Tolkien Gateway

The Quenta

"...there is much else that may be told." — Glóin
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The Shaping of Middle-earth chapters
  1. Prose Fragments
  2. The Earliest 'Silmarillion'
  3. The Quenta
  4. The First 'Silmarillion' Map
  5. The Ambarkanta
  6. The Earliest Annals of Valinor
  7. The Earliest Annals of Beleriand

The Quenta is the third chapter of The Shaping of Middle-earth, the fourth book in the series The History of Middle-earth.

[edit] Quenta Noldorinwa

This is the second version of the text that would eventually become the published Quenta Silmarillion, after the Sketch of the Mythology included in the previous chapter, "The Earliest 'Silmarillion'".

The text cites as its in-universe source Eriol's Book of Lost Tales, itself based on the Golden Book in Koromas (a city on Tol Eressëa which is here and elsewhere called Kortirion, after the city in Valinor which in later versions would be simplified to Tirion). In earlier versions the Golden Book of Tavrobel was written by Eriol or a later author.

Though a book by the same name is mentioned here, there is no evidence that Tolkien consulted the physical manuscript called The Book of Lost Tales at any point in the process of writing the Quenta.

[edit] Old English

Included in this chapter are surviving fragments of Anglo-Saxon translations of the Annals of Valinor, the Annals of Beleriand, and Quenta Noldorinwe, as well as the Old English equivalents of various Elvish names. All of this is attributed in-universe to Ælfwine.

[edit] Valar

The Valar as a whole are called the Fréan (singular Fréa, meaning "ruler" or "lord"), Ese (singular Os, meaning "god"), Brega (singular Bregu, "ruler" or "lord"), or Mægnu (singular Mægen, "power" or "might"). Mægen appears in the Old English translation of the Quenta included in this chapter.

Manwë is Wolcenfréa (from wolcen, meaning "sky"), and Melkor (here called Melko) is Manfréa (man, meaning "evil" or "wickedness"), Bolgen (meaning "wrathful"), and Malscor (related to malscrung, "bewildering" or "bewitching"). Ulmo becomes Garsecges fréa (Garsecg, a name for the Sea), ealwæter-fréa (eal "all" + wæter "water"), and agendfréa ealra wætera (which adds the term agend, "owner"). This last name for Ulmo comes from the Old English translation of the Quenta that appears in this chapter.

Aulë is Cræftfréa (cræft, "power" or "art"), Tulkas is Afodfréa (afod or eafod "might, strength"), and Oromë is Wáðfréa (wáð "hunting"), Huntena fréa (huntena "of hunters"), Wealdafréa (wealda "of forests"), which is a translation of Oromë's Noldorin epithet Tauros (which would be replaced by Tauron in later versions of the Legendarium) that appears in the Old English Quenta, and Béaming (béam "tree"), which is a translation of his Quenya epithet Aldaron. The Fëanturi, Námo and Irmo, are called Nefréa (ne(o) "corpse") and Swefnfréa (swefn "dream") -- in the Old English Quenta Námo is also called neoaerna hlaford ("master of the houses of the dead").

Ossë is listed here as well, and given the name Sǽfréa ( "sea").