Dark Land...a continent south of Middle Earth?

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Wilibald Bumble 01/Jan/2007 at 12:22 PM
New Soul Points: 647 Posts: 197 Joined: 03/Dec/2006
After looking at early maps of Arda today, I came upon the Dark Land. It is a continent by itself south of Middle Earth and one can get there by voyaging the East Sea which is east of the Sea of Helcar. Mind you here that this early map was of the Elder Days when Elves were not born and Eru had not changed the formation of continents in Middle Earth... So, this is a mysterious continent South of Middle-earth. It might be a jungle, as in the map were drawn many trees. No Elves or Men would dwell here but maybe the Mariners of Numenor journeyed here.

What my question is that is there any literay evidence in all the works of Tolkien to support that there is indeed a continent mentioned in the books. The only evidence I can find of this mysterious place is a map drawn in the revised edition of The Atlas of Middle Earth.

Aslar Haechil 01/Jan/2007 at 12:42 PM
Scribe of Minas Tirith Points: 2221 Posts: 1469 Joined: 30/Jul/2003

It appears that the Dark Land was originally a term used for the land of Mordor, and the map you saw took liberty with the idea. Maybe they were inspired by Africa or something when they decided to include it.

"On at least one early map of Arda, a great southern continent appears labelled ’Dark Land’. This region is not otherwise mentioned, and is unrelated to the Dark Land mentioned in The Lord of the Rings." -Encyclopedia of Arda

Magradhaid 01/Jan/2007 at 01:41 PM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008
This is referred to in The Shaping of Middle-earth. The quotes are "in the South were the Grey Mountains and the Yellow" ... and a hastily drawn map as "Dark Land (South Land). However, the quote about the two mountain ranges was for an earlier map, and there is no trace of those two mountain ranges in later writings in that volume of HoME. However, it is clear that on the second map, the Dark Land (South Land) doesn’t refer to an African-shaped continent (because there’s already one of those on the map), but a sort of Antarctica & India thing. See the Encyclopedia of Arda’s map; it’s close to Tolkien’s draft (though it was an early idea from the 1930s).
geordie 01/Jan/2007 at 01:52 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
It might be a jungle, as in the map were drawn many trees.

I would have to ask, where is this map to be found? [the one with trees]. If it’s on the net, then it’s best ignored, no matter what the source. Wiki, EOA - forget ’em. The maps in Atlas of Middle-earth are good - the position of ’Dark Land, or ’South Land’ seems right, according to the only map that counts - that is, one by Tolkien himself, printed on p.251 of HoMe IV, ’The Shaping of Middle-earth’.

There is very little written by Tolkien about ’South Land or ’Southern Land’ - and less about Dark Land. All there is to see is in HoMe Vol.IV [pp.249-51] apart from one mention in Vol.V and one in Vol.IXb. All in all - not a lot.
Wilibald Bumble 01/Jan/2007 at 03:15 PM
New Soul Points: 647 Posts: 197 Joined: 03/Dec/2006
Geordie, yes the map I looked from was in the Atlas of Middle Earth Revised Edition. By the way, thanks a LOT for the literary references as I certainly want to take a look at them. Tolkien did not mention this a lot but it’s in his nature to leave his info-hungry fans some hints! Oh and to ignore Wiki is understandable but what is wrong with EOA? I have used it at times and it seems to be fine. Can it be edited by anyone too?

Skauril 01/Jan/2007 at 03:22 PM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 467 Posts: 163 Joined: 13/Dec/2004

I’ve heard from several sources that the Numenoreans probably explored this "Dark Land" on their marine voyages during the Second Age. I cannot verify this to be 100% true, and I doubt anyone else can, either, but IF the Dark Land did indeed exist in the Second Age and beyond (and why wouldn’t it, since Middle-earth’s continents roughly corresponded with those of our earth, which would make the Dark Land Australia or perhaps the Antarctic), it’s only logical to assume the Numenoreans did visit there on their way to the Gates of Morning in the utter East, seeing as it would have been right in their path 

Tyrhael, here’s a thought of mine (take it for what it’s worth, even if very little  ).. even though there was no detailed mention of the Gray and Yellow Mountains beyond the ambiguous quote in HoME, there is also no certain indicator that they no longer existed in the later ages. After all, the Blue Mountains survived the cataclysmic sundering of Beleriand, even though they were in very close proximity to that realm when it was annihilated. That only leads me to conclude, on a personal level, that the Gray Mountains and the Yellow Mountains would also exist in some form in the later ages. Hell, even the Iron Mountains, raised by Melkor across northern Middle-earth, survived their massive destruction in part, for instance as the Iron Hills northeast of Mirkwood.

What bugs me is that one guy who claimed that the Yellow Mountains had completely vanished in the reshaping of the world, and the reference page from the Silmarillion that he posted. I cannot comment further on this since I don’t have that book.