“Middle-earth is … not my own invention. It is a modernization or alteration … of an old word for the inhabited world of Men, the oikoumene: middle because thought of vaguely as set amidst the encircling Seas and (in the northern-imagination) between ice of the North and the fire of the South. O. English middan-geard, mediaeval E. midden-erd, middle-erd. Many reviewers seem to assume that Middle-earth is another planet!”
—J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters, no. 211
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