Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Middle Earth Cartography. part 3

Part III The Gap of Ents and the cleansing of Hithaeglir

There is no general agreement of the dating of the continental drift described in the previous chapter. But, all through history, there are sections of times, which have not been securely dated. The best possible dates for the continental drift to happen would though be during the late first millennium or the early second millennium of the fourth age. Of these, there’s an example earlier in this thread (ref. http:kontu.info) that mentions the period preceding the founding of the first dynasty of Egypt, or the first Intermediate Period of Egypt. There are some other possible solutions to this dilemma, but most of these would require the current accepted histories of Europe to be proven false, or made up, somewhat similarly to what the article in the periodical ‘Onion’ states of the ancient Greeks. .

Of course, we can calculate the necessary speed of the required continental drift, which would allow Umbar to be relocated to its current position, during the gaps of historical uncertainties. The Mediterranean Sea is about 4000km wide, and because Umbar was located approximately where Crete is now, we’ll get the necessary speed of continental drift by a simple calculation. 3000 km divided by 87660 hours (the 100 years of First Intermediate Egypt) is 3,4 meters per hour. This speed is of course enormous compared to what we see nowadays, but could we easily see that a huge island far out in the Ocean is moving at this speed? During a human lifetime, even this slow speed becomes certainly observed, but maybe the changes happening nearer-by have diverted the chroniclers’ attention.

We can use the same calculation to observe how fast the mountains, even mountain chains, might have lowered or grown, and we’ll get, f.e. the speed of lowering the peaks of Hithaeglir to the sea level to be c. 5500m/876600hours = 6 millimeters/hour. Again, we get a speed that, by human eye, might take even three years to notice. As time passes, this speed will get noticed, but can you always trust the tales of old men or women? These kinds of changes have though been very conducive in creating the folk tales and sagas of Gods’ works. We may for example ask, could the Epic of Gilgamesh have its origin in the destruction of South Gondor, or maybe the parting of the Iberian Peninsula from the other Middle East is the source? Is it possible that Persian Gulf was created during the same drift, and created this epic?

The most widespread change, aside the continental drift described above, that happened on Middle Earth during the 4th Age was the relocation of the material forming the southern, and indeed partly also, the northern Misty mountains. For this we may give thanks to Valar. For the mining opearations of the dwarfs in Moria, they noticed the Evil of Morgoth may reside in deep uncharted places on Arda. Hithaeglir was created by the Grand Evil, and thus was not intended to be a part of the original Song of Ainur. Thus during the fourth age the Valar and their folk turned the whole Misty Mountains around, to their former mirror image, in search of a second Balrog and other evil things. Now they know all the Misty mountain passes and where Orome may ride easily over them, if the need still be. The happenstance of Orthanc location, to be where Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest was, may be just that. The location of the palantir of Orthanc is though again unknown.

The ents had their share in the geological transformations of the Misty Mountains, the Last March of Ents got an appreciative reception among Valar, and they lowered the mountains near Isengard, Isengard. The Valar sought out ancient creatures in alliance with Saruman, but in part they did this work thanking the works of Onodrim. This way the entkind could visit their friends in Shire and elsewhere in Eriador much more easily. The information of this deed comes from Skinbark, who ‘suddenly found himself to be in a climate of a whole 1500m lower altitude’ It’s likely he had a direct connection to the representatives of Valar during these times, at least he’s been known to discuss with the eagles of the mountains every now and then. All the rocks, cliffs, mountains, stones, boulders, and even bedrock removed from the Misty Mountains ended up in various locations in the Middle Europe and the Scandinavian Mountains. (Laichalaf, the original writer, wasn’t present in the west during this time, he was seeking a way to travel to the continent which formed when the Walls of the Sun fell down, and he claims that no ent still hasn’t visited the Americas, who knows, maybe ent-wives have?)

Thus the Baltic Sea started to form. The lands of the Beornings began to submerge. So were destroyed the evidence of the hobbit habitations in these parts of the Earth, and even most of Lorien was drowned by the rising waters. Only the island of Bornholm reminds of us of the Mound of Amroth. The Beornings moved to higher grounds as Beorn himself had foretold and the Men of the Forest could resettle the Eryn Lasgalen. One saddish result of these changes is of course, very few people still believe that there are hobbits still living on their old grounds on the shores of Baltic. In the more eastern Endor, less changes happened and the northmen could still live in their Lake-town which by these times could be in the easternmost corner of the Baltic Sea.

As the Misty Mountains were turned upside down, effectively changing them to be made by Valar and not the great enemy, the evidence of elven realms somewhere around the fjord of Oslo has also disappeared. The map presented later in this study, places Rivendell somewhere around Åmål in Sweden, and this obviously cannot be true. In any case, even if the changes would have happened in just 6mm/hour, the archeological evidence of the foundations of the buildings would be very hard to impossible to find, at least in somewhat intact form. Thus it is not hard to believe the newer religions have taken a foothold among men. For animals, the choice of the nesting site would have presented some difficulties, but many of them build a new nest every year.

In cartography, one of the difficulties is the wide variety of different projections, so a full one-to-one equivalence between maps of Middle Earth and Europe is hard to find. Without knowing the methods which J.R.R. Tolkien used in achieving the projection presented in the Book of Westmarch, this might be impossible. In the next part, we’ll take a look on these difficulties and seek out sources of more potential inaccuracies of the directions, distances and scales in the usual maps of Middle Earth.

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