Wednesday, September 08, 2004

An explosive Tolkien Trivia Time

Well hello people, here I am back from holiday (that's Vacation to you American types). And what is the first thing on my mind? Well, apart from scrolling through all the posts of the past two weeks to sample Gramma's Today In Middle-Earths - boy do I love my BS! - it is of course, our old friend:

Tolkien Trivia Time

(For those of you unfamiliar woth T.T.T. where have you been?! hehe. Don't worry, it's fairly self explanitory. If you get to the end of this post and still have no clue what one is, you are welcome to accost me with a rather large soggy kipper. Fair do's?)

Todays T.T.T is somewhat erm.. controversial. I hope you don't mind, but I am in a mischievous mood today!

The Bridge of Khazad-Dum - and other Classical Nasties

Any of you heard of a wonderful hero called Horatio? No, I'm not talking about the gentle, quiet philosopher friend of Hamlet (he of "Alas poor Yoric, I knew him Horatio" fame). I am talking about someone even more antiquated.. Let me take you on a magical mystery tour back to the yellowed mists of Ancient Rome.

Thomas Babington Macaulay - a 19th Century eccentric - wrote an epic series of poems called Lays of Ancient Rome full of Classical passion and the sort of military campaigns that stirred the blood of every young schoolboy in the 1900s: no doubt inspiring their playground games and, in the case of a certain would-be professor, an aweful lot more!

Lars Porsena of Clusium
By the nine gods he swore,
That the great house of Tarquin
Should suffer wrongs no more.
By the nine gods he swore it,
And named a trysting day,
And bade his messangers ride forth,
East and west and south and north
To summon his array.

Very exciting isn't it. Lars Porsena was the evil baddie of early Roman history. He was an Etruscan General who threatened the fledgling Roman city before the empire was more than a wee twinkle in the Senate's eye.. fighting, sacking and plundering his way all the way to the shores of the Tiber (the river beside which Rome was built). His name filled every Roman heart with dread in much the same way that Hannibal would do centuries later, or Hitler or Osama Bin Laden does today. He was the Bogeyman of the 6th Century BC.

Are we feeling suitable shudders and the suchlike? No?

Well let me expand it a little more for you.

This man, this evil wicked Etruscan plunderer may well have been; almost certainly will have been; part of the inspiration for another literary baddie: see if you can guess who.

Back to the battle:

As the Great Prize - the Eternal City itself - lay all but defenceless before them, the battle hardened troops gazed across to the river anticipating more tasty slaughter and ruin. But a quick-thinking Roman Consul had other ideas. He had spied a way to save his people.

The plan was simple. The only bridge over the Tiber was barely wide enough for one man to pass at a time.

So, a handful of men could hold the bridge long enough for it to be cut away beneath them. As these valiant soldiers plunged to a watery death, they would have the consolation of knowing that they had fulfilled every Roman mother's deepest desire for her son: that he would give his life to save his Nation.

However, so tough and frightening was the challenge - remember the Etruscans had already sacked every town and city for miles around - that at first only one man was brave enough to accept it.


And as he ran foreward, in a mirror of a later story we all know so well, two others cried out that he would not stand alone, and ran to add their swords to the flash of his own.

It was this 'dauntless three' who alone faced the Etruscan host as it approached the bridge. It was these three who slew the ablest champions that Lars Porsena could throw at them.

As the bridge started to fall, Horatio's two companions made it back to shore as he covered the retreat. For him, there was no escape. Valiantly out in front, he could do nothing except prepare to meet his end. Exhausted, wounded, and weighed down with armour, Horatio plunged beneath the surface of the Tiber.

A stunned calm fell upon Rome and her enemies:

No sound of joy or sorrow,
Was heard from either bank;
But friends and foes in dumb surprise,
With parted lips and straining eyes,
Stood gazing where he sank;

but wait!

...And when above the surges,
They saw his crest appear,
All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry,
And even the ranks of Tuscany
Could scarce forbear to cheer.

Yes! Horatio lives! Swimming back to the Roman shore, his feat of daring and courage momentarily united the warring sides in admiration and awe.

Who knows how long it was before the invaders' sentimental feelings gave way to bitterness? But what is clear is this:

Horatio's courage saved Rome.

According to Macaulay, to immortalize the event, 'they made a molten image,/ And set it up on high, / And there it stands unto this day / To witness if I lie.'


Macaulay drew his great poem not from his admittedly fertile imagination, but from the Roman 'Histories' themselves.

But, look around the ruins of Rome today, and you will search in vain for the statue of Horatio...

Detailed and reliable chronicles of the sixth century BC, describe how the Etruscan armies swept irresistibly upon Rome and overwhelmed it. Within hours, those inhabitants of Rome who survived the onslaught were forming long, miserable columns of refugees, leaving their 'eternal' city. Lars Porsena's name is scattered all over these documents. But what of Horatio?

Sadly, there is nothing. The myth of his epic stand on the bridge over the Tiber was invented after Rome had become a great Empire when it was decided they needed a past of sufficient grandure to match their current status.

By the first century AD Romans were too proud, and too intoxicated with their new weath and power to ever believe that a mere Etruscan had sacked their precious Rome!

The Horatio story, you see, reflects not history, but how a later generation of Romans needed to see their ancestors.

in the play I, Claudius two Roman Historians, Livy and Pollio argue over the Horatio story. Debating what History is, and what it should be used for. Livy claims that the role of history is 'not the uncovering of the Truth, but it is of halting the moral decline by providing idealised role models to the young and of dignifying the present through association with a glorious past.'

Pollio however, manages to get Claudius' support for the rival view that the historian's ultimate duty is to the Truth.

So which is the 'Truth' in our case? Put yourself in Middle-Earth for the moment. Did Frodo when writing his part of the Red Book, change the events in Moria from hapless defeat, followed by a retreat to the relative safety of Lothlorien? Did others who later copied out the original book embellish the story, finding it impossible to believe that with such a Hobbit-legend as Gandalf with them the Fellowship could ever have been defeated? Or has the original story come down to us in the way it 'actually' happened?

Either way, one thing is clear, in his school-time studies of Classical poetry and history, Tolkien was at least in part inspired by the valiant Horatio and his 'last stand' on the bridge of the Tiber. I wonder how he felt when, in later life, archaeologists discovered that Macaulay's poem was not true to the events?

- Originally posted on TORn main message board on Wednesday, 8/9/2004 at 15:48 by Amatire


At January 2, 2016 at 9:14 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 01.03
ugg boots, tiffany jewelry, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, gucci outlet, replica watches, jordan shoes, burberry, louboutin, louis vuitton, burberry outlet online, nike air max, christian louboutin outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, uggs on sale, michael kors outlet, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, oakley sunglasses, longchamp, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, tiffany and co, ugg boots, tory burch outlet, louis vuitton outlet, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, louboutin outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike free, louis vuitton, michael kors, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin shoes

At January 2, 2016 at 9:17 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ralph lauren uk, nike trainers, michael kors, michael kors, nike air max, nike air max, lacoste pas cher, sac longchamp, burberry, air force, nike huarache, michael kors, ralph lauren pas cher, michael kors, ray ban uk, nike free run uk, nike free, nike blazer, ray ban pas cher, true religion outlet, abercrombie and fitch, timberland, mulberry, lululemon, oakley pas cher, north face, converse pas cher, true religion jeans, new balance pas cher, coach outlet, replica handbags, nike air max, louboutin pas cher, hollister, north face, hogan, longchamp, true religion jeans, nike roshe run, true religion jeans, hermes, nike roshe, vans pas cher, air jordan pas cher, air max, hollister pas cher, longchamp pas cher, vanessa bruno, coach purses, tn pas cher, sac guess

At January 2, 2016 at 9:20 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

iphone 5s cases, babyliss, instyler, nike roshe, wedding dresses, chi flat iron, soccer jerseys, louboutin, hollister, iphone 6 cases, ray ban, mac cosmetics, vans, north face outlet, baseball bats, giuseppe zanotti, vans shoes, hollister, ghd, celine handbags, soccer shoes, mcm handbags, mont blanc, iphone 6s cases, north face outlet, oakley, abercrombie and fitch, iphone 6s plus cases, reebok shoes, iphone 6 plus cases, timberland boots, gucci, valentino shoes, herve leger, s5 cases, nfl jerseys, nike air max, ferragamo shoes, new balance, nike air max, converse, lululemon, bottega veneta, insanity workout, jimmy choo shoes, ralph lauren, iphone cases, beats by dre, p90x workout, ipad cases, birkin bag, asics running shoes

At January 2, 2016 at 9:23 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

hollister, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora jewelry, moncler, moncler, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, sac louis vuitton pas cher, thomas sabo, lancel, moncler, louis vuitton, canada goose, doudoune canada goose, ugg boots uk, moncler, supra shoes, converse outlet, canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler, pandora charms, doke gabbana outlet, wedding dresses, swarovski crystal, moncler outlet, karen millen, canada goose, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, montre pas cher, barbour jackets, pandora jewelry, canada goose, canada goose outlet, moncler, toms shoes, moncler, barbour, pandora charms, ugg pas cher, bottes ugg, juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet, links of london, replica watches, canada goose uk, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, coach outlet, swarovski
ninest123 01.03

At July 11, 2017 at 11:56 AM, Blogger meto mayo said...

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for this blog post. You find a lot of approaches after visiting your post.نقل-اثاث-بجدة/نقل-اثاث-بالدمام/نقل-اثاث-بمكة/تخزين-اثاث-بالرياض/

At March 26, 2018 at 1:08 PM, Blogger نور الهدى said...

شركة نقل عفش من الرياض الى الامارات
من اهم الشركات التى تقوم باعمال النقل على اعلى مستوى من خلال توفير عدد من الخدمات الاساسية المميزه التى تساعد فى الوصول الى افضل النتائج فى الحفاظ على الاثاث ضد اى تغيرات يتعرض اليها الاثاث فاذا اراد ان تقوم باعمال شركة شحن عفش من الرياض الى الاردن الى اى مكان
شركة نقل عفش بالرياض عمالة فلبينية

At April 15, 2018 at 4:35 AM, Blogger المتوكل على الله said...

شركة تنظيف بالرياض
تعتبر شركة نظافة بالرياض من اولى الشركة التى له اسما فى مجال خدمات التنظيف ومكافحة الحشرات نحن لدينا احدث المعدات لجلى وتلميع السرميك وافضل المنظفات التى تستخدم فى مجال التنظيف الشامل بالرياض.
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالرياض
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالخرج
شركة تنظيف مساجد بالرياض
شركة تنظيف مساجد بالخرج
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالخرج
شركة تنظيف بالخرج
شركة تنظيف منازل بالخرج


Post a Comment

<< Home