The Lhammas

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"...It is a long tale..." — Aragorn
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"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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The Lost Road and Other Writings chapters
Part One
  1. The Early History of the Legend
  2. The Fall of Númenor
  3. The Lost Road
Part Two
  1. The Texts and Their Relations
  2. The Later Annals of Valinor
  3. The Later Annals of Beleriand
  4. Ainulindalë
  5. The Lhammas
  6. Quenta Silmarillion
Part Three
The Etymologies

The Lhammas is the fifth chapter of the second section, 'Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings', of The Lost Road and Other Writings.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

The Lhammas comprises a linguistic account attributed to Pengolod of Gondolin, which he authored on Tol Eressea, based on some earlier work of Rúmil of Tun. A note suggests that it was one of the sources of Aelfwine who had seen the work. Lhammas is actually comprised of two versions of the same revised text. The later and third form of the text, having the title Lammasethen, is shorter and deviates from the Lhammas at some points.

The essay represents an old linguistic view of the Languages of Middle-earth which was later dropped, in which all languages belonged to either the Valarin, Oromëan, Aulëan, or Melkian phylums:

  • The Valarin phylum is the origin of all other phylums and led to Valarin (the language of the Valar.)
  • Oromëan is named after the Vala Oromë and is used for all languages of the Elves, because Oromë taught the Elves language. Most languages of Men also belong to this phylum.
  • Aulëan is named after the Vala Aulë, father of the Dwarves, and is the origin of the Khuzdul language. It has had some influences on the tongues of Men.
  • Melkian is named after the fallen Vala Melkor (or Morgoth) and is the origin of the Black Speech of the Orcs and other evil beings.

Tolkien later revised and simplified the linguistic history of his world, and some elements cannot be applied to the later languages of Middle-earth. However, Tolkien in later writings still held that Rúmil wrote Lammas, but himself never wrote an "updated" form that would be coherent with his later mythology.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The name lhammas is Noldorin and roughly means "assortment of languages" (cf. Quenya word lambë). When Tolkien revised the history of the languages and Noldorin became Sindarin, he renamed the word as lammas (initial lh changed to l. See also: Noldorin).

See also[edit | edit source]