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Is this the real ring that inspired ‘The Lord of the Rings’?

Apr 2, 2013

“The Lord of the Rings” is going real-life today:

According to legend, JRR Tolkien, professor of Anglo-Saxon studies at Oxford University, was asked to do etymology research on an ancient Roman ring found in English the countryside—where the Roman Empire once extended—which was found in the 16th century.

Three hundred years after the ring was found an ancient Roman tablet was found 80 miles away in which a Roman named Silvianus described losing his beloved ring and asked the god Nodens of the Lydney Temple to return it to him. Silvianus told the god Nodens his ring was stolen by another Roman named Senicianus and asked him to curse the bearer of the ring until it was returned to its rightful owner.

“To the god Nodens. Silvianus has lost a ring … among those who bear the name of Senicianus to none grant health until he bring back the ring to the temple of Nodens,” Silvianus wrote.

In 1929 Tolkien was asked to study the etymology of the name Nodens and visit the temple of Nodens, where he learned about the beloved ring and the tablet pleading for its return.

A year later, he started working on “The Hobbit” and later “The Lord Of The Rings.”

Years after Tolkien’s books became the stuff of mythical lore, the ring of Nodens had been completely forgotten “in a corner” of the Library at The Vyne. But it was recently discovered again, and along with it its probable influence on the inception of “The Lord of The Rings.”

The ring goes on display Tuesday as part of an exhibit celebrating JRR Tolkien’s life and work.


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