Origin of "Sauron" (re: Carl H.)
- On 4/9/2011 8:23 PM, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
> Quite true. (But many[snip]
>> even if Sauron has nothing to do with saura (as in dinosaur for
>> those etymologically unaware), it is difficult not to see Sauron as
>> a "snake-like" character since he often is a snake in the grass, is
>> crafty (perhaps more than any other creature?), and certainly a
>> tempter. (Others are easy to see, such as Moria, which can have no
>> connection to the Biblical mount).
> I don't see any serpentine connection, but certainly Tolkien would
> have found the sound-correspondence between _Sauron_ and _saura_
> "pleasing" (i.e., as suitable nasty-sounding); but the fact remains
> that Gk. _saura_ cannot have been the actual or intended "source" of
> _Sauron_ (as Pearce wrongly asserts), because the root element of
> _Sauron_, THAW-, was a development (because Tolkien kept changing his
> languages) of an element going back to the very beginning of the
> mythology, where it appears as the name, _Thû_, of the character that
> eventually became Sauron; but _Thû_ bears no resemblance at all to
I think a key question is whether there is any evidence that Tolkien
worked out the development from "Thû" to "Sauron" as part of the process
of inventing the latter as a name. If so, then your central argument
seems solid to me. I do not know enough linguistic details to have an
informed opinion. (That doesn't stop me from having an opinion, though
If, however, the development from "Thû" to "Sauron" is a case of
etymology ex post facto, then some of us are back where we started:
suspecting, but being unable to prove, that there is some connection
between the Greek word for lizard ("saura" or "sauros"); and the name in
the Third Age of the greatest evil then in Middle-earth.
Can you, or anyone, provide evidence either way?
I think your objection to Pearce, in that he did not mention Tolkien's
disavowal of something he (Pearce) stated as a fact, is on target. My
own focus -- which is why I early on changed the Subject line to remove
Pearce -- was on whether or not Tolkien's disavowal was definitive.