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Well yes Aiwendil, the LOtR maps don't look anything like anywhere on Earth, but look at this.
Pretty cool, huh?

I always thought that the notion of Middle-earth being Earth in the past raised more difficulties, religious as well as geo-historical, than it was worth. Some fuzzy parallel-earth idea could have been posited or implied, and that would have been sufficient.

Pff, that's the easy way out. Wink Smilie
As Vir said earlier, Tolkien's Middle Earth is set in in an earlier, forgotten age. The Valar and Eru have changed the shape of the earth and the land before, they could do so again. And at some point, the sun and moon stopped being two big, glowing fruits being pulled over the sky. (A rather big change I would say..) So the way I see it, many many 'ages' may have passed, there might even have been another Song between our known history and then. Who knows?
I take the story of the Sun and Moon hailing from the Two Trees as a beautiful Númenórean tale (mixed with Elvish lore). Compare the Elvish story of the awakening of the Quendi in which the Sun already exists. Both are beautiful in my opinion. Anyway, JRRT once wrote (full context is best, but)...

'... May I say that all this is 'mythical', and not any kind of new religion or vision. As far as I know it is merely an imaginative invention, to express, in the only way I can, some of my (dim) apprehensions of the world. All I can say is that, if it were 'history' it would be difficult to fit the lands and events (or 'cultures') into such evidence as we possess, archaeological or geological, concerning the nearer or remoter part of what is now called Europe; though the Shire, for instance, is expressly stated to have been in this region (I p. 12)*. I could have fitted things in with greater verisimilitude, if the story had not become too far developed, before the question ever occurred to me. I doubt if there would have been much gain; and I hope the evidently long but undefined gap* in time between the Fall of Barad-dûr and our Days is sufficient for 'literary credibility', even for readers acquainted with what is known or surmised of 'pre-history'.

I have, I suppose, constructed an imaginary time, but kept my feet on my own mother-earth for place. I prefer that to the contemporary mode of seeking remote globes in 'space'. However curious, they are alien, and not lovable with the love of blood-kin.'

JRRT 1958, Letters
Yeah, the sun and moon was probably not the best example to use. I too see that as more of a legend or myths, not as "fact". The sun and moon I imagine rise and set in the stories, are the same as we see, not two fruits.

We must not forget that this is just stories after all. We are not given any reason to why elven swords glow when orcs are nearby or why elves can walk on snow either. It's just the way it is in Tolkien's ME.
there might even have been another Song between our known history and then.

Or maybe it's the same Song, different version. Like we might be the "Shake Your Booty remix" or something funky like that. Elf Winking Smilie
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