A Map of Middle-earth

Dmitrii Godkin aka Arthoron and I have finally finished our map of Middle-earth.  Its current version looks like this (the picture is clickable):

map of Middle-earth in the Third Age

You can also download a PDF version here.  We used Inkscape to draw the map, I can send the source file in SVG format personally, if anybody is interested.  I don’t want to post it here in open access because it contains scans of several other maps by other authors.

A detailed rationale for the map is still available only in Russian, unfortunately, it can be seen in the Russian version of this post.  We presented the map at the Tolkien Seminar organized by the St. Petersburg Tolkien Society on 23 April, then the discussion went on in Arthoron’s blog.  The final version of the map which you can see above is drawn according to the results of those discussions.

Our main goal was to map all the geographical objects outside the West of Middle-earth, i.e. outside the territory shown on the well-known map of Middle-earth published in The Lord of the Rings and in Unfinished Tales.  We also tried to correct some calculations of Karen W. Fonstad because on her maps of Middle-earth as a whole the world looks very small, almost as small as Mars (see her The Atlas of Middle-earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991), pp. VIII, XI, 4–5), although we know that J. R. R. Tolkien regarded his own fiction as a kind of mythological past of the Earth.

For our own calculations we used first of all map V  from the Ambarkanta which we superimposed on a map of the world in polyconical projection.  We also used map IV from the Ambarkanta and the map of Middle-earth by Pauline Baynes for additional information.  What was a result is mostly a product of our own imagination, but we did our best to prevent any contradictions between our fantasy and known Tolkien’s works.  That is why the eastern and southern parts of the map look rather schematic.  Several most important moments should be noted:

  1. We had to ‘sink’ the north-western part of Africa/Harad as if it went into the sea at the end of the First Age; otherwise the contours of Harad would contradict to the known maps of the West, especially to the map of Pauline Baynes.
  2. The Sea of Helkar is rather small on our map and is separated from the Sea of Rhûn that corresponds to the later texts, but contradicts to map V from the Ambarkanta.  We decided that map can be seen as a map of Middle-earth in ‘prehistoric’ times.  So on our map we marked the borders of the Sea of ‘Paleo-Helkar’ which correspond to the coastline of the Sea of Helkar on Tolkien’s map V.  Its contours are also quite similar to those of the Paratethys sea about 7–9 million years ago.
  3. We divided the Southland into two parts in order to make our map a bit different both from the real map of the world and from the map in Ambarkanta, as the geography of Middle-earth in the Third Age should have differed both from the First Age and from the today’s geography of the Earth.  In the real geological history of the Earth, Tolkien’s Southland corresponds to the continent that existed approximately 90–40 million years ago and then divided into Australia and Antarctica.  In Tolkien’s world, the Southland could divide in the days of the downfall of Númenor.
  4. Although we have drawn a coordinate grid on our map, our superimposition of the map of Middle-earth on a map of the world is an approximate one, especially as there are no exact maps for the eastern and southern parts of Tolkien’s world.  So our map cannot be used to calculate exact geographic coordinates for any places in Middle-earth.  It was probably Brandon Rhodes who made the most correct superimposition of the map of the West on a map of Europe (see http://rhodesmill.org/brandon/2009/google-earth-and-middle-earth/), but even his method raises doubts.

COLLECTION OF ABSTRACTS AND REVIEWS: The First World War: Contemporary Historiography (in Russian)

Первая мировая война: современная историография

Pervaia mirovaia voina: Sovremennaia istoriografiia: Sbornik obzorov i referatov, ed. by V. P. Liubin and M. M. Mints (Moscow: INION RAN, 2014).  In Russian.

In this collection, we tried to show the current condition of research on history of World War I.  The main part of literature we have used, form the monographs and collections of articles printed by several well-known publishing houses in 2013–14, by the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the conflict, including works on its military, political, social and cultural history, on such problems as memory about the war, propaganda, and national identity.  The main attention in the collection is paid to today’s historiographical debates.  Several national historic schools are represented, including such countries as Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, France, and the United States.

The text of the collection (PDF, 3.2 Mb).



