Earendill is Venus?

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DeluhatholSilverleaf 06/Aug/2006 at 10:42 AM
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The Teutons called the morning star (Venus) :erendil..the Master (J.R.R Tolkein), may have borrowed this term for naming the Messenger, Earendill. If so, this means that Earendill’s Silmaril is actually Venus. Can some confirm this for me? Also, if confirmed, why Venus, of all celestial bodies? What does it mean if this has a meaning?! 
Rendal 06/Aug/2006 at 10:46 AM
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As for why that particular star, because of its association with beauty, being among the brightest of the stars.  As to where Tolkien arrived at the naming of Earendil, and weather it had its roots in the Teutonic name of Venus, I am not sure, but it does sound like an interesting coincidence.
DeluhatholSilverleaf 06/Aug/2006 at 10:48 AM
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Brightest of celestial bodies...thats intersting...ties in with other..shall we say...star lore(!) of ME  
Alcarináro 06/Aug/2006 at 10:55 AM
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It is indeed true.
Of all the celestial bodies (aside from the Sun and Moon), the one with the greatest apparent brightness is Venus. Not only is it special in that, but it does not move together with the stars. Such a special ’star’ deserves a special origin, and Tolkien gives it one (it does have special status in other mythologies as well; why otherwise would it beaer the name of the Roman goddess of love, the most beautiful of all?)
DeluhatholSilverleaf 06/Aug/2006 at 11:03 AM
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Elenhir thanks for your confirmation..i thought what i thought was far-fetched! *g*
Anoredhel 06/Aug/2006 at 11:04 AM
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It may also be interesting to note that Earendil made his journey to the West and what he probably percieved as his doom out of love, his plight to seek the aid of the Lords of the West is based purley on love and thusly the reason why the Lords of the West allowed Elwing and himself the choice of race. As such I think it more than coincidence that he would be named as such after roots in Venus the goddess of love. Not only is it the brighest and most beloved star but his name also reflects upon that of his plight. Another related line is that it is Earendil who smites Morogth from the skies during the Dagor Dagorath, Morgoth being the exact polar opposite of Love, that being hate. Or maybe I’m just crazy.
DeluhatholSilverleaf 06/Aug/2006 at 11:08 AM
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Anoredhal thats an interestin theory too! And nope your not crazy! Was Tolkein interested in Astronomy? I think that would explain alot... If some one could look it up in Letters for me, i’d bw very gratefull, for i dont have a copy, Thanks!
Captain Bingo 06/Aug/2006 at 11:24 AM
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Tolkien believed that Venus/Earendel as the Morning Star in Cynewulf’s Crist (the hymn which, it could be argued, inspired the whole of the Legendarium) referred to John the Baptist - probably because it heralds the Dawn & the new Sun in the same way that John heralded Jesus.
Red Saelind 06/Aug/2006 at 11:27 AM
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Would you be interested in a reference? The following long quotation comes from #297, Drafts for a letter to ’Mr Rang’, The Letters of JRR Tolkien :

“The most important name in this connexion is Eärendil. This name is in fact (as is obvious) derived from A-S éarendel. When first studying A-S professionally (1913 –) … I was struck by the great beauty of this word (or name), entirely coherent with the normal style of A-S, but euphonic to a peculiar degree in that pleasing but not ’delectable’ language. Also its form strongly suggests that it is in origin a proper name and not a common noun. This is borne out by the obviously related forms in other Germanic languages; from which amid the confusions and debasements of late traditions it at least seems certain that it belonged to astronomical-myth, and was the name of a star or star-group. To my mind the A-S uses seem plainly to indicate that it was a star presaging the dawn (at any rate in English tradition) : that is what we now call Venus: the morning-star as it may be seen shining brilliantly in the dawn, before the actual rising of the Sun. That is at any rate how I took it.”
Captain Bingo 06/Aug/2006 at 11:30 AM
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Note; the two lines which inspired Tolkien from the Crist are:

     Eala earendel engla beorhtast
    ofer middangeard monnum sended.

’Hail Earendel, brightest of angels / above the middle-earth sent unto men.’

In Letter 297 Tolkien explains:

"Before 1914 I wrote a ’poem’ on Earendil who launched his ship like a bright spark from the Havens of the Sun. I adopted him into my mythology, in which he became a prime figure as a mariner, & eventually as a herald star, a sign of hope to men. Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima ’Hail Earendil brightest of stars’ is derived at long remove from Eala Earendel engla beorhtast but the name could not be adopted just like that: it had to be accomodated to the Elvish linguistic situation..."

In other words it is the Elvish ’equivalent’ of a line from the Anglo-saxon poem that was the ’spark’ of the whole Legendarium, the Crist of Cynewulf, that Frodo utters in the darkness of Shelob’s Lair! I find this fascinating. Its also interesting that Tolkien tells us that the Elves had cried that cry far back in the deeps of time. So in other words, Tolkien is saying that the origin of those words was not Cynewulf, but the Elves! Those words, it seems, had been passed down through the ages, starting out as an Elvish invocation of Light in the darkness & ending up in a poem about Christ.

Frodo speaks the words that would, millenia later & in another language, inspire Tolkien himself to ’rediscover’ England’s lost mythology! I don’t know if this was another ’consciously so in the revision’ moment, but certainly the connection between the ’light’ which sprang into being in Tolkien’s mind at his discovery of those words & the Light which sprang from the Starglass in Frodo’s hand is both interesting &, to me, quite moving.
geordie 06/Aug/2006 at 12:53 PM
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Earendil pops up in at least one poem which Tolkien had published in the 1920s . And did you know that the star Sam sees above the tor in Mordor is Earendil? Hope, you see.

[I didn’t know that until quite recently. It’s confirmed in one of the notes to one of the appendices]
halfir 06/Aug/2006 at 07:12 PM
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The “Light of Earendil” which is contained in the Phial of Galadriel is nothing more than the reflected light of Venus, caught by her scrying bowl. Kristine Larsen

Professor Larsen is an astronomy professor and a great Tolkien fan. She has written a number of articles on ’Tolkien’s Astronomy’ - here is one of them that you might find interesting:



annarie 07/Aug/2006 at 01:55 PM
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It is quite possible that it embodies the same light and brilliance. I think it can also be said then that perhaps because of the feminine beauty that Venus holds may portray why Earendil posesses a feminine and beautiful sense.