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Celtic Myth by John Howe

Celtic refers either to the Celtic languages, including Breton, Cornish, Gaelic, and Welsh, or to the Celts, an historic group of people.[1]

Tolkien had noted the ambiguity of the word "Celtic" as an arbitrary catch-all term:

"'Celtic' of any sort is, nonetheless, a magic bag, into which anything may be put, and out of which almost anything may come."
― Inauguration speech at the University of Oxford[2]


[edit] Scholarly interest

Tolkien was thanked for having helped "untiringly with problems of Celtic philology" in preparing the book Roman Britain and the English Settlements (1936).[3]

[edit] Celtic influences on the Legendarium

[edit] Mythology

Tolkien claimed knowledge of Celtic languages and legends, but expressed a dislike in Celtic legends and denied that his legendarium is "Celtic".[4]

However, Celtic concepts are present in some views about the Elves (see Elves#Celtic influence).

[edit] Names

While several names in the legendarium have Germanic and Old English elements, Tolkien mentioned that the survival of traces of the older language of the Stoors and the Bree-men resembled the survival of Celtic elements in England.[5] Tolkien said to the Dutch Translator, Max Schuchart, that there were "'Celtic' elements in Buckland and East-farthing names."[6]

Celtic analogies with peoples are present mostly relating to Pre-Númenóreans, especially Dunland and the Stoor hobbits, which is evident in placenames such as "Bree" and the personal names of the Bucklanders. According to Paula Marmor, the Celtic elements in Stoorish names represents an earlier language, related to the languages of the Bree-landers.[7]

The majority of Celtic names is seen in the family trees of the Brandybucks. Names such as Rorimac, Dinodas, Gorbadoc, Meriadoc and Marmadoc are Celtic.[8]

Other names having (or have been suggested as having) a Celtic influence include:

Edward Crankshaw, a reader for Allen & Unwin, was assigned to review the current draft of the "Quenta Silmarillion" in 1937. He had a mostly favourable attitude to it, but he said that the names were "eye-splitting Celtic names". Tolkien denied Celtic influences in his Elvish names, and he showed distaste for Celtic words.[9]

[edit] External links

Tolkien influenced by Irish mythology?] by Michael Martinez


  1. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: II. Reader's Guide, pp. 148-52
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, "English and Welsh"
  3. "Other credits", (accessed 15 February 2017)
  4. Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, p. 26
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "On Translation"
  6. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 93
  7. Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, "An etymological excursion among the Shire folk"
  8. Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, "Giving of names"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 19, (dated 16 December 1937)