Friday, March 11, 2016

Middle Earth Cartography. part 2

Part II The formation of the Mediterranean Sea and the destruction of Mordor

In the early 1930s, when Tolkien was beginning his translation of the Lord of the Rings, the theory of continental drift was circled in academies, but the mechanism to move the continents proved difficult to be find. No one had seen the continents move. Later the theory evolved into modern plate tectonics, and currently this is accepted by all but most fringe scholars. The current theory states the movement of continents is always slow, but has it been always so? During the early 1900s there also emerged an understanding of how large was the destruction caused by the War of Wrath, as the scholars learnt how to trace the remnants of the Ice Age in the landscapes. Thus it is no wonder that continents and parts of them can move. That we haven’t seen any fast movements in recent times, doesn’t mean these couldn’t happen, especially so, if the Great Ones lead by Aule and Tulkas, maybe even Eru, would promote these. It took a while for the people in the Middle-Earth to notice, that the Great Ones of Arda removed a whole continent of Aman away from the planet! But, in this world teeming humans, one would think some oral histories of the great changes of 4.A., if not a direct written account, would remain to our time from those early days. We can of course think Eru has touched It’s creation to diminish the memories of the horrors, Sauron and Morgoth, in people’s minds, but is even this enough of an explanation to the lack of memoirs of these changes?

From the map depicted in Part I, we saw that Gondor must have experienced huge alterations in geomorphology after the War of the Ring. These changes include the turning of Anduin the Great, towards the plains of Mordor, the birth of Adriatic and Aegean Seas, and the sudden appearance and inclusion of the Iberian Peninsula to the lands of NW Middle Earth. Of the more southern lands of Endor, we know little of, we can’t even say how far west Harad and Far-Harad reached during the third age. Really, the only area we know something of, in the south, is Umbar. The early maps of the Endor J.R.R. Tolkien presented us, show though the Far-Harad somewhat resembles Africa, but as I do not have the books (though I’ve read them in the past) that describe and explain these, I can’t say much of what has been actually said about these far out lands. The same goes for Hildorien and Cuivienen, that have undoubtedly located somewhere in the far-east, there are several Bays bordering the Pacific and Indian Oceans, whence it would take several years to walk to the western shores of Endor.

On the same map the Andrast Peninsula is located where the Pyrenees would currently be. It’s shape, and size, though corresponds almost one-to-one with the southern part of the Apennine Peninsula. This is the first clue of the vast changes in former Gondor territory. Thus the Andrast would move in front of the Belfalas Peninsula to form the characteristic ‘boot of Italy’ (Calabria, Basilicata, parts of Campania and Apulia). The Belfalas Island located here would need to go, and as we check, it’s form and size is almost exactly the same as for Corsica. The other possibilities, Sicily or Sardinia, are not as close matches. For our purposes, we might assume that Tolfalas is Corsica.

The indisputable lack of areas of Spain and Portugal in the normally shaped maps of Middle-Earth, could get an explanation from the fastest and most far-reaching movement of continents during the fourth age. In this event, three gross, huge, use whatever extreme adjective, divergent faults form between the Umbar territory and other parts of Near-Harad. The southern part of the eastern fault, by chance, resembles the Red Sea- East African Rifts. Thus the whole of the hither lands currently forming Africa and Iberia, would move to their current locations. I assume J.R.R. Tolkien meant Umbar as being on the location of current Lissabon, which has a great natural harbor and was a strong competitor as a sea power for English ports in the more modern history. Thus we can explain the formation of the eastern part of the Mediterranean, as the size of Iberia is comparable to it, and state that Madrid, Jerusalem and Jericho were among the chief cities of inland Umbar territory. Believe that if you will. As the continental drift continues, the rest of the Mediterranean Islands drop on the way from the main body of Iberia. Thus we get all the rest of the lands from Cyprus to Balearic Islands. Yeah, right.

A certain amount of faith is also required for other changes that would have happened in Gondor. Minas Morgul might have been destroyed so no stone was upon stone, but could we believe a whole mountain, or several, would have been lost from under Shelob’s Lair and the Pass of Morgul? This, at least, is required that lower Anduin would have carved a new path from the Iron Gates of Romania, to form the lowest Danube. Is this a co-op by the dwarfs and Aule? Has the fierce Tulkas added waters flowing to Mordor, and fallen down and moved Ered Lithui to the location of Caucasus? Additionally, some large clan of dwarfs must have dug an enormous channel of the Dardanelles and all the other channels of Turkey all the way to the Aegean Sea! The south Gondor hasn’t endured this amount of godly and other work, but has been destroyed in eastern parts and created the Greek lore of Gods! But even this won’t explain the presence of the Adriatic in modern maps. We can only guess what has happened to the shores of Lebennin. Extensive areas of it are now resting in sea. This must though, in my opinion, have something to do with the formation of the mountains surrounding Adriatic. I for one cannot believe Aule or Tulkas would miss a hit so badly, soI can’t provide any other explanation for the Adriatic, than a Judgement of Eru for the inhabitants of coastal Lebennin. Why this would’ve happened I can’t say.

On the map below, these changes to the southern Middle Earth are brutally smashed together, and the most uncertain part of the theory has been told. We may for example guess that Umbar experienced a revolution by Eru-minded slaves and was rewarded by the movement toward west, to be included in the areas of free peoples. This theory neatly explains the oxygen-depleted water of the Black Sea, which would be a result of the drowning of the toxic mine waste and other sludge in Mordor, made in Sauron’s time. Oh, yeah. A teeny-weeny bit of faith is required.

[Kartta 3, Laichalaf]

On the next part, we move some other mountains and mountain chains, and we’ll wonder why the upper Anduin had to be drowned under the Baltic Sea. Some talk of Eriador maybe present too.

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