What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

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caedmon
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What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by caedmon »

He was cloaked and booted as if for a journey on horseback; and indeed though his garments were rich, and his cloak was lined with fur, they were stained with long travel. He had a collar of silver in which a single white stone was set; his locks were shorn about his shoulders. On a baldric he wore a great horn tipped with silver that now was laid upon his knees. He gazed at Frodo and Bilbo with sudden wonder.
So Boromir had a silver collar set with a single white stone.

What does this mean? Set implies something of metal/jewelry rather than a shirt collar with a white stone button.

So is it a neck torc, or a choker?

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My first inclination is that it should look more like the choker, but then The Torc makes so much sense because the death of Boromir feels so much like the dying Gaul statue. which the second attachement is a detail.
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Udwin »

We're slogging (aloud) through the Council this week and just reread his introduction, perfect timing!
I think the problem is we're not thinking like Gondorian...Tolkien spoke of Gondorian having an Egyptian quality to their burial practices & monumental architecture, so let's think bigger. Why not something like this? (though perhaps closer-fitted around the neck, and of more authentic construction/materials)
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Manveruon »

Hah! Very good timing indeed! I just listened through the Council of Elrond on audiobook yesterday while I was in the workshop, and this line caught my attention as well! What a weird coincidence!

Personally, I got the impression Tolkien was suggesting something more like a collar of office (pic for reference, although it’s probably not an especially historical example).
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Elleth »

I think Manv has the right of it from a linguistic perspective.

... though the diff between that and the Egyptian model isn't all that large it seems to me: more a question of materials and motif than function?
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Cimrandir »

My question is would it be that ostentatious though? Boromir always struck me a mostly practical sort and while vain, a seasoned traveler and warrior. He was traveling to Rivendell as an emissary of the Steward and mostly likely need a symbol of his status at the Council but it seems to me it might be something a little smaller for traveling and not quite so impractical as a loose chain/collar. Though my interpretation may be biased by the films I'll admit.

As an aside, something that just occurred to me - did Boromir have a retinue for his journey to the Council? I don't have my copy of Fellowship handy but it seems to me a little fool-hardy to send the eldest son and heir of the Steward of Gondor by himself. Perhaps he felt a little more secure taking larger jewelry if he had a small company with him.
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Sorrel »

My gut reaction - having just reread the books - was no, and it's implied heavily in a lot of what I remembered (and in the lament for him). But I couldn't recall explicitly, so I decided to check. "In this evil hour I have come on an errand over many dangerous leagues to Elrond: a hundred and ten days I have journeyed all alone." (259)
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Cimrandir »

Awesome! Thank you for the reference! I'm not super well-versed in the lore and logistics of M.e. but that does seem to me that the collar would be something smaller and inconspicuous for traveling a dangerous road.

Checking Wikipedia, it seems chokers actually have a far earlier provenance than I had initially thought. Maybe something choker-like with the style of a pseudo-Egyptian Gondor? No idea what that would look like.
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Eofor »

Manveruon wrote:Personally, I got the impression Tolkien was suggesting something more like a collar of office (pic for reference, although it’s probably not an especially historical example).
I always read it as a livery chain too but a lot of wandering has highlighted the utter impracticality of such a garment. Loose and flashy and proclaiming an office in a land where it is not recognized are not useful traits in traveling gear especially if you lose your horse at Tharbad and have to walk all the way to Rivendell :mrgreen:
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Elleth »

... do we know he actually wore the thing over his journey though?

I know his clothes are spoken of as "travel strained" - but we first see him in the council itself, yes? It seems to me entirely plausible he could have just kept the thing stowed during travel and put it on for the formalities. Granted that's a "could have."

Absent another mention in the text or a drawing we've missed, I don't know as there's much way to know. :(
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by caedmon »

Elleth wrote:... do we know he actually wore the thing over his journey though?

