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Sea of Rhûn

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The name Inland Sea refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Inland Sea (disambiguation).
Sea of Rhûn
Inland Sea
Sea of Rhun.png
General Information
Other namesEastern Sea
TypeInland Sea
DescriptionRoughly shaped like an hourglass laid on its side
RegionsRhûn (Easterlings)

The Sea of Rhûn, or the Eastern Sea, is a large lake or sea in northern Middle-earth that lay east of Rhovanion on the western borders of Rhûn. The Kine of Araw were found near the Inland Sea.


[edit] Geography

The Sea of Rhûn covers roughly 400 square miles (1,000 km²). The Celduin flows from the northwest into a northwestern arm of the sea. West of the Sea of Rhûn is the land of Dorwinion and roughly 200 miles (300 km) to the South is the eastern end of the Ered Lithui.

A forest stands at the northeastern shore of the sea, and near the southwestern shore there are many hills. The southeastern part of the Sea seems to be occupied by a small shallow island.

[edit] History

In the Years of the Trees during the time of the Great Journey, the craft of ship-making practiced by the Teleri reached new heights in their efforts to traverse the Sea of Rhûn on their westward journey.[1]

In the First Age, the shores of the Inland Sea were populated by tribes of Men who were migrating to the West. The Lesser Folk arrived there first and dwelt at the feet of the nearby hills. The Greater Folk came later in the north-east woods near the shores. The Men crafted boats and could sail the sea, but they did not meet often, and their languages soon diverged[2] before they resumed their journey to Beleriand.

In the early Third Age, the Kings of Gondor such as Rómendacil I campaigned to those lands. By the time of King Hyarmendacil I, the Inland Sea formed one of the boundaries of Gondor.[3][note 1]

Vorondil hunted the Kine of Araw near the shores of the Sea.[3]

During the time of Rómendacil II, the Inland Sea was apparently within the borders of the power of Gondor.

[edit] Other versions of the Legendarium

In the drafts for the Lord of the Rings, the sea was called "Sea of Rhûnaer". In the earlier maps, part of the Sea was occupied by a heavily wooded island.[4] In the published maps by Christopher Tolkien, the island is replaced by a dotted pattern.[5] The reason for this change and what it signifies was never specified by C. Tolkien. There is no trace of the unnamed island in Pauline Baynes's A Map of Middle-earth.

[edit] Theories

Christopher Tolkien and others have speculated whether or not the Sea of Rhûn can " identified with the Sea of Helcar, vastly shrunken".[6] Karen Wynn Fonstad adopted this position in making The Atlas of Middle-earth. However, in The Peoples of Middle-earth, there are references to the Sea of Rhûn and its surrounding geographical landmarks existing as far back as the Years of the Trees at the time of the Great Journey, far to the west of where the Elves awoke near Sea of Helcar.[1]


  1. It is not clear when exactly the eastern lands became part of Gondor; the Inland Sea is mentioned in that context during the time of the Ship-kings, however those extended Gondor to the South, not to the East. It is possible therefore that the eastern lands had come in the possession of Gondor already in even earlier times.


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Last Writings" pp. 391-392
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Problem of Ros"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The First Map of The Lord of the Rings", "Map II"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion" p. 174.