The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-08-2012, 03:26 AM   #1
Glorthelion
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 58
Glorthelion has just left Hobbiton.
A question about advancements of weaponry

I most likely will get lambasted for this dumb question but I can't help asking. Why are the people of Middle Earth using swords and not rifles?
I mean, it's more than 6000 years since Feanor forged the first sword (correct me if I'm wrong) so why? The first sword like weapons were from approx 3300BC and the first guns appeared around 1200's in China. Is there something I should know about the universe?

Thx, again sorry for question. I had to know.
__________________
What did Aragorn say when Gandalf died in Moria?

Damn Gulf
Glorthelion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 04:37 AM   #2
Mithalwen
Pilgrim Soul
 
Mithalwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: watching the wonga-wonga birds circle...
Posts: 9,884
Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
I hope noone will lambast you ~ this should be a pllace to share information and ideas not to sneer at valid questions. No courteous poster should be lambasted. Since I suspect the responses may be theoretical and speculative rather than text based a passing mod may movd this to novices and newcomers but that is a "housekeeping" matter mot a criticism.

I will tackle the question when I get to a real computer later.
__________________
“But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.”

Christopher Tolkien, Requiescat in pace
Mithalwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 06:46 AM   #3
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,810
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
A short answer seems to me to be that the use of substances such as gunpowder and explosives have, in Tolkien's Arda, a connotation with evil.

When the reader is first told of goblins in Bilbo's tale:

Quote:
It is not unlikely that [goblins] invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and explosions always delighted them.
The Hobbit Over Hill and Under Hill

And in LOTR Aragorn has a singular word for Saruman's use of explosives:

Quote:
'Devilry of Saruman!' cried Aragorn. 'They have crept in the culvert again, while we talked, and they have lit the fire of Orthanc beneath our feet.'
The Two Towers Helm's Deep

"Devilry' I would equate with Morgoth or Sauron in that context.

Basically, it appears that even the research of such warfare methods is frowned upon by the "good" in Middle-earth, and those who delve into those matters are either evil or heading that way.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 10:10 AM   #4
Rhod the Red
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Rhod the Red's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 257
Rhod the Red is still gossiping in the Green Dragon.
Middle-earth is pre-Middle Ages for us, and "in its own time".

So it's both back in the past and its own timeline as it were.
__________________
Head of the Fifth Order of the Istari
Tenure: Fourth Age(Year 1) - Present
Currently operating in Melbourne, Australia
Rhod the Red is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 01:24 PM   #5
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
Galadriel55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 8,652
Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
I completely agree with what has been said above. I also want to note that not only does ME technology seem to not develop overtime (in a positive way, not Sauron's/Saruman's things), but it also follows a general waning pattern. Start out with FA "magical" Elven swords, then lose that technique. Then you have a few bumps and spikes in the graph as you reach the height of Numenor, Arnor, Gondor, Dwarvish skills... but overall the trend goes downwards. The weapons (and artifacts in general) that are older are better and more valuable.
__________________
"Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?" - Gandalf
She's Cobbling from beyond the DeadThread! That's next-level cobbling. ~hS, TIG CXV
Galadriel55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2012, 02:35 PM   #6
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,810
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Having given this more thought, I wonder if it wasn't Saruman's apparent non-magical "fire of Orthanc" that may have lit the fuse (pun definitely intended) for the ultimate development of such weapons, leading to their widespread use beyond the Fourth Age.

With the Istari gone, Elves dwindling and having over time less and less contact with the kingdoms of Men, it doesn't seem much of a stretch that over time the moral equation of impersonal technology designed to kill great numbers with "Morgothian" behavior would have fallen by the wayside. With that blockage gone, and always new enemies (of other Men), the motivation would have been there.
Though at the end of LOTR the reader is left with hope that King Elessar would lay a sure enough foundation that Gondor at least would remain true in heart to its old allegiance to the West, Tolkien himself began a story set after Elessar's death in which Gondorian boys were playing at "orcs" and the people there, in keeping with the state in our own world, were becoming ill at ease with peace. All that is to say that if the reader had been given a glimpse into Middle-earth just a few hundred years later, I don't think it's impossible that cannonballs could have been flying in some battle or other.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 04:15 PM   #7
urbanhiker
Pile O'Bones
 
urbanhiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 11
urbanhiker has just left Hobbiton.
My opinion, and it is only an opinion, is that there are no rifles, artillery and other modern weapons of war in the Lord of the Rings because those things have little or less or no romantic or dramatic value. No one ever quested for a shotgun. No one ever reforged a broken mystical cannon that was the heirloom of ancestors. No one ever etched magic runes for the downfall of one's sworn enemies into a howitzer, at least not that I'm aware of.
urbanhiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 07:10 PM   #8
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,388
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
For Tolkien and other Englishmen of his generation, the romanticism of war died on the fields of Flanders, on the Somme and at Verdun. There is little glory in a rat-infested trench, and no honor in picking off the enemy hundreds of yards away.

