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 
Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Why do Dwarvish maps have East at the top? (Page 1)
Author Topic: Why do Dwarvish maps have East at the top?
The Laurenendôrian
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 106

posted      Profile for The Laurenendôrian   Email The Laurenendôrian   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Why did the dwarves have East at the top of their maps?

If there is a simple answer in LR which I have missed, I apologise.

From: Taruithorn | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
*Tintalle Thúle
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 851

posted      Profile for *Tintalle Thúle   Author's Homepage   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe they look at their maps fom the side...hehe.

[ 05-19-2002, 11:00 PM: Message edited by: Luthien Tinuviel ]

Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimruzir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 248

posted      Profile for Nimruzir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
If there is a simple answer in LR which I have missed
You did. It's in the appendices.

It's also referenced on my map of Endor offering awhile back. Try a thread entitled A Simple Piece, and you'll find the exact reference as to WHY maps are drawn that way -- if looking in the appendices doesn't appeal to you.

quote:
I apologise.
Why?

EDIT:

I'll even simplify the situation:

Why maps are as they are

[ 05-20-2002, 03:31 AM: Message edited by: Nimruzir ]

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"The prime motive [of LotR] was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them. As a guide I had only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving, and for many the guide was inevitably often at fault."

J.R.R. Tolkien - Prologue to The Lord of the Rings.

From: Den of Iniquity | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Laurenendôrian
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 106

posted      Profile for The Laurenendôrian   Email The Laurenendôrian   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
The apology comes because given that solution, the question would probably have been better located outside the library.

However, I have just read through both your site and those parts of the appendices I thought might contain something, and find nothing in reference to it. The closest is the explanation (made considerably fuller on your site than in the appendix) of why West was commonly taken as the top of maps. I was familiar with this explanation (though I cannot remember whether I initially gleaned it from the appendices, your site, or elsewhere), and was interested in an explanation of the exception which presents itself in the case of Dwarf-maps. It does add that the arrangement in many mannish languages was opposite (and therefore like to what the dwarves used) but it provides no reason for this.

From: Taruithorn | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tuor
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 374

posted      Profile for Tuor   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
This just 'hit' me. Did Tolkien make the north evil so that the comparison could be made as to which direction our society looks? West equals good, while North equals bad.
From: Oklahoma | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
gram
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 24

posted      Profile for gram   Email gram   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Some maps that were drawn in medieval Europe had East at the top also. Perhaps to give the direction toward Jerusalem prominence. So maybe there was something in the East of Middle-earth that was as important to the Dwarves as Jerusalem was to medieval Europeans.
Just a thought. []

From: New Zealand | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Nenya
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 238

posted      Profile for Nenya   Email Nenya   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I have neither found any references to why the dwarves maps have East in the top. But I allways thought that it comes from that Durin´s tower faced East.
From: Sweden | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimruzir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 248

posted      Profile for Nimruzir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
The apology comes because given that solution, the question would probably have been better located outside the library.
I think the library was a perfect place for it. []

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"The prime motive [of LotR] was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them. As a guide I had only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving, and for many the guide was inevitably often at fault."

J.R.R. Tolkien - Prologue to The Lord of the Rings.

From: Den of Iniquity | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pippin Toker
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 168
posted      Profile for Pippin Toker   Author's Homepage   Email Pippin Toker   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Hi

I have only seen one dvarwish map, so i dint know if they all are alike.

Pippin Toker

From: Denmark | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The head Ainur
Soldier of Gondor
Citizen # 2219

posted      Profile for The head Ainur   Email The head Ainur   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
i believe what you said about the maps having east at the top for a reason is right but heres something else..... what is in the east???
From: On earth I think | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The head Ainur
Soldier of Gondor
Citizen # 2219

posted      Profile for The head Ainur   Email The head Ainur   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
i believe what you said about the maps having east at the top for a reason is right but heres something else..... what is in the east???

maybe it is a giant plant pot!

From: On earth I think | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ithildin
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 2126
posted      Profile for Ithildin   Email Ithildin   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Cuivienen is in the East. So are the Gates of Morning. About the North being evil, that's true only in the First Age. In the Third Age South was evil, with Mordor, Umbar, Harad, Khand, etc. all down there.

About the orientation of maps, I think it doesn't matter which way you put them. For example, Arabic maps have south at the top. Are there really any tangible hints that force one to put north at the top?

[ 06-06-2002, 07:15 PM: Message edited by: Ithildin ]

From: Houston, Texas | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Eldorian
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 2113

posted      Profile for Eldorian   Author's Homepage   Email Eldorian   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Perhaps because there a different race so have a different compass?
From: Wizard land though I'm most often found in the V.O.E | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cernunnos
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 652

posted      Profile for Cernunnos   Email Cernunnos   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I think JRRT just decided to have east at the top to give his readers a little shake-up from the way they automatically think about the orientation of the world, and to give an impression of an equally valid but different culture - the Dwarves. I believe the idea works very well from that point of view.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered.

From: Perth, Scotland | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Marcho Blackwood - MSS
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 270

posted      Profile for Marcho Blackwood - MSS   Email Marcho Blackwood - MSS   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
And given the importance of the sun in most early cultures, why wouldn't they put its rising point at the top?

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Marcho Blackwood, MSS - #16 Brookshade Close - Bindbale, North Farthing, The Shire
1st Winner Mahanaxar's Boy Howdy of Approval with 2 Bronze Stars (3rd Award) & Balrog Cluster with Laurel.
King of Grammar with Queen SSA
Sass this hoopy hobbit frood who really knows where his towel is!

From: Bindbale, North Farthing | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Silmahtar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4806

posted      Profile for Silmahtar   Author's Homepage   Email Silmahtar   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
But in Arda, the Sun first arose in the West:
quote:
and [Varda] gave them power to traverse the lower regions of Ilmen, and set them to voyage upon appointed courses above the girdle of the Earth from the West unto the East and to return.
~ The Silmarillion, "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
quote:
At the first rising of the Sun the Younger Children of Ilúvatar awoke in the land of Hildórien in the eastward regions of Middle-earth; but the first Sun arose in the West, and the opening eyes of Men were turned towards it, and their feet as they wandered over the Earth for the most part strayed that way.
~ "Of Men"

It's likely that by the time the Dwarves awoke, the Sun was already fixed in its present course of rising in the East. Also the nearest to an explanation I could find is that the Dwarves most likely awoke in the East where they built their first homes. Perhaps they orient their maps in honor of the location of their aboriginal land and/or the place of their awakening:
quote:
Far to the east were the most ancient dwellings of the Naugrim, but they had delved for themselves great halls and mansions, after the manner of their kind, in the eastern side of Ered Luin; and those cities were named in their own tongue Gabilgathol and Tumunzahar.
~ "Of the Sindar"

[ 02-14-2006, 02:15 PM: Message edited by: Silmahtar ]

From: Vinya-Tárilos | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Q
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5312
posted      Profile for Q   Email Q   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
You have a point there about the sun being fixed in the East, since the Naugrim were there and knew no other position of the sun. If they did it would be like them knowing a different dirrection to plot "up" by...which is silly, they wouldn't know.

[ 02-16-2006, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: MANDOS ]

From: LOS ANGELES, CA. | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
You're ranting again, Mandos []

quote:
But there's something else here...what do you consider as the "top" of a map?
That side of the map that's up when you can read the writing on it.


Mak:
quote:
Perhaps they orient their maps in honor of the location of their aboriginal land and/or the place of their awakening:
To orient, from Lat. oriens, part. praes. of oriri: to be born, to rise (of the Sun). So, 'to orient' is to direct yourself at the rising Sun [and because in Medieval times maps had the East on the top of the map, we still use 'to orient' or equivalents of it in our own languages].

[ 02-15-2006, 02:59 AM: Message edited by: Earendilyon ]

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me."

John 3:16-21

From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Q
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5312
posted      Profile for Q   Email Q   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Pardon?

[ 02-16-2006, 02:02 PM: Message edited by: MANDOS ]

From: LOS ANGELES, CA. | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Alatar the Wizard
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5315

posted      Profile for Alatar the Wizard   Author's Homepage   Email Alatar the Wizard   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I had guessed that it was because Dwarves are materialistic, and therefore prefer the direction opposite of Valinor (which is what the "spiritual" Elves prefer).

But if that was how maps were drawn in medieval times, that must be the real answer.

From: South Forodwaith | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Mandos: The LETTERS on a map are part of the objects that aren't there, because they line up with one of the sides...the sides are not there, as I have explained already, so there are no objects, or "tops" of objects because "top" is a type of "side".

Because of this there is no way to judge the true dirrection of "up" on a map such as this because it makes the sun look like it should not be there. Hence, the sun is the only thing that is there, since what is unreal cannot make something else unreal in place of itself. What is unreal are sides, so sides cannot make the sun's position unreal, so there is obviously a problem with the sides and everything you base the dirrection of the sides on...namely, ruins.


We're talking about maps here. Maps are representations of a physical reality. They're not that reality itself; as such, the letters on a map do belong to it and are an integral part of it. Of course, in the physical reality there's no "up side", or even of "sides"; the Earth's globe is a continuum. But we're not talking about that, but about our (very simplified) representations. We're also not talking about the Sun, or how it would look at the Earth.

Nowadays, the traditional "up side" of a map is the North of the physical reality represented by it; in earlier times, as said, it was traditionally the East. If we were to decide that we'd rather have the South or the West up, we could do that of course. It's just one of those unwritten laws/customs we have.
If I were presenting you this picture:

 -

wouldn't you say the map was upside down?

Or this one:

 -

Wouldn't you say it was on it's side?

So, we see that we have a custom, which we are used to, and that is that the North of a map should be up. If it's not, we will find it hard to interpret the map at first glance. We would say things like 'the map's upside down' or even 'the map's wrong'.

[ 02-16-2006, 03:34 AM: Message edited by: Earendilyon ]

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me."

John 3:16-21

From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Q
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5312
posted      Profile for Q   Email Q   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
I see how in your first point it would make sense that Letters have little to do with the dirrection of "up" on a map, since, of course the hidden moon-letters in Thorin's letter were written vertically. But my friend, what does your second, apparently contradictory point have to do with that?

[ 02-16-2006, 02:08 PM: Message edited by: MANDOS ]

From: LOS ANGELES, CA. | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Silmahtar
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 4806

posted      Profile for Silmahtar   Author's Homepage   Email Silmahtar   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
MANDOS I recognize your need to constantly spin your own brand of sophistry, but there's no reason to discuss your particular cartographic crisis in a literary forum. It's not relevant to the topic at hand. Go buy an atlas instead.

Ear stop encouraging him. []

From: Vinya-Tárilos | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 322

posted      Profile for Earendilyon   Author's Homepage   Email Earendilyon   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Mandos, I hope you do understand your rambling yourself, for I certainly don't (like most of your ramblings around here). No further elaboration needed though, because - as Mak pointed out - it's not relevant to the discussion at hand.

Mak:
quote:
Ear stop encouraging him. []
Sorry sir, it won't happen again []

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me."

John 3:16-21

From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Q
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5312
posted      Profile for Q   Email Q   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Hmmm...

[ 02-16-2006, 02:12 PM: Message edited by: MANDOS ]

From: LOS ANGELES, CA. | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Why do Dwarvish maps have East at the top? (Page 1)
This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2  3 
 - 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