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58_Anaxartaron Onyalie_

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  • Patrick Wynne
    Jun 9, 2002
      The Q. phrase _Anaxartaron Onyalie_ is the title pencilled on an amanuensis
      typescript of the tale of the creation of the Ents and the Eagles of the
      Lords of the West (XI:340) This tale (probably dating to c. 1963; see
      XI:341) was used by Christopher Tolkien to provide the second half of Ch. 2
      of the published _Silmarillion_, "Of Aule and Yavanna" (S:44-46). A second
      amanuensis typescript of the tale bears a pencilled title in English: "Of
      the Ents and the Eagles".

      There has been some interesting discussion online over whether 'Of the Ents
      and the Eagles' translates _Anaxartaron Onyalie_, or whether the Q. title
      means something else; see in particular Tolklang messages 33.73, 33.74, and
      33.82, and Elfling messages 125, 131, 138, 144, 148, 150, 155, 3736-38, and
      3742-46. The general concensus in these postings has been that the Q. title
      probably means something else, a view largely predicated on the assumption
      that _anaxar-_ in _Anaxartaron_ is a borrowing of Valarin _anashkaad_ 'ring'
      seen in V. _Maachananashkaad_ 'Doom-ring', the latter adapted into Q. as
      _Maahanaxar_ (XI:401; in my ascii rendition of the V. forms, _ch_ = chi and
      _sh_ = s-hacek).

      I would like to make a case here for the possibility that _Anaxartaron
      Onyalie_ does in fact mean 'Of the Ents and the Eagles', and that
      _Anaxartaron_ consists entirely of native Elvish elements. In the following
      discussion, forms cited are Quenya unless otherwise noted.

      Interpretation of _Onyalie_ as 'Ents' presents few difficulties (as has been
      noted in the online discussions); the form can be analyzed as _*onya_ 'Ent'
      + _lie_ 'people' (V:369 s.v. LI-), the latter element seen also in the
      compound _Eldalie_ 'the Elven-folk' (S:326), making _Onyalie_ the semantic
      equivalent of S. _Onodrim_ 'the Ents' (L:178, 224). It has been proposed
      (see Salo, Elfling message #144) that given S. _onod_ 'Ent' (L:224),
      apparently from _*onot-_, one would expect the Q. equivalent to be _*onto_.
      However, the pair Q. _*onya_, S. _onod_ suggests instead that the Q. form
      derives from a simple base *ONO- (perhaps whence also the augmentive suffix
      seen in Q. _andon_, pl. _andondi_ 'great gate', vs. _ando_ 'gate'; V:348
      s.v. AD-), while the S. form derives instead from an _extended_ form *ONO-T-
      of the same base. A similar disparity in primitive stems also occurs, for
      example, in the Eldarin words for 'seven' -- on the basis of N. _odog_ alone
      (< base OTOK) one would expect the Q. equivalent to be _**ohto_ (_**otokoo_
      > _**otko_ > _**ohto_), but the Q. word for 'seven' is in fact _otso_ (<
      base OTOS, with different consonantal extension; V:379 s.v. OT- (OTOS, OTOK)

      _Anaxartaron_ appears to be the genitive pl. of a noun _*anaxarta_. If
      _Anaxartaron Onyalie_ means 'Of the Ents and the Eagles', _*anaxarta_ would
      have to mean 'Eagle'. The usual Q. word for 'eagle' is however _soron_,
      _sorne_ < THOR- 'come swooping down' (V:392-93). According to the
      _Etymologies_, this same root is the source of the final element in the
      river-name _Brilthor_: adj. _tho^r_ 'swooping, leaping down' (the language
      of _Brilthor_, _tho^r_, and _thoorod_ 'torrent' is not identified; they are
      probably Ilkorin). An interesting parallel to this connection between a
      river-name and a word for 'eagle' occurs in Adunaic, in which the neuter pl.
      subjective form _Nariika_ 'Eagles' is attested (IX:251). This Ad. word, the
      normal sg. of which would be _*narak_ or _*naraak_, appears to be cognate
      with the Eldarin base NARAK- 'tear, rend', whence Q. _naraka_ 'harsh,
      rending, violent' (< _*naraaka_ 'rushing, rapid, violent') and the N.
      river-name _Narog_ (V:374).

      This semantic association of rivers and eagles as things that 'rush, tear,
      swoop or leap down' points to a possible etymology for _*anaxarta_ as
      'eagle'. The _Etymologies_ gives a root SKAR- 'tear, rend', whence
      _*askaraa_ 'tearing, hastening' > N. _asgar_, _ascar_ 'violent, rushing,
      impetuous', Ilk. _ascar_, the latter also providing the name of the river
      _Ascar_ (V:386). No Q. development of _*askaraa_ is given, though if one
      existed it would have the form _*askara_, or _*axara_ (_*aksara_) with
      metathesis of _sk_ > _ks_ (See "Note on _SK_ > _KS_ (_X_)" at the end of
      this post). _an-_ is an intensive/superlative prefix applied to adjectives,
      as _ancalima_ 'exceedingly bright' < _kalima_ 'shining brilliant' (letter to
      Rhona Beare dated 1958, L:278-79). Added to our hypothetical Q. adj.
      _*axara_ 'rushing, hastening', this prefix would yield _*anaxara_
      'exceedingly swift', which I propose is the initial element in _*anaxarta_
      'eagle'. The final element in _*anaxarta_ is probably _arta_ 'exalted,
      lofty' (XII:354), used substantively as *'lofty one, exalted one', with
      _*anaxarta_ being a haplological shortening of _*anaxara-arta_, lit.
      'exceedingly swift and lofty one'. We can probably assume, since _soron-_,
      _sorno_ continued to exist as a word for 'eagle' (letter to Richard Jeffery
      dated 1972, L:427), that _*anaxarta_ was a learned term referring only to
      one of the spirit-inhabited Eagles of Manwe, whereas _sorno_ 'eagle' was a
      general term encompassing both the _*Anaxartar_ (hence its use in the name
      _Sorontar_ 'King of Eagles', XI:272) and the more ordinary varieties of
      non-spirit-possessed, non-talking, non-wizard-carrying eagles we are
      familiar with today. In other words, all _*Anaxartar_ were _sorni_, but not
      all _sorni_ were _*Anaxartar_.

      This still leaves the syntax of _Anaxartaron Onyalie_ to be explained. Two
      factors appear to come into play in this phrase:

      1) In the Q. titles of literary works, a genitive plural is often used
      alone, with a preceding noun such as _quenta_ 'account, history' or _nyarna_
      'legend' (XI:420) implicit but unexpressed; thus _Silmarillion_ 'the History
      of the Silmarils', _Narsilion_ 'the Song of the Sun and Moon' (S:99), and
      _Atanataarion_ 'the Legendarium of the Fathers of Men' (X:373).

      2) According to the Q. Rule of Apposition, "in the case of two declinable
      names in apposition, only the last is declined"; hence _*Elendil Voronda_
      'Elendil the Faithful', gen. _Elendil Vorondo_ (UT:305, 317 n.43). Another
      example of this occurs in _Namna Finwe Miiriello_ 'the Statute of Finwe and
      Miiriel' (X:258). In _Finwe Miiriello_ 'of Finwe and Miiriel' only the last
      name is declined, although _both_ genitivally modify _Namna_ 'Statute'. Also
      notable here is that the conjunction _ar_ 'and' is implied but not

      It appears, then, that _Anaxartaron Onyalie_ 'of the Ents and the Eagles',
      like _Finwe Miiriello_ 'of Finwe and Miiriel', is a phrase consisting of two
      appositional nouns, with only one of the nouns explicitly declined for the
      genitive and with _ar_ 'and' implied but not expressed. The reason why the
      _first_ noun in _Anaxartaron Onyalie_ is declined rather than the last (as
      one would expect according to the Rule of Apposition) is probably due to the
      fact that the noun that these genitives modify is implied rather than
      explicitly present (_quenta_ 'account', _nyarna_ 'legend', etc.). In the
      titles of literary works it is usual for a genitive to follow the noun
      modified, e.g., _Quenta Silmarillion_, _Yeenie Valinooreo_ 'The Annals of
      Valinor' (X:200), _Indis i-Kiryamo_ 'The Mariner's Wife' (UT:8), _Heru
      i-Million_ 'The Lord of the Rings' (PE10:46 n.40) -- so if the last form in
      'Of the Ents and the Eagles' were declined, say _**Anaxartar Onyalieeva_,
      this would appear to mean **'The Eagles of the Ents'. Similarly, if the
      existing forms were reversed, _**Onyalie Anaxartaron_ would seemingly mean
      **_The Ents of the Eagles'. Declining the first noun for the genitive in
      this title rather than the second makes it clear that a preceding but
      unexpressed noun _quenta_ or _nyarna_ is to be understood: _*(Quenta)
      Anaxartaron Onyalie_ '(Account) of the Ents and the Eagles'. This may be
      viewed as a refinement or elaboration of the Rule of Apposition, rather than
      as a contradiction of it.

      * * * * * * * * * *

      NOTE ON _SK_ > _KS_ (_X_)

      Metathesis of earlier medial _*-sk-_ > _-ks- (sometimes spelled _-x-_) is an
      attested but irregularly occurring development in Quenya. In the
      _Etymologies_, for example, may be found MISK- > _miksa_ 'wet' and MASAG-
      'knead' > _*mazgaa_ > _maksa_ 'pliant, soft' (i.e., presumably _*mazgaa_ >
      _*maska_ > _maksa_), beside EZGE- 'rustle, noise of leaves' > _eske_ in
      which metathesis does not occur -- though this entry was struck out (V:373,
      371, 357). The later corpus is equally contradictory; a note associated with
      the c. 1968 essay "The Shibboleth of Feanor" cites C.E. _(u)rus_ 'brownish
      red' > _rusko_ 'a fox', _ruskuite_ 'foxy' (VT41:10), while the Valarin form
      _Maachananashkaad_ 'Doom-ring' (from "Quendi and Eldar", c. 1960) was
      phonetically adapted into Q. as _Maahanaxar_, with V. _-shk-_ > (presumably)
      _*-sk-_ > Q. _-ks-_ (_-x-_).

      Many more examples of this disparity occur in QL, e.g., M(B)ASA- 'cook,
      bake' > _maksa-_ 'cook' vs. MASA(2) 'dusk' > _maska_ 'dusky, misty'
      (PE12:59). This issue is addressed in the accompanying Qenya Phonology,
      which states: "An 's' transposition period must be assumed that must be held
      to have been early discontinued and to have been uncertain in its area". It
      is also said there that "_sc_ > _x_ is commoner than _sc_." (PE12:19) The
      apparent irregularity of metathesis of _-sk-_ > _-ks-_ in the _Etymologies_
      and later may have a similar explanation.

      * * * * * * * * * *

      -- Patrick Wynne
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