman]] (like some chapters of ''[[The Silmarillion]]'') and [[Númenor]] (like the ''[[Akallabêth]]'' and ''[[Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife|Aldarion and Erendis]]'').
 +
 
 +
In [[fandom]], the term "Middle-earth" is used to refer to Tolkien's [[secondary world]] or [[Wikipedia:fictional universe|fictional universe]] in general, including its pantheon and cosmology. Tolkien himself used the term loosely at times to refer to his creation.<ref name=wiki/>
 +
[[File:The Atlas of Middle-earth.jpg|thumb|Being actually ''The Atlas of '''Arda''''']]
 +
As a result, Middle-earth is used synonymously as "Arda" as a more recogniseable term for titles such as ''[[The Atlas of Middle-earth]]'', even while its subject is beyond the scope of the strict geographical definition of the continent of Endor. Even [[Christopher Tolkien]], while publishing the early drafts and manuscripts of his father, he titled the series ''[[The History of Middle-earth]]'',<ref name=wiki>{{webcite|articleurl=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle-earth#Usage_and_misunderstandings|articlename=Middle-earth - Usage and misunderstandings|website=Wikipedia}}</ref> thus equating the term "Middle-earth" with the Legendarium. Wikipedia is also an example of this usage, with article names such as [[Wikipedia:Elf (Middle-earth)|Elf (Middle-earth)]] and the (somewhat erroneous) [[Wikipedia:Arda (Middle-earth)|Arda (Middle-earth)]].
 +
 
 +
The term "[[Arda]]", which refers to the whole world proper, first appeared in ''[[The Silmarillion]]''<ref name=wiki/> and is a more technical term. But the term "Arda" is sometimes appropriately used to refer to the world of Tolkien, seen in example in the names of ''[[Encyclopedia of Arda]]'' or ''[[Ardalambion]]''.
 +
 
 +
Another misuse of the term is the equation of "Middle-earth" with the mapped regions, as seen in the maps to ''Lord of the Rings''. Actually these regions are just the [[Westlands]] of Middle-earth, being the north-western portion of the continent. Actually how far Middle-earth extends to the [[East]] and the [[South]] of the map is unknown. Although [[Mordor]] is seen to the south-easter corner of the map, it doesn't mean it belongs to the south-eastern Middle-earth, as there are presumably other lands to the east and south.<ref>{{HM|Guide}}, entry "Middle-earth"</ref> [[Karen Fonstad]] has attempted to reconstruct the entirety of the continent, beyond the Westlands, based on an [[:File:J.R.R. Tolkien - Ambarkanta Map V.png|early map by Tolkien]].<ref>{{HM|AME}}</ref>
 +
 
 +
===Middle-earth and the Old World===
 +
In his earliest drafts of the [[Legendarium]], ''[[The Book of Lost Tales]]'', the mythology had more direct connections with our history: [[Littleheart]] compares the [[Fall of Gondolin]] with the fall of "[[Wikipedia:Babylon|Bablon]]", "[[Wikipedia:Nineveh|Ninwi]]" and "[[Wikipedia:Troy|Trui]]".<Ref>{{LT2|III}}</ref> The [[Mannish]] language of [[Taliska]] was based on [[Gothic]].<ref>{{PE|19}}, "The Comparative Tales", p. 22</ref> Britain was supposed to be former [[Tol Eressea]] that was driven towards the [[Great Lands]], with Ireland (the Isle of [[Iverin]]) being a part that broke from it. The main character [[Ottor Wǽfre]] was intended to be the father of legendary figures [[Wikipedia:Hengest|Hengest]] and [[Wikipedia:Horsa|Horsa]] who conquered England from the Guidlin, the [[Wikipedia:Britons (Celtic people)|Brithonin]] and the [[Wikipedia:Ancient Rome|Rumhoth]]. In a later sketch, the [[Elves]] were from the region of [[Luthany]] before it was pulled out of the mainland and became an island.<ref>{{LT2|VI}}</ref>
 +
 