That being said, if you page through The Hobbit to the section where Tolkien describes Orcs, he says basically that they were the future inventors of weapons of mass-destruction. Also, when Gandalf strikes several Orcs dead in the goblin cave, Tolkien describes the smell of gunpowder. I would quote the passages, but the football game is starting, and I do have my priorities.
__________________
And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 06:40 PM   #9
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 891
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye Iron, like Lion

Another aspect (in story if you like) is that the elves appear to have gone directly to the iron age without having to do all that inconvenient mucking about with a bronze age. IIRC the Valar passed on some tips.

Bronze swords are basically a pain, lack of tensile strength etc, they were made in our history, but were no match for basic iron swords, let alone well-forged steel. Humans have been using other weapons eg spears for far longer, simple pointy-stick ones for as much as 500,000 years allegedly and stone-tipped for at least 200,000. Whether for hunting or warfare is an open question.

So in a way the inhabitants of Middle Earth are ahead of the curve instead of behind it.

As said there's much evidence of gunpowder (whether Gandalf's fireworks and flash-bang in the goblin cave or the fires of Orthanc). Also incendiary weapons, something like Greek fire - probably naptha-based - Sauron's projectiles at the siege of Minas Tirith that kindled by some nameless art and Saruman's flame projector that burnt up an ent. Debateable how much of each is 'magic' or pyrotechnics, but to be fair most medieval observers found it tricky to distinguish between the two.

The alchemists and early gunners and 'fireworkers' were often viewed supiciously as being in league with evil forces, the whiff of sulphur probably not helping their case!
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 08:32 PM   #10
cellurdur
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 276
cellurdur has just left Hobbiton.
Middle Earth is fortunate that the most advanced scientific minds were also the greatest humanitarians. When we look at the craft of Numenor, there is no doubt they are highly advanced. Orthanc or Minas Tirith are clear examples of this.

As others have mentioned the elves would always hold back from using their skills to create weapons of mass destruction. Even when led astray by Sauron, the three rings they constructed are still not to be used as weapons.

The same goes for Numenor. At their height, they cared only for peaceful pursuits. Like the elves even with great advancements in technology, the Faithful would not support the evil weapons of mass destruction.

That said Ar-pharazon's army was probably the most advanced in terms of weaponry. With their complete destruction this would set things back.
cellurdur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 09:05 PM   #11
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
Galadriel55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 8,652
Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
cellurdur's mention of the Numenorian kingdoms made me think of a link between power, height of glory, and weapons. The height, really, is only achieved when technological pursiuts are balanced with the underlying good will behind them. When that backdrop fades away, technology (and weapons...) grows stronger, and so does the physical power of the kingdom (perhaps), but it's not in fool bloom anymore. I would not call it the height.

So if you are trying to create weapons of mass destruction, you are definitely losing track of your purpose, if you have not lost it already.
__________________
"Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?" - Gandalf
She's Cobbling from beyond the DeadThread! That's next-level cobbling. ~hS, TIG CXV
Galadriel55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 09:10 PM   #12
cellurdur
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 276
cellurdur has just left Hobbiton.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
cellurdur's mention of the Numenorian kingdoms made me think of a link between power, height of glory, and weapons. The height, really, is only achieved when technological pursiuts are balanced with the underlying good will behind them. When that backdrop fades away, technology (and weapons...) grows stronger, and so does the physical power of the kingdom (perhaps), but it's not in fool bloom anymore. I would not call it the height.

So if you are trying to create weapons of mass destruction, you are definitely losing track of your purpose, if you have not lost it already.
That is why I said at their height they were only concerned with peaceful endeavors.

I too agree that under Ar-pharazon they were at their most technologically advanced and powerful, but when you are burning people on altars to Morgoth, it can hardly be called the height of your civilisation.
cellurdur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 09:39 PM   #13
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,810
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
As technologically advanced as Númenor was in Pharazôn's time, I don't see them having any sort of WMD capability. After all, some of the King's Men escaped the Downfall, becoming the enemies of Gondor. If that sort of technology had been available, surely they'd have used it against Gondor at some point?

Speaking of WMDs in Middle-earth, Sauron apparently used bioterror weapons in the Third Age. Good thing he didn't pass that along to the Easterlings or Southrons.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 09:45 PM   #14
cellurdur
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 276
cellurdur has just left Hobbiton.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
As technologically advanced as Númenor was in Pharazôn's time, I don't see them having any sort of WMD capability. After all, some of the King's Men escaped the Downfall, becoming the enemies of Gondor. If that sort of technology had been available, surely they'd have used it against Gondor at some point?
I am not talking about Atomic weapons and napalm bombs. I am talking about dynamite and primitive guns.

I think that the greatest of the kings men would be at the invasion. It was said to be the greatest armada that had been seen. If they did have any secret weapons then it would have been kept at Numenor to be used for this invasion.
Quote:
Speaking of WMDs in Middle-earth, Sauron apparently used bioterror weapons in the Third Age. Good thing he didn't pass that along to the Easterlings or Southrons.
Biological weapons have been used for thousands of years, when it was just throwing dead cattle into the enemy battlements.

