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Nirnaeth Arnoediad

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{{battle
 
{{battle
| name=''Nírnaeth Arnoediad''
+
| name=''Nirnaeth Arnoediad''
| image=[[Image:Nirnaeth.jpg|300px|Ted Nasmith]]
+
| image=[[File:Ted Nasmith - The Hill of Slain.jpg|300px]]
| conflict=[[War of the Jewels]] (Fifth Battle of the [[Wars of Beleriand]]
+
| conflict=[[The War of the Jewels|War of the Jewels]] (Fifth Battle of the [[Wars of Beleriand]]
| date=[[First Age 472|F.A. 472]]
+
| date={{FA|472}}
 
| place=[[Anfauglith]]
 
| place=[[Anfauglith]]
 
| result=Decisive victory for Angband due to [[Treachery of Men|treachery]], depopulation of [[Hithlum]] with replacement by [[Easterlings]], occupation of much of [[Beleriand]]
 
| result=Decisive victory for Angband due to [[Treachery of Men|treachery]], depopulation of [[Hithlum]] with replacement by [[Easterlings]], occupation of much of [[Beleriand]]
 
| side1=The [[Union of Maedhros]], consisting of an alliance of the [[Noldor]], [[Edain]], [[Easterlings]], and [[Dwarves]]
 
| side1=The [[Union of Maedhros]], consisting of an alliance of the [[Noldor]], [[Edain]], [[Easterlings]], and [[Dwarves]]
| side2=[[Orcs|Orc]] armies, [[Glaurung]], [[Gothmog (Lord of Balrogs)|Gothmog]]
+
| side2=[[Orcs|Orc]] armies, [[Glaurung]], [[Gothmog (balrog)|Gothmog]]
 
| commanders1=
 
| commanders1=
 
{{Maedhros blazon}}
 
{{Maedhros blazon}}
 
{{Fingon blazon|died}}
 
{{Fingon blazon|died}}
[[Image:turgon_device.gif|30px|left]][[Turgon the Wise|Turgon]]{{clear}}
+
[[Image:turgon_device.gif|30px|left]][[Turgon]]{{clear}}
 
* [[Húrin|Húrin Thalion]]
 
* [[Húrin|Húrin Thalion]]
 
* [[Huor]] †
 
* [[Huor]] †
* [[Haldir of the Haladin|Haldir]] †
+
* [[Haldir (Chieftain of the Haladin)|Haldir]] †
 
* [[Azaghâl|Azaghâl of Belegost]] †
 
* [[Azaghâl|Azaghâl of Belegost]] †
 
* [[Bór]] †
 
* [[Bór]] †
 
| commanders2={{Morgoth blazon}}
 
| commanders2={{Morgoth blazon}}
* [[Gothmog (Lord of Balrogs)|Gothmog]]
+
* [[Gothmog (balrog)|Gothmog]]
 
* [[Glaurung]]
 
* [[Glaurung]]
 
* [[Ulfang the Black]] †
 
* [[Ulfang the Black]] †
| forces1=100,000-120,000 Noldor and [[Edain]] warriors of [[Dor-lómin]], 10,000 [[Gondolindrim]] under Turgon, a company of Elves from [[Nargothrond]], company of the [[people of Haleth]] from [[Brethil]], and 1-2,000 Dwarves of Belegost, the Easterlings from [[House of Bór]]
+
| forces1=100,000-120,000 Noldor and [[Edain]] warriors of [[Dor-lómin]], 10,000 [[Gondolindrim]] under Turgon, a company of Elves from [[Nargothrond]], company of the [[people of Haleth]] from [[Brethil]], and 4-6,000 Dwarves of Belegost, the Easterlings from [[House of Bór]]
 
| forces2=Multiple hosts consisting of [[Balrogs]], [[Orcs]], and [[trolls]]; supplemented by turncoat [[Easterlings]]
 
| forces2=Multiple hosts consisting of [[Balrogs]], [[Orcs]], and [[trolls]]; supplemented by turncoat [[Easterlings]]
 
| casual1=Huge and crippling to the Noldor, Men of Dor-lómin wiped out except Húrin, thousands of captives
 
