Inscription on the ONE Ring
The inscription on the One
Ring was in the ancient Black Speech. The Ring
was born out of a plan Sauron devised to enslave the peoples of
Middle-earth. He took on the form of a wise adviser, under the
name Annatar, and offered great knowledge to the Elves. Many rejected
him, but Celebrimbor and the Elves of Eregion accepted his offer,
and he schooled them in the making of Rings of Power. At last,
Annatar and the Elves made sixteen jewelled Rings that would in
time become the Seven Rings of the Dwarves and the Nine Rings
Returning to the Land of Mordor, to the forges of Sammath Naur
in the heart of Mount Doom, he began the secret making of another
Ring. He filled it with his own power, malice nd desire to rule
over all the other Rings of Power, and bind their wearers to his
will. The Black Speech must have existed before II 1600, because
the One Ring, which bears an inscription in this tongue, was forged
on or about that date.
sole example of pure Black Speech, then, is the inscription
on the Ring:
nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.
Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them."
(LotR1/II ch. 2) Nazg is "ring", also seen in
Nazgûl "Ring-wraith(s)". Ash is the number
"one", agh is the conjuction "and",
disturbingly similar to Scandinavian og, och. Burzum is
"darkness", evidently incorporating the same element
búrz, burz- "dark" as in Lugbúrz "Tower-dark",
the Black Speech name that Sindarin Barad-dûr translates.
Hence, the -um of burzum must be an abstract suffix like the "-ness"
of the corresponding English word "darkness". Burzum
has a suffix ishi "in". In the transcription it is separated
from burzum by a hyphen, but there is nothing corresponding in
the Tengwar inscription on the Ring, so this may be considered
either a postposition or a locative ending. Though burzum-ishi
is translated "in the darkness", there does not seem
to be anything corresponding to the article "the", unless
it is somehow incorporated in ishi. But the evidence is that the
Black Speech does not mark the distinction between definite
and indefinite nouns; see below.
the word durbatulûk "to rule them all"
the morphemes may be tentatively segmented as durb-at-ul-ûk
"rule-to-them-all" (the alternative is durb-a-tul-ûk,
but suffixes of the pattern vowel-consonant create a tidier system;
remember that we are dealing with a constructed language). Similarly
we have gimb-at-ul "find-to-them", thrak-at-ul-ûk
"bring-to-them-all" and krimp-at-ul "bind-to-them".
Verbs with the ending -at are translated by English infinitives:
durbat, gimbat, thrakat, krimpat = "to rule, to find,
to bring, to bind". Hence we may speak of verbs in -at as
infinitives, though it may also be a specialized "intentive"
form indicating purpose: The Ring was made in order to
rule, find, bring and bind the other Rings of Power. The Black
Speech does not only employ a suffix -ul to express "them",
but also, and more remarkably, a suffix rather than a separate
word to express "all": -ûk.
the Forges of Mount
Doom Sauron created the One Ring with an
inscription in the Black Speech and so doing fashioned
an artifact, that survived many ages of Middle-earth and left
it's mark on the works of history, so that the Black Speech
of Mordor will last many more ages of men.