The Council of Elrond - The Minutes

Odola

Well-Known Member
Then why would any Elves have even invented the Tengwar and Cirth at all? These are not Mannish in origin.
For insciptions on artworks and buildings and for doing magic (see the ring inscription) - e.g. to claim owneship of something, not to pass down information.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Well, Tolkien says the Cirth is for inscriptions and the Tengwar is obviously designed for calligraphy with pen and ink... Elves were beings of beauty and grace... and part of poetics is the physical appearance of something written... They would appreciate a poem not only for its sonics, but for its appearance on the page... not to mention that they must have had whole scriptoria for illuminated manuscripts... Think of Jappanese or Chinese calligraphy not to mention our own Western manuscripts...
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Well, Tolkien says the Cirth is for inscriptions and the Tengwar is obviously designed for calligraphy with pen and ink... Elves were beings of beauty and grace... and part of poetics is the physical appearance of something written... They would appreciate a poem not only for its sonics, but for its appearance on the page... not to mention that they must have had whole scriptoria for illuminated manuscripts... Think of Jappanese or Chinese calligraphy not to mention our own Western manuscripts...
Tengwar as also Rumil's runes were Noldorin inventions. No way the "going back to nature Sindar" would learn them if not out of unmost necessity. - those are the cultural descendants of people who banned Quenya after all!

But Elves are an deeply oral culture. They user letters as ornaments and an arisan marks and magical devices. They have no need for efficiency or preserving something for posterity. They take pleasure in "reinventing the wheel" each time they are about to need one and they have plenty of time to do so.

The Gates of Moria are exemplar of how and what for elves used letters:
- in inscription
ornamental
claiming ownership/authorship of an artwork/artifact
in magical spells

all elements present in the Gates of Moria
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Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
Boromir would have had to encrypt his dispatch to Denethor if he actually sent anything like it. If such a document had fallen into enemy hands, the story would have had a very different ending.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Legolas letter to Thranduil:

Father,

Good news! Neither Elrond nor Mithrandir seem particularly upset that we have let the creature Gollum escape!

That news was swamped amongst other, more startling and portentous news, that will have to wait until I can deliver it in person.

All I can say now is that I am off on a quest, at the behest of Elrond.

I would advise you that the clouds of war seem to be gathering rapidly. It might be wise to prepare our people for war, and ensure that siege supplies are more than adequate.

More when I see you next, though I know not when that may be.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Then whence come all the "translations from the Elvish" that form the vast body of work (of which one JRRT transcribed only fragments really) that form the Red Book of Westmarch, etc.? To me the various Elvish factions seem the most literate and literary of any of the races of Middle-earth, with Elrond at the forefront. Which is not to say a messenger with a long verbal message is not also possible.
So the Tolkien Professor is with me on the whole "most elves being fuctionally illiterate" thing. :) according to the recent TLOTR episode. ;)

Elves do user letters for magic and decoration, claiming ovenersip and art, but their culture is not affected much by them having invented letters. Composing and sending letters, metaanalysis, self-reflection, side notes, bullet point lists, prioretising, structurising, briefs, summaries, etc. seem all not very elvish things as those are facilitated and maintained s to a high degree by the widespreaded human literacy in the human society which is literate to such a degree that even the illiterate among the humans use literary devices and approaches even in their daily speach.
 
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