Menelmacar

From Tolkien Gateway

The Menelmacar (Sindarin. "Menelvagor"), meaning the Swordsman of the Sky,[1] is one of the constellations set in the heavens by Varda to enlighten the awakening of the Elves. It was gathered by Varda from among the ancient stars, set as a foreboding of the Last Battle.[2]

History[edit]

Frodo and his companions were spending their night with the Elves in the woods of the Shire; the Elves burst into song as Menelvagor, the Swordsman of the Sky, climbed in the sky, and started the time for dinner, speech and merriment.[3]

Etymology[edit]

The elements of the Quenya name are: menel, "the heavens" and macar "swordsman", therefore "Heaven-Swordsman".[4][5]

The name Menelvagor is a direct calque of the constellation's Quenya name Menelmacar, "Swordsman of the Sky".[6]

Other names[edit]

Menelmacar is called Menelmakil in a note to Tolkien’s essay Quendi and Eldar[7]:359-424 on the origin of the Elvish names for Elves: ' Telumehtar 'warrior of the sky', an older name for Menelmakil, Orion'[7]:411, n.15

In The Etymologies[8] the word makil is translated as 'sword', whereas mahtar is translated as 'warrior' ( > -mehtar in Telumehtar; -makar in Menelmacar ). Therefore, the full word means "Heaven-sword". It is possible that the spelling of Menelmakil may be just an error.

Abbreviations: LR = The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-earth, vol. 5). WJ = The War of the Jewels (The History of Middle-earth, vol. 11).

Telumehtar and Menelvagor are also listed as other names, "Warrior of the Sky" and "Swordsman of the Sky" respectively.

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

The constellation Menelvagor entered into the story only in the latest phases of its composition. In earlier versions of the manuscript of The Lord of the Rings the Elves begun to sing as 'the yellow moon rose',[9] and in a later revision 'in the East the thin silver rind of the New Moon appeared'[10] due to Tolkien's calculations considering the phases of the Moon;[11] still there was a fault: the Moon would not have risen from the East at that time of the year;[12] thus the Moon was finally changed to the apparition of Menelvagor and other stars.

Telumehtar (Quenya "Warrior of the Sky") is another name of the constellation Menelmacar. Behind this name lies an early story about a Vala named Telimektar, son of Tulkas, who apparently was converted into the constellation of Orion[13]. Apart from the story of Telimektar there are two mentions of Telumehtar the Constellation:

  1. The name is quoted as an example of the pronunciation of the consonant /H/ with a reference to Orion, explained in a footnote: "usually called in Sindarin Menelvagor, --- Q[uenya] Menelmacar".[14]
  2. With the translation "Warrior of the Sky", as an older name for Menelmakil, Orion.[15]

Inspiration[edit]

Menelmacar is identified in our world as the constellation Orion.[16]

See also[edit]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Three is Company"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Three is Company"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names"
  5. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 256
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", p.371, entry MAK-
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow (p. 61)
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow (p. 325)
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow (cf. p. 434)
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow (p. 325)
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Pronunciation of Words and Names", "Consonants" (entry concerning the pronounciation of H)
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Author's Notes to Quendi and Eldar" (Note 15, p. 411)
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
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