The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Race
Culture
Family
Settlements
Probably lived in Hobbiton, the traditional folkland of the Baggins family
Pronunciation
Balbo is pronounced 'ba'lbo'
Meaning
Probably without specific meaning1

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  • Updated 10 April 2019
  • This entry is complete

Balbo Baggins

An ancestor of Bilbo Baggins

The earliest recorded member of the Baggins family, Balbo was born in the later years of the twelfth century (by the Shire-reckoning) and married Berylla Boffin. Together these two would have five children, and through them become the ancestors of the all the known Hobbits named 'Baggins', including Bilbo (Balbo's great-grandson) and Frodo.

The years preceding Balbo's birth had been hard ones for the Shire. Invading Goblins had been defeated at the Battle of Greenfields just twenty years earlier, and the Long Winter had caused great hardship just nine years before his birth. He lived in a time of recovery and relative peace, at least in the Shire (though trouble and war raged beyond its borders). When he was just three years old, the Dragon Smaug descended on faraway Erebor, a matter likely unknown in the Shire at the time, but that would be of great concern to Balbo's great-grandson Bilbo. The only other event of note during his life was the disappearance of his brother-in-law2 Basso Boffin, who was said to have gone to Sea and was not seen again in the Shire.


Notes

1

Most likely, Tolkien coined the name 'Balbo' simply to mirror the sounds of the existing name 'Bilbo', without intending it to have any specific meaning. He may have been influenced on some level by the Italian surname 'Balbo', or perhaps by the Theatre of Balbo in ancient Rome. Indeed, several Hobbit families had members with names that hint at an Italian connection (such as Largo Baggins or Basso Boffin). If it were derived from an Italian or Latin root, 'Balbo' would probably mean 'stutterer', though it seems doubtful that Tolkien meant for it to be analysed to quite that depth.

2

Actually, Basso was probably Balbo's future brother-in-law at the time he disappeared. Balbo was only twenty-eight years old at the time, considered very young for a Hobbit, and realistically it would be some years before he would marry Basso's sister Berylla. We don't have a specific date for their marriage, but the fact that their eldest son Mungo was born in III 2807 (or 1207 by the Shire-reckoning, twelve years after Basso's disappearance) tends to support this conclusion.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 10 April 2019
  • This entry is complete

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