310Re: Welsh _Annwn_, Sindarin _Annûn_
- Jan 31, 2003In message 5, "Pavel Iosad" <pavel_iosad@m...> wrote:
> may it be noted that the realm of _Annwfn_ as portrayed in _PwyllTence sinanna Aelfwine:
> Pendefig Dyfed_ is of no association to 'hell' at all.
> True enough. But 1) later associations often are quite altered from----
> the primitive/formative semantics indicated by etymology; and 2) Tolkien
> did not reject Jones's derivation. What the Welsh made of the word/name they
> inherited as _Annw(f)n_ has no necessary bearing on what the word's
> antecedents originally meant.
Depends on what Hell means, linguistically speaking: are we talking
about a place of Punishment and eternal damnation? Like Hebrew
Gehenna or the Pagan Greek/Latin concept of Tartarus? Then, clearly,
Annwfn of Mabinogion is not portrayed as Hell in that sense.
Or are we talking about the place of departed souls in the
Netherworld, to whom Heaven is not open, as yet, or wasn't until a
moment ago, as when we say of Christ:
descendit ad inferos...
He descended to Hell...
where the Greek would certainly not be Tartarus, but Hades, and the
Hebrew would be Sheol? In that sense Annwfn meant Hell even to Pagan
Celts, though their guess of its characteristics might not be the best
one. At least if the scholars on Celtic mythology are correct in
identifying Elflands of all sorts with Netherworlds, Lands of the
Dead, whether the text states so or not. If they were wrong, it was
on their wrong guess that Jones and Tolkien based theirs.
Hans Georg Lundahl
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