Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Moderators: caedmon, Greg

User avatar
Elleth
êphal ki-*raznahê
Posts: 1880
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:26 am
Location: in the Angle; New England

Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Elleth » Sat Sep 03, 2016 12:53 pm

Question for those deeper into the lore than I am -

So of course both kingdoms were founded by the same culture in the distant past: but how much cultural divergence occurred in the intervening years do we think?

Specifically, was the White Tree as big an element in the North, or did other elements (the Star, the Sceptre of Annúminas, etc) take precedence in their heraldry and visual arts? Do we have any direct textual evidence or suggestions from Tolkien himself, or just non-canon accretions from games and such?
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
Straelbora
Haeropada
Posts: 886
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:00 pm
Location: Indianapolis, IN USA

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Straelbora » Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:54 am

Taking a cue from language, I would say that the counter-intuitive progression would be that Arnor would be more conservative with symbols, whereas Gondor more likely to change. The larger and more cosmopolitan an area, the more influences come and go, and the more likely to change. Plus, in an analogy to the shattered western Roman Empire and the more intact Byzantine Empire in the east, Gondor would likely be more apt to allow for organic change, as a 'living' descendant of old Numenor, whereas the Dunedain would be much more invested in not losing cultural remnants of their Numenorean heritage.
Vápnum sínum skala maðr velli á
feti ganga framar því at óvist er at vita
nær verðr á vegum úti geirs um þörf guma
Hávamál
User avatar
Manveruon
Thangailhir
Posts: 1933
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:11 am
Location: Littleton, CO
Contact:

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Manveruon » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:10 pm

Straelbora's argument makes a lot of sense to me. Definitely think he may be onto something here.

That said, I am very interested in this question as well. I had never really considered the specific design languages of the human cultures throughout Middle Earth until the discussions began on these forums a while back, but now I find myself absolutely fascinated by the subject.

One project I badly want to undertake in the near future is making a few silk banners and standards that my group of Misty Mountain Rangers can fly at events, campsites, etc. and I have been mulling over exactly which designs and symbols a Ranger company of the Misty Mountains might actually put on these items. Any suggestions in this vein would be greatly appreciated.
User avatar
Elleth
êphal ki-*raznahê
Posts: 1880
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:26 am
Location: in the Angle; New England

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Elleth » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:45 pm

Hunh- of the Misty Mountains?

Have you narrowed down the location more than that?

If you're coming from the West, the only place the Misty Mountains touch the borders of old Arnor is in the north, along the part that became Rhudar and then fell to the Witchking of Angmar.
So I wouldn't *think* much house-heraldry would have survived in that area.

However, I can imagine a banner bearing (of course) the Ranger's star, and perhaps an Eagle to signify the heights there, and alliances made?

Alternately I can imagine something showing alliance with Elrond's house, or the holly leaves of ruined Eregion further to the south.
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
User avatar
Manveruon
Thangailhir
Posts: 1933
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:11 am
Location: Littleton, CO
Contact:

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Manveruon » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:02 am

Elleth wrote:Hunh- of the Misty Mountains?

Have you narrowed down the location more than that?

If you're coming from the West, the only place the Misty Mountains touch the borders of old Arnor is in the north, along the part that became Rhudar and then fell to the Witchking of Angmar.
So I wouldn't *think* much house-heraldry would have survived in that area.

However, I can imagine a banner bearing (of course) the Ranger's star, and perhaps an Eagle to signify the heights there, and alliances made?

Alternately I can imagine something showing alliance with Elrond's house, or the holly leaves of ruined Eregion further to the south.



I realize a company of Rangers in the Misty Mountains may be a bit of a stretch, based on what we know of the areas that the Dunedain regularly patrolled, but I'm willing to make the leap in this case. Technically, if we were considering the Colorado Front Range, and and the Easter slope of the Rocky Mountains a true stand-in for the Misty Mountains, then we would have to be on the opposite side from the lands generally inhabited by the Rangers, but I'm trying not to think about it too hard, heh.
Regardless though, I'd be interested to know any further thoughts on what a typical standard or banner of the Dunedain might be.
User avatar
Elleth
êphal ki-*raznahê
Posts: 1880
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:26 am
Location: in the Angle; New England

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Elleth » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:13 am

I do envy you your mountains. :)

I'd not be surprised to hear of a contingent of Rangers on expedition to the eastward side of the mountains, carrying messages eastward... hunh. Was there not an assault on Dol Guldur during the war? Were any Dunedain there? I know other campaigns were waged during the War of the Ring "offscreen" but I confess I've never studied up on them. Fascinating thought.
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
User avatar
Udwin
Amrod Rhandir
Posts: 572
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:00 pm
Location: banks of the great River, Kaintuckiana

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Udwin » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:19 am

Here's an interesting and I hope relevant quote from LR Bk2Ch3. Using Rivendell as a base, we read that 'scouts' (read into that term--and its relationship to 'Rangers'--what you will) have spent several months scouring all the lands around for signs of the Nazgul. Gives an idea of the kinds of journeys/missions that might be entrusted/expected of those in the area. Note that the Rangers are only specifically involved in the search down the Greyflood (which passes the Angle), which makes sense, as they are based there.

