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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit: well since Tolkien was a linguist...: Edit Log

Tol Eressea

Oct 8 2012, 3:26pm

Views: 3051
well since Tolkien was a linguist...

I would assume he found these instead of bringing back the dead to life...

Necromancy is derived from the Greek νεκρομαντία, nekromantía, and is associated with black magic

However, since the Renaissance, necromancy has come to be associated more broadly with black magic and demon-summoning in general, sometimes losing its earlier, more specialized meaning. By popular etymology, nekromantia became nigromancy "black arts"

Dictionary definition:
1. a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead; black art. (notice it says communicating, not raising or creating Zombies)
2. magic in general, especially that practiced by a witch or sorcerer; sorcery; witchcraft; conjuration.

Taken directly from an online occult magazine
"Amongst all the various names for magical practices, the word necromancy is probably the most foreboding and sinister. No doubt that such a practice was diabolical and associated with the blackest forms of magic. Popular folklore and belief defines necromancy as divination performed through the conjuration and manipulation of the spirits of the dead. The most outrageous form was the exhumation and reanimation of a corpse, which many often think of today when defining this term."

while it does claim reanimating a corpse it also calls it outrageous probably meaning most extreme and what people think of today, not ancient which is what Tolkien researched

"The origins of necromancy occurred in the far distant past, long before the time of antiquity. It was a system of divination that was ultimately derived from the pious observances paid to the dead at their tombs. It isn’t hard to imagine a person going to the grave site of some great kinsman and in addition to giving offerings and oblations, to ask for assistance with some family crisis. So the practice of necromancy probably stemmed from a natural desire to seek help from one’s departed ancestors. Thoughts about the value of advice or prophecy given by the dead varied considerably in antiquity. Some believed that the dead had resources beyond the ken of the living; others (like Homer) believed that the dead knew no more about things than when alive. Necromancy may have been derived innocently enough from funeral observations, but it’s also likely that it had a separate shamanic origin."

And since Tolkien did his research in ancient languages, not modern ones. Almost every source I found referring to ancient necromancy said Black magic, not all said anything about raising the dead other than communicating to find out the future.... I would assume he is referring to the older definitions of the word not what modern times has come to accept as what the word involves...

I know it fits with modern audiences but if it were the "done in the spirit of Tolkien" it would i am sure would use the oldest definition of the word instead of something more modern. On a personal note I think the idea of Zombies and undead other than spirits is tasteless and tacky in comparison to what Tolkien wrote. Think what you want but I prefer to think when Tolkien created the light or good wizards Gandalf, Radagast, Saruman...etc. he also created Black wizards or sorcerers to counter their goodness with evil not necessarily raising the dead. I think that was probably the furthest thing from Tolkien's mind.

(This post was edited by sinister71 on Oct 8 2012, 3:28pm)

Edit Log:
Post edited by Sinister71 (Tol Eressea) on Oct 8 2012, 3:28pm

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