 +
Tolkien envisioned his stories to take place on our world, in an imaginary historical period and contains the essentials of the northwestern Europe. He did not see his stories to happen on a "remote globe in 'space'" as was the case with other contemporary fiction.<ref>{{L|183}}</ref>
 +
 
 +
As for the later legendarium, [[The Shire]] not only was conceptually based on rural England<ref>{{L|190}}</ref> but also was expressly stated to be "in this region"<ref name=L211>{{L|211}}</ref>, "the North-West of the [[Wikipedia:Old World|Old World]], east of the Sea".<ref>{{FR|Prologue}}</ref>
 +
 
 +
[[File:Didier Willis - Middle-earth and Europe_projection.png|thumb|left|Experimental projection of the Westlands over Europe (by [[Didier Willis]])]]
 +
Concerning the Shire, Tolkien stated that he intended it to correspond about to the latitude of [[Oxford]], which would result to other Middle-earth locations to correspond (but not necessarily equate with) real-life locations. For instance, [[Minas Tirith]] would fall to about the latitude of [[Wikipedia:Florence|Florence]], and [[Pelargir]] and the mouths of Anduin to that of ancient [[Wikipedia:Troy|Troy]].<ref>{{L|294}}</ref> According to the annotations provided by [[J.R.R. Tolkien]] to [[Pauline Baynes]], Hobbiton is again approximately at the same latitude as Oxford, and Minas Tirith is about the latitude of [[wikipedia:Ravenna|Ravenna]]. The bottom of the map is about the latitude of [[wikipedia:Jerusalem|Jerusalem]], and [[Umbar]] about that of [[wikipedia:Cyprus|Cyprus]]. Minas Tirith, being approximately 900 miles east of Hobbiton, is located near [[wikipedia:Belgrade|Belgrade]].<ref>''The Guardian'', 23 October 2015, "[http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/23/jrr-tolkien-middle-earth-annotated-map-blackwells-lord-of-the-rings  Tolkien's annotated map of Middle-earth discovered inside copy of Lord of the Rings]". An analysis of the map may also be found in "[http://www.tolkiendil.com/essais/geographie/carte_tolkien_baynes  Découverte d'une carte de la Terre du Milieu annotée par Tolkien pour Pauline Baynes]" (in French, with deciphered annotations also being provided in English).</ref>
 +
 
 +
Based on this information, it was made possible to make more correspondences, and even project the [[Westlands]] on a real map of Europe.<ref>{{webcite|website=Lalaith|articleurl=http://lalaith.vpsurf.de/Tolkien/Grid.html|articlename=A Meridional Grid on the Middle-Earth Map|author=[[Andreas Moehn]]}}</ref>
 +
 
 +
On the other hand, Tolkien designed his maps to accommodate the mythology, and was conscious that they did not fit the ancient Earth, as understood by contemporary archaeology and historical geology.<ref>{{L|169}}</ref><ref name=L211/>
 +
 
 +
===Portrayal in adaptations===
 
{{stub}}
 
{{stub}}
 
[[File:Pete Fenlon - MERP map.jpg|thumb|The whole continent of Middle-earth as envisioned in ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'']]
 
