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Oh i stumbled here and it was empty.
So this thread was problably made for asking where did tolkien get his inspiration.

so guys where did he get his inspiration
I believe there were other cultures ancient mythologies i can't remember now. Some say his idea for Numenor was based of from the lost city of Atlantis, ect... WW I had quite a bit of insperation in certain aspects.
Norse mythology, particularly the old "ring" stories, the Welsh language (for elvish), and a great deal of his Catholic faith underpin the whole of Middle Earth and its characters.
Did he not say somewhere that it bothered him for the longest time once he came to his mother's people in England from Africa that there were no stories, worthy epic stories about the English, for the English, about English soil, something like that and that is what fueled his geographical decisons. I know he borrowed from Norse mythology and all that but was that not in the sense of story lines and language? I am asking here because I don't have the answers.
I am not sure Leelee, you maybe right. I just find it odd he could find no great stories behind the English culture. After all if you look back at the Dark Ages and such, England was a force to be reckoned with and even though i haven't read any of their stories i'm sure they must have some. What about the hunt for the holy grail and such?
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Africa that there were no stories, worthy epic stories about the English, for the English, about English soil, something like that and that is what fueled his geographical decisons.

That seems odd, since there's the King Arthur legend, Beowulf & the Grendel, Robin Hood, Pride & Prejudice, etc.

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What about the hunt for the holy grail and such?

That story does not have English origin. It was the French bard Chrétien de Troyes who first wrote it, and English bards incorporated it into the King Arthur legend.
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That seems odd, since there's the King Arthur legend, Beowulf & the Grendel, Robin Hood, Pride & Prejudice, etc.


I believe I have also read somewhere that Tolkien was disappointed in the absence of mythology in England. There was, in that text, a mention of King Arthur and Beowulf, but Pride and Prejudice? I do think you're pushing the concept of mythology a bit far there, Vir...

Besides, I think that by mythology, Tolkien weas thinking of magical, polytheistic myths. And England is sort of lacking that.

But back to inspirations. I agree that Tolkien was inspired by Norse mythology and WWI and all those Scandinavian languages. I mean, a lot of stories in the Silmarillion are inspired by Norse myths, like Miriel, and some stories, like Beren and Luthien, are inspired by events in his own life.
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Virumor
That story does not have English origin. It was the French bard Chrétien de Troyes who first wrote it, and English bards incorporated it into the King Arthur legend.

Ya i was thinking of mentioning (but clearly did not) that The Holy Grail legend goes beyond English lore and the French and Spaniards play as big of a role, if not bigger in that legend.
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Besides, I think that by mythology, Tolkien weas thinking of magical, polytheistic myths. And England is sort of lacking that.

I'm sure the Celts had those myths, and the Romans who came later had too; the Saxons who came after that brought their own myths too, and of course the Norman kings too... maybe the problem was that safe for the King Arthur myth, no other stories were preserved by the sands fo time.
I look into this....
I believe i know where tolkien got his inspiration for the lord of the rings or atleast for the one ring.

The story takes place in the 30 year war i didnt read it entirely but in a part there was said

"the ring that the gypsy gave him had seven patterns and when he lost it he died in seven days"
maybe tolkien took his insp for the ring thig from it.....
thats a bit off the topic but i thought that you would have something to say about that Smile Smilie
Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen might have been a big inspiration too.
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Arath
"the ring that the gypsy gave him had seven patterns and when he lost it he died in seven days"
maybe tolkien took his insp for the ring thig from it.....
thats a bit off the topic but i thought that you would have something to say about that

Sorry Arath the only similiarity i see there is the ring. However that horror movie 'The Ring' might have much in common with what you said.
I did not have time to go through page after page of my Tolkien Letters book so I did some research and found this bit by Tom Shippey on Tolkien's reason for the English connection:

