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axan

From Tolkien Gateway

axan (pl. axani) is a Quenya noun meaning "law, rule, commandment, primarily proceeding from Eru". The term refers to laws established by Ilúvatar that lesser beings are directed to follow but can choose to disobey. The axani contrast with the únati, which are physical laws that are impossible to break. Melkor refused to accept any axani as binding upon him, but much to his frustration, he was unable to violate the únati.[1]

Etymology

It is said to derive from Valarin akašân, meaning "He says", with "He" referring to Eru.[2]

Inspiration

axan is similar to the ancient Greek word ἄναξ (wanakts, anax) meaning "ruler, lord, king". The Valarin form akašân, in the meantime, resembles the word akasha, the aether in Hindu cosmology and mysticism. It is not known whether Tolkien was familiar with either term.

See also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Two. Body, Mind and Spirit: IX. Ósanwe-kenta", pp. 205-218
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. *Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language': Note on the 'Language of the Valar'", p. 399