Minas Tirith Forums Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic
profile | register |
search | faq | avatars | citizens
donate | about | library
  This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2  3  4  5 
Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » What was the black rock used in building by the Men of Numenor? (Page 3)
Author Topic: What was the black rock used in building by the Men of Numenor?
Tar-Palantir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1422
posted      Profile for Tar-Palantir   Email Tar-Palantir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Obsidian is volcanic in origin; it seems Tolkien could have thought of Orthanc as carved from a pillar of Obsidian within a volcanic mountain (though this is admittedly divorced from reality).
It would certainly provide something unique, as it seems Tolkien seems to have intended for Orthanc.

From: North Shore | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe there was a mountain there, and they carved the tower out of it by removing the rest of the rocks! It'd be a MASSIVE undertaking though.. hehe
Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Ecthelion of the Fountain
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 955
posted      Profile for Ecthelion of the Fountain   Email Ecthelion of the Fountain   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
a massive undertaking,, yes, but as were the argonath, and the tower of ecthelion, and the walls of minas tirith, and helms deep (i think numeronean men made that)

they bots are all about massive things, plus it was said the rock was always there, the sea kings just shaped it

From: seattle, wa, usa | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dingalen
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 330
posted      Profile for Dingalen   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Ok, I see. Brilliant.
Why would the numenorean builders CARVE AWAY A MOUNTAIN TO CONSTRUCT A TOWER? Wouldn't it be far easier to cut blocks from the "obsidian" and built a tower with it...

From: Somewhere in the Netherlands | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tar-Palantir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1422
posted      Profile for Tar-Palantir   Email Tar-Palantir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Well, by carving away the mountain, you would have no joints and it would be stronger (because there were no joints). You wouldn't have to lift the huge blocks, fuse the joints to appear "jointless", and you could carve more intricately if you didn't have to worry about supporting the separate blocks in-place. Think about it this way: which would be better to use in creating an ornate statue: bricks or a block of marble?
From: North Shore | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
Hmm maybe they did carve it out of a mountain. Well, so was Minas Tirith. They shaped the hill, and especially the ledge that the Citadel stands on. Oh yeah, and the walls... :-D
Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Mad Uncle Rupert
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1148

posted      Profile for Mad Uncle Rupert   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Good theory. A little labour intensive, but workable. What did the do with the waste material?
From: Playing softball with the Nazarenes | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Good theory. A little labour intensive, but workable. What did the do with the waste material?
They piled it into a big ass mound called Mount Doom.

[ 03-13-2002, 06:43 PM: Message edited by: Fimbrethil ]

Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Ecthelion of the Fountain
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 955
posted      Profile for Ecthelion of the Fountain   Email Ecthelion of the Fountain   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
still looking for info on glass castles, fired off a letter to pbs and theyre gonna think im crazy, but oh well it mgiht help
From: seattle, wa, usa | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
Glass castles have one problem though (if they exist), they would be vulnerable to hard projectiles, such as rocks fired from catapults. Also, in real life glass castles would be difficult to build, since we always have to melt our glass first, and then shape it. It would require a LOT of fuel, which medieval landlords probably didn't have.
Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dingalen
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 330
posted      Profile for Dingalen   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Oh me gawd! Pray none of you guys will ever build even a house.
"It would be jointless, so no weak points for the joints", "no labour to lift the blocks and fuse them together", "like a statue" []

A "little labour intensive" - do you have any idea how many metric tons of rock would have to be chipped away (not to mention: transported of the building grounds - as they were obviously not there anymore in LotR)? Now let's assume that the 'mountain' had already a VERY narrow base of ca. 50 meters and a height of 100 meters to produce a 100 meter high tower. To produce a tower of 20 meters diameter, you would have to chip away about 176,000 tons of stone. To hollow out the structure (should that be necessary), I estimate another 44,000 tons of stone. So about 220,000 metric tons of stone in total.
To build the same tower from stone blocks, you would need 20,000 to 30,000 metric tons of stone blocks. That's quite a reason to forget the "carving down a mountain" idea, right?

