Tolkien’s Dark Lord as Sovereign

Tolkien’s Dark Lord as Sovereign


In The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings the main representation of evil is through characters who are Tolkien’s mythopoetic equivalent of the Judeo-Christian figure of Satan, namely Melkor in the former work and Sauron in the latter. Both Melkor and Sauron exert power over others from an outer position. Niklas Luhmann associates the devil with the observer figure whose self-differentiation within God’s creation poses as exteriorization and therefore « can only be evil 1 ». Translated into politico-juridical language, this observer figure is Carl Schmitt’s idea of the exception to a legal norm 2. I argue that this exception anticipates its own status as sovereign. The Dark Lord does not settle for being an autonomous sovereign of his own valid legal system, but the sovereign of the valid legal system. We can undoubtedly say that this political endeavour is diabolical. I use the term « diabolical » in regard to its etymological relation to diabolos (devil) and to separation. Diabolon, which implies a split in two, is the etymological opposite to symbolon, which implies unity 3. The Dark Lord becoming the norm and sovereign of the legal system is a process of the diabolon becoming the symbolon.

The Dark Lord as a sovereign entity assumes two forms. To illustrate this, I will use two infamous texts of political philosophy : Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince and Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan 4. The reason I use these two works to bring devil and politics together is based on one striking factor : their titles, « Prince » and « Leviathan », are both references to the devil. Satan (the devil) is called « the prince of this world » (John 12:31), « prince of the power of the air » (Ephesians 2:1-2) 5. The Biblical Leviathan (also referred to as a dragon or great serpent) is associated with the devil in apocalyptic literature and in many interpretations of the Book of Job 6. Machiavelli’s prince figure and Hobbes’ concept of the state as Leviathan illustrate how the devil is conceptualized as a political entity in two different forms : one being the individual person (the prince) and the other a huge state-like construct (the Leviathan). The prince and the Leviathan are, to reappropriate Ernst H. Kantorowicz’s phrase, « the [devil’s] two bodies 7 ». Like the two bodies of Christ : « one, a body natural, individual, and personal, the corpus naturale, verum, personale ; the other, a super-individual body politic and collective, the corpus mysticum, interpreted also a persona mystica 8 », the prince and the Leviathan are, on the one hand, the personal and individual corporation and, on the other, the super-individual corporation in the form of the state. The state functions as the enlarged form of the prince which is animated and derives its vitality from its centre, the prince-person.


The Dark Lord as diabolon and exception

The act of observing God and the immediate separation of that observer are staged in the following passage of Tolkien’s cosmogonic account of creation :


But now Ilúvatar sat and hearkened, and for a great while it seemed good to him, for in the music there were no flaws. But as the theme progressed, it came into the heart of Melkor to interweave matters of his own imagining that were not in accord with the theme of Ilúvatar ; for he sought therein to increase the power and glory of the part assigned to him […] He had gone often alone into the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame; for desire grew hot within him to bring into Being things of his own  9.


Luhmann’s act of observation occurs at the point when Melkor « seek[s] the Imperishable Flame » in order « to bring into Being things of his own 10 ». This operation is as paradoxical as the act of observing God because all Being has its source in Ilúvatar and therefore cannot be independent, i.e. not-of-Ilúvatar. To create an independent musical theme is to draw a distinction and indicate what is Ilúvatar’s musical theme and what is not Ilúvatar’s musical theme. This is the operation through which a distinction emerges : ‘in accord with Ilúvatar’ on one side and ‘not in accord with Ilúvatar’ on the other side, consonance and dissonance. So, Melkor’s attempt to attain the Imperishable Flame, to be able to bring into Being, is a paradox which is immediately equated to a divergence of the musical theme. This action is the necessary distance the observer (= Melkor) needs to establish in order to be able to observe the unity/symbolon (= Ilúvatar). In Luhmann’s words, Melkor needs « to isolate, to separate, to enclose himself in the selfsame unity he aims to observe, so as to observe it 11 ». But it does not end with the separation. Firstly, Melkor’s theme, with its lack of harmony, forms a symbolon with other themes. They become a « clamorous unison as of many trumpets braying upon a few notes 12 », constantly striving for the upper hand over the primary theme. Secondly, despite Melkor’s attempt to create a theme that is different – the kind of difference Luhmann talks about – unrelated to the original in all respect, his theme does not and cannot gain independence. Ilúvatar is the « unsurpassable unity 13 ». This is confirmed in Ilúvatar’s statement : « no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite 14. » Melkor’s desire to produce his own meaning, not just interpretations, fails because one cannot create a meaning that is not found in the « totality of meaning 15 ». So even the discord which emerges through Melkor does not actually have its source in him because the idea of « flaws » is already envisaged by Ilúvatar prior to anything thought or done by Melkor. In other words, the symbolon already prefigures the diabolical within itself.

