This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
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|Previous war: War of the Last Alliance|
|Next war: War of the Ring|
|Beginning: T.A. 1409||End: T.A. 1974 (fighting finally ended in T.A. 1977)|
|Place: Arnor, Angmar, The Shire, Rivendell, Northwest Wilderland|
|Outcome: destruction of the kingdoms of Arnor and Angmar, decline of the Dúnedain of the North, the Eótheód take the upper Vales of the Anduin as their own from the remnants of Angmar.|
|Major battles: Arnorian Civil War, First Invasion of Angmar, Fall of Cardolan, Fall of Amon Sûl, Weather Hills skirmishes, Second Siege of Imladris, Fall of Fornost, Battle of Fornost, Eótheód Incursion.|
|Arnor, Lindon, Rivendell, Gondor, Shire, Khazad-dûm, the Eótheód.||Angmar, Gundabad, Misty Mountains, Rhudaur, Ettenmoors.|
|King Argeleb I||The Witch-king of Angmar, Hill-men lords, orc chieftains.|
PreludeWitch King of Angmar. During the reign of Malvegil (c. T.A. 1300), this new power arose beyond the Ettenmoors. This land became populated with the Orcs and Men of Darkness, and began attacking Rhudaur and Cardolan. Eventually this Witch-king was identified as in fact the chief of Ringwraiths. Years later, Argeleb I of Arthedain, reasserted control over Cardolan, and fortified a line along the Weather Hills. Despite this action, Argeleb fell in battle with Angmar and its ally, Rhudaur. His son Arveleg I, however, counterattacked in conjunction with Cardolan and drove the enemy back. He held this frontier in force for quite some years successfully.
A direct assault on Cardolan would probably result in disaster as Arthedain would have probably issued from the Weather Hills and struck Angmar's army in the rear or flank.
Therefore, Angmar was forced to launch an all out assault against the remnants of Arnor, using several forces, one to besiege Rivendell to prevent it from sending aid to Arnor, and through blocking Rivendell, also blocking reinforcements from Lórien. An army to tie up Arthedain along the Weather Hills and Amon Sul, and a final army to destroy Cardolan.
Angmar's attack was highly successful. Rivendell was successfully besieged, and Arthedain was hard pressed along the length of the hills. In 1409 the Witch-King led a great host across the river Hoarwell against land of Cardolan, after being beaten back out of the lands of the Dúnedain many years before.
When the forces of Angmar reached Weathertop, the main defensive outpost in the Weather Hills and northern Cardolan, they besieged it, until they broke through. The attackers subsequently burned and razed the fortress to the ground. King Arveleg I was killed, and some of the Dúnedain retreated and escaped with the Palantír that was stationed there.
With it gone the Witch-King was able to take and ravage Cardolan, as well as consolidate his new conquests in Rhudaur, which his Hill Men allies and subjects had taken, as well as launch attacks against the whole of Arthedain. With Arthedain's forces pinned down or routing towards Fornost, Angmar's last army moved into Cardolan, which was a wide and open land, with little to no natural barriers.
It is probable that the Prince of Cardolan gathered what men he could quickly, rather than mustering his entire army, so Angmar's advance could be stopped and Cardolan's agricultural needs would not be laid waste. The Prince attacked, failed and was killed in the process. However, he did enough damage to Angmar so that it lacked the strength to capture Tyrn Gorthad, Cardolan's capital in the Barrow Downs.
However despite permanently ending the threat that was Cardolan, Angmar was unable to ride its momentum, and was driven away from the city of Fornost and the North Downs by the forces of the new King Araphor and Lord Círdan of Lindon.
Overall, the Campaign was a huge success for Angmar. No longer was Arnor an unbreakable wall of defenses. Although the Second Siege of Imladris was broken and Arthedain routed Angmar with the help of Lindon, Angmar had destroyed Amon Sül, Arthedain's chief defence in the Weather Hills, and Cardolan was on the verge of destruction and highly vulnerable.
Another threat appeared to the northern successor kingdoms, a major plague from the east, in the vicinity of the Sea of Rhûn, northeast of Mordor. This plague, which affected Rhovanion and barely western Gondor, spread northwards to Cardolan.
In Cardolan, it struck severely, wiping out the last of Dúnedain at the Barrow-downs. The Witch-king, exploiting the tragedy, sent evil spirits, the Barrow-wights, to infest the area. The Hobbits of the Shire were damaged by it, but not heavily. The plague lost its strength, however, at this point, so that most of Arthedain was unaffected.
Since Rhudaur had fallen under Angmar's control, this left Arthedain without any allies that could aid them to a great extent. In T.A. 1973 Arnor sent a message to King Eärnil II of Gondor that they were in great straits, and that Angmar was preparing it final assault. The King sent his son Prince Eärnur, with a fleet of ships to Lindon to aid Arnor but would not arrive in time.
In T.A. 1974 Angmar amassed its forces and launched a final assault on Arthedain. The Witch-king attacked during the harsh winter weather and took Arthedain's capital Fornost. The remnants of it's forces fled west over the river Lune to the realm of Lindon and Arvedui was lost in the Icebay of Forochel and then he died when his ship sank in a storm.
The Witch-king took the throne in the king's palace, until a year later in T.A. 1975 when the forces of Eriador had regrouped with newly arrived reinforcements from Gondor. In the Battle of Fornost his army was destroyed, and he himself fled east over the Misty Mountains. Angmar was soon itself obliterated by an Elf-Man alliance of Círdan and Earnur.
Fornost was not resettled after the war. It became a deserted place, feared by the men of Bree, who called it Deadman's Dike. Not until a thousand years later after the War of the Ring under King Elessar was it refounded.