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[[Category:Sindarin locations]]

Revision as of 04:25, 3 June 2013

Húrin reaches the Echoriath, by Ted Nasmith

The Echoriath or Echoriad, the Encircling Mountains,[1] were a mountain range in the north of Beleriand, with the vale of Sirion to the west and separated by the Pass of Anach from the Ered Gorgoroth to the east. The southern part of the circle of mountains were called the Crissaegrim, which was the abode of eagles.[2]

The Echoriath formed a natural circle of rock, enclosing the valley later called Tumladen, within which lay the Elven city of Gondolin. A hidden ravine provided the main access through the Echoriath — a way guarded by seven gates.[3]

Maeglin prospected in the northern part of the Echoriad and found diverse and abundant metals. From his mine, Anghabar, he found hard iron that he prized.[4]

When Fingolfin died the eagle Thorondor carried his body to a mountain top north of Gondolin. Turgon, the son of Fingolfin, came and built a cairn over his body that no Orc dared to approach. Also in the aftermath of the Dagor Bragollach Húrin and [[Huor] were the first men to enter Gondolin, but they did not traverse the hidden ravine to reach the city - instead they were borne aloft by the eagles of Thorondor over the Encircling Mountains. Later they departed in the same manner and thus could not reveal the passage into Tumladen (and swore oaths to not reveal the valley's location).[5]

Yet it was Húrin who, despite his oath, eventually and inadvertently revealed the location of Turgon's realm to Morgoth. Húrin came to the Encircling Mountains and cried out for Turgon to hear him in his hidden halls. Húrin was unaware that spies of Morgoth heard his words and reported to their master where the Hidden Kingdom lay.[6]

The host of Morgoth came to Gondolin, pouring over the Echoriad from the north and north east. All would have died within the city but that Idril had made a secret tunnel. She and Tuor led the remnants of the people of Gondolin out by this route and then they climbed into the mountains to the north, by the perilous pass known as the Cirith Thoronath. The refugees were attacked by Orcs and a Balrog. While eagles dispersed the Orcs, Glorfindel fought with the Balrog upon a pinnacle of rock and both fell into the nearby abyss. Like Fingolfin, Thorondor came and brought Glorfindel's body up to the refugees, who buried him in a mound of stones beside the path. The people could then proceed with their escape, and eventually came out of the mountains and into the vale of Sirion.[7]


Echoriath is Sindarin. It means "encircling fence", from echor "encircling" and iâth "fence".[8]

Christopher Tolkien mentioned that his father's intent was to rename the Echoriath as Echoriad, but perhaps this knowledge eluded him while publishing The Silmarillion.[9]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Map of Beleriand and the Lands to the North"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Maeglin"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entries echor and iâth
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Three. The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings not forming part of the Quenta Silmarillion: I. The Wanderings of Húrin", note 27