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Treebeard, Bombadil and the Age of Arda

Thorin

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In LoTR, Gandalf said that Treebeard was the oldest living thing on Middle Earth.
Treebeard also said that the Elves woke them up.

Bombadil said that he was in Middle Earth before even the first acorn.

In Morgoth's Ring, p. 52, in the year 1500 VY, it says that 'there was a great growth of trees, and herbs. and beasts and birds came forth and dwelt in the plains and the waters'.

So, the questions are many here.

1) Was Treebeard there before the birds and beasts and before the Elves awoke in 4550 VY, or did Gandalf mean the 'oldest living thing on Middle Earth that was currently living'? If the Elves woke Treebeard up, was his age considered while he was asleep? It would have to be to pre-date the Elves that awoke in Kuivenen. If not, which Elves would have woken him up and when would that have occurred?

2) Would that mean that Bombadil was already in Middle Earth, perhaps a Maia, who entered with the Valar in Arda in the first year of Valinor years?
 

camlost

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From the Silmarillion we know that the Ents awoke at the same time as the Elves

Silmarillion ch. 'Of Aule and Yavanna' said:
When the Children awake, then thought of Yavanna will awake also...
Being vague, "the thought of Yavanna" are the Ents.

Treebeard says of the Elves in The Two Towers

TTT ch. 'Treebeard' said:
Elves began it of course, waking trees up and teaching them to speak and learning their tree-talk.
Which seems to mean that Ents were active (why else would they have a "tree-talk") but only amongst themselves and the trees. I see "waking up" as being an euphemism for "cured us of our ignorance of the outside world." So, they existed since the Elves have, but the Elves instructed them in their tongue and caused them to become more active (walk, learn, sing, etc.), less "tree-ish" if you will.

As for Treebeard being the oldest, then I'd think Gandalf meant things of Middle-Earth (excluding himself, Sauron, probably Bombadil) that are currently in Middle-Earth (excluding many of the Elves that dwelt by this time in Aman). The oldest elf in Middle-Earth that we know of is Galadriel (maybe someone will correct me) and she was born in Valinor which would make her younger than Treebeard.
 
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Thorin

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Hey Camlost,

Actually Cirdan is the oldest Elf. He predates Galadriel by at least 2000 years.

What do you think concerning the birds and beasts that were roaming the earth long before the Elves awoke? Your quote from the Silmarillion makes it seem that there were animals before Ents. Could it mean that Treebeard is the oldest of all humanoid-ish things?
 

camlost

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Ahh, Cirdan, I didn't think of him. As for animals, they may have been around longer then Ents but none are immortal as far as we know. So, any single one currently alive would not be older than Treebeard, presumably.
 

Thorin

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Then Gandalf must have been speaking of 'living at that time in Middle Earth'. If the Elves awoke the same time as Treebeard was created then we can probably assume that Cirdan was not one of the Elves who awoke of which has been the topic of conversation a few times on the forum.
 

camlost

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Why do I feel you were just dragging me along so you can state that conclusion? :*)

But, yes, that does seem to follow logically.
 

Thorin

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No actually. I kind of reasoned it out as I went along. I knew that Yavanna created the Ents but for some reason I had forgotten that Sil quote that it occurred at the same time the Elves awoke. That kind of changed my train of thought.
 

Sulimo

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I have a suggestion. Cirdan could be as old or older then Treebeard, and still have Gandalf's statement make sense. Cuivienen is not in Middle Earth it is in the distant East beyond Rhun. The elves traveled a great distance before even reaching Anduin.
I would guess Treebeard is originally from Fangorn, therefore he was most likely awakened by the Green Elves of Ossiriand. He could therefore be the oldest living being born in Middle Earth proper. Tom Bombadil is a mystery.
 

panzer71

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Gene Hargrove wrote an excellent essay that offeres some answers to your question. Treebeard was here before the elves.Bombodil said that he was here before Melkor made the darkness fearful.Tolkien says that Bombodil is an enigma and is purposely vague about his origins because he believed mysteries are a part of the natural world.
 

morgoth145

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if we look at the end of the third age, how old would Arda be at that time?
i know that each age lasted around 3000 years, although the first age might have lasted way longer than 3000.
so my question is, how old is Arda?
 

Thorin

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if we look at the end of the third age, how old would Arda be at that time?
i know that each age lasted around 3000 years, although the first age might have lasted way longer than 3000.
so my question is, how old is Arda?
A bit off topic but here we go...

Actually officially, the First Age was only about 500 years though events that you could technically consider the First Age went on long before that.

From when the Valar entered and formed Arda to the flowering of the two trees was 3500 Valian years or about 35,000 sun years. Time technically began anew with the reckoning of the two trees and another 1500 VY passed. In 1050 TT (4050 VY), the Elves awoke. In the year 1500 TT, the sun and moon were created thus officially beginning the First Age.

So that makes 45,000 years, plus 500 FA, and over 6,000 SA and TA, and you have Arda being approximately over 51,000 years old! Give or take a year or two. ;*)
 

morgoth145

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thank you, that is the type of answer i was hoping for :*up
my apologies for it being a little off-topic, this seemed like the right thread to ask, as it has proven to be.
what book would be best for calculating the years of nearly everything in Tolkien's universe? the HoME?

many thanks
Morgoth145
 

Thorin

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thank you, that is the type of answer i was hoping for :*up
my apologies for it being a little off-topic, this seemed like the right thread to ask, as it has proven to be.
what book would be best for calculating the years of nearly everything in Tolkien's universe? the HoME?

many thanks
Morgoth145
I have only gone through 4 books of HoME but I found HoMe volume X: Morgoth's Ring to be a valuable resource for the history of early ME, the Valar, the Elves and the Noldor rebellion and the wars of the Valar and Elves with Morgoth.
 

Inderjit S

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Gandalf was just a character and therefore not infallible, he certainly couldn't have known for sure that there were no older creatures. Either that or he was being hyperbolic. I mean Gandalf himself is way older than Treebeard! And Bombadil. And the Nameless Things. And Cirdan. And there may have been older generation Elves floating, or fading about somewhere. Maybe he meant the oldest living creature Theoden was likely to meet?
 

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