Peoples of Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûnen

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Halbarad
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Re: Peoples of Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûnen

Post by Halbarad » Wed May 10, 2017 1:56 pm

Rhûnen was an error caused by predictive text. It is the Sea of Rhûn.

I don't get the mediaevel Italian thing at all, sorry. Nor the whole Elf thing. My impression is of a cross between the city states of the Rus and the Khazar Khaganate.'Dorwinion' itself is not limited to the regions south of the River Running, but follows the coastline of the Sea of Rhun around it's northern shores as well.

Interesting that South Georgia is posted among the pictures. Some of the earliest recorded instances of wine production come from Armenia, which is next door.

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Peoples of Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûnen

Post by Otaku-sempai » Wed May 10, 2017 2:21 pm

Halbarad wrote:
Wed May 10, 2017 1:56 pm
I don't get the mediaevel Italian thing at all, sorry. Nor the whole Elf thing. My impression is of a cross between the city states of the Rus and the Khazar Khaganate.'Dorwinion' itself is not limited to the regions south of the River Running, but follows the coastline of the Sea of Rhun around it's northern shores as well.
Sorry, but based on what? Tolkien never clearly defined the borders of Dorwinion; however, the implications from the map-references we have suggest that it was north-west of the Sea of Rhûn, between the mouth of the Running River and the mountains to the south. The lands of Dorwinion could have conceivably extended to the eaves of the forest to the east, but what evidence do you have that this was the case?

The notion that Dorwinion might have been an elven country is suggested by its Sindarin name and the ambiguity of The Hobbit. The rest is just how I personally visualize the region; though an ancient Arcadian city-state of Greece might be just as reasonable as a template. It was probably one of the few places in Middle-earth where East and West could often come together (relatively) peacefully to trade.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

Halbarad
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Re: Peoples of Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûnen

Post by Halbarad » Mon May 15, 2017 7:17 am

Hi Otaku Sempai. First off, my previous post should have clarified that I was referring to Dorwinion in my worldview of Middle Earth and not in any canon sense. Sorry that wasn't clear.

However, I am quite willing to give you my thoughts on why Dorwinion shouldn't look like an Italian City State(or a Hellenic Greek one for that matter.) and why I don't believe that any land, in that location and currently bearing the name, would be Elvish.

In my opinion, when building a Middle Earth beyond what Tolkien wrote, it is important to maintain a geographical coherence and a cultural consistency. So, what we know is that we have is a Dark Ages/Early Feudal world based loosely on Europe and Eurasia of roughly the 8-9th Centuries AD.

We have Eriador, which represents(to me) the fallen Western Empire of Rome in the form of a Northern Kingdom of the Dúnedain. We have Gondor and it's mighty citadel of Minas Tirith representing the dwindling power of the Eastern Roman Empire and Constantinople. Minas Tirith is a bastion against aggressors from the south and east, just as Constantinople was in our world.

There is probably a place for Italian City States somewhere in all of this and I believe that the coastal towns and cities of Gondor might very well be the best location, having their cultural stylings, if not their politics.

For me, the rivers Running and Redwater are fairly decent representations on Middle Earth of the Dnestr and the Dneipr, leading to the Sea of Rhun/The Black Sea.

Due to the real world proximity of the Caucasus region to the Black Sea and the fact that some of the earliest records of Wine production come from Armenia and Georgia, the Kievan Rus and the Khazaria seemed like pretty decent shout outs for a possible cultural reference. I finally decided upon the Kievan Rus analogy but replaced the Slavic tribes with an, as yet, underdefined Easterling population.

I envisaged that their shared blood with the Men of the Lake would make them amenable to trade, but that their proximity to the lands where Sauron holds sway, would mean that they would join Sauron for self preservation. Pragmatism at it's finest.

