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Old 11-12-2020, 06:31 AM   #7
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Okay, research completed, here's what I've got:

I have found multiple references to the coming of the Eldar to Broseliand at the end of the tale, and of the defeat and binding of Melko, but absolutely none to the drowning of Broseliand. In fact, the Great Lands seem to be implied to remain intact: various notes in HoME II The History of Eriol of Aelfwine report events such as 'Breaking of Angamandi and release of captives. Hostility of Men', which imply that the hostile Men are immediately proximate to the released Noldoli. So 'Broseliand = Bay of Biscay' appears to be INCORRECT.

On the other hand, there's this fascinating note by Tolkien, connected to one of his Earendel poems:

Originally Posted by HoME II: The Tale of Earendel
Earendel's boat goes through North. Iceland. Back of North Wind. Greenland, and the wild islands: a mighty wind and the crest of great wave carry him to hotter climes, to back of West Wind. Land of strange men, land of magic. The home of Night. The Spider. He escapes from the meshes of Night with a few comrades, sees a great mountain island and a golden city (Kor) - wind blows him southward. Tree-men, Sun-dwellers, spices, fire-mountains, red sea: Mediterranean (loses his boat (travels afoot through wilds of Europe?)) or Atlantic. Home.
This seems to make it explicit that Earendel's home in Beleriand is on the Atlantic coast of Europe. Other Earendel notes fill in some of the geography of the Great Lands:

Originally Posted by HoME II: The Tale of Earendel
Earendel dwells with Tuor and Irilde [Idril] at Sirion's mouth by the sea (on the Isles of Sirion).


Tuor has sailed back to Falasquil [a sea-cove] and so back up Ilbranteloth [the Rainbow Cleft] to Asgon [Lake Mithrim] where he sits playing on his lonely harp on the islanded rock. [This note was rejected, but reflects the geography of Gilfanon's Tale.]
Given that Kortirion Among the Trees makes repeated references to Alalminore, "the Land of Elms", ie Warwickshire, it may be worth considering the repeated placing of the similarly-named Tasarinan, "the Land of Willows", as a key location in Broseliand. Somewhere on the river Sirion, this is the place where the final battle with Melko happens, so it's a good candidate for being a real or primary-mythical place.

So... the only southward-flowing major river in Brittany is the Vilaine, which flows some 20 miles east of modern Broceliande Forest. 'Vilaine' apparently means 'ugly', but it's only one letter off from 'villaine', which in at least one context appears to mean 'willow'.


Okay, combining all this with my previous comments on the Iron Mountains, here's a hypothetical 'Brittany-as-Broseliand' map:

Unfortunately, I don't think the theory holds up. The scale is too small (Artanor/Doriath is called 'the greatest of forests', while Paimpont is less than 10 miles across), the directions are skewed (I don't think even HoME would allow Doriath to lie east of the Iron Mountains and west of Sirion), the one piece of Breton geography-folklore (Ys) is ignored entirely, and - probably the biggest problem - the 'Mouths of Sirion' are also the mouth of the far-larger Loire! All the individual parts can be fitted in there, but zooming out to view the whole reveals that it's just pareidolia and pattern-seeking.

At least for now. I reserve the right to change my mind if more folkloric evidence shows up.

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