Date: Tue, 05 Aug 1997 10:02:08 +1100
From: David Bofinger (David.Bofinger@dsto.defence.gov.au)
Organization: Aeronautical & Maritime Research Laboratory Subject: Luitprand
In your review of "The Lidless Eye" is written:
Accordingly, most of the character names are also fictitious (ie non-Tolkien in origin, not that I see the others are real or anything, oh no...), some are just daft names of the Really Bad Fantasy school (Tros Hesnef, Dogrib, Luitprand, Nevido Sm™d (!) - the anagram machine has clearly been hard at work)
Fact is stranger than fiction: at least one of these (Luitprand) is a real historical name. He was the most effective king of the Lombards, a Germanic people that invaded Italy in about 600.
In the process of doing this the Lombards ruined most of what was left of Italian civilisation. Also, a major opponent was the Byzantine empire, which is the historical analogue of Gondor. So thinking of the Lombards as being some kind of Easterling isn't too far off, though I would argue they were more the Witch King's minions than Sauron's, Arnor corresponding to the Western Empire. If you believe Aragorn corresponds to Justinian, on the other hand, then they come early in the 4th age, not so long after the War of the Ring, but after Aragorn dies.
Luitprand came later, and managed to conquer Southern Italy, which had been independent, and reunify the peninsula. After he died the kingdom broke up a bit, and the Lombards were eventually absorbed into the general Italian population. The Po vallley, economic heart of Italy, is still called "Lombardy" or "the Lombard plain" today.
The moral is that real life can get away with things (and names) that people would laugh at in fiction.
Bofinger, eh? What sort of made up, dwarvish name is that?
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell