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This is an old revision of Literature made by SampsaRydman on 2009-11-17 21:39:59.


This is a list of Middle-earth literary works known to or composed by men of Westernesse in the Third Age, mentioned or used in Lindëfirion. It is divided in two sections: Canon works are extant or cited texts written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in Unfinished Tales, Silmarillion, the Histories of Middle-earth series or Vinyar Tengwar publication. Works later than 17th century Third Age have been omitted (i.e. Red Book of Westmarch, Translations from Elvish, Findegil's Commentary, hobbit poetry). Non-canon works are my own sub-creation, with one exception taken from ICE #8302 Minas Ithil.

Literature in Middle-earth

See also: Chroniclers of Arda

A list of in-world literary sources. None of these works - canon or non-canon - are "actual history", but portray the world-view and folklore of Westernesse. Even most of the so-called "Elvish lore" are actually mannish literary inventions (according to HoME X, the Myths Transformed). The texts contradict each other and sometimes themselves, as ancient works often do. Dating and attribution are speculative.

Tolkien himself wrote extensively raising words of caution about the literal interpretation of human writings concerning mythology, history or the matters of Immortals. For example, in Note 2 to the
"Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth" (Morgoth's Ring, 337) it is stated that "It must be remembered, however, that it does not necessarily follow that 'True Information' concerning Arda (such as the ancient Eldar might have received from the Valar) must agree with Men's present theories." Further in Morgoth's Ring (p. 374) Tolkien specifically warns that certain myths "are Númenórean, blending Elven-lore with human myth and imagination" and states that "Men are really only interested in men and in men's ideas and visions." In the writings of the Faithful, elves and Valar are portrayed in a 'sacred light'; stories from earlier mannish traditions are also portrayed as being "elvish" to give them extra weight.


Classics and religious texts

Akallabêth (Ad. "The Downfallen"). The story of the destruction of the realm of Númenor. It tells how the Númenóreans, the descendants of those Men who aided the Elves in their fight against Morgoth during the First Age, turned by degrees against the Valar and the Eldar and were ultimately destroyed by Sauron. The Akallabêth was written by Elendil near the end of the Second Age. The study of Númenor's history was suppressed in the realms of Exile because it was seen as a vain pursuit, "breeding only useless regret". Only one story from the former home of the Dúnedain remained generally known: the cautionary tale of the pride of Ar-Pharazôn and his "impious armada", which corresponds to the last half of the Akallabêth.

Atanatarion (Q. "Of the fathers of men"). A collection three legends about the origins of the Númenórean race, derived from alliterative poetry preserved in Gondor (possibly mid-Third Age?). The three great tales are (1) Narn Beren ion Barahir, (2) Narn i Chîn Húrin and (3) Tale of Eärendel.

Aldarion and Erendis, or the Mariner's Wife. One of the few Númenórean novels that has survived the Downfall, thanks to Elendil, who showed a personal interest in the story. The full title of the work was "Indis i·Ciryamo 'The Mariner's Wife': a tale of ancient Númenórë, which tells of the first rumour of the Shadow." Another version is entitled "The Shadow of the Shadow: the Tale of the Mariner's Wife; and the Tale of the Queen Shepherdess." Its main characters are Tar-Aldarion, the sixth King of Númenor and his wife, Erendis, also called Tar-Elestirnë, which meant "Lady of the Star-brow". It is possible that is was written during the the reign of king Tar-Palantir, near the end of the Second Age.

The Drowning of Anadûnê. An Umbarean retelling of the Downfall (annotated by Kheruzîr Azrubêl in III 992). The Drowning of Anadûnê uses several independent Ârûwanâi sources and has more scientific outlook than Akallabêth. It is explicitly said in the Drowning that Arda was always round, not made so after the Downfall. The Drowning of Anadûnê is not accepted to canon works in Gondor or Arnor, because it challenges the Faithful doctrine.

Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (S. "The Debate of Finrod and Andreth") is a discussion between two characters, Finrod Felagund, an Elven King, and Andreth, a mortal woman that took place during the Siege of Angband (though written much later) and deals with the metaphysical differences between Elves and Men and the imbalances between their fates. The conclusions they come to concern the role of Men beyond Arda and even the Second Music (though not explicitly referred to). Towards the end it also brings in Andreth's love for Aegnor and his reasons for refusing to return it, explained tenderly by Finrod, his elder brother which is revealed as the prompting for the debate in the first place.

Tale of Adanel was a version of the story of the "Fall of Man" and "Original Sin" as told in Middle-earth among the Edain in the First Age. It was included in Athrabeth and many other literary works.

The Converse of Manwë and Eru. A philosophical dialogue about Elvish reincarnation, author unknown.

Quenta Silmarillion (Q. "Tale about the Silmarils"). An epic Legendarium of the Elder Days, preserved by the Faithful. Authorship is uncertain; it is often (falsely) attributed to Pengoloð of Gondolin. Textual criticism in the late 16th century has proven that it is in fact of Númenórean origin, combining a record of mythological traditions handed on by men in Númenor and later in Arnor and Gondor. Umbarean sources attest that "..wise of Númenor recorded that the making of stars was not so, nor of sun and moon. For sun and stars were all older than Arda." (HoME X)

Quenta Noldorinwa. A shorter, earlier version of the Legendarium composed in Númenor that was used as a source by the unknown writers of Silmarillion. Among literary critics it is known as the source "Q". Preserved in four elvish copies, which are kept in Rynd Permaith Iaur (Minas Anor), Tathrond (Minas Ithil), Wilwarin collection in Osgiliath and the Royal Library of Annúminas.

Ainulindalë ("Music of Ainur"). An elvish work of Rúmil the Loremaster about the First Song of Creation.

Gurth Isildurion ("Legend of Isildur's death"). Also known as "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", the legend narrates the events that took place in III 2 up to the slaying of Isildur. The Legend of Isildur was published in various forms in Arnor; it is supposed to have been based on testimonies of three eye witnesses: Ohtar who delivered the shards of Narsil and his companion were two of them. The third was Elendur's esquire Estelmo, who had heard the counsel taken between the father and the son at Isildur's parting. Estelmo was found alive under Elendur's body and all the others in Isildur's company were lost in the battle.

The Second Prophecy of Mandos. Also known as "the Revelation of Mandos and the Dagor Dagorath (Battle of Battles)", the Prophecy forms the last book of the New Silmarillion (see non-canon). It starts when Melkor breaks the Doors of Night and ends to the Second Music of the Ainur. This song will sing into being a new world, Arda Healed (Arda Envinyanta). It is the only book in the Canon that is wholly composed of apocalyptic literature. There has been debate about Second Prophecy's composition as well as its trustworthiness. In the Catalog of Adrahil it is placed in the disputed category along with the Lost Tales. However, the Revelation has always been dear to the common people (because it treats the fate of Men), and stands in the very centre of Faithful eschatology.

Poetry and folklore

Lay of Leithian ("Release from Bondage"). A long Elvish lay, composed of rhyming couplets in iambic tetrameter (a verse-mode called ann-thennath in sindarin), that told the story of Beren and Lúthien, their Quest for the Silmaril, and their return from Mandos. It was said to be the second longest of all such lays (with the longest being the Narn i Chîn Húrin). The extant lay preserved in Annúminas and Fornost Erain runs 4223 lines and fourteen cantos. Rest of the lay after Carcharoth bites off Beren's hand is lost. It has been wrongly attributed to Daeron, minstrel of Elu Thingol (who is mentioned in the lay among Maglor and Tinfang Gelion as the greatest of rune-singers), but was most likely composed in Rivendell. In the late Third Age the only one to still remember it in full was Elrond.

Lament of Daeron. A very long elvish alliterative song about Lúthien and her death, composed by Daeron when he was living in Eriador during the Second Age. Known to the Dúnedain of Arnor.

Narn i Chîn Húrin (Lay of the Children of Húrin). The most famous and longest known alliterative verse in Middle-earth, recounting the saga of Túrin Turambar and Nienor Niniel. It was composed by Dírhaval Hador, a mannish poet who lived in the Havens of Sirion.

The Lost Tales. A collection of folklore and alliterative verse from Elder Days, compiled in Gondor by loremasters of Osgiliath in the 12th century Third Age. It contains the only full narratives of the Necklace of the Dwarves and the Fall of Gondolin. Each tale is followed by a commentary in the form of a short essay, together with the texts of associated poems, and contains extensive information on names and vocabulary in the earliest Elvish languages. The tales are: (1) The Tale of Tinúviel, (2) Turambar and the Foalókë, (3) The Fall of Gondolin, (4) Nauglafring and (5) The Tale of Eärendel (also included in the Atanatarion).

