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Ithilien

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First Sight of Ithilien by Ted Nasmith.

Ithilien (S, pron. [iˈθiljen]) was a region and fiefdom of Gondor.

Contents

History

Historians in Gondor believed that in the First Age, the Woses reached Ithilien, and were the first to cross the Anduin (probably near Cair Andros).[1]

Old records preserved in Gondor indicate that Arnen was once used for the larger part of the region later known as Ithilien during the Second Age.[2]

When Elendil and his sons founded the Realms in Exile, Ithilien took its name after his son, Isildur. Of old its chief city was Minas Ithil, the Tower of the Moon. Ithilien was a fair and prosperous land during the Second Age and the first part of the Third Age, when Gondor was strong and Mordor deserted.

King Rómendacil I was killed during an Easterling invasion of northern Ithilien in T.A. 541.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag[3] The Tower of Cirith Ungol was also defending Ithilien from attacks from Sauron's remaining servants and stopped them from returning to Mordor, guarding the high pass over the Ephel Dúath. Gondor occupied the fortress until T.A. 1636 when the Great Plague killed large parts of Gondor's population. During the plague most of the people of Osgiliath fled the city for the western dales or the woods of Ithilien.

After the Battle of the Plains in T.A. 1856, the lands east of the river Anduin were abandoned, save Ithilien.

In T.A. 1899, Marhwini warned King Calimehtar that the Wainriders were plotting to raid Calenardhon over the Undeeps. Calimehtar therefore provoked the Wainriders out of Ithilien, and his horsemen, joined by a large éored led by Marhwini, drove the Wainriders back.[4]

In T.A. 1944, Wainriders from Rhûn made an alliance with the Haradrim, and a dual attack on Ithilien was launched. While the Wainriders assaulted Ithilien from the north, the armies of the Haradrim crossed the Poros and invaded South Ithilien. The Gondorian Captain Eärnil leading Gondor's inferior Southern Army, defeated the Haradrim, and then turned north, took the Wainriders into surprise and pushed many of them into the swamplands of the Dead Marshes.

When this was captured by Mordor in T.A. 2002 it was renamed Minas Morgul, the Tower of Black Sorcery. During the Watchful Peace the lords of Morgul had secretly bred the Uruk-hai, and in T.A. 2475 these creatures assailed and overran Ithilien. Although they captured Osgiliath and destroyed the great stone-bridge, Boromir, defeated the host of Morgul and regained Ithilien. However, from that time on no people dwelt in that region, and for Gondor there was never full peace again until after the defeat of Sauron.[5]

In T.A. 2885, Ithilien was invaded in great strength, King Folcwine of Rohan fulfilled the Oath of Eorl and sent many men to Gondor. With their aid Steward Túrin II won a victory at the crossings of Poros, though the princes Fastred and Folcred were slain.[6]

Deserting

The majority of the people of Ithilien fled across the Anduin to escape war (T.A. 2901)[6], but the Stewards of Gondor still kept scouts there, operating out of secret locations such as Henneth Annûn. Those who stayed fled to regions such as Lossarnach when Mount Doom erupted in T.A. 2954. Steward Ecthelion II constructed the Rammas Echor as part of the now necessary defenses of Gondor.[7]

The descendants of the people who had dwelt in Ithilien, formed the corps of the Rangers of Ithilien.

During the War of the Ring, in early May T.A. 3019, Faramir the son of the Steward Denethor, was leading the Rangers of Ithilien to ambush Haradrim who would pass through Ithilien. That same time, Gollum led Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee through Ithilien on their way to Cirith Ungol and into Mordor, and Faramir allowed to continue when he is satisfied they are not agents of Sauron.

When the Host of the West marched on the Morannon, Mablung and his troops discovered an ambush by Orcs and Easterlings that lay hid in Ithilien. The ambush was quickly turned.[8]

During the Fourth Age, Ithilien was ruled by the Princes of Ithilien, a line that started with Faramir and Éowyn, who became known as the White Lady of Ithilien. Minas Morgul was not repopulated, and Faramir had his throne in Emyn Arnen. After the fall of Sauron, Legolas brought elves from Greenwood, and they dwelt in Ithilien, and once again it became the fairest country in all the westlands.[9]

Geography

Ithilien was the only part of Gondor on the eastern side of the Anduin, wedged in between the river and the Ephel Dúath. Its southern border was the river Poros. The region was further divided into North and South Ithilien.

Irises, Anemones, Eglantine, lilies, water-lilies and Asphodel grew in Ithilien[10]. Lebethron[11] and Culumalda grew especially in the woods around the Field of Cormallen.[12][13]

Etymology

Ithilien is a Sindarin name meaning "land of the moon".[14] It has been suggested that the name consists of the elements Ithil ("moon") + the affix end.[15]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 42, July 2001, p. 17
  3. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 510
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Cirion
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  7. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 546
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"
  11. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. 625-6 (citing from the Unfinished index)
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names" (entry for mal-)
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 233
  14. Compound Sindarin Names in Middle-earth at Tolkiendil.com (accessed 20 July 2011)