What is more, Melkor’s separation from the original theme will lead to an improvement of that theme, a transfiguration. Melkor’s « most triumphant notes were taken by the other [theme] and woven into its own solemn pattern », fusing together as « part of the whole and tributary to its glory16 ». What started off as a binary opposition between « celestial harmony » and « rebellious discord17 » is dissolved. The diabolon is not only derivative of and dependent on the symbolon out of which it emerges. The underlying argument here is that a) the diabolon simultaneously brings together, converges – as seen in the unison of Melkor’s new melody – and b) the diabolon becomes part of a greater symbolon. This first act of separation runs as a thread throughout The Silmarillion and is mirrored in various chronological narrative events (Melkor’s marring of the world, the destruction of the Lamps, destruction of the Two Trees, unrest among the Noldor, the Noldor’s exile, the rape of the Silmarils etc.) ; all events are diabolical.

In the context of Carl Schmitt’s work, a state of exception includes any kind of severe economic or political disturbance that requires the application of extraordinary measures, and the one who decides on the exception is sovereign 18. The sovereign decides whether there is an extreme emergency and what must be done. To have this ability, the sovereign must be one who is without the normally valid legal system, but still belongs to it. So, before the exception can be even be understood as an exception, it must be decided by someone that it is an exception. The exception « defies general codification, but it simultaneously reveals a specifically juristic element – the decision in absolute purity 19 ». The essence of the state’s sovereignty lies in its monopoly to decide, not to coerce or to rule.

Exception is important in understanding sovereignty because it affirms the sovereign’s, i.e. God’s existence. Schmitt’s claim is that all concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts where, for example, the idea of the omnipotent God is transferred to the omnipotent lawgiver. The state is like a « graceful and merciful lord who proves by pardons and amnesties his supremacies over his own laws 20 ». This analogy can also be applied within a cosmogonic framework of theology. If Tolkien’s Godhead, Ilúvatar, occupies the position of the omnipotent lawgiver, then the normally valid legal system corresponds to Ilúvatar’s Music. If we take the Music and all of creation to be good because Ilúvatar is good, then the one thing that is the exception to this legal system, or at least becomes the exception, is Melkor. Melkor is the disturbance in Ilúvatar’s creation. The decision (= allowing Melkor to produce his own musical theme and to continue doing the exceptional, in this case discord) parts here from the legal norm (= Ilúvatar’s good theme and creation), and authority (= Ilúvatar) proves that to produce law it need not be based on law. However, without just considering Melkor as a contrast that proves Ilúvatar’s authority by being the exception to the norm, I contend that Melkor anticipates a political status that is no longer the exception, nor an autonomous sovereign of his own valid legal system, but the sovereign of the valid legal system.


Out with the old, in with the new : Sauron as conqueror and reformer

Machiavelli is notoriously associated with cunning, treachery, the « naked advocacy of values of deception 21 ». His Prince figure is a ruler who achieves authority through his own guile and force, which Machiavelli calls princely virtù (= self-assertion, audacity, ruthlessness, self-reliance, calculated use of cruelty). However, evil reputation aside, the truly extraordinary quality of The Prince is the fact that it announces an enterprise which is « the creation of the modern world 22 ». The revolutionary, or rather the diabolical character of the prince, lies in Machiavelli’s break from traditional principles, his departure from old traditions of Greek philosophy and Christian thought, and the introduction of a new, modern, political leader. Coupled with this is also a strong distrust of and revolt against nature and contingency. In other words, Machiavelli argues that this new leader, the prince, needs to master fortune (fortuna) and not rely on chance or divine promises. In order to be successful, the prince must be both a conqueror and a reformer, a ruler and a philosopher. If we were to carry out a characterization of Melkor and Sauron based on instances in Tolkien’s legendarium where either dark lord incorporates the characteristics Machiavelli ascribes to the Prince, there would be numerous instances where cunning, deception, treachery and manipulation would fit either character. To narrow it down, I am going to focus on a particular case where I believe the concept of the prince figure and the implementation of his ‘evil’ politics comes to the foreground most efficiently. This is the portrayal of Sauron in The Downfall of Númenor.

The narrative demonstrates the manner in which Sauron, acting as a completely independent agent, infiltrates Númenórean society and corrupts it from within. Númenor is depicted as a kingdom that has a solid legal constitution, a thriving economy and its own liberty. Sauron does not actually become a prince in this narrative, in the sense of becoming ruler of Númenor, he is more like Machiavelli himself, who does not call himself a prince, but only advises princes. Yet « in advising them he orders them around and speaks like a prince 23 ». According to Mansfield, Machiavelli envisages himself as prince : « [H]e introduces the modern notion that practice follows directly from theory, so that knowledge is perfected with practice: knowledge is power. What Machiavelli knows is effectual; it makes him the prince not just in principle but in fact 24. »

This allows for the possibility that there is a hidden figure behind the prince, who represents himself as advisor or prophet, but who effectually is the prince, a kind of meta-prince, the Prince behind the (pseudo) prince. Therefore, the source of sovereign power is not necessarily invested in the prince who is represented to us and made accessible. Ar-Pharazôn is Sauron’s puppet-prince, which is revealed in Sauron’s ambivalent statement at the very beginning during his surrender : « I will take thy king to be my king 25. » His transformation is also subtle, starting at the lowest ranking (a prisoner), then excelling to become the king’s most trusted counsellor :


Yet such was the cunning of his mind and mouth, and the strength of his hidden will, that ere three years had passed he had become closest to the secret counsels of the King; for flattery sweet as honey was ever on his tongue, and knowledge he had of many things yet unrevealed to Men. And seeing the favour that he had of their lord all the councillors began to fawn upon him  26.


Sauron is able to successfully apply the intelligence of « the fox » and the physical strength of « the lion 27 » : « And he [Sauron] was crafty, well skilled to gain what he would by subtlety when force might not avail 28 ».

In Tolkien’s own words, The Downfall is about « a Ban, or Prohibition 29 » and this ban sets the framework of the normally valid legal system, in Schmitt’s terms. Sauron enters the framework then as the exception to this legal system, introducing new laws and reforming the current system. He is literally a śāṭān in that his every political act is a deviation from and an opposition to the norm. Sauron is equipped with Machiavelli’s qualities of an « innovator 30 », but also a religious reformer who reshapes opinion over virtue and vice. The reformer role is in itself neither good nor evil, neither moral nor immoral. At best, it is an ambiguous function. In Tolkien’s works, however, any aim to revolutionize or make great changes is nearly always associated with the negative. Tolkien justifies reformation only when it is founded in divine authority and power. 31 Sauron’s reforms are ultimately aimed at ruining and destroying the Númenóreans, which he accomplishes by deactivating divine power and replacing it. The Downfall introduces the concept of religion in Tolkien’s legendarium for the first time explicitly. Sauron manages to establish a theocracy : « Darkness alone is worshipful » and Melkor is the « Lord of All, Giver of Freedom », whereas Ilúvatar is « a phantom 32 ». Tolkien refers to this as a « Satanist religion 33 ». This is the Machiavellian transvaluation of good and evil and the first step to creating a new form of government. It is a break from Númenórean tradition just as Machiavelli advocates a break from Christian tradition.

There is also a rejection of divine commands and a focus on earthly, human necessities. Sauron calls Ar-Pharazôn « King of Kings » beyond comparison, who should have « his will in all things and be subject to no command or ban 34 » and « Númenor is to be the seat of the world’s dominion 35 ». This is a strong inclination towards immanentizing the transcendental, turning Númenor into a terrestrial paradise and making its people seem immortal. This break is diabolical in the truest sense of the word.

Once this underlying religious reform is established, other reforms (exceptions) follow, like a crack splitting the norm (symbolon) : Sauron introduces various sanctions ; his policies meddle in the private lives of the Númenóreans; great towers are built, as well as Sauron’s own temple ; warfare is improved from arms to ships and fortresses ; Sauron installs a rigorous penal system with « prisons » and « underground chambers » where « torment » and « evil rites » are executed ; Númenor is under surveillance, there are spies and unexplained disappearances; history is rewritten and education manipulated ; the contemporary form of speech (the holy Eressёan) is replaced with « the ancestral speech of Men 36 », prioritizing the human over the divine and sundering Númenóreans linguistically (from the Elves and the Valar). The split (diabolon) occurs on various levels : spiritual, racial and cultural, societal, and even familial. In short, Númenor is transformed into a totalitarian state 37. Each exception initiated by Sauron has now established itself as the norm of the new legal system and any thought or action which still adheres to the ‘old’ system is considered a violation of the current one.

Despite all these changes, Tolkien does not let us forget that Sauron’s aim was never to rule over Númenor, but to destroy it. That is why anarchical tendencies arise within the society. While exalting their king, Sauron also turns the Númenóreans against the king and against one another, causing civil strife between the majority that followed Sauron, Black Númenóreans, and the minority that opposed Sauron, the Faithful. When Sauron accuses the Faithful of being « rebels » who hated the king and « plotted against their kin, devising lies and poisons 38 », he is in fact revealing his own agenda. He is negating and affirming something at the same time, which is precisely the contradictory function of the diabolon. Towards the end of narrative, Sauron’s unification only causes greater separation. The diabolon reaches its critical point the very moment it becomes a symbolon, which explains the necessary intervention of the Godhead at the end of the narrative in order to dissolve Sauron’s ‘symbolon.


The supra-individual body of the Dark Lord

When we zoom out from the interplay of Machiavellian micro-politics of power, the individual and personal prince-figure of the Dark Lord is magnified to a supra-individual collective body. This is the corpus mysticum. I will borrow Hobbes’ use of the word « Leviathan » to refer to this huge construct. The Leviathan, which is for Hobbes the state or commonwealth, is a result of the mutual relationship between obedience and protection. Human beings enter into a covenant with one another and reach an agreement about the need to submit to the strongest power in order to put an end to the condition of constant fear, distrust and insecurity. The people form a commonwealth of which the strongest power (an individual or individuals) becomes the sovereign-representative of this commonwealth who guarantees unity and peace. The sovereign embodies the artificially reconstructed will of the people in the person of their representative (= indirect government) :


A Multitude of men, are made One Person, when they are by one man, or one Person, Represented; so that it be done with the consent of every one of that Multitude in particular. For it is the Unity of the Representer, not the Unity of the Represented, that maketh the Person One  39.


The term « Enemy » in Tolkien’s work depicts the collective body of the Dark Lord’s forces. The Dark Lord himself is the source of sovereignty behind that body. This is similar to Hobbes’ Leviathan being the aggregation of many individuals into one larger construct. Unlike the Leviathan, the Enemy is not based on a mutual relationship between obedience and protection. It is not that the accumulated anguish of Orcs, Balrogs, Ringwraiths, dragons, and all other evil forces who fear for their lives, forms a greater power of which the Dark Lord is the sovereign-representative who acts as pacifist and protector – as is the case in Hobbes’ treatise. Nevertheless, the evil forces of Middle-earth represent the Dark Lord and he works through them. The « Multitude » (if we think of Ringwraith, orc, troll, even Gollum or Saruman) are individual beings that have nothing in common other than being bound to the Dark Lord. They are not united in themselves ; they are only united in the Dark Lord. In Tolkien, the sovereign aggregates the will of the subjects who then become one with the sovereign.

Also, there is no protection or peace involved in the Dark Lord’s commonwealth. This is where the incongruity of Hobbes’ own political symbol emerges. The Biblical Leviathan is a monstrous and destructive deity who is essentially depicted as demonic. Hobbes has contradictorily attached concepts of order and security to a diabolical deity, rendering him a protector and peacemaker. Here, it is also important not to neglect the theological dimension. There is an ontological difference between the Dark Lord and his subjects since both Melkor and Sauron are divine beings. Schmitt states that Hobbes’ Leviathan is a mortal god who is transcendent vis-à-vis all contractual partners of the covenant and vis-à-vis the sum total, obviously only in a juristic sense and not in a metaphysical sense. Tolkien’s Dark Lord, therefore, is transcendent in both a juristic and a metaphysical sense because of his immortal status.

On a larger, geopolitical scale of power politics, the prince recedes to the background, but still functions as the source of sovereignty that animates the Leviathan. In this case, the Dark Lord literally takes on the role of the observer figure, someone who is isolated and observes action from afar. This way his own unobservability is maintained : « Who knows now the counsels of Morgoth? Who can measure the reach of his thought, who had been Melkor, mighty among the Ainur of the Great Song, and sat now, a dark lord upon a dark throne in the North 40. » None can penetrate his « black thought41 », although he is able to perceive the deeds and purposes of others. The image is that of an observing, solitary figure (= the prince) from whom all sovereign power issues forth across Middle-earth in the form of the Enemy. His unobservability serves as a physical defence: he « descend[s] into the uttermost depths », « unwilling to issue forth from his dark strongholds », hiding (and protecting) himself and his surroundings with « great reek », « dark cloud » and « fumes 42 ». In addition to that, not participating directly lends a sense of proud preservation : « He will not come save only to triumph over me when all is won. He uses others as his weapons 43. » Yet despite being an isolated observer, the Dark Lord still participates in the action by proxy through his armies and forces. Individuals in Melkor’s service act as a physical and mobile extension of himself ; his armies are « the long fingers of a groping hand 44 ». Melkor not only acts as the sovereign of the physical matter of the world (which includes flesh), he also wants to be identified with it 45. His increasing involvement in earthly affairs solidifies his presence in the material world : « as he grew in malice, and sent forth from himself the evil that he conceived in lies and creatures of wickedness, his might passed into them and was dispersed, and he himself became ever more bound to the earth 46 ». Melkor’s political symbolon exceeds that of the Enemy and becomes, or aims to become, the world itself. The world is no longer an object which he governs as sovereign, it becomes identical to Melkor, the world becomes the Leviathan.

In The Lord of the Rings, the Dark Lord is once again secluded as a solitary observer figure. However, there are other factors which enable Sauron’s mobility throughout the narrative, making him a character who is not spatially and temporarily confined. His representation relies on the use of metaphors such as the Eye, Hand, Shadow, Enemy, that appear time and again throughout the text to compensate for the lack of bodily presence. The same way Hobbes invokes different images of the Leviathan (a huge man, a huge animal and a huge machine), Sauron uses humans, animals, and machines to represent his agenda and therefore also himself. His stronghold (Barad-dȗr), his territory (Mordor) and his language (Black Speech) are all parts of the Dark Lord. Everything from natural phenomena (« [T]his is no weather of the world. This is some device of his malice 47 » to military forces make up the supra-individual construct of Sauron :


Horsemen were galloping on the grass of Rohan; wolves poured from Isengard. From the havens of Harad ships of war put out to sea; and out of the East Men were moving endlessly : swordsmen, spearmen, bowmen upon horses; chariots of chieftains and laden wains. All the power of the Dark Lord was in motion  48.


The overarching concept of unification and separation in The Lord of the Rings is first and foremost articulated through the One Ring. The unifying aspect of the Ring first occurs through the same logic Luhmann uses about money, namely during the exchange of money between two parties 49. Sauron (= first party) presents Rings of Power (= money) as gifts to Elves, Men and Dwarves (= second party) without, however, any obligation on their side to reciprocate, which temporarily undermines the idea of exchange. However, an exchange does takes place once Sauron creates the One Ring and wields it to bind the other Ring-bearers to himself, thus consummating the symbolon. When Hobbes speaks of the Leviathan as a « united multitude » he means that « it is a real Unity 50 » of all the subjects. The individuals « conferre all their power and strength upon one Man, or upon one Assembly of men, that may reduce all their Wills, by plurality of voices, unto one Will 51 ». The inscription on the Ring echoes this :


One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them  52.


Sauron’s sovereignty is not disseminated in the world like Melkor’s, it is concentrated in the Ring. The Ring’s unifying aspect is conspicuously reflected in the roundness of its shape and the above inscription is carved into the Ring itself. The inscription is thus an inherent part of the Ring. Form and content are organically bound together in the symbolon so that the Ring contains the meaning it signifies. The One Ring here is also the « real Unity » Hobbes refers to, which does more than just represent the wills of its subjects; it consumes individual wills so that they are no longer represented at all. The will of the subject, the subject him/herself, has no identity outside the Ring. This is where the separating power of the Ring takes place.

It would also be the more accurate symbolic function of the Leviathan who, in accord to his Biblical presentation, is not a « protector of the constituents » of his body but a « devourer 53 ». One of the main assertions made about the Ring is that it devours and possesses its wearer ; « the process may be long or short, depending on how ‘strong or well-meaning’ the possessor may be, but ‘neither strength nor good purpose will last – sooner or later the dark power will devour [the possessor]’ 54 ». The Witch-king, who is Sauron’s lieutenant, is « wholly consumed [and] irrevocably tied to the will of Sauron 55 ». Tolkien’s depiction of the separating aspect is, in the long term, a horrible wraithing process the bearer of the Ring undergoes : a mental and physical sundering. In the short term, there is a growing social and cultural separation, seen in Gollum’s expulsion from his community and his isolation. Gollum’s case is most extreme because the Ring splits his personality. As Sauron manages to separate races, people, families, from one another in The Downfall, in LOTR he separates a single individual.

There is still a form of exchange : the Ring simultaneously takes power from and bestows it upon its bearer. Both ends are ultimately diabolical since acquiring special power makes the individual different from others. But one cannot fully omit Hobbes’ idea of consent among the individuals because free will is the determining factor as to whether the individual will allow him/herself to be bound by the Ring in the first place. Yet although the Ring is an inanimate object, it has an own will to separate and unite. We may say the Ring exhibits the authority to decide, making it a source of sovereignty. But the sovereign power inherent in the Ring is in fact Sauron. While the prince-figure of the Dark Lord is the isolated observer figure in his tower, the Ring is where his sovereign power is concentrated. This diabolical symbolon holds all of Sauron’s subjects together, it is the nexus of evil forces that make up the great Leviathan. Individual subjects become functions of a larger process over which no one has any direct control, except Sauron. He is the sovereign-representative, the « soul 56 » of this Leviathan : he is « the possessor of the highest power, the ruler and administrator of the state 57 ».

In the end, the diabolical symbolon is not destroyed, but unmade. This is why the quest in LOTR really is an anti-quest. The focus is not on finding something, but losing it, i.e. unmaking the One Ring. The un-making indicates a reversal of Sauron’s endeavour to create a new symbolon. It is unmade in the same manner as it was made. However, it is not Frodo, nor Sam, not even Gollum, who casts the Ring into the fire, and it certainly was not Sauron’s intention. Once again, like in The Downfall, the intervention of divine power functioning as agency in the narrative, instigates the undoing of the diabolon. Tolkien himself says « [t]he Other Power then took over : The Writer of the Story (by which I do not mean myself), that one ever-present Person who is never absent and never named 58 ». God is for Tolkien « the one wholly free Will and Agent 59 » and this Christian spirit runs implicitly throughout LOTR, sometimes pointed out by the characters themselves : « [T]here was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker [Sauron] 60 ». The dissolving of Sauron’s diabolical symbolon and Sauron’s banishment from the world (not destruction) constitutes the reunification of the symbolon.


  1. Niklas Luhmann, Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft, Frankfurt a. M. 1990, p. 118.
  2. Carl Schmitt, Political Theology, Chicago / London 2005 [1922], p. 5.
  3. The term symbolon literally means « contract », « token », « insignia », « convention », and a means of identification. Originally, it meant the half of an object that a host had broken in two, giving one half into the safekeeping of his guest while holding onto the other half himself (D. C. Schindler, Freedom from Reality: The Diabolical Character of Modern Liberty, Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame Press, 2017, p. 152). The verb διαβάλλω (diaballo) means « to slander, attack ». Or literally « to throw across ». The agent noun form is diabolos (διάβολος) which means « accuser, slanderer », literally: « one who throws (something) across » the path of another. Diabolos is furthermore a Greek translation of the Hebrew word śāṭān, which is a common noun meaning « adversary, a person who plots against another ».
  4. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, London, Penguin Books Ltd., 1985 [1651] et Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield, Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press, 1985 [1532],
  5. The same word is used in Italian: « il principe di questo mondo » (John 12:31). To clarify, neither Machiavelli nor Hobbes are referring to the devil, Satan, or any similar term, when they use the words ‘prince’ and ‘Leviathan’. The interpretation is my own. As of yet, I have come across two sources which associate Machiavelli with the diabolical. The first is Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1958: « Even if, and precisely if we are forced to grant that his teaching is diabolical and he himself a devil, we are forced to remember the profound theological truth that the devil is a fallen angel. To recognize the diabolical character of Machiavelli's thought would mean to recognize in it a perverted nobility of a very high order. » The second source is Mario Praz, « Machiavelli and the Elizabethans », p. 49-97, in Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. 13, London, H-Milford, 1928, who argues that Elizabethan writer Thomas Nash depicts Machiavelli as the devil in his The Terrors of the Night (1594). See also Peter Paul Schnierer, Entdämonisierung und Verteufelung, Tübingen, Niemeyer, 2005, p. 51.
  6. « In Isidor von Sevillas Etymologiae […] sind Behemoth und Leviathan als auf der Erde und im Wasser auftretende Verkörperungen eines wegen seiner Vergehen aus dem Himmel gefallenen Wesens aufgeführt. [Der] Hiob-Kommentar Gregors des Großen [hat] diese in immer neuen Anläufen als gemeinsame Emanationen des Satans und des Antichrist ausgewiesen. » Horst Bredekamp, Der Behemoth. Metamorphosen des Anti-Leviathan, Carl-Schmitt-Vorlesungen Band 1. Berlin, Duncker & Humblot GmbH, 2016, p. 20-21.
  7. Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies. A Study in Medieval Political Theology, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1957.
  8. Id., p. 206.
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), London, HarperCollins Publishers, 1999 [1977], p. 4.
  10. Ibid.
  11. « […] muss, will er beobachten können, sich abgrenzen, sich ausgrenzen, sich in der Einheit, die er beobachten will, eingrenzen », Niklas Luhmann, Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft, op. cit., p. 118.
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 5.
  13. « […] nicht überbietbare Vollkommenheit », Niklas Luhmann, Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft, op. cit., p. 268-269.
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 5.
  15. Gergely Nagy, « A Body of Myth: Representing Sauron in The Lord of the Rings », p. 119-133, in Christopher Vaccaro (ed.), The Body in Tolkien’s Legendarium, Jefferson, McFarland & Company, 2013, p. 122.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Verlyn Flieger, Splintered Light. Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World, Kent and London, The Kent State University Press, 2002 [1983], p. 58.
  18. Carl Schmitt, Political Theology, op. cit., p. 5.
  19. Id., p. 13.
  20. Id., p. 38.
  21. Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey, Evil Media. Cambridge and London, The MIT Press, 2012, p. 23.
  22. Harvey C. Mansfield, « Machiavelli’s Enterprise », p. 11-33, in Timothy Fuller (ed.), Machiavelli’s Legacy. The Prince After Five Hundred Years, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016, p. 11.
  23. Id., p. 17.
  24. Id., p. 29.
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lost Road and Other Writings, The History of Middle-earth, vol. 5, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), London, HarperCollins Publishers, 2015 [1987], p. 67.
  26. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 324.
  27. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, op. cit., 18.56-57.
  28. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 324.
  29. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien (ed.), London, HarperCollins Publishers, 2006, letter n° 131.
  30. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, op. cit., 6.19.
  31. Furthermore, Tolkien states that « ’power’ is an ominous and sinister word in all these tales, except as applied to the gods », J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, op. cit., letter n° 131.
  32. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 325.
  33. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, op. cit., letter n° 156.
  34. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 329.
  35. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lost Road and Other Writings, op. cit., p. 68.
  36. Ibid.
  37. This is not to say that Tolkien’s works are allegories of (the fight against) fascism in Europe. Tolkien himself denounces allegory. For example : « There is no ‘symbolism’ or conscious allegory in my story […] That there is no allegory does not, of course, say that there is no applicability. There always is. », J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, op. cit., letter n° 203. In the Forward to The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien writes « But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse ‘applicability’ with ‘allegory’ ; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author », p. xxviii.
  38. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 328.
  39. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, op. cit., 16.220.
  40. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 244.
  41. Id.., p. 293.
  42. Id.., p. 111-113.
  43. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, London, HarperCollins, 2008 [1955], p. 1070.
  44. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 244.
  45. J.R.R. Tolkien, Morgoth’s Ring, The History of Middle-earth, vol. 10, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), London, HarperCollins Publishers, 2015 [1993], p. 399.
  46. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, op. cit., p. 113.
  47. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, op. cit., p. 1057.
  48. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, London, HarperCollins, 2008 [1954], p, 522.
  49. In Die Wirtschaft der Gesellschaft (Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp Verlag 1988, p. 230-271), Niklas Luhmann focuses on the unifying aspect and separating aspect of money. The unifying aspect takes place during exchange of money between two parties and the separating aspect is found in scarcity or lack of money on one party’s side compared to that of the other.
  50. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, op. cit., 227.
  51. Ibid., emphasis added.
  52. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, op. cit., p. 66.
  53. Philip Manow, Politische Ursprungsphantasien. Der Leviathan und sein Erbe, Konstanz, Konstanz University Press, 2011, p. 134.
  54. Tom Shippey, J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, London, HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, p. 114.
  55. Lisa Coutras, Tolkien’s Theology of Beauty, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, p. 130.
  56. Carl Schmitt, The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes. Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol, trans. George Schwab and Erna Hilstein, Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press, 2008 [1938], p. 34.
  57. Id., p. 20.
  58. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, op. cit., letter n° 192.
  59. Id., letter n° 156.
  60. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, op. cit., p. 522.