Things of Middle-earth
Meaning: Menel 'heavens'
Other Names: Menelvagor, the Swordsman in the Sky, Telumehtar, Telimektar, Menelmakil. Original forms include Taimonto and Taimondo.
Description:Menelvagor is the constellation known in the real world as Orion. The Star that forms the Swordsman’s shoulder is the only one that has been given a name – Borgil, or Betelgeuse in the real world. Legend states that Telimektar was the son of Tulkas, who went up into the sky to become the constellation Menelvagor. He was followed by Nielluin (who we know as the dog star, Sirius).
“Away high in the East swung Remmirath, the Netted Stars, and slowly above the mists red Borgil rose, glowing like a jewel of fire. Then by some shift of airs all the mist was drawn away like a veil, and there leaned up, as he climbed over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the Sky, Menelvagor with his shining belt. The Elves all burst into song.”
The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 3, Three is Company, pg. 117
“Then Varda went forth from the council, and she looked out from the height of Taniquetil, and beheld the darkness of Middle-earth beneath the innumerable stars, faint and far. Then she began a great labour, greatest of all the works of the Valar since their coming into Arda. She took the silver dews from the vats of Telperion, and therewith she made new stars and brighter against the coming of the Firstborn. . .”
“. . .and Menelmacar with his shining belt, that forebodes the Last Battle that shall be at the end of days.”
Of the Coming of Elves and the Captivity of Melkor, pg. 48, The Silmarillion
“'Orion' is only the image of Telimektar in the sky? [sic] Varda gave him stars, and he bears them aloft that the Gods may know he watches; he has diamonds on his sword-sheath, and this will go red when he draws his sword at the Great End.”
VI, The History of Eriol of Aefwine and the End of the Tales, The Book of Lost Tales, Vol. 2
“§§34 - 6 On the two star-makings see p. 61, §24. There is here the remarkable statement that Menelmakar (Orion) was 'a sign of Turin Turambar, who should come into the world, and a foreshowing of the Last Battle that shall be at the end of Days.' This is a reference to the Second Prophecy of Mandos (in the Quenta, IV.165):
Then shall the last battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Melko, and on his right shall stand Fionwe and on his left Turin Turambar, son of Hurin, Conqueror of Fate, coming from the halls of Mandos; and it shall be the black sword of Turin that deals unto Melko his death and final end; and so shall the children of Hurin and all Men be avenged.
The Quenya name Menelmacar is mentioned in Appendix E (I) to The Lord of the Rings; in The Fellowship of the Ring (p. 91) appears the Sindarin form: the Swordsman of the Sky, Menel- vagor with his shining belt'.”
Commentary on the second section of the Annals of Aman, Histories of Middle-Earth, Vol. 10, Morgoth’s Ring
Orion as we know it -
Orion is recognisable in almost all cultures. The most commonly known myth is of Orion as hunter, with the head, shoulders, belt and feet demarcated. The sword is signified by a nebula.
From the northern hemisphere, the three bright stars (Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka) in a straight line that form Orion's Belt are easily visible on the southern horizon in winter evenings. The bright star that forms Orion's left shoulder is Betelgeuse.
Hanging down from Orion's belt is his sword that is made up of three fainter stars. The central "star" of the sword is actually not a star at all, but the Great Orion Nebula, one of the regions most studied by astronomers in the whole sky. Nearby is the Horsehead Nebula (IC 434), which is a swirl of dark dust in front of a bright nebula.
Contributors: Still Anonymous and Acacea, 04/12/04