I know his clothes are spoken of as "travel strained" - but we first see him in the council itself, yes? It seems to me entirely plausible he could have just kept the thing stowed during travel and put it on for the formalities. Granted that's a "could have."

Absent another mention in the text or a drawing we've missed, I don't know as there's much way to know. :(
I think the Livery Collar makes the most sense from a British sense. I think the reason it would be carried is that it demonstrates identity and rank, something needed in a world without drivers licenses and where travel stained wanderers might not immediately be welcomed.
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Harper »

Perhaps a stylized gorget?

It would show rank and have plenty of room to set a stone.

It would also have some defensive function.

Tolkien would know what a torc was and he didn't describe it as that.
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Iodo »

after looking into the history and usage of the work "collar" I think I'm with Manveruon on this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collar_(j ... 0a%20shirt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livery_collar
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by RangerofAngmar »

It would be a collar of Office.

as a representative of Gondor he would have wore it to state his rank and loyalty while among people of different areas

there would be no need to wear it during travel, it would have been stored away in his belonging that he carried with him and put on at the correct time
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Manveruon »

Yeah, I’ll reiterate again that I strongly believe Tolkien had something like a chain of office or livery collar in mind when he wrote that line - mostly because that sort of thing would be relatively familiar to an Englishman of Tolkien’s era and status - hell, they still use them to this day in certain ceremonial instances. And yet, even at the time they would have been considered terribly old fashioned, so I fancy it’s something the Professor likely would have thought quintessentially “medieval” in character.

We do know that Gondor had certain Byzantine/Egyptian/Mediterranean undertones, but also that Tolkien himself had a sort of generic-Western-European-Medieval-ish idea of the overall dress and style of Middle-earth, so I feel a sort of blending of those aesthetics would probably yield something consistent with his universe.

I also agree with what Elleth points out here:
Elleth wrote:... though the diff between that and the Egyptian model isn't all that large it seems to me: more a question of materials and motif than function?
On some level they really are similar. I would almost say to mix elements of the two, and then maybe make it just a little smaller and less ostentatious, and you’d probably end up with something that felt very in keeping with the Gondor we imagine.

As an aside, I have to say that I had honestly not even thought of this, and you’re absolutely right!
Cimrandir wrote:My question is would it be that ostentatious though? Boromir always struck me a mostly practical sort and while vain, a seasoned traveler and warrior. He was traveling to Rivendell as an emissary of the Steward and mostly likely need a symbol of his status at the Council but it seems to me it might be something a little smaller for traveling and not quite so impractical as a loose chain/collar. Though my interpretation may be biased by the films I'll admit.

As an aside, something that just occurred to me - did Boromir have a retinue for his journey to the Council? I don't have my copy of Fellowship handy but it seems to me a little fool-hardy to send the eldest son and heir of the Steward of Gondor by himself. Perhaps he felt a little more secure taking larger jewelry if he had a small company with him.
It boggles my mind to think that such an important person as Boromir would have made such a long and perilous journey entirely unescorted. I do know that medieval documents were often notorious for never mentioning the retinues of various knights and lords and important persons until it was absolutely unavoidable (from whence I believe we get the humorous moment in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when suddenly an enormous army simply appears out of thin air at the backs of Arthur and his knights at the end), but it really does seem like there would have been SOME mention of other Gondorians in or around Rivendell at that time, even if Boromir left them behind when joining the Fellowship. How weird.

Anyway, as for the collar, I do feel like it’s something he would have stowed away until such a time as he was to appear at a council, when he would have donned it as a mark of his status among the other delegates there assembled.
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Re: What did Boromir's silver collar look like?

Post by Sorrel »

I think gandalf actually says something to the effect that it was good he came alone, as (unlike them) he came across as a lone traveller and not an important group

We know he loses his horse crossing the Ford at tharbad, where it runs back to the rohirrim, and then he has to walk the rest of the way, so he didn't even take spare horses
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