The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin. An alliterative verse epic relating Tuor's coming to Gondolin, its sack by Morgoth and the heroic defence of the city. It may have been written by Pengoloð. The lay can be equalled to The Fall of Gondolin referred to in The Lost Tales.

The Lay of Eärendil. An alliterative verse epic that tells of Eärendil's journeys in unknown lands and seas. Little is known of this work. There is a fragment of alliterative text in Westron which might have been an abandoned translation of it. If that is so, the the original verse was probably written in the same verse mode as the Narn i Chîn Húrin, minlamad thent. Stylistic similarities have led to proposals that the Lay is a lost epic of Dírhaval Hador.

Linde Narsilion ("The Song of the Sun and Moon"). A mythological poem that tells of the creation and hallowing of the sun and moon, written in iambic tetrameter.

i Equessi Rumilo ("Sayings of Rúmil"). A collection of proverbs attributed to Rúmil of Tirion.


Collected works of Pengoloð. Pengoloð of Gondolin was known as the "Sage of the Noldor", and counted as the greatest Loremaster since Fëanor and Rúmil. Majority of his oeuvre was created when he was staying at the Mouths of the Sirion with the refugees of Doriath. Later, in the Second Age, he dwelt in the Kingdom of Ereinion Gil-galad until the war of the Elves and Sauron. His many works were copied by the Dúnedain of Arnor and later abridged into a codex. The collected works of Pengoloð include at least four books: (1) The Grey Annals, (2) Annals of Aman, (3) Ósanwe-kenta (see below) and (4) Quendi and Eldar.

Laws and Customs among the Eldar. Full name of the book is "Of the Laws and Customs Among the Eldar Pertaining to Marriage and Other Matters Related Thereto: Together With the Statute of Finwë and Miriel and the Debate of the Valar at its Making". The book claims to have been written in Beleriand by an unnamed elf (and it has been falsely attributed to Pengoloð), but is in fact work of a Faithful literary inventor, composed in Gondor during the mid-Third Age to advocate ultra-conservative views of marriage.

Ósanwe-kenta ("Enquiry into the Communication of Thought") is a summary by an unnamed Dúnadan editor of a longer treatise by Pengoloð. The subject-matter is sanwe-latya ("telepathy") among elves. Pengoloð explains how the development of language made telepathy more difficult and all but fell out of use among the "incarnated" elves (those beings with hröa).

Ambarkanta ("The Shape of the World"). An ancient cosmological treatise about the nature of the Universe, accompanied by maps and diagrams (claimed to have been drawn by Rúmil of Tirion). Textual criticism has proven that the work could not be older than early Third Age (since it has allusions to the Downfall), and it probably represents native mannish legends about the world.

The Lhammas. An obscure and outdated etymological writing attributed to Rúmil of Tirion. It maintains that all languages belonged to either the Valarin, Oromëan, Aulëan, or Melkian phylums, a theory which had since been proven wrong.

Dorgannas Iaur ("The shapes of the lands of old"). A geographical treatise written by Torhir Ifant about the Sunken Realm of Beleriand and other lost lands.

Quentalë Ardanornion ("History of the Dwarrows of the World"). One of the few reliable works that treats the Dwarves. Authorship is unknown, but the source text was written by Pengoloð around II 1600, when he returned from Khazad-dûm.

Geography of Atalantë. A description of the island of Númenor, also called Elenna, comprising its geography, flora, fauna and last, but not least, its people. It has been variously attributed to Elendil or antiquarians of Gondor.

Annals of Westernesse. A chronicle, consisting of a complete list of the Kings of Númenor from the kingdom's foundation in the year II 32 to its destruction. Before the list is detailed, the author and publisher write about the length in life of Elros Tar-Minyatur's line and makes the distinction with the other lines of Númenóreans, who's life span was considerably shorter. The chronicle is based on stone tablets preserved in Pelargir bearing the names of Númenórean monarchs. It was written during the early Third Age, when most of the history of Westernesse was already lost and forgotten.

