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Thread: Did Tolkien use Cuchulain as his model for Boromir?

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Bottom of Page    Message Board > Characters > Did Tolkien use Cuchulain as his model for Boromir?   
Hi Faye, nice to meet you here once more!
As for Boromir/Cuchulain questions, similar death scenes can be found also elsewhere. For instance, Henryk Sienkiewicz, a Polish writer and Nobel laureate for the novel "Quo Vadis", also wrote a novel "With fire and sword", about a Polish-Ukrainian war taking place in seventeenth century. In this novel one of the heroes, a valiant and noble although somewhat simple Lithuanian, Longinus Podbipieta, volunteers to make an attempt to save his companions besieged in the fortress of Zbaraz by trying to escape in secret their besieged camp and to bring news about their desperate need to the king and his army. However, he fails and he dies in a very similar fashion as Boromir, pierced by many arrows.
Did Tolkien read that novel? I do not know, but I know that he had Polish acquaintainces, who might have recommended that book to him. He was a Roman catholic and his grave in Oxfors is surrounded by graves of Poles, emigrants who had to leave Poland during the 2nd World War. We also may remark that in LOTR Aragorn uses the expression "with fire and sword" when talking to Merry in the Houses of Healing:
"Master Meriadoc" said Aragorn "If you think that I have passed through the mountains and the realm of Gondor with fire and sword to bring herbs to a careless soldier who throws away his gear, you are mistaken"
The actual scene of Boromir's death in the arms of Aragorn also bears much resemblance to the scene from a classic adventure novel, "The Prisoner of Zenda", in which Rudolph Rassendyl, severely wounded, is fainting in arms of his friend...
I am sure that Tolkien was influenced by many of the Celtic, Germanic, Nordic, and Polish myths as he tried (successfully we believe) to develop a mythos for the people of England. This mythos has been claimed for their own by many English reading people as well as those who have encountered his work in their own languages.

Eryan: I Love You Smilie Thanks for your post. I loaned my copy of Henryk Sienkiewicz's Teutonic Knights to my late mother before she died and never got it back. The worst of it was I forgot both the name of the book and the postAuthorID; all I could remember was it was a great story of chivalry and that the postAuthorID was renowned for a more recognized novel. Since your post I have googled the postAuthorID and have ordered the last new copy Amazon said they had available. Thanks again. Happy Elf Smilie
Oi us English people have myths of our own anyway. We too were a celtic country, there is also the Welsh, Scottish and the people of Brittany. It really annoys me when people try to make out the only celtic people were Irish. Most of the celtic tales are actually Welsh, followed by the English one's preserved mainly by the Cornish!
Grondy, I am glad that my post helped you to find again "Teutonic Knights". For me, the most interesting and moving book by Sienkiewicz is the middle part of his "Trilogy", entitled "The Deluge", depicting wars and romantic adventures in seventeenth century Poland invaded by Sweden. If you don't know it yet, it makes really fine reading!