| casual1=Huge and crippling to the Noldor, Men of Dor-lómin wiped out except Húrin, thousands of captives
 
| casual2=Heavy early in the battle, but ultimately moderate
 
| casual2=Heavy early in the battle, but ultimately moderate
|}}The '''Nírnaeth Arnoediad''' or '''Battle of Unnumbered Tears''' was the disastrous Fifth Battle in the [[Wars of Beleriand]]. Its name was taken from the first words of the [[Doom of Mandos]]: "Tears unnumbered ye shall shed...".
+
}}The '''Nirnaeth Arnoediad''' or '''Battle of Unnumbered Tears''' was the disastrous Fifth Battle in the [[Wars of Beleriand]]. Its name was taken from the first words of the [[Doom of Mandos]]: "Tears unnumbered ye shall shed...".
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
=== Events Prior to the Battle ===
+
=== Background ===
  
In the year 473 of the [[Years of the Sun]] in the [[First Age]], [[Maedhros]] decided that taking the offense against [[Angband]] might help the [[Noldor]] regain their former lands. In the almost two decades since their defeat in the [[Dagor Bragollach]], the Noldor had lost control over the entire north of Beleriand, and were for the most part reduced to refugees dwelling in [[Hithlum]] and [[Nargothrond]]. [[Gondolin]] was shut up and unknown.
+
In the year {{FA|473}}, [[Maedhros]] decided that taking the offense against [[Angband]] might help the [[Noldor]] regain their former lands. In the almost two decades since their defeat in the [[Dagor Bragollach]], the Noldor had lost control over the entire north of Beleriand, and were for the most part reduced to refugees dwelling in [[Hithlum]] and [[Nargothrond]]. [[Gondolin]] was shut up and unknown.
  
 
=== Opposing Forces and Strategy ===
 
=== Opposing Forces and Strategy ===
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Under [[Maedhros]] in the east were gathered the remainder of the [[sons of Fëanor]], the Elves and Men of [[Himring]] under Maedhros and [[Bór]], and the men of Amon Ereb under [[Caranthir]] and [[Ulfang]].
 
Under [[Maedhros]] in the east were gathered the remainder of the [[sons of Fëanor]], the Elves and Men of [[Himring]] under Maedhros and [[Bór]], and the men of Amon Ereb under [[Caranthir]] and [[Ulfang]].
  
Under [[Fingon]] in the west were gathered the Elves and Men of [[Hithlum]], the Elves of the [[Falas]], the [[Haladin]] of Brethil and the companies sent from [[Nargothrond]] and the two elves of [[Doriath]], [[Beleg|Beleg]] and [[Mablung of the Heavy Hand|Mablung]].
+
Under [[Fingon]] in the west were gathered the Elves and Men of [[Hithlum]], the Elves of the [[Falas]], the [[Haladin]] of Brethil and the companies sent from [[Nargothrond]] and the two elves of [[Doriath]], [[Beleg]] and [[Mablung]].
  
[[Image:Steven_White_Jr._-_A_Map_of_Beleriand.jpg|375px|right]]
+
[[Image:Steven_White_Jr._-_A_Map_of_Beleriand.jpg|thumb]]
  
Because of the evil deeds of [[Celegorm]] and [[Curufin]], two of Maedhros's brothers, Nargothrond would send only a small company of Elves under [[Gwindor]]. From Doriath, where [[Thingol]] had sworn never to fight beside any son of Fëanor, came only [[Mablung of the Heavy Hand|Mablung]] and [[Beleg]], who did not wish to remain behind. However, [[Turgon the Wise|Turgon]] unexpectedly came forth with over ten thousand Elves from [[Gondolin]], doubling the force of the west.
+
Because of the evil deeds of [[Celegorm]] and [[Curufin]], two of Maedhros's brothers, Nargothrond would send only a small company of Elves under [[Gwindor]]. From Doriath, where [[Thingol]] had sworn never to fight beside any son of Fëanor, came only [[Mablung]] and [[Beleg]], who did not wish to remain behind. However, [[Turgon]] unexpectedly came forth with over ten thousand Elves from [[Gondolin]], doubling the force of the west.
  
 
=== The Battle ===
 
=== The Battle ===
Line 51: Line 51:
  
 
It is said that Morgoth trembled as Gwindor's company pounded at his gates. They burst through, and slew the guards on the steps of Angband. But alas, they were surrounded by hidden forces, and all were slain or taken. From hidden gates around Angband thousands of Orcs erupted, driving back the host of Fingon from the walls. The Elven army was driven back with great slaughter, and many [[Haladin]] fell fighting in the rearguard.
 
It is said that Morgoth trembled as Gwindor's company pounded at his gates. They burst through, and slew the guards on the steps of Angband. But alas, they were surrounded by hidden forces, and all were slain or taken. From hidden gates around Angband thousands of Orcs erupted, driving back the host of Fingon from the walls. The Elven army was driven back with great slaughter, and many [[Haladin]] fell fighting in the rearguard.
 
+
[[Image:Alan Lee - The Battle of Unnumbered Tears.jpg|thumb|left|''The Battle of Unnumbered Tears'' by [[Alan Lee]]]]
 
[[Turgon]], who had withheld his host from the reckless charge, now came upon the Orc host. The phalanx of Turgon broke through the Angband lines, and met with the guard of Fingon. The meeting of the two brothers in the middle of the battle was joyous.
 
[[Turgon]], who had withheld his host from the reckless charge, now came upon the Orc host. The phalanx of Turgon broke through the Angband lines, and met with the guard of Fingon. The meeting of the two brothers in the middle of the battle was joyous.
  
Finally Maedhros arrived, but before he could make junction with Fingon and Turgon, [[Glaurung]] the dragon and [[Gothmog (Lord of Balrogs)|Gothmog]] lord of [[Balrogs|Balrog]]s intercepted him.  Union forces could yet have prevailed, but [[Uldor]], son of Ulfang and a traitor, turned ranks and attacked Maedhros in the rear, while more of his kin came down from the mountains and attacked from the east. Under assault from three sides, the eastern host was scattered, and only the valour of the [[Dwarves]] of [[Belegost]] helped them escape, as their lord '''Azaghâl''' and his forces held off Glaurung, allowing the [[sons of Fëanor]] to escape into Ossiriand.
+
Finally Maedhros arrived, but before he could make junction with Fingon and Turgon, [[Glaurung]] the dragon and [[Gothmog (balrog)|Gothmog]] lord of [[Balrogs|Balrog]]s intercepted him.  Union forces could yet have prevailed, but [[Uldor]], son of Ulfang and a traitor, turned ranks and attacked Maedhros in the rear, while more of his kin came down from the mountains and attacked from the east. Under assault from three sides, the eastern host was scattered, and only the valour of the [[Dwarves]] of [[Belegost]] helped them escape, as their lord '''Azaghâl''' and his forces held off Glaurung, allowing the [[sons of Fëanor]] to escape into Ossiriand.
  
[[Azaghâl]] and his army fought with fierce iron masks on, and they were able to resist the fire far better than any Elf or Man. Then Glaurung trampled Azaghâl beneath his feet, but Azaghâl ran a dagger through Glaurung's stomach, and the dragon fled in pain, screaming.  With him fled many of the host of Morgoth. In a solemn ceremony the Dwarves picked up their fallen leader, forgetting about the battle, and they marched him home, in a great procession. Their wrath was so great that none troubled them.
+
[[Azaghâl]] and his army fought with fierce iron masks on, and they were able to resist the fire far better than any Elf or Man. Then Glaurung trampled Azaghâl beneath his feet, but Azaghâl ran a dagger through Glaurung's stomach, and the dragon fled in pain, screaming.  With him fled many of the host of Morgoth. In a solemn ceremony the Dwarves picked up their fallen leader, abandoning the battle, and marched him home in a great procession. Their wrath was so great that none troubled them.
 