Having said that, these are just my thoughts and you envisage it whatever way you want.🙂

On the subject of Dorwinion and Elves, I have already indicated my thoughts on why these lands might have a Sindarin name, despite the low likelihood(imo) of them being an Elvish land. It's in the description of the Rouavalda the on the first page of this thread. I'll come back with some further thoughts on this once I have had the chance to set them into writing.

Cheers

Halbarad

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Peoples of Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûnen

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon May 15, 2017 4:39 pm

Thanks for the clarification. It's only natural that you develop your campaign as you see fit, and I've conceded that there is no real reason why Dorwinion couldn't encompass lands on either side of the Running River. There is still plenty of room for debate over many of the specifics concerning the region, though I tend to agree that the general population was Mannish (and perhaps of mixed heritage). It is at least possible that the dense woodland to the east of Dorwinion sheltered an enclave of East-elves and that the mountains on the south-western shore of the Inland Sea might have been home to Dwarves (likely other than Durin's Folk; either a remnant of the Petty-dwarves or part of one of the eastern Houses).
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

Turin
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Re: Peoples of Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûnen

Post by Turin » Tue May 23, 2017 9:16 am

Great write up Halbarad. Thanks for sharing it!

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Mon May 15, 2017 4:39 pm
...There is still plenty of room for debate over many of the specifics concerning the region, though I tend to agree that the general population was Mannish (and perhaps of mixed heritage). It is at least possible that the dense woodland to the east of Dorwinion sheltered an enclave of East-elves and that the mountains on the south-western shore of the Inland Sea might have been home to Dwarves (likely other than Durin's Folk; either a remnant of the Petty-dwarves or part of one of the eastern Houses).
That is how I have always viewed that area. It seemed to me that the elves would have contributed to the famous wines in some fashion. I hadn't thought about dwarves in those mountains but I like the idea of that as well. It could lead to a more melting pot culture of the "common" free peoples, as opposed to the High Men, High Elf and Dwarves of the west who tend to each want to be in charge.

Halbarad
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Re: Peoples of Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûnen

Post by Halbarad » Tue May 30, 2017 7:50 am

Thanks Turin, glad you enjoyed them.

I've had some time now to gather my thoughts on the possibility of an Elf community in the region of the Sea of Rhûn and why I believe that no such community could realistically exist.

There are two particular references in the body of writing that have drawn me to this conclusion. When taken individually they do not seem to actually have anything to do with the question at hand, but when both are taken together and we observe the way the tale unfolds, I believe that they provide some support my thoughts.

In Unfinished Tales: The Quest of Erebor, Gandalf is looking back upon the events as they happened and he mentions that if Dale had not been rebuilt, there would have been no strength of arms in the north to protect the passes through the Misty Mountains save for the Dwarves of the Iron Hills.

We know that King Brand of Dale brought his troops east, to contest the crossing of the Carnen by the Easterling Horde. These are the troops that Gandalf feared would have been unleashed against Rivendell and Eriador.

I believe that they marched around the northern shores of the Sea of Rhun. My reasoning being that the horde would only have had to ford a single major waterway, rather than the two they would have faced if they went by way of Dorwinion.

The location of Dorwinion would have placed it on the flanks of both the hordes that Sauron unleashed out of Rhun. It would have been upon the southern flank of the horde bound for Dale and upon the northern flank of the horde bound for Gondor. Even had the horde that attacked Dale crossed both rivers, it would have found this realm of a Dorwinion upon it's flank.

I feel that it is entirely unlikely that an Istari, as wise and well travelled as Gandalf, would have overlooked the existence of a community of Elves in this area, or that Sauron would have left them unmolested in his rear. The lack of their mention by Gandalf, the implausibility of a very small, unrecorded, group's existence in such close proximity to Sauronic lands with no Mighty Lord possessing an Elven Ring to hide them, brings me to the conclusion that the Dorwinion of the late Third Age was not an Elvish land(whether it may have once have been or not).

The notion of a human realm, referred to as Dorwinion due to the quality of the wines it produces(for whatever reason) seems more realistic. It was actually considered by Tolwen and myself, while corresponding on his Demographics of Rhovanion article, that the quality of the vineyards might, perhaps, have been due to the presence of the Entwives in this region for a period of time.

