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Re: Annwfn, Rhiannon, Arawn & Morris-Jones

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  • Carl F. Hostetter
    ... Indeed! Which if anything makes it all the more significant that Tolkien nonetheless accepted Jones s etymology in this case, at least to the extent of
    Message 1 of 5 , May 30, 2002
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      On 5/30/02 12:07 PM, "Candon McLean" <candon3@...> wrote:

      > Tolkien was an excellent philologist, and he would have been aware of
      > the contorversy with Morris-Jones' etymologies. Tolkien, I believe,
      > may have been influenced by Morris-Jones, but he certainly would not
      > have accepted Morris-Jones' etymologies blindly

      Indeed! Which if anything makes it all the more significant that Tolkien
      nonetheless accepted Jones's etymology in this case, at least to the extent
      of echoing it in his own notes.


      |======================================================================|
      | Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org |
      | |
      | ho bios brachys, he de techne makre. |
      | Ars longa, vita brevis. |
      | The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne. |
      | "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take |
      | such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about." |
      |======================================================================|
    • Pavel Iosad
      Hello, ... Indeed. A one-on-one Welsh - English transposition would be very very unreliable. ... I d also vote for these, esp. inworld , as it would agree
      Message 2 of 5 , May 30, 2002
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        Hello,

        Clandon wrote:
        > The Welsh word _annwfn_ does have a controversial etymology as both
        > elements have multiple meanings, e.g. _an-_ 'un-' or 'in;' _dwfn_
        > 'deep' or 'world,' and so on (See Geiradur Pryfysgol Cymru (GPC)
        > entries _an-_, _annwfn_, and _dwfn_). So we could have 'unworld,'
        > 'undeep,' 'inworld,' 'indeep.' And the interpretations of what these
        > glosses mean is another contentious point.

        Indeed. A one-on-one Welsh -> English transposition would be very very unreliable.

        > I prefer 'unworld' (otherworld?) and 'inworld' as these seem
        > to capture
        > what (little) we know of Celtic religion from the indigenous writings
        > and the archeological temple finds.

        I'd also vote for these, esp. 'inworld', as it would agree with the Irish notions of the _sidh_ in the hills of the country, and then Pwyll's hunt from Arberth directly to Annwfn's realm.

        > I believe that these multiple intrepretations would not have been lost
        > on Tolkien, and perhaps both _udыn_ and _annыn_ were both
        > influenced by Welsh _annwfn_.
        >
        > Rhiannon does not mean as Pavel has suggested 'mistress,'

        Mea culpa. That was an imperfect translation into English of something I found in a book translated from French into Russian :-(

        >rather most scholars agree that it is derived from _*rigantona_.
        >
        > _rig_ is not a 'crown' but 'king' (see GPC entry _rhi_).

        RIG- has the meaning of 'crown' in the Etymologies, and I was referring to that.

        I was just about to mention _rhi_ when your most excellent letter came. There's also _rhiain_ (pl. _rhianedd_) 'maiden'. I fancy it might have a connection to the root.

        [...]
        > Rhiannon would then mean something like 'great one(feminine) who
        > rules). Notice also that this etymology (or one similar) would have
        > been available to Tolkien (see MacCulloch "Celtic Mythology"
        > pg. 95, in
        > _Mythology of All Races_ vol. 3 1918, where he glosses _Rhiannon_ as
        > 'great queen' which is essentially the same etymology).

        I fancy that was the etymology I was referring to, albeit indirectly and thus falsely.

        [...]

        And Carl wrote previously:

        >> may it be noted that the realm of _Annwfn_ as portrayed in _Pwyll
        >> 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;

        That's precisely what appears to have happened.

        >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.

        But I find it rather more probable that Tolkien would refer to the text of PPD and the semantics of the words therein if he were referring to ancient Welsh/Celtic culture. In our case, it may rather be the modern meaning that is irrelevant. Ot vice versa. Both are possible.

        [...]
        >Remember the conceit (expressed perhaps most fully in _The
        >Drowning of Anad�ne_ in _Sauron Defeated_) that while Men in northwestern
        >Europe had the truest form of the mythology, it was still much changed, even
        >corrupted. Welsh _Annw(f)n_, by this conceit, may be a dim, much-blurred
        >memory of the Eldarin "underworld".

        Interesting observation. This, to me, would imply the notion of an Underworld in Elvish culture. If that means Angband, then we might indeed talk about _Annw(f)n_ as 'hell'. This would then show a word-play on two levels - the purely phonetic level (where _Annw(f)n_ would be close to _Ann�n_, and refer to the Western Otherworld - i.e. have its connotaions of _Y Mabinogi_) and the etymological level (and thus refer to 'hell' and be rather close to _Ud�n_).

        Regards,
        Pavel
        --
        Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

        'I am a philologist, and thus a misunderstood man'
        --JRR Tolkien, _The Notion Club Papers_
      • Candon McLean
        ... Which is significant for _udûn_, but Tolkien s acceptance of Morris-Jones eytomogy here doesn t perclude Tolkien s use of the other interpretations of
        Message 3 of 5 , May 31, 2002
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          I wrote:

          > Tolkien, I believe, may have been influenced by Morris-Jones, but he
          > certainly would not have accepted Morris-Jones' etymologies blindly.

          Carl replied:

          > Indeed! Which if anything makes it all the more significant that
          > Tolkien nonetheless accepted Jones's etymology in this case, at least
          > to the extent of echoing it in his own notes.

          Which is significant for _ud�n_, but Tolkien's acceptance of
          Morris-Jones' eytomogy here doesn't perclude Tolkien's use of the other
          interpretations of _Annwfn_ for other Elvish words, e.g. _ann�n_.

          Indeed it seems very Tolkien to have two words of Elvish that have
          fallen together in meaning in Human languages to explain the various
          interpretations of the Welsh _Annwfn_.

          Candon


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        • Carl F. Hostetter
          ... Oh, I agree, wholeheartedly. I never meant to imply that there could be _no_ intended relationship between S. _Annûn_ and Welsh _Annw(f)n_. But if there
          Message 4 of 5 , May 31, 2002
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            On 5/31/02 9:32 AM, "Candon McLean" <candon3@...> wrote:

            > Which is significant for _udûn_, but Tolkien's acceptance of
            > Morris-Jones' eytomogy here doesn't perclude Tolkien's use of the other
            > interpretations of _Annwfn_ for other Elvish words, e.g. _annûn_.

            Oh, I agree, wholeheartedly. I never meant to imply that there could be _no_
            intended relationship between S. _Annûn_ and Welsh _Annw(f)n_.

            But if there is, it must be a different sort of relationship than that
            proposed for _Udûn_ (< *_Utubnu_) and _Annw(f)n_ (< *_n-dub-n-_). It is just
            conceivable that *_n-dub-n-_, the ancient antecedent of _Annw(f)n_ (as
            corrobated by cognates in other languages), could have some relationship
            with the Eldarin forms; but it would be much harder to argue that either
            _Annw(f)n_ or *_n-dub-n_ could have been formed upon S. _Annûn_, Q.
            _Andúne_, or their antecedents (how, for instance, could we account for the
            _f_ of _Annwfn_?)


            |======================================================================|
            | Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org |
            | |
            | ho bios brachys, he de techne makre. |
            | Ars longa, vita brevis. |
            | The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne. |
            | "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take |
            | such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about." |
            |======================================================================|
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