[[File:Pete Fenlon - MERP map.jpg|thumb|The whole continent of Middle-earth as envisioned in ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'']]
Middle-earth has been depicted in a variety of adaptations of Tolkien's work. The most prominent has been ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy]]'' and the forthcoming ''[[The Hobbit (film series)|Hobbit]]'' film series by [[Peter Jackson]]. Middle-earth has appeared in animation in [[Ralph Bakshi]]'s ''[[The Lord of the Rings (1978 film)|The Lord of the Rings]]'' and [[Rankin/Bass]]' adaptations of ''[[The Hobbit (1977 film)|The Hobbit]]'' and ''[[The Return of the King (1980 film)|The Return of the King]]''. Middle-earth has also been adapted for numerous video games such as ''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]'' and ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North|War in the North]]'' and tabletop role-playing games like the ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'' system by [[Iron Crown Enterprises]].
+
Middle-earth has been depicted in a variety of adaptations of Tolkien's work -- the most prominent of which have been the [[The Lord of the Rings (film series)|''Lord of the Rings'']] and [[The Hobbit (film series)|''Hobbit'']] film trilogies by [[Peter Jackson]]. Middle-earth has appeared in animation in [[Ralph Bakshi]]'s ''[[The Lord of the Rings (1978 film)|The Lord of the Rings]]'' and [[Rankin/Bass]]' adaptations of ''[[The Hobbit (1977 film)|The Hobbit]]'' and ''[[The Return of the King (1980 film)|The Return of the King]]''. Middle-earth has also been adapted for numerous video games such as ''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]'' and ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North|War in the North]]'' and tabletop role-playing games like the ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'' system by [[Iron Crown Enterprises]].
  
 
Each adaptation has made changes, subtractions, or additions to Tolkien's creation, often adding new locations, creatures, or characters. For the most part, however, the overall geography and style of Tolkien's Middle-earth has been retained.
 
Each adaptation has made changes, subtractions, or additions to Tolkien's creation, often adding new locations, creatures, or characters. For the most part, however, the overall geography and style of Tolkien's Middle-earth has been retained.
  
==See Also==
+
==See also==
 
* [[Arda]]
 
* [[Arda]]
 
* [[History of Arda]]
 
* [[History of Arda]]

Latest revision as of 02:36, 10 May 2016

"Who told you, and who sent you?" — Gandalf
This article or section needs more/new/more-detailed sources to conform to a higher standard and to provide proof for claims made.
"The wise will stay here and hope to rebuild our town..." — Master of Lake-town
This article needs to be rewritten to comply with Tolkien Gateway's higher standards...
John Howe - The Map of Middle-earth.jpg
Middle-earth
Physical Description
TypeContinent
LocationArda, east of Belegaer
RealmsRohan, Gondor, Mordor, Arnor, Rivendell, Lothlórien, others
InhabitantsMen, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Hobbits, Ents, others
DescriptionA continent set between two oceans
General Information
Other namesEnnorath, Endor
EtymologyOld English middanġeard
"The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!"
Aragorn[1]

Middle-earth (Q. Endor) was a large continent of Arda, situated between Aman to the West (across Belegaer), and the Land of the Sun to the East (across the East Sea).

It is here that most of the story of Arda takes place, and it was where the Children of Ilúvatar; the Elves and Men, along with the Dwarves, came into being.

Contents

[edit] Geography

The entire north of Middle-earth as shown in Karen Wynn Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle-earth

Middle-earth is a large continent, a mass of land that occupies the central regions of Arda. It lays between two continents; Aman, the uttermost West from which it is separated by the ocean Belegaer, and the Land of the Sun, at the uttermost East which the East Sea separates.

The Westlands are the most well-known regions of the continent, and the only which have been mapped in great detail. Of the Westlands, the western portion called Beleriand was drowned at the end of the First Age and survivors relocated to Lindon and Eriador from which it was separated by the Blue Mountains. Another region of the Westlands was Rhovanion separated by the Misty Mountains.

The southern part of the Westlands was around a large bay, including Belfalas, the area of Gondor, and Near Harad (Near South).

In the years before their decline, the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor dominated the Westlands during the Third Age. These realms were separated by great mountain ranges such as the White Mountains and the Misty Mountains.

Of the East and South of Middle-earth not much is known, other than the names of Rhûn and Khand, east of Mordor, and the Far Harad (Far South); but how far they extended is unknown.

In the Elder Days, the two large inland seas of Helcar and Ringil, created by the demise of the Two Lamps, stood in the center of Middle-earth to the north and south.