+
[[File:Felix Sotomayor - Nirnaeth Arnoediad.jpg|thumb|The battle of Nirnaeth Arnoediad by Felix Sotomayor]]
[[Image:Jenny Dolfen - Nirnaeth Arnoediad - Unnumbered Tears.jpg|thumb|left|''Nirnaeth Arnoediad - Unnumbered Tears'' by [[Jenny Dolfen]]]]
+
 
All this had not helped the western host, who were attacked by many Orcs under Gothmog. Fingon fell under his might, and [[Húrin]] begged Turgon to retreat back to Gondolin. [[Huor]] and Húrin and the remaining [[Men of Dor-lómin]] formed a living wall across the [[Fen of Serech]], buying time for Turgon to escape with most of the surviving Elves of the north. Acting as a rearguard, these Men were almost all slain – Huor fell when his eye was pierced by a poisoned arrow, but his brother Húrin was captured alive by Gothmog after he was pinned under a mountain of slain Orcs and [[Trolls]].
 
All this had not helped the western host, who were attacked by many Orcs under Gothmog. Fingon fell under his might, and [[Húrin]] begged Turgon to retreat back to Gondolin. [[Huor]] and Húrin and the remaining [[Men of Dor-lómin]] formed a living wall across the [[Fen of Serech]], buying time for Turgon to escape with most of the surviving Elves of the north. Acting as a rearguard, these Men were almost all slain – Huor fell when his eye was pierced by a poisoned arrow, but his brother Húrin was captured alive by Gothmog after he was pinned under a mountain of slain Orcs and [[Trolls]].
  
 
=== Aftermath and Repercussions ===
 
=== Aftermath and Repercussions ===
 
+
[[Image:Jenny Dolfen - Nirnaeth Arnoediad - Unnumbered Tears.jpg|thumb|left|''Nirnaeth Arnoediad - Unnumbered Tears'' by [[Jenny Dolfen]]]]
 
Morgoth's victory was near complete, as he had destroyed all the people of Hithlum and had scattered the sons of Fëanor away from Himring.  Morgoth's Orcs razed all of [[Beleriand]] except for [[Doriath]], which was still protected by the Girdle of [[Melian]], and sacked the havens of the [[Falas]].
 
Morgoth's victory was near complete, as he had destroyed all the people of Hithlum and had scattered the sons of Fëanor away from Himring.  Morgoth's Orcs razed all of [[Beleriand]] except for [[Doriath]], which was still protected by the Girdle of [[Melian]], and sacked the havens of the [[Falas]].
  
 
Morgoth betrayed his servants the [[Easterlings]], shutting them in [[Hithlum]] under penalty of death, and denied to them the fertile lands of [[Beleriand]]. Still Morgoth knew fear, for Turgon, now High King of the Ñoldor after the death of Fingon, had survived, and his city Gondolin was still unknown to Morgoth.  To be sure, the Union's attack inflicted grievous losses on Morgoth's forces, and it would take some time for him to rebuild his armies back to their former strength.  But this was largely irrelevant, compared to how utterly Morgoth had broken the power of so many of his enemies in the battle.
 
Morgoth betrayed his servants the [[Easterlings]], shutting them in [[Hithlum]] under penalty of death, and denied to them the fertile lands of [[Beleriand]]. Still Morgoth knew fear, for Turgon, now High King of the Ñoldor after the death of Fingon, had survived, and his city Gondolin was still unknown to Morgoth.  To be sure, the Union's attack inflicted grievous losses on Morgoth's forces, and it would take some time for him to rebuild his armies back to their former strength.  But this was largely irrelevant, compared to how utterly Morgoth had broken the power of so many of his enemies in the battle.
 +
 
==Etymology==
 
==Etymology==
''Nírnaeth Arnoediad'' is [[Sindarin]] for "Tears Uncountable".  
+
''Nirnaeth ''(or ''Nírnaeth'')'' Arnoediad ''(or ''Arnediad'') is [[Sindarin]] for "Tears Uncountable".<ref>{{WJ|Index}}</ref><ref>{{S|Index}}</ref>
  
Note that the "oe" of "Arnoediad" is not the Sindarin diphthong "oe", but rather the single umlaut vowel "œ", better represented with a digraph.
+
Note that the "oe" of "Arnoediad" is not the Sindarin diphthong "oe", but rather the single [[i-affection|umlaut]] vowel "œ", better represented with a digraph.<ref>{{LR|Etymologies}}</ref>
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
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{{warsofbeleriand}}
 
{{warsofbeleriand}}
{{DEFAULTSORT:Nirnaeth Arnoediad}}
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{{references}}
 
[[Category:Conflicts of the First Age]]
 
[[Category:Conflicts of the First Age]]
[[Category:Sindarin nouns]]
 
 
[[de:Nirnaeth Arnoediad]]
 
[[de:Nirnaeth Arnoediad]]
 
[[fr:encyclo/evenements/1a/guerres/nirnaeth_arnoediad]]
 
[[fr:encyclo/evenements/1a/guerres/nirnaeth_arnoediad]]
 
[[fi:Nirnaeth Arnoediad]]
 
[[fi:Nirnaeth Arnoediad]]

Revision as of 10:02, 25 March 2013

Nirnaeth Arnoediad
Ted Nasmith - The Hill of Slain.jpg
Conflict: War of the Jewels (Fifth Battle of the Wars of Beleriand
Date: F.A. 472
Place: Anfauglith
Outcome: Decisive victory for Angband due to treachery, depopulation of Hithlum with replacement by Easterlings, occupation of much of Beleriand
Combatants

The Union of Maedhros, consisting of an alliance of the Noldor, Edain, Easterlings, and Dwarves

Orc armies, Glaurung, Gothmog

Commanders
Måns Björkman - Fingolfin device.gifFingon
Turgon
Strength

100,000-120,000 Noldor and Edain warriors of Dor-lómin, 10,000 Gondolindrim under Turgon, a company of Elves from Nargothrond, company of the people of Haleth from Brethil, and 4-6,000 Dwarves of Belegost, the Easterlings from House of Bór

Multiple hosts consisting of Balrogs, Orcs, and trolls; supplemented by turncoat Easterlings

Casualties

Huge and crippling to the Noldor, Men of Dor-lómin wiped out except Húrin, thousands of captives

Heavy early in the battle, but ultimately moderate

The Nirnaeth Arnoediad or Battle of Unnumbered Tears was the disastrous Fifth Battle in the Wars of Beleriand. Its name was taken from the first words of the Doom of Mandos: "Tears unnumbered ye shall shed...".

Contents

History

Background

In the year F.A. 473, Maedhros decided that taking the offense against Angband might help the Noldor regain their former lands. In the almost two decades since their defeat in the Dagor Bragollach, the Noldor had lost control over the entire north of Beleriand, and were for the most part reduced to refugees dwelling in Hithlum and Nargothrond. Gondolin was shut up and unknown.

Opposing Forces and Strategy

Under the Union of Maedhros all the Elves of Beleriand, as well as the Edain, Dwarves, and the newly arrived Easterlings were invited to combine in arms and fight Morgoth. The Union first cleared Beleriand and Dorthonion of Orcs, and then gathered to assault Thangorodrim.

The plan was for Maedhros's host in the east to assault and draw out the army of Angband, after which Fingon's host would attack from the Ered Wethrin, taking the offensive in the west, crushing Morgoth's forces between them.

Under Maedhros in the east were gathered the remainder of the sons of Fëanor, the Elves and Men of Himring under Maedhros and Bór, and the men of Amon Ereb under Caranthir and Ulfang.

Under Fingon in the west were gathered the Elves and Men of Hithlum, the Elves of the Falas, the Haladin of Brethil and the companies sent from Nargothrond and the two elves of Doriath, Beleg and Mablung.

Steven White Jr. - A Map of Beleriand.jpg

Because of the evil deeds of Celegorm and Curufin, two of Maedhros's brothers, Nargothrond would send only a small company of Elves under Gwindor. From Doriath, where Thingol had sworn never to fight beside any son of Fëanor, came only Mablung and Beleg, who did not wish to remain behind. However, Turgon unexpectedly came forth with over ten thousand Elves from Gondolin, doubling the force of the west.

