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Chronology

The Thain's Book
An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor

Stars
& Other Celestial Bodies


Alcarinquë

The planet Jupiter. Alcarinque was created by Varda between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees. To prepare for the coming of the Elves, Varda made many celestial bodies from the silver dew of Telperion, one of the Two Trees of Valinor. Alcarinque was called "the Glorious," suggesting that - like Jupiter - it was one of the brightest objects in the night sky.

Names & Etymology:
The name Alcarinquë means "the Glorious" in Quenya. Also spelled Alkarinquë.

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48; Index entry for Alcarinque; "Appendix - Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names," entry for aglar
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71; "The Later Quenta Silmarillion," p. 160, 166; "Index - Star-names," p. 434-35


Anarríma

A constellation. Anarrima was created between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees. Varda made the constellation by gathering ancient stars together. She made many other constellations as well as new stars at this time in preparation for the awakening of the Elves.

Names & Etymology:
The name Anarríma appears to be composed of the Quenya words anar meaning "sun" and ríma meaning "edge, border." The identity of this constellation is unknown.

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entries for ANAR and RI

The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71; "The Later Quenta Silmarillion," p. 160


Borgil

A red star, possibly Aldebaran. Borgil was described as "glowing like a jewel of fire." (FotR, p. 91) Rising in the night sky, Borgil followed Remmirath and preceded Menelvagor. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin saw Borgil on the night of September 24-25, 3018 of the Third Age, when they met Gildor and a company of Elves in the Woody End.

Names & Etymology:
The name Borgil means "red star" in Sindarin from born meaning "hot, red" and gil meaning "star."

Some sources have identified Borgil as Betelgeuse, a red star in the constellation Orion. But in The Fellowship of the Ring (p. 91), Borgil is described as rising after Remmirath (the Pleiades) but before Menelvagor (Orion) like Aldebaran does.

Sources:
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Three Is Company," p. 91
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Letter #347
"A Definitive Identification of Tolkien's 'Borgil': An Astronomical and Literary Approach" by Dr. Kristine Larsen, Part One and Part Two

The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "Three Is Company," p. 108


Carnil

The planet Mars. Carnil was one of the celestial bodies created by Varda from the silver dew of Telperion between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees in anticipation of the awakening of the Elves. As its name suggests, Carnil was red.

Names & Etymology:
The name Carnil probably means "red star" in Quenya. The word carnë means "red." The second element could be nillë from ngil meaning "silver glint" related to the Sindarin gil meaning "star." Also spelled Karnil.

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71; "The Later Quenta Silmarillion," p. 160, 166; "Myths Transformed," p. 388; "Index - Star-names," p. 434-35


Eärendil

The planet Venus. The Star of Earendil was the brightest celestial body apart from the Sun and the Moon. The light of the Star came from the Silmaril borne by Earendil the Mariner as he sailed across the sky in his ship Vingilot. Earendil was most often seen at sunrise and sunset as the Morning Star and the Evening Star. The Star of Earendil was a source of hope to the peoples of Middle-earth.

Earendil the Mariner sailed to the Undying Lands in 542 of the First Age to plead for the help of the Valar in the war against Morgoth. The Valar agreed, but Earendil was not permitted to return to Middle-earth. Instead, he was fated to sail the heavens in his ship Vingilot - which was remade of mithril and glass - wearing a Silmaril on his brow.

When the Star of Earendil crossed the sky for the first time, Maedhros and Maglor realized that its light came from one of the Silmarils made by their father Feanor. The people of Middle-earth called it Gil-Estel, the Star of High Hope, and they no longer despaired. Morgoth became doubtful though he did not think that the Valar would intervene to stop him.

The Host of the Valar came to Middle-earth in 545 and the War of Wrath began. In 589, Earendil left his path through the skies and flew Vingilot into battle where he slew Ancalagon the Black. The Valar cast Morgoth through the Door of Night into the Timeless Void, and Earendil returned to his course to guard the heavens against Morgoth's return.

Earendil's wife Elwing did not accompany him but instead remained behind in a tower on the coast of the Undying Lands. Birds taught her how to fly using a pair of wings, and she sometimes flew up to meet Earendil when he returned from his voyages across the sky.

In the year 32 of the Second Age, the Star of Earendil shone brightly in the West as a sign that Numenor was ready for the Men who had fought Morgoth. They sailed to their new home, guided by the light of the Star which was visible during the day as well as the night for the duration of their journey. The leader of the Numenoreans was Earendil's son Elros, brother of Elrond.

During the War of the Ring at the end of the Third Age, Galadriel gave Frodo Baggins a Phial filled with water from her Mirror in which she had captured the light of the Star of Earendil. Sam Gamgee used the Phial when he battled Shelob, and the Great Spider retreated in agony from its blinding light.

In Mordor on the night of March 15, 3019, Sam Gamgee saw the Star of Earendil through a break in the clouds in the western sky.

The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
The Return of the King: "The Land of Shadow," p. 199
Names & Etymology:
The name Eärendil means "lover of the Sea" in Quenya from Eär meaning "the Sea" and the ending -ndil meaning "devotion." Tolkien created the name based on the Anglo-Saxon word éarendel meaning "ray of light" which he interpreted as a name for the morning star.

The people of Middle-earth first called it Gil-Estel - or Star of High Hope - from the Sindarin gil meaning "star" and estel meaning "hope."

In a poem, Bilbo Baggins called the Star of Earendil the Flammifer of Westernesse. The word flammifer is from the Latin meaning "flame-bearer" from flamma meaning "flame" and fero meaning "to bear." Westernesse was another name for Numenor meaning "Westland."

The Numenoreans called the star Rothinzil which was the Adunaic name of the ship Vingilot, meaning "Foam-flower."

Sources:
The Fellowship of the Ring: "A Knife in the Dark," p. 206; Many Meetings," p. 246-49; "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 376, 380; "Farewell to Lorien," p. 393
The Two Towers: "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol," p. 321; "Shelob's Lair," p. 329-30; "The Choices of Master Samwise," p. 338-39
The Return of the King: The Tower of Cirith Ungol," p. 191; "The Land of Shadow," p. 199
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The Numenorean Kings," 314 and note 6
The Silmarillion: "Of the Fifth Battle," p. 194; Of the Voyage of Earendil," p. 249-50, 252, 254-55; "Akallabeth," p. 259-61, 279
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Letter #297

Old English Made Easy
A New Latin-English School Lexicon


Elemmírë

A celestial body, possibly Mercury. Elemmire was one of the objects in the night sky created between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees to herald the coming of the Elves. It was made by Varda from the silver dew of Telperion, one of the Two Trees of Valinor.

Names & Etymology:
The name Elemmírë means "star jewel" in Quenya from elen meaning "star" and míre meaning "jewel." Elemmírë was also the name of an Elf.

On a list equating Varda's creations with the planets in the solar system, Elemmire is labelled with an M. Since Carnil - also labelled M - is Mars, Elemmire is apparently identified with Mercury. However, Christopher Tolkien notes that his father may not have meant for this list to be taken seriously.

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48; "Appendix - Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names," entries for el, elen and mire
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71; "Index - Star-names," p. 434-36


Helluin

Sirius, the Dog Star. Helluin was a bright, blue star. Rising in the night sky, Helluin was located at the foot of Menelvagor, the Swordsman of the Sky, which today is known as Orion.

Helluin was one of the stars created by Varda between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees to herald the coming of the Elves. As Menelvagor and Helluin first rose together in 1050, the Elves awoke at Cuivienen and looked up and saw the stars.

Names & Etymology:
The name Helluin appears to be derived from helcë meaning "ice" and luinë meaning "blue" in Quenya. In early stories it was called Nielluin, meaning "Blue Bee" or "Bee of Azure" where nier means "honey bee." In one tale (BoLT 2, p. 281) the star was originally Ingil, son of Inwe (Ingwe), who followed Telumehtar (Menelvagor) into the sky to guard against Morgoth's return.

Helluin is identified with Sirius which is often depicted as the dog of Orion the Hunter (known in Middle-earth as Menelvagor).

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48; "Of Feanor," p. 64
The History of Middle-earth, vol. I, The Book of Lost Tales Part One: "The Tale of the Sun and the Moon," p. 182, 192, 200; "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales - Part I," p. 262
The History of Middle-earth, vol. II, The Book of Lost Tales Part Two: "The History of Eriol or Aelfwine," p. 281-82
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entries for KHEL and LUG2


Luinil & Nénar

Celestial bodies, possibly Neptune and Uranus. Luinil and Nenar were created by Varda from the silver dew of Telperion, one of the Two Trees of Valinor. Varda made many bright heavenly lights between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees to herald the awakening of the Elves. Luinil shone with a blue light.

Names & Etymology:
The name Luinil is derived from the Quenya word luinë meaning "blue." The name Nénar is derived from the Quenya word nén meaning "water."

