From Tolkien Gateway

Menel was an Elvish (both Quenya and Sindarin) name for the regions of air above Ambar, a name which is generally meant as "firmament, heaven" or "the heavens".[1] Sometimes the word is simply synonymous with the sky, but in other uses it is meant as a more sublime reference to the domain of the stars and heavenly bodies.

Menel is a physical place within Arda, although arguably a sacred one as it is the location of the stars of Elbereth.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word is understood as men "towards" + el "star" meaning "the Direction of the Stars".[2]

The loremaster Quennar is attributed as having devised the word Menel ("heavens, firmament").[3][note 1]

While writing Átaremma, Tolkien used menel to translate "Heaven", but in the final forms he preferred ëa han ëa "beyond Creation"; distinguishing thus menel (heaven, as the physical sky) from the metaphysical Heaven.[4]

Examples[edit | edit source]

Menel is seen in numerous personal and place-names, including Meneltarma (the "Pillar of Heaven"), Meneldil, Tar-Meneldur, Armenelos and Meneldor.

It also appears in A Elbereth Gilthoniel "o menel aglar elenath" ("from the glories of the star-host of heaven").[5]

Sam used it in his invocation from Cirith Ungol: "o menel palan-diriel" ("from heaven gazing afar").[6]

Derivatives[edit | edit source]

It already existed in Avarin, and survived as such in Adûnaic minal.[7]

See also[edit | edit source]


  1. However in other cases Tolkien wrote that menel derives from Primitive Elvish, as it is found both in Sindarin and Adûnaic. See #Derivatives.


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