MartinR wrote:It is perhaps the mythic tradition that victory also means exterminating your enemies.
A 20th century mythic tradition at least...probably why it's so common in modern fantasy.
But were ancient myths usually so genocidal? (Excluding apocalyptic ones anyway?)
The Tuatha De Danann and Milesians shared Ireland IIRC, and the Asir and Vanir traded hostages.
The people who made the old myths must have been a lot more aware of the realities of warfare between peoples in ancient times and the results than modern day fantasists.
Wouldn't it have been more usual for defeated peoples to be subjugated or enslaved, or for the women to be taken at least?
I think it more likely that Gandalf, Frodo and the hobbits would have ended up with a harem of orc slave wives each, at the very least....