On a list matching some of Varda's creations with the planets in our solar system, J.R.R. Tolkien labelled Nénar with an N and then crossed it out. He apparently considered equating Nénar - named for "water" - with Neptune - named for the Roman god of the sea - but then changed his mind. Christopher Tolkien notes that Neptune is not visible to the naked eye, making it an unlikely candidate for one of the bright new stars. He also suggests that the list may simply have been a whimsical exercise. (HoME X, p. 434-36)

Christopher Tolkien also cites the article "Nólë i Meneldilo - Lore of the Astronomer" by Jorge Quiñonez and Ned Raggett which suggests that J.R.R. Tolkien may have intended to switch the identities of Nénar and Luinil. Luinil was not labelled with any letter, but by the process of elimination Uranus is the only logical remaining planet. The article speculates that Tolkien may have meant to change Luinil to Neptune because its name is derived from luinë meaning "blue" and Neptune has a distinctive blue coloring. This would leave Nénar to be equated with Uranus.

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71; "Index - Star-names," p. 434-36
"Nólë i Meneldilo - Lore of the Astronomer" by Jorge Quiñonez and Ned Raggett, in Vinyar Tengwar #12, July 1990


Lumbar

A celestial body, possibly Saturn. Lumbar was created by Varda between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees from the silver dew of Telperion, one of the Two Trees of Valinor. Varda made many stars and constellations at this time in preparation for the awakening of the Elves.

Names & Etymology:
The name Lumbar may be derived from the Quenya lumbë meaning "gloom, shadow" or lumbo meaning "cloud."

Lumbar is tentatively identified with Saturn based on a manuscript page by J.R.R. Tolkien where he matched the names of several celestial bodies with initials apparently referring to the planets: Carnil = M; Luinil = no letter; Nenar = N (crossed out); Lumbar = S; Alcarinque = Jup; Elemmire = M. Of these, only Carnil as Mars and Alcarinque as Jupiter are certain. Christopher Tolkien notes that his father may not have been entirely serious in composing this list. (HoME X, p. 434-35)

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entry for LUM

The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71; "Index - Star-names," p. 434-36

Quenya-English Wordlist


Menelvagor

The constellation Orion. Menelvagor was known as the Swordsman of the Sky. The most prominent feature of Menelvagor was a shining belt of stars. In the night sky, Menelvagor was located south of Remmirath and Borgil and north of Helluin.

Varda used ancient stars to create the constellation of Menelvagor between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees. She made a number of new stars and constellations at that time in preparation for the coming of the Elves. Menelvagor first rose above the horizon in 1050 as the Elves awoke at Cuivienen, and the stars were the first things the Elves saw.

Menelvagor forebodes the Last Battle at the end of time in which Morgoth will ultimately be defeated. The Swordsman represents Turin who will slay Morgoth with his sword Gurthang. According to an early story (BoLT 2, p. 281), the stars forming the sheath of the sword will turn red when the Swordsman draws his sword for the Last Battle.

When Frodo, Sam, and Pippin met Gildor and a company of Elves on the night of September 24-25, 3018 of the Third Age, they saw Menelvagor rise in the sky and the Elves began to sing.

Names & Etymology:
The name Menelvagor means "Swordsman of the Sky" in Sindarin from menel meaning "the heavens" and vagor from magor meaning "swordsman." The Quenya form of the name was Menelmacar where macar means "swordsman."

In earlier tales (BoLT 2, p. 281) the constellation was Telumehtar - son of Tulkas - who guarded the sky against Morgoth. Telumehtar means "warrior of the sky" from the Quenya telume meaning "roof, canopy" used for "the heavens" and ohtar meaning "warrior."

Menelvagor is identified with the constellation now known as Orion the Hunter.

Sources:
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Three Is Company," p. 91
Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings: "Writing and Spelling," p. 391
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48; "Appendix - Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names," entry for menel

The History of Middle-earth, vol. II, The Book of Lost Tales Part Two: "The History of Eriol or Aelfwine," p. 281-82
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entry for MAK

The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71, 76
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XI, The War of the Jewels: "Quendi and Eldar," p. 411 note 15
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "Three Is Company," p. 108


Nénar

See Luinil and Nenar above.


Remmirath

The star cluster Pleiades. Remmirath was called the Netted Stars. In the night sky, it was located north of Borgil and Menelvagor. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin saw Remmirath on the night of September 24-25, 3018 of the Third Age, when they met Gildor and the Elves in the Woody End.

