Forgotten Words of Elvish: _Axantur_
- In Lambengolmor post #799 I mentioned the "forgotten words" of
Elvish, attested forms that are generally "excluded from the
idiosyncratic canons of the neo-Elvish practitioners". Not all of
these words are early forms; personal names and place names
from Tolkien's later writings are also prone to being overlooked
or ignored. For example, Helge K. Fauskanger's Quenya-English
wordlist excludes many of the unique personal names found
on the chart of "The earlier generations of the Line of Elros" that
accompanies "Aldarion and Erendis" (UT:210) -- despite the fact
that many these names are readily translatable (e.g. _Manwendil_,
_Aulendil_, _Oromendil_) and present unique linguistic information
(e.g. the name _Vardilmë_ (Tar-Amandil's sister) evidently provides
the feminine form of the common masculine ending _-(n)dil)_,
and means *'Devoted to Varda').
One name on this chart that particularly caught my eye was _Axantur_.
This name (not in Fauskanger's list and never discussed on Elfling)
apparently consists of Q. _axan_ 'law, rule, commandment' (XI:399)
+ _tur_ 'lord, master' (cf. _Falastur_ 'Lord of the Coasts', LR:1020,
and _Turambar_ 'Master of Doom', S:217). Since _axani_ were not
simply human laws or rules but rather "laws, rules, as primarily
proceeding from Eru" (VT39:30) -- the Ten Commandments might
thus properly be termed _axani_ -- _Axantur_, lit. *'Law-lord', was
probably intended as *'Lord who acts in accordance with the
laws/commandments of Eru'.
There is much food for thought to be found in the other names on
this chart. It's a shame that there has been so little interest in
-- Patrick H. Wynne
- "Patrick H. Wynne" <pwynne@...> wrote, regarding the chart
of "The earlier generations of the Line of Elros" (UT:210):
> ... many these names are readily translatable (e.g. _Manwendil_,Although _Isilme_ has an appropriate meaning, don't you think it
> _Aulendil_, _Oromendil_) and present unique linguistic information
> (e.g. the name _Vardilmë_ (Tar-Amandil's sister) evidently provides
> the feminine form of the common masculine ending _-(n)dil)_,
> and means *'Devoted to Varda').
could have a link with the meaning of _Vardilme_ in that case ?
[I don't think so -- _Isilme_ as a personal name on the chart is
probably identical to _isilme_ 'moonlight' (MC:222-23), which
occurs in the late version of "The Last Ark" dating to the last
decade of Tolkien's life, and this appears to end in the noun
suffix _-me_ seen in a large number of words describing abstract
concepts, e.g. _undume_ 'abyss', _yaime_ 'wailing', and _kelume_
'flowing, flood (tide), stream', also in the late "Ark" poem and
glossary. The _Etymologies_ does give abstract _nilme_ 'friendship'
as a derivative of NIL-, (N)DIL- 'friend', and this _could_ be present
in an otherwise unattested suffixed form *_-(n)dilme_ in _Vardilme_,
which would then mean *'Friendship of Varda'. If so, then _Isilme_
and _Vardilme_ would both share the abstract ending _-me_,
though beyond that there would be no connection in _meaning_.
However, I think it more likely that _-me_ in _Vardilme_ is instead
the feminine equivalent of agentive _-mo_, seen in such names as
_Ulmo_ 'The Pourer, The Rainer' (S:352) and _Irmo_ 'Desirer' (S:336).
Also cp. (masc.) _nilmo_ 'friend' < (N)DIL- in the _Etymologies_. On
the basis of Tolkien's later gloss of (N)DIL as 'to love, be devoted to'
(L:386), _-dilme_ is probably *'she who loves, she who is devoted (to)',
hence my proposed gloss of _Vardilme_ as *'Devoted to Varda'.
- I wrote, in commenting on David Giraudeau's query:
> However, I think it more likely that _-me_ in _Vardilme_ is insteadI should also have noted that a clear example of this feminine
> the feminine equivalent of agentive _-mo_, seen in such names as
> _Ulmo_ 'The Pourer, The Rainer' (S:352) and _Irmo_ 'Desirer'
> (S:336). Also cp. (masc.) _nilmo_ 'friend' < (N)DIL- in the
agentive _-me_ appears in the _Etymologies_ s.v. SER- 'love, be
fond of (of liking, friendship)': _serme_ 'friend', feminine form
of masc. _sermo_.
Moreover, if we are to consider it a secondary possibility that
_Vardilme_ might end instead in the abstract ending _-me_
(the ending _-dilme_ perhaps being a form of Q. _nilme_
'friendship'), then we should also consider the secondary
possibility that _Isilme_ might end in fem. _-me_, i.e., _Isilme_
= 'Moon Woman' (Q. _Isil_ 'Moon').