Tom Shippey



TOLKIEN AND ICELAND: THE PHILOLOGY OF ENVY



One of the things most often said about J.R.R. Tolkien is that it was his intention, in his fiction, to create "a mythology for England." It seems that he never in fact used this particular phrase; but just the same, on more than one occasion he said something quite similar. Thus, in one letter written after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, or Hringadrottins saga, he says that he had "set myself a task, the arrogance of which I fully recognized and trembled at: being precisely to restore to the English an epic tradition and present them with a mythology of their own." [1] Another and earlier letter declares in more detail that "once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body or more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story... which I could dedicate simply to: to England; to my country." [2] This second letter was written in 1951, when The Lord of the Rings was still not published, and not accepted by any publisher, while The Silmarillion had been shown once to a publisher and firmly rejected."

About the Arthurian and other stuff, when I myself did studies in Celtic myths and Legends,I found that a lot of those types of stories in fact were not English alone. For instance ,an Arthurian poem translated by John of Cornwall into Latin hexametres in the twelfth century is said to have been a copy from a much earlier Cornish manuscript. It is the `Prophecy of Merlin and was dated at the tenth century ,part of the Arthurian cycle of tales and is housed in the Vatican library.
So many tales and stories were started in one part of Britain and bards took what they heard and migrated and sang them and added and then Manx and Irish and Cymru and even French got all mixed in.I think he wante something totally one hundred per cent pure and for some reason or other just didn't think there were enough stories out there that the rest of Europe would think belonged to only Jolly old. But I don't know for sure.
Any other thoughts?
It seems strange to me that he wanted to create a unique mythology for England and yet borrowed so much names and themes from other mythologies/legends.

So this was maybe JRRT's initial ambition by starting the Silmarillion, but after the publishers rejected this work, JRRT laid down this project -or rather, kept on working it either as a pastime or to be published much later- and instead decided to write a more 'accessible' story - The Hobbit & LOTR...
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I'm sure the Celts had those myths, and the Romans who came later had too; the Saxons who came after that brought their own myths too, and of course the Norman kings too... maybe the problem was that safe for the King Arthur myth, no other stories were preserved by the sands fo time.


I'm sure that if one were to look hard enough, and in the right places, one could find some. I have found references to old traditions and folktales in a number of historical fictional books, mostly by the older authors though.
Tolkien also lifted a few things from the Mabinogion, the collection of Welsh Myths.
Did you know?

aiya earendil elenion ancalima comes from

eala earendel engla beorhtast
ofer middangeard monnun sended
from old english

it means

hail earendel, brightest of angels
above middle earth sent unto men.


here middle earth refers to europe
and apparently gollum comes from a legend of a dwarf called andavri from norse mythology. he lived in a cave and had the ability to transform himself into a big fish to catch smaller fishes to eat (there was a pond in his cave). he also had a magic ring which generated wealth for him. however loki, one day under orders from a king captured the dwarf and stole the ring ang treasure from the dwarf. the latter angry at his lost put a curse on the ring.

and almost certainly the hobbit was influenced by beowulf. if anyone of you have read it you will notice many similarities. also there someone named frodi there....
Yes, but couldn't you condense all those findings in one post, instead of three?

If you don't mind... e pluribus unum.
sorry vir but i don't like reading long post. it confuses me. Orc Smiling Smilie
Yes, well that is exactly why paragraphs and punctuation were invented... Wink Smilie
Big Laugh Smilie Big Laugh Smilie Big Laugh Smilie

i'll have to bring my GP teacher here....
I rather liked the three posts.
That was very interesting and you are quite right about where he got this and that I think
I also think Vir needs a hug, you sound just the tiniest big un Vir like today.
Smile Smilie
you've read beowulf then?
I remember reading Beowulf in high school English class about fifty years ago, the original text was side by side with a translation (not Tolkien's) and after reading a bit I could almost understand the original text.
I remember a movie about Beowulf with Christopher Lambert. It was horrible.
mine is all english. reading the introduction i will show you what i found:

"despite the efforts of william morris (who translated the poem in 1895) and the chadwicks, it is still the scholar and not the imaginative writer who shows us round the world of northern history and legend. J.R.R Tolkien is the exception that proves the rule. his 1936 british Academy lecture 'beowulf: The monsters and the Critics' has cast a spell over the most subsequent critics of the poem.

