Pengolodh of Gondolin

[Image: Ted Nasmith]

Pengolodh is the greatest of the chroniclers of Middle-earth, and the most renown of all. He was born son of a Noldo and a Sinda in Turgon's old realm of Nevrast. Later he followed Turgon's folk and became his sage in Gondolin. He became the most eminent member of the Lambengolmor, "Loremasters of Tounges", a group which Feanor had founded.

The name Pengolodh is probably derived from the Sindarin words pennas "history" and Golodh "Noldo", which gives "History-Noldo", i.e. Noldorin historian. The first element might also be pen "person", so producing "Person-Noldo", but this seems less likely. The variations Pengolod and Pengoloth also occurs. He is also in one instance called Thingodhel: Noldorin "Grey Noldo", which probably refers to his mixed Noldorin and Grey-elven ancestry. Pengolodh is probably also identical with Gilfanon in an old text.

At the fall of Gondolin, Pengolodh managed to escape from Morgoth's creatures together with Tuor and Idril, and followed them to the Havens of Sirion. With him he brought a number of valuable old documents and own works. The Havens of Sirion had at this time became a gathering-place for refugees from Doriath, Hithlum and other places throughout Beleriand. Thanks to the silmaril of Earendil, a short time of peace was allowed to the refuge. Since Pengolodh had hitherto been prevented from gathering lore outside the borders of Gondolin, he suddenly became very active and made extensive researches.

Here he gathered information on the runic system used in Doriath, invented by Daeron. These runes were rarely used and would become even more so in coming ages. But Pengolodh made copies and extracts of documents using these characters, and thus made an important cultural contribution, lest the Certhas Daeron (as he called them) would have been totally forgotten.

The Sindar of Doriath had brought the Annals of Beleriand or Grey Annals to the Havens where they were extended whith the help of the other peoples. Pengolodh probably helped in this task, since his memory of the history was "prodigious". What is clear, though, is that he made additions and comments to it, perhaps in his own annotated copy. The Annals of Beleriand were later brought into the West.

From the end of the First Age of the Sun, the Noldor were allowed to return to the West. Pengolodh, however, did not go to Valinor immediately. He stayed in Middle-earth, far on into the Second Age, and gathered lore. He was permitted to dwell for awhile with the Dwarves in Khazad-dum, and thus was one of the few to get insight in the Dwarvish languages: the spoken and the sign languages.

When Sauron's dark shadow grew over Eriador, Pengolodh finally went West, to Tol Eressea in the Bay of Belegaer. There he stayed in the village of Tavrobel (also called Tathrobel), and continued extending the Annals of Beleriand. At this time he must also have seen Rumil's works on languages, among others the Equessi Rumilo, and these he used to write the text called Lammas ("Account on Tounges"), discussing the languages of Men, Elves and other races. He also wrote a short work called the Lammasethen treating the Elvish languages in especial.

Pengolodh is traditionally given the credit of writing the Quenta Silmarillion, the main work of the oldest history, but what he really did was compiling the many traditions, legends and stories into one, continuous work. His main sources were Rumil's and his own writings (the Annals, Ainulindale etc), the Grey Annals, the Narn I Chin Hurin, and the Golden Book. Rumil also made slight additions to the Silmarillion.

When Aelfwine came to Tol Eressea many millenia later, he met Pengolodh. Pengolodh told him many of the legends and showed him the texts, and thus became a necessary link between the Elder days and historical times.

•The History of Midde-earth vol. 4 The Quenta
•The Silmarillion Appendix
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 4 The Earliest Annals of Beleriand
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 4 The Earliest Annals of Valinor
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 7 Appendix on Runes
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 5 The Lhammas
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 5 Quenta Silmarillion
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 10 The Later Quenta Silmarillion
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 Quendi and Eldar Appendix D
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 The Grey Annals
•The History of Midde-earth vol. 11 Quendi and Eldar Editorial Notes

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