This having been said, application of Occam's Razor suggests
that _Isilme_ is probably 'Moonlight' and _Vardilme_ probably
means *'Devoted to Varda'.
-- Patrick H. Wynne
- Not only do we have _Isilme_ as a female name I would translate it in English
'Moonshine', sounds more feminine to me than just 'Moonlight' ;-) but also its
male counterpart _Isilmo_ *'Moon(light)-one' (UT:220,226).
- In my post (message #820) on the name _Axantur_ I wrote that this
name apparently consists of Q. _axan_ 'law, rule, commandment'
(XI:399) + _tur_ 'lord, master', and concluded:
> Since _axani_ were not simply human laws or rules but rather "laws,Edouard Kloczko mentioned to me off-list that he would translate
> rules, as primarily proceeding from Eru" (VT39:30) -- the Ten
> Commandments might thus properly be termed _axani_ -- _Axantur_,
> lit. *'Law-lord', was probably intended as *'Lord who acts in
> accordance with the laws/commandments of Eru'.
_Axantur_ instead as 'Theologian', and I think this is much closer
to the mark than my suggestion above. The literal sense of the
name would be *'Law-master', i.e. 'one who has mastered (acquired
thorough knowledge of) the laws of Eru'.
Edouard's interpretation is even more compelling in light of the
name of Axantur's father, _Nolondil_ *'Lover of Wisdom' (UT:210).
According to "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", the prefix _ñolo-_ in
_Ñolofinwë_ (Quenya name of Fingolfin) "was the stem of words
referring to wisdom" (XII:344). A footnote to this remark adds:
"'Wisdom' -- but not in the sense 'sagacity, sound judgment (founded
on experience and sufficient knowledge)'; 'Knowledge' would be
nearer, or 'Philosophy' in its older applications which included
Science" (XII:359-60). It seems, then, that _Nolondil_ could best
be translated as *'Philosopher'; Greek _philosophos_ 'lover of
wisdom', from _philein_ 'to love' and _sophos_ 'wise', closely
matches the literal etymology of the Quenya form.
Thus Axantur son of Nolondil appears to be 'Theologian' son of
'Philosopher'. Interestingly, both Nolondil and Axantur were youngest
sons, each with elder brothers preceding them in the line of
succession to the throne. The unlikelihood of their ever being
required to take up the kingship of Númenor, Tolkien seems to
imply, left them with more opportunities to indulge in purely
-- Patrick H. Wynne
- A question remains : were _Axantur_ *'Theologian', and _Nolondil_
*'Philosopher' Númenorian Proper Names only or also lexemes of
I don't remember that an Elf ever bore a name in _-ndur_, or _-ndil_
in the Corpus, only Númenoreans did.
Then, _Nolondil_ (< _ñolo-ndil_) was a Proper Name used by
Númenoreans, not a lexeme of Quenya, used for a 'philosopher',
as far as I can tell.
We have other names in _-tur_ 'master, lord', _Ciryatur, Sorontur,
Minyatur_, etc. But then _-tur_ is not used as a suffix in Quenya
word-formation only as a base (_turkildi_, V:47; _Turko_, XII:352).
Then again, _Axantur_ was a Proper Name used by Númenoreans
(? and maybe Elves), not a lexeme of Quenya.
[I don't see any compelling reason to suppose that _axantur_
and _nolondil_ were not simply the usual common nouns used
in Quenya to mean 'theologian' and 'philosoper'. I cannot find
any examples of a common noun ending in _-(n)tur_, though
this is not necessarily an indication that this suffix was only used
in personal names. Quenya unquestionally _did_ form common
nouns with _-ndil_ and _-ndur_, e.g., _arandil_ 'king's friend,
royalist' and _arandur_ 'king's servant, minister' (L:386).
A note to "The Shibboleth of Fëanor" states that "Nerdanel's
father was an 'Aulendil' [> 'Aulendur']" (XII:365), and the use
of the indefinite article _an_ before _Aulendil/Aulendur_ seems
to indicate that this was perceived as a common noun, though
capitalized since it begins with a proper name. (_Aulendur_ is
glossed "'Servant of Aulë', sc. one who was devoted to that
Vala".) Compare English _Luddite_ 'a person opposed to new
technology', a common noun capitalized because it derives
from the name of Ned _Lud_, an early opponent of technology
notorious for destroying machinery.
The same note cited above shows that some Elves did bear
personal names in _-ndil_, for it is said that Nerdanel's father
Sarmo was more widely known as _Urundil_ 'copper-lover'
(XII:366). But there seems no doubt that the endings _-ndil_,
_-ndur_ were far more frequently used in the formation of the
names of Men than they were in the names of Elves. -- PHW]