On a slightly tangential note.

I took a little time to check the references to Dorwinion in the Hobbit and formulate a few thoughts.

There is mention that wine is imported from their kin to the south and from the men of faraway lands. We know that there are Wood Elf kin to the south, the Galadhrim of Lothlorien. Might these be the Elves that Tolkien refers to here?

Is it also possible that the wines from the great gardens of Dorwinion have been in the cellars of Thranduil for a very long time. They are, seemingly, reserved for certain individuals and being Elvish, they probably do not spoil. I don't believe that there is anything that definitively links the wine that Galion drinks to the wines imported from these kin to the south, or fto that imported from the men of faraway lands.

Food(Wine) for thought?

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Peoples of Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûnen

Post by Otaku-sempai » Tue May 30, 2017 4:18 pm

Halbarad wrote:
Tue May 30, 2017 7:50 am
In Unfinished Tales: The Quest of Erebor, Gandalf is looking back upon the events as they happened and he mentions that if Dale had not been rebuilt, there would have been no strength of arms in the north to protect the passes through the Misty Mountains save for the Dwarves of the Iron Hills.

We know that King Brand of Dale brought his troops east, to contest the crossing of the Carnen by the Easterling Horde. These are the troops that Gandalf feared would have been unleashed against Rivendell and Eriador.

I believe that they marched around the northern shores of the Sea of Rhun. My reasoning being that the horde would only have had to ford a single major waterway, rather than the two they would have faced if they went by way of Dorwinion.

The location of Dorwinion would have placed it on the flanks of both the hordes that Sauron unleashed out of Rhun. It would have been upon the southern flank of the horde bound for Dale and upon the northern flank of the horde bound for Gondor. Even had the horde that attacked Dale crossed both rivers, it would have found this realm of a Dorwinion upon it's flank.

I feel that it is entirely unlikely that an Istari, as wise and well travelled as Gandalf, would have overlooked the existence of a community of Elves in this area, or that Sauron would have left them unmolested in his rear. The lack of their mention by Gandalf, the implausibility of a very small, unrecorded, group's existence in such close proximity to Sauronic lands with no Mighty Lord possessing an Elven Ring to hide them, brings me to the conclusion that the Dorwinion of the late Third Age was not an Elvish land(whether it may have once have been or not).
It is equally possible, though, that any Avari community located in the woodlands adjacent to Dorwinion was destroyed or driven away during the War of the Ring or in the years leading up it. Then again, an isolated settlement of East-elves might not be perceived as much of a threat; nor seen by Gandalf as a source of succor for the North. A Dwarven settlement on the other side of the Inland Sea could simply close their doors and hunker down (at least for as long as their stores lasted).
I took a little time to check the references to Dorwinion in the Hobbit and formulate a few thoughts.

There is mention that wine is imported from their kin to the south and from the men of faraway lands. We know that there are Wood Elf kin to the south, the Galadhrim of Lothlorien. Might these be the Elves that Tolkien refers to here?
That seems possible in the context of The Hobbit; however, that contradicts what we learn in The Lord of the Rings about the Elves of Lórien being out of contact with their northern kin for many long years.

'It is long since any of my own folk journeyed hither back to the land whence we wandered in ages long ago,' said Legolas, 'but we hear that Lórien is not yet deserted, for there is a secret power here that holds evil from the land. Nevertheless its folk are seldom seen, and maybe they dwell now deep in the woods and far from the northern border.'
Is it also possible that the wines from the great gardens of Dorwinion have been in the cellars of Thranduil for a very long time. They are, seemingly, reserved for certain individuals and being Elvish, they probably do not spoil. I don't believe that there is anything that definitively links the wine that Galion drinks to the wines imported from these kin to the south, or fto that imported from the men of faraway lands.
That might explain it, or even explain wines that originated from Lothlórien.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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