"...November had gone by with the last shreds of autumn, and December was passing, when the scouts began to return. Some had gone north beyond the springs of the Hoarwell into the Ettenmoors; and others had gone west, and with the help of Aragorn and the Rangers had searched the lands far down the Greyflood, as far as Tharbad, where the old North Road crossed the river by a ruined town. Many had gone east and south; and some of these had crossed the Mountains and entered Mirkwood, while others had climbed the pass at the source of the Gladden River, and had come down into Wilderland and over the Gladden Fields and so at length had reached the old home of Radagast at Rhosgobel. Radagast was not there; and they had returned over the high pass that was called the Dimrill Stair. The sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir, were the last to return; they had made a great journey, passing down the Silverlode into a strange country, but of their errand they would not speak to any save to Elrond.” (308).


As for a standard for your group, I think a few stylized mountain peaks, below a 'ranger's star' would work quite neatly.
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA
User avatar
Elleth
êphal ki-*raznahê
Posts: 1880
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:26 am
Location: in the Angle; New England

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Elleth » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:43 am

Udwin saves the day again - can't do better than that reference I think. :)

For what it's worth, I think that while for a reenacting group mountains below is PERFECT.. I suspect "in universe" if a banner was carried at all, it wouldn't bear a reference to the mountains themselves but - if they differed from other Rangers' banners at all - with house sigils of whichever captain led the expedition. Then again, perhaps some lady added the mountains prior to the scouts setting off, knowing it would be long months if ever before they returned.

Either way it's a fine thing to make and I think would be grand for your group to plant on a mountaintop!

(As an aside - one tradition that you see in Civil War flags is that the soldiers would mark their flag with the names significant battles the unit was involved in - I would think marking group expeditions and skirmishes on your banner as you have them would make a very fine keepsake in years to come. )
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
User avatar
Elleth
êphal ki-*raznahê
Posts: 1880
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:26 am
Location: in the Angle; New England

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Elleth » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:09 pm

Oof - I've gotta re-evaluate my mental visual model of Middle-earth I think.

So while working on another project, I've been getting deeper into Anglo-Saxon artistic conventions.
One of the things in passing I came across was an article discussing Tolkien's love for the Anglo-Saxon period (which I think we all knew) - but what I did not know was the extent to which he held something of an antipathy for the Norman period.

Now, a lot of my "mental visual model" for the northern Dunedain was based on a sort of Norman/Romanesque evolution from the attested Numenorean artworks.
But the more original Anglo-Saxon material I look at, the more I see how much of Middle-earth generally - not simply the Rohirrim particularly - draws from that wellspring. The hobbit's love of riddles comes first to mind, and of course the holdover of runes. Heck - the name Middle-earth.

All of which leaves me wondering the extent to which Eriador looked much more "Anglo-Saxon" than I had previously thought.
Among other things, now I'm grokking caedmon's "Trewhiddle" star brooch more.

I'm not immediately making any changes, but it's definately something I'm looking out more for in the future, especially next time I do a listen-through of the source material.

Anyone else gone down this road yet? If so, what have you come across?
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
User avatar
Ursus
Amrod Rhandir
Posts: 481
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:31 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Ursus » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:36 pm

Elleth wrote:Oof - I've gotta re-evaluate my mental visual model of Middle-earth I think.

So while working on another project, I've been getting deeper into Anglo-Saxon artistic conventions.
One of the things in passing I came across was an article discussing Tolkien's love for the Anglo-Saxon period (which I think we all knew) - but what I did not know was the extent to which he held something of an antipathy for the Norman period.

Now, a lot of my "mental visual model" for the northern Dunedain was based on a sort of Norman/Romanesque evolution from the attested Numenorean artworks.
But the more original Anglo-Saxon material I look at, the more I see how much of Middle-earth generally - not simply the Rohirrim particularly - draws from that wellspring. The hobbit's love of riddles comes first to mind, and of course the holdover of runes. Heck - the name Middle-earth.

All of which leaves me wondering the extent to which Eriador looked much more "Anglo-Saxon" than I had previously thought.
Among other things, now I'm grokking caedmon's "Trewhiddle" star brooch more.