Another known name of the East was the Empty Lands. Through the north-east of Middle-earth ran the Red Mountains, and to the south-east the Yellow Mountains, which mirrored the Blue Mountains and the Grey Mountains of the north-west and south-west respectively. On the shores of the Sea of Helcar near to the Red Mountains was Cuiviénen, the cradle of the Elves. In the far east between the Red Mountains and the Yellow Mountains there were the Mountains of the Wind, and between these mountains and the easternmost shores of Middle-earth there stood Hildórien, the cradle of Men. There was also a mythical Last Desert in the "East of East", but its status or existence in the later years was unknown.

[edit] History

This is the geographical history. For events happening in Middle-earth, see Timeline.
Early Arda

Arda was initially a flat, symmetric shape, until the Valar (and Morgoth) created several seas and mountains. Two seas, Belegaer to the west and the East Sea, formed a central landmass in the centre of Arda, the earliest shape of what would be the Great Lands of Middle-earth. Major features of that landmass were two inland seas, the Sea of Helcar and the Sea of Ringil. Around them, massive mountain chains were formed, the Blue Mountains and Red Mountains to the north, and the Grey Mountains and Yellow Mountains to the south. The Mountains of the Wind were a smaller chain in the East, standing south of the Red Mountains and north of the Yellow Mountains.[2]

Eventually the Valar left the Great Lands for the Uttermost West, leaving Morgoth and his creatures from his fortress at Utumno behind the Iron Mountains. He would also erect the Misty Mountains between the Blue Mountains and Red Mountains to hinder the Vala Orome who hunted his creatures.[3] In later days during the War for the Sake of the Elves, the Yellow Mountains and the Mountains of the Wind would be lost, and the Sea of Ringil would merge with the East Sea, separating Middle-earth from the new continent known as the Dark Lands. To the west the shores of the Great Sea advanced upon the land as well, forming the Great Gulf between the lands of Beleriand and the lands of the south. The Straits of the World linked the Great Gulf with the Inland Sea of Helcar, serving as a boundary of sorts for the northern and southern lands of Middle-earth.[4]

Western Middle-earth with deluged Beleriand

During the First Age and the ages preceding, the western side of Middle-earth was called Beleriand, stretching from the Ered Luin to the great ocean of Belegaer. On the northern edge of Beleriand were the fierce Ered Engrin, the Iron Mountains. Even further north was the freezing Dor Daedeloth. Just southwest of the Ered Engrin was Hithlum, which was separated from the coast of Lammoth and Belegaer by the Ered Lómin, and from the rest of Beleriand to the south by the Ered Wethrin. The woven wood of Doriath rested directly south of the Thangorodrim and Dorthonion, southeast of Hithlum. To the West of Doriath were Taur-en-Faroth and the Falas, while to the east were Nan Elmoth and Thargelion before reaching the Ered Luin. To the south of Doriath were first the Andram, then Arvernien and the Bay of Balar. East of the Bay of Balar and extending ever further south into the unknown lands were the Taur-im-Duinath and Ossiriand.

East of the Ered Luin was a land encircled by four mountain ranges: the Ered Luin to the West, the Ered Engrin to the North, the Misty Mountains to the East, and some of the White Mountains to the South. Passing even further East, over the Hithaeglir, you would come to the Great River Anduin and eventually Palisor, the Inland Sea of Helcar, the Orocarni, and the East Sea.

After the end of the First Age and the drowning of Beleriand, the geography east of the Ered Luin shifted. The Sea of Helcar drained into the Great Gulf through the Straits of the World, and was lost forever. The Ered Luin themselves, now broken up and disfigured, marked the western border of Eriador, and thence Lindon and Belegaer itself. Eriador, now the Westernmost part of Middle-earth, was bordered on the East by the Misty Mountains, which stretched down south to the White Mountains and the newly formed Bay of Belfalas, the remnants of the Great Gulf. Across the Misty Mountains from Eriador was Rhovanion, which extended east to the Sea of Rhûn and the vast lands of Rhûn beyond. Within Rhovanion were the great forest of Mirkwood, the forest of Fangorn, and the many-rivered area that would become known as Gondor. To the east was the region of Mordor, encircled on three sides by mountains. To the far north of Rhovanion was the icy Forodwaith, and where the Great Sea had advanced at its most there was the Icebay of Forochel.

