April 4, 2013

The Real-Life Archaeology of Tolkien’s Ring

A cursed Roman ring believed to have been the inspiration for Tolkien’s hobbit ring is now on exhibition at The Vyne, a sixteenth-century home built for King Henry VIII’s Lord Chamerlain. 

The inscription on the ring speaks of a curse tablet that was actually discovered about 100 miles away at an iron-age site with ancient mine workings known as "The Dwarf's Hill".

The tablet reads a warning to potential thieves:

Among those who bear the name of Senicianus to none grant health until he bring back the ring to the temple of Nodens.” 

But how are we to believe that this ring was the inspiration for Tolkien’s story?

Eight years before The Hobbit was published, archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler had contacted Tolkien about the ring and the curse. Wheeler sought Tolkien’s help in understanding the name of the god mentioned in the inscription.

It had been originally assumed that Tolkien's sources were mostly literary, but a closer look into his life and research is yielding newer information.

Quite a "Precious" find! ;)

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