For other uses, see Silvan (disambiguation).

Sylvan, Silvan or Sylvian refers to an association with the woods. Specifically, that which inhabits the wood, is made of tree materials, or comprises the forest itself. The term can also refer to a person who resides in the woods or a spirit of the wood.[1] In mythology, the term also refers to deities or spirits of the woods.[2]

The term in English is from the Latin sylvus or silvus meaning "forest, woods." This root is found in place names in Canada such as Sylvan Lake [1] (as in wooded lake) in Alberta, Sylvan Valley Regional Park Reserve in Saskatchewan, and in the U.S.A. like Pennsylvania (lit. "Penn's woods") and Spotsylvania. The first names Sylvester and Sylva(i)n, and the female name Sylvia/Silvia, are also from the Latin word.

[edit] ExamplesEdit

In the Chronicles of Narnia, silvans are tree spirits, appearing primarily in the fourth book of the series, Prince Caspian.

In the book, the following exchange occurs:

"Huge people - beautiful people - like gods and goddesses and giants. Hundreds and thousands of them, closing in behind us. What are they?"
"It's the Dryads and Hamadryads and Silvans," said Trufflehunter. "Aslan has waked them."

In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth books, there is a division of Elves residing in forested realms referred to as Silvan Elves.

In the computer game "Age of Mythology" a special power up is awarded to centaurs called "Sylvan Lore". It gives centaurs 25% more hitpoints and 30% more speed.

In the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game, Sylvan is the language of all magical creatures associated with the wilderness, such as fairies, dryads, centaurs and such.

In the computer game Heroes of Might and Magic V, Sylvan is a playable faction, featuring the Elves and other mythical forest creatures such as Sprites, Unicorns, Treants and Dragons.

In the trading card game "Magic: The Gathering," the term sylvan appears on a number of cards.

In the Massively Multiplayer Online Game, Dark Age of Camelot, the Sylvan are a playable race in the Hibernian realm.

John Keats calls the subject of his famous poem "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1819) a "Sylvan historian".

In Christopher Hill's book "The World Turned Upside Down" the term Sylvan refers to "wild men" - people of the forest. They retreated to the woods away from the city because they disagreed with the laws. They could be idealized as Robin Hood; outlaws and bandits.

In Christopher Marlowe's "Edward II", Gaveston plans the entertainment he thinks of providing for the king: "Therefore I'll have Italian masques by night, Sweet speeches, comedies, and pleasing shows: And in the day, when he shall walk abroad, Like sylvan nymphs my pages shall be clad." (Act I, Scene I, line 53-57)

In the computer role-playing game "Dragon Age: Origins," the player's party battles living trees known as Sylvans in the Brecillian Forest. In the lore of the game, the trees are actually possessed by demonic spirits which have gone mad because they are trapped in the tree without being able to see or hear.

In the popular Facebook application MouseHunt, hunters can catch a mouse known as the "Sylvan Mouse." The game's description is: "These tiny mice are incredibly quick and agile. Their oily fur resembles leaves and allows them to easily camouflage themselves amongst the flowers and bushes that line the floor of Whisker Woods."

In Terry Brooks series, The Word and the Void, Pick is the last known surviving sylvan.

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Entry for Sylvan". Unabridged (v 1.0.1). 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
  2. ^ "sylvan". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.

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