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Battle of Azanulbizar

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Battle of Azanulbizar
Mikel Janin - Battle of Azanulbizar.jpeg
Conflict: War of the Dwarves and Orcs
Date: T.A. 2799
Place: The Dimrill Dale and the steps of the East-gate of Moria
Outcome: Pyrrhic victory for the Dwarves
Dwarves Orcs

Longbeards, Broadbeams, Firebeards, and Houses of the far East numbering at possibly 6-10,000, plus 500-1,000 (est.) Dwarves from the Iron Hills[source?]

Orcs from Moria, and the remnants of other Orc-dwellings throughout the Misty Mountains, (est.) at 15-20,000[source?]


Half of the host; 4-5,000[source?]

10,000, the rest of the force fled south across Rohan to the White Mountains[source?]

The Battle of Azanulbizar (T.A. 2799) was the final battle in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. It was fought beneath the East-gate of Moria in the valley of Azanulbizar, called Nanduhirion in Sindarin or Dimrill Dale in Westron. Therefore the event is also known as the Battle of Nanduhirion and the Battle of Dimrill Dale.



The War of the Dwarves and Orcs began when Azog the Orc-chieftain of Moria captured and mutilated Thrór, King of Durin's folk. Azog carved his own name in runes onto Thrór's severed head, and then let his companion Nár escape so that all Dwarves would know that an Orc now ruled Moria. Full of righteous fury, Thrór's son Thráin II gathered a great army of Dwarves, including those not of Durin's folk (Firebeards and Broadbeams from the Blue Mountains and those from the far East of Middle-earth). For six years they systematically destroyed the Orc-holds of the Misty Mountains, until only Moria was left where those Orcs that survived the destruction fled.

Opposing Forces

The exact number for the Dwarves was not specified, but it can be estimated at being somewhere between six to ten thousand Longbeards, Firebeards, Broadbeams, Ironfists, Stonefoots, Blacklocks, and Stiffbeards. This is based off of the assumption that, the other Dwarf houses sent no more then a few thousand each to take part in the war because they could not have sent too many for economic, financial and defense reasons. And lastly the Longbeards, who could not have mustered a proper fighting force of no more than 1-3,000, because of a severely depleted populace, and financial/economic problems (especially Thraín's following).[1]

The Orcs, as stated above, came from Moria, and from as far north as Mount Gundabad. So their numbers can be estimated at fifteen to twenty thousand Orcs.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag


The Dwarves were victorious, but half of their forces were dead or mortally wounded. The Orcs suffered even worse casualties, with ten thousand dead. After the battle, King Thráin wanted to enter and reclaim Moria, the ancestral home of Durin's folk. However, due to their losses; the other Houses not willing to participate; and since Dáin had seen Durin's Bane beyond the East-gate, Thráin did not to enter.[2]

The Dwarves then stripped their dead so the Orcs could not plunder them, and also cut down all the trees in the valley; which they made many pyres to burn their dead with. This being because they could not bury them all in tombs of stone, as was their custom because it would take too long. From then afterward those that killed in Dimrill Dale were known proudly as Burned Dwarves.

The Houses then parted ways, returning to their homes to the North, East, and West. Thráin, with what was left of the Longbeard contingent, went back to Dunland, and shortly afterwards wandered in Eriador till they settled in the Northern Blue Mountains. There Durin's folk regrew slowly in population and waited till the days they could take back the halls of Erebor, and Khazad-dum.[3]


Although the Dwarves suffered heavy casualties, the battle would have lasting effects for the Orcs of the Misty Mountains. Their numbers were severely shrunken after the battle and never fully recovered. If it hadn't been for the battle, Bilbo Baggins and his companions may have never made it to Erebor; the Battle of Five Armies wouldn't have been won by the Elves, Men, and Dwarves; and The Fellowship may have never got through Moria alive.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"