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42

First of all, Tolkien was trying to create a missing Anglo-Saxon (or, as some argued, Celtic), mythos. For details, see Q1 and Q2 If you recall your Norse mythology, which strongly influenced Tolkien (Midgard==Middle Earth), the geography of the Norse mythos' world bears very little resemblance to Earth (same goes to many ancient myth systems): Secondly, ...


31

The cosmology of Tolkien's world is a very fluid concept. We have to remember that his was a mythological world, and while he and we like to discuss it as pre-history, it was never meant to fit within the bounds of secular physics. There are countless examples of events, particularly in the Silmarillion, that simply cannot be explained using physics, or ...


22

Because "Arda" is the Quenya word for "Earth." The phrase "Earth" is actually used repeatedly in the Legendarium, especially in the Ainulindalë, (emphasis mine): [T]he other Ainur looked upon this habitation set within the vast spaces of the World, which the Elves call Arda, the Earth [...] When therefore Earth was yet young and full of flame ...


15

Kingship of Númenor, pre-Aldarion According to Tolkien, Númenor initially passed the throne exclusively through the male line: [T]he Ruler's eldest son inherited the Sceptre. It was understood that if there were no son the nearest male kinsman of male descent from Elros Tar-Minyatur would be the Heir. Thus if Tar-Meneldur had had no son the Heir would ...


14

No other planets are visited in the Legendarium1, but several of Tolkien's dictionaries (published in History of Middle-earth in a number of places) include Quenya and Sindarin names for what we now know of as planets2; whether they were known to be planets by the inhabitants of Middle-earth is unknown. Some examples: Morwen (Gnommish) and Silindo (Quenya):...


11

The word Middle-earth is just a modernization of the Old-English word Middangeard, which meant "the inhabited lands of Men between the seas". (The same word which Midgard is derived from) It had nothing to due with the planet earth. (Though Tolkien was known to include many language puns in his writings.) ‘Middle-earth’, by the way, is not a name of a ...


9

No The Ainur were all created outside of Arda. It is unknown if other Ainur were created outside of Arda afterwards, but no being of similar essence was created on Arda. The Ainur The beings who existed before Arda are called the Ainur. They were created by Eru Ilúvatar. There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the ...


9

The First, Second, and Third Ages were each roughly 3,000 years long, and each ended with a major cataclysm in which the primary source of evil was defeated. However, it is the cataclysm, rather than the duration, that determines when one Age ends and the next Age begins. If, for example, Morgoth had not been overthrown, the First Age would probably have ...


8

From "AskAMathematician"; For someone around 5’6″ tall, if the Earth were perfectly flat the horizon would be about 0.04° higher. That’s about the width of a (mechanical) pencil lead held at arm’s length. Unless you have short arms, in which case you’ll need to shave down the lead a little. So, even assuming a completely flat plane your view ...


5

What we know of Arda’s geography comes from the maps included in the Lord of the Rings, right? If we’re going with the “Lord of the Rings = history” idea, then those maps were made by inhabitants of Middle Earth. Who‘s to say they made maps that are accurate enough to compare modern-day Earth with Middle Earth? Maps from pre-Renaissance Europe aren’t super-...


4

As most Tolkien fans know, Arda (Tolkien's world) is supposed to be Earth in its past, and all its stories are supposed to have happened long ago on this very same planet. Of course, this is fiction, so this is not supposed to be actually true. Because this question is frequently being linked to from other questions regarding whether or not Arda is ...


3

I believe the answer is in the final section of The Book Of Lost Tales 2, The History Of Eriol. Christopher Tolkien did a fine job and gave a simpler explanation of how our earth today can be linked to Arda, describing how Great Britain & Ireland took their shapes with the help of the Vala (ie.Ulmo & Ossie). Book of Lost Tales 2 will help you ...


3

There's a pretty solid answer in Wikipedia, namely: In some texts Tolkien referred to the 'First Age of Middle-earth' or the 'First Age of the World' rather than the 'First Age of the Children of Ilúvatar'. These variations had earlier starting points, extending the First Age back to the creation of Arda, but consistently ended with Morgoth's defeat in ...


3

Middle-Earth certainly had seasons before becoming round. The Tale of Turin mentions the bad winter that started right after the fall of Nargrothrond, for example. As Turin raced back to Nargrothrond after the defeat the leaves started falling from teh trees in a sudden autumn and shortly afterwards a long and terrible winter started. Thus the sun ship ...


3

At Orangedog's suggestion, I have decided to offer the contents of Note 2 from my question as a possible answer. I won't accept it unless it gets a lot of upvotes, because accepting it would feel weird. I may have underestimated Tolkien. This site, which deals with the problems I'm raising, more or less, says the following: In his later life, Tolkien ...


2

Near where I live is a mountain peak with an elevation of almost 7,000 ft. About 100 miles to the west is another peak with an elevation of over 10,000 ft. On a clear day, from the nearer peak, the taller peak is visible, though it does have a significant blue tint. On a hazy day, the mountain can be completely hidden. Given greater distance, eventually ...


2

Even under extremely clear conditions, it's unusual to see more than a couple of hundred kilometers. This is due to a variety of very complex effects, but visibility is limited by scattered light in the lower atmosphere due to particles, moisture, etc. http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/explain/atmos_refr/horizon.html Except in cases of significant contrast, ...


2

"Middle-earth" is a modern version of the word "Midgard" which in Norse mythology is the world that humans live on (there are eight others). Tolkien was known to derive some of the mythology of Middle-earth from Norse mythology (including parts of the Ainulindalë, the creation scene at the beginning of the Silmarillion).


1

All hail @Jason Baker's excellent answer. I'd like to add one additional very important point: Tolkien reported that the original inspiration for everything in his Legendarium was in 1913 when he was studying Anglo-Saxon literature and came across lines in the Crist written by Cynewulf: éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum sended ...


1

The Earth which is known as Arda in the Lord of the Rings has a few continents. The stories mainly take place on Middle Earth, but there is also The Dark Lands, and Aman which is also known as the Undying Lands. According to the LOTR Wikia.. Not much is known about this continent, except that it formed during Morgoth's marring of the world by breaking ...


1

Obviously we are supposed to imagine that sometime after the end of Lord of the Rings there was another great cataclysm in which Eru reshaped the world for some reason which is as unexplained as the date of the event. After that catastrophe the world resembled our modern geography. Since writing began in Mesopotamia about 3600 BC or about 5,615 years ago, ...


1

It depends how you define "definitive". Tolkien was always changing his mind about how his stories should unfold. For instance, Galadrial's movements were revised a number of times. Tolkien was moving towards a stance that it was wrong for his mythology to be so fantastically unrealistic in its physics. So he started rewriting the stories to make them set ...


1

This answer is fine. However, there's still the fact that in the published Lord of the Rings (even after revision) Tom Bombadil speaks explicitly about the flat earth being turned round. And in questions of canon is generally assumed that LotR comes before The Hobbit. Other than that, the line doesn't say that the Wood-elves lingered under the Sun before the ...


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