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| image=[[File:All middle earth.png|250px]]
| name=Middle-earth
| type=Continent
| location=[[Arda]], east of [[Belegaer]]
| inhabitants=[[Men]], [[Elves]], [[Dwarves]], [[Orcs]], [[Hobbits]], [[Ents]], others
| realms= [[Rohan]], [[Gondor]], [[Mordor]], [[Arnor]], [[Rivendell]], [[Lothlórien]], others
| description=A continent set between two oceans
| othernames= [[Ennorath]], [[Endor]]
| etymology=[[Old English]] ''middanġeard''
| events=
| references=
'''Middle-earth''' ([[Quenya|Q.]] ''[[Endor]]'') was a large continent of [[Arda]], situated between [[Aman]] to the [[West]] (across [[Belegaer]]), and the [[Land of the Sun]] to the [[East]] (across the [[East Sea]]). 
It is here that many of the epic tales of Arda were played out, for it was there where the [[Children of Ilúvatar]], [[Elves]], [[Dwarves]] and [[Men]] came into being; and in the [[Westlands]] of Middle-earth they bitterly fought the [[Dark Lord]]s.
Middle-earth is a large continent, a mass of land that occupies the central regions of [[Arda]]. It lays between two continents; [[Aman]], the uttermost West from which it is separated by the ocean [[Belegaer]], and the [[Land of the Sun]], at the uttermost East which the [[East Sea]] separates.
[[Image:John Howe - The Map of Middle-earth.jpg|thumb|left|The [[Westlands]] of Middle-earth]]
The [[Westlands]] are the most well-known regions of the continent, and the only which have been mapped. Of the Westlands, the western portion called '''[[Beleriand]]''' was drowned at the end of the [[First Age]] and survivors relocated to [[Lindon]] and '''[[Eriador]]''' from which it was separated by the [[Blue Mountains]]. Another region of the Westlands was '''[[Rhovanion (region)|Rhovanion]]''' separated by the [[Misty Mountains]].
The southern part of the Westlands was around [[Bay of Belfalas|a large bay]], including '''[[Belfalas]]''', the area of [[Gondor]], and [[Near Harad]] (Near South).
[[Arnor]] and [[Gondor]] before their decline, dominated the Westlands during the [[Third Age]]. Huge mountain ranges like the [[Grey Mountains]] and [[White Mountains]] separated these regions.
Of the [[East]] and [[South]] of Middle-earth not much is known, other than the names of '''[[Rhûn]]''' and '''[[Khand]]''', east of '''[[Mordor]]''', and the '''[[Far Harad]]''' (Far South); but how far they extended is unknown.
In the [[Elder Days]], the East was occupied by the two large inland seas of [[Sea of Helcar|Helcar]] and [[Sea of Ringil|Ringil]] created by the demise of the [[Two Lamps]]; and of course '''[[Cuiviénen]] and [[Hildórien]]''', the cradle of [[Elves]] and [[Men]].
Another known name of the East was the '''[[Empty Lands]]'''. The eastern land-mass was encircled by ranges of mountains, the [[Red Mountains|Red]] and the [[Yellow Mountains]] which mirrored the [[Ered Luin|Blue]] and the [[Grey Mountains (ancient)|Grey]] of the West respectively. There was also a mythical [[Last Desert]]; but its status or existence in the later years was unknown.
:''This is the geographical history. For events happening in Middle-earth, see [[Timeline]].''
[[File:Steven White Jr. - Early Arda.jpg|thumb|left|Early Arda]]
Arda was initially a flat, symmetric shape, until the [[Valar]] (and [[Morgoth]]) created several seas and mountains. Two seas, [[Belegaer]] to the west and the [[East Sea]], formed a central landmass in the centre of Arda, the earliest shape of what would be the [[Great Lands]] of Middle-earth. Major features of that landmass were two inland seas, the [[Sea of Helcar]] and the [[Sea of Ringil]]. Around them, massive mountain chains were formed, the [[Blue Mountains|Blue]] and [[Red Mountains]] to the north, and the [[Grey Mountains (ancient)|Grey]] and [[Yellow Mountains]] to the south. The [[Mountains of the World]] were a smaller chain in the [[East]].<ref>{{SM|Ambar}}</ref>
Eventually the Valar left the Great Lands for the [[Uttermost West]], leaving Morgoth and his creatures from his fortress at [[Utumno]] behind the [[Iron Mountains]]. He would also erect the [[Misty Mountains]] to hinder the Vala [[Orome]] who hunted his creatures.<ref>{{HM|Guide}}, entry "Misty Mountains"</ref>
[[File:Beleriand-eriador-fonstad.png|thumb|Western Middle-earth with deluged Beleriand]]
During the [[First Age]] and the ages preceding, the western side of Middle-earth was called [[Beleriand]], stretching from the [[Ered Luin]] to the great ocean of Belegaer.  On the northern edge of Beleriand were the fierce [[Ered Engrin]], the Iron Mountains.  Even further north was the freezing [[Dor Daidelos]].  Just southwest of the Ered Engrin was [[Hithlum]], which was separated from the coast of [[Lammoth]] and Belegaer by the [[Ered Lómin]], and from the rest of Beleriand to the south by the [[Ered Wethrin]].  The woven wood of [[Doriath]] rested directly south of the [[Thangorodrim]] and [[Dorthonion]], southeast of Hithlum.  To the West of Doriath were [[Taur-en-Faroth]] and the [[Falas]], while to the east were [[Nan Elmoth]] and [[Thargelion]] before reaching the [[Ered Luin]].  To the south of Doriath were first the [[Andram]], then [[Arvernien]] and the [[Bay of Balar]].  East of the Bay of Balar and extending ever further south into the unknown lands were the [[Taur-im-Duinath]] and [[Ossiriand]].