The coasts of Middle-earth were changed once more in the cataclysm of the Downfall of Númenor. In many places the Great Sea advanced upon the land, and in some places it shrank back. Lindon especially suffered great loss of land at this time, while to the south the eastern and southern shores of the Bay of Belfalas shrank back, putting the city of Pelargir much farther inland than it had once been. The Anduin river found new paths to the sea afterwards, forming the Ethir Anduin.[5]

[edit] Names

The peoples called Middle-earth by several names. The Elves called the continent Endóre or Endor in Quenya meaning "middle land"; the Sindarin form was Ennor, also used in the plural ennorath "middle lands, lands of Middle-earth".=

Other epithets of the continent were Hither Shores or Hither Lands contrasted to Aman beyond the sea. The Hobbits envisioned Middle-earth as the Wide World[6] and the Outer Lands[7] or Great Lands, since it was so much larger than the continent of Aman.[8].

[edit] Inspiration

Tolkien created Arda, including and especially Middle-earth, for his languages Quenya and Sindarin, especially the latter as it turned out. To Tolkien, a scholar of the Anglo-Saxon language, Middle-earth was the English translation of the Old English word middanġeard. This word was transformed in the Middle English midden-erd or middel-erd, and the Old Norse Midgard. This is English for what the Greeks called the οικουμένη (oikoumenē) or "the abiding place of men", the physical world as opposed to the unseen worlds.[9]=

The ancient peoples called the world "middle-earth" since it was imagined to be between the realm of the Giants below and the realm of the gods above. However in Tolkien's cosmology the name Middle-earth refers only to a continent, which (in the First and Second Ages) is set between two seas, Belegaer and the East Sea.

Henry Resnick quoted Tolkien saying that "Middle-earth is Europe".[10]

[edit] Appendix

[edit] Terminology

The continent of Middle-earth is the main setting of most of the stories of the legendarium. There are a few stories that take place in Aman (like some chapters of The Silmarillion) and Númenor (like the Akallabêth and Aldarion and Erendis).

In fandom, the term "Middle-earth" is used to refer to Tolkien's secondary world or fictional universe in general, including its pantheon and cosmology. Tolkien himself used the term loosely at times to refer to his creation.[11]

Being actually The Atlas of Arda

As a result, Middle-earth is used synonymously as "Arda" as a more recogniseable term for titles such as The Atlas of Middle-earth, even while its subject is beyond the scope of the strict geographical definition of the continent of Endor. Even Christopher Tolkien, while publishing the early drafts and manuscripts of his father, he titled the series The History of Middle-earth,[11] thus equating the term "Middle-earth" with the Legendarium. Wikipedia is also an example of this usage, with article names such as Elf (Middle-earth) and the (somewhat erroneous) Arda (Middle-earth).

The term "Arda", which refers to the whole world proper, first appeared in The Silmarillion[11] and is a more technical term. But the term "Arda" is sometimes appropriately used to refer to the world of Tolkien, seen in example in the names of Encyclopedia of Arda or Ardalambion.

Another misuse of the term is the equation of "Middle-earth" with the mapped regions, as seen in the maps to Lord of the Rings. Actually these regions are just the Westlands of Middle-earth, being the north-western portion of the continent. Actually how far Middle-earth extends to the East and the South of the map is unknown. Although Mordor is seen to the south-easter corner of the map, it doesn't mean it belongs to the south-eastern Middle-earth, as there are presumably other lands to the east and south.[12] Karen Fonstad has attempted to reconstruct the entirety of the continent, beyond the Westlands, based on an early map by Tolkien.[13]

