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The top left of the background image contains the tengwar (elvish script) for "ash nazg durbatulük, ash nazg gimbatul," ("One ring to rule them all; one ring to find them") the first line of the inscription on the One Ring in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

Why? And how is this relevant to TeX, besides the fact that it looks cool, and TeX produces good-looking text?

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    Welcome to TeX.SX! I think the reasoning is just that: it looks cool, and TeX produces good-looking text! ;-) – Paul Gessler Feb 26 '15 at 21:07
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    @PaulGessler -- but also that *tex can produce good-looking text in any language for which you have a suitable font". – barbara beeton Feb 26 '15 at 21:15
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    you might be interested in looking at some of the discussion that went into creating the "look" of the site: Site Design Ideas (updated with mockup) and New Design Launched – barbara beeton Feb 26 '15 at 21:25
  • I suppose this question could potentially be marked/closed as a duplicate, although for some reason my initial searches got me no results--I had been searching by the transliteration. Unsurprisingly, searching "ash nazg" doesn't get very many responses (well, 1 now!) – Eric Hughes Feb 26 '15 at 21:44
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    It's related to TeX in the sense that you can use different (non-standard) fonts under XeLaTeX (or similar engines). See What package allows Elvish in TeX? – Werner Feb 26 '15 at 23:38
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    A tengwar font is one of the oldest MetaFont fonts on CTAN. :-) – Reinstate Monica - M. Schröder Feb 28 '15 at 15:38
  • For other items on the background meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/3989/… – percusse Mar 16 '15 at 14:40
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This was part of the site design process, which went live around November 2010.

Specifically, the Tengwar text in the design was suggested as part of a font-related TeX Showcase.

The following post also has related TeX content:

  • I think @Werner got it right in his post, but I'd like to think of the SE community as a ring of people on a quest for answers.... – jvriesem Mar 11 '15 at 23:01

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