Battle of the Gwathló

From Tolkien Gateway
Battle of the Gwathló
Conflict: War of the Elves and Sauron
Date: S.A. 1701[1]
Place: Near Tharbad, Eriador
Outcome: Decisive victory for the Elves and Númenóreans

Elves of Lindon

Forces of Sauron










The Battle of the Gwathló was the final battle of the War of the Elves and Sauron, fought between the forces of Sauron and the combined forces of Gil-galad and Minastir. It ended in a serious defeat for the Dark Lord forcing him to retreat to Mordor.


In S.A. 1695 Gil-galad, the High King in Lindon, requested aid from Númenor when Sauron invaded Eriador. Minastir, the heir[3][4][note 1] of Queen Tar-Telperiën, sent a fleet commanded by the admiral Ciryatur, but it was delayed until S.A. 1700, by which time the beleaguered Elves and Númenóreans (that were already in Lindon before the invasion) were barely holding the line of the River Lhûn. The arrival of the Númenórean fleet immediately changed the balance of forces such that Sauron's host was driven back with heavy casualties.[2]



After being defeated at Lhûn, Sauron retreated with his host to Sarn Ford, the crossing on the Baranduin, and suffered another defeat. He further retreated southwards to Tharbad where more of his forces joined him after coming up from the south-east. Unbeknownst to Sauron, Ciryatur also had more forces at his disposal and sent part of his fleet at the small Númenórean harbour at the mouth of the Gwathló.[2]


This new contingent fell upon Sauron's rear from the south-west while Gil-galad's Elves and the other Númenóreans attacked from the north. Sauron's army was completely routed and he barely escaped himself.[2]


Sauron and his small remaining forces fled across the Isen but were caught in eastern Calenardhon. Only a small bodyguard was left when Sauron escaped to Dagorlad. Gil-galad moved north to lift the siege of Imladris and Eriador was cleared of the enemy. Eriador had peace for many years but the humiliation inflicted on Sauron made him determined to seek vengeance upon Númenor. Imladris became the new Elvish stronghold in eastern Eriador as Eregion was never rebuilt. Elrond became Gil-galad's vice-regent and received the ring Vilya.[2]


  1. His aunt Queen Tar-Telperiën only surrendered the sceptre in Second Age 1731. In addition the chapter XVIII Note on the Delay of Gil-galad and the Númenóreans in The Nature of Middle-earth mentions "the great host of Minastir" instead of "the great host of Tar-Minastir".


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Line of Elros: Kings of Númenor", entry X Tar-Telperien
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XVIII. Note on the Delay of Gil-galad and the Númenóreans"