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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
FoundedY.T. 1152
Menegroth constructedY.T. 1300
Girdle of Melian establishedY.T. 1497
Dior Eluchil took KingshipF.A. 503
DestroyedF.A. 506
GalleryImages of Doriath the woven woods of Doriath
few ever thither found the path

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


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.


Early days

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, Elwë, 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.

As Melian foresaw that war was coming to Beleriand, she adviced Thingol to become 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]

End of the First Age

Doriath - Beleg and young Túrin by Elena Kukanova

While Thingol's own kingdom was protected by the power of Melian the Maia, he 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] On a time Finrod and his sister Galadriel were guests of King Elu Thingol, their kinsman in Doriath. There, Queen Melian questioned Galadriel on how and why the Noldor had returned, upon which Galadriel told her only some of the story. Therefore she was the first to glean the truth, perceiving more than Galadriel was willing to tell, and she warned Thingol against dealing with the sons of Fëanor. Later, while Finrod, Angrod and Aegnor were visiting Galadriel, Thingol had learned the truth about the Kinslaying at Alqualondë and accused them of deceiving him for hiding their misdeeds against his kin. Angrod spoke out in anger, pointing out the grievous wrongs they endured as well. This led directly to Thingol banning the use of Quenya in his lands, which led to Sindarin being the common Elven tongue in Middle-earth. However, the descendants of Finarfin were not expelled from Doriath as they were of Thingol's kin from Olwë, his brother, but also because he showed a sympathy to both the Houses of Finarfin and Fingolfin for the wrongs they had suffered. Nevertheless, as King Thingol's relations with the Noldor were already strained even before he learned of the First Kinslaying, he refused to aid them 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.

The hunting-party by Anke Eißmann

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, causing much destruction in north Doriath. But in the Hunting of the Wolf, Thingol, Beren, and Thingol's captains Beleg and Mablung hunted and killed the beast.[7]

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, where in anger he threw the Nauglamír, the treasure of Nargothrond before King Thingol and "thanked" him for aiding his son. Melian pierced through Húrin's madness and grief; shamed by his actions, he offered the Nauglamír to Thingol sincerely and left Menegroth a broken man.[8]

Ruin of Doriath

Ruins of Doriath by Pete Amachree

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]


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]

Other names

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]

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 Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
  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)