In the Shadow of Elvish – The Black Speech and Orcish

One Speech to rule them all

Category: Theology

Gûldur revisited & Morgoth’s Ring

A couple of months ago I discovered the a Black Speech word that I had missed – gûldur. I then didn’t know what to with the word and I have not analysed it. But as I read The History of Middle Earth Vol. 10 Morgoth’s Ring I found this clue. In the part

Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth; Authors notes on the Commentary; Glossary: Ñoldor (p 350 in my paperback edition (2015). In this glossary Tolkien has written that:

The Quenya word ñólë meant ‘lore, knowledge’, but its Sindarin equivalent gûl, owing to its frequent use in such combinations as morgul (cf.Minas Morgul in The Lord of the Rings) was only used for evil or perverted knowledge, necromancy, sorcery. This word gûl was also used in the language of Mordor.

In my analysis of gûl of the Black Speech I write

From the compound ‘nazgûl’ analysed as nazg “ring” + ‘gûl’ “wraith” or “any one of the major invisible servants of Sauron dominated entirely by his will (A Tolkien Compass)”. The word ‘gûl’ is very similar to the Elvish word root NGOL “wise” or “wisdom” and Primitive Elvish ñgôlê “Science/Philosophy” and identical to Sindarin gûl “deep knowledge; perverted or evil knowledge, sorcery, necromancy, black arts, magic”.

The interpretation for Zhâburi is that ‘gûl’ means someone who has gained deep knowledge through the black arts of Sauron which also means that one is dominated by his will and  one’s perspective of the world is completely that of the Dark lord.

The word gûl in the Black Speech is probably a loan word from Sindarin but the root word NGOL and Primitive Elvish ñgôlê would give us gûl in my Anband Orcish and so in Zhâburi as well.

So then about the word gûldur. The most simple analysis would be that it is a compound word of gûl and dur the latter being related to durb– (to rule) Quenya turtur- v. “to master, conquer, dominate, win”. So gûldur would then mean something like “(black) lore dominating” or “to master by the means of (evil) lore”.

So what about the ‘b’ in ‘durb’? I have been thinking of this b (and the one in ‘gimb-‘ (to find) for a long time. My solution has been to view it as a derivative suffix. If we treat gûldur as a compound of ‘gûl’ and ‘dur’ then this is a elegant solution so now I can settle that question (and maybe publish my list of derivative suffixes soon).

So what about Morgoth’s Ring? I actually started to read books from The History of Middle Earth to find out more of the theological and philosophical aspects of Tolkien’s Arda so that I could create/enlarge Sauron’s theology. And in Morgoth’s Ring I have found i not plenty so at least very relevant material in the text Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth.

The Theology of Sauron


Zigûr Mâghni Mâron –B. Axén

Sauron created a religion of Melkor in Middle Earth during the second age and The Black Speech really ought to have a liturgical function and it should reflect the theology of Sauron. So one of my goals in creating Zhâburi is to find out how Sauron viewed the Creation of Arda and Melkor’s place in it and so on. When I worked on the adaption of words from Valarin I had to make some choices and when writing an explanation for the wordlist some of it things fell into place.

Some of the names of Valar have Valarin forms and these are used for the Zhâburi form. The other names are just adapted from the Elvish names with the exeption of Melkor and Eru. Note that Zhâburi does not distinguish between higher Ainur such as Valar and Maiar nor Aratar – the higher Valar but instead all are included in ‘azhan’. If one wants to use these categories the Quenya words are used in the plural form (Zhâburi does not distinguish between singular and plural): Valar, Aratar;  Maiar (not *Mazhar). This is to mark out that these categories are part of another cosmological and philosophical paradigm.

The word Quenya word ‘vala’ comes from the primitive elvish root BAL (Vala = Balan/Belain in Sindarin). In Quenya there is the word Máhan, a synonym for Aratar, adopted from Valarin ‘mâchanâz’ which becomes mâghan in Zhâburi but designate any high authority (most often of the Shadow) and not the Valar per se. Melkor is called Mâghanashi (the one authority) in Zhâburi B. In Zhâburi (A) Eru is called Ashi (The One) but this is really just a translation from Quenya Eru with all its cosmological baggage. In Zhâburi (B) Eru is reduced by the name Manashi from a subject to an object with no agency; to a proto-substance with the potential of form. Thus the language indicates that Arda was formed by the Ainur (Azhani) led by Melkor (Mâghanashi) the supreme Ainu. 

Here is a sketch of the creation myth according to Sauron

In the beginning there was Azgi (Nothingness, the Void) and then came Ashi (the One, Eru). A movement started within Ashi and Azhani (Ainur) came these Wills separated from Ashi and there were Azhani and Manashi (proto-substance). Azhani was manyfold and of different might and all had different goals and they started to form Manashi according to each own will. The mightiest of them, Mâghanashi (Melkor), rised above all other Azhan to bring order so that they may form Manashi according to one will and order. Many of Azhani flocked to Mâghanashi but more went against him and chief among these was Mânav (Manwë) who was almost equal in might with Mâghanashi.

Here is the word list of Azhani

Zhâburi English Comment
Aghûl Aulë From Valarin A3ûlêz
Arûn Melkor, Morgoth An Adûnaic name for Morgoth, perhaps coined by Sauron when he introduced the worship of the dark god to the Númenóreans, translated as “Lord” (Sauron Defeated: 376)
Arôm Oromë From Valarin Arômêz
Asat Este Phonetical adaption
Azhan Ainu, Ainur From Valarin ayanûz “ainu”
Irim Irmo Phonetical adaption
Mâghanashi Melkor, Morgoth The One Authority
mâghan, mâghn- authority From Valarin ‘mâchanâz’ “authority”. Maghni “the authority in general”; The form ‘Maghani’ is  used for the high authority of the shadow like Sauron or Nazgûl or other.
Manashi Eru The unique proto-form and substance “see ‘man’ under the Words from Valarin and ‘ashi’ individulizer
Mânav Manwë From Valarin Mânawenûz
Mâron Mairon (Sauron) Phonetical adaption
Nâm Mandos/Námo Phonetical adaption
Nas Nessa Phonetical adaption
Nîn Nienna Phonetical adaption
Tuluk Tulkas From Valarin Tulukastâz
Ulub Ulmo From Valarin Ulubôz
Vân Vána Phonetical adaption
Vâr Vaire Phonetical adaption
Varad Varda Phonetical adaption
Zhavan Yavanna Phonetical adaption