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Revision as of 16:54, 31 August 2010
|Location||Anduin, between Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul|
|Description||River city with bridge|
|Etymology||"Fortress of the Host of Stars"|
Founded by Elendil and his sons at the end of the Second Age, Osgiliath straddled the Great River Anduin at a point approximately half way between the cities of Minas Anor to the west and Minas Ithil to the east. For over a thousand years, Osgiliath was the capital of Gondor, as well as its largest and most important city. The beginning of the city's decline came in the 15th century, when in T.A. 1437 it was sacked and burned, after a siege, by the rebel Castamir's forces during the Kin-strife. The Great Plague of T.A. 1636 led to further depopulation, and the city began to fall into ruin; the capital was moved to the more secure Minas Anor. Over the next few hundred years, Gondor endured many military defeats east of the Anduin, especially the fall of Minas Ithil in 2002. Osgiliath became vulnerable to attack and was widely believed to be haunted, as its population continued to shrink. Osgiliath was finally abandoned by the remaining civilian population after being captured (temporarily) by Orcs in the 25th century.
Over the centuries leading up to the War of the Ring, the western part of the ruined city was under the control of Gondor, and was at times provided with a military garrison as a means of defending the crossing of the Anduin. The eastern part, with Ithilien, was disputed territory, under Gondor's control for most of the rule of Denethor II, but occupied by Sauron's forces just before the War.
When, during the War, Sauron launched a full-scale invasion of Gondor west of the Anduin, Osgiliath eventually fell to his forces, but was reclaimed by Gondor after Sauron's ultimate defeat a few weeks later.
After the destruction of the One Ring, Osgiliath was rebuilt, but it never became as great as it once was. Minas Tirith remained the capital and King's city.
The name "Osgiliath" is Sindarin for "City of the Host of Stars". The most prominent building in the city was the Dome of Stars, a great dome which once housed the city's palantír. Osgiliath's palantír fell into the Anduin during the Kin-strife during the reign of Eldacar, in T.A. 1437.
Portrayal in Adaptations
Because the city is not visited in the books, it did not appear in many adaptations.
- After capturing Frodo and Sam, Faramir takes them to Osgiliath, in the hope of harnessing the power of the Ring to the betterment of Gondor. Osgiliath is fully ruined, and partly flooded. After being attacked by several winged Nazgûl, Faramir releases them.
- In a scene in the extended edition, Faramir has a flashback. Boromir reclaims the city for Gondor, and the soldiers feast. The scene is ment to highlight the relation between Boromir, Faramir and Denethor.
- Gothmog and his orcs finally breach the defenses of the Gondorian troopers, and beat them back with heavy losses. Madril is slain, as are several others. On their retreat to Minas Tirith, they are beset by the Nazgûl, only to be saved by Gandalf.
- Not impressed by Faramir's deeds, and more upset about the loss of Osgiliath, Denethor sends his son back to Osgiliath, but his company is slaughtered, and Faramir badly wounded. This scene replaced the defense of the Causeway Forts in the book.