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Re: _Anaxartaron Onyalie_

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  • Didier Willis
    Greetings, As far as I remember (it was back in the youth of Elfling), one of the proposed interpretations was mine, and was misquoted by others on Elfling
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 10, 2002

      As far as I remember (it was back in the youth of Elfling), one of the
      proposed interpretations was mine, and was misquoted by others on Elfling
      (that's actually what made me subscribe to the list :)

      Other interpretations were suggested afterwards, with different meanings,
      and no consensus was reached. I have not checked yet the developments of
      the (parallel or early?) discussions on Tolklang.

      Just to trace it correctly, my interpretation was published in _Hiswelókë_
      (French fanzine) no. 1 in 1999, as a correction to Kloczko's Quenya
      dictionary, where it was stated at p. 76 that _onyalie_ was meaning
      "Peuple des Ents - Ent race". My annotation read as follows:

      p. 76, entrée onyalie : la tentative de traduction « Peuple des Ents »
      (probablement induite par le terme sindarin Onod, « Ent ») est sans
      doute erronée. En fait nous ne savons pas clairement ce que signifie
      ce terme, qui est utilisé par Tolkien en titre d'une note « À propos
      des Aigles et des Ents », Anaxartaron Onyalie. Plus vraisembablement,
      Onyalie Anaxartaron serait « le peuple des enfants des Anaxartar ».
      Le premier mot viendrait de onya « progéniture » [UT/174] et de lie
      « peuple » [Ety/369], et serait ainsi formé sur le même principe que
      d'autres noms de peuples et de races (cf. Eldalie, « Les Elfes »).
      Anaxartar serait un terme pluriel (ici au génitif, terminaison -on)
      regroupant Manwe (pour les Aigles) et Yavanna (pour les Ents), très
      probablement dérivé du Valarin. En particulier, les racines valarines
      *anaskâd et akasân, que l'on retrouve dans mahanaxar et acsan en Quenya,
      évoquent une notion de jugement et de décision, et l'on pourrait donc
      peut-être interpréter ce terme comme « Les Hauts Juges ».

      For a web edition of this article, check here:

      A quick (and dirty) translation would read as follows:

      p. 76, entry onyalie : the tentative translation "Ent race"
      (conceivably reconstructed after the sindarin term Onod, "Ent") is
      probably incorrect. Actually, we do not know what this term, used by
      Tolkien in the title of a note "Of Eagles and Ents", really means.
      More likely, Onyalye Anaxartaron would be "The People of children of
      the Anaxartar". The first word would derive from onya "son, child"
      (UT/174) and lie "people" (Ety/369), and would therefore be formed on
      a similar model as other names of peoples and races (cf. Eldalie
      "Elves"). Anaxartar would be a plural term (here in the genitive,
      ending -on), regrouping Manwe (for the Eagles) and Yavanna (for the
      Ents), and very conceivably derived from Valarin. In particular, the
      Valarin roots *anaskâd and akasân, found in mahanaxar and acsan in
      Quenya, imply a notion of judgement and decision, and we could
      therefore perhaps interpret this term as meanin "The High Judges".

      So my own theory, at that time (remember, it was back in early 1999), was
      that Onyalie Anaxartaron was *not* a direct translation for "Of Eagles and

      Now, your own interpretation is rather sound and interesting, as it
      does not require involving Valarin roots...

      Whatever solution is found "more acceptable" by other scholars, there
      will remain an issue: the alternative title "Anaxartamel" on the same
      manuscript remains unexplained.



      [I have edited Didier's message to remove quite a bit of initial, and
      unnecessary, quoting of Pat's article. I have also cleaned up some line
      breaks and misspellings. I mention this because I mean to do this sort of
      tidying up when and as I can (though I can't guarantee I'll always have
      the time to do so). Also, I'm passing this message because it provides
      a glimpse at a hard-to-find (and, speaking personally, hard to read, as I
      have very little French) alternative interpretation. But this is not
      an invitation to rehearse every previous argument. Carl]
    • John Garth
      on 9/6/02 11:47 pm, Patrick Wynne at pwynne@gvtel.com wrote a fine and convincing piece on the Quenya title _Anaxartaron Onyalie_ (XI:340). My faith wavered
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 13, 2002
        on 9/6/02 11:47 pm, Patrick Wynne at pwynne@... wrote a fine and
        convincing piece on the Quenya title _Anaxartaron Onyalie_ (XI:340).

        My faith wavered over three points:

        (1) The idea that the ending of _anaxarta_ involves _arta_ by haplology. I
        would have thought a simple suffix -ta would be feasible.

        (2) The suggestion that _anaxartar_ might be a sub-group of _soroni_ (as
        opposed to a synonym). I feel there is no evidence for this either way.

        (3) It should be pointed out that _Of the Ents and the Eagles_ contains the
        name _Ezellohar_ (S:46) and is therefore one of relatively few texts where
        Tolkien indisputably made use of loanwords from Valarin as described in
        _Quendi and Eldar_, written probably three to four years previously (XI:
        341, 359). Furthermore, it is a story of the Valar before the coming of the
        Eldar. It does not seem far-fetched, therefore, to look to a Valarin
        etymology for _anaxartaron_.

        Nevertheless, I don't think any of the various the translations offered
        during the 1998 discussions (TolkLang and Elfling messages cited by Patrick)
        were particularly convincing ‹ including my own. It seems symptomatic of
        this that the most elegant attempt was a joke: Stephen Rowland's suggestion
        that _Anaxartaron Onyalie_ means "Synopsis for _The Lord of the Rings_";
        Elfling message 148. Nor did anyone offer an explanation of why Tolkien
        would decide to call the story one thing in English and another in Quenya.

        A literary point can be made in favour of Patrick's interpretation of
        _anaxarta_ as a word for the Eagles of Manwe. This is Thorondor's key
        moment, as described in S:154:

        "And Morgoth took the body of the Elven-king [Fingolfin] and broke it, and
        would cast it to the wolves; but Thorondor came hasting from his eyrie among
        the peaks of the Crissaegrim, and he stooped upon Morgoth and marred his
        face. The rushing of the wings of Thorondor was like the noise of the winds
        of Manwe...."

        Here are Gwaihir and his kin at the Black Gate (LR:927):

        "Straight down upon the Nazgûl they bore, stooping suddenly out of the high
        airs, and the rush of their wide wings as they passed over was like a gale."

        And here is the first appearance of the Great Eagles in Tolkien's work, when
        they aid the fleeing Gnomes in _The Fall of Gondolin_ (II:193):

        "Thereupon there was a rushing like a great wind in rocky places, and the
        Thornhoth, the people of the Eagles, fell on those Orcs who had scaled above
        the path, and tore their faces and their hands and flung them to the rocks
        of Thorn Sir far below."

        Rushing and rending, therefore, are at the very heart of Tolkien's abiding
        image of the Eagles of Manwe.

        John Garth
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