East of the Ered Luin was a land encircled by four mountain ranges: the [[Ered Luin]] to the West, the [[Ered Engrin]] to the North, the [[Misty Mountains|Hithaeglir (Misty Mountains)]] to the East, and some of the [[White Mountains]] to the South.  Passing even further East, over the Hithaeglir, you would come to [[Anduin]] (the Great River) and eventually [[Palisor]], the [[Sea of Helcar|Inland Sea of Helcar]], the [[Orocarni]], and the [[East Sea]].
After the end of the First Age and the drowning of Beleriand, the geography east of the Ered Luin shifted.  The Ered Luin themselves, now broken up and disfigured, marked the western border of [[Eriador]], and thence [[Lindon]] and Belegaer itself.  Eriador, now the Westernmost part of Middle-earth, was bordered on the East by the Hithaeglir, the Misty Mountains, which stretched down south to the [[White Mountains]] and the [[Bay of Belfalas]].  Across the Misty Mountains from Eriador was [[Rhovanion (region)|Rhovanion]], which extended east to the [[Sea of Rhûn]] and the vast [[Rhûn|lands]] beyond.  Within Rhovanion were the great forest of [[Mirkwood]], the forest of [[Fangorn Forest|Fangorn]], and the many-rivered area that would become known as [[Gondor]]. To the east was the region of [[Mordor]], encircled on three sides by mountains. To the far north of Rhovanion was the icy [[Forodwaith (lands)|Forodwaith]].
The peoples called Middle-earth by several names. The Elves called the continent [[Endóre]] or [[Endor]] in [[Quenya]] meaning "middle land"; the [[Sindarin]] form was [[Ennor]], also used in the plural ''ennorath'' "middle lands, lands of Middle-earth".
Other epithets of the continent were '''Hither Shores''' or '''[[Hither Lands]]''' contrasted to [[Aman]] beyond the sea. The [[Hobbits]] envisioned Middle-earth as the '''Wide World'''<ref>{{H|8}}</ref> and the '''Outer Lands'''<ref>{{S|Days}}</ref> or '''Great Lands''', since it was so much larger than the continent of Aman.<ref>{{S|Akallabeth}}</ref>.
[[J.R.R. Tolkien|Tolkien]] created Arda, including and especially Middle-earth, for his languages [[Quenya]] and [[Sindarin]], especially the latter as it turned out. To Tolkien, a scholar of the [[Old English|Anglo-Saxon]] language, Middle-earth was the English translation of the Old English word ''middanġeard''. This word was transformed in the [[Middle English]] ''midden-erd'' or ''middel-erd'', and the [[Old Norse]] ''Midgard''. This is English for what the Greeks called the &omicron;&iota;&kappa;&omicron;&upsilon;&mu;&#941;&nu;&eta; (''oikoumen&#x113;'') or "the abiding place of men", the physical world as opposed to the unseen worlds.<ref>{{L|151}}</ref>
The ancient peoples called the world "middle-earth" since it was imagined to be between the realm of the Giants below and the realm of the gods above. However in Tolkien's cosmology the name Middle-earth refers only to a continent, which (in the First and Second Ages) is set between two seas, [[Belegaer]] and the [[East Sea]].
[[Henry Resnick]] quoted Tolkien saying that "Middle-earth is Europe".<ref>[[Tolkien Journal]] II, 2 p. 1</ref>
==Portrayal in adaptations==
[[File:Pete Fenlon - MERP map.jpg|thumb|The whole continent of Middle-earth as envisioned in ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'']]
Middle-earth has been depicted in a variety of adaptations of Tolkien's work. The most prominent has been [[The Lord of the Rings (film series)|''The Lord of the Rings'' (film series)]] and the forthcoming ''[[The Hobbit (film series)|Hobbit]]'' film series by [[Peter Jackson]]. Middle-earth has appeared in animation in [[Ralph Bakshi]]'s ''[[The Lord of the Rings (1978 film)|The Lord of the Rings]]'' and [[Rankin/Bass]]' adaptations of ''[[The Hobbit (1977 film)|The Hobbit]]'' and ''[[The Return of the King (1980 film)|The Return of the King]]''. Middle-earth has also been adapted for numerous video games such as ''[[The Lord of the Rings Online]]'' and ''[[The Lord of the Rings: War in the North|War in the North]]'' and tabletop role-playing games like the ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'' system by [[Iron Crown Enterprises]].
Each adaptation has made changes, subtractions, or additions to Tolkien's creation, often adding new locations, creatures, or characters. For the most part, however, the overall geography and style of Tolkien's Middle-earth has been retained.
==See Also==
* [[Arda]]
* [[History of Arda]]
[[Category:Middle-earth| Middle-earth]]

Revision as of 18:02, 20 August 2013