[edit] Middle-earth and the Old World

In his earliest drafts of the Legendarium, The Book of Lost Tales, the mythology had more direct connections with our history: Littleheart compares the Fall of Gondolin with the fall of "Bablon", "Ninwi" and "Trui".[14] The Mannish language of Taliska was based on Gothic.[15] Britain was supposed to be former Tol Eressea that was driven towards the Great Lands, with Ireland (the Isle of Iverin) being a part that broke from it. The main character Ottor Wǽfre was intended to be the father of legendary figures Hengest and Horsa who conquered England from the Guidlin, the Brithonin and the Rumhoth. In a later sketch, the Elves were from the region of Luthany before it was pulled out of the mainland and became an island.[16]

Tolkien envisioned his stories to take place on our world, in an imaginary historical period and contains the essentials of the northwestern Europe. He did not see his stories to happen on a "remote globe in 'space'" as was the case with other contemporary fiction.[17]

As for the later legendarium, The Shire not only was conceptually based on rural England[18] but also was expressly stated to be "in this region"[19], "the North-West of the Old World, east of the Sea".[20]

Experimental projection of the Westlands over Europe (by Didier Willis)

Concerning the Shire, Tolkien stated that he intended it to correspond about to the latitude of Oxford, which would result to other Middle-earth locations to correspond (but not necessarily equate with) real-life locations. For instance, Minas Tirith would fall to about the latitude of Florence, and Pelargir and the mouths of Anduin to that of ancient Troy.[21] According to the annotations provided by J.R.R. Tolkien to Pauline Baynes, Hobbiton is again approximately at the same latitude as Oxford, and Minas Tirith is about the latitude of Ravenna. The bottom of the map is about the latitude of Jerusalem, and Umbar about that of Cyprus. Minas Tirith, being approximately 900 miles east of Hobbiton, is located near Belgrade.[22]

Based on this information, it was made possible to make more correspondences, and even project the Westlands on a real map of Europe.[23]

On the other hand, Tolkien designed his maps to accommodate the mythology, and was conscious that they did not fit the ancient Earth, as understood by contemporary archaeology and historical geology.[24][19]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

"...there is much else that may be told." — Glóin
This article or section is a stub. Please help Tolkien Gateway by expanding it.
The whole continent of Middle-earth as envisioned in Middle-earth Role Playing

Middle-earth has been depicted in a variety of adaptations of Tolkien's work -- the most prominent of which have been the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies by Peter Jackson. Middle-earth has appeared in animation in Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings and Rankin/Bass' adaptations of The Hobbit and The Return of the King. Middle-earth has also been adapted for numerous video games such as The Lord of the Rings Online and War in the North and tabletop role-playing games like the Middle-earth Role Playing system by Iron Crown Enterprises.

Each adaptation has made changes, subtractions, or additions to Tolkien's creation, often adding new locations, creatures, or characters. For the most part, however, the overall geography and style of Tolkien's Middle-earth has been retained.

[edit] See also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Riders of Rohan"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta"
  3. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Misty Mountains"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Tale of Years of the Second Age" p. 183
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Beginning of Days"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 151, (dated 18 September 1954)
  10. Tolkien Journal II, 2 p. 1
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Middle-earth - Usage and misunderstandings", Wikipedia (accessed 29 September 2016)
  12. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Middle-earth"
  13. Karen Wynn Fonstad (1991), The Atlas of Middle-earth
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Quenya Phonology", in Parma Eldalamberon XIX (edited by Christopher Gilson), "The Comparative Tales", p. 22
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales"
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 183, (undated, probably written 1956)
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 190, (dated 3 July 1956)
  19. 19.0 19.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue"
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 294, (dated 8 February 1967)
  22. The Guardian, 23 October 2015, "Tolkien's annotated map of Middle-earth discovered inside copy of Lord of the Rings". An analysis of the map may also be found in "Découverte d'une carte de la Terre du Milieu annotée par Tolkien pour Pauline Baynes" (in French, with deciphered annotations also being provided in English).
  23. Andreas Moehn, "A Meridional Grid on the Middle-Earth Map", Lalaith's Middle-earth Science Pages (accessed 29 September 2016)
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 169, (dated 11 September 1955)
fa:سرزمین‌میانه