...I believe that tolkien is right in his view of the poem as a myth and of the monsters as embodying evil"


Doesn't that ring a bell somewhere especially the last part?

interesting isn't it? Tolkien seemed to have made his name both in the scholaristic world and fictic world. (does that word exist?). i would recommend beowulf to anyone who still has not read it.
I found Beowulf to be spellbinding from the first moment. I tried at one time to read it in the olde english but it was so tedious I gave up. I will try again when I have some real time.
No one here in the part of Canada I live in had to read it until college or university and then only because they wanted to. I don't know why.
LeeLee, I too, found Beowulf to be fascinating though I haven't read it since. Thorin, I find it odd that Tolkien's life was mainly occupied as a philologist and professor; yet his greatest influence will be his literary legacy. It is a wild and wonderful world.
yeah, totally captivating. no one who read his books can say they are dull.
I found something for the Turin Turambar fans.

The story of turin comes from a finnish tale called the Kalevala. The kalevala has a story very similar to Turin's. Here the villain's name is Kullervo. He like Turin is an outlaw and accidentally fall in love with his sister who afterwards kill themselves. Kullervo, like Turin tries many times to seek revenge bu tlike Turin this ends up in only tragic results. he also puts an aend to his life by speaking to his sword and asking it to kill him.

The Kalevalais a collection of songs, poems, storis and magical charms that were passed down ny folk singers until a student of languages (apparently a dude called elias Lonnrot) wrote them down in the 1830s and 1840s.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Mark
The land of the riders of the mark comes from mercia, the ANglo Saxson Kingdom in the area of Birmingham and Oxford.

Mordor
Comes from the old english word morthor meaning 'mortal sin' or 'murder'

Nazg
Comes from the gaelic word for ring

Saruman
From the old english word 'searu' which means 'tricky' or 'cunning'

Sauron
from an old Norse word meaning 'detestable' or 'abominable'
In Norwegian "mark" means (among other things) a field, medow, grassy area with no houses or roads. And the word is simmular or the same in Norse. Seems a lot more fitting for Tolkien's vikings. But I don't know what landscape Mercia has/had.
Well since it is where B & O are it should be like them thought i also don't know as i don't live in Brit
And there really was a Bag end and a mill from his childhood. How rich and beautiful the things that touched his life. After he moved out of his mother's kins home to live in a rather poverty stricken neighborhood JRR would look out the window and see this line of transport of some sort, cannot remember with Cymru things written on them. He was mesmerized by the language, the look of it, later on the sound and philology of it. Just from that. How many children would find their lives changed by such an everyday humdrum sort of thing?
Hmmmm. im probally guessing that J.R.R got his insparation for near harad from persia or india..The primitive and savage Haradrim lived in one of the harshest environments in Middle-earth. In the land south of Gondor the sun beat down unrelentingly, cooking much of Harad's great plains into desert. The tribes of Haradrim lived a nomadic existence, walking from one oasis to another in search of precious water and food, and here they would gather kine and other beasts. And i think he based far harad ( further south of near harad) mainly on africa or jamaca, as the natives had african/jamacan features. Also i think some of the insparation for far harad came from the amazon, or brazil because it was covered in jungle. Smile Smilie
I for one would be very interested to know from where he got the inspiration for the mumak. The persians did use war elephants with their mahouts but can anyone provide precise details on the origin of the haradrim?
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I for one would be very interested to know from where he got the inspiration for the mumak. The persians did use war elephants with their mahouts...

I seem to remember some Carthaginian gent name of Hannibal, crossed the Alps in 218 BC, from Spain into northern Italy on about 37 War Heffalumps to take on the Romans. This was the start of the Second Punic War. He lost that war some seventeen years later, probably because he had not left a sufficient supply of Woozles back in Carthage towards keeping the Romans from conquering that North African city state.

