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Christopher Tolkien - Map of Doriath.jpg
General information
PronunciationS, [ˈdorjaθ]
Other namesEglador (S), Lestanórë (Q), The Guarded Realm, The Hidden Kingdom
LocationForests in central Beleriand
RegionsNeldoreth, Region, Nivrim, Arthórien, Brethil, Nan Elmoth
PopulationPrimarily Iathrim (Many Haladin if including Brethil)
GovernanceKing of Doriath
FoundationY.T. 1152
Building MenegrothY.T. 1300
Girdle of Melian establishedY.T. 1497
Dior becomes KingF.A. 503
DestroyedF.A. 507
" the woven woods of Doriath
few ever thither found the path
Lay of Leithian, Canto I, vv. 43-44

Doriath was the mighty forest kingdom of Elu Thingol, greatest of the realms of the Sindar in Beleriand.


[edit] Geography

Doriath was a realm of forests about the great river Sirion, being composed of the forests Neldoreth (also Taur-na-Neldor, the northern beech forest), Nivrim (also West-march, an oak forest), and Region. Additionally, the forests of Brethil and Nan Elmoth were held as part of Doriath, but these last two lay outside the Girdle of Melian.

[edit] History

[edit] Establishment

Before its foundation, during the Great March, the Noldor made their dwellings in the forests of Neldoreth and Region that would become Doriath, on their way westward. That time the Teleri were still back in the East Beleriand; their leader, Elwe, often went through to the forests to seek his friend Finwë.[1]

One of those times Elwë was lost in Nan Elmoth, and when Ulmo returned for them a part remained behind. They became known as the Sindar or Grey Elves, and when Thingol returned he became their king, ruling from Doriath.

On Melian's advice, Thingol became an ally of the Dwarves of Belegost, who carved the caverns of Menegroth for him, that became the capital of the realm.[2] In those years, Eöl the Dark Elf leased Nan Elmoth from Thingol, having paid the sword Anglachel for it.[3]

In Y.T. 1497, after the First Battle of Beleriand, many Laiquendi removed to Doriath.[2] After this, Doriath was encircled by the Girdle of Melian, an impenetrable fence of enchantment that guarded the kingdom.[2] Eglador was the name of the land of Doriath before it was protected by the Girdle of Melian. Even beyond the limits of the Girdle, Thingol was seen by all the native Elves of Beleriand, from the Gelion to Belegaer, as their lord;[2] he was even acknowledged as high-king of all the Teleri in Beleriand.[4]

[edit] First Age

Doriath - Beleg and young Túrin by Elena Kukanova

While his own kingdom was protected, Thingol was still loath to surrender any other lands in Beleriand to the Noldor due to his suspicions of the aggressive new lords in Middle-earth.[5] King Thingol's relations with the Noldor were strained, and grew worse decades later when he learned the truth of the Kinslaying at Alqualondë. Thingol banned the use of Quenya in his lands, which led to Sindarin being the common Elven tongue in Middle-earth. The King of Doriath refused to aid the Noldor in the war against Morgoth, and took little part in the ongoing struggle.[6]

When Men arrived in Beleriand, they were refused entry into Doriath; however, at Finrod's request, the Haladin were allowed to live in Brethil.

Beren, son of Barahir and lord of the House of Bëor, passed through the Girdle as Melian had foretold, and arrived in Neldoreth. There Thingol's daughter Lúthien fell in love with him. After the Quest for the Silmaril, the Wolf Carcharoth also breached the Girdle, but Thingol, Beren, and Thingol's captains Beleg and Mablung hunted and killed the beast.

Túrin was sent to Doriath, and lived there until he came of age, when he fled from the land. Later his mother and sister, Morwen and Nienor lived there, until they were lost.

In F.A. 502, some time after Túrin's tragic death, Húrin, Túrin's father and now an old man, was allowed to enter Menegroth with a band of outlaws, where in anger he threw the Nauglamír, the treasure of Nargothrond before King Thingol and "thanked" him for aiding his son. This infuriated the outlaws, who tried to take the gold back but were killed by Thingol's guards.[7] Melian finally pierced through Húrin's madness and grief; shamed by his actions, he left Menegroth a broken man.[8]

[edit] Ruin

Nauglamír and the Doom of Thingol by Henning Janssen

At that time a desire came into Thingol's heart to take the Nauglamír and place the Silmaril in it, thus melding together two of the greatest creations made by the Elves and the Dwarves. He hired some Dwarven craftsmen to do it for him. But by the time the Dwarves were finished they had become obsessed with the Nauglamír and asked for it as a payment for their labour. This infuriated Thingol realizing they were coveting the Silmaril. The Dwarves were angered by his harsh words, and killed him. This led to the sacking of Menegroth in F.A. 503 and the eventual destruction of Doriath, which scattered its people.[8]

In F.A. 503, Doriath was briefly restored under Beren and Lúthien's son Dior Eluchíl.[8] Learning that the Silmaril is in Doriath, the Sons of Fëanor sent message to Dior requesting the return of the Silmaril. Dior does not answer.[9] Thus, in F.A. 506, Dior was attacked and killed by the Sons of Fëanor, along with their followers. They assaulted Doriath with a surprise attack, in the middle of winter, and fought with Dior in the Thousand Caves. This was the Second Slaying of Elf by Elf. In that battle, Dior slew Celegorm. Curufin and Caranthir also fell. Dior was also slain along with his wife Nimloth. Eluréd and Elurín were seized, taken into the forest, and left to starve by the cruel servants of Celegorm.[8] Maedhros repented of this act of vengeance and cruelty against the children, and he long sought for them in the woods, but "his search was unavailing," and the fate of Dior's sons is not known.[8] By F.A. 507, Doriath was utterly destroyed following the Second Kinslaying.[8]

[edit] Etymology and names

Doriath is a Sindarin name meaning "Land of the Fence"[10][11] or "Land of the Girdle"[2]. The name consists of the elements dôr ("land") + iâth ("fence").[11]

The earlier name of Doriath, Eglador, probably means either "Land of the Forsaken"[10] or "Land of the Elves" in Ilkorin.[12]

The Quenya name is Lestanórë, also meaning "Land of the Girdle".[13]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

Artanor ("The Land Beyond") was in early versions of the Legendarium the name for what was later called Doriath.[14]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Thingol and Melian"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sindar"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Maeglin"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XIII. Last Writings"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Noldor in Beleriand"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "IV. The Nauglafring"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  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: V. The Tale of Years", p. 351
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar", pp. 370, 378
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", entries "AR", "ELED", "GAT(H)"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: A. The principal linguistic elements concerned", p. 369
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II", entry "Artanor"
The Kinslayings
First Kinslaying (Alqualondë) · Second Kinslaying (Doriath) · Third Kinslaying (Havens of Sirion)