Quis enim laesos impune putaret esse deos?: Ents, Sacred Groves, and the Cost of Desecration
Seneca the Younger, in his Letters, describes a sacred grove as a “thick grove of ancient trees which rise far above the usual height and block the view of the sky with their umbrella of intertwining branches” (Seneca the Younger, Letters 41.3). Fangorn Forest is clearly a sacred site as defined by Seneca, made even more sacred by the presence of the Ents. Thus, to violate it would be a terrible act of desecration, not unlike Lucan’s narrator’s shock at Caesar’s desecration of the sacred grove at Massilia (Lucan BC 3.447 – 8, quoted in the title of this paper). After exploring the relationship between Ents and sacred groves, the paper will compare the fate of Caesar to that of Saruman, who violated Fangorn Forest. Just as Augoustakis (2006) argues that the violation of the grove foreshadows Caesar’s death, so too Saruman’s death at the hands of Wormtongue becomes a fitting punishment for his violation of Fangorn.
Copyright (c) 2022 Alicia Matz
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with thersites agree to the following terms:
- Publishing in thersites is free of any charges.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication.
- Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, so long as the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. The journal is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. More information about this license is available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).