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The Belief of Men

Maedhros

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From Morgoth's Ring: Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth
'Yet among my people, from Wise unto Wise out of the darkness, comes the voice saying that Men are not now as they were, nor as their true nature was in their beginning. And clearer still is this said by the Wise of the People of Marach, who have preserved in memory a name for Him that ye call Eru, though in my folk He was almost forgotten. So I learn from Adanel. They say plainly that Men are not by nature short-lived, but have become so through the malice of the Lord of the Darkness whom they do not name.'
said Andreth.
That's an interesting belief that early men had. That they were inmortal too from the beginning. Could this be the way that Melkor used to turned Men against Eru and the elves?
Che pensi tu?
 
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Grond

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From The Silmarillion, Akallabeth,
...The Eldar reported these words to the Valar, and Manwë was grieved, seeing a cloud gather on the noon-tide of Númenor. And he sent messengers to the Dúnedain, who spoke earnestly to the King, and to all who would listen, concerning the fate and fashion of the world.

'The Doom of the World,' they said, 'One alone can change who made it. And were you so to voyage that escaping all deceits and snares you came indeed to Aman, the Blessed Realm, little would it profit you. For it is not the land of Manwë that makes its people deathless, but the Deathless that dwell therein have hallowed the land; and there you would but wither and grow weary the sooner, as moths in a light too strong and steadfast.

But the King said: 'And does not Eärendil, my forefather, live? or is he not in the land of Aman?'

To which they answered: 'You know that he has a fate apart, and was adjudged to the Firstborn who die not; yet this also is his doom that he can never return again to mortal lands. Whereas you and your people are not of the Firstborn, but are mortal men as Ilúvatar made you. Yet it seems that you desire now to have the good of both kindreds, to sail to Valinor when you will, and to return when you please to your homes. That cannot be. Nor can the Valar take away the gifts of Ilúvatar. The Eldar, you say are unpunished, and even those who rebelled do not die. Yet that is to them neither reward nor punishment, but the fulfilment of their being. They cannot escape, and are bound to this world, never to leave it so long as it lasts, for its life is theirs, And you are punished for the rebellion of Men, you say, in which you had small part, and so it is that you die. But that was not at first appointed for a punishment. Thus you escape, and leave the world, and are not bound to it, in hope or in weariness. Which of us therefore should envy the others?'
This quote seems to make it pretty clear that the author intended Men to be seen as mortal by the designs of Illuvator and not the designs of Melkor. I think the quote from Morgoth's Ring gives us food for thought though. :)
 
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aragil

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Originally posted by Grond
This quote seems to make it pretty clear that the author intended Men to be seen as mortal by the designs of Illuvator and not the designs of Melkor. I think the quote from Morgoth's Ring gives us food for thought though. :)
Keep in mind though, the author of the Akallabeth is probably considered to be a Dunedain (internal conceipt of the mythology), and has probably been biased by several thousand years of Eldar beliefs (and is indeed quoting the emissary of the Valar, not giving his/her own thoughts). In the passage from MR, Andreth is opposed to the teachings of the Eldar regarding the fate of man, and she may have a point. Remember, the fate of man was unknown to the Valar, who tought the Eldar, so it is possible that the Valar/Eldar/Author of the Akallabeth got it wrong. That being said, I agree with you and the Eldar (as I've mentioned in an alternate reality), as the Eldar are pretty dang perceptive and in general shrewd guessers. I just wanted to point out that Tolkien (whether intentionally or not) gives us no true authoratative view on the issue, so it can not be considered too clearly resolved.
 

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Originally posted by aragil
Keep in mind though, the author of the Akallabeth is probably considered to be a Dunedain (internal conceipt of the mythology), and has probably been biased by several thousand years of Eldar beliefs (and is indeed quoting the emissary of the Valar, not giving his/her own thoughts). In the passage from MR, Andreth is opposed to the teachings of the Eldar regarding the fate of man, and she may have a point. Remember, the fate of man was unknown to the Valar, who tought the Eldar, so it is possible that the Valar/Eldar/Author of the Akallabeth got it wrong. That being said, I agree with you and the Eldar (as I've mentioned in an alternate reality), as the Eldar are pretty dang perceptive and in general shrewd guessers. I just wanted to point out that Tolkien (whether intentionally or not) gives us no true authoratative view on the issue, so it can not be considered too clearly resolved.
I hate to argue all the time but...
From The Silmarillion, Of Men,
But Men were more frail, more easily slain by weapon or mischance, and less easily healed; subject to sickness and many ills; and they grew old and died.
This is directly from the mouth of the author... unless you are asserting that the writer of the Silmarillion is also an uninformed Numenorean. :);)
 

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Maedhros, I think the original quote you gave referring to the words of Andreth relate to a greater longevity of life, not actual immortality. Certainly the belief is that Men at one point had a greater lifespan than they currently enjoy, which in reality is but a fleeting moment. This would also sit comfortably with Tolkiens own Christian view that Mankind was once blessed with a much longer lifespan, yet much reduced over the years. The relevance to Genesis is almost tangible, not in any religious sense, simply the relation between the two.
 

aragil

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No, that would be a misinformed Elda (although the original concept was a misinformed Elda telling stories to the likewise misinformed mariner who happened upon Tol-Eressea). But misinformed is such an ugly word. How about 'non-omnipotent'? No shame in that.
 

Maedhros

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From Morgoth's Ring: ATHRABETH FINROD AH ANDRETH
Now the Eldar learned that, according to the lore of the Edain, Men believed that their hröar were not by right nature short-lived, but had been made so by the malice of Melkor. It was not clear to the Eldar whether Men meant: by the general marring of Arda (which they themselves held to be the cause of the waning of their own hröar); or by some special malice against Men as Men that was achieved in the dark ages before the Edain and the Eldar met in Beleriand; or by both. But to the Eldar it seemed that, if the mortality of Men had come by special malice, the nature of Men had been grievously changed from the first design of Eru; and this was a matter of wonder and dread to them, for, if it were indeed so, then the power of Melkor must be (or have been in the beginning) far greater than even the Eldar had understood; whereas the original nature of Men must have been strange indeed and unlike that of any others of the dwellers in Arda.
I think that Andreth meant that men in the beginning tought that they were too inmortal.
The point of the thread, which seems to have deviated from my original idea, was Did Melkor use that fact that he could "toy" with men regarding their livespan and therefore using it to enslave the race of men or a great part of them?
 

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Originally posted by Maedhros
From Morgoth's Ring: ATHRABETH FINROD AH ANDRETH

I think that Andreth meant that men in the beginning tought that they were too inmortal.
The point of the thread, which seems to have deviated from my original idea, was Did Melkor use that fact that he could "toy" with men regarding their livespan and therefore using it to enslave the race of men or a great part of them?
NO!!!
 

Maedhros

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What do you mean no?
From Morgoth's Ring: ATHRABETH FINROD AH ANDRETH
More strictly speaking, he would say that Melkor had not 'changed' Men, but 'seduced' them (to allegiance to himself) very early in their history, so that Eru had changed their 'fate'. For Melkor could seduce individual minds and wills, but he could not make this heritable, or alter (contrary to the will and design of Eru) the relation of a whole people to Time and Arda. But the power of Melkor over material things was plainly vast. The whole of Arda (and indeed probably many other parts of Eä) had been marred by him. Melkor was not just a local Evil on Earth, nor a Guardian Angel of Earth who had gone wrong: he was the Spirit of Evil, arising even before the making of Eä. His attempt to dominate the structure of Eä, and of Arda in particular, and alter the designs of Eru (which governed all the operations of the faithful Valar), had introduced evil, or a tendency to aberration from the design, into all the physical matter of Arda. It was for this reason, no doubt, that he had been totally successful with Men
It's right there.
 

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But the Quendi shall be the fairest of all earthly creatures, and they shall have and shall conceive and bring forth more beauty than all my Children; and they shall have the greater bliss in this world. But to the Atani I will give a new gift.' Therefore he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and should find no rest therein; but they should have a virtue to shape their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else; and of their operation everything should be, in form and deed, completed, and the world fulfilled unto the last and smallest.
This was pre-ordained by Eru in advance of potential for any influence by Melkor. It also states clearly in The Sil.;

Now all is said concerning the manner of the Earth and its rulers in the beginning of days, and ere the world became such as the Children of Ilúvatar have known it. For Elves and Men are the Children of Ilúvatar; and since they understood not fully that theme by which the Children entered into the Music, none of the Ainur dared to add anything to their fashion. For which reason the Valar are to these kindreds rather their elders and their chieftains than their masters; and if ever in their dealings with Elves and Men the Ainur have endeavoured to force them when they would not be guided, seldom has this turned to good, howsoever good the intent. The dealings of the Ainur have indeed been mostly with the Elves, for Ilúvatar made them more like in nature to the Ainur, though less in might and stature; whereas to Men he gave strange gifts.
It is clear that The Ainur (all the Ainur) played no part in the song that led to the creation of The Children. Therefore Melkor played no part in changing the original gift of Men.
 