Names & Etymology:
Also called the Netted Stars. The name Remmirath means "a group of jewels in a net" in Sindarin from rem meaning "mesh, net" and mîr meaning "jewel" plus the collective plural ending -ath. The Pleiades are a cluster of bright stars in a reflection nebula, or dust cloud.

Sources:
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Three Is Company," p. 91
Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings: "Writing and Spelling," p. 393 note 1
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "Three Is Company," p. 108
"The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor," by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Carl F. Hostetter, commentary by Christopher Tolkien, in Vinyar Tengwar #42, July 2001, p. 12


Soronúmë

A constellation. Soronume was created by Varda between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees. She gathered ancient stars together to create the new constellation. Soronume and a number of other constellations and stars were made in preparation for the awakening of the Elves.

Names & Etymology:
The name Soronúmë may mean "Eagle of the West" in Quenya from soron meaning "eagle" and númë meaning "the West" or "going down" (as in the sun setting).

Soronúmë may be identified with the constellation now called Aquila, the Eagle. Another possibility is Lyra, which was also called Aquila Cadens, the Falling Eagle.

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71

Quenya-English Wordlist


Telumendil

A constellation. Telumendil was created from ancient stars between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees. Varda made many constellations and stars at this time in anticipation of the awakening of the Elves.

Names & Etymology:
The name Telumendil means "sky friend" in Quenya from telumë meaning "dome, roof, canopy" and the ending -ndil meaning "friend." The identity of this constellation is unknown.

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71

Quenya-English Wordlist


Valacirca

The Sickle of the Valar. Valacirca was the name of the asterism known today as the Big Dipper or the Plough which is part of the constellation Ursa Major. It was made up of seven great stars.

Varda made Valacirca around 1050 of the Years of the Trees before the awakening of the Elves. She placed it high in the northern sky as a warning and a sign of doom to Morgoth, whose stronghold Utumno was in the far north of Middle-earth.

Tolkien equated the seven stars on the Doors of Durin with the Plough - and, by extension, with Valacirca - in his Index to The Lord of the Rings (p. 439-40). The stars were part of the emblem of Durin I, who saw a crown of stars above his reflection when he first looked into Mirrormere. Aferwards it was said that the Crown of Durin could be seen in the waters even in daylight.

While Beren was held captive by Sauron in 465 of the First Age, he sang a song in praise of Valacirca which was heard by Luthien who came to his rescue. Bilbo Baggins saw Valacirca above the northern end of Long Lake when he came to Lake-town on September 22, 2941 of the Third Age. Frodo Baggins saw Valacirca above Bree-hill on the night of September 29, 3018, and he and Sam and Gimli saw the Crown of Durin in Mirrormere on January 15, 3019.

Names & Etymology:
The name Valacirca means "Sickle of the Valar" in Quenya. The word circa means "sickle." In The Fellowship of the Ring (p. 187) it is said that the Hobbits called it the Sickle, while in The Hobbit (p. 204) it is referred to as the Wain, meaning "wagon." In early stories it is said that Men and possibly Elves called it the Burning Briar. For the Dwarves it was equated with the Crown of Durin.

Also referred to as the Seven Stars. In Quenya, Otselen means "Seven Stars" from otso meaning "seven" and elen meaning "star." In Sindarin, "Seven Stars" is Edegil from odog meaning "seven" and gil meaning "star."

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48; "Of Beren and Luthien," p. 174
The Hobbit: "A Warm Welcome," p. 204
The Annotated Hobbit by Douglas A. Anderson: "A Warm Welcome," p. 243 note 3
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Strider," p. 187; "A Journey in the Dark," p. 318, 329-30; "Lothlorien," p. 348
The Lord of the Rings: Index, entry for Star

The History of Middle-earth, vol. IV, The Shaping of Middle-earth: "The Quenta," p. 84
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entry for OT

The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Annals of Aman," p. 71; "The Later Quenta Silmarillion," p. 160, 166; "Myths Transformed," p. 378, 388
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "Strider," p. 163; "A Journey in the Dark," p. 280; "Lothlorien," p. 299


Wilwarin

A constellation, possibly Cassiopeia. Wilwarin was created from ancient stars by Varda between 1000 and 1050 of the Years of the Trees. It was one of a number of constellations and stars that she made in preparation for the awakening of the Elves.

Names & Etymology:
The name Wilwarin means "butterfly" in Quenya. In the Index to The Silmarillion, Christopher Tolkien suggests that Wilwarin is Cassiopeia, possibly because that constellation is shaped like wings.

Sources:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Coming of the Elves," p. 48; Index entry for Wilwarin
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Later Quenta Silmarillion," p. 160, 166


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