I don't know - frankly - how many people Elendil was able to save from Numenor in his 9 ships (and how many numenorean settlers were already present in northwestern middle earth to incorporate under his liege), but I think, that quite a lot would be needed to carve out Isengard and Minas Anor and build Osgiliath and Minas Ithil. So, I THINK, there has be another explanation!

From: Somewhere in the Netherlands | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tar-Palantir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1422
posted      Profile for Tar-Palantir   Email Tar-Palantir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I'm not ready to dismiss this idea entirely. Ever seen Devil's Tower? Perhaps there was an eroded column of obsidian left standing from past volcanic activity (it is quite resistant to erosion); thus you woudn't necessarily have to remove the 'whole' mountain to get to it. I don't think this sounds less feasible than lifting blocks of this stuff hundreds of feet into the air, shaping ornate wings and pillars all while fusing the stuff seamlessly together.

p.s. I have built houses []

[ 03-14-2002, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: Tar-Palantir ]

From: North Shore | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
I've built houses too. Acrophobia really stinks, if fixing a beam on top of first floor is creepy, then what would chipping stones on top of Orthanc feel like?

I still think the mountain chipping theory is more plausible. They most definitely did not have modern construction cranes back then, so they would probably have to build Orthanc like the Colossus of Rhodes. That is, they build a section, raise a mound around it, put up another section, and repeat until that is done. Oh yeah, at the end you have to remove that whole "mountain" you had piled up!

By the way, Orthanc is 500 feet tall, or about 150 meters. It said so in the book.

There was probably a sizable population in Gondor already, especially in Lebennin and Pelargir. If they had a workforce of say, 100,000, the jobs really could have been done!

Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Mad Uncle Rupert
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1148

posted      Profile for Mad Uncle Rupert   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Dingalen, I was, in fact, being sarcastic.

Fimbrethil, The castles do exist, tho' I'm having problems corroborating it. The name 'glass castles' is a little misleading. Only the very outermost layer was melted. And it does indeed take a lot of fuel. The theory was tested, and worked, but for only a small section. A dedicated crew could pull it off, given enough time.

The location of the castle was important. Sitting on a relatively inaccessable location, siege engines would have trouble approaching. the glass might be susceptable to heavy weapons, but then, so is stone.

As for moving mountains, that has certainly been done, but in reverse. Given enough dedicated workers, and enough time, it could be done.

From: Playing softball with the Nazarenes | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
One last thing, the people living in the northwest wouldn't have built Orthanc. They had their own things to build, like Amon Sul, Annuminas, and Fornost.
Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dingalen
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 330
posted      Profile for Dingalen   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Which were all destroyed to mere rubble. Nothing to compare with Orthanc. So either the gondorians were more advanced than the arnorians in their building technique or they had better material at their sites. Massive undertakings comparable to the moving of mountains have been done in antiquity. The pyramids of gizeh are the most straightforward example for that. With enough people, a working & stable economy to supply and feed the workers, sufficient engineering knowledge to break, move and set the stones and an almost mindless singleness of purpose, it is achievable.
But would this apply for the gondorians at orthanc?
Their colonies in Lebennin and Pelargir are far off - on the other side of the white mountains - so their supply routes would be long. Which makes it unlikely, that 100.000 workers could be supplied - (not that they really would draft 100.000 workers to build a tower - how big do you think, their population would be? 1 million? Don't think, it would be much bigger at that time. We are still medieaval here and the numenoreans had just arrived. So 100.000 would be 10% of the population. No way.)
The strategic value of Orthanc is moderate - yes, it controls the gap between misty and white mountains, and yes, the dunlending people are hostile. But raising a 150 meter tower of welded glass to stop a primitive barbaric people from invasion? But it is far from the cultural centers, a border post. Why this effort? Most likely, because it was less effort at this site to raise the tower than somewhere else. Either the stone or part of the structure was already available! (Certainly, they would not move half a mountain to sculp a tower just to keep of the dunlendings.)
Third, we are not speaking of quarrying sandstone here, but a far harder material. Indicating that it would be far more labor and material intensive to break and cut it. And you assume, that they removed a whole mountain of it, just to cut a tower of it - in place of a fortress? And they used a lesser material for the ringwall protecting the compound, when they should have sufficient stone from the mountain?

