Tar-Meneldur and the Sorontil Royal Observatory

— Kristine Larsen, Professor, Geological Sciences, Central Connecticut State University

Paper given 4 September 2021 at the 3rd day of Oxonmoot 2021

Tar-Meneldur, the fifth king of Númenor, is the best documented astronomer (Q. Meneldil) in the history of Middle-earth. He carefully watched the motions of heavens from his private observatory tower in the northern heights of the island until the duties of being king interfered. This presentation will compare Tar-Menedur to the lives of real-world astronomer-nobles; critique his observatory location and choice of architecture (hint: a far better choice than Orthanc, the other Middle-earth observatory tower); speculate on the instrumentation and observation routine most closely aligned with the talents of a far-sighted pre-telescopic astronomer (and the navigational needs of a seafaring nation on a flat planet); and finally suggest real world controversies surrounding observatories at Oxford, Greenwich, and Edinburgh that may have informed Tolkien’s inclusion of this character’s particular avocation.

Authoritative information may be found here.

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date recorded 📅2022-01-25
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