What Sauron did is probably breed some from of disease or easier still just transport a disease that had already been found in the south or east.
cellurdur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 10:01 PM   #15
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
Galadriel55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 8,652
Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Is it possible that in Pharazon's time gunpowder was, actually, legitimately, not invented yet? I mean, not invented at all? Are there references to it before Saruman's and Sauron's late Third Age battles?

As for the plagues, they could have just been plagues. Imagine living next-door to a place as filthy as Mordor or Angband. Every once in a while, epecially with Morgoth's/Sauron's guiding hand, some epidemic is bound to errupt. I do believe they have had a part to play in it by guiding/directing/enforcing it, but they did not have to overtax themselves with conjuring diseases.
__________________
"Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?" - Gandalf
She's Cobbling from beyond the DeadThread! That's next-level cobbling. ~hS, TIG CXV
Galadriel55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2012, 12:40 AM   #16
Puddleglum
Wight
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 145
Puddleglum has just left Hobbiton.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
When that backdrop fades away, technology (and weapons...) grows stronger, and so does the physical power of the kingdom (perhaps), but it's not in fool bloom anymore.
<chuckle> Come to think of it, "fool" bloom may actually be an accurate description after all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
Is it possible that in Pharazon's time gunpowder was, actually, legitimately, not invented yet?
Possibly not. Men of Middle Earth seem to have regressed during the Second Age (at least compared to the Edain of Beleriand under Noldorin tutelage). That civilization seems to have been represented as comparable to the Western European Dark or Middle Ages - which was before Gunpowder appeared in that region - (I think we can discount the Arab and Cathay learning which would have been far in the South or East of the places our tales center - the North West of Middle Earth).

If the knowledge existed in the South or East of Middle Earth, the tales that survive to us (primarily via the Red Book) don't say.

The Numenoreans, following the lead and learning of the Noldor and other Eldar, seem to have developed their own arts and "technology" (if that is even the right word). Consider the work they did fashioning the citadel of Orthanc. They may not have felt the need for such devices - may even have had their own "tools" that were more powerful but whose secrets have since been lost.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
As for the plagues, they could have just been plagues.
Quite probably, I think. However, it's also possible that Sauron had a hand in starting them - as the Great Plague served his purposes well (esp of unmanning the forts guarding Mordor). Even if it's only a matter of instructing his subservient peoples in the east to ignor such tedious things as sanitation, and then chasing plague carriers out of their homes and into the West as "refugees".

Last edited by Puddleglum; 12-11-2012 at 12:43 AM.
Puddleglum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2012, 06:36 AM   #17
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
Galadriel55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 8,652
Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puddleglum View Post
<chuckle> Come to think of it, "fool" bloom may actually be an accurate description after all.
The things I say when I don't pay attention!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puddleglum
Quite probably, I think. However, it's also possible that Sauron had a hand in starting them - as the Great Plague served his purposes well (esp of unmanning the forts guarding Mordor). Even if it's only a matter of instructing his subservient peoples in the east to ignor such tedious things as sanitation, and then chasing plague carriers out of their homes and into the West as "refugees".
I think that is Sauron had a hand in them (which I do believe he did), it was more on the metaphysical side than the medical/sanitarian side. I think it was he that brought the elements of fear and darkness into it. Every plague has a bit of that, but I mean the supernatural qualities of fear and darkness.
__________________
"Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?" - Gandalf
She's Cobbling from beyond the DeadThread! That's next-level cobbling. ~hS, TIG CXV
Galadriel55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 02:13 PM   #18
Elemmakil
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 18
Elemmakil has just left Hobbiton.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumil View Post
Bronze swords are basically a pain, lack of tensile strength etc, they were made in our history, but were no match for basic iron swords, let alone well-forged steel.
Categorically untrue. Plain or wrought iron is actually softer than a good 90/10 tin bronze. Iron came into ascendence because it is much more available and thus cheaper than bronze, which requires two much rarer relatively speaking metals (copper and tin) that are generally not found in close proximity together and, in addition to their scarcity, also require extensive and sometimes long range trade networks to bring together.
Elemmakil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 02:51 PM   #19
Tuor in Gondolin
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Southeast Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,651
Tuor in Gondolin has been trapped in the Barrow!
Send a message via Yahoo to Tuor in Gondolin
Pipe

Insiladun has a key point here:
Quote:
With the Istari gone, Elves dwindling and having over time less and less contact with the kingdoms of Men, it doesn't seem much of a stretch that over time the moral equation of impersonal technology designed to kill great numbers with "Morgothian" behavior would have fallen by the wayside. With that blockage gone, and always new enemies (of other Men), the motivation would have been there.
In Tolkien's Middle-earth universe men and mannish related peoples seem more easily corrupted then elves and dwarves. With the Istari also gone and the valar increasingly only indirectly montoring things you have people (including hobbits) more susceptible---see ted Sandyman and the shirreefs (a minority) who rather liked lording it over other hobbits, and the way men like Grima and the Dunlendings (and ewasterlings and Southrons by Sauron) were susceptible to dominant personalities and technological "improvements."
__________________
The poster formerly known as Tuor of Gondolin.
Walking To Rivendell and beyond 12,555 miles passed Nt./Day 5: Pass the beacon on Nardol, the 'Fire Hill.'
Tuor in Gondolin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:21 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.