Tolkien Gateway

Letter 344

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 344
RecipientEdmund Meskys
Date23 November 1972

Letter 344 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien replied to Edmund Meskys, president of the Tolkien Society of America, who had questions about Elvish numerals. Tolkien briefly wrote about the similarities of the Elves and the Babylonians, and then mentioned that he had devised a set of both decimal and duodecimal numbers in Fëanorian script, but that he could not find it. He only remembered that they were written with a positional system like Arabic, and started with the lowest number on the left.

[edit] Notes

  • The numbers were published in Quettar in the 1980s, and now come standard on most fonts.
  • The Elves used a duodecimal system, the men a decimal one.
  • The only "mainstream" example of Fëanorian numbers is found in Sauron Defeated, in the "King's Letter". As the writer of this letter was Elessar, the numbers (6341 and 61) were decimal.