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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Tolkien's the Fall of Gondolin and Virgil's Aeneid

    I recently read an exerpt of Virgil's Aeneid, from Book 2: The Fall of Troy, in which Aeneas recounts the fall of Troy. The Fall of Gondolin seems to parallel it in a few places and I was just thinking whether or not Tolkien might have been inspired by Virgil's tale while writing his.

    A few things I noticed:

    The Fall of Troy________________The Fall of Gondolin

    Aeneas ______________________Tuor
    The Trojan Horse_______________Orcs hidden in monsters' bellies
    Marauding Greek Bands__________Bands of Orcs ravaging the city
    King Priam in his armour__________Turgon
    Last stand in the hall____________Stand at Turgon's tower
    Aeneas' escape_________________Tuor's escape through the tunnel
    Fire__________________________ _Fire

    There are more, but I was just looking for others' insight into this. I find it interesting.

    Ugdush, Black Orc of Mordor~~~Rank 7 Reaver
    Ungweliant of Nan Dungortheb~~~~~Rank 6 Weaver
    Utúlien Aurë! Utúlien Aurë!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: Tolkien's the Fall of Gondolin and Virgil's Aeneid

    Tolkien says he was brought up on the classics and first discovered the sensation of literary pleasure in Homer. It's possible Virgil might have also been on his reading list. Both authors certainly wrote about the same events. I don't think Tolkien ever purposely imitated anyone else's work but it's impossible to say what comes out of the sub-conscious when writing a story. At the same time this is a heroic tale and you will always find similarities and reoccurring themes in different stories in the same genre.
    "You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81

  3. Re: Tolkien's the Fall of Gondolin and Virgil's Aeneid

    Not saying one way or another, but if one is looking for parallels between two things, they will most likely find them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Real Start Date: Mettarë, 2988 T.A.

    Re: Tolkien's the Fall of Gondolin and Virgil's Aeneid

    It's been a very long time since I've read any of the Aeneid, but the parallels in that list don't strike me as particularly compelling.

    Anyway, here's another one that's fun to think about, both in how it succeeds and fails as a mirror:

    Troy is to the Roman Empire as Gondolin is to Numenor.
    [CENTER][I][FONT=Garamond]* * *
    [/FONT][/I][FONT=Palatino Linotype]"From without the World, though all things may be forethought in music or foreshown in vision from afar, to those who enter verily into Eä each in its time shall be met at unawares as something new and unforetold."[/FONT]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    in the darkest depths of Mordor, meeting a girl so fair....

    Re: Tolkien's the Fall of Gondolin and Virgil's Aeneid

    Virgil was on every British schoolchild's reading list in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And yes, the Aeneid was one of the inspirations for the "Fall of Gondolin" - the same way the Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet partly inspired Tolkien's descriptions of parental resistance to the three marital unions of elf and man. Literature always inspires more literature.



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