The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Existed throughout the Years of the Trees (perhaps some 14,322 years1)
Location
The mound of Ezellohar, to the west of Valmar in Valinor
Origins
Brought into being by Yavanna, with the assistance of Nienna
Settlements
Lay close to the city of Valmar
Pronunciation
seelpee'on
Meaning
Perhaps 'shining twilight'2
Other names
Titles
The White, The White Tree, Eldest of Trees

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About this entry:

  • Updated 13 August 2020
  • This entry is complete

Silpion

The Tree of silver light

Map of Silpion

A name for the elder of the Two Trees of Valinor, the White Tree known most commonly as Telperion. This Tree shone with a shimmering light of silver-white, and that is the origin of the name Silpion, which comes from an old Elvish word sëlip for light of this kind. The Two Trees were destroyed, but Telperion ultimately gave rise to the Moon, and the word-forms behind the name Silpion lived on a name the Elves gave to the Moon: Isil.


Notes

1

This figure of 14,322 (solar) years is calculated from dates given in 'Valian Years' in The Annals of Aman (in volume X of The History of Middle-earth). It might seem precise, but Valian Years are much longer than solar years, and the source material underwent considerable revision. So, while not completely reliable, this figure gives some idea of the kind of timespan for which Silpion gave its Light to the land of Valinor.

2

A full interpretation of this name Silpion is difficult, though it clearly contains the element sil-, 'shine' (especially with a white light, as would be appropriate for this White Tree). In volume IV of The History of Middle-earth, in notes to The Earliest Annals of Valinor, Tolkien provides an interpretation into Old English, which might provide a signpost to the name's meaning. The Old English version of Silpion is Glisglóm, which combines the words for 'shining' and 'twilight'. On that basis, we might tentatively interpret the Elvish name in the same way, though it cannot be guaranteed that the Old English form represents an absolutely literal translation of the name.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 13 August 2020
  • This entry is complete

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