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Ilu is a Quenya word that means "all, everything, the world". As a cosmological term it includes everything that exists, the created being () but also God and the spirits who created it, and all souls.[1]

Other versions of the legendarium

Ilu Ilúvatar en káre eldain a fírimoin.
(Qenya: The Father made the World for Elves and Mortals)

In the early concept of the legendarium, Ilu was the name of "the World", signifying both the inhabited world and also the whole universe.

Ilu is everything that exists, and comprises of the habitable world proper (Ambar), with its layers of air and skies, the Sun, the Moon and the stars. All these are enveloped in the outer layer of air, Vaiya.

The boundaries of Ilu are the Ilurambar, the "shell" that encloses Ilu, separating Vaiya from kúma and non-existence.[3]

This concept evolved in a different cosmology in The Later Quenta Silmarillion, where new concepts are introduced: The habitable world is named Arda, more or less equivalent to both Ambar and Ilu; the whole existence, or created universe, is named , which, unlike the former Ilu, is vast and might include other worlds other than Arda.[4]


The word Ilu is Quenya and means "universe", and is an alternative form of ilúvë. They come from the root IL meaning "all".[5]

Ilu does not appear in the published Silmarillion, but the alternate form ilúvë survives, as in the name Ilúvatar.[6]


Christopher Gilson has noted that the name Ilu is presumably inspired by the Akkadian word ilu ("gods").[7]


Middle-earth Cosmology
 Constellations  Anarríma · Durin's Crown · Menelmacar · Remmirath · Soronúmë · Telumendil · Valacirca · Wilwarin
Stars  Alcarinquë · Borgil · Carnil · Elemmírë · Helluin · Luinil · Lumbar · Morwinyon · Nénar · Star of Eärendil · Til 
The Airs  Aiwenórë · Fanyamar · Ilmen · Menel · Vaiya · Veil of Arda · Vista
Narsilion  Arien · Moon (Isil, Ithil, Rána) · Sun (Anar, Anor, Vása) · Tilion
See also  Abyss · Arda · Circles of the World · · Timeless Halls · Two Lamps · Two Trees · Void