An Interpretation of the Names in the Line of Elros

including a discussion of their Adunaic forms with the proper grammar and vocabulary

by Lalaith<andreas.moehn@wiesbaden.netsurf.de>

 

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The document LE provides much information on why a certain king of Númenor decided for the name he took on ascending the throne. However, it fails to explain the meaning of the questioned name, so that to the unexperienced reader the relationships often remain obscure. The following list is intended to fill this gap.

Elros

Star-foam

el-, "star" [EL-]
ros, "foam, spray" [ROS1-]

On ascension, he called himself Tar-Minyatur. This sounds rather miniature but actually means "first royal lord".

tára, "lofty" [TA-, TA3-]
minya "first" [MINI-]
tur "master, victor, lord" [TUR-].

DA gives Elros‘ Adûnaic name as Gimilzôr which seems to be a literal translation.

gimil "star".
*zôr "foam"?

Vardamir

Varda's Jewel

Varda [BARÁD-]
mîrë "jewel" [MIR-]

He was also called Nólimon "for his chief love was for ancient lore".

Afterwards, all kings and queens of the Line of Elros assumed the prefix Tar- which subsequently will not be translated any longer.

Seems to contain nolwe- [NGOL-] but cannot readily be interpreted: < adj. *nólima with m. suff. -on, thus "the Learned"?

Tar-Amandil

Bliss-Friend

Aman "[Land of) Bliss"
nilda, "friendly, loving", according to S devoted love [NIL-], see also L297.

The Lords of Andunië Amandil and Elendil were probably called in honour of this king and his son, see below.

 

DA gives the Adûnaic name of Amandil as Aphanuzîr, thus the king would be called *Ar-Aphanuzîr.

*Aphana, Bliss. This is not the Land of Aman for according to NC, Adûnaic had simply adopted the name Aman, as in Aman-thâni > Amatthâni.
zîr "love".

Tar-Elendil

The Friend of Elves and Stars

elda "elf" [ÉLED-] or elen "(poetic) star" [EL-]
nilda

He was also called Parmaitë "Make-handed", "for with his own hand he made many books and legends of the lore".

*par- "compose, put together" [PAR-]
maitë "handed, skilled" [MA3-, but there given as maite]

The Adûnaic form Nimruzîr for Elendil, found in DA, translates only the meaning "Elf-friend": Nimir, obj. Nimru, and zîr. Thus *Ar-Nimruzîr.

Nimir "Elf"
zîr.

Tar-Meneldur

The Servant of the Sky

menel "starry sky", literally "region of the stars", a compound of mena "region" [MEN-] & el, cf. Adûnaic minal
dur, ndur
, "bow down, obey, serve" [NDU-]

Less literally, his name means "astronomer". He assumed it for "his love of star-lore". Apparently it means "professional Astronomer" in contrast to meneldil, a "star-friend", though this is likewise translated "astronomer" in L297.

 

His birth-name was Írimon "The Fair".

írima "fair" [ID-].
m. suff. -on.

Tar-Aldarion

The Son of the Trees

pl. of alda "tree" [GALAD-]
patron. suff. –ion [YONN-]

He was early on called like that "because he was much concerned with trees".

 

His birth name was Anardil, "Sun-friend".

anar "sun" [NAR1-]
nilda.

Tar-Ancalimë

She who is Exceedingly Bright (though not of mind)

a superlative of calima [KAL-, according to L211; the form calina in TE is very likely erroneous]
a f. suff.

Her throne name was already her birth name, given to her because of her beauty (AE). In her youth, she was also known as Emerwen Aranel "Princess Shepherdess".

emer- "sheep"? [of uncertain origin], cf. Emerië
f. suff. –wen.

Tar-Anárion

The Son of the Sun

anar
-ion
.

Anárion was already his birth name, being quite suitable for a son of "the Brightest One". Perhaps his mother understood herself as a sun-queen?

 

Tar-Súrion

The Son of the Wind

súr- "wind", of uncertain origin. Perhaps related to Q. súle „breath“ [THU-]
-ion

The base of súr- is not found in TE, but the meaning "wind" is evident from súrinen in the poem "Namarië".

 

Tar-Telperien

The Silver One

telpe "silver" [KYELEP-/TELEP-]
f. suff. -ien.

The name seems to mimic that of the silver tree, Telperion, displaying the influence of Telerin telpe. In both cases, the insertion of -r-, rather than producing *Telpion, *Tar-Telpien, is uninterpretable.

 

Tar-Minastir

The Watcher from the Tower

minas "tower"??? [MINI-]. Properly a Sindarin element: Quenya, according to TE, has mindo. Did there also exist an unrecorded form minassë?
tir- "watch" [TIR-]

Another astronomer. He chose his name "because he built a high tower" from which he observed the stars. Which means that he built the astronomical tower before his ascension, of course.

 

Tar-Ciryatan

The Ship-builder or Shipwright

cirya "ship" [KIR-]
tano "craftsman, smith" [TAN-]

Sometimes also translated as "King Shipwright" for "he built a great fleet of royal ships". His name is the Quenya form of Cirdan whom Tar-Ciryatan perhaps mimicked.

 

In PM translated into Adûnaic as Ar-Balkumagan.

The objective (used as a collective) of *balak "ship". NC records plural balika.
*magan "builder". Perhaps is MAG- & suff. –ân, analogous to sap(h)thân [SAPHAD], phazân and should then be written magân.

Tar-Atanamir

The Jewel of Mankind

probably atan "man" [of uncertain origin]
mîrë
.

The name is hard to interpret and perhaps offers some other solutions as well.

 

Tar-Ancalimon

He who is Exceedingly Bright

The male form of Tar-Ancalimë.

Tar-Telemmaitë

The Silver-handed

telep (Telerin) [KYELEP-/TELEP-]
maitë
, with central assimilation

He "was so called because of his love of silver" and mithril.

 

Tar-Vanimeldë

The Fair Elf

vanima [BAN-]
elda
.

The name is surprising with regard to her ancestress Tar-Ancalimë, said to have been the most beautiful queen before Tar-Míriel.

 

Her husband later took the throne as Tar-Anducal, "light of the dusk" or more properly „light of the West“, cf. Andunië.

andúne "sunset" [NDU-]
cal.

Tar-Alcarin

The Glorious

a substantivation of alcar "glorious" [AKLAR-, related to KAL-].

Nomen est omen: under his reign Númenor achieved the climax of its splendour.

 

Tar-Calmacil

The Light-Sword

cal
macil
"sword" [MAK-]
.

His name was separated by Foster into Calma-cil "lamp-bright spark" but really is Cal-macil.(Hello, Darth Vader!) So much is evident from the reason why he chose this name: "for in his youth he was a great captain, and won wide lands along the coasts of Middle-earth".

 

He was the first one to officially claim an Adûnaic title: Ar-Belzagar, evidently a literal translation. The similarity to the Biblical Belsazar is probably intentional. But according to NC the name should in fact read *Ar-Bêlzagar.

Compare also the proper name Gimilzagar, evidently "Star-sword". It is very interesting that in Quenya this would render *Elemmacil - and indeed, one Elemmakil appears in AG as guardian of Gondolin!

*bel "light", not related to verbal stem bêl- "love"
zagar "sword", clearly related to NC azgarra "waging war".

Tar-Ardamin

The Pillar of Earth

arda "Earth" [GAR-]
min
[MINI-].

The name - accidentally omitted from KR but made official be LE - was clearly intended as a reflection on Menelmin "Pillar of Heaven", an earlier name of the central mountain of Númenor (NC). The connexion was lost when the orographic name was changed into Meneltarma. By consequence, should the king not have called himself *Tar-Ardatarma?

 

Adûnaic Ar-Abattârik likewise mimics the orographic Minul-Târik and so certainly is a literal translation.

*aban (with assimilation nt > tt), *abat, or *abat(t)a "earth". NC instead gives daira
târik "pillar".

Tar-Herunúmen

The Lord of the West

heru "master" [KHER-]
númen "West", a compound of núta "set, sink (of sun or moon)" [NDU-] & men
.

It is reported that the Faithful considered his name an offense, for the Lord of the West in the proper sense was Manwë. And indeed, in NC the Valar are properly called "Lords of the West" - but númeheruvi, the singular herunúmen appears only in a rejected text. Is Elf-Latin such free in constructing compounds, or do the elements change position when a plural is formed?

 

This king was the first to use an Adûnaic name on ascension: Ar-Adûnakhôr. This form is even more baffling: the plural bârim an-adûn given in NC (in the rejected text is found the singular bârun-adûnô) bears no resemblance to Adûnakhôr. So why would the Faithful get excited about his choice at all?
The name is likely to be separated Adûn-akhôr for an -a-inflexion would not occur in such structures: A compound Adûn + *khôr would have resulted in *Adûkkhôr.

adûn "West", said to be borrowed from Elvish in the appendix to S
*akhôr "Lord"

Tar-Hostamir

The Jewel-Collector

hosta "collect" [KHOTH-]
mîrë.

It is easy to see what Tar-Hostamir's passion was. Or is he rather a "Collected Jewel"?

 

Adûnaic Ar-Zimrathôn This may be a participle of a verbal stem *zimrath-, related to the noun zimra "jewel". Zimrathôn would thus resemble in structure words like zabathan "humbled".

zimra- "jewel", *zimrath- "to collect jewels"? part. suff. *–ôn

Tar-Falassion

The Son of the Shore

falassë "shore" [PHAL-, PHÁLAS-]
-ion.

Does that indicate the place where he was conceived? Or did he rather think of the shores of Middle-earth where he governed the Númenorean dominions?

 

Adûnaic Ar-Sakalthôr, neither component is found elsewhere.

*sakal "beach"?
a patronymic suffix -thôr? But in DA the patronymic suffix is given as –ôhin, though this may perhaps mean "child of" (cf. Quenya hín), not "son of".

Tar-Telemnar

The Silver Flame

telpë
narë
"fire" [NAR1-] with central assimilation.

Why he took this name seems unclear.

 

But in Adûnaic he was most surprisingly Ar-Gimilzôr, though he avoided to call himself *Tar-Elros in Quenya. Perhaps he played a pun on the Faithful by making use of homonyms:

gimil is here probably not related to the base GIM'L "star" but a borrowing of Khuzdul kibil "silver".
zôr may not be just "foam" but also "flame".

Tar-Palantir

He Who Looks afar

palan "far, distant, wide, to a great extent" [PAL-]
tir.

He assumed a new name in Quenya because he considered himself "far-sighted both in eye and mind".

Originally, he was (Tar-)Númellótë "Flower of the West". This is again confusing: Why does númen now stand in front position like in númeheruvi but not in Herunúmen?

númen with central assimilation
lotë "flower" [LOT(H)-, there spelt lóte]

Entirely baffling is the Adûnaic form Ar-Inziladûn, which according to the known grammatical rules would rather mean "West of the Flower". Its structure resembles no other compound that contains adûn: Adûnakhôr, bârim an-adûn. The only closer approximation is the female name Inzilbêth with the unlikely meaning "Flower-speaker".

*inzil "flower"
adûn

Tar-Calion

The Son of the Light

cal- [KAL-]
-ion
.

Or less literally: "the Bright One". He was better known as Ar-Pharazôn "the Golden" which does not seem to be a translation. His Quenya name stayed out of use.

pharaz "gold"

Tar-Míriel

The Jewel of a Daughter

mîrë
suff. -iel "daughter" [YEL-].

Ar-Pharazôn translated his wife's name into Adûnaic as Ar-Zimraphel that according to NC should have been written *Ar-Zimraphêl.

zimra
-phel
"daughter", a very late change from -hil.

Who speaks proper Adunaic?

The only informations provided on the grammatical structure of Adûnaic, as well as most of its vocabulary, are found in NC. According to these sources, Tolkien "abandoned the further development of Adunaic [sic] and never returned to it." (DA) However, comparing the Adûnaic names of the Númenorean kings given in DA, KR, and LE evokes the impression that this is not true.

Most of the Adûnaic names seem to be a literal translation of their Quenya counterparts, clearly except Tar-Calion/Ar-Pharazôn. Some of the used elements remain identifiable: Ar-, a derivative of âru "king" that is no doubt closely connected to Sindarin aran, also adûn "west" (Ar-Adûnakhôr, Inziladûn), said to be an influence from Elvish in S, *balak "ship", from the recorded balika (Ar-Balkumagan), târik "pillar" (Ar-Abattârik), zimra "jewel" (Ar-Zimrathôn, Ar-Zimraphel). The noun zagar "sword" (Ar-Belzagar, Gimilzagar) is not found in DA but provides the base for azgarâ- "waging war", azaggara "was warring". The element -magân "builder, wright" seems to consist of a stem *mag- "to build" and an agental suffix -ân, much like DA sapthân "wizard" (base SAPHAD "to know"), kathuphazgân "conqueror".

And yet, some irritating discrepancies arise. Already within DA, Quenya –(n)dil is translated as -bêl in Azrubêl (= Eärendil) but –zîr in Aphanuzîr, Nimruzîr (Amandil, Elendil). In the Line of Elros we further encounter Ar-Abattârik, Ar-Adûnakhôr, Ar-Sakalthôr which, if blindly translated from Quenya by using the NC/DA vocabulary, would rather have been *Ar-Dairutârik, *Ar-Baranadûn, *Ar-Sakalôhîn. The element bêl means "the love" in Azrubêl but "the light" in Belzagar. The most stupifying case, however, is that of Gimilzôr that in DA translates "Star-foam" (i. e. Elros) but in LE "Silver Flame" (Telemnar)!

Of course it is always possible to assume the existence of synonyms. Maybe Adûnaic had many synonymous expressions of Mannish and Elvish origin side by side: Mannish aban vs. Elvish daira (< Arda?), Mannish bar vs. Elvish akhôr (< heru?), -thôr vs. -ôhîn (< hín?). But this is a mere speculation to save consistency where perhaps there was none intended. And shall we also claim that gimil means both "star" and "silver", zôr both "foam" and "flame"?

But some of the Adûnaic names defy the grammar designed in RA. Minul-Târik "Pillar of Heaven" is said to contain the objective case of minal "heaven", but aban in Abattârik cannot be a similar objective. Thus, the entire royal name would simply mean "Earthly pillar" and the evidently intended "Pillar of Earth" had to be given as *Abanu-Târîk. In Inziladûn, inzil stands in object position to adûn, and so its meaning actually was "West of the Flower" and not "Flower of the West" - which would have to be either *Adûninzil or *Inzil an-Adûn (adûn is correctly placed only in Adûnakhôr). Worst, Adûnakhôr bears no resemblance to the otherwise recorded *bar ´n-adûn (pl. barim ´n-adûn), not in structure and hardly in vocabulary, so it seems really surprising why this "Lord of the West" should have been so offensive to the Faithful.

In short, it looks as if NC/DA was not a trustworthy source to understand Adûnaic in its final stage of composition. Much change of mind seems to have been silently going on that was never set down in written form.

List of Abbreviations

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