The Battle

But Morgoth through his spies had learned of the battle plan, and his spy Ulfang, who betrayed the Noldor, delayed Maedhros' attack. Meanwhile a small force of Orcs sallied forth from Angband, provoking the western host. Within sight of the Ered Wethrin, Gwindor's brother Gelmir, captured during the Dagor Bragollach, was brought forth, and brutally slain. Enraged, Gwindor broke ranks, and with him most of Fingon's troops. Their rage was so great that they nearly destroyed the western Orc host and foiled Morgoth's plans.

It is said that Morgoth trembled as Gwindor's company pounded at his gates. They burst through, and slew the guards on the steps of Angband. But alas, they were surrounded by hidden forces, and all were slain or taken. From hidden gates around Angband thousands of Orcs erupted, driving back the host of Fingon from the walls. The Elven army was driven back with great slaughter, and many Haladin fell fighting in the rearguard.

The Battle of Unnumbered Tears by Alan Lee

Turgon, who had withheld his host from the reckless charge, now came upon the Orc host. The phalanx of Turgon broke through the Angband lines, and met with the guard of Fingon. The meeting of the two brothers in the middle of the battle was joyous.

Finally Maedhros arrived, but before he could make junction with Fingon and Turgon, Glaurung the dragon and Gothmog lord of Balrogs intercepted him. Union forces could yet have prevailed, but Uldor, son of Ulfang and a traitor, turned ranks and attacked Maedhros in the rear, while more of his kin came down from the mountains and attacked from the east. Under assault from three sides, the eastern host was scattered, and only the valour of the Dwarves of Belegost helped them escape, as their lord Azaghâl and his forces held off Glaurung, allowing the sons of Fëanor to escape into Ossiriand.

Azaghâl and his army fought with fierce iron masks on, and they were able to resist the fire far better than any Elf or Man. Then Glaurung trampled Azaghâl beneath his feet, but Azaghâl ran a dagger through Glaurung's stomach, and the dragon fled in pain, screaming. With him fled many of the host of Morgoth. In a solemn ceremony the Dwarves picked up their fallen leader, abandoning the battle, and marched him home in a great procession. Their wrath was so great that none troubled them.

The battle of Nirnaeth Arnoediad by Felix Sotomayor

All this had not helped the western host, who were attacked by many Orcs under Gothmog. Fingon fell under his might, and Húrin begged Turgon to retreat back to Gondolin. Huor and Húrin and the remaining Men of Dor-lómin formed a living wall across the Fen of Serech, buying time for Turgon to escape with most of the surviving Elves of the north. Acting as a rearguard, these Men were almost all slain – Huor fell when his eye was pierced by a poisoned arrow, but his brother Húrin was captured alive by Gothmog after he was pinned under a mountain of slain Orcs and Trolls.

Aftermath and Repercussions

Nirnaeth Arnoediad - Unnumbered Tears by Jenny Dolfen

Morgoth's victory was near complete, as he had destroyed all the people of Hithlum and had scattered the sons of Fëanor away from Himring. Morgoth's Orcs razed all of Beleriand except for Doriath, which was still protected by the Girdle of Melian, and sacked the havens of the Falas.

Morgoth betrayed his servants the Easterlings, shutting them in Hithlum under penalty of death, and denied to them the fertile lands of Beleriand. Still Morgoth knew fear, for Turgon, now High King of the Ñoldor after the death of Fingon, had survived, and his city Gondolin was still unknown to Morgoth. To be sure, the Union's attack inflicted grievous losses on Morgoth's forces, and it would take some time for him to rebuild his armies back to their former strength. But this was largely irrelevant, compared to how utterly Morgoth had broken the power of so many of his enemies in the battle.

Etymology

Nirnaeth (or Nírnaeth) Arnoediad (or Arnediad) is Sindarin for "Tears Uncountable".[1][2]

Note that the "oe" of "Arnoediad" is not the Sindarin diphthong "oe", but rather the single umlaut vowel "œ", better represented with a digraph.[3]

See also


Wars of Beleriand
First Battle · Dagor-nuin-Giliath · Dagor Aglareb · Dagor Bragollach · Nirnaeth Arnoediad · War of Wrath

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Index"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies"