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Turtle-fishes were a legendary race of giant sea monsters, mentioned only in Hobbit verse. The last of the Turtle-fishes was named Fastitocalon.[1]

The turtle-fishes appeared as treacherous islands, really being monsters capable of drowning seafarers.[2][1]


J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired by an Old English bestiary, appearing in the Exeter Book. The idea of giant marine turtles ultimately derives from Eastern myths, and in the European versions the monster is often confused with whales.[2]

The fastitocalon also reminds of the biblical/kanaanite leviathan.[3]

Other version of the legendarium

It is never explained whether the turtle-fish was an actual race or just a fictional character for the poem "Fastitocalon". In an earlier version of the legendarium, Ulmo, Lord of the Waters, uses his giant whale, Uin, to drag Tol Eressëa towards Aman.[4] This whale reappears in J.R.R. Tolkien's story Roverandom. It is thinkable that Tolkien, in an early phase of the mythology, imagined the fastitocalon to be another one of Ulmo's creatures.


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "Fastitocalon"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 255, (dated 5 March 1964); see also "Eileen Elgar 5 March 1964" (letter)
  3. The Bible, Job 41:1-34.
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One
Legendary Races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Great glow-worms · Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Giants · Gongs · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Two-headed Trolls
Fairies:  Dryads · Leprechauns/Leprawns · Mermaids · Sprites · Sylphs · White cow
Other:  Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless Things · Spectres
Individuals:  The Hunter · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim