Angmar War

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This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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Previous war: War of the Last Alliance
Next war: War of the Ring
Angmar war
Beginning: T.A. 1356End: T.A. 1974 (fighting finally ended in T.A. 1977)
Place: Throughout Eriador and the upper Vales of Anduin
Outcome: Victory for the Free Peoples
Major battles: First attack on Amon Sûl, fall of Cardolan, fall of Amon Sûl, second siege of Imladris, fall of Fornost, Battle of Fornost, Eótheód incursion

Men of Arnor
Men of the Vales of Anduin
Forces of Rivendell
Elves of Lindon

Forces of Angmar


The Angmar war was a centuries-long struggle between the Men of Arnor and the forces of Angmar, led by the Witch-king. The three successor realms of Arnor, Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur, were slowly weakened by strife and pushed back, ending in the destruction Arnor at the fall of Fornost in T.A. 1974. A Gondorian and Elvish army then destroyed the armies of Angmar at the Battle of Fornost in T.A. 1975. The conflict devastated Eriador, leaving large swaths of land mostly uninhabited for the next thousand years.[1]


After the death of King Eärendur, his sons split the kingdom of Arnor into three parts: Arthedain to the west, Cardolan to the south and Rhudaur to the east. The three kingdoms were weakened by strife, usually over control of the Weather Hills and the palantír of Amon Sûl, which both Cardolan and Rhudaur desired.[1]



Eliot Gould - The Witch King

During the reign of Malvegil of Arthedain (c. T.A. 1300), the realm of Angmar was established by the Witch-king, north of the Ettenmoors and in the upper Vales of Anduin, with the purpose of destroying Arnor. It was not yet known that he was the chief of the Ringwraiths. He filled his domain with Orcs, evil Men and fell creatures.[1]

Early Conflicts

Malvegil's son Argeleb I claimed kingship of all of Arnor since no descendants of Isildur remained in Cardolan and Rhudaur. Rhudaur resisted the claim. There, there were few Dúnedain and power had been seized by a lord of the Hillmen in secret league with Angmar. Argeleb fortified the Weather Hills, but was killed in battle with Rhudaur and Angmar in T.A. 1356.[2] His son Arveleg I drove the enemies back from the Hills with the help of Cardolan and Lindon. Arthedain and Cardolan established a frontier along the Weather Hills, the East Road and the lower Hoarwell. At this time, the Witch-king besieged Rivendell but failed to take it.[1]

Fall of Cardolan

In T.A. 1409, the Witch-king invaded Cardolan with a massive force and surrounded Amon Sûl. Arveleg I and the last prince of Cardolan were killed and Amon Sûl was destroyed, but its palantîr was saved and brought to Fornost Erain. The remaining Dúnedain in Rhudaur were slain or driven west. Most of Cardolan was ravaged, but a remnant held out in Tyrn Gorthad and in the Old Forest behind. Arthedain was beset, but king Araphor (then only eighteen) repelled the enemy from Fornost Erain and the North Downs with aid from Círdan.[1]

Angmar was subdued for the next centuries by combined Elvish forces from Lindon, Rivendell and Lórien.[1]

In T.A. 1601, Argeleb II granted The Shire to the Hobbits, who had slowly been migrating west partly to escape the forces of Angmar.[2] Later in his reign, the Great Plague came into Eriador. Most of the people in Cardolan died, especially in Minhiriath, and the Dúnedain there came to an end. Evil spirits from Angmar and Rhudaur entered the Barrow-downs. Arthedain was relatively unaffected. The Hobbits of the Shire saw great loss, but their numbers recovered in time.[1]

In T.A. 1851, King Araval won a victory over Angmar with the help of Lindon and Rivendell, but was unable to reclaim Cardolan.[3] In the same year, Gondor was attacked by the Wainriders for the first time.[2]

