7 February 2011


My Classical Studies school work required me to compare Greek mythology with a mythology created by a modern author.  I got a little carried away.

NB: Dear LOTR fans.  Please don't troll.  You know more about the trilogy than I do.

J R R Tolkien created an extensive mythology in his novels 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings'.  He based the world of Middle Earth on his intimate knowledge of Anglo-Saxon mythology.  The complex world Tolkien created included its own geography, history, language and lore.  Certain elements of Greek mmythology can be compared to Tolkien's fictional world.

While there are no divine rulers of Middle Earth Greek gods can be compared to the coexisting races of Tolkien's world.  The constant warring of the Olympians with each other can be compared to the fighting between the races of Middle Earth.  The spread of Achaeans, Minoans, Dorians and Trojans throughout the Aegean Sea can also be compared to the spread of Elves, Dwarves, Men, Orcs and Hobbits throughout Middle Earth. 

Greek gods have areas and territories of influence.  Just as Poseidon controlled the sea, Demeter had special influence at Eleusis and Apollo's cheif oracle was housed at Delphi specific groups in Tolkien's creation had special spheres of influence.  The Kingdom of Rohan had an affinity with horses while the Ents controlled Fangorn Forest.  The important Mt Doom is located in his land of Mordor under the influence of Sauron just as Athene's olive tree stands in the Erectheion on the religious centre of her patron city, Athens. 

The biggest difference between Tolkien's mythology and that of the Ancient Greek is the idea of morality.  No Greek divinity was inherently evil while in Tolkien's world evil had a physical manifestation in Sauron.  This concept of good versus evil is what separates the two mythologies the most.


1 comment:

  1. That's awesome. :D
    I've never quite found the excuse to use LotR as an example for an assignment. :P


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