The Book of the Kings. An official record kept in Osgiliath and later in Minas Anor containing the biographies of its regents. Some rulers were later subject to damnatio memoriae and erased from its pages, namely king Castamir (1259-1447) and queen Berúthiel, the childless black Númenórean wife of Tarannon Falastur.


Political, scientific and biographical works

Maeth Edlothiad ("Flowering of battle"). An autobiography of Curmegil Rúthion and an illuminated fighting manual. First published in Minas Anor, III 1659.

Hwesta balanwe. Baralin na Ram Galen, 1655. A dialog between a Pelargirean traditionalist and Anorian loyalist.

Vinyar Tengwar


Plays and poetry

Adûnai Anthologies. A collection of Belfalasian poems, epigrams, lamentations and short philosophical treatises ranging from Ship-kings to year 1606. First published in Lond Ernil, III 1494.

Fastitocalon. Baralin na Ram Galen, 1660. Allegorical sonnet based on a folk tale about sailors who go ashore on a giant sea-turtle.

The Princess of Harondor. Baralin na Ram Galen, 1660. A romantic play based on a sonnet by Túrelio Sindacollo.

The Two Noble Kinsmen of Pelargir. Baralin na Ram Galen, 1664. A comedy with the themes of friendship and infidelity, the conflict between friendship and love, and the foolish behaviour of people in love.

Alagos. Baralin na Ram Galen, 1664. A tragedy set on southern seas.

The King of Lhûn. Gassendil Dunmardo, 1659. A play loosely based on Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth retelling the story of a mortal woman and elvish king. A very popular piece in Gondor; king Tarondor was especially fond of it.

Religious and philosophical texts

Parma Culuina ("The Golden Book"). A collection of fanciful hagiographies by Isilmo Dinturien that became a bestseller. It was probably compiled around the year III 1260. It was named after a fictitious book book kept in Tol Eressëa, mentionend in Quenta Silmarillion. The Golden Book is full of wondrous but totally unreliable tales about elven kings and ancestors of Dúnedain.

Vinyar Silmarillion ("New Silmarillion"). Augmented edition of Quenta Silmarillion used by some Faithful in Gondor. It consists of five books: (1) Ainulindalë, (2) Valaquenta, (3) Quenta, (4) Akallabêth and (5) Dagor Dagorath, starting from the Creation and ending to the Second Music of Ainur and remaking of the world.

The Apotheosis of Telumehtar

Forbidden books

Lindëfirion ("Lay of the Dead"). A codex written by Êruhîn of Urud an-Khibil in Bellakar, sometime around III 1000. According to its preface, it contains lost Númenórean wisdom regarding death, separation of Spirit (feä) and Body (hroä) and teaches how to commune with the Unbodied. However, the text contains obscure references to the Superior Masters and is allegedly dictated by Annatar (Sauron) himself. There are three extant copies: (1) Copy of Magirius, written in classical adûnaic using umbarean tengwar minuscule, (2) Copy of Corvagin, folio-sized vellum codex written in sindarin using mode of beleriand, originally stored in the Forbidden Books section of Tathrond in Minas Ithil, and (3) Copy of Arzâgar, copied by king Arzâgar II from original notes in Urud an-Khibil. It has been bound together with "Of Ainur" by Ar-Abâttarik and Arzâgar's Diary. The Book of Arzâgar is vellum bound in wooden covers, written in classical adûnaic with umbarean tengwar minuscule. It omits the preface but inserts several magical diagrams not known from other sources. Instead of "Lindëfirion" the title page has only "Agannâlô burôda nênud" written on it.

Parma Úlairion ("Book of the Ringwraiths"). Biographies of the men who received the Nine Rings from Sauron.

Anangolmë (Q. "Towards Knowledge"). A book questioning the Faithful doctrine and the Godhood, and illuminating its inconsistencies, untruths and conflicting interpretations, compiled by the Dissidents of Minas Ithil. Written in sindarin with mode of Pelargir. Its seven claims have been proscribed as dangerous lies and deceits of Melkor, trying to ferment dissent and weaken the Dúnedain. The contested ideas are:
  1. Divinity of the Valar.
  2. Purity of the Line of Elros.
  3. Official accounts of the Downfall
  4. Veneration of the Elves, Saints and Ancestors
  5. Denial of the Second Prophecy
  6. Use of coercion and persecution
  7. Fundamentals of the Faithful doctrine

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