Alliance with Gondor

Realizing that their enemies were coordinated by a single power, King Araphant renewed the ancient alliance with Gondor. In T.A. 1940, his son Arvedui wedded Fíriel, the daughter of King Ondoher of Gondor. Angmar renewed its attack on Arnor at the same time as Wainriders attacked Gondor. In T.A. 1944, Ondoher and both his sons were killed. Arvedui claimed the throne of Gondor, but the lords of Gondor chose Eärnil II as their king. Nonetheless, the kingdoms retained good relations. Arvedui succeeded his father in T.A. 1964. In T.A. 1973 he sent a message to Gondor that Angmar was preparing its final assault. Eärnil sent his son Eärnur with a great army, including many horsemen from Vales of Anduin, for Arnor by sea. They did not arrive in time.[4]

Fall of the North-kingdom

During the harsh winter of T.A. 1974, the Witch-king launched his final assault on Arthedain. He captured Fornost and drove most of the remaining Dúnedain over the Lune, including the king's sons. Arvedui held out for a short time in the North Downs, before he and some of his guard were forced to flee to the abandoned mines of the northern Ered Luin. They were driven by hunger to seek refuge with the Lossoth of Forochel. Receiving word of the King's whereabouts, Círdan sent a ship to the icebay to rescue him. Arvedui boarded the ship against the advice of the Lossoth chieftain. In the night, a storm came from the North and wrecked the ship. Arvedui drowned, and with him were lost the palantíri of Fornost and Amon Sûl. Thus ended the kingdom of Arnor.[1]

Defeat of Angmar

Main article: Battle of Fornost

When Eärnur and the Gondorian host arrived in Lindon, Fornost had already fallen. But the Elves and Men were filled with joy, amazed by the size of the army which was only a small part of Gondor's might. The fleet filled Forlond, Harlond, and the Grey Havens. Círdan summoned the remains of the forces of Lindon and Arnor (including some Hobbits)[1], and the allied Host of the West marched across the Lune.[4]

The Witch-king was now dwelling in Fornost. Confident and proud after his recent victories, he did not prepare for a siege, but led his army out to face the enemy in the open. The Host came down on him from the Hills of Evendim and the forces clashed in the plains between Nenuial and Fornost. The forces of Angmar were already retreating otwards Fornost when the main body of the cavalry, which had passed around the Hills, came down from the north and scattered them in a great rout. The Witch-king gathered what troops he could and fled northwards towards Carn Dûm, but he was overtaken by the cavalry of Gondor led by Prince Eärnur. At the same time, a force of Elves led by Glorfindel came from Rivendell, and the remnants of Angmar's army were utterly destroyed. Near the end of the battle, the Witch-king attacked Eärnur, but fled upon the appearance of Glorfindel. Eärnur attempted to make chase, but Glorfindel stopped him, prophesizing: "Not by the hand of man will he fall."[4]

Two years later, Frumgar led the Éothéod into the northern Vales of Anduin and destroyed the final vestiges of Angmar on the east side of the Mountains, thus ending the centuries-long conflict.[5]


The conflict left Eriador heavily depopulated. The Kingdom of Arnor was destroyed, and Fornost became a ruin feared by the Men of Bree, who called it Deadmen's Dike. But the royal line continued in Arvedui's son Aranarth, who took the title of Chieftain of the Dúnedain. The remaining Dúnedain took to a secretive, nomadic lifestyle, but continued to protect Eriador from evil.[1]

The Shire-folk survived, though war had swept over them and most had fled into hiding. In T.A. 1979 they elected Bucca of the Marish as the firstThain, to replace the King. In the peace that followed, the Hobbits were content and prospered.[1]

The Kingdom, including its great cities Annúminas and Fornost Erain, was restored one thousand years later by Aragorn II.[6]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil", pp. 195, 209-210
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Homeward Bound"
Preceded by:
War of the Last Alliance
Major events of Middle-earth
T.A. 1409 - T.A. 1974
Followed by:
Watchful Peace