V. P. Liubin, ‘Western historians about World War I’ (Review article)

M. M. Mints, ‘Germany in the First World War: modern German historiography’ (Review article)

‘“Initial catastrophe”: the anniversary of the First World War as a reason for reinterpretation of the history of the 20th century’ (Joint abstract)

‘An investigation of Fritz Fischer on World War I and the European historiography’ (Joint abstract)

Abstract: V. V. Mironov, Avstro-vengerskaia armiia v Pervoi mirovoi voine: razrushenie oplota Gabsburgskoi monarkhii [Austro-Hungarian army in the First World War: the collapse of the stronghold of the Habsburg Monarchy]

‘1914–2014: An anniversary of the Great War in history. A view from France’ (Joint abstract)

Abstract: Christopher M. Clark, The sleepwalkers: how Europe went to war in 1914

Abstract: Heather Jones, ‘As the century approaches: the regeneration of First World War historiography’

Marco Pluviano, ‘Contemporary Italian historiography and the First World War’ (Review article)

Abstract: Emilio Gentile, Di colpi di pistola, dieci milioni di morti, la fine di un mondo: storia illustrata della Grande Guerra [Two pistol shoots, ten million killed, the end of the world: an illustrated history of the Great War]

Abstract: Celia Malone Kingsbury, For home and country: World War I propaganda on the home front

‘The history of the First World War in interpretation of Russian and foreign historians’ (Joint abstract)

‘The First World War in the eyes of its participants and our contemporaries’ (Joint abstract)

S. V. Bespalov, ‘Social-economic development of imperial Russia in the years of the First World War’ (Review article)

Abstract: Anthony Heywood, ‘Spark of revolution? Railway disorganisation, freight traffic and Tsarist Russia’s war effort, July 1914—March 1917’

Abstract: Andrzej Chwalba, Samobójstwo Europy: Wielka wojna 1914–1918 [European self-murder: the Great War 1914–18]

Abstract: V. A. Pyl’kin, Voennoplennye Avstro-Vengrii, Germanii i Osmanskoi imperii na Riazanskoi zemle v gody mirovoi voiny i revoliutsii [Prisoners of war from Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire in the land of Riazan’ in the years of the world war and revolution]

L. N. Zhvanko, ‘The First World War and the refugees on the Eastern Front: new research (late 20th—early 21st century)’ (Review article)

Abstract: L. N. Zhvanko,  Бiженцi першої свiтової вiйни: український вимiр (1914–1918 рр.) [The refugees of World War I: Ukrainian reality (1914–18)]

Abstract: Peter Englund, Stridens skönhet och sorg: första världskriget i 212 korta kapitel [The beauty and the sorrow: an intimate history of the First World War]


REPORT: The Hunting of the Books: How to Search the Foreign Academic Literature in the Internet (in Russian)

My report at Veskon-2015 convent on Tolkien studies and role playing games in Moscow, with an overview of three instruments for searching the academic literature in the Internet (LibGen, Sci-Hub, Academia.edu).  It can be useful not only for specialists on Tolkien, but for any other students as well, whatever problems they are interested in. Continue reading ‘REPORT: The Hunting of the Books: How to Search the Foreign Academic Literature in the Internet (in Russian)’ »

My article in ‘Mediateka i mir’

A few months ago, the Mediateka i mir journal (‘Multimedia library and the world’, the journal is published by the Russian State Library in Moscow, formerly known as ‘the Lenin Library’, and deals with new information and telecommunication technologies, especially in library services) asked me to write a short report about the section ‘Russia in the First World War’ on the website of the Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences where I work.  The result is here (in Russian) 😉  Nothing extraordinary, but nevertheless, one more publication 🙂

REPORT: Theory and Methodology of Tolkien Studies (in Russian)

The report was made at the 6th Tolkien Seminar in Saint Petersburg on 30 January 2010. I am analysing the existing approaches to the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien and trying to form a new synthetic approach that could resolve various issues of Tolkien studies using methods of different academic disciplines on the basis of a common methodology. The text of the report (PDF, in Russian).

ARTICLE: A Collection of Legends about Foundation of Moscow (in Russian)

The article is based on my report presented at a conference of schoolchildren in 1997 or 1998 in Moscow.  In a year after the conference, I sent this text to a newspaper where it was published in 2001, but I did not know about it until 2007 😉  Of course it is just an essay written in school years, nothing more, but among the other essays I wrote at school, this is probably the best one.

Continue reading ‘ARTICLE: A Collection of Legends about Foundation of Moscow (in Russian)’ »