Translations from the Elvish

From Tolkien Gateway
Three Books of Lore by Miriam Ellis

Translations from the Elvish was a work written by Bilbo Baggins between T.A. 3003 and 3018, during his stay in Rivendell, using both written sources found there, and interviewing the Eldar he met there.

This work "of great skill and learning" filled three volumes of red leather and concerned the Elder Days.[1] Possibly it included such works as the Quenta Silmarillion, Ainulindalë, and the Valaquenta.[2][3]

Bilbo gave the volumes to Frodo Baggins as a parting gift. These were later annexed to his diary, and the account of the War of the Ring, and (appended with a fifth volume later) formed the Red Book of Westmarch.

As these were used little by Frodo, and most copies of the Red Book involved mainly the first volume, the Translations were omitted from other versions. They were preserved only in the Thain's Book, and its copy made by Findegil in Gondor.[1]


In the prologue to The Book of Lost Tales: Part One, Christopher Tolkien considers that Bilbo's Red Book, and this work, is supposed to be the in-universe origin of the Legendarium of the Elder Days, specifically The Silmarillion that his father was writing. Christopher considered that this scenario obsoleted the earlier conception of Ælfwine, a frame story "explaining" how Elvish lore passed to Old English.[4]