Anyway, the Professor probably knew all this, though he may not have known the critters by those names. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Now listen here: "heffalump", "woozle", "mumak", etc. are not proper names at all, and are only spoke by men who know nothing. "Oliphaunt" is a proper hobbit term; "pachyderm" is acceptable only if you are helplessly scientific.
Yep Grondy I know about Hannibal and his great plan to attack rome through the Alps but you have to admit that it was quite some extrapolation to reach the mumak from his lesser cousin the elephan.Orc Grinning Smilie
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The persians did use war elephants with their mahouts but can anyone provide precise details on the origin of the haradrim?

The Persians didn't use elephants in battle, the Indians did. This contributed greatly due them being the only ones being able to hold back Alexander the Great.
And the Asian Indian War Oliphaunts made the logistics of transporting the war materials against young Alex even easier, due to their humongous trunks.
I was doing some art reasearch in a book called " how to draw fantasy figures" and it contained tips on drawing a "Behemoth" and in stated that a behemoth was mentioned in the book of job, in the bible. and was often depicted as a Elephant with multiple tusks so maby JRR got his insparation for the mumaks oliphonts whateva u want 2 call them from the myths legends of the behemoth.
going back to some of the earlier posts in this thread, it strikes me that people here brought up stories that may be Celtic and Saecsen (Saxon?) and Cymru (Gaelic? Welsh?) and Irish (Has anyone mentioned Scotch stories yet?) and someone even mentioned Roman,

but I was under the distinct impression that England is not any of these things. What I mean is, we treat the UK as a single country for all practical purposes now, but what's been united there is not colonies or territories or provinces - but actual, (previously sovereign, and with a lot of bloody history between them all,) Kingdoms. So Welsh or Irish or Celtic or whatever - those are not stories of England, but stories of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Ditto for the romans - who were only occupiers if I recall....
I did some research work on the war elephant Vir. The Persians did in fact use them and Alexander The great captured a few of them from Persian armies in his conquest of Persia
Elenoraine, I think you're right. But then also who are the English? I think they, like modern Americans, are made up of many other cultures instead of being a single ancient culture.. Maybe it just isn't appropriate for England to have a mythology of their own.
The original natives of England were the Celts, then the Anglo-saxons from Germany invaded and drove them into Wales, Ireland and Scotland....who we now call the Celtic peoples.
Sometime later the Normans who where Viking descendants living in France invaded.
I know the Romans fit in there somewhere but my History is seriously lacking, I'm sure Vir will love to point out where I've gone wrong Smile Smilie
So you're right Sian, England like many new countries(including New Zealand and Australia as well as America) is a hodge podge of cultures but one so old that there's no longer any distinctions between them. Most other cultures have a myth or theories on how the earth was created but England doesn't, Tolkien always felt this keenly and so created Middle earth. I don't know that he consciously started creating the elvish languages to this end, but over the years it morphed into his version or vision if you want, of English myth.
When Tolkien speaks of the lost myths of the English, by English he means the Germanic peoples that came to 'England' -- and from a legendary perspective, figures like Hengest and Horsa from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Woden, for one example, features in place names in England, but generally speaking, the particular stories of the northern gods and heroes that must have been held (orally at least) throughout England by these tribes -- before Christianity arrived to take root among the English -- have been lost.

When Tolkien began his tales the connection to England was notable: Tol-Eressea became England itself for instance. From The Book Of Lost Tales, Christopher Tolkien notes:

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It is then said, somewhat inconsequentially (though the matter is in itself of much interest, and recurs nowhere else), that Eriol told the fairies of Wóden, Þunor, Tíw, etc. (these being the Old English names of the Germanic gods who in Old Scandinavian form are Óðinn, Þáorr, Týr), and they identified them with Manweg, Tulkas, and a third whose name is illegible but is not like that of any of the great Valar.