|Brief Description |
The heavens of Arda (the earth).
|Further Considerations |
According to Tolkien's connection to "firmament" in the "Guide of Names":
|Over-heaven. Translate by sense. This is a Common Speech equivalent of Elvish menel 'firmament', tar-menel 'high heaven' (I 247), suggested by Old Norse upphiminn, and correctly translated Upphimlen in the Swedish version. The Dutch has Boven-hemel|
Heaven (german Himmel) derives from germanic *himena (gothic: himins) and it somehow developed dissimilatorically to old saxon he?an and old english heofon. In the "stoney vault of heaven" where the connection to "stone" is expressed, this connection is made because of the other indoeuropean word-roots of a similar meaning(with futher connections to hammer and anvil (gr. ákmon).
In northern mythology Thor's weapon was mjöllnir, the hammer, and when he used it there was "thunder" and "lightning" in the sky. There the sky - in this case the "over-heaven" was created from the skull of the giant Ymir, whereas in the Genesis God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky.
Interestingly, in the first occurence of "heaven" in the Genesis: In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth,... "heaven" is used as translation for shaw-mah'-yim(heaven, sky) whereas in the other passage - given above - in older translations also "heaven" is used, whereas the new (revised) standard edition uses "sky" (transl. from raw-kee'-ah (firmament, extended surface). But "firmament" IMO resembles the "stoney vault of heaven", that separates us from the "waters above the dome" more closely than "heaven" does.
So the menel, the "firmament" or "Over-heaven" could be the "stoney vault" or "dome" that separates the "heaven" or maybe better the "visible sky" (our atmosphere) from Vaiya, the "outer seas" (the space outside, the universe).
Thus Tolkien's concept with Vaiya?, the "outer sea" beyond Aman - the infinite sea of cold thin astral water that is Ulmo's true home - can be well compared with the ancient Mediterranean and Biblical concept of the "waters above the dome".
What is also interesting is that in the Ambarkanta, Tolkien used an even more complex (and in some ways more realistic) model.
FolderCompendium ToDo: Tar-menel!