Elven military

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Well, what will the Elves have access to, since that will affect what the Edain have access to? Everything up to the development of gunpowder?
 

Kathrin

Active Member
I think there we get to the problem that we either ascribe the development different historic peoples at specific times in Earth-history to each of our groups in middle-earth, or we just give them certain achievements and try to build a consistent pattern why and how their societies progressed that way. Gunpowder is a very good example for this dilemma: It was invented in China for example in 200 AC, but a lot later in Europe. Are our elves distinctly modeled after different historic european tribes/nations? I'm not really sure, has something been decided on the general point "where and when" this part of the storyline is set?
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I prefer not to model them on specific cultures. Taking historical elements of many different real cultures as inspiration, where they fit within the context of the development particular to a fictional culture, can make sense. But I never cared for fiction in which a fictional group is just "The Romans with the names changed" or "The Vikings with the names changed." Unless they are literally alternate-history Romans or Vikings. I don't even like the Rohirrim or Shire to be depicted as 100% copies.

The Elves don't necessarily have everything before gunpowder. I think they won't have naval warfare (nobody to fight who has ships!), plate armor, water mills, clocks, universities, banks, stained glass, flamethrowers, glasses, accordions, mummification... some of that stuff is invented later by other peoples, but probably in the Second or Third Age.

On the other hand the Elves probably were taught germ theory by the Ainur, and will teach that to the Edain. The Calaquendi have received a great deal of accurate scientific teachings from the Ainur, but the Sindar also learned quite a lot of "the lore of living things" from Melian.

But when we think of crafts, or lore, being taught to the Edain, was it only the chiefs and other elites, or did the average farmer learn all that advanced stuff? How much did the Elves even interact with the average Adan? Aside from having social classes with differing amounts of wealth, the Edain presumably didn't have public schools. It's hard to find time for academics when you need your kids to help out on the farm, fight Orcs, make babies, and cope with the periodic diseases and infirmity of being Mortal. And even the chiefs only lived 80-95 years at most. Did the average Edain even have time to learn to read?

To some extent the Edain likely made their own war gear, but to some extent I think they were supplied by Elven and Dwarven crafters. If the average Adan couldn't afford to buy maille and lacked the skill to make it, a good hauberk and helm may have been part of the pay of a soldier in an Elvenking's service.
 
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Kathrin

Active Member
That's my inclination too. But then we really have to pay a lot of attention while growing these cultures side by side as "organically" as possible that we don't make a huge mess of what they already have achieved, because we won't have a historic context to guide us more or less.

Exactly, what kind of things will spring forth from "advanced biology" knowledge? If we compare the ancient greeks and egyptians knew a lot about math and astronomy and stuff which ties into complicated construction for example, people who lived near easily mineable ores and coal reserves discovered metallurgy earlier, etc. so what do our respective peoples discover organically?

Yes, sure, not every piece of knowledge the Elves openly shared got to every last farmer, but if there was even a modest amount of trade, you would just get the realisation that there even is a more advanced way, and that accelerates the process of trying to master that way by yourself. The Elves and the Edain aren't as far apart as prehistoric europe and China, Egypt or Babylon, the latter of which then were already very advanced but there wasn't any cultural exchange. It's probably more like the medieval relationship between the ottoman empire and europe or the persians and the greeks, not collaboration but definitely influencing each other.

The question of literacy I think often depends on if it is encouraged. For example Charlemagne tried to bring back literacy in his later years und started to build up a very written-word based bureaucracy in his realm, which just had disappeared due to neglect and chaos since the Romans. But I don't think the Edain are at a point like that, they maybe have some single groups of people who have made an effort to learn...

Yes, but for example do they learn the basics of metallurgy? Or do they only have leather and sticks. Then again maybe in independent groups only a few people of prestige have these new fancy weapons, tools clothing etc. they're developing and it very sloowly spreads to the whole population. Is there anything the Edain are especially good at themselves? Because it would be a bit lame if for millennia they only copied everyone elses stuff.

I'm sorry for just asking a lot of questions here, I'm very intrigued by it but it now also gets very complicated...
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
That's my inclination too. But then we really have to pay a lot of attention while growing these cultures side by side as "organically" as possible that we don't make a huge mess of what they already have achieved, because we won't have a historic context to guide us more or less.
It's hard! Which is probably one reason why lots of writers short-cut.

Exactly, what kind of things will spring forth from "advanced biology" knowledge?
They'd have germ theory of disease, along with accurate knowledge of physiology and blood circulation and the functions of all the organs, 0f cells, and advanced understanding of ecology. They surely have incredibly efficient and perfectly sustainable farming, and as Samwise commented their produce is delicious. (Yavanna also gave the blessed lembas-wheat to all the Eldar, and maybe to Avari as well.) The Sindar would have excellent medicine for injured Elves and for sick or injured livestock, which the Noldor would learn. Their naturally winning ways with animals and plants would make it easy for them to domesticate whatever they wanted. Some of them learn to talk to animals.

I think some of that knowledge was learned by the Edain and more by the Numenoreans. Scientific medicine with knowledge of germ theory, or just a good understanding of hygiene, could help explain their long lifespans in Beleriand.

