From Tolkien Gateway
General information
LocationWestern Eriador; west of Baranduin and the Weather Hills
Major townsAnnúminas, Bree, Hobbiton
PopulationDúnedain, Hobbits
GovernanceKing of Arthedain
Preceded byArnor
FoundedT.A. 861
AbandonedT.A. 1974

Arthedain was one of the three realms of the Dúnedain of the North created from the fragmentation of the kingdom of Arnor. After the death of Arnor's King Eärendur, his sons divided the realm into the kingdoms of Arthedain, Rhudaur and Cardolan.


Arthedain lay primarily between the Lhûn and the Brandywine in northwestern Eriador. However, it also claimed the land north of the East Road from the Brandywine Bridge to the Weather Hills.[1] Notable features within Arthedain were the Hills of Evendim, Lake Evendim, North Downs, Tower Hills, Far Downs, White Downs, the Shire, Annúminas, and Fornost Erain.[2]


After the tenth king of Arnor, Eärendur, died in T.A. 861,[3] dissensions between his sons fractured the realm. Arnor was divided into Arthedain, Rhudaur and Cardolan. The line of Isildur was maintained in Arthedain, but in Rhudaur and Cardolan the line faded quickly. Arthedain retained Weathertop and its Palantír as well as two others, which led to contention between the three kingdoms.[1]

When Malvegil of Arthedain became king in 1272[4] Orcs began to trouble the region.[5] Around T.A. 1300, the Witch-king founded the kingdom of Angmar north of the Ettenmoors, soon to become the foe of Arthedain.[3]

After Malvegil, his son Argeleb I reclaimed lordship over all of Arnor since Rhudaur and Cardolan had no living descendants of Isildur. Rhudaur refused this claim and allied with Angmar.[1] Argeleb I fell in battle with Rhudaur in 1356.[3] His son, Arveleg I, avenged his father by retaking the Weather Hills, aided by Lindon and Cardolan. However, a great host issued from Angmar in T.A. 1409, invading Arthedain and taking Weathertop. King Arveleg I was slain, as well as the last prince of Cardolan (later interred in the Barrow-downs).[6]. Rhudaur was occupied by Angmar and Cardolan was ravaged.[1]

In 1601 two Fallohide brothers, Marcho and Blanco, crossed the Brandywine with many Hobbits and, with the permission of King Argeleb II, established the Shire.[7] The Hobbits and the remaining Men in Arthedain suffered losses in the Great Plague of 1636.[3]

In 1974[3] the Witch-king invaded Arthedain, capturing Fornost and driving most of the few Dúnedain across the Lhûn. King Arvedui held out for awhile in the North Downs until he and his guard were driven north.[1] Although the realm of Angmar was crushed at the Battle of Fornost in 1975,[3] the realm of Arthedain also came to an end and its lands remained mostly empty (except for the Shire) and its people became Rangers; until the reestablishment of the northern kingdom under king Elessar at the end of the Third Age.


Arthedain is a Sindarin name. Its meaning is not glossed, but Paul Strack and Wayne G. Hammond and Cristina Scull suggest that it means "Realm of the Edain" and is a compound of a form arth of arthor ("realm") and the plural edain of adan ("Man (as a race)").[8][9]