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Forgotten Words of Elvish: _Axantur_

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  • Patrick H. Wynne
    In Lambengolmor post #799 I mentioned the forgotten words of Elvish, attested forms that are generally excluded from the idiosyncratic canons of the
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 16, 2005
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      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
      analysing them.

      -- Patrick H. Wynne
    • Giraudeau David
      Patrick H. Wynne wrote, regarding the chart ... Although _Isilme_ has an appropriate meaning, don t you think it could have a link with
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 4, 2005
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        "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_,
        > _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').

        Although _Isilme_ has an appropriate meaning, don't you think it
        could have a link with the meaning of _Vardilme_ in that case ?

        David Giraudeau

        [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'.
        -- PHW]
      • Patrick H. Wynne
        ... I should also have noted that a clear example of this feminine agentive _-me_ appears in the _Etymologies_ s.v. SER- love, be fond of (of liking,
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 5, 2005
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          I wrote, in commenting on David Giraudeau's query:

          > 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_.

          I should also have noted that a clear example of this feminine
          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
        • ejk@free.fr
          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
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 6, 2005
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            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).

            Namárië,

            Edouard Kloczko
          • Patrick H. Wynne
            In my post (message #820) on the name _Axantur_ I wrote that this name apparently consists of Q. _axan_ law, rule, commandment ... Edouard Kloczko mentioned
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 6, 2005
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              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,
              > 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'.

              Edouard Kloczko mentioned to me off-list that he would translate
              _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
              intellectual pursuits.

              -- Patrick H. Wynne
            • laurifindil
              A question remains : were _Axantur_ * Theologian , and _Nolondil_ * Philosopher Númenorian Proper Names only or also lexemes of Quenya? I don t remember
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 6, 2005
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                A question remains : were _Axantur_ *'Theologian', and _Nolondil_
                *'Philosopher' Númenorian Proper Names only or also lexemes of
                Quenya?

                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.

                Edouard Kloczko

                [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]
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