The Gladden Fields

MMP Mithril in Middle-Earth The Prancing Pony The Gladden Fields

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #898
    Barliman
    Participant

    Though it’s doubtless far too late to change the image people have got fixed in their minds, I thought my patrons might be interested to know that, despite every picture and blog I’ve seen regarding the Gladden Fields always describing and depicting the iris flowers in question as “yellow”, or even “flag irises”, they were nothing of the kind. Gladdens (gladens in Anglo-Saxon) are actually mauve-flowered “stinking irises” – iris foetisissima. We have a patch of them in our wild flower garden, and despite their reputation they don’t smell too bad at all! You have to stick your nose right into them to notice the aroma.

    I only discovered the true identity of gladdens the other day by sheer chance, when I was browsing through a wild flower book I have. So if you ever do a diorama of the events in the Gladden Fields, Master Dave, make sure you render the flowers the right colour!

    #35845
    Barliman
    Participant

    Though it’s doubtless far too late to change the image people have got fixed in their minds, I thought my patrons might be interested to know that, despite every picture and blog I’ve seen regarding the Gladden Fields always describing and depicting the iris flowers in question as “yellow”, or even “flag irises”, they were nothing of the kind. Gladdens (gladens in Anglo-Saxon) are actually mauve-flowered “stinking irises” – iris foetisissima. We have a patch of them in our wild flower garden, and despite their reputation they don’t smell too bad at all! You have to stick your nose right into them to notice the aroma.

    I only discovered the true identity of gladdens the other day by sheer chance, when I was browsing through a wild flower book I have. So if you ever do a diorama of the events in the Gladden Fields, Master Dave, make sure you render the flowers the right colour!

    #35846
    ddaines
    Participant
    Barliman wrote:
    Though it’s doubtless far too late to change the image people have got fixed in their minds, I thought my patrons might be interested to know that, despite every picture and blog I’ve seen regarding the Gladden Fields always describing and depicting the iris flowers in question as “yellow”, or even “flag irises”, they were nothing of the kind. Gladdens (gladens in Anglo-Saxon) are actually mauve-flowered “stinking irises” – iris foetisissima. We have a patch of them in our wild flower garden, and despite their reputation they don’t smell too bad at all! You have to stick your nose right into them to notice the aroma.

    I only discovered the true identity of gladdens the other day by sheer chance, when I was browsing through a wild flower book I have. So if you ever do a diorama of the events in the Gladden Fields, Master Dave, make sure you render the flowers the right colour!

    Thank you for that, I will have to check my diorama Master Inn-keep ;)

    #37450
    Barliman
    Participant

    Having finally remembered to look a bit further into this, I find, firstly, that JRRT did have yellow Flag Irises in mind after all, because in note 13 of his “Disaster of the Gladden Fields” essay in “Unfinished Tales” he refers to the “armies of yellow iris that grew taller than a man and gave their name to all the region”. If they were taller than a Numenorean man they were tall indeed, presumably at least 6ft 4in (2 ranga), which was seemingly the height of an average Numeneorean by the latter part of the Third Age. (Elendil was half a ranga taller.) Profuse apologies to anyone (i.e. Dave) who repainted any flowers in their dioramas…..

    It seems that gladen/glaedene (“short sword” or “little sword”), was probably in fact a generic name for both types of iris in Saxon times. The only Saxon/Middle English name I can find specifically applied to the yellow flag iris is “segg”, which – surprise surprise – also means “short sword”. The blade references in both names allude to the distinctly sword-blade shaped leaves of both varieties of flower.

    #37451
    Theobald
    Participant

    Let me think a while … please.

    #37452
    Theobald
    Participant

    A very fine research I think, Master Barliman – though I always was convinced and know about your abilities in such things. Let me add a thought, please.
    “Schwertlilien” is the German word for those. (Schwert = sword). I am proud to have taken care of some very old (they are even older than me) plants in my poor garden. Yes, the blue ones and the others, which are white-yellowish. So I just have two of the presumed three kinds. If they decide to bloom they easiliy get up to about 150 cm (sorry, I still don’t know much about feet and inches). Real marvels they are as you also can cut them and put them in a bottle of water and then they will reveal all their beauty for at least a week. Though it’s always better to see them outside.

    Er, yes. The word “Gladius” of course is of Roman origin and was the name of the common short-bladed “sword” in the Roman legions. The blade was highly pointed and sharpened at both sides and was meant to stich, not to cut as many “swords” were. And so are the leaves of that plant.

    As for Tolkien I am sure that he used that name “Gladden Fields” ambigiously. You might interprete the name as “fields (a place), where the number of blades were high”. The word “glad” might also refer to the lucky outcome of that massacre. That’s why I regard this name as being ambiguous – but that’s Tolkien, isn’t it.

    What I want to say is that Tolkien still keeps my mind.

    Sorry, for posting again, but I couldn’t hold back. Cheers, Master Barliman.

    #37453
    twrich
    Participant

    Thank you for this thread. I do agree with the ambiguity, Master Tree.

    #37454
    ddaines
    Participant
    Barliman wrote:
    Having finally remembered to look a bit further into this, I find, firstly, that JRRT did have yellow Flag Irises in mind after all, because in note 13 of his “Disaster of the Gladden Fields” essay in “Unfinished Tales” he refers to the “armies of yellow iris that grew taller than a man and gave their name to all the region”. If they were taller than a Numenorean man they were tall indeed, presumably at least 6ft 4in (2 ranga), which was seemingly the height of an average Numeneorean by the latter part of the Third Age. (Elendil was half a ranga taller.) Profuse apologies to anyone (i.e. Dave) who repainted any flowers in their dioramas…..

    It seems that gladen/glaedene (“short sword” or “little sword”), was probably in fact a generic name for both types of iris in Saxon times. The only Saxon/Middle English name I can find specifically applied to the yellow flag iris is “segg”, which – surprise surprise – also means “short sword”. The blade references in both names allude to the distinctly sword-blade shaped leaves of both varieties of flower.

    Thankfully, I had no flowers in it to be repainted ;)

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

MMP Mithril in Middle-Earth The Prancing Pony The Gladden Fields

English EN French FR German DE Italian IT Spanish ES