No, I think, Tar-Palantir is probably right and there was a natural structure, the gondorians could use to build the tower from - but it must have rather been a pillar than a mountain. Or the numenorean builders rapidly lost their skills on middle earth, if you compare later structures with Orthanc.

From: Somewhere in the Netherlands | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
Well then, Orthanc might have been a volcanic plug that only needed minor shaping.

Calenardhon (later Rohan) was once populated by Gondorians, so there was some strategic value to the Gap of (later) Rohan.

Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Mad Uncle Rupert
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1148

posted      Profile for Mad Uncle Rupert   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Dingalen: Paxil man, really. I was talking about inspiration, not actual practice. And I believe that Gondor might have had a population far greater then 1 million, if you take into account all of the outlying provinces. As for moving mountains, you didn't really have to, in the case of Orthanc (150 metres is not quite a mountain), but I don't think that's feasible. You would have to be astoundingly lucky to move a mountain and find a nice tower shape under it. And even if the Misty Mountains were a volcanic range, you really don't want to go digging around in them. They don't play well with others.

No, I'm sure that the material is some mystical substance, the making of which has been long lost. Tolkien's inspiration, however, mey have been the mythical Celtic glass castles, or the actual melted stone castles of Scotland.

From: Playing softball with the Nazarenes | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tar-Palantir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1422
posted      Profile for Tar-Palantir   Email Tar-Palantir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, pillar is probably more likely than an entire 'mountain'. I did have a devil's tower-like thing in mind when I posted this idea, rather than, say, mt. Rainier or even St. Helens.
From: North Shore | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
First they'd have to make sure the volcano is extinct for sure. Trimming down active volcano is a BAD idea.

Too bad they didn't have modern tools to level mountains with, like nukes and stuff.

Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Mad Uncle Rupert
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1148

posted      Profile for Mad Uncle Rupert   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
If they had nukes, they wouldn't have any trouble making glass, now would they?
From: Playing softball with the Nazarenes | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
Muahahahahahaha... I just had a mental picture of eagles loaded with nukes.
Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Celeborn of Lothlórien
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1208

posted      Profile for Celeborn of Lothlórien   Author's Homepage   Email Celeborn of Lothlórien   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
lol..think about trying to walk up a 500 feet tall tower..up a spiral stair case no doubt...Man...if i was Saruman..i would have nocked down Orthanc and made a new tower that had an elevator in it...He would have died because of how far he would have to walk each day!!!
From: Downingtown,Pa | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cassandra
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 1600
posted      Profile for Cassandra   Edit/Delete Post 
See how skinny Saruman is? As opposed to all those obese office workers? That's the result of the daily exercises - every time someone knocks on the door he has to run 1000 feet's worth of stairs to check who it is!

No, they definitely wouldn't have nukes. Otherwise Númenór would have just launched a barrage of missiles at Aman instead of sailed a fleet.

Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Halion
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 2140
posted      Profile for Halion   Email Halion   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Pippin (in ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’) believes some strong magic may have been used:
quote:
Many of the Ents were hurling themselves against the Orthanc-rock; but that defeated them. It is very smooth and hard. Some wizardry is in it, perhaps, older and stronger than Saruman's.
Cassandra wrote:
quote:
They piled it into a big ass mound called Mount Doom.
The origin of Mount Doom is given in a note in HoMe XII: The Peoples of Middle-earth; ‘Last Writings’:
quote:
…because of its volcano Orodruin and its eruptions – which were not made by Sauron but were a relic of the devastating works of Melkor in the long First Age.
[]

[ 04-24-2003, 09:11 AM: Message edited by: Maerbenn ]

Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » What was the black rock used in building by the Men of Numenor? (Page 3)
This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2  3  4  5 
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic       The Red Arrow!       Admin Options: Make Topic Sticky   Close Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic

About  ~ • ~  Contact  ~ • ~  Minas Tirith  ~ • ~  F. A. Q.  ~ • ~  Help

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.6.1