The Ring in Indo-European literature

One criticism sometimes made against JRR Tolkien is that he somehow imitated the ring-based plot of Richard Wagner’s opera cycle ‘The Ring of the Nibelung’ in his own master work ‘The Lord of the Rings’.  Prof. Tolkien expressly disclaimed any similarity between his own work and that of Wagner, once comparing his Lord of the Rings with Wagner’s Ring Cycle by saying, “Both rings were round, but there the resemblance ceases.”

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Bear-king Jāmbavān and animal symbolism

We can perhaps identify some similar themes of cultural centrality of the bear in Indian culture, especially in its earliest phases.  Similarly to Western mythic taxonomy, the seven stars of Ursa Major are called ‘the bears’ (ṛkṣa) in the Rig Veda (1.24.10), and in fact the Pleiades are their seven wives according to Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (2.1.2).  These bears (ṛkṣa) later came to be known as sages (ṛṣi).

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