The question of literacy I think often depends on if it is encouraged.
That's the way with a lot of technology, isn't it? What the Men want to learn, they will learn -- from Elves, Dwarves, even Orcs. Some things they will imitate if they can't find willing teachers. For example I think they do learn metalworking in the First Age, and skip right from stone to iron because the Elves and Dwarves already had iron.

Is there anything the Edain are especially good at themselves? Because it would be a bit lame if for millennia they only copied everyone elses stuff.
I don't know if there are. Tolkien seemed to feel that humans are worse at everything than Dwarves and especially Elves, and that the only thing we're good at inventing are new ways to kill each other and destroy the land and wildlife. It feels rather dreary to see things that way, though. :( The Numenoreans invented mummification, but Tolkien seemed to consider that a bad thing, too. He did think smoking was a great invention, though (it shouldn't even be dangerous, if the pipeweed is from Numenor).

Mortals surely must be able to invent positive things of their own, though -- if Middle-earth is the 'mythic prehistory' of the real world there are quite a lot of Human cultures who invented art, music, poetry, farming, domestication, writing, astronomy, and other cool stuff without any Elven or Dwarven contact.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Thought about differentiation: Do we want the House of Finarfin armor to look different from the House of Fingolfin in the way of colors, sigils, style? Or will they be flying under Fingolfin's banner?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Well they do have different sigils, so i guess that could reflect in their 8verall dress and clothes, not just banners...
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
At the very least, they have different color schemes. Red (and black and silver) for Fëanoreans, Blue (and silver) for Fingolfinians, and....Green (and gold) for Finarfinians? I guess?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I think the feanorians should have red, white and gold , finarfin White, Gold or Silver, Gold & Black and fingolfinBlue & Silver or Blue, Gold & Silver... on the other hand turgon and fingon have their own color schemes, Blue & Silver and Blue, Silver, gold & red and finrod has Green, White & Gold and feanor himself has Silver; Silver, red, gold blue & Green or White, Gold & Red...

A bit complicated... but thinking of lotro i guess they could have coats and tunics in the pattern of their personal sigils , so it would be easier for us to recognize who is fighting under whom.

And i like the extremely elaborate lotro mantles... i think sigils displayed on that sort of clothing could look very cool ..

And being moldor they would of course wear pretty fancy feather plumes and multicolored shields with their colors, sigils or house symbols on.
 

Darnok

Member
2533
^ Example of painted Linen armour
I don't know if Linen armour has been discussed, but the idea of the Elves decorating their armours with textiles and paints seems like it could be useful.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
View attachment 2533
^ Example of painted Linen armour
I don't know if Linen armour has been discussed, but the idea of the Elves decorating their armours with textiles and paints seems like it could be useful.
A linothorax is quite hard and rigid and usually not combined with either chain or scale armour...

It's definitely a totally different thing from a tabard.
 

Darnok

Member


Merlkir is perhaps one of the greatest Tolkien artists of our time, IMO, and i think his designs really balances the "Alien" and the "Familiar" in Elven designs. Here is for example some Elven helmets, which i think are absolutely perfect.
 

Darnok

Member
There is 0% Renaissance and Baroque in that if you ask me, La Tene Celtic maybe, but no, not Renaissance. If you ask me at least.
1585308786140.png
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
No la tene at all,and i know la tene and hallstatt armour pretty well... ok,maybe the first from the left has a bit similarity to some montefortino types.
question now rather is do i like it.Yes and no...
i very much like the lower drawing overall, but i somehow dislike the helmet designs...although i cannot precisely point out what exactly i dislike.the first helmet from the left looks too much like a dragoon or french cavalry helmet maybe, so my issue with that would be mainly the sort of crest .The second helmet i like the nasals best, but i again dislike the type of renaissance or baroque style crest.The latter two i like best of all, as i generally like the helmet bell type, but the neck and cheek parts i don't like that much, i also have a disliking for chain coifs...

But these are merely aesthetical points, a matter of taste if you will.Personally i am more into simple and archaic designs, more reminissent to antique greek or celtic designs rather than finely shaped 14-16 century parade armor the drawings remind me of.so it's a matter of choice. Still i like the drawing technique very much...
 

Darnok

Member
2741
I think the Elves are special in their case, Qhat i think is strong in Merlkirs (the artists i firat posted) and Victor Ambrus's Elves is the fact thay they are so Elegant and with stuff so finely-made without it being Alien, like the Movies.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Yes, their equipment is described, even if not very much in detail...

They certainly have high helmets with crests and/or spikes, at last the Noldor,
they certainly have skullcaps,they have helmets with wings, helmets with eagle-shaped masks or visors,we even know they used sort of floreal devices to attach their helmet crests. The Noldor know armor of fine scales, the sindar learn of chain from the dwarves, they had words for byrnie, hauberk, breastplate, cuirass... the sindar wore corslets in addition to mail.We also know the different weapon types they used.

So what we lack is detail on specific forms of helmets and their size, if they had nose and cheek guards or not, if they had neck protection... what sort of patterns they used to decorate their armor etc.

For example,,what exactly is a "high helmet"? From Tolkien's crown of gondor design we know that he imagined at least some helmets to have extremely volumous helmet bells... with very small wings, on the other hand his dragonslayer illustration shows a far smaller helmet, possibly with cheekguards, and huge wings or horns! So we have quite a wide array of possibilities for designs...

I had proposed that the patterns they use to decorate their armor are similar to the sigils Tolkien drew...
 
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