Maedhros

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It is clear that The Ainur (all the Ainur) played no part in the song that led to the creation of The Children. Therefore Melkor played no part in changing the original gift of Men.
I thinkt that we are arguing 2 different things.
I'm not saying that Melkor changed the fate of Men granted by Eru, I'm saying that Melkor deceived Men, using the gift of Eru as his instrument to make him his subjects.
From Morgoth's Ring: ATHRABETH FINROD AH ANDRETH
Then Andreth being urged by Finrod said at last: 'This is the tale that Adanel of the House of Hador told to me.'
Some say the Disaster happened at the beginning of the history of our people, before any had yet died. The Voice had spoken to us, and we had listened. The Voice said: 'Ye are my children. I have sent you to dwell here. In time ye will inherit all this Earth, but first ye must be children and learn. Call on me and I shall hear; for I am watching over you.'
We understood the Voice in our hearts, though we had no words yet. Then the desire for words awoke in us, and we began to make them. But we were few, and the world was wide and strange. Though we greatly desired to understand, learning was difficult, and the making of words was slow.
In that time we called often and the Voice answered. But it seldom answered our questions, saying only: 'First seek to find the answer for yourselves. For ye will have joy in the finding, and so grow from childhood and become wise. Do not seek to leave childhood before your time.'
Then one appeared among us, in our own form visible, but greater and more beautiful; and he said that he had come out of pity. 'Ye should not have been left alone and uninstructed,' he said. 'The world is full of marvellous riches which knowledge can unlock. Ye could have food more abundant and more delicious than the poor things that ye now eat. Ye could have dwellings of ease, in which ye could keep light and shut out the night. Ye could be clad even as I.'
He was less swift than we had hoped to teach us how to find, or to make for ourselves, the things that we desired, though he had awakened many desires in our hearts. But if any doubted or were impatient, he would bring and set before us all that we wished for. 'I am the Giver of Gifts,' he said; 'and the gifts shall never fail as long as ye trust me.'
The first Voice we never heard again, save once. In the stillness of the night It spoke, saying: 'Ye have abjured Me, but ye remain Mine. I gave you life. Now it shall be shortened, and each of you in a little while shall come to Me, to learn who is your Lord: the one ye worship, or I who made him.'
There it is!;)
 

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I don't think we're deviating yet- Indeed, Andreth was claiming 100% immortality, beyond even that enjoyed by the Elves. According to her (and all of the wise men of her age) Men originally did not die in Arda, and did not end with Arda- neither their spirit nor their body. Part of discussing whether Melkor had messed with this is discussing whether or not the wise men and Andreth were correct in their assumptions.
 

Maedhros

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Part of discussing whether Melkor had messed with this is discussing whether or not the wise men and Andreth were correct in their assumptions.
Not necessarily. One could have a belief that comes from uncorrect assumptions. It does not change the belief itself.
 

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I guess it really depends on whether you want to take the basic writings of the author through his more complete work, The Silmarillion or the lesser consistencies of the HoMe series which were more along the lines of rough drafts and alternative ideas.

While I have quoted HoMe in many of my arguments in the past, it is not as authoritative as the Silmarillion... but that is just my opinion.

I do not for one second think that Melkor corrupted Man in the sense that Maedhros is portraying... mainly because Melkor lacked the power to distort an entire race. He corrupted either Man or Elves or both into Orcs but the basic races of Man and Elves was unchanged. This assertion would mean that Melkor changed the path of mortality of the entirety of the race of Man. That would include all Men and I just don't buy into the theory. Melkor was not Eru. Only Eru could change the basic premise of his Third Theme. Of course, that is just the way I see it... and I could be wrong. :)
 

Maedhros

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I guess it really depends on whether you want to take the basic writings of the author through his more complete work, The Silmarillion or the lesser consistencies of the HoMe series which were more along the lines of rough drafts and alternative ideas.
I agree that the Sil should have more weight but we have to remember that unfortunately the author didn't published himself the Sil and we don't know many of the changes that he himself would have done.
I do not for one second think that Melkor corrupted Man in the sense that Maedhros is portraying... mainly because Melkor lacked the power to distort an entire race.
But he didn't lacked the cunning to do so. It's true that Melkor lacked the power to change the fate of Men that Eru had given them, but he knowing that he couldn't change it made Eru himself change the span of life of Men.
The first Voice we never heard again, save once. In the stillness of the night It spoke, saying: 'Ye have abjured Me, but ye remain Mine. I gave you life. Now it shall be shortened, and each of you in a little while shall come to Me, to learn who is your Lord: the one ye worship, or I who made him.'
 

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Well, now I get to argue the other side. I don't see Andreth's tale of the 'two voices' as being any more 'true' than Finrod's assumption (held in general by all the Eldar and Ainur) that Man was from the outset mortal, at least in terms of his life in Arda. Both of these are presented as legends of the two people, and I'm leary to assign more weight to either of the two.

That being said, I certainly think that Morgoth does use Man's view of mortality to bind that race to himself (certainly his lieutenant Sauron uses this strategy to devastating effect in Numenor). The followers of Ulfang in the NA seem to be only a part of the mortal following of Morgoth, and there is every indication that the Edain were travelling west in an effort to escape the Dark Lord. Additionally, Tolkien hints several times that there was a 'first fall of man' which occured before their contact with the Eldar (explaining it's omission from The Silmarillion proper). The most memorable hint (for me) comes in Letter 131, to Milton Waldman:
The Downfall is partly the result of an inner wekness in Men - consequent, if you will, upon the first Fall (unrecorded in these tales), repented but not finally healed. Reward on earth is more dangerous for men than punishment!
Hmm. Tolkien wasn't Catholic, was he?
 

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So we now have a new theory. Illuvator took immortality from Man as punishment for Man's cleaving to Melkor. Then Sauron leads Man to worship Melkor in Numenor and convinces them that immortality is theirs for the taking from the Valar in Valinor. Now it makes perfect sense.
 

Maedhros

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The thread is called The Belief of Men. It means that the Men at that time believed in that, regardless of whether it's true or not.
Illuvator took immortality from Man as punishment for Man's cleaving to Melkor.
That's basically it. Althought they don't specify wether they at the begining were inmortal or had more longer lives.
 

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Personally I think it makes more sense that they just had longer lives prior to the first fall. Shirley the 'Immortal-man-myth' (at least myth IMO) was a lie of Morgoth, designed to create a rift (real or perceived) between Illuvatar and the secondborn? But then, Tolkien often says that Morgoth's most damaging lies always had the seed of truth in them.

ps- Grond, my sarcasto-meter is temporarily at the shop. Was 'Now it makes perfect sense.' genuine or sarcastic?
 

aragil

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Originally posted by Grond
While I have quoted HoMe in many of my arguments in the past, it is not as authoritative as the Silmarillion... but that is just my opinion.
Whoops, forgot to address this. I just wanted to point out that (probably obvious to everybody here, I know) that much of what was published in the HoME series was related to Silmarillion, it was not intended to be part of the Silmarillion. The various Annals (Aman, Grey, The Tale of Years), possibly the Lays (don't know my Author history as well as I should, I'm afraid), were all sort of a supplementary material. I think the Athrabeth falls into these categories- certainly the nature of the dialogue would have seemed awkward considering the narrative voice of the published Silmarillion. And even then, as we know the Silmarillion is 100% drawn from the material in the HoME series, with Christopher (not our beloved professor) making the decision on what to publish and what to leave by the wayside. Consequently, now that I'm finally reading the HoME series (over a decade after purchasing the BoLT1- extreme laziness on my part) I'm starting to regard it in many cases as 'more authoratative' than The Sil. Several times in the HoME series CT laments editorial decisions he made for the Sil, often where he thought there were conflicting passages, but upon further inspection the passages worked how his father had written it. In light of this, I consider much of the material in HoME to carry equal weight to the Sil, and in cases like the Athrabeth, in which there is no analogous passage in the Sil, I think the HoME series should take precedence (assuming conflict with the Sil).
 

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