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  1. #151
    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    Even though I agree with you on the rest, this bit here... I'm having trouble swallowing.
    Minas Tirith wasn't always Minas Tirith, the Guard-Tower; it hasn't been that for much more than a dash over 1000 years.
    It's certainly not 'occupied and ruled by a strange and alien people from very far away.' Hasn't been, not since the Númenóreans began to mingle with the 'Middle Men', the Men native to Middle-earth; even though their regality still remains visible for those who can see, it's greatly diminished by T.A. 3018, 3019, the time of the game and the War of the Ring.
    I also found the comparison with Jerusalem a bit unusual. I've always compared Minas Tirith to Constantinople (now Istanbul) during the late Roman Empire. Both had very high, almost impenetrable walls, both cities were the cultural capitals of empires that were very much in decline, and both were in the end besieged by invaders (Constantinople by the Turks). Constantinople, unlike Minas Tirith, eventually fell to the invaders. Tolkien himself closely associated Gondor with the Byzantine Empire, even calling Minas Tirith in one letter written in 1951, that Byzantine city.

  2. #152
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    While I agree with much of what you're saying here, my main beef with Al is not the fact that he is making comparisons between ancient Egypt and Gondor, Tolkien did borrow from many sources in the creation of his imaginary world, and one of the few things Al and I agree on is that Egypt was one of them. What I am taking him to task on is his frequent posting of images that have no connection whatsoever with Gondor, and in many cases (such as Solomon's Temple) falsely claiming them as something they are not.

    You are right however, it's a mistake to over simplify these things, giving them a simple one to one translation is not only wrong (ie. Gondor equals ancient Eqypt, therefore we should see pyramids in Gondor), it also becomes something which Tolkien disliked very much, an allegorical work.
    I agree there. I've no issue with seeing Egyptian influences in Gondor. My issue was also the same as yours. There are similarities yes but at the same time you cannot force similarities that are not there onto Gondor. In doing so you over simplify things. Gondor no longer exists as a unique culture of its own but becomes simply one, or a few, of our own cultures mixed together and tossed into Middle Earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    Even though I agree with you on the rest, this bit here... I'm having trouble swallowing.
    Minas Tirith wasn't always Minas Tirith, the Guard-Tower; it hasn't been that for much more than a dash over 1000 years.
    It's certainly not 'occupied and ruled by a strange and alien people from very far away.' Hasn't been, not since the Númenóreans began to mingle with the 'Middle Men', the Men native to Middle-earth; even though their regality still remains visible for those who can see, it's greatly diminished by T.A. 3018, 3019, the time of the game and the War of the Ring.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    I also found the comparison with Jerusalem a bit unusual. I've always compared Minas Tirith to Constantinople (now Istanbul) during the late Roman Empire. Both had very high, almost impenetrable walls, both cities were the cultural capitals of empires that were very much in decline, and both were in the end besieged by invaders (Constantinople by the Turks). Constantinople, unlike Minas Tirith, eventually fell to the invaders. Tolkien himself closely associated Gondor with the Byzantine Empire, even calling Minas Tirith in one letter written in 1951, that Byzantine city.
    I've always kind of thought of Minas Tirith as a kind of Constantinople too. As Wolfhelm said they share many similarities. So I also find its comparison with Jerusalem a bit... odd. Minas Tirith was neven conquered in the way that Jerusalem was during the Crusades. Its citizens never kiled en mass or sold into slavery as Jerusalem's were. Perhaps there are some similarities but I do not think you can push them too far without drastically over simplifying things.

  3. #153
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    As I wrote, literal comparisons between Gondor and real-world historical circumstances are tempting - but not very useful. My point in making the comparison with occupied Jerusalem during the Crusades was that it is no more nor less defensible than comparisons to ancient Egypt or Rome. So I won't defend the comparison; there's no need.

    I will say, however, that Tolkien himself - in comments made during a Q&A following a lecture in London in 1970 - compared Minas Tirith to Crusader-era Jerusalem. His point was metaphorical, not literal: he said that the attitudes, values, and ideas of a people at the forefront/frontier of a struggle between civilizations share traits and characteristics substantially different from those of the interior "heartlands". You can, for example, only take the comparison between Rome and Londinium so far. I took that comment to mean that Gondor was not so much a civilization as an armed and mobilized outpost of vanished Númenor - even during its height - and the reference to Crusader states as armed and mobilized outposts of Catholic Europe was apt.

    Again, any literal comparison - casualty figures, exact architectural styles, wholesale lifting of history from reality to fantasy - to actual historical civilizations will fall on its face when subjected to the details; Tolkien, I think, was too smart for that.
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  4. #154
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathindi View Post
    Again, any literal comparison - casualty figures, exact architectural styles, wholesale lifting of history from reality to fantasy - to actual historical civilizations will fall on its face when subjected to the details; Tolkien, I think, was too smart for that.

    I agree completely with this statement, which is why I made a point of mentioning it in my previous reply, and do so again now, any direct one to one translation between Tolkien's fictional world and real world history is not only wrong, it is also an insult to the professor himself.

    Having said that I stand by my belief that Tolkien borrowed heavily from the history of the late Roman Empire when inventing the fictional empire of Gondor, take for example this direct quote from a letter Tolkien wrote to Milton Waldman:


    In the south Gondor rises to a peak of power, almost reflecting Númenor, and then fades slowly to decayed Middle Age, a kind of proud, venerable, but increasingly impotent Byzantium.


    Many other examples can be quoted where Tolkien compares Gondor to the Byzantium Empire and even Minas Tirith directly to Constantinople. I find nothing wrong with these comparisons, they do not in my opinion suggest that Tolkien's work was in any way allegorical, merely that he was a avid historian and understandably influenced both by world events and by personal experience.

  5. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    I agree completely with this statement, which is why I made a point of mentioning it in my previous reply, and do so again now, any direct one to one translation between Tolkien's fictional world and real world history is not only wrong, it is also an insult to the professor himself.

    Having said that I stand by my belief that Tolkien borrowed heavily from the history of the late Roman Empire when inventing the fictional empire of Gondor, take for example this direct quote from a letter Tolkien wrote to Milton Waldman:


    In the south Gondor rises to a peak of power, almost reflecting Númenor, and then fades slowly to decayed Middle Age, a kind of proud, venerable, but increasingly impotent Byzantium.


    Many other examples can be quoted where Tolkien compares Gondor to the Byzantium Empire and even Minas Tirith directly to Constantinople. I find nothing wrong with these comparisons, they do not in my opinion suggest that Tolkien's work was in any way allegorical, merely that he was a avid historian and understandably influenced both by world events and by personal experience.
    Just stop, the roman influence is there, also jerusalem also egypt, also aglo saxon, you need for it to be roman is not right

    BTW I don't agree with you on anything. Stop saying you agree with me were you never agreed on, you are a liar.

    Bizantine empire is just "one side" of the story that Gondor is inspired on, you lack knowledge to discuss this in a intellectual level.
    Last edited by Al.; Dec 29 2013 at 11:27 PM.

  6. #156
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    Egyptian catacoms in Rome, possibly insipiration for Kings tombs in Gondor

  7. #157
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    Edain by Woutart, Tolkien inspiration for the men allied with elves.
    Last edited by Al.; Dec 29 2013 at 11:14 PM.

  8. #158
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    Numenore by Ted Nasmith. Origins of Gondor

  9. #159
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Just stop, the roman influence is there, also jerusalem also egypt, also aglo saxon, you need for it to be roman is not right

    BTW I don't agree with you on anything. Stop saying you agree with me were you never agreed on, you are a liar.

    Bizantine empire is just "one side" of the story that Gondor is inspired on, you lack knowledge to discuss this in a intellectual level.

    Shush Al, the grown ups are talking now

  10. #160
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Just stop, the roman influence is there, also jerusalem also egypt, also aglo saxon, you need for it to be roman is not right

    BTW I don't agree with you on anything. Stop saying you agree with me were you never agreed on, you are a liar.

    Bizantine empire is just "one side" of the story that Gondor is inspired on, you lack knowledge to discuss this in a intellectual level.
    If Byzantium is merely "one side" of Gondor, and it is a side, then so is everything else. The issue, as I see it, is not that comparisons are being made. Or that I think they are the wrong ones, I don't think that. There is most defiantly comparisons to be made between Gondor and many of our own cultures; Egypt, Roman ext. The problem is two fold.

    1. You cannot make one to one comparisons, ie the Houses of Healing are Egyptian. There is a very simply reason for this. Tolkien may have borrowed ideas and taken inspiration from the cultures of our own history to create his own cultures but that's the point. Egyptian culture took thousands of years to develope, apart from the single lifetime of Tolkien's. Nor was Egypt developed by one person but rather thousands of them. So on the one level sure you can compare cultures, or at least see influences of our own cultures in Tolkien. At the same time though you cannot compare them to deeply. Each is very different. Also our cultures are historical, Tolkien's much though I love them are not.
    2. This one is the bigger issue for me. You cannot just make a satement, the Houses of Healin are Egyptian, or post a picture and add a few words beneaith "Egyptian catacombs in Rome, possibly inspiration for Kings tombs in Gondor" without saying why you think that and expect people to take you seriously. Merely saying something does not make it true. So if you want to have a conversation about Egyptian influences in Gondor then give a little evidence as to why you think that. Why do you see Egyptian catacombs under Rome as possible inspiration for tombs in Gondor?

  11. #161
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    Very interesting stuff from Meluihel and Wolfhelm, if one continued your Byzantium theme to its conclusion that would make Arnor the equivalent to the Western Roman empire, this year I visited Italy and the similarities of Etruscan barrows with the Barrow downs suddenly leaps out at me, where prior to this discussion I had always thought of the Barrows in an Anglo Saxon context.
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  12. #162
    Quote Originally Posted by Morthaur View Post
    Very interesting stuff from Meluihel and Wolfhelm, if one continued your Byzantium theme to its conclusion that would make Arnor the equivalent to the Western Roman empire, this year I visited Italy and the similarities of Etruscan barrows with the Barrow downs suddenly leaps out at me, where prior to this discussion I had always thought of the Barrows in an Anglo Saxon context.
    As have I. Barrows are all throught Anglo-Saxon and Norse literature, a cup stolen out of a barrow inhabited by a dragon in Beowulf to name but one example. I like your idea too though. Never really thought of Arnor as the Western Empire like that. There are a lot of similarities though, and some differences too of course. In history it was the Eastern Empire that came close to unifying things again, under Justinian the Great. In Tolkien though it seems to be the other way round.

  13. #163
    Quote Originally Posted by Morthaur View Post
    Very interesting stuff from Meluihel and Wolfhelm, if one continued your Byzantium theme to its conclusion that would make Arnor the equivalent to the Western Roman empire, this year I visited Italy and the similarities of Etruscan barrows with the Barrow downs suddenly leaps out at me, where prior to this discussion I had always thought of the Barrows in an Anglo Saxon context.
    I was going to extrapolate further to include the inescapable conclusion that Arnor greatly resembles the Western Roman empire, but ran out of time. This is in no way a personal theory, many others have pointed out the similarities between the Western/Eastern Roman empires with Arnor/Gondor, I've merely adopted this theory as it seems the most likely source. It's interesting that you bring up the Barrow-downs, as I had also mostly associated burial of the dead in barrows as an Anglo-Saxon tradition. Your mention of the Etruscan barrows got me looking around the web and it seems this practice was much more wide spread than I imagined.

  14. #164
    Quote Originally Posted by Meluihel View Post
    If Byzantium is merely "one side" of Gondor, and it is a side, then so is everything else. The issue, as I see it, is not that comparisons are being made. Or that I think they are the wrong ones, I don't think that. There is most defiantly comparisons to be made between Gondor and many of our own cultures; Egypt, Roman ext. The problem is two fold.

    1. You cannot make one to one comparisons, ie the Houses of Healing are Egyptian. There is a very simply reason for this. Tolkien may have borrowed ideas and taken inspiration from the cultures of our own history to create his own cultures but that's the point. Egyptian culture took thousands of years to develope, apart from the single lifetime of Tolkien's. Nor was Egypt developed by one person but rather thousands of them. So on the one level sure you can compare cultures, or at least see influences of our own cultures in Tolkien. At the same time though you cannot compare them to deeply. Each is very different. Also our cultures are historical, Tolkien's much though I love them are not.
    2. This one is the bigger issue for me. You cannot just make a satement, the Houses of Healin are Egyptian, or post a picture and add a few words beneaith "Egyptian catacombs in Rome, possibly inspiration for Kings tombs in Gondor" without saying why you think that and expect people to take you seriously. Merely saying something does not make it true. So if you want to have a conversation about Egyptian influences in Gondor then give a little evidence as to why you think that. Why do you see Egyptian catacombs under Rome as possible inspiration for tombs in Gondor?

    Very good points. The problem as I've said all along is that simple one to one comparisons are what inevitably lead people to the conclusion that Tolkien's works were allegorical in nature. The most obvious one to one I've read is that the One Ring equals nuclear energy, a stupid idea of course once you scratch a little below the surface.

    Tolkien, like every author, was inspired by real world history as well as personal experience, but was clever enough and put so much depth into everything he wrote about that one to one comparisons begin to break down very quickly when you look a little deeper.

  15. #165
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    The Battle of Pelennor Fields, artistic representation by Alan Lee.
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  16. #166
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    Very good points. The problem as I've said all along is that simple one to one comparisons are what inevitably lead people to the conclusion that Tolkien's works were allegorical in nature. The most obvious one to one I've read is that the One Ring equals nuclear energy, a stupid idea of course once you scratch a little below the surface.
    Exactly and Tolkien's work was not allegory, he says so himself on many occasions.

    Tolkien, like every author, was inspired by real world history as well as personal experience, but was clever enough and put so much depth into everything he wrote about that one to one comparisons begin to break down very quickly when you look a little deeper.
    And therein I think lies Tolkien's genius. We see some of our own cultures in his so we can relate to them in ways we would not be able to otherwise. Seeing Egypt in Gondor then is good, as are the questions how is Gondor like Egypt and why is that the case? But the opposite question is very important too, and needs to be asked. How is Gondor not like Egypt, the Roman Empire (East, West or both)ext? How is Gondor completely different and unique in its own ways?

  17. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meluihel View Post
    Exactly and Tolkien's work was not allegory, he says so himself on many occasions.



    And therein I think lies Tolkien's genius. We see some of our own cultures in his so we can relate to them in ways we would not be able to otherwise. Seeing Egypt in Gondor then is good, as are the questions how is Gondor like Egypt and why is that the case? But the opposite question is very important too, and needs to be asked. How is Gondor not like Egypt, the Roman Empire (East, West or both)ext? How is Gondor completely different and unique in its own ways?
    Besides the fact somone posted a rohan battle as pellanor fields...now that is wrong, why am I wrong?

    For example, you "May like" barrows as etrusccian tombs, but if you go and re-read tolkien book about the barrow downs you find things like these:

    In topography, a "down" is a low-lying hill, from the Anglo-Saxon dún meaning "hill".[1] In the United Kingdom, a down is a gently-rolling chalk hill in Southern England(seen especially in the North and South Downs).[2]

    Now knowing these, you link anglo-saxon with roman in england because of history.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Britain

    Knowing these, you look for roman burial ground in Britain and wou will be surprised to find sarcofagus burials and other pagan links.

    Now saying gondor burial grounds are "estruccian" does it sound logical?

    I was closer in saying egyptian healing houses are linked to Gondor culture, specifically burial sites according to tolkien works. BTW thank melu for invoking robbie the dolphin in my thread....thanks
    Last edited by Al.; Dec 31 2013 at 07:35 PM.

  18. #168
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    Osgiliath in Gondor
    Last edited by Al.; Dec 31 2013 at 07:59 PM.

  19. #169
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    Tomb of Elendil, remanecent of Arnor and Gondor former glory

  20. #170
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post

    Osgiliath in Gondor
    Your dishonesty knows no bounds Al, you are simply unbelievable.

    The painting you linked is called The Architect's Dream, and was painted by Thomas Cole in 1840!

    The JRR Tolkien forum used to be a respectable place before you came along, I can't tell you where you should or shouldn't post, but honestly if you ceased posting here you'd be doing the genuine Tolkien fans a great favour.

  21. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Besides the fact somone posted a rohan battle as pellanor fields...now that is wrong, why am I wrong?

    BTW thank melu for invoking robbie the dolphin in my thread....thanks
    First of all, this isn't "your" thread. You may have started it, but this is Turbine's thread. If someone else wants to post Gondor artwork here, they should be free to do so.

    And BTW, the following link states that this is The Battle of Pellanor Fields (about 2/3 down the page). Now, if you want to debate the artists' interpretation of the battle, go ahead.

    http://www.artistsuk.co.uk/acatalog/...D_POSTERS.html

  22. #172
    Robbie's post has far more right to be here than a lot of the stuff that Al has posted, the combatants in the picture are from Rohan and Harad, but the battle is being fought in the heart of Gondor.

    Also, unlike Al, Robbie has given credit to the artist and correctly identified the image.

  23. #173
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Now saying gondor burial grounds are "estruccian" does it sound logical?
    Ok first. No one here has said that gondor burial grounds are Etruscan. No one, or at least I have not, made that one to one comparison. We were not even talking about Gondor but Arnor. And even then all that was said was that if you think about Arnor and the Western Empire as sharing some similarities then perhaps there are also some with the Etruscans.


    For example, you "May like" barrows as etrusccian tombs, but if you go and re-read tolkien book about the barrow downs you find things like these:

    In topography, a "down" is a low-lying hill, from the Anglo-Saxon dún meaning "hill".[1] In the United Kingdom, a down is a gently-rolling chalk hill in Southern England(seen especially in the North and South Downs).[2]

    Now knowing these, you link anglo-saxon with roman in england because of history.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Britain

    Knowing these, you look for roman burial ground in Britain and wou will be surprised to find sarcofagus burials and other pagan links.

    I was closer in saying egyptian healing houses are linked to Gondor culture, specifically burial sites according to tolkien works. BTW thank melu for invoking robbie the dolphin in my thread....thanks
    Actually I did know that. Barrow too also means hill, from the Old English beorg, though of course it does have strong connotations of graves and burial. Dun is also where you get Dunland, Hill Land, Dunharrow, mountain temple, ext.

    The problem is that these are all English words for things that already exist. Plop a Saxon down near Rome, point to a hill and ask them what its called and they'd say dun, beorg or barrow. The Barrow Downs is simply what we know the area as. The Númenóreans would have had their own name for the place as would other people. A Saxon could have pointed to a group of Etruscan tombs near Rome and called them Barrow-Downs. That does not mean the Saxons invented the idea.

    As to the Egyptians... If you see Egyptian influences in Gondor that's great, I see them to at times. My point though was this, don't just tell us that but add why you see those influances? It makes for a better conversation. As does seeing differences between Gondor and our cultures.

    In the end because Tolkien did not base Gondor on one specific culture, as he kind of did with Rohan, we are all going to see different things in it. And that's part of Tolkien's genius. You might see Egypt while others of us see Roman (Easter or Western Empire or both) and others even Etruscan influences. What is important is that Gondor is not Egypt or Rome, Etruscan or whatever. In some ways its all of them combined and many more. In many, many more ways it is none of them. Gondor is its own culture.

  24. #174
    Al's giving us English lessons now, amazing

  25. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Besides the fact somone posted a rohan battle as pellanor fields...now that is wrong, why am I wrong?
    Unless I completely misunderstood the books, Rohan made an appearance at the Battle of Pelennor Fields... And if they wouldn't have made that appearance, Gondor would have been crushed.
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