Hello, Good morning.
Glad to see you gathered here in so large numbers, in this lecture, I'll attempt to convince some of those who are still in some doubt of the work of J.R.R.Tolkien as the unifying element of our common knowledge of the historic events. Some of the information presented may be somewhat aggravating to some of the listeners, but to you I'll remind you this is just a version of the Grand Story of Middle Earth and Eä, not claiming to be the truth let alone the full truth of the history and our predicament. What we believe is our own belief and this would be one belief among several. Thank you.
As we well know, from the surviving annals of Gondor, the 3rd age ended about 5100 years ago (or, as it is in the current reckoning, 3102 BC) Soon afterwards, the extent of human achievements in the southeastern and far eastern countries became evident in the explorations sent by king Elessar to these far out lands. These are undoubtly one manifestation of the influence of the so called black Numenoreans and also likely the effect the two blue wizards Pallando and Alatar had on these peoples. The dominating theory currently is, that Manwe and other valar observed how the Faithful wanted to live by themselves in Numenor, and attempted to nudge the wild races towards the proper manners by sending two teachers in the far out lands. There is little doubt the Two were responsible for some internal disturbances and insurgencies in the dominion of the Enemy Sauron. Notably, Peoples of Khand (f.e. in the city of Harappa) and eastern Near-Harad started what later is known as irrigation and they also started using symbols to convey message. Sauron merely tolerated this for their supporting role in supplying the black armies by food. It is not known when the Two left Ennor, but the rise of the agricultural neolithic cultures near the eastern end of the Ennor has been attributed to the influence by the two Blue wizards. This would mean they left Ennor, if they survived Sauron's Purges, about the same time the Queen Mother Arwen II died. They would have sailed to the burnt lands of Americas showing to some local cultures ways to build buildings and exited Arda to Valinor soon after this.
For awhile there was peace and happiness all over Arda. But Eru decided once again, for reasons unknown, to shape the earth. It's possible It wanted to erase the central plains of Mordor for ever, in order to keep the Evil from taking a hold of this area pretty central to human cultures of this time. This caused widespread upheaval everywhere in Arda and led to the formation of the Black Sea, the name of which in the elven tongue is Morgaer. It is also said by some, It wanted to change the humans back to their natural state of innocence. By separating the areas ruled by Gondor from these infant cultures in Khand and Near-Harad, some say, the plan of Iluvatar is more clear to Valar. Thus the Mediterranean Sea was formed by changing the location and extent of areas of Harad. This happened, as far as we know it, c.2150 BC, destroying many old cultures, for example the first near-Harad culture in Egypt entered the First Intermediate Period. Gilgamesh Epic was written describing widespread flooding and upheaval.
The other changes made by Valar at this time was the removal of mithril and smithed iron, and for horror to some, removal of pipeweed from the middle earth. They were no doubt scared of the feuds between the less civilized peoples and thought Unified Kingdom should not have means to overpower these. The way the knowledge of iron smithing was also removed, speaks to us of the power of Eru. Only few pieces of these remained on earth to be marveled by the dwarves of the skills of Aule.
The sad, some say disasterous, effect of this interference by the Valar on the human cultures was the relocation of the capital of the Unified Kingdom to South of Mediterranean by the king Intef, this can be inferred from the simultaneous downfall in the areas of former Gondor and the rise of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt. After him, the king Mentuhotep ruled over the vast areas of Eastern Harad vassalling also the states further east. Soon after, the kings started to build a high tower over in Khand to show their might. The confusion was large these days. The peoples living this time even relocated the library of Minas Anor, as the removal of iron from the construction materials left the large buildings of old into an unrepearable state. As we know of the Tolkien documents, most of the early history of the world was lost from human knowledge in the burning of the library of Alexandria. This led to an extensive rewriting of history during the Dark Ages.
The defining character of the Fourth Age was the rise of Men, and the disappearance of the other races. Whilst Tolkien claimed to have talked to some hobbits, dwarfs and even elves, no independent records of these meetings are existent. Nevertheless, the Red Book of Westmarch exists, though the fragility of it prevents public presentations. It was given to Mr. Tolkien to study during his trip to southern Germany in the 1930s, as he was an expert on old tongues of Europe and it was in peril to be lost to Nazi ideology of burning books and inventing a glorious history. It appears The Book was kept in secret in a monastery somewhere near Basel, that was still adhered to the worship of the Eru, a rarity in these times of several sects.
These sects are a product of the interference of several Maia entities over the human cultures during the fourth and the beginning of the fifth ages. All of these were claiming to be 'Servants of Eru', and maybe they were. Nevertheless, the inability of the humans to understand the Plan of Eru led to the development of several sects, such as the followers of Zoroaster, 'the lord of the dwarfs'. The feuds between these sects have even led to the well known disagreement over the start year of the fifth age. As this lecture is kept near the lands the hobbits originated, I'll use the reckoning that begins with the last confirmed meeting of hobbits and men, this happened about the same time one of the Maias mentioned, disappeared from the grave. This year is thus year 1988 of the Fifth Age. The Maia in question revered children saying things like 'you should bé like children' and 'let the children come to me', and as hobbits are like 'only children to your eyes', it is speculated he was sent by Eru Iluvatar to gather hobbits to their version of Aman. It could of course be they still live here somewhere, among our children. But at least the recent searches in Indonesia have not revealed any hobbit holes that would have been recently used. The name one current sect uses of hobbits is of course Homo floresiensis. We should not do this but use the proper name.
This is our current understanding of our predicament, though there are many other explanations as you well know. Some of the sects have in fact been pretty useful as far as the human happiness goes, but we should not forget Saruman's work in combining the human and the orc race. The descendants of these may still be living out there, the orc-like humans Tolkien warns us about. Praise Manwë and Yavanna, but above all is Eru Iluvatar, go in peace.
Thank you for listening, I'll take questions in the comments section afterwards.