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Re: Annwfn, Rhiannon, Arawn & Morris-Jones

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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_?)


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          | Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org |
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          | Ars longa, vita brevis. |
          | The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne. |
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