The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Established after the coming of the Eldar to Aman during the Years of the Trees
Location
Along the eastern shorelands of Aman
Race
Divisions
Culture
Settlements
Important peaks
Lay beneath the Pelóri
Passes
Pronunciation
e'lfinness
Meaning
Probably 'land of the Elves'1
Other names

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 11 November 2022
  • Updates planned: 1

Elfinesse

The lands of the Elves

Map of Elfinesse
The lands of Elfinesse beyond the Great Sea2
The lands of Elfinesse beyond the Great Sea2

An early and rare equivalent of the Elvish word Eldamar, referring to the lands occupied by the Elves. It was ultimately abandoned by Tolkien in favour of the form Elvenesse, though it does survive in a single historical usage in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth.


Notes

1

The ending -nesse appears in the name Westernesse in the chivalric romance of King Horn, which possibly refers to a land on a western promontory (from Old English naess), but may be taken more broadly as 'western land' or 'western realm'. Tolkien preferred the broader interpretation of 'land' or 'realm', and applied the same name to the island kingdom of Westernesse or Númenor in the Great Sea. In this broader sense of -nesse, the ending is used in Elfinesse (also given as Elvenesse) for the homelands of the Elves (usually in the West, but sometimes used more broadly for all Elf-lands). Both versions of the name are approximate translations of Elvish Eldamar, which would be more closely rendered as Elvenhome (a term which is also sometimes seen).

2

Our only recorded use of the term Elfinesse is somewhat ambiguous: in comments made in 1920, Tolkien talked of '[a] complete cycle of events in an Elfinesse of my own imagining' (Unfinished Tales, Introduction). In context, Elfinesse here seems to be a general reference to the lands of the Elves on either side of the Sea (that is, in Middle-earth as well as in Aman). The variant term Elvenesse appears in the The Silmarillion, and there it appears to be more definitely associated with Elvenland or Eldamar in Aman, and that is the region shown on the map for this entry.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 11 November 2022
  • Updates planned: 1

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