I'm not immediately making any changes, but it's definately something I'm looking out more for in the future, especially next time I do a listen-through of the source material.

Anyone else gone down this road yet? If so, what have you come across?


I’ve been grappling with a similar thought process for a year now.
I think for my part I’ve always seen Middle Earth as largely Anglo-Saxon in period. Especially in terms of buildings and the clothing and possessions of simple folk. Oddly as social status climbs so does my vision of the the same structures/possessions/clothing etc. to a degree. Most of my visual range ends after the 13th century, with the exception of hobbits of course.
I think my concern with dabbling to much in one period is that I don’t want someone to look at my kit and say something akin to “Why is that 8th century Anglican carrying a 13th century sword?”
I’m sure I’m not the only one that had trouble finding that sweet spot of cultural blend. That escape from being tagged as a yeoman archer mixed with a 18th century long hunter armed in the fashion of a knight.
"Lonely men are we, Rangers of the wild, hunters – but hunters ever of the servants of the Enemy."

“My cuts, short or long, don’t go wrong.”
User avatar
caedmon
Balku'npâ
Posts: 752
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:30 am
Location: Palmer Alaska

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby caedmon » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:18 pm

This is how I've been thinking about it.

I not certain that I can agree with Straelbora, I think conservatism in art deals with a lot more than simply how cosmopolitan or rural a society is, but more with how many different people you are exposed to and how open you are to them and their culture.

Byzantine art, and then Orthodox iconography developed from late-Roman era Egyptian funerary portrait art, gelled in the 6th-8th century, and stayed fairly static, with some deviation in the 19th c. and again starting about twenty years ago.

Western art has hardly had a static period, save perhaps the international gothic school, since the fall of the western empire. This is in periods of both rural and cosmopolitan dominance.

But then you have isolated rural populations that are VERY artisitically conservative so I have a hard time saying anything for certain.
-Jack Horner

----------------------------
Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
User avatar
caedmon
Balku'npâ
Posts: 752
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:30 am
Location: Palmer Alaska

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby caedmon » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:31 pm

Here's how I've internally characterized the art of the cultural heirs of Numenor. We have three (or four?) of them:

    * the Dunedain in the North
    * Gondor
    * Umbar

    * Dol Amroth (?)
-----
the Dunedain in the North are a rural and minority population. But they have very conservative streak, maintaining 6,000+ year old artifacts, and maintaining close relations to the elves. I still think their art will be more dynamic, mostly because the Professor imagined it in an Anglo-Saxon context which was a very dynamic style that changed A LOT in the 600 years between Hengist & Horsa's landing and Edward the Confessor. Maybe this is due to contact with other Northerners, Proto-Rohirrim, etc?

Art: Numenorean elements, arclines etc. combined with historic Anglo-Saxon elements.
Use: focus on stuff that the Dunedain have (Narsil, ring of Barahir, stars, etc.), their cultural mission (preserve the North, restore the King), gentle Numenorean Arc Lines, Stylized Numenorean versions of Northern plants. Also use animal intertwine, bronze & garnet, trewhiddle elements give almost 18th c. feel.
Avoid: White Tree, bat wing, Eye of Sauron borders
-----
Gondor has more old stuff, and is more into looking back than foreward and feels stagnant to me. It also feels like it 14-5th c. Constantinople to me.

Art: Stiff, formal, copies historic styles but with key skills lost. Feels like early Gothic international style.
Use: Trees, stars, crowns, Numenorean arc lines, stylized Numenorean (not Gondorian) plants.
Avoid: Non-Numenorean elements, bat wing, Eye of Sauron borders
-----
Umbar is older than Arnor or Gondor with foundations before the Akallabeth, also... Eeevillll.

Art: Eeeevillll.
Use: Numenorean batwings, severe arc-lines, Numenorean black towers, text (like Warhammer 40k church stuff)
Avoid: Plants
-----
Dol Amroth was the Faithful's foothold on Middle Earth before the Akallabeth. Even so, feels like the dynamic 'new blood' part of Gondor, also there is a rumor that its princes are descended from a 3rd age union of Imrazôr the Númenórean and the Elf Mithrellas

Art: ???
Use: Swanship, elven elements
Avoid: Umbaran stuff, bat wing, Eye of Sauron borders
-Jack Horner

----------------------------
Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
User avatar
Iodo
Amrod Rhandir
Posts: 537
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:58 pm
Location: North west england UK

Re: Visual Language of Arnor vs. Gondor?

Postby Iodo » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:50 am

Brilliant